Such as launching myself on this project of recording and sharing 15 positive things that happen in my life each month--inspired by Happy Frog and I, a previous Blog of Note. I have to admit, it was a challenge in the last couple holiday-mad weeks to keep up with it, but when I finally sat down to peruse my nearly-daily notes, I discovered something remarkable.
I have way more than 15 happy things to choose from! I'm wondering if any of you had the same experience? If you too decided to keep track of your 15 Positive Things, you'll find the link widget at the bottom of this post, to share with us all the good things that happened to you. Happiness shared is multiplied, right?
Flartus' 15 Positive Things
1. (Dec. 1) In the face of the first good hard freeze, I found myself outside in the dark with a flashlight, harvesting lettuce. I can positively say I've never done that before. And how awesome is it to have fresh lettuce in winter?
2. (Dec. 3) A co-worker and I went to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant around the corner which I've only been to a couple of times. The food was good, but the service was excellent, and looking through Miss-Chef inspired eyes, I realized that this restaurant was a very well-run place that seemed to care about its employees. As a result of my happy feelings, I left our server Elisa a 50% tip. I love doing things like that!
3. (Dec. 4) Cookies! I seized the day and made snickerdoodles, starting off Miss Chef's holiday cookie baking for her. I was still up when she got home, and with a girlish smile, she eagerly grabbed one up when I showed them to her.
4. (Dec. 5) Christmas tree! We went to a new lot that opened up around the corner this year, and had a wonderful time wandering through the artificial but glorious-smelling forest. Not only were the trees fresher than the last place we tried, and a bit cheaper, but it turns out the organization running it raises money for several charities.
5. (Dec. 7) Miss Chef and I finally manage to schedule an evening to decorate the living room, free from other distraction. Along with carols on the radio and a fire in the fireplace, we finally felt like we were fully into the Christmas season.
6. (Dec. 8) I finally finished packing up the box of gifts to send to my brother's family in London. It had been one of those projects I was both excited and concerned about, as it involved some decision-making to keep the weight down, and a bit of labor to get all the little pieces packaged and wrapped. My first step in our homemade Christmas!
7. (Dec. 9) The first part of the final exam in my French class--the 5-minute individual conversation--was not a success for all. But I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with some students about their progress. When I finished up and returned to the faculty workroom, another instructor said he'd run into one of my students who was flush with excitement about how he'd done, and about my comments on his improvement. It was a very nice reminder of just how big an impact a teacher can have.
8. (Dec. 11) A lovely evening with friends, starting with appetizers at their house, then a trip to see the lights at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, and back to their house for dinner. Onward with the holiday spirit!
9. (Dec 14) Knowing how exhausted Miss Chef must be, teaching at 6:30 am and then going in for extra shifts at the restaurant until 10 pm, I prepped her morning for her. Socks, underwear, bandanna ready in the bathroom, towel hung up by the shower, space heater ready to go...it feels so good to be able to help her any little way I can.
10. (Dec 17-20) My trip to see my parents. Some things I didn't mention in my previous post were the dinner party with neighbors the evening of my arrival, and discovering a new fruit in one of their yards, which I was invited to harvest and take home to Miss Chef. (Miss Chef incorporated it into our Christmas dessert, the olive oil and orange cake she'd made once before).
11. (Dec 22) Having heard Miss Chef's story of waiting in line at the Post Office to buy stamps, I steeled myself for a last visit of my own, to mail one final package on my lunch break. Imagine my surprise to walk in, see the automated machine free and spend about two minutes getting my package weighed and posted! Bonus: when I got home that evening, an email from my nephew informed me that my carefully-packaged transatlantic gift box had arrived safe and sound in London. Hooray!
12. (Dec. 23) As I sat eating my lunch in the breakroom, I watched two kids, a dad and even a granddad running around the adjacent parking lot, apparently playing tag. So much more entertaining than tv! After eating, I had another lunch break errand to run, this time to try to find Miss Chef a pomegranate for our Christmas dinner. On the way, I saw more kids enjoying their winter break by playing outside in their yards. Children at play made me smile. Bonus: Not only was I able to find the pomegranate, but the Harris Teeter employee who helped me was incredibly kind and professional, in spite of a super busy store.
(Yes, Christmas was definitely a Positive Thing, but it seems too easy...so I shall leap over it...)
13. (Dec. 26) As part of our little extended Christmas, we went to see Bonnie's parents (Bonnie being Rosie's best dog buddy) to thank them for helping us out by kitty-sitting Smoky through her early days. We ended up sitting down over a mug of hot chocolate, swapping stories and laughs. We left with a fruit basket, a bottle of homemade wine(!), and several recommendations for our upcoming summer trip (which I haven't told you about, have I? Heh heh...)
14. (Dec. 29) After spending an hour or two putting up my last picture-heavy post, I shut down the computer, and turned around to find this:
(For any unfamiliar with the story, we found Smoky in October as a not-quite-four week old kitten, at which point Rosie tried to eat her! Feeling fully responsible for her survival at that point, Miss Chef and I proceeded to foster her through bottle feeding and butt wiping until she was old enough to be adopted by a friend. We got her back for a few weeks of kitten-sitting over the holidays.)
15. (Dec. 31) A wonderful New Year's Eve party hosted by the same friends who had us at Thanksgiving. Plenty of food, drink, games, laughs and concern about whether Miss Chef was going to make it from the restaurant before midnight. She didn't, but our hosts kindly stayed up until 2 am to catch up with Miss Chef and allow her to enjoy a couple of drinks. (We left her car there to pick up the next day!)
Well, time to get my 2011 planner, so I can keep track of January's Positive Things! I hope you have enjoyed playing along. Please share with us your December happinesses by adding your link below.