Three Things Thursday

Isn’t it funny how a certain post will show up in your feed right when you need it most? I was looking for something, not sure what to write about today but wanting to write, and then there it was- the perfect post- #ThreeThingsThursday- created by Emily at Nerd in the Brain and hosted by Natalie at There She Goes. Three Things Thursday is a list of three things that made you happy this week. This actually lines up perfectly with my mindfulness book, which asked me to share some memorable moments.

downtown chicago

 

Before they headed back to school, I was able to spend the day at the museum with my college kids, who I don’t see nearly enough. Going to the museum is a favorite pastime from my childhood that I was able to pass on to my kids. It was a special day.

 

 

 

 

bingo

 

 

I played Bingo with my parents. This is actually a regular occurrence but hasn’t happened in a while due to circumstances beyond our control. It was nice to do something that feels just plain normal and everyday. I’m blessed to have my parents still here and nearby.

 

 

lights

 

We are having a heatwave here in the Midwest, which means the snow, icy slush and general messiness along with the freezing temps are gone- temporarily. I’m going to enjoy the 60 degree day for the brief time it’s here.

 

 

 

 

What made you happy this week?

#Bathwater

I hope your week is going well!

-Kat

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Lesson One in Mindfulness

One of the gifts that I got for Kris* for Christmas was a book about creative mindfulness. It was an impulse buy that endless day I was trapped in Target. It’s colorful cover caught my eye and as I leafed through it, I knew that it was something that would interest Kris. I wanted to buy it for myself as well. Because I was freaking out about pulling the holiday together, I tossed two copies of the book in my cart, intending to think it over before I checked out.

I forgot about the book and bought that copy for myself. I didn’t realize it until I was going through the bags and wrapping gifts. I set it aside and pushed it out of my mind. I had Christmas to get through and I was looking forward to having all of my kids together again.

Kris loved the book and they were thrilled to hear that I had purchased one for myself. What happened next was fascinating to experience. I did not get the book for Kris because I felt that they needed lessons in mindfulness. I just knew that Kris would enjoy the activities in the book. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that the thought process that took place in my decision to buy the book for Kris took place in a split second and if I was to expand it and take a closer look, I would see that yes, on a deeper level I was hoping it would help Kris when they were overwhelmed and perhaps, give them a few lessons in mindfulness.

As winter break proceeded, Kris was engrossed in the book and periodically asked me if I had begun mine yet. I explained that it was a tad bit hectic around the house and I would need to wait until things quieted down. I never saw Kris without the book and as more time passed I noticed a change in Kris. Where there had been tension and awkwardness, Kris was calmer, assured, peaceful. For the past six plus years this child has been up, down, sideways and every which way and this was the most balanced I have seen them.

After the college kids went back to their schools and the work people went back to work, I ventured into my office (aka the place I dumped everything that I needed out of the way for the holidays) and looked for the book. I couldn’t find it.

The next day, Kris texted me, asking if I had begun reading it yet. I admitted that I couldn’t locate it. After the conversation, I went back into the office and did another thorough search. Still no sign.

Another text from Kris. Another failed search. I was getting frustrated and began questioning myself. Did I really buy a second copy of the book? Maybe I put it back on the shelf, trying to save money….. But no, I knew that I had purchased that book!!!

And then this morning, as I was began writing this post and my miserable attempt at mindfulness, I took a deep breath and faced that office again. I moved boxes around, threw out anything no longer needed and stood in the middle of the room, looking around at the same piles of things that I had been looking at every time I searched. And then my foot hit a stack of children’s books and I picked up the top book.

There underneath it was THE book, the one I was looking for, right under my nose all this time.

So, what was my first lesson learned? That I definitely need this book and I definitely need to be more present in the moment. No doubt about it!

mindfulness book

What are your thoughts on mindfulness? Is it something you practice or not give it much thought at all? I would love to hear about it!

Have a great week!

-Kat

^Kris is my 24 year old gender fluid child who uses the pronouns they, them, their.

My Five Favorite Shows (to watch while it’s too cold to go outside)

While the weather outside is oh, so frightfully cold, I’ve found myself spending much of my time watching television. Here are my five favorite shows that I’m watching to pass the time:

  1. Life in Pieces– Currently in its third season, this comedy is perfect in so many ways. It is a half hour show, so when commercials are removed it’s around 22 minutes long- making it a quick watch. Each episode is broken into 4 separate scenes or mini- episodes (lasting 5-6 minutes each) that often have a recurring thread. The ensemble cast plays well together and it’s hard not to feel like you are watching a real family, like maybe your own. I found this series on Netflix while hunting for something to watch with Kris last year. If the voice of the character, Greg, seems slightly familiar its because the actor is Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks. (He also bears a resemblance to his famous dad.)
  2. The Americans– This FX series is beginning its sixth and final season. It is centered around two Soviet agents who are spying on the American government while posing as a married couple. It is a drama, and it drew me in from the first episode. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble into Matthew Rhys, portraying one of the Soviet spies and who had previously played Kevin Walker on the show- Brothers & Sisters. I’ve been watching this on Amazon Prime…taking my time since I know the show is ending, just when I found it!
  3. Grey’s Anatomy– Season 14 is in progress now. 14! Although I had heard of the show (you would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about McDreamy!), it wasn’t until I found myself with a newborn for a constant companion less than three years ago that I discovered Grey’s. What can I say? It was love at first viewing. I converted my husband into a fan and Kris is my latest victim. I can’t get enough of this show- and I can’t resist getting a small thrill knowing that the creator- Shonda Rhimes- is a fellow Midwest girl! I was hooked on ER back in the day and apparently I’m just a sucker for hospital drama. This one is another of my Netflix staples, never failing to make me laugh or cry.
  4. Friends– This comedy never grows old for me. I watch it every single night on Nickelodeon. I’m pretty sure I never stopped watching it from the time it first aired. Yes, it has it flaws but hey, who or what doesn’t? You can binge watch it on Netflix but it can also be found on cable stations as well. I have my favorite character- Chandler (I think I relate to him on many levels)- and favorite guest characters- Richard (Tom Selleck)  and David (Hank Azaria), my favorite story lines- Ross and Rachel’s relationship, Chandler and Monica’s courtship, “London, baby!”
  5. Property Brothers– (or almost anything else on HGTV.)  When I tire of comedy and drama, I head over to HGTV and dream about remodeling my house into the home of my dreams…. or meeting the cute Property Brothers- Drew and Jonathan Scott! I love house hunting from the comfort of my own home and it has inspired me to spruce up my surroundings!

What do you think? Have you seen any of these shows? I have a pretty healthy watch list on both Netflix and Amazon Prime but I’m always open to suggestions- am I missing something binge-worthy?

Stay warm (if you are part of the deep freeze that has been taking over parts of the country)!

-Kat

 

Tonight is Christmas

…. so no, it really isn’t Christmas- obviously. I’m a little late with this one but here is my third Christmas song for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past.

The country band, Alabama, released their first Christmas album in 1985. I was working in retail at the time- open to close almost every day of the week for the month before Christmas, and I had the distinct pleasure(?) of working near the electronic department….where Christmas music was blasted at top volume from open to close. And Alabama Christmas was the music of choice….. By December 26th, I hoped to never hear any of the songs on this album ever again but in time, this became some of my favorite Christmas music.

Tonight is Christmas is a moving song about Christmas, peace and love.

“’cause tonight is Christmas, tonight is love
Tonight we celebrate god’s one and only son
Tonight there’s hope for peace on earth eternally
Tonight is Christmas and the world’s in harmony”

51-weeks-51-songs-from-the-past

Hope your Christmas was peaceful and happy!

-Kat

Still Here

Wondering where I’ve been? I lost track of how long I was in the store when, after hours of frantic last minute gift shopping and desperate food shopping, I realized I needed something that was clear across the store…. I lost hope of ever getting out of here when sales associates began grabbing bags of Hershey Kisses off the shelf, ripping the bags open and offering them to the grid-locked shoppers, in hopes of raising spirits…..or blood sugar. When the shopper in front of me in line couldn’t get her app to work to get her discounts and left the line (and the conveyor stacked with her purchases) to search out a WiFi connection- at the cashier’s suggestion!!!- I couldn’t even react other than to smile sadly (I really hope it was a smile and not a scowl) at the exhausted but helpful employee. My hope is to be home for Christmas!

If you don’t hear from me, odds are great that I’m still here in line and if you pass a woman by the entrance walking around holding her cell phone at odd angles, then you know I’m still here.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday!

Kat

Linus and Lucy

My second festive song for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past is Linus and Lucy. Although not really a holiday song, it is featured in A Charlie Brown Christmas and is often associated with Christmas.

Recorded in 1964 by Vince Guaraldi Trio, this jazz piece has been the opener for several Peanuts movies and is a standard Christmas classic.

The song is named for Linus, Charlie Brown’s best friend, and his sister, Lucy, Charlie Brown’s nemesis. I tried digging into why this song was named after Linus and Lucy but was unable to find anything.

This song always fills me with energy and I have to resist the urge to break out into a very clumsy (and horrifyingly humiliating) Kat dance. In my head, I like to think I look like one of the twin girls who mirror each other, but in my heart I know I just look ridiculous and like I’m having some kind of fit.

The kid in the orange shirt doing the shoulder shrug dance move is the coolest by far. The guy doing the zombie walk in the back is another favorite.

And dare I mention the ending with Snoopy dancing his heart out and upon seeing the expression on Lucy’s and Schroeder’s faces blushing and slinking away….

51-weeks-51-songs-from-the-past

Hope you are getting into the holiday spirit!

-Kat

 

 

Happy Holidays!

It’s difficult to not get caught up in the holiday spirit this time of year. It’s all around- from the commercials and favorite Christmas movies to the holiday specials on television. Houses are decorated, stores are filled with holiday cheer and holiday sales. It seems like the more you might try to resist, the more invasive it becomes in your life. Luckily, this year I’m not fighting it. And the one thing that puts me in that holiday mood more than anything else is music.

The video I’m sharing is Happy Holidays/White Christmas performed by Barry Manilow. I love the energy he brings to his performance.

51-weeks-51-songs-from-the-pastFor 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past, Hugh asks us to share a festive song.

Hope you’re kicking off a festive holiday season!

-Kat

Happy Day After Halloween

Hi! I’m not a fan of Halloween. I mean, I guess I liked trick or treating somewhat when I was growing up, although I was always on edge looking out for other kids in creepy costumes. I don’t like costumes. Never did. Still don’t. I never liked being scared as a kid and that remains true even today. The scariest movies I ever saw were The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Exorcist (1978).

Haunted houses are not my idea of a good time and the last one that I was in was back in 1982. My boyfriend at the time had his heart set on going to this haunted house that was affiliated with a community group of which he belonged so being the good girlfriend, I agreed to go. I never said I would participate though and I think he was a tad disappointed when I informed him that I would be following close behind him, my hand gripping the belt loop on the back of his jeans, with my eyes tightly closed. And that’s exactly what I did, shuffling along, hearing music, screams and cries of thrilled terror, being jostled here and there as people reacted to the frightful happenings, never loosening my grip on my boyfriend’s jean’s belt loop.

We were nearing the end when my boyfriend came to a sudden stop. I ran straight into him and as I was attempting to peel myself off his back, I heard a voice calmly say, “Hi, Kat!” My eyes flew open and my head whipped every which way looking for person who knew me, in the dark, plastered to my boyfriend’s backside with my eyes screwed shut. Despite me asking my boyfriend (and anyone else I could think of), who that could have been, I never found out who it was. 35 years later, I still wonder who felt the need to break character and say hi amid the chaos of a haunted house, which I obviously was not enjoying.

And that leads me to the reason I shared that story from teen Kat’s past. In honor of Halloween, Hugh shared a song that would make his Halloween playlist and asked others to share their favorites for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past.

I’ve already shared the song that would have topped I list, if I did Halloween- see Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

This caused my mind to wander down a more creative path and I began thinking of haunting songs (keeping with the Halloween theme) but I guess when that rabbit scurried past me tsk tsking at his pocket watch, I fell down a rabbit hole and found this song.

White Rabbit, written by Grace Slick and performed here by Jefferson Airplane, hit the airwaves in 1967- a mere 50 years ago. The song, based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, is said to be a cautionary tale to parents of the dangers of reading your children stories like these and then wondering why they take drugs. I’m not sure how true that is. I lost count of the number of times I read Alice and have never tried a single illegal drug to date! I have loved Alice as long as I can remember and as a child, I could relate to her confusion in Wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems. It’s quite ironic how much I truly love this story given my intense fear of the unknown!

Now that I’ve shared with you my (most likely confusing) train of thought, please be sure to head over to Hugh’s place and see what he’s been up to. Not only does he have his weekly song feature, but he’s the king of short story endings with a twist!

51-weeks-51-songs-from-the-past

Happy November!

-Kat

 

Autumn Colors

pumpkin farmAutumn is my favorite time of year. I live for the days of leaves changing colors, hoodies and jeans, and crisp leaves rustling as they blow down the street. It’s the most beautiful time of the year. Here are some autumn quotes along with photos of my favorite fall colors:

 

 

  • “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” -Albert Camus
  • “Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
    —Lauren DeStefano
  • “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” -William Cullen Bryant
  • “Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” –Chad Sugg
  • “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” -Emily Bronte
  • “Wild is the music of autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.” —William Wordsworth
  • “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.” -Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

If you live in a part of the world that has glorious autumns, I hope you are enjoying the changing colors! And if you aren’t, I hope that whenever your autumn is, you get to experience this beauty!

-Kat

 

Share Your World- October 16, 2017

If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? 

I would move to Italy. I’m not quite sure how this would work since I don’t speak a lick of Italian but maybe my high school Spanish could come in handy. It’s a place I would love to visit one day. It might be a bit unrealistic and if I had to move, I should probably at least choose an English speaking country….. which would be England. There’s more than a mere desire to one day visit that draws me to these places. The largest parts of my ethnicity are from Italy/Sicily and Great Britain. It would be incredible for me to be able to go to the places my ancestors came from and see their worlds.

What color would you like your bedroom to be?

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I am currently in the process of redecorating my room so this is a timely topic. When I’m done, my plan is for my bedroom to be a mixture of blue, turquoise, gray and black. Whatever the finished product is, it will be much better than the mishmash/no particular color or design room it has been since we moved in to the house 20 years ago!

 

What makes you Happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy.

  • My family and friends
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Music
  • A peaceful place to write
  • Taking walks

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” -Audrey Hepburn

To take part in this challenge, you can find the details at Cee’s Share Your World. Thanks, Cee!

Share Your World

Hope you have an awesome week!

-Kat