Thankful Thursday 12-15-16

I had the joy of introducing some co-workers to Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey today. πŸ™‚ It was preceded by singing vigorously along with “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” since M brought her Bluetooth speaker to make her phone loud enough for the whole kitchen to hear. πŸ™‚ I thoroughly enjoyed myself (we did all agree, though, that “The Christmas Shoes” is just an awful song – not quality-wise, but in being way too heart-wrenching and sad for Christmas.) [Links to YouTube videos with songs and lyrics. If you don’t know the songs, you should definitely check them out – at least the first two. I’m not responsible for anything that gets stuck in your head, though. πŸ™‚ ]

We’ve had quite the swing of temperatures in the last few weeks, but it is indeed “Starting to Feel a Lot Like Christmas.” Perhaps it was that feeling, perhaps it was putting a reminder notification on my phone, but whatever the reason, I have finally managed to sit down and write a Thankful Thursday post. Some of the things below are from bits of Thankful lists I’ve collected over the past two months, some I wrote down just this week. Since it’s been so long, I’m going over my “usual” goal of six items; I figured no one would mind (if I’ve got any readers left with such an inconsistent posting frequency.)

This week, and weeks past, I have been and am thankful:

  • for the ice machine at work – I use it a lot: filling the ice dispenser out front, putting ice in the iced tea, filling the recessed spot in the serving line where the dished up fruit will go, etc. Ironically, I had this on the start of a list from weeks ago, and then on Monday this week, the ice machine went down. It was out of commission for nearly 48 hours by the time the tech got to it – and I got to see something I’ve never seen in my seventeen months at this job: the bottom of the waist-high ice machine bin.Β Thankfully, it is now functioning correctly, and after running all afternoon (and probably half the night) the bin was beautifully full this morning.
  • for the drain under said ice machine to kick the cubes that jump during the bucket-filling process
  • for a house with no leaks – especially during the storm two months ago with thunder so loud it woke me up at five am
  • for the toddler who gave me a smile when, after a mild scare, she latched onto the nearest set of legs – which did not belong to who she thought they did πŸ™‚
  • for safe transoceanic travel for my parents
  • for aloe for the thumb I burned on the garlic bread pan
  • for a heated mug to warm chilled fingers (with a variety of things in it doing the heating)
  • for chocolate chocolate chip cookies made with Andes Mint chips πŸ˜€ (oh, yes, they’re just as delicious as you think)
  • for sillyΒ Christmas songs, because they make me smile πŸ˜‰

So, what about you? Do you know any hilarious Christmas songs? How do you feel about “The Christmas Shoes”? Or mint chocolate chip cookies, for that matter? Do you have anything you’re Thankful for that you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading this far – if I don’t manage to post again before then, have a Merry Christmas!

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Bananagrams Solo

So, I did this for the first time last night:

11/15/16

11/15/16 (click to see larger)

[Learn more about the game Bananagrams here.]
It took me just under an hour and a half to use all the tiles on my own. I started with 21, as per the rules for Bananagrams Solo at the bottom of the little rules sheet, and never took two new tiles without having used all my letters (though I did let myself get away with “hi” twice.)

“Pixie” was the first word – I thought it an ingenious enough use of X that I kept it. I had “flume” for a while, which I liked enough to move and keep when the lower left quadrant got rearranged to accommodate both Zs, but in the end the F was needed elsewhere and the rest of the letters got re-homed. “Fife” was the first word I had to break out the digital dictionary for. I knew it was something besides Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Deputy, but I couldn’t remember what (it’s a small musical instrument.) That one got broken up as well; possibly one of the Fs went to “flume.”

“Prejudice” started out as “ice,” then “juice,” then I had P, R, and E looking for a home, so I stole a D from somewhere and made a nice long word. πŸ™‚ That U in the middle was useful for using up stray consonants until a bigger word needed them (i.e. “hut” or “rub” or…). I’m proud of “lilting,” though I think it’s ironic for it to be followed by “thugs.”

I wound up with no repeated words in the final and only one two letter word that isn’t in a “knot.” Those were rule variations I decided on halfway through when I saw how the puzzle was going. That did make using my last draw a bit more of a challenge, but I scrounged an R from somewhere and “area” became the final word. [EDIT: argh, there is a repeat! Can you find it?]

It was quite satisfying to sit back and look at the finished product and I enjoyed my word-nerd self. πŸ™‚ Maybe next time I’ll have to try for no two letter words in the final at all…

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Thankful Thursday 9-8-16

So, the Olympics happened. πŸ™‚ I actually got a notebook and journaled most nights as I was watching, just for fun. I have a notebook from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – which I actually haven’t read most of since the day I wrote it. I did find it on a recent trip to my storage unit, so I’m planning to read it soon. Maybe I’ll read the two notebooks together…

In the back of some other notebook somewhere in storage I’ve got some notes on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and I’ve got some loose leaf/ scrap paper notes on the 2012 London Summer Olympics, also somewhere (again, neither of which I’ve re-read, but it might be fun to consolidate them all into an Olympics Collection someday.) Which is what gave me the idea to get a dedicated notebook for Sochi, which was fun to do. I enjoy playing with the words and trying to capture the feelings as they happen. I didn’t want to pay for a new notebook for Rio, so this time the Olympics are in with some other stuff – the 2016 Oscars, a conference I went to, “things to know” about where I was house-siting, etc. Perhaps I’ll go through it and pull out some of the good bits to put here, just for kicks.

Anyway, that was a lot of fun, a lot of intense, awesome moments (I enjoyed texting with my sister-in-law C during live swimming one night, too, and sharing the intensity. πŸ™‚ ) But they are over and life has rolled on – it’s been quite different for those who came home with medals (and what an incredible haul Team USA had!), but pretty much the same for the rest of us. In the mundanity of this past week, there have still been a variety of things to be thankful for. In no particular order, I am thankful:

  • for finding my little tin box from Christmas tucked away in the pantry where I’d put it when cleaning off counters a few months ago and forgotten it. Not for the box itself, necessarily, but because it still has a half dozen mint truffle chocolates in it. πŸ™‚
  • for the satisfaction of checking things off a to-do list (am I the only one who will add something I’ve done that wasn’t on the list, just so I can cross it off?)
  • for these cool flowers, a trio of which have popped up in our flower bed after the rain woke them up a few weeks ago. The picture is a top down shot, so you can’t see that there’s no leaves (those in the picture are from irises also in the bed), there’s just a bulb that hides underground and then sends up one long green stalk that explodes like a floral firework on the end.

    Multi-headed red flower with long thin bits sticking out

    09/06/16

  • for the way a new book smells (used/old books smell good too, but quite different) – which, this time, is combined with the pleasure of having used a good coupon well. I got Suzanne Collins’Β Hunger Games in Spanish (Los Juegos Del Hambre) for 40% off thanks to a Labor Day coupon. I already have the entire trilogy in English (and have seen all four movies) and decided that picking a storyΒ I’m already familiar with would be a good idea for my first attempt at a full length novel in another language.
  • for Google Translate, even with the faults inherent to machine translation, for looking up the words inΒ Los Juegos Del Hambre that I don’t know. It’s a bit brain-stretchy so far, but good – and certainly good for expanding my vocabulary list. πŸ™‚
  • for that Chipotle Tabasco sauce we got for free a while back – because I just added a slug of it to some slightly boring salsa that I ran through the blender (to reduce chunks) and now the salsa is awesome. πŸ™‚

On a completely different note, the Rio Paralympics had their opening ceremony yesterday. But they are only being broadcast on one of NBC’s networks, which I don’t get with the bunny ears. They are saying it’s a step up in coverage, since the London Paralympics apparently were barely covered at all here, but it’s still nothing like the attention the Olympics get, which is unfair. It is supposedly available online, so I may see if I can find some to watch there. Do any of you, readers, follow the Paralympics?

Okay, my laundry has just finished in the dryer, so I’d better quit rambling and go. As always, though, please feel free to share anything you’ve been thankful for this week or in recentΒ weeks. More thankfulness is always better. πŸ™‚

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Thankful Thursday 8-12-16

The Olympics! Ack! πŸ˜€

We have bunny ears for the TV, so I only get what’s broadcast on the main NBC channel, and since I work during the day, I only watch Prime Time. I actually even stopped watching the news, because the anchor said something the other day about “we’re not going to give you any results that haven’t already been widely reported …” and then proceeded to tell me who won the women’s gymnastics team gold, which I hadn’t seen yet. πŸ˜›

How about that Michael Phelps, though, huh? Just like everyone else, when he showed up at the Olympic trials, I wondered if he really still had it. Sometimes people keep going when they should quit. He’s been incredible, though. And when you think about the fact that he’s to the point where he’s setting records for “oldest swimmer to __”, it gets even crazier.

Ok, back to the point of this post, things to be thankful for. This week, I am thankful:

  • for people talentedΒ enough to be in the Olympics, which makes it fun to watchRio_2016_logo
  • that I am not one of them – it takes aΒ lot of hard work to get there, which I have no urge to put in. Plus, there’s what happened those road race cyclistsΒ on Days 1 & 2 – no thank you.
  • that I can even watch these Olympics in the comfort of my own home. For Sochi 2014, the bunny ears I bought got me nothing but PBS because I was too far from the big cities, so I wound up getting my TV anyplace I could scavenge it: the landlady of the apartment complex, the work out room in the basement of the company guest house, the sports bar down the street (which, incidentally, had delicious strawberry smoothies, I discovered.)
  • for the fun of having other people at work who watch too, so we can discuss the craziness
  • for the chance that we might break our 100 degree (38 C) days streak tomorrow or the next day
  • and that there might even be rain

There’s a bit more swimming – two more finals for Michael Phelps (plus, y’know, lots of other people πŸ˜› ) – and the individual events in gymnastics, which should be fun. But tonight the track and field starts – and tomorrow, Usain Bolt. πŸ˜€

Watching it this way means I’m only getting what NBC has chosen to put in Prime Time, so I haven’t seen any of the soccer games or the rugby (though I heard about Fiji and the rugby sevens πŸ™‚ ) or the golf (sorry, Dad) or the equestrian. I may look them up online at some point, but the problem with doing that is then I risk seeing results for something I want to see that was taped during the day that they’ll be showing in the evening (like gymnastics.) Besides, Prime Time fits nicely between dinner and bed, with not too much room for other things (don’t worry Mom, I’ve been doing the dishes on commercials. πŸ™‚ )

Anyway, enough rambling for the week. What about you, Olympics fan, or no? Do you have a sport you’re following closely? Anything not having to do with international sporting competition you’re thankful for this week? πŸ™‚ Please, share!

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Thankful Thursday 8-4-16

I’ve just come back in from watering the outside plants – and I’m all sweaty because where I currently live it’s still nearly 95 degrees (35 C)Β out there at 8:30 at night. There are still things to be thankful for, though, even withΒ the heat that is projected to continue at this level for at least a handful more days before we get a break. I think I heard one weatherman say something about a 20% chance of rain the weekend after this. We’ll see.

Things to be thankful for, though, there are many. I am thankful:

  • for bugspray – no itchy mosquito bites for me tonight, even though I was out at prime mozzie munching hour
  • for ice cubes in my water bottle
  • for a hose that is long enough
  • that not all of the plants are dead (the potted cherry tomato, alas, seems to be beyond help…)
  • for the fun of crafting with the ladies at church last weekend, even though the hot glue on my clothespin Christmas ornament now needs some repair after I left it in a hot car for a couple hours πŸ˜› (I was at a bookstore, and I had a coupon that needed spending, which meant an even longer decision process than usual… *unrepentant shrug* πŸ™‚ )
  • that the book I took a risk on is good so far πŸ™‚ (I don’t like to buy books new that I haven’t read before – because if I don’t like them, think of all that money wasted. I know, I know, it’s weird. There are people who don’t re-read books at all and I don’t like to buy ones IΒ haven’t read, at least not if they’re new. This one was an even bigger risk, since it’s by an author I haven’t read before either. It was 20% off with my coupon, but still – the risk! πŸ™‚ )

Well, now that I’m dry, I think I’m going to go wash off the bugspray and sweat. The next question is, how often do I water outside in heat like this? I wasn’t in charge of the outside plants when I moved here last summer and the last time I lived in this climate before that I was 9. πŸ˜› Although, I will definitely take this over shoveling snow or hacking ice. Any day.

Do you have anything you’re thankful for this week? How’s the weather in your corner of the world? Please feel free to add to my list by commenting.

P.S. The Olympics are nearly here!! Is anyone else excited? πŸ˜€

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Thankful Thursday 7-21-16

Only a two week gap this time, I’m getting better. πŸ™‚ Things got real busy at work this week, with school starting up again – so we had returning students and a bumper crop of new students, along with a group of 30 meeting all week in the lower half of our dining hall. We’ve got a great team, though, and have handled it well.

This week I am thankful:

Picture of coconut soap from the Solomon Islands

Coconut soap
(photo credit J. Choate)

  • for laughter shared with friends
  • for exotic soap from a faraway island πŸ™‚
  • that when I pulled the lid off the lemonade mix container at work yesterday in the process of picking it up, it was more of a slow tip than a violent fall to the floor, which combined with the container being half empty to make much less of a disaster than it could have been
  • for successfully surviving the upgrade over the weekend to Windows 10… now I just have to learn how to use it πŸ˜›
  • for finding things to talk about with new people at lunch
  • for easily available new work shoes when the glue finally gave out and the soles came off my seven year old pair

There are big things and small things to be thankful for every day. Most of the time they slip from my mind in the tide of things to do or things undone. Writing some of them down helps me remember and I enjoy being able to go back and read them from time to time. Thank you also to those of you who have joined in on my list with comments; I enjoy those too. πŸ™‚

So here’s to another week gone by, to a good team, new people, new shoes, and things going better than they might have. I hope the coming week has good things in it for all of us!

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