Monday, January 31, 2011

Bonus Gratitude Post

365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

by John Kralik

"John Kralik, at age 53, was a down-and-out lawyer, whose law firm was floundering. In December 2007 he felt he was at the lowest period of his life as he went through a painful second divorce and struggled to maintain a relationship with his two adult sons and young daughter.

On New Year's Day 2008 Kralik went for a walk on a mountain trail above Pasadena to do some soul-searching. While on the hike, a voice in his head said, "Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want..." Ana Jonas

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's All Music

#1676 - Playing Closer I Am To Fine by the Indigo Girls on Guitar

#1677 - Getting so into playing the previous song I almost left late for soccer

#1678 - In the Beginning by K'Naan on his Dusty Food Philosopher CD

#1679 - Aradhna - "a band that fuses traditional Indian devotional music (bhajans) with Christ-centered themes, composed primarily in the Hindi language"

#1680 - Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna - I heard this on NPR tonight and I was really impressed with its authenticity.

Friday, January 28, 2011


#1666 - Winter photography is challenging for me. When I brought my camera to take this I was surrounded by beauty, but I couldn't find any color to add contrast to the shot. Finally I crouched down and tried to get my ski. I really like this shot and have been waiting for a day when I went skiing to post it.

#1667 - Last January I went to a Cabaret with a few friends that really impressed me. I decided to check if it was happening again this year, and it is. So I sent an email inviting people and using my birthday as an excuse to motivate. A friend called today and asked if I was excited (it is tonight). I said, "Not right now." She (Lisa) was excited though and her excitement started wearing off on me. Thanks Lisa.

#1668 - Then I got another call and another email of people coming and this helped too.

#1669 - And for my Egyptian political comment of the day - Apparently you are not a dictator if you are an important ally of the United States. How can I make this into a gratitude?... I just had to look a little. The 2005 Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, ElBaradei, went to Cairo from Austria to join the protests. GO ELBARADEI!!!

#1670 - "In 2005 ElBaradei was awarded the prize for his efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes. He donated his winnings to building orphanages in Cairo and he was the fourth Egyptian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.ElBaradei has also been awarded The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedom Award, The Human Security award, The Golden Dove of Peace..."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why I'm Grateful For

The five, "Why I'm grateful for Tammy," Jill wrote. They were specific and meaningful and greatly appreciated. I'll share my favorite -

"You are an expressive dancer. I remember first thinking that when we were in college and you showed us your Ice, Ice Baby and Enya interpretive dances. And I was so pleasantly reminded of this at the Brothers concert this year when you bolted up front to jam out to We Are Family."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Set List

#1646 - When I was becoming quite frustrated the power went out - for an hour. I was trying to figure out something on the computer asking my brother to help. He has many wonderful qualities, and teaching in general is not one of them. He was telling me, as he often does "google it," even though he was sitting right there and knew the answer.

#1647 - So then I played guitar and called my friend Laura. I don't like to rant/complain, and yet discussing my frustrations with Laura was very calming and helpful.

#1648 - Receiving confirmation for audience availability for my second guitar concert. Like the first - the audience will consist of one person. And I am grateful for the excuse to work on my set list (I have two new songs to add) and practice.

#1649 - I might be doing some part-time data entry from home. I spoke to a woman today who would train me and she was really cool/interesting.

#1650 - My sister-in-law tried my experiment to find a word-of-the-year. It worked.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


#1636 - A Henna Tattoo which includes my Word of the Year

#1637 - The 13 year old girl who painted my hand

#1638 - Visiting the home of the owner of the Yoga Studio for the staff party. It was cool or course.

#1639 - The energy experiment she did on me where I thought of something I disliked - television - and she showed my blocked energy, and then something I enjoyed - playing guitar - where it flowed.

#1640 - My stomach was bothering me a little (so I am writing these up a day late, though I will put the date as Sat so you probably didn't know that). I thought it was psychological, but then I remembered my brother seemed to not want to eat much earlier in the week. I asked him and yes he too, had a little stomach thing. Somehow this is reassuring, validating, which is weird but true.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gratitude Grows

I am grateful that when there was a lot of complaining going on in my head this morning:
A. I was well aware of the fact that the complaining was there, so I was able to separate myself from it a little.
B. That another voice in my head told the complaining voice to, "Shut up!"
C. That the argument between the two, though not fun, also slightly amused me.
Energy saving action of the day - I usually wait for food to cool to put it in the fridge. However since this soup had fish in it I didn't want to let it sit out a long time. Instead of putting it in the fridge hot, I just set it outside for a little bit. Presto!
When I used to make lists of things I wanted to accomplish in my life - becoming fluent in Spanish was one of them. But I just don't use it much. A couple months ago, two women downtown were trying to get into Macy's, but the doors were locked. They looked like tourists trying to act like they knew what they were doing, but obviously confused, cold and speaking Spanish. I ran up to the door and saw on most days it would be open, but it was Sunday so it wasn't until noon. Then I ran up to them and haltingly said in Spanish, "Es Domingo. Es cerrada hasta doce." This simple interaction brought me such joy, and was certainly a gratitude that day. So I shouldn't be surprised, but I was, that I started to cry when I read and understood an email in Spanish today. I've never had a native Spanish speaker as a friend and I seem to be acquiring one and for that I am truly grateful.
Finally these gratitudes are getting better as I write. When I started out writing all I had was the complaining situation and cooling soup! My friend Patrick just me a message. I met Patrick 8 years ago when we both worked at the Omega Institute in NY. I am grateful for experiences such as that, because I met many people who chart their own pathways through life so to speak. Patrick's email made me happy because:
A. He just recorded his first acoustic guitar CD which he will send me.
B. He is working on a novel which he send part of
C. He has had the same job for at least three years, but soon he is going to Columbia and then much of South America for 6 months to a year. Right now I have no desire to travel, but I would love someday to spend some time in Latin America with a man. Patrick is older than me and so a living example that it is possible I would find someone whom would still want to do this when the time is right. AMEN!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

61 Points

I just thoroughly enjoyed Jill's post on her Word-of-the-Year, so I'll share a little on mine too. Like Jill, I have really enjoyed having a word of the year for the last 5(?) years. Last year I had a difficult time finding a word, but when it eventually arrived, "impulsive," I knew exactly what it meant and how to honor it. Follow my impulses.

This year my word came to me really easily. Sometime in early December it came in my mind and then it didn't go away. By New Year's Day when I went to Yoga class I was breathing in and out the word during practice. It had clearly chosen me. However, it is not so clear to me what it will look like in my life or how exactly to honor it yet.

Jill gave me a little booklet to use with my word-of-the-year and this photo is what I've done with it so far.

In yoga today during savasana the instructor led us through 61 points. In this exercise she names a part of the body and you place your attention there. The idea is to keep your mind from wandering while you relax. I love 61 points. An interesting thing today is that when I focused on points in my upper-body I could feel energy running there. However once I got to my knees and below I didn't feel anything.


"Now, I did learn an important life-skill over these past 7 or so years: how to be my own best friend and enjoy spending time with myself." - my favorite part of Jill's post

Amazing Grapefruit
didn't look too good outside and it had a lot of seeds, but looks can be deceiving.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


As I sat down to play Dominoes, a game I initiated with my brother and his friend's 10 yr old child, I realized once again, how I am a completely different around children. Different in the way that instead of retreating around strangers, with children I automatically reach out and connect.

This 10 year old sat down to play the piano. I expected some loud banging. However, the music he played was Incredibly Gentle. I could hardly believe it. I asked when he finished to take a photo of his hands.

I am so grateful to have caught most of King's Last March on NPR this evening. Towards the end of the show I sat still completely riveted by it. Here is the premise of the program -

"Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that’s not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life." American Public Media

Vincent Harding
: Martin was one of these "crazy" members of the Christian community who really took Jesus seriously.

It was EXACTLY (to the day - isn't that amazing?) one year before his death that King made his first major policy speech criticizing the Vietnam War. This was well before the country turned against the war so it wasn't a popular thing to do.

King: We spend approximately $500,000 to kill every enemy soldier in Vietnam, while we spend only $53 per person in the so-called "War Against Poverty."

Friday, January 14, 2011

reincarnation is makin' a comeback

#1596&97 - My brother lending me his car which led to taking a mile or so walk this evening when I dropped it off.

#1598 - reincarnation is makin' a comeback - I laughed when I read the title to this song.

#1599 - "This is the most INTERESTING cover letter I've ever read. Seriously, I mean it. It's beautiful - and I'm not sure many would say cover letters are beautiful to read." -Jill

#1600 - The holiday party for the yoga studio where I now clean 2x/month was postponed because of a snowstorm in Dec. It is because of this that I get to attend as I am now considered part of staff. I often dislike parties, but this one I am actually looking forward to!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


*Absentmindedly gazing out the bus window this AM - suddenly awakened to the beauty of a grove of oak trees against the sky. (Can it be a grove in a residential neighborhood among houses? I don't know but they took it over.)*

**Holding my friend's 1 1/2 yr old in my lap - I held his hand and used his pointed finger to count in a counting book. After doing this a couple times, he grabbed my finger and mimicked the motion as if teaching me.**

***He calls his mom, "Momma." He calls me,"Mammy" or just "Me." (He doesn't have T's yet.)***

****The woman who moved up to the front of the bus before her stop to have a conversation with the bus driver and see how he was doing.****

*****The job I applied for on Sunday was a really long application. However, I am so grateful for it, because yet again the process bears fruit. As I may have mentioned, it is related to the types of things I used to do, so I was contacting references from my past. I tried to contact more people than I needed because I was not sure how many I would get a hold of. One just responded to my email and this excerpt, "you were (and you've continued to be) an inspiration to me, and I imagine others as well," is definitely my highlight for today. THANK YOU HUXLEY!*****

Monday, January 10, 2011

When No One is Looking

Seeing what had fallen in my bedroom last night. It woke me up, right before I entered sleep. It was a former journal I had propped on a shelf. It said, "Follow Your Dreams."

Playing Goodnight Ladies from Easiest Fingerpicking Guitar for Children - it was not easy

Different Perspectives - what someone else thought ruined a song (a slight note missed and the smile that came with it) was my favorite part

I stood still for a moment before coming in after shoveling. With the fresh snow and the muffled sounds and light, it almost felt I was inside, inside something safe and warm - in my front yard - in January.

To all the People who Do The Work When No One is Looking. I was thinking about this as I reluctantly convinced myself to exercise a little at 8:30pm tonight. Most people who are in shape, do the work when no one is looking. People who have long-time friendships, or marriages for that matter, do the work when no one is looking. People who are saving/investing/donating money instead of visibly spending it, are doing the work when no one is looking. People who can sit still or be in silence, are doing the work when no one was looking. I was connecting to all these people tonight, as I did some exercise, when no one was looking.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Mochi

My cousin Ashley trying to make a high shrill enough sound to break glass. (I was on the phone with her so I could move it away from my ear and enjoy her persistent experimentation.)

The homemade Mochi my sister-in-law brought from her Japanese New Year's Event.

Realizing that it isn't just practicing less that made my fingers sore quickly on the guitar today. It is because I was cleaning yesterday and today. Soaking in water is not good for guitar callouses.

My friend Fletcher often has a different take on things. When I told him I was slightly concerned about a friend who I had plans to get together with on Thursday, and then didn't hear anything from Fletcher said. "How do you feel about it?" I started answering analytically. He said, "No. How does it feel?"
So I stopped and felt and said, "He feels fine. Maybe busy, but yeah he's fine."

My friend is part of a local support group for the Iraqi Student Project. They are helping support an Iraqi student at a college here both financially and emotionally. I was invited to fund-raiser for the student where I would learn more about the project. I was interested in it, however, did not feel like driving across town. I am grateful that I had nothing else to do so I went anyway. I enjoyed learning from the student and talking with friends there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wider Perspective

I am going to attempt to use Wider Perspective as the theme for my five gratitudes today.

First of all, when I missed the bus. On a physical level I know why I missed it. On a bigger level I ask, "Why did I miss the bus?" My level of annoyance was low enough that there was space for a new thought to come through. In the book I am reading, one of the characters states that when he forgets something, as he goes back to get it he stops and listens. The idea being - there was a reason he was asked to stop and go back. I'm not sure I even took the time and space to stop today. But there was enough space inside of me for this thought to come through, to consider someone or something might be asking me to "go back."

Secondly I am applying for this job that is similar to what I did a while back in the past. So I am contacting old references and co-workers. It is beautiful how much happiness this is bringing me, even in instances where I wasn't really close to the person. So I am grateful to this application and grateful for the connections it is rekindling.

So...a woman who I worked with in the past, but wasn't close to, sent me her contact info as a reference. She also included a brief synopsis of what is up in her life. Though it was brief it was not superficial, so I wrote back, "Your email deserves a written response. Can I have your current address for personal use?"

"Tammy, that's so caring of you to want to send a real letter in response to my email. It brought tears to my eyes."

And I'm grateful to know I will do it.

Finally, on Sunday I made plans for tonight, but then I remembered I had a soccer game. I felt a little uncertain today because I emailed and left a phone message with the person I had plans with, but I did not hear back. However, in this situation what can I do? Well, looking at my last blog post there is a quote from Nathan with appropriate instructions, "a long term RELATIONSHIP OF ANY KIND requires time and a willingness to live in some uncertainty for a while."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Willingness to Live in Some Uncertainty

#1546 - "Yes, I found some jeans, but they are kind of expensive - $7.50" - Me

#1547 - My friend Laura's skill and availability to help with questions I have on my resume. I haven't even read what she wrote yet, but I already know it will be helpful.

#1548 - Trying to track down a couple former supervisors as references.
It actually made me really happy to attempt to contact them.

#1549 - Sitting in the living room and feel the light move across my face. It filtered through leaves of my large plant.

#1550 -

"Yes it's exciting to have sparks fly on a first date, but really, how often does that translate into something more substantial? Developing a long term relationship of any kind requires time and a WILLINGNESS TO LIVE IN SOME UNCERTAINTY FOR A WHILE." - Nathan a guy on a friend's online dating site. I was really impressed and told my friend to send him my way.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


#1536 - Having a, brief/basic, phone conversation in Spanish

#1537 - For the last five or so years I've had a "Word of the Year." At first they were words I drew during Winter Solstice Rituals. They were not words I would have chosen, but they ended up being really appropriate. Then in 2008, the Winter Solstice Ritual I attended did not involve drawing a word. So I had to come up with a word of the year on my own. It is a little tricky because it is not about choosing a word, it is letting a word choose you. Anyway, I was telling someone about this today and he asked me to think of suggestions or possible words for him. I'm not sure how/if this will work, but I am happy to try.

#1538 - Having a friend that lives 3 miles away, my closest friend in proximity, being available for me to stop by. Sometimes, like tonight, I'd like to just head over to a friend's house to talk for a bit. This is so much easier/more likely when they live nearby.

#1539 - Wearing a sweater that my friend was going to donate. It is a little different style than I would pick, long with a button in the front/center, and I like it.

#1540 - I also sent an email in Spanish, it was very challenging and it tired me out, but I am grateful I didn't give up.