Day 782

1. Rocking some cool poses in yoga today.  (Crow, “shoulder-pressing” pose, and firefly.  Go strong arms!)

2. Learning about 8tracks.com.  So far I am really enjoying the experience! 

3. Finding out that my sweetie is an international superstar!  Yet another gift from our trip to Japan

delights_broomball

Stef

Day 781

1. One of my friends telling me about an annual ornament exchange she participates in (rather than a cookie exchange).  What a brilliant idea!  The end product is physically healthier (in obvious ways), mentally healthier (by producing lasting memories), and soulfully healthier (by giving each ornament designer a creative outlet).  Genius!

2. Getting back into crochet.  I spent a few hours learning a new pattern today, and it felt awesome.

3. The ‘real’ story behind Elf On The Shelf.  I do appreciate Tom Fishburne’s unique (yet common) views on life. [Bonus comic here.  I laughed.] 

delights_elf on shelf marketing

Stef 

Day 780

1.  A friend sending me a vegan recipe.  I love that she thought of me, then took action to share that moment with me.  I also love that she wants to support my lifestyle choices!

2. My mom sending a Christmas care package with peanut brittle for my sweetie, toys for our puppies, and three loaves of homemade vegan sweet breads for me!  I had some chocolate zucchini bread this evening – and was immediately transported back to my childhood.  (My mom made the non-vegan version of this bread often when I was a kid.)  I adore the thoughtfulness of my parents, and their respect and support as all of our lives continue to evolve.  [I love you Mom and Dad!]

3. Reading a hope-filled message: “The same challenges that imperil our very existence may help us unite in ways never before witnessed in human history.”  ~B. Alan Wallace, via Tricycle

delights_struggle3

delights_struggle2

delight_struggle

Stef

Day 779

1. Seeing the positive influence my acts of volunteerism have had over strangers in my workplace. It’s easy to forget that we humans are all interconnected – which makes joy-filled reminders even more powerful and meaningful.

2. Seeing these notes on the community refrigerator:

fridge1

 

fridge2

3. Puppy love. 

Jojo falling asleep in the crook of my arm (I was lying in bed, attempting to fall asleep myself).

Jojo falling asleep in the crook of my arm (I was lying in bed, attempting to fall asleep myself).

Jojo sleeping,  Nighty night puppy,

Jojo sleeping, 30 seconds later, Nighty night puppy,

Stef

Day 778

1. Meeting with several managers today who all genuinely care for and about their team members.  Their attitudes and approaches are heartening.

2. Giving a gift to someone – and having her love it.  Feels just as good to give as to receive.  :)

3. Listening to an interesting audiobook during my commute from work.  David Sedaris has a unique mind – and most of the time I quite enjoy it.  These stories are written from a very intriguing point of view, and the actors reading them are incredibly talented.  A lovely way to spend time in traffic.

delights_sedaris

Stef

Day 777

1. Spending the morning in the company of two competent *and* kind women.  I appreciate colleagues who become friends; just goes to show that business can be pleasurable. (At least, when the ‘right’ people are involved.)  :)

2. Pan frying tofu for the first time ever – and discovering that I rather like it!  I’m always grateful to find new vegan protein sources; this one is a keeper!  Yummy.

3. Learning about a local church that focuses on people with developmental disabilities.  I often think of the life-skills and interpersonal/social needs of this population, but never stopped to consider their spiritual needs.  I love that someone wiser than me did realize this gap, and took action to address it.  

deights_ministry

Stef

Day 776

1. The conversation between a burly man in line ahead of me at the grocery store and the cashier who was ringing up his order:

Man: Do you have any stamps?
Cashier: Yes, they are $9.80 each.
Man: Okay, I’ll take one book, please.
Cashier: Would you like gingerbread houses or children playing in the snow?
Man: Umm…. [pauses]  Houses, I guess?

I envisioned this man sending out his bills with non-“masculine” stamps affixed to his envelopes – and I chuckled out loud.

2. A commercial came on the TV, and my sweetie pointed to a woman in the spot and asked, “Hey, isn’t that the woman from that clothing show we used to watch?”  

I clarified, “You mean Stacy London from ‘What Not To Wear’?”  

My sweetie responded, “Yes!  Isn’t that her?”  

I looked more closely at the woman currently on the screen, then answered, “No, that’s not her.  Not even close.”

My sweetie looked slightly irked.  “Oh, c’mon, they don’t look that different!” he protested.

“Well, they both have brown hair,” I reluctantly conceded.

“And faces,” he added.

To which I simply laughed out loud.  Yes, they both have faces, too.  

Silly boy.

3. Reviewing a series of captioned images from the parents of picky eaters.  Many of these make logical sense when seen from a child’s point of view – and are hilarious when looked at from a more adult lens.  Oh, people… we are a funny breed of animal.  :)

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Stef 

 

 

Day 775

1. 50 degree (F) temps on December 14 – which is absolutely unheard of for this part of the country.  A terrific change from last year; what a lovely holiday gift from Ma Nature to me.  :)

2. At the end of today’s yoga class, learning that everyone in attendance was getting a free session!  An awesome surprise.

3. Seeing a Christmas cactus in full bloom.  For 11 months out of the year, these plants are somewhat unappealing to me – but when they flower, they are rather pretty.

Christmas cactus

Stef

Day 774

1. Attending a craft fair with a friend.  I love that I have people in my life who enjoy exploring new experiences with me – and I feel good supporting local artisans/small business owners.  And I scored some good deals, too!

One of my purchases: two bars of organic, vegan, hand-crafted soap – and priced less than what I would have paid for it in any store!

 

Another purchase: Tuscan salt.  My friend thought it was humorous that this vendor made vegetarian products, but told us about all of the ways her wares could be shaken and slathered over any animal a person could think of.  She specifically listed off pork, chicken, beef, duck, deer, eggs… My friend tried to help her out by commenting, "I be this would be great on vegetables, too.  Or a nice baked potato…" - to which the vendor replied, "Or over a nicely marinated roast!"  Oy.

Another purchase: Tuscan salt. My friend thought it was interesting/humorous that this vendor made vegetarian products, but insisted on telling us about all of the ways her wares could be shaken and slathered over any animal a person could think of. The vendor specifically listed off pork, chicken, beef, duck, deer, eggs; and when my friend tried to clue her in to our palate preferences by commenting, “I be this salt would be great on vegetables, or a nice baked potato,” the vendor replied, “Or over a nicely marinated rib roast!” Oy.

An unexpected gift fro my friend: homemade granola!  (Crafted by her and her two young boys.)  How kind!  And delicious.  :)

An unexpected gift from my friend: homemade granola! Crafted by her and her two young boys – how kind! And delicious. :)

2.  Receiving a bit of education from the soap vendor (mentioned above).  He was a chatty guy; not only did I learn a fun fact about cocoa oil (it is creamy beige in color, and only turns brown when it comes in contact with air and oxidizes [which is why every chocolate-covered candy bar has the same color on the outside]), but I learned a lot about him personally (he was a teacher in LA in the 1980s [1st-3rd grades, teaching an average of 45 kids at one time]; he lived in Burbank during that time [where his rent was $1800/month; he had to wait tables in addition to teaching full-time just to make ends meet]; he taught in Compton [and received $1100 every 6 months in ‘combat pay’]; he has been in Minnesota for over 20 years; he started his soap business on a dare; he had reconstructive surgery on his foot earlier this year and was house-bound for 4 months…)  He possessed a lot of words that he wanted to share.  :)

3. Seeing many examples of genius design.  I am completely in awe of artisans who combine form with function to create something that exceeds both.

Stef

Day 773

1. Figuring out a solution to a problem that had been vexing me for several days.  The struggle made the successful resolution even more satisfying.

2. Pulling together a tasty meal out of seemingly disparate ingredients. While it can sometimes feel like there is “nothing” in the fridge, that is rarely the case – a sparse pantry simply requires some creativity and/or ingenuity.  :)

3. Stumbling upon an online ad for a toy, and immediately having childhood flashbacks – which in my case, is nearly always a pleasant occurrence.  I’m so grateful for the happy, secure, and loving start my parents gave me.

The toy that started my journey down memory lane today: the classic Big Wheel.

The toy that started my journey down memory lane today: the classic Big Wheel.

Stef