Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Bittersweet Edition

How do you like your chocolate?  I prefer mine sweet!  Dark or milk doesn't matter as much as the sweetness factor.  Oh, sure, I'm not above snitching some semi-sweet chocolate chips while baking cookies, but generally speaking, the sweeter the chocolate, the better.  (Yes, I realize it's not so healthy to have such a sweet tooth, but this post is not about that.)




My chocolate preferences mirror my life preferences.  I suppose I'm not so unusual in my desire for happy, happy, happy.  Of course, life is full of opposition, and sometimes, it's the awareness of the sad that makes the happy that much better.  

Monday, I helped a friend with her family history work.  Here's a secret:  I'm not very good at getting together with friends, just because.   It's not that I don't think friends are important; I do.  I just have a hard time allowing myself to spontaneously schedule (that might be is an oxymoron) time to do nothing but have fun.  However, I welcome excuses to get together with friends.  I'm thankful my friend asked for my help; we both had fun talking, and I think we did a bit of family history work, too.  (The sweetness of friendship vs. the bitterness of loneliness.)

That afternoon, I went and got a haircut.  I'm such a procrastinator when it comes to haircuts.  Seriously, I think it had been a year since the last cut.  (What is wrong with me?) Anyway, I'm thankful for the nice girl at Supercuts who quickly updated my "do." (The sweetness of confidence vs. the bitterness of a tired look.) 

When I later realized that Shirley Temple had died, I think I wore my curls just a little more proudly.  Growing up, my mom told me that people always compared my looks to Shirley Temple's.   


No way could I have performed like Shirley, but my hair curled like hers.

Tuesday, I attended a meeting with some other women who serve in stake Relief Society presidencies in southern California.  I enjoyed their company, and we had a chance to share ideas with each other.  I'm thankful for church callings.  (The sweetness of service vs. the bitterness of self-absorption.)

After my meeting, I had the chance to pop over to see my daughter and granddaughters.  We enjoyed a nice walk to the park.  Oldest granddaughter laughed and giggled as she experienced swinging for the first time.  I'm thankful for my granddaughters, and the wonder of childhood. (The sweetness of innocent youth vs. the sometimes bitterness of jaded adulthood.)



Wednesday, I went to lunch with a group of friends.  I don't know how the tradition started, but periodically, I'll get a phone call saying, "We're celebrating _____'s birthday this month.  Can you come?"  We meet at a house that is central to those who are working, and for an hour or so we catch up with each other, and laugh a lot.  I'm thankful for enduring friendship. (The sweetness of friendship vs. the bitterness of loneliness, again.)

Thursday, I unexpectedly ran into a friend whom I had not seen in a long time.  Sometimes Facebook just doesn't cut it.  The few minutes we spent chatting left me with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.  I'm thankful for chance meetings.  (The sweetness of surprise vs. the bitterness of dull routine.  And the friendship/loneliness thing, again.)

Also on Thursday, I arrived home to find our sidewalk dry.  We noticed recently that our water meter box was overflowing, resulting in a soaked sidewalk.  Though never a good sign, in the middle of this drought, this was particularly disturbing.  When John investigated, he saw that the leak was coming from the street side of the meter.  Woo hoo!  Not our financial responsibility.  We called the water company, and called again, and finally they came out and fixed the leak.  I'm thankful the leak is fixed.  (The sweetness of responsible stewardship vs. the bitterness of waste.)

Friday, of course, was Valentine's Day.  I'm thankful for John and the chance I have to be married to my best friend.   I'm also thankful for the internet, which made it possible for me to find a copy of John's favorite childhood book, the Bronc Burnett story, Stranger in the Backfield.  I love surprising John!  (The sweetness of giving far exceeds the sweetness of receiving--there is no bitterness here.)





Friday was also the day that Drexel the guide dog puppy left our home to return to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus for his formal training.  Talk about bittersweet!  He's gone from a 9-week-old puppy to a more-mature (though still fun-loving) 15-month old young dog.  We will certainly miss him, but we wish him the best in his training.  Hopefully I'll be able to report later this year that he has graduated and been matched with a blind partner.  I'm thankful to be a puppy raiser, to be associated with such a wonderful organization, to have become friends with fellow puppy raisers and leaders, and to be greeted each day by an enthusiastic, loving puppy.  (The sweetness of puppies vs. the bitterness of life devoid of animals. And the sweetness of the  above-mentioned service and friendship.)


Drexel has grown from a young puppy. . .

. . .to a dog ready for formal guide training.


We will raise another guide dog puppy, but will wait until after summer to receive our next wiggly pup.  

Throughout the week, we've enjoyed record-high temperatures (84°!) and spring flowers.  At the risk of possibly upsetting most of the nation, I'm thankful for a mild winter.  (The sweetness of an early spring vs. the bitterness of winter's cold.) 








 photo visiting2_zps6d4521f3.jpg

 photo ThankfulThought4_zps7d9599c2.jpg
Thanks for sweet moments throughout life!

 photo signature3_zps16be6bca.jpg


Pin It

Please consider writing your own 10 Things of Thankful post to link to the hop.  This group is welcoming of new participants.  Just click the link button below to add your post
Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

44 comments:

  1. Ohhhh I DO love your blossom. I got a cherry tree today and it's making my heart so happy.

    This was a clever way of doing your post, and I love how you've managed to infuse the flavour with both the sweetness and darkness which comprise life (and chocolate).

    Glad you spent time with friends. That's huge.

    And congrats on Drexel's graduation to Official Learner Dog. That's awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Frist" comment to you! :-)

      Cherry trees have such beautiful blossoms. My tree is an apricot.

      I'm be checking in each week to follow Drexel's progress. Guide Dogs for the Blind posts updates on the dogs each Thursday. :-)

      Delete
  2. I love what you did with the bitter and sweet here, Kristi. Life is about balance and it's true that with the sweet there is often bitter - and vice versa, thank goodness!
    Those are some serious Shirley Temple curls - lovely!
    I am buried in snow here, but I'm actually pretty happy to see your lovely spring pics - makes me think there's still hope for spring!
    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spring will come again! We're actually hoping for some April showers in February.

      Delete
  3. WOW... Drexel has moved on.. how proud you must be and sorta sad at the same time...confusing I bet... love the contrast concept of this list! Boy did you have a case of the Shirley's as a kid... you could have been her... even your sweet little face looked like hers! BUt the curls! For someone who says she s not good at hooking up with friends, it sounds like you enjoyed a lot of that this week...very cool! love the photos... as much as everyone complains about the cold, I DO love the snow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really noticed Drexel's absence today--no puppy waiting for breakfast, no wagging tail. However, so happy for him and hope the best for him. Guide Dogs for the Blind posts weekly updates on how each puppy is doing, so I'll be watching Drexel's progress through his formal training.

      I did enjoy quite a bit of friend time this week--thankfully, I didn't need to rely on my own initiative!

      Delete
  4. I like dark chocolate these days. I've always been a milk chocolate girl until a couple of years ago and it changed. Weird!
    You placed those photos perfectly because your baby picture and the picture of your grandbaby swinging...she looks like you! The resemblance is amazing! What a cutie pie! Both of you!
    I love that you raise pups that will become dogs helping the blind. That is such a beautiful thing.
    I hope you and your best friend/husband enjoyed your Valentines Day! Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. We enjoyed a nice dinner at a new-to-us restaurant--and now we know where to to the next time we have a craving for crab cakes! Hope you have a great week, too!

      Delete
  5. OH I love that you train guide dogs! How great! and that is a nice present you got your sweetie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a puppy raiser is a lot of fun!

      Delete
  6. How awesome you get to raise puppies who are destined for such a great task later. I bet it's really difficult to bond with them and then have to give them up again. And yay for not having to pay to get the meter box fixed without cost to you. It's always great if anotherone picks up the bill :-) Have a great weekend, Kristi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sending a puppy back to the campus for formal training is more akin to sending a child to college than it is attending a funeral. Of course, I miss Drexel, but he's moving on and becoming what he was born to be. I get to enjoy that cute puppy phase over and over again! :-)

      Delete
  7. Wow, I bet you well miss Drexel, but how great to be a guide dog trainer! Sounds like your week has been filled with friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a volunteer position, but so rewarding! Yes, I miss Drexel--and I'm not the only one! (Most common question I got asked at church today? "Where's the dog?") However, I love being a puppy raiser.

      Delete
  8. It's been a wonderful, eventful, thankful week. thanks for sharing and reminding us all as always what's truly worth noticing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. There is so much goodness in the world.

      Delete
  9. From what I'm reading, it looks like it was an awesome week for relationships! May it be another great week next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a good week. Hope you have a great week, too!

      Delete
  10. holy smoke! (your 'photo as Shirley Temple')…while I get that the haircut is quite the same, even to me with my Y Chrome induced inability to recognize certain fashion statements, what knocks me out is I can 'recognize' you in the photo.
    Probably not so surprising to most people, but I always get a kick out of seeing the adult in the child.
    cool
    (totally agree about the gratitude inherent in a leak being on the 'city side of the fence')

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or as my mom sometimes comments, the child in the adult. I'm noticing that with my own grown children now. Sometimes they will have a certain expression that exactly mirrors a look they would give me as toddlers. We definitely arrive to this earth with our own personalities, and it really is a delight to watch those personalities develop over time--and yet remain the same. Interesting, though, that you were able to see the grown-up me in my toddler photo--especially since we haven't ever met in real life.

      Delete
  11. There is so much to love about your post this week. Certainly bittersweet to say good-bye to the young pup you've been raising - but what a wonderful organization to be involved in!

    Kids on swings always make me smile - I think its the whole wonder at the freedom of movement/playing about with no gravity thing that makes it a sensory wonderland for young kids :)

    And yay to catching up with many friends! It sounds like you had a wonderful week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guide Dogs for the Blind is really a great organization. The working guides are provided at no cost to the blind clients, but GDB definitely puts a lot of time, effort, and expense into producing puppies who go on to become responsible guide dogs. I'm honored to be a volunteer for such a great group.

      Delete
  12. A wonderful post.

    I look forward to hearing about Drexel's future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guide Dogs for the Blind will provide me with weekly updates, so I'll be sure to post his progress.

      Delete
  13. I used to curl my hair like Shirley too. Loved her as a kid, so sad but such a lovely life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was just serendipitous that my hair curled that way. It kind of just does its own thing. Bald baby, ringlet-ed toddler, fairly straight hair through school, return of curls as an adult. I just try to let it do whatever it wants. Sleek and polished I am not.

      Delete
  14. It's so nice to get together IN PERSON with friends, I'm like you I usually get a prompt from someone else, and forget to be the one initiating things for whatever reason. OH that picture of you when you were younger is SO adorable! Those curls are precious. You shoulda been in pictures, as the saying goes ;)
    Glad your leak is fixed, and didn't cost you anything, and no one got hurt.
    That was great of you to find that book for John, it looks like a nice memory for him of whenever he first read it. Very thoughtful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, John's having a great time re-reading the book! He hasn't read it since he was about 6 years old, so I think he might have even forgotten the details of the plot! :-)

      Delete
  15. Ack, I don't even know where to begin!
    I can't believe it's Drexel's time to move on to formal training. I remember when he first came to your home. Which makes me realize we've been blogging friends for a long time! It's been so nice to see all the changes in your family, between guide dog training and new grandbabies and running challenges.
    Your photo as a little girl is adorable! I've finally learned to embrace the curls. (And I am horrible at getting my hair cut, too. Twice a year at the most.)
    I'm so glad you were able to spend so much time with friends this week. Regardless of whether the time is a nice, long conversation over a meal or an unexpected "run into" few minutes, it's certainly a pick-me-up to chat with a friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, when you said recently that Phoenix is 6 foot 1, I thought, "Wow! Her kids are really growing up!" I guess we have been blogging friends for a while now--and I'm thankful for that. :-)

      Delete
  16. Sounds like a pretty good week overall to me! - Bianca @ Rant Rave Crave

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very sweet post, no pun intended. I'm a little sad that Drexel has moved on, even though I know that's what he is supposed to do. He just has so much LIFE in him! I know he'll make someone an excellent companion!

    Love your Shirley Temple curls! My mom was a big fan, and as a result, I grew up watching her movies, too.

    I remember boys reading books like the one you got John! Our school library had a lot of "boy" books like that; I was busy reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Catherine Wooley books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, but I also read any and all books about dogs. Guess it's no surprise I went on to become a puppy raiser!

      We're missing Drexel, too, but realize that he's going on to good things. It was a little strange today, though--I was able to put on coconut-scented hand lotion without him there trying to lick my hands!

      Delete
  18. Aw, your hair looks exactly like Shirley Temple's!! And your granddaughters are beautiful. I love the swinging photo - she looks so carefree and happy! Congrats on the haircut (I wait for too long between mine too). I think it's wonderful that you're helping to train guide dogs but I'm sure it's so hard to let them go. I want a puppy now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Puppy raisers are always needed! ;-)

      Delete
  19. That's awesome that you were able to find that book for your husband. Such a thoughtful gift.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I enjoyed the the bitter vs sweet theme throughout your post. That was clever and entertaining.

    I WAS enjoying a mild winter back in Arizona until we had the bright idea to "vacation" in Pittsburgh. Hello snow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, traveling in the off-season must have some benefits. If not, at least you'll enjoy your mild winter when you return.

      Delete
  21. Love the old picture -- you did resemble Shirley Temple who has always been one of my favorites and who I really enjoyed introducing Amara to. You will have to do that with your granddaughters someday.

    Must admit I am feeling guilty that we are having such great weather while the rest of the country is certainly suffering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I'm thankful for our great weather, I certainly don't want to come across as taunting those who are braving the cold. It is incredible how snowy and cold it has been this year for most of the nation!

      Delete
  22. Looks like things have been eventful for you. I love your bittersweet comparisons :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I hope your week was a good one.

      Delete

Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!