Off The Deep End

I am not currently enrolled in school, and am not employed as a teacher, principal, school counselor, school nurse, coach, teacher’s aide, or anything else Academia. Therefore, the words “Spring Break” usually have little to no impact on me, as this week usually looks pretty much like any other week work-wise. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. This year, I have taken the week off from work and am in the throes of a Staycation. Today was Day One, and it was awesome. Awesome. Sweat pants were worn. Flip-flops stayed on all day. A cheeseburger was eaten, and the house was cleaned. Despite the fact that I love my job, a week off work is exactly what I need right now, and it is totally rocking my world. And as I flip-flopped around all day, I thought about some other things that are rocking my world right now:

1) iTunes Radio. I love love love iTunes Radio. I think for the most part it’s similar to Pandora and Spotify, which are also awesome. I just love this concept of getting to build a radio station based on your favorite artist, and further customize it by telling it which songs you like as they are played. We’ve come a long way from waiting by the jam box with your finger poised to hit “Record” when your favorite song comes on. My current favorites are Matt Nathanson, David Crowder Band, Matt Maher, Gary Allan, Rob Thomas, and Mumford & Sons. I also like the iTunes Weekly Top 50 station, as it’s important to stay up to date on the current music so the young people in my life will think I’m rad.

2) Sunday, March 15th, The Perfect Tennis Day. It’s tough to live in Lubbock, Texas and be a tennis player in the spring. The reason being that the wind starts blowing in March and doesn’t stop until June (at which time you become so hot you fear you’ll perish. That lasts until September). At times, the wind blows so hard that it creates a dust storm that can be seen from space. From SPACE. But yesterday was the Absolute Perfect Tennis Day. Beautiful sunshine, light breeze, and 2 good sets. Awesome.

3) Jeans on Fridays. I absolutely love to wear jeans. That’s why when my workplace instituted a “Jeans on Fridays” policy, I about did backflips. Even if it’s only one day a week, those jeans feel so great. We also now have a “Jeans If It Is Snowing Or The High Is 32 Degrees Or Lower” policy, which has rocked my world this winter as well. Jeans + Uggs = Winter Comfort & Joy.

4) Baseball Season. I am a huge fan of TCU baseball. And baseball season is here.

5) The Insane Inflatable 5K Race. This was held last Saturday, and oh my gosh. 3.1 miles of inflatable awesome. Giant bouncy houses, a giant slide, inflatable obstacle courses – I just don’t think an adult could possibly have much more fun. And to top it off, I got to do it with a friend I adore.

6) My 2 cats playing together. This happened for the first time this past week. After 9 months of hissing, growling, and looks that could kill, my 2 babies have decided to bond. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Does a mother’s heart good.

Those are a few things that are making me feel all the happiness. Best wishes for a super-duper Spring Break!

When I was a kid, I liked to journal.  I started when I was 8.  I recently located a box of my old journals, and read through some of them.  I started by reading the journal I kept at age 8, in 1980.  It is a blue spiral notebook that has “KEVIN – DO NOT  REED!!” written all over the front in black marker, which is ironic because my brother was 5 and couldn’t read anyway.  I would also assign each day a letter grade.  For example, the entry for September 22, 1980 reads:

Sept. 23, 1980 – 19th day of school.  Went to school.  Went to soccer practice.  Kevin went to the fair with Little George.  Rhonda came over, then she leaved.  B+

The following year, I acquired an actual diary, with a lock and everything, because my brother was starting to sound out consonants and I feared that he might be overcome with curiosity about the ins and outs of my days.  Which went as follows:

April 19, 1981 – It’s Easter.  Mom hid eggs.  Me and Kevin found them.  A+


As I got a little older, my journal entries became a little more detailed:

January 8, 1982 – I went to school and got my name down in the hall for talking.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m talking.  We did an art project with tissue paper.  Missy spent the night tonight.  We played Operation.  We let Kevin play too, but he buzzed the buzzer every time.  Then we did a treasure hunt.  We made it up.  Then we played Atari.  Atari is so fun.  It’s really late now and everyone is asleep.  But I’m awake.  B-

Then 7th grade rolled around, and my journal entries began to reflect the dramatic highs and lows of a 13-year-old pre-adolescent girl in all her glory:

January 22, 1985 – Today was soooooooooooooo good.  Tim asked me to go with him.  I said yes.  I don’t know his last name but he is the nicest guy in the whole world!!!  See, yesterday I told Leanne that I thought he was cute and she said that she would talk to him because they are in the same Texas History class.  Then, Leanne called me tonight and said that Tim wanted to talk to me, and so we called him on 3-way.  Then Leanne had to go because she’s grounded, and Tim and I talked for another 20 minutes!!!!!  Just the 2 of us!!!  A+++++++

(Tim and I broke up 2 days later.  I never learned his last name.)

All this to say, that I have been a journaler (made-up word meaning “one who journals”) ever since I was a young child.  I journaled throughout my high school, college, and young adult years.  But somewhere, around 15 years ago, I stopped journaling.  Life got busier, or I got lazier, or both.  I journal intermittently, but have not really stuck with it like I did when I was younger.  And I realized, as I was reading through this box of old journals, spiral notebooks, and Hello Kitty diaries, that I miss it, and that I’m sad that I don’t do it regularly anymore.

Enter this amazing book that I have recently started reading.  It is called One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and if you have not read it, you’re going to want to stop reading this and RUN to the bookstore and get it.  It is a beautiful, life-giving book about gratitude.  Basically, in the book, the author is prompted to list one thousand gifts that she encounters in day-to-day living (but she describes it in a much more beautiful and poetic way than I just did.)  And as I read the book, it occurred to me, “Oh my gosh.  I’ve sort of done this!”  And back to the journal box I went.

When I was in college, I had a dear friend named Eric.  Eric and I lived in the same dorm, and became close friends our first semester at TCU.  We would stay up late at night and talk – about deep stuff, not just surface-y college student stuff.  Eric didn’t really have time for surface talk.  He had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and had already outlived his life expectancy.  So when we talked, he wanted to go deep.  And one time, in the fall of 1992, we each made a list of all of our great memories, and our favorite things, and the things for which we were most thankful.  And we talked about our lists. And added to them.  And talked about them some more.  I kept my list, and continued adding to it over the years.  After Eric passed away.  After I finished college.  And then, I forgot about it.

Until now.  Now, I have unearthed The List of All the Greatness and am activating it again.  But I’m going to add to it on HERE.  Because I now have terrible handwriting.  Because typing is easier than writing.  Because we live in 2013 and it’s all internet these days, kids.  But also, because people occasionally comment on this blog, and MAYBE someone might comment and share some of THEIR most awesomest things and OH MY GOSH HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE.

So, here are my first 35 things, taken from The List of All the Greatness (from 1992, except it wasn’t called that then):

1)   Late-night talks with Eric in his room

2)   Pez

3)   Riding in the back of a pickup as a kid

4)   Rain against the window, but not too hard

5)   The first hot day in spring

6)   The first cold day in fall

7)   Jumping on a trampoline with the sprinkler under it

8)   The smell of my grandmothers

9)   My bed at home

10) The rose I got from David after losing that semifinal doubles match

11) The parachute we played with in elementary school

12) Mom’s banana pudding

13) Doing gymnastics with Rhonda in the yard as a kid

14) My father’s hands

15) Chocolate chip pancakes

16) Diving off the high dive

17) Being at the lake

18) Soccer tournaments

19) Jumping off the basement stairs as a kid

20) Singing at FCA

21) Riding in the car late at night

22) The sore feeling in your muscles after you’ve worked hard

23) Chips & queso

24) The good stuff Rhonda and I found in the dumpster when we were little

25) Going back to bed after 6:00am workout

26) My purple Converse hi-tops in 7th grade

27) Banana popsicles

28) Cheering in the dugout

29) Evenings in the summer

30) Hot chocolate

31) The ocean

32) A fire in the fireplace

33) The day I got baptized

34) Getting a new racquet

35) Swinging on a swingset

Ultimately, there were 114 things on my 1992 list.  These are just a few of them.  But I’m now going to start the 2013 version.  Basically, I don’t want to miss any awesomeness, or any chances to be grateful for all the awesomeness, just because I’m not paying attention.

If you are a commenter (one who comments on blogs and such), what are a few of your Favorite Things in All the Land?


I love to make lists.  It’s therapeutic.  Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I make lists of things in my head – my top ten favorite songs of all times, my top ten favorite movies, my top ten favorite books, etc.  If the insomnia persists, I continue with the lists – top ten favorite video games from the 80’s, top ten favorite episodes of “Friends,” top ten favorite cousins (I have a lot of cousins – and if you are one of them, and you happen to be reading this, then yes, you definitely made the top ten list.)  Okay, I’ve never really made a mental top ten list of my favorite cousins – I pretty much adore them all, so it would be more like a top bazillion list.  But I have made a mental top ten list of pretty much everything else, given the fact that I have never been what one might consider a “regular sleeper.”

A couple of weeks ago, my blog crashed.  I had just written a post about my top ten current favorite things about my job (top ten lists are fluid, and they change frequently as life adds to them), and when I posted it, the site crashed.  With some help from my Cousin Jill, the Ninja Blogstress, the blog was able to be repaired, which made me happy, because writing has been a really fun thing.  So tonight, as I go to rewrite the post, I’m realizing that a couple of work-related things have happened in the past week or so that are also list-worthy, and that I need to add to my original top-ten-current-favorite-things-about-my-job list.  So, here we go.

Top Twelve Favorite Things About My Job

1)  The chance to be a part of a team who is deeply committed to each other and to our patients, and the fact that we can laugh at and with each other to the point that it causes physical pain.

2)  The necklace given to my fellow social worker, who is courageously battling cancer, by our Medical Director.  It says, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed.”

3)  The fact that our Utilization Management Director hung up on me from the get-go when I called him with a question earlier this week, simply because he did not feel like talking to me at the moment.  This elicited the physical-pain-causing laughter mentioned in #1 above.

4)  The fact that this same above-mentioned Utilization Management Director has Christmas balls hanging from the ceiling above his desk, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

5)  My dear co-worker who assists our patients in obtaining funding for their medications.  Although she has a progressive muscle disorder that limits her mobility, it does not dampen her sense of humor.  Everyone with whom she comes in contact is better for having encountered her.

6)  The giant, taller-than-a-Volkswagen (my Volkswagen, to be specific), mound of ice that was strategically placed behind my car recently, resulting in my having to wait until it melted down before leaving the hospital.

7)  Our Activities Therapy Department, who help our patients to find expression and amazing creativity within themselves that they often did not know existed.

8)  The fact that my friend and Crisis Team coworker actually rubbed Campho-Phenique on my sunburned feet a couple of weeks ago after I spent too much time in the lazy river.

9)  The giant, economy-sized bottle of Germ-X in our hospital administrator’s office, which exists for the purpose of keeping us all squeaky clean.

10)  The fact that when I called our Crisis and Forensic Services Director to get the name of a contact person from her, she not only provided the contact, but drove up to the hospital to help me with a difficult situation.  On a Friday night.  Before a holiday.  In the pouring rain.

11)  The bowl of warm nuts given to me by our Medical Director when I brought some papers to her home for her to sign while she was working from home recently.  Warm nuts are really good, turns out.

12)  The occasions when we get to see our patients leave the hospital with more hope and a greater sense of dignity and value than they had when they arrived, and the honor of being a small part of their journey.