Saturday, April 2, 2011

Positive Things in March

Phew, what a month!  This one put me through the wringer.  This picture's about the only one I could wrangle up that I haven't already posted here.  With the long hours at work, all kinds of excitement on our HOA board and Miss Chef's neverending need for ironed chef jackets, my little photography hobby's suffered.

A few weeks ago, I turned back through the pages of my planner where I keep track of my Positives, to discover I'd skipped nearly two weeks.  "Well, this month's list will be a short one," I thought.

But now as I flip all the way back to March 1st, I think perhaps it might not be as short as I'd feared...

1. After weeks of stressing, cleaning and extra effort, Miss Chef's culinary department at the Art Institute received a very positive evaluation from the ACF (American Culinary Federation).  This means the program is likely to be certified, giving each graduate the designation CC (Certified Culinarian) to put after their names.

2. After a horrible, stressful long day in which I had to deal with non-work issues while already several days behind at work, Miss Chef had dinner waiting for me at home: Jim 'n' Nick's Barbeque.  She knows just how to make me happy!

3. I finally opened the bottle of wine given to us by neighbors.  Not just any wine--they actually made it, right in their living room!  They have a sort of wardrobe set up with all their fermentation process; it's a side hobby they've been dabbling with.  But, even for dabblers, the wine was good; so good I had to call them up to tell them.  It was a nice way to reach out and connect with people we see only sporadically.

4. The numerous Bradford pear trees started their annual floral show around the 4th.  Within a week, the ornamental cherries and apples were joining them.  It's always a spirit-lifter to walk or drive around town when everything is so gracefully blooming.

5. During one of those horrid, stress-filled weeks, I found myself outside late at night, waiting for Rosie to find the perfect spot to pee.  Looking up, I noticed the frigidly clear sky with the stars like the proverbial diamonds.  One in particular caught my eye--it was blue, and it twinkled.  I don't recall ever seeing a star twinkle so definitively.  It made me feel like I finally understood why the stars have always held such mystery for us.  What are you doing up there, Blue?  And what are you trying to convey with your twinkles?

6. When I stress, it really affects my sleep.  Even when I do sleep, I do it poorly, often waking up feeling like I've been clenching every muscle in my body for eight hours (or six, as the case may be).  One morning I awoke in the dark, desperate to escape the negative frame of mind that was defining my existence.  I found myself silently praying, "Help me see the love."  I don't pray.  Not normally.  But I do believe in the power of prayer, and, if nothing else, I do believe in the benefits of raising your thoughts to a higher plane, above the petty worries of daily life.  I'm not going to tell you that I walked out the front door that day to sunshine and roses...but neither did I have an anxiety attack on the drive in to work.

7. My eldest nephew celebrated his 12th birthday over there in the land of Angles.  Due to the time difference, I had to take a short break in the afternoon and go stand in the parking lot to call him from my cell to wish him a happy birthday.  How cool is it that I can use this tiny little plastic gadget to have a crystal-clear conversation with a loved one 4,000 miles away?

8. Miss Chef got a random Friday night off.  Since her favorite meal is one that she doesn't have to cook, we ended up at TGIFriday's for dinner.  Boring, right?  No, because we never get to have a normal, Friday-night date, so it was pretty special for us.  I even had a pretty good glass of wine.

9. I got my taxes done!  A month early!  All by myself, without any wringing of hands, I downloaded Turbo Tax, then sat down on  a Thursday evening and got it done.  I even beat Miss Chef to the punch.  (If you're wondering why this is such a big deal, check back in a couple of weeks...I'm going to re-run my tax rant.)

9b. Part of my stressing had to do with money.  We've been trying to set cash aside to cover all of our expenses for our Big Summer Vacation, but bill after bill came up.  Annual things, like Terminix, the dog's pills, the oil change "oh and you need $500 worth of work" experience.  The positive?  I had forgotten about tax refunds.  Mine was enough to finish off my credit card and cover the apartment in Paris, including the refundable deposit.  Big load off my mind.

9c. Oh, and my state refund--that's for shoes. :)

10. I went to the volunteer meeting for the Matthews Community Farmers' Market--check out the link to see how lucky we are to be able to support this market!  I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that getting together with a group of like-minded people is an infrequent pleasure that I truly appreciated.

11.  I got the garden in, more or less.  But you already knew that.

12 Without any planning at all, I brought Miss Chef breakfast in bed on a lazy Sunday morning.  She was still snoozing when I got up with a grumbly in my tumbly.  After getting on slippers and sweats, I toddled out to the kitchen to toast a bagel.  I slathered it with cream cheese and some of our homemade jam, then carried it back to bed, Miss Chef was much more awake, and feeling a bit peckish herself.  It was a quiet, humble little moment of happiness to split that yummy bagel.

13. Miss Chef returned the favor by grilling some burgers for dinner later.  So much yum!

14. Speaking of yum, we went back to the Crêpe Cellar, where I'd had dinner with some friends last month.  Miss Chef had been wanting to go, and she was not disappointed.  We had a lovely, delicious Sunday brunch.  I ate far too much, but loved every bite.  No dinner was needed that night, I can tell you.

15. Chef Adam had a wine tasting at the restaurant on a Monday night, when they are usually closed.  Since Miss Chef had the night off, and was on break from school--no 4:30 am alarm on Tuesday--she made us reservations.  The rep running the tasting had done one for the restaurant staff the week before, and Miss Chef was impressed by his depth of knowledge and clear explanations.  We ended up tasting six wines that night, all from Oregon and Washington states.  We also ended up staying for dinner, as neither of us was in a state to drive home right away!  hee hee

16. The evening of the wine tasting, the temperature was forecast to drop down to the low 30s (yeah, those 80-degree temps ended a couple of weeks ago).  Due to our, erm, exhaustion, I completely forgot about covering the newly-planted broccoli and thriving lettuce.  But, in spite of a heavy frost, they both came through with no damage at all.  Plus...the peas and beets came up that morning!  (But you already knew that.)

17. Perhaps the best news of all--Miss Chef found a colleague with the knowledge to try recovering our crashed computer drive.  Not only did he recover ALL of our files--including everything for my French class starting Monday--; not only did he do it for less than half the price of Best Buy, in a miniscule fraction of the time; not only did he discover that we were right to go buy another one, since the old one was beyond repair...but he also said the new computer was a really great machine that he'd like to own himself.  In almost complete ignorance, we had made a very good decision.

Wow, what a roller coaster it's been.  Compared to last month, starting back to teaching seems like nothing at all.  I hope your March went out like a lamb, and is leaving you with a wonderfully pleasant April.

Wanna be positive, too?  Here's where you can share:


  1. You've had a stressful month and found the positive! Yay! I especially like that you got the data off your boat anchor before class starts. That's huge.

  2. Whew!!! I am exhausted just reading about your month--lots happening indeed!

    It's so nice of Rosie to search out a perfect place for you to pee. I wish my dog would do that for me.

  3. I'm really impressed with the number of positive things you came up with! I need to try this....

    I'm also jealous that you're near Jim & Nick's - there was one near me in Atlanta that I loved. Not much in my tiny rural midwestern town!!!

    Nancy in Iowa

  4. Great post. I'm most happy about the recovery of your harddrive!

  5. I hope you never, never stop doing this. It is so refreshing to remember that there are so many positives out there if we just stop to think about it. :)


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