Early Morning Gratitude Check


Tea kettle on the stove.  Check.

Purring cat on the couch.  Check.

Furnace rumbling in the basement.  Check.

Family sleeping upstairs.  Check.

Day on the horizon.  Check.

Gratitude within.  Check and check.

When is your best time of day for a gratitude check?

Photo:  I bought this papier mache sun on a trip to Mexico about twenty years ago.  Mr. or MRS. Sun greets me every morning when I come into this old kitchen to make my first cup of tea.  I’m a Lipton girl all the way.

Giveaway:  Congratulations to Judy, who won the happiness book.  Happy reading!

Aging, Celebrations, Gratitude

Ditch the Old Model? A Question to Consider

A few months ago, Cliff said, “I have something for you to consider.”

That line always makes me nervous.  And although the question ended up being a generous one, it did reach deep into the OH NO WHAT SHOULD I DO region of my brain.

“Would you like a new stove?”

Normally, I spring at the chance for something new.   The word “new”  suggests small miracles like more heat or a washing machine that doesn’t dance across the floor.

But a new stove.

Our stove is sixty years old.  It came with the house.  It’s roasted turkeys, sent fudge to a rolling boil, baked birthday cakes, simmered spaghetti sauce, heated hot chocolate and winter wine, and melted Shrinky Dinks  (actually not so many Shrinky Dinks lately but I’m hoping those days will come again).

The stove is down to two burners, one of two ovens, and wouldn’t think of self-cleaning itself.  If you look at the picture, you’ll see  a strip of masking tape on the left.  That’s to remind us not to press those switches because if we do, we might recreate the Christmas Eve Stove Fire of 2004.

But still, the answer to the stove question was NO.  Our stove is the Senior Stateswoman of the Kitchen.  For now, she stays.

And here’s another question.  If I could trade ME in for a newer version, would I?

When I look at the age spots on my face, hear the creak of my feet, or feel the tinges that I suspect are the start of arthritic hands, I am tempted to trade this one in.

But then I remember the birthday parties, the Thanksgivings, the spaghetti suppers, and the Shrinky Dink Festivals this  body has helped engineer.  Good times.  Great times!

For now, I’ll keep this model.  I suspect the day may come when I shout, “Yes!  Send something new.”

But not yet.

What about you?

No matter your age, if you could trade your body for someone else’s, would you?

If you could trade your older body for a younger version of you, would you?

Photo:  Laura’s boyfriend Matt flipping Christmas pancakes 2011.  Thanks, Matt and thanks, Stove!   Photo was taken by Laura for her blog, Taking Back My Twenties.  Matt’s flipping Great Harvest Charlottesville pancakes!

Gratitude, Life, Menopause

Bless All Buttons

What life has this button seen?

A wedding, a funeral,

A cheerful greeting,

A bitter quarrel,

And ordinary moments

Filled with the extraordinary.

Breath and sight,

Words and step,

Taste and touch.

Bless all buttons,

And fasten me to this life

With energy and love.

Buttons have seen a lot of life.  It’s a pretty intriguing thought if you really ponder it.

And we’ve seen a lot of life too.  But how do we keep on keeping on?  Day in and day out, how do we fasten ourselves to life with energy and love?

We’ll save the love for another time (and I find that one easier), but energy.  Wow.  It’s not always easy to have the emotional and physical energy to step lively with life.

When I was thinking about this post, I read a slew of tips on how to have more energy:

Drink a combination of grape and lemon juice.

Unroll your ears in the morning (never heard of ear unrolling!)

Change your socks.

Sniff lavender.

Consume caffeine. 

Do not consume caffeine.

Get your entire office to stand up in their cubicles and sing a rock song (in unison).

Wear an energy patch.

(Raise my right hand, as my dad used to do, I read each of these tips on some pretty fascinating websites.)

I’ve only tried the socks (a bit of a pleasant pick-me-up) and various experiments with yes and no to caffeine.

CNN’s Heath site has some ideas that have worked for me including Tip #2 Faking it, Tip #3 Spin your situation, and Tip #4 Change up your routine.  These take some energy, actually, to implement, but they are worth trying and can help you get to the root of your energy troubles.  They can spur other energizing techniques, too.

For a boost of mental energy, especially when you’ve hit close to bottom, counting your blessings can help.  Write those blessing down  or say them slowly, with intention.

Make sure you include buttons!

Photo Above:  A lone, brave button.  Photo Below:  Eyes light up when you mention Grandma’s button box.  Many a grownup can tell stories of rainy days and winter days when that button box empowered  the building of roads, the creation of a collage,  the fastening of handmade doll clothes, the detailing of puppets, and countless other happy pastimes.

“Bless All Buttons” was published somewhere, because I have the invoice for payment, but I don’t remember which magazine.  I wonder if any of my buttons  remember.  Bet so!

Aging, Gratitude, Menopause, Teeth

A Toast to the Tooth Fairy and My Dentist

A hearty toast to our old friend the Tooth Fairy:

                       Here’s to the old tooth under the pillow,

                        Here’s to the space that it left behind,

                        Here’s to the new tooth soon to follow,

                        Here’s to the Tooth Fairy, generous and kind.

It seems only yesterday that I was leaving my teeth under pillows. Now they crumble away in my mouth.

Well not all of them, at least not yet, but those molars fat with fillings do tend to give way.  But in all, we’re told:  “Practice gratitude.”

And I am grateful.  I’m grateful for a dentist who can fix up my failing teeth.  Thank you, Dr. Cheek (his real name, I promise), and to your assistants.  I’m grateful for fast drills, Novocain, magic moldly stuff that turns into a fine fake tooth, and the glue that holds it in.

Recently, I toured the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore.  If you’re grumpy about going to the dentist, you need to check out the old instruments in this museum.  OUCH, OUCH, and OUCH.  You’ll never complain about a visit to your 21st Century dentist again.  Better yet, bring him or her a present!  I’m giving mine a Tooth Fairy necklace.

Happy Birthday on Wednesday, to my daughter Katherine, who left notes to the Tooth Fairy asking her to please leave the money but let Kath keep the tooth!  You encourage me every day with your boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Photo:  The glow-in-the-dark Tooth Fairy necklaces and flavored dental floss are souvenirs I purchased in the museum’s funky gift shop.  My poem “A Toast to the Tooth Fairy” (© Barbara Younger, 1998) was first printed in June Cotner’s Family Celebrations:  Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion.  Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999.