Year of Gratitude - Day 319 - Friendsgiving

If you follow the hashtag #friendsgiving on a social network, you will likely find a whole bunch of hipsters having a feast of some sort. One of those groups of hipsters is likely my gang of buddies. Forged in Ferndale and then relocated to Hamtramck, this feast includes a huge turkey, a crowd that brings only the finest dishes to pass around and we party like it's Thanksgiving without family - BECAUSE IT IS. It is a lot of fun and a great way to reconnect with old buds and meet new ones. And it's not just hipsters, but rather an eclectic and growing mix of awesome people to know.


Year of Gratitude - Day 303 - They Softly Walk

The outpouring of love I have experienced recently has been a true gift of comfort. Today I received a card with excerpts of Hugh Robert Orr's "They Softly Walk" written inside. It is so perfect and comforting. I am grateful for such thoughtful people in my life, especially now.

They Softly Walk - Hugh Robert Orr

They are not gone who pass
Beyond the clasp of hand,
Out from the strong embrace.
They are but come so close
We need not grope with hands,
Nor look to see, nor try
To catch the sound of feet.
They have put off their shoes
Softly to walk by day
Within our thoughts, to tread
At night our dream-led paths
Of sleep.


They are not dead who live
In hearts they leave behind.
In those whom they have blessed
They live a life again,
And shall live through the years
Eternal life, and grow
Each day more beautiful
As time declares their good,
Forgets the rest, and proves
Their immortality.


Year of Gratitude - Day 301 - Yoga

I am grateful that I picked up yoga when I was in grad school. I need to do more of it, but the beauty is that it is always there. This morning, I practiced and while I tried to clear my mind, I could not prevent some tears from coming out. Yet, once I was done with my practice I realized how much it helps and how much I truly needed it. I need to begin taking care of myself again and this, along with my first couple runs this week, are my first steps back to getting well.


Year of Gratitude - Day 295 - Patience

No gift can ever top the one I received this evening. He waited for me. I am so grateful that he waited for me. I love you.


Year of Gratitude - Day 275 - Detroit Red Wings

As an undergraduate, I worked for the student paper for two years and after I left the staff, I wondered what the heck I was going to do with myself. Writing for the paper kept me busy and I had enough energy to write like a machine. One day in October 2002, my creative non-fiction writing professor mentioned there was an internship with the Red Wings available. "Parking, dinner..." and some other things were nonchalantly mentioned. My eyes grew big and my hand shot up. The rest is history.

After submitting writing samples and interviewing, I got the internship that would round out my college experience at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and change my life. After a year, I would be making money as a freelance writer. Real money! I met hockey legends - coaches, players, writers, broadcasters. My first professional interview was a phone interview with Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey himself. One of my last assignments was a feature on Steve Yzerman's Retirement Night. I would write about Red Wings that I had been a fan of since I was a kindergartner. A few days each summer were spent in Traverse City covering Training Camp. Not only did I get an outlet for my writing, but I gathered friends, stories and a working experience that I will treasure forever. It's a little surreal thinking back on it.

Even though my time with the Wings was extraordinary, the internship and then freelance work afterward taught me two things:
  1. If I put my mind to it, I can hustle and pay the bills with my writing.
  2. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life writing.
That second item sort of shocked me. When I worked for the Wings, I met writers that are literally hockey historians, full of encyclopedic knowledge on the sport. I was not that and would never be, but I still wanted to be an expert in something one day. Being part of the grind showed me that while I could manage a living doing this, writing would be one of my skills, but not my entire career.


Year of Gratitude - Day 274 - Beerfest

There's really only one beerfest to me and that's the one that happens every fall in Eastern Market in Detroit. Over the years, beerfest has grown into one of my favorite gatherings of friends. The last few years I've exercised my Michigan Brewers Guild membership to enter an hour before the masses and it is worth every penny. 

So much fun is to be had. The folks I see there are from all parts of my life and we are connected in one, great big celebration of delicious Michigan brews. It is one of my favorite rites of autumn.


Year of Gratitude - Day 273 - Elie Wiesel

Today is the birthday of Elie Wiesel. I read Night in the early 2000s and it changed me. I started to learn about the Holocaust, the role Poland, my home country, played in it and the very complex human issues generated by that genocidal event. Night was the first time I started to think about how memory, bureaucracy and evil can all be intertwined to destroy people, entire societies.  

I am grateful to have read this book and to have embarked on a scholarly journey that, though dark, shows that humanity can overcome itself.
"Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere." 


Year of Gratitude - Day 271 - Supermoon & lunar eclipse

Yeah, I know it was YESTERDAY, but I'm so grateful that the skies cleared up for a few moments so my husband and I could gaze up at the celestial spectacle that was the supermoon and lunar eclipse combo. The photos really don't do it justice. If you saw it, you couldn't stop staring at it. In fact, even though the clouds were thick, we'd look out our door every 5-10 minutes to track where the moon was in the sky. Just for a glimpse. It was worth it! So grateful to not have to wait until 2033 to see that live! Absolutely incredible. I'm grateful to have shared such a moment with my guy, too.


Year of Gratitude - Day 270 - Pope Francis

I am not a religious person, but I would be a fool not to recognize the good that religion does for people. I DO believe in the golden rule, the commandments and other worthy teachings. Hence, why I really love Pope Francis. He practices what he (and his religion) preaches. His United States visit has been truly wonderful and I've really enjoyed hearing his message; he's a great orator. Also, he's a chemist. That's solid. I hope people are inspired by the Holy Father. 

With so many crappy leaders and poor role models, it's good to see that the Pope is once again a shining beacon of moral and spiritual strength. The world needs more of his kind.


Year of Gratitude - Day 245 - Best Brown Ale from Bell's

One of my rites of autumn occurs at the ballpark, where I throw off my beer slinging buds at when I switch from my summer favorite, Bell's Oberon to Best Brown Ale. While I'm sad to see summer go, Best Brown helps the season change. Besides, you know it's just a matter of time before I'm drinking exclusively pumpkin ale and don't stop until it runs out sometime in mid-December.