Hot Chocolate

This might be a pretty lame thing to be grateful for, but it is a daily joy for me, all year round. It can be 90 sweltering degrees outside, and you can count on me getting my daily fix.

I have a few small things like that in my life. I also look forward to my Diet Cokes and my Mentos (but not together!) Substitutes will not do. It’s a minor irritation at the restaurant when I ask for Diet Coke and the waitress asks, “Pepsi alright?” Even more so if I ask for lime with it and they ask, “Is lemon okay?” Yes, life can be hard sometimes.

So today, I’m grateful for all the little things that bring me moments of joy and pleasure. There are loads of them, if I just take the time to notice.

They love me!

As I wrote earlier this month, I love my son Kevin like no other man on the planet.
But he didn’t call me on my birthday yesterday. (I love him anyway for a million reasons.)

My three daughters did.

Megan is in town, and we had a lovely lunch together yesterday! Besides having her company during her work lunch hour, she gave me a good book to read, and my personal flavorites, chocolate covered raisins! Not just from anyplace, but from a special confectionary. She knows I am a chocolate covered raisins snob!

Ginny lives in Cincinnati, and Kelly in Scottsdale. They called me with good wishes and warmed my heart.

Every man should be so lucky!
I am truly blessed!!!

Back on the Bikes!

It is a pure and simple joy.
It’s a connection to childish play.
It’s the feeling of speed, and wind on my face.
It’s being outdoors, in sunny weather, or gentle rains.
It’s about energy, strength, and endurance.
It’s about solitude, or being with a group of like minded friends.
It’s something to do with our autistic son.
Sometimes it’s about the challenge.
Sometimes about charity.
Or just to relax and enjoy the world, and my good health.
This little machine means so much to me.
A pure and simple joy!

Kevin’s Graduation!

I am very proud!

Today, my baby boy graduated from the University of Dayton with double majors in International Business and Marketing, and a minor in Spanish. He did this while working a basically full time job, and playing as hard as he works. Kevin is any father’s dream son!

It seems like just yesterday that my little 7 year old Raiders fan with a missing front tooth was pulling in this fish. To this day, fishing is one of his passions. He recently wrote this paragraph as part of an application for an MBA program. It gives you a little idea of what he is like:

I have a great love of the outdoors, and I plan to be involved in the business side of things in some way after finishing my education. This will be either as a primary career, or as an important avocation. I particularly enjoy fishing. My friends and I have driven to Montana to fish for trout in pristine Rocky Mountain rivers, and to northern Canada for pike and walleye. I have fished with my grandmother off the side of the dock. I have fished in the Gulf of Mexico and have even caught a 6 foot shark. (Pictures available upon request!) This has brought me great pleasure in my life, and it will probably bring me much more as the years go by. That is why I intend to give something back. I plan to work or volunteer for a Not For Profit organization dealing with saving American rivers, such as “Trout Unlimited.” I dream of starting such an organization of my own some day.

Congratulations, Kevin!
I love you, my little Best Dude!

The Menus

It’s another Menus night tonight! Our favorite live band! They’re from Cincinnati and they make it up to Toledo about once a month. We try to not miss them. Princess Gail and I actually noticed each other for the first time at one of their shows. It’s a fun thing to do on a Friday night. Date night.

Speaking of that, Princess Gail takes it really seriously when I use the word “date.” When I tell her we are going out on a date, even if it’s just a plain old day, she usually tries to buy something new, like a shirt or something. She gets all dolled up. She wears her evening make up. It becomes something special just because I used the word “date.” She will look forward to it for days. And then I have to measure up, which is a good thing. I’ll go from grungy to “very, very good-looking” (like Zoolander!)

So, anyway, we’ll have a good time tonight, singing, dancing, just a little tame craziness. Fun! You know what, I really look forward to these moments, too.

Here’s a little glimpse, but nothing like they are live:

First Marriage

I was married for 25 years, and then we divorced. I can’t begin to describe how many, many things occurred between the day we married, and the awful day of our separation. Joyful things, difficult things, sad things, terrible things, all of what you’d expect in marriage, and then some. We had 4 children together, who continue to be the pride and joy of our lives. So many experiences, so many “firsts.”

It has been 5 years now since we split. It was very hard at first, because despite the bad stuff, we had experienced a lot of the good. There has been a lot of growth and learning since then, a lot of rebuilding. Many things have been put back in order. I have a different perspective.

Recently I have been reading many blog posts that make me think in one way or another about my first marriage. I think about it warmly today. I am SO grateful for it. It was truly a gift that I appreciate more today than I did back then. I am grateful to have a good relationship with my ex. We speak kindly to each other. We are really good when it comes to anything about the children. And she seems to be doing well, too. She will remarry later this summer. I’ve met the guy several times, and I like him. I’m really glad about all that. Almost all of the hard feelings are behind me. I so prefer feeling glad and grateful.

Feelings

Sometimes my feelings puzzle me.

I found it curiously difficult to find something to be grateful about today, even though I was actively trying. I noticed I was feeling anxious, and I have since sorted that out. Talking with Gail helped. And I was also concerned and preoccupied with several issues regarding my patients. I am also a little worried about my 2 year old nephew in Columbus who developed acute appendicitis today and had emergency surgery. Financial worries like to creep in there at these times, too. My mind seems to be jumping from one anxious or worried thought to another today. There are too many loose ends.

I know my anxiety will melt into some other feeling sooner or later. And I know I will take care of all the stuff that worries me. I’m grateful, I guess, that today I am able to recognize my own anxiety. I have been fairly oblivious about my own feelings for most of my life, and didn’t take care of them in healthy ways. But today I can tell when I’m anxious, or sad, or hurting in some way, or ashamed, or joyful. I am always grateful at the joyful times. But I guess I’m grateful to be able to feel everything, and that I’m better at taking good care of my emotional self.