One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

04.13.2010 Taking It All In May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 3:32 pm

Graciously accepting praise is not something that I have ever really mastered. I believe that I do good things sometimes, things that are worthy of gratitude or mention by someone else. I believe that I am competent in my job, that I have the best intentions, that I put effort into tasks that are given to me…yet when someone acknowledges this to me directly I am never sure of how to respond. What do I say? Where do I look? How big of a smile should I have? Is that smile giving off the modest, “aw shucks” vibe I am going for? Do I nod in agreement? What if I nod and smile too much? Then I start thinking, “Oh my god, stop smiling and nodding, you lunatic!“, and then I usually make some attention-deflecting, self-deprecating joke and the moment is lost.

I’m not sure what makes me react in that way. I do tend to be a pretty modest person, and I’m in a field where it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not in it for the glory. There may be something there about how I’ve internalized some message about how women should feel that way, but in any case it just feels so awkward. It’s a little ironic that my chosen profession is as a therapist, yet direct expressions of emotion of this type in my personal life instill such panic in me.

Along those lines, I also hate being sung to for my birthday in restaurants (or anywhere, really, now that I am an adult) and I cannot imagine the torture that someone singing a song to me or reading a poem aloud to me would be. I remember a few years back hearing about a contest on a local radio station for two people to do see Dave Matthews play acoustic cuts from an unreleased album in his hotel suite. I grabbed my phone and started dialing, then the reality of the situation sunk in: I would be sitting in front of Dave Matthews while he sang earnest songs about love and the state of the world and social justice. Where would I look? How big of a smile should I have? Do I nod along to the songs? What kind of behavior is appropriate in a situation like that? I hung up the phone.

Today though, at 31 years, 6 months, and 20 days, I think I finally got the hang of it. I was in a work meeting, and some people acknowledged the successes I have had handling a few issues over the past few months. I had been tasked with a lot of new responsibilities and managed not to screw up too badly was able to keep everything running smoothly despite some bumpy situations, and our staff morale has been really great under my leadership. I managed not to make any self-deprecating jokes, and I managed not to minimize my efforts. My smile was appropriately large, and I nodded once and simply said. “Thank you.” It felt really nice.

So, Fabulous Thing #103: Accepting praise where praise is due.

 

A Meta Moment April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:11 pm

As I’m about to hit “Publish” on the 100th Fabulous Thing of 2010, I’m struggling a little bit. I’m not struggling to find a Fabulous Thing to write about each day, in fact sometimes I have more than one good contender. I am finding myself having a difficult time with what I’m not writing.

Maybe it’s understood that the bright points of every one of my days are balanced out by some darker things, but I have been feeling a little caught up in recent weeks with the weight of those darker things, and how strange and incomplete it feels to be writing about flowers and clean houses when there are harder things happening.

Then I go back to the idea that this is exactly the point of having this blog, and of trying to tease out the points of light from among the darkness…

So here is my disclaimer, that will hopefully allow me to continue to transfer the pieces of things that I think about and write every day onto this space without all of the hemming and hawing: I am acknowledging that the posts I make here are only part of the picture, and in no way negate the other very real and true things that also occupy the span of a day. But they do make those things a little easier to confront.

Onward.

 

04.09.2010 Flower Power April 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:55 pm

As part of the Apartment Therapy 8 Week Cure, I am tasked with purchasing fresh flowers for my home each week. For the past few weeks I have not bought any flowers myself, since for various reasons my loving husband has bought some for me.

I went grocery shopping tonight after work, and decided that it was time for a new bouquet. I can’t remember the last time I bought flowers for no particular reason, but I found that I really liked the whole process. I selected a bouquet that included some lime green pom-pom looking flowers along with some white lily-type things and some other white flowers that have many blossoms clustered on each stem. (hey, a botanist I am not – I just like what I like). I got to put them in one of those special cones that attach to the side of the cart and enjoy them while I shopped. When I checked out, they were wrapped in paper and carefully laid on top of the rest of my packages.

Before unloading the rest of my groceries from the cart, I rested my bouquet on the baby’s car seat. The humid, rainy night made their scent carry throughout the car as I drove home. During my drive, I noticed that my route was brightened by the brazenly blooming forsythia bushes that were suddenly announcing their presence to the world. In my neighborhood, the dogwoods and azaleas were starting their annual show.

This is such an obvious statement, but flowers are gorgeous. The act of choosing, buying, and arranging flowers for display in my house made me so conscious of the blooms that are happening everywhere. Even through the rain, it made me want to invite everyone I know who lives in different climates to come to my street to see how beautiful it all is right now, bursting into life in full color. Then, I wanted to invite them all to my house to admire the lovely bouquet I have on display.

So, Fabulous Thing #99: The Cure for what ails you.

 

04.03.2010 Nurture April 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:16 pm

There is an instinct I have, totally separate from anything I might have learned in my professional training and practice, to give people who are going through a hard time a wardrobe makeover, a day in the sun, and a good meal with a lot of vegetables. I am not so naive that I think this will make everything better instantly, but I feel like it’s a good base to start from.

There is a young woman in my life whose life needs a little fixing up. Today, she came to visit. I gave her some of my clothes, including some shirts in brighter colors than the black hooded sweatshirts she usually wears. We had a lunch picnic at the beach, and she laughed a little chasing my son around the grass. Her calzone had broccoli in it.

I hugged her goodbye, and made a plan for soon. I wanted to slip her in my pocket and carry her around with me to keep her safe, but I let her go for now. At least she got some vegetables.

So, Fabulous Thing #93: Laying a foundation.

 

04.02.2010 Kind Soul April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:45 pm

I had a heart-stopping moment today when I opened up my wallet to pay for a purchase with my debit card and realized it wasn’t in its usual spot at the top of Plastic Card Row. The other usual suspects were there – theĀ  CapitalOne Card with the beach scene on it, the library card, the customer rewards cards for various places…but no debit card.

I immediately realized that I must have left it in the drive-up ATM I had stopped at earlier in the day. I am so accustomed to using my debit card to make point-of-purchase transactions that I think I sort of spaced on how the whole ATM deal works, and drove away once I had cash in hand.

I went back to the bank and went inside with my fingers crossed. I explained my situation to the teller and she said that someone had turned in my card. Hooray! She asked for ID, got my debit card out of the vault, and gave it back to me. She also gave me the tip that I should stick with the drive-up ATMs that are on the wall of the bank itself, not the ones in the outside lanes, because in case this happened again the card would just be sucked inside the bank and not left out or shredded by the machine.

Two kind souls, really. One is whoever took the minute to park their car and go inside the bank to turn in my card instead of trying to use it or just discarding it, and the other was the teller at the bank who gave me the inside scoop on ATMs and wished me a happy Easter as I left.

For the record, and for whatever possible positive press this might give them, the bank was Coventry Credit Union. We have been thinking about leaving Bank of America for a while now, and this experience with their good customer service (to someone who wasn’t even a customer) might have pushed CCU ahead of the pack of potential banks to switch to. One good turn deserves another, right?

So, Fabulous Thing #92: Crossing paths with the right people.

 

03.19.2010 Sick Day March 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 8:16 pm

I didn’t go to work today, and my son didn’t go to daycare. Here’s what happened today:

  • We both stayed in our pajamas until 10:30
  • I got a jump on the weekend laundry
  • I took a long, hot shower while my son played on the floor of the bathtub
  • I fell asleep in the chair in my son’s room while he took a nap in the middle of the afternoon
  • We took a walk around the neighborhood before dinner and enjoyed the sunshine

Here’s what didn’t happen:

  • Someone calling me from the office to say that all work had ground to a halt without me there
  • The productivity police coming to my door to give me a fine for mid-afternoon napping
  • My son’s daycare questioning whether or not he was really that sick since we were able to go out for a walk
  • My husband coming home and asking why I hadn’t gotten more done during my day at home

So, Fabulous Thing #78: An unexpected day at home, and not too sick to enjoy it.

 

02.02.2010 Radio Silence February 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:52 pm

I have a commute to and from work everyday, about 40 minutes each way. Usually this time is filled with phone calls that are both work and personal, eating, and listening to the radio. I tend to listen to the local NPR affiliate, mostly because of the hyperlocal weather and traffic info that I get while driving through the actual raindrops they are reporting about, behind the actual pokey schoolbus that holds up commuters on 1A that they complain about. Kidding about that last part, but just barely. Sometimes I switch over to one of the CDs that the baby likes, either one of the Music Together CDs, Let’s Go Everywhere from Medeski, Martin & Wood, or something from Elizabeth Mitchell.

Today though, I did something a little different. Did you know that some factory-installed car stereos have an anti-theft feature that gets activated when the power source is cut, for example when you get your battery replaced? When the radio is reconnected, it requires a code to be punched in for the radio to work again. Guess who doesn’t have that code? Of course, I first have to recognize how amazing it is that on my 2001 Honda CRV, this is the first time I have had to replace the battery. Now, I can complain about how inconvenient it is to go about getting this code. I need to get the serial number from the radio (which means a trip back to the auto repair shop, where they graciously offered to help out in solving this problem if needed), and enter it along with the VIN onto a website that is not available during a lot of evening hours. That hasn’t happened yet.

But today, I took advantage of the situation. Instead of the radio and my ringing personal phone and my buzzing work Blackberry vying for my attention along with my morning coffee, I commuted in silence. The baby cooperated by falling asleep on both legs of the drive, and I was alone with my thoughts. I noticed that without the noise (both literal and figurative) of the radio, my other senses got more attention. I noticed things along my drive that had escaped me before, like a dog boarding facility nearby that might come in handy someday soon. I was more attuned to sipping my coffee and eating my danish, when usually both are consumed without me even remembering it by the time I get to work.

The fabulous thing though, was having that time to work through some things in my head. I find often these days that my attention is so divided that I sometimes don’t have the time to think a thought all the way through. I end up going through the same problem-solving loops over and over again, having to revisit things as they become imminently relevant again instead of approaching them proactively and planfully. Today, I got to work with my game face on, plan of attack for the day firmly in mind. I got home after having made the switch from work mindset to home mindset, and was able to be fully present for my husband and son. Even the dog got a little more love than usual. It made such a difference, having that time to readjust and reset.

I’m not really in a hurry to get the radio working again, but even when I do I think I’ll try to do this from time to time.

So, Fabulous Thing #33: Creating my own mobile meditation unit.