Thankful Thursday 5/17/12

Here’s what I’m thankful for today…

1) A cloudy morning. I hate driving to work with sun in my eyes. Especially when I’m driving Dan’s car. See the next item for an explanation.
2) Dan reminding me to drive his car today. He left for his annual desert camping trip this morning and it would have been problematic if I had taken my own car to work. Luckily my wonderful husband was thinking clearly enough before he even got out of bed to remind me which car to drive this morning.
3) A full tank of gas. Courtesy of my aforementioned wonderful husband. I did a lot of driving today so it was nice to not have to worry about running out of gas. There’s plenty of more important things to worry about when I’m driving Dan’s car!
4) Leftover brownies. My co-workers have been requesting red velvet brownies for a while so I broke down and made a pan to take to work on Wednesday. I really should have had my protein shake for breakfast this morning, but a couple of bites of leftover red velvet brownie with cream cheese frosting was so delicious!
5) A short work day. I went to the Angels baseball game so I left at noon today. Things are going to be crazy at work for the next couple of weeks so I’m grateful for a little down time now.
6) Redbox. On my way home from the Angel game I stopped by 7 Eleven to rent a movie from the Redbox outside. I settled on “W.E.” – the movie Madonna directed about Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward. It was OK. I’m just glad I only spent $1.30 to rent it rather than the exorbitant price of a ticket to see it in the theater!
7) Going to bed early. Well, early-ish. I’ve been sitting in bed writing this post much longer than I planned. Now it’s time for bed because I have to go to work tomorrow. Good night!

Thankful Thursday 5/10/12

I haven’t written a gratitude list in forever because I haven’t really felt like myself for the last few months for a variety of reasons, but I’m feeling pretty good today. I’ve been compiling this list all day so here are the things I’m thankful for today, in chronological order…

1) May Gray. While the low clouds make our mornings a little gloomy this time of year, I appreciate how they keep the temperature down. This is the reason summer doesn’t start too early in Los Angeles.
2) Confederate Jasmine. There’s a bunch of it growing near work and every time I catch a whiff of the familiar scent I’m instantly transported back to Tallahassee where my parents have some growing on their mailbox. (Or at least they used to have. I don’t remember if it’s still there.)
3) A cool breeze off the ocean. I love that I’m able to walk to lunch this late in the year while wearing a hoodie and still feel a little chilly. And I know this will make a lot of people across the country very jealous.
4) Honeysuckle on my walk to lunch. I knew there was a reason I liked Hampton Inn – the fact that they have honeysuckle growing outside their Seal Beach hotel! Honeysuckle is my favorite smell in the world.
5) My New Balance sneakers. They are so comfortable while being low profile and fairly stylish. It seems I’ve become obsessed with shoes in my old age. Sneakers and flip flops, at least. But I’ll write more about that some other time.
6) My CR-V. The recent redesign makes the new ones look like they have big butts! I am perfectly willing to spend money keeping my 2005 running if the alternative is buying an ugly new one.
7) Walmart transferring DVDs to digital for just $2? I saw a commercial about this today and I think it’s awesome! I immediately started making a mental list of the DVDs I want to be converted to digital copies. This could get expensive.
8) My co-workers. One of them suggested having a Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM) to decide who is going to bring what flavors of Oreos to an event that we have later this month. I love these guys. And for the record, I’m a big fan of Double Stuf Oreos.
9) Prince Charles doing the weather report on a Scotland TV station. Have you seen that clip? It was all over CNN today. It’s great!
10) Flexible work hours. For when I stay up way too late watching the NBA playoffs. Although I wish I hadn’t stayed up late tonight watching the Lakers lose in spectacular fashion. I’m losing faith in them this season, but that’s a subject for another post.
11) Sprite Zero. I’ve learned that there aren’t that many caffeine free diet soda options out there. Honestly I don’t miss the caffeine, just my beloved Coke Zero it comes in.
12) Show tunes. The other day one of my co-workers said, “What’s the story?” and all I could think of was that song from “Bye Bye Birdie.” “What’s the story, morning glory? What’s the word hummingbird?” I need to watch that movie again.
13) My favorite A*Teens CD. How else would I stay sane when I’m stuck in traffic? I’ve been actively trying to be more zen while driving, but I’m not always very successful. But singing along to my favorite music helps me relax and avoid road rage when some idiot cuts me off on the freeway.
14) Leftover vegetables from our 80s party. A ton of leftover baby carrots = carrot soup for my lunches. And no food going to waste! Bonus!
15) Walking. I haven’t been exercising at all lately and I feel like a total slug. But today I walked to lunch because it was a very pleasant day, and I also walked to the grocery store this evening to grab a couple of items for dinner. I just need to keep this up!
16) My husband. Who else would put up with salads for dinner two nights in a row because I have no inspiration to make anything else? Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually cook something for him! (I can’t believe I don’t have a new recipe for Foodie Friday. I feel like such a failure!)

Thankful Thursday 1/5/12

Here’s what I’m thankful for today…

1) Christmas being completely over This seems counter intuitive since I usually get depressed after the holidays, but my mood improves significantly when things get back to normal. I love Christmas, but there’s no point reminiscing when there are so many other things to look forward to during the new year!
2) January. This month is what makes the down time after the holidays bearable. My birthday is about two weeks after Christmas so I always have something to look forward to shortly after New Year’s. Dan and I had such a great time at Disneyland for my birthday last year that we’re planning another trip this weekend. My birthday isn’t technically until Monday, but who says I can’t celebrate for three straight days!
3) No frozen pizza. While I’ve served leftovers more than once already this year, I’m proud to say that I haven’t had to resort to frozen pizza for dinner so far in 2012! I admit that I have served leftover Domino’s pizza (we ate the last few pieces tonight with leftover corn chowder on the side), but that’s not lazy – it’s resourceful!
4) Trash collection. Confused yet? Read on. Dan dragged our untrimmed Christmas tree to the curb on Monday where it could hang out withe everyone else’s discarded trees. But luckily it only sat there for a day and a half before it was picked up by the waste management folks on Wednesday morning. Seeing Christmas tree sitting on the curb is depressing when you’re trying to get on with your year!
5) Vision benefits. When I went to the optometrist yesterday I spent a decent amount of money for a three month supply of contacts and new lenses for my prescription sunglasses. And that’s with fairly generous vision benefits in my health insurance. Imagine how much it would have been without any insurance! Luckily I didn’t need new lenses for my regular glasses too.
6) Short work week. Why am I already so tired after only three days back at work? I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! That’s what Disneyland is for this weekend. I’m so excited!

Thankful Thursday 12/22/11

It’s been a while since I made a gratitude list so here goes…

1) My husband. What an angel! He didn’t complain once that I hadn’t fed him a home cooked meal since before I went to Tallahassee. This was most evident when he got home from work on Tuesday night, saw me making a pot of chili and said, “That looks good.” Unfortunately my reply was, “It’s not for us.” I was cooking for my final potluck of the holiday season on Wednesday so Dan pretty much went hungry that night. But I promised to make another batch of chili just for us for dinner when I got home the next day. The closest Dan got to complaining was telling me that the chili we ate last night was “worth the two-day wait.” Good to know! I am determined to do a lot of cooking for the two of us over the holidays – and not just desserts either!

2) Last day of work for 2011. Today was the last Boeing workday of 2011 and it was very quiet around the office because most people took the day off anyway. That means it was my most productive day of the year because I didn’t have people bugging me with questions every five minutes! The last day of the year is always that way. Kinda like senior skip day in high school. That’s one day I made sure not to miss because my classes were empty. It was very refreshing.

3) Boeing end-of-the-year shutdown. As of today, I don’t have to go back to work until January 3rd! What a wonderful feeling. I’m always grateful that we have the holidays off from work. We Boeing employees just have to remember how nice that is when we’re cursing the fact that we have so few other days off during the year. Having an extended holiday at the end of the year gives me a chance fully enjoy Christmas while also giving me time to regroup for the new year. Unfortunately I’m on call from Christmas Eve until January 2nd so I have to make sure I have my pager and cell phone with me at all times. (This will be most difficult when Dan and I go to the movies to see “Sherlock Holmes” and “Mission Impossible.”) I’ve got my fingers crossed that nothing happens to warrant calling me in over the holidays.

4) Our Christmas tree. Dan and I bought it from the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis on December 5th, but then it sat naked in the middle of our living room until the 18th. Poor neglected noble fir! Then last Sunday we finally started decorating it. We didn’t finish until Tuesday, though, because we inherited about a million glass ball ornaments from Dan’s grandmother and it takes forever to hang them all. We seriously can’t get a Christmas tree large enough for all of them. A lot of the branches on this year’s tree have two ornaments because of it. But as you can tell from the photo I posted yesterday the finished product is beautiful. Gabe our mechanized angel tree topper (also inherited from Dan’s grandmother) is even working this year! We call him Wheezing Gabe for a reason. I’ll have to take a video of him to share. I know I’ll be cursing our Christmas tree when I have to take it down in January, but at least for now ‘m enjoying having it in the house.

5) Christmas shopping 100% done. I picked up one last thing for Dan at the mall today, but now I’m completely done shopping for Christmas. It’s a good feeling. I’m trying to avoid the crowds at all costs so the only place I’ll be shopping for the next few days is the grocery store. Now if only I had Dan’s gifts wrapped! At least I have two more days to get that done.

Thankful Thursday – Thanksgiving edition

Here’s what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving 2011…

1) Girls night out. Last night I went to see “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” with three of my female co-workers and it was a lot of fun. Well, most of it. One of the ladies is pregnant and unfortunately she started feeling badly during dinner so her husband picked her up before the movie. I felt so awful that there was nothing I could do to help! And I’m disappointed she couldn’t go to the movie with us, but I hope she’s feeling better today. The three of us that did see “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” thought it was…cheesy. At best. Actually, I thought it was a pretty lousy movie, but then I remembered that Breaking Dawn was my least favorite of the four books. Maybe that explains it. Anyway, I’m glad we went because it was still fun to hang out with some girls for a change.

2) A long weekend. Not only have I not gotten caught up after our trip to Hawaii, but as of this morning Dan and I still hadn’t put away our Halloween decorations. We were out of town all of the weekends in November so far so today was our first chance to clean up the house and yard. It only took us a couple of hours to gather all of the tombstones, lights, and other Halloween items and put them away. It felt really good to get that done. Now our house is starting to look the way it does most of the year – just in time to decorate for Christmas! In fact, I intentionally didn’t put away two strands of green lights with the Halloween stuff so that we can use them to illuminate the outside of the house for Christmas. My favorite holiday season is upon us!

3) Christmas shopping done. I placed an online Amazon order this morning and that concluded my Christmas shopping for 2011. It helps that Dan and I are having a minimal Christmas this year. I’ve actually had his presents bought for a while which is a relief. What I ordered today is for my dad. Fortunately I will be able to hand deliver my parents’ Christmas gifts this year since I’m taking a short trip to Tallahassee in early December (12/8-12/12 for anyone who’s interested). I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents, my cat Bob, and as many of my hometown friends as possible when I’m there. Getting back to shopping for a minute, I don’t want to brave the Black Friday crowds, but I really need to go to the grocery store. If I want to cook anything this weekend (cookies, pie, etc. – you know, the basics) I’m going to need a few items. Hopefully there won’t be a lot of people looking for deals on groceries tomorrow.

4) Dinner at Melisse. Dan and I first went to Melisse in Santa Monica for our anniversary last year and it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. So when I saw their Thanksgiving menu online I knew we had to have our holiday meal there. Last year I didn’t feel guilty going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner because I was leaving on a business trip the next morning, but this year I didn’t have the same convenient excuse. That didn’t keep me from making reservations, though! I decided that Dan and I could start a tradition of eating out on Thanksgiving which has the advantage of no cooking, no clean up, and no leftovers. Brilliant! Plus, the food at Melisse is so much better than anything I could even dream of making. Here’s what my Thanksgiving dinner consisted of (it was all delicious):

Pumpkin soup
Herb roasted turkey with stuffing and pomegranate gravy
Fresh cranberry sauce
Braised white mushrooms
Roasted root vegetables
Roasted brussel sprouts
Pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream

5) My family. I saved the best for last. Spending Thanksgiving with my husband in our house is wonderful, especially since November has been really hectic so far. Today we got to sleep in for the first time in several weeks, have a delicious dinner together at a great restaurant, and watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” after we got home. These are all great things on this holiday of giving thanks. I didn’t get a chance to talk to my family today, but I hope they had a good Thanksgiving as well. I will call them tomorrow. I am really excited to see them and my friends in two weeks when I fly to Tallahassee! Dan and I haven’t spent traditional holidays with our families in a few years because it’s so expensive to fly anywhere, but at least we have our immediate family – each other!

I am fully aware that I’m a very lucky person. Today’s gratitude list seems pretty trivial compared to all of the things I’m thankful for every day (my job, my health, etc.), but I like these lists to be specific. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thankful Thursday 11/4/11

I’m going to San Francisco this weekend to see my family and Supershuttle will be here to pick me up to go to the airport very soon, but I wanted to update my webpage while I still have internet access. So here’s what I’m thankful for today…

1) That my student loans are paid off. First of all, I’m constantly grateful to have a job, but I’m also glad that I finished paying back my student loans a couple of years ago. I can’t imagine graduating from college, being unemployed not by choice but because of the economy, and still having to repay thousands of dollars in loans. I feel very lucky.

2) Dan’s sense of humor. Case in point…
Dan: “We can’t buy any more alcohol.”
Lauren: “Why? because it’s too expensive?”
Dan: “No…”
Lauren: “Because you don’t want to drink it?”
Dan: “No…”
Lauren: “Because we ran out of room in the liquor cabinet?”
Dan: “Yes!”

3) Getting ready for work at home. This morning I went back to sleep rather than getting up to go to spinning. I was mad at myself for being so lazy, but I definitely needed the shut-eye. But the best thing about sleeping in was being able to shower at home, using my full array of beauty products. I got to condition my hair, exfoliate my arms, and shave my legs. That’s a lot nicer than the quickie showers I take at the gym after spinning. The 2-in-1 shampoo in my gym bag just doesn’t cut it.

4) Missing the rain. It rained at my house before I left for work this morning and it poured while I was at work today, but I managed be outside in between the storms. How great is that? I took my umbrella with me today, but it stayed safely dry and wrapped up due to my good luck. I have a feeling I’ll have to use it in San Francisco this weekend, though.

5) Snow-covered mountains for the first time this winter. So gorgeous – especially when you don’t have to endure freezing temperatures for that kind of view. I know this first snow of the season will probably melt in a week or too, but I’m going to enjoy the scenery while I can.

6) Halloween being over. And I’m not just talking about the party being over. While I love the idea of a holiday that revolves around candy, it’s really bad for my waistline! I’m definitely not going to miss the giant bowls of candy in all of the kitchens at work. Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are definitely heavily calorie-laden, it’s much easier to stay away from candy after Halloween is over. Cookies are another matter!

Thankful Thursday 10/13/11

Here’s what I’m thankful for today…

1) My husband. This week Dan heard me tell the same story at least three times because I thought it was funny and kept forgetting that I’d told it already. And the he listened to me vent about all of the problems I’ve been having at work. Just annoyances, nothing major, but I certainly had a lot to say. Poor Dan. He was a saint. If I couldn’t unload my frustrations every once in a while I would go crazy.

2) My co-workers. When they weren’t enduring one of my daily rants (yes, I vented not just to Dan, but to everyone I encountered this week) they were fixing whatever problem was plaguing me at the moment. And there were a lot of problems to fix. I seriously don’t know what I would do without my co-workers. They were all willing to do everything in their power to help me, although they might have just been trying to get me to stop whining! Either way I really appreciate them.

3) Safety. So I’m assuming everyone heard about the shootings at the salon in Seal Beach yesterday. Pretty scary, huh? Well, I work at Boeing in Seal Beach which is about a mile away from where it took place. Luckily I am alive and well and very thankful to be so. Actually, I would have had no idea what was going on yesterday except we had CNN on in the room where I was working. Not only do I work in Seal Beach, but I lived there for a year and a half before Dan and I bought our house. It’s such an idyllic community that it’s hard to imagine any sort of crime there. Very sad. My heart goes out to the families who were touched by this tragedy.

4) Jenni. My high school best friend contacted me through Twitter early this morning to make sure I wasn’t at that salon in Seal Beach yesterday. I was very glad to tell her that I wasn’t. I haven’t seen Jenni in many years and I really miss her friendship so it was very nice to hear from her. I miss all of my high school girlfriends, actually. Making friends as an adult is hard!

5) Weekends. I know this is on all of my gratitude lists, but I am so burned out this week that I can’t wait for a break. I thought I was done with extended workdays after last week, but this week has been more of the same. My brain was so fried before I went home today that I could barely type. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to go home after lunch tomorrow and have an extra half day to relax. Dan is going to Florida for a few days so I have some time to myself. I have no idea how I’m going to fill it, but you’ll definitely find out in my weekend posts!

Thankful Thursday 9/29/11

Here’s what I’m thankful for today…

1) My husband. Dan was so sweet to me when I was sick. He took care of dinner every night, bought me orange juice to make sure I got enough vitamin C, and called me several times during the days I stayed home from work to see how I was doing. Combine all that with the adorable Gonzo and Camilla Vinylmations I posted yesterday, Dan has earned some major brownie points this week!

2) My job. I am very thankful to have a job that allows me to take two days of sick leave with very little trouble. I realize that a lot of folks don’t have that flexibility, like my mom who always had to find a substitute teacher when she was sick. There’s a reason teachers don’t take that many days off! Luckily all I had to do was call my boss and tell him I was staying home and keeping my germs to myself.

3) My assignment. After laying around the house like a slug on Monday and Tuesday, going back to work was like an adventure. And it was really great to go back to an interesting assignment rather than the boring document updates that took me months. It certainly made the hours fly by. Especially when my sinuses were killing me and I considered going back home to wallow in my misery.

4) My co-workers. Everyone I work with asked me how I was feeling yesterday when they heard I was out sick for two days. It certainly makes a person feel special. I have a feeling some of those people needed me to do some work for them so their concern wasn’t exactly sincere, but I’m willing to overlook that. Who am I to throw away a confidence boost, wherever it comes from?

5) Togo’s sandwiches. OK, this one is a little superficial, but I was so hungry when I left work yesterday that I went directly to Togo’s for a semi-early dinner. And I got a sandwich for Dan’s dinner too. Delicious sandwich and no cooking! Bonus!

Added on 9/30:
6) Three-day work weeks. Even though being sick on Monday and Tuesday was a drag, I do appreciate that it allowed me to just work three days this week. And those three days were really productive – like it wasn’t a short week at all!

7) Fridays! How could I forget this one? Fridays in the fall are for wearing Gator sweatshirts and gearing up for the weekend. Not that I have any plans bigger than watching football and rugby and taking my last half marathon training walk, but I’m still looking forward to it.

Thankful Thursday 9/8/11

I’ve had a tough couple of days so I had to make a gratitude list today to remind myself of all the things I’m thankful for.

1) Safe commutes. Every morning as I’m driving to work I listen to the traffic reports on the radio, hoping there are no accidents on my stretch of the 405 South, when I should be thanking my lucky stars that so far all of my commutes have been safe. It’s easy to forget how dangerous freeway driving is and I’m always grateful to get where I’m going without incident.
2) Replaceable breakables. Making dinner last night was a disaster. First I dumped a whole plate of tortellini with pesto sauce on the floor. Then I spilled some sausage and got grease onto my jeans. Then I dropped a fork on the kitchen counter and it promptly bounced up, hit one of Dan’s expensive glasses, and broke it clean in half. Then I started crying. What a mess. Fortunately the glass is easily replaceable.
3) Washable clothes. Good thing I wasn’t wearing dry clean only pants while making dinner last night because then I wouldn’t have been able to throw them in the laundry to get the grease stain out! Luckily I wear jeans to work most days so the pair that was attacked by sausage was easily washable.
4) My understanding husband. I texted Dan to confess I broke one of his glasses and his gratious response was, “Those things happen.” That was a relief. And when he got home from work he gave me a big hug. That made me feel much better after the mess that was dinner preparation. Dinner itself turned out fine, but getting there was definitely a struggle.
5) Air conditioning at work. It’s been hot in Los Angeles this week. While I enjoyed my extra day off on Tuesday, it was a little uncomfortable in our house without AC. In hindsight I should have gone to the movies! The climate at work, however, is well controlled and I appreciate it. September is pretty much the last month of the year that LA ever gets hot weather so hopefully this is summer’s final assault.
6) A three day week. Starting the work week on Wednesday is awesome. Seriously. Why have I never tried this before?