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Annual Thankful Post

THANKFUL-generic pic
I am thankful for my family and my in-laws. I am thankful for all our on-going healths. I am thankful for my dog, and that she is still full of shit at 13 years old. I am thankful I could provide a meal today and for all those who joined us. I am thankful for our two working cars. I am thankful for our warm, dry house. I am thankful for Coca-Cola. I am thankful for chocolate. I am thankful for pizza. I am thankful for cupcakes in ice cream cones. I am thankful for CreateSpace. I am thankful for all the voices in my head that demand to have their day in print. I am thankful for my son’s interest in art. I am thankful for television. I am thankful for hoodies. I am thankful for Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Cider. I am thankful for Christmas trees. I am thankful for hardwood floors. I am thankful for a roof that keeps out the rain. I am thankful for indoor plumbing. I am thankful that all the water stays within the pipes. I am thankful for my dishwasher. I am thankful for my washer and dryer. I am thankful for my roaster and my crockpot. I am thankful for stomach aches from gluttonous eating. I am thankful for goofy little boys. I am thankful for GSRP. I am thankful for sleeping puppies. I am thankful for hedgehogs. I am thankful for hamsters. I am thankful for trips to Mackinac Island. I am thankful for Yule Log DVDs. I am thankful for Santa Claus. I am thankful for Hello Kitty. I am thankful for ice cream. I am thankful for hand lotion. I am thankful for two driveways. I am thankful for Uni Jetstream 1.0mm pens. I am thankful for my laptop. I am thankful for Internet service. I am thankful for digital cameras. I am thankful for Pull-Ups. I am thankful for comfy couches. I am thankful for WordPress blogs. I am thankful for trains. I am thankful my husband is a mechanical genius. I am thankful my asbestos friend puts up with my non-positive worldview and tries to talk me down from my insanity. I am thankful for the bundle of joy I received five years ago today.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

What I Learned This Week – 12/7/14

This week I learned that on the right day of the year for only a donation to Toys for Tots, I could get to drive my car around Michigan International Speedway!

It was awesome!

Because I had to take my mom to the bank on Saturday anyway, I asked her if she would want to ride along out to the speedway with me. We both used to watch NASCAR racing for many years. It was the perfect activity for her–no walking.

She kept saying there would be tons of people and there would be a line.

There wasn’t.

We had a little trouble finding the right entrance to go in, but then we got to drive through a very narrow tunnel that made me nervous. Then everyone in the car had to sign a disclaimer. I even had to sign one for my son, M.

We went to enter the track on pit road.

I said, “Look! It’s pit road.”

My mom said, “Where?”

I said, “We are ON it!”

Then she was impressed.

I said, “Take pictures!”

She said, “I don’t have a camera.”

I said, “Use your cell phone.”

She forgets that there is a camera on her phone.

She got nervous when I went high in the turns. They are banked so high that my everyday vehicle seemed like it would roll over any second. It was very strange to see minivans and SUVs driving around the track together.

For your donation, you were supposed to get one time around the track at 25mph. We went more than one lap and more than 25mph, but not as many times or as fast as anyone else.

I felt a little closer to Jeff Gordon that day.

Here are our pictures:

The view from the track

The view from the track

Me gritting my teeth as I approach the steep banking

Me gritting my teeth as I approach the steep banking

The view of the track through my windshield

The view of the track through my windshield

The biggest surprise was the text I received the next morning from my mom:

Riding around the racetrack was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. Thank you.

Hmmm… If she is going to be that grateful for a change, I just might have to start dragging her out more often.

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Do Divine Forces Communicate To Me Through The Radio?

I don’t believe in God. Although I do think there might be some sort of higher force affecting our lives on a daily basis. That force might be Fate. I also believe that Fate can play cruel tricks on us at times.

GOD RADIO-music prayer

All that aside, do you think that it is possible that God communicates to me through my car radio?

Because after this week, I think that maybe he just might. If he existed.

This week I was on my way to work, wondering why I was going in when the job clearly makes me miserable. So much so that there was an anonymous vote at Thanksgiving dinner saying that I should not head into work that night. But I did anyway. Not really sure what is wrong with me in that respect. I usually blame my freakishly responsible nature on being a Capricorn.

Anywho, while on my way to work Friday, there was a radio ad. For the very shopping location that I work at. It said,”[Enter Shopping Location Here] wants to give YOU the gift of MORE TIME this holiday season.”

This was my sign.

Now, the commercial actually goes on to try to impress customers by talking about the extended shopping hours available on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

It was not meant for employees at all.

But I took it as my sign that I should terminate my employment soon, in order to return to some semblance of sanity and to enjoy the holidays with my family.

The irony of all this? My boss most likely arranged and paid for those commercials.

After this, I was pretty certain of my course of action, but worried about how my family would manage with less income.

Then on Sunday morning, as I went to the grocery store in my pajamas and slippers to buy more pop, the local station had on some religious programming. Usually I change it right away, but this time I didn’t. The pastor was talking about moving to a small town and trying to find an office job right as the recession hit. I don’t remember his exact words, but it came down to that he was fretting about if they had made the right decisions or not. He worried that they should move to the city.

Then he realized that he should just stop and be grateful for what he did have. The jobs that he and his wife had, even if they were not ideal. The friends who touched their lives every day.

I don’t know much, but I do know that gratitude works. I was always grateful for my Pontiac Aztek, even after it died. The Universe provided me with a Jeep Patriot to purchase that I am very happy with. I do fret that committing to the loan may have been an error. But my asbestos friend would tell me to not turn down gifts from the Universe. But the Universe is not always clear on what decisions I should make.

Unless I hear them on the radio…


I am thankful for my healthy family. I am thankful for two newer cars that run. I am thankful for my house, with the strong roof to keep out the elements and a good furnace to keep us warm. I am thankful for a job that helps to pay the bills. I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for my son, who is just starting life as a 4 year old.

I am thankful for birthday celebrations.

I am thankful for birthday celebrations.

I am thankful for my dog Dave. I am thankful for the means to make a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner. I am thankful for television, and all the shows I regularly watch–past, present, and future. I am thankful for Domo. I am thankful for Thomas the tank engine. I am thankful for Scooby-Doo. I am thankful for Hello Kitty. I am thankful for Lightning McQueen. I am thankful for my blog. I am thankful for my book. (Working on getting a cover design, everyone. Be patient, because I am not.) I am thankful for clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. I am thankful for antibiotics. I am thankful for children’s Tylenol. I am thankful for medical insurance. I am thankful that I can still remember the feel of Parker’s soft dark brown head. I am thankful that we got to take a family vacation this year. I am thankful for music. I am thankful for pop. I am thankful for sugar. I am thankful for chocolate. I am thankful for pizza. Thank you for my bed. Thank you for my pillow to rest my head. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for my family. Thank you for not having a ton of snow yet. Thank you for Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls with caramel frosting for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Thank you for the America’s Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit. Thank you for NASCAR and Jeff Gordon. Thank you for the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. I am thankful for parades. I am thankful for slippers. I am thankful for pajamas. I am thankful for balloons.

I should really do this more often than a few times a year.

ME: What are you thankful for?
M: Uh? Eating worms.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I only get to enjoy mine until 4PM 😛

What I Learned This Week – 4/6/14

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This week I have been following a new drama.

It is a medical based drama. A baby was born at just 24 weeks (they are supposed to cook for a full 40, or as close to it as possible) and less than a pound. The doctors said the preemie wouldn’t last 48 hours. But the couple was still so positive and happy. Getting pregnant had been a struggle for them. They had tried for years to have a baby that they could take fishing and make root for the Green Bay Packers.

With the prayers of all their friends and family and Facebook friends, the baby boy made it past 48 hours. He then made it past 72 hours. They called him their little fighter, their little angel.

I couldn’t help but be envious of their positive attitude. I had to send my own son off into operating rooms three times in the past, every time I was almost hysterical and convinced I would never see him alive again. And he was six months old and a healthy weight the first time that happened.

The thing is, this wasn’t a new television show or a Hollywood movie. This was the child of my former neighbors.

Neighbors are a weird thing. We are in the city. We lived close enough that our driveways and back doors are only a few feet apart. We would help each other look for our lost dogs in the dark. We would hear each other arguing with our spouses, either outside or when the windows were open. We would reveal things to each other in passing. For example, they were the third people to find out when I was pregnant with my own son. Only because they happened to be outside that night.

Yet, when all this happened, we aren’t technically close enough to them to help in any meaningful way. All I could give them were thoughts and prayers.

That wasn’t enough. The baby passed on after 4 days.

I know from my own limited experience with a child in the hospital that their lives must have revolved around that baby and that hospital for that period of time.  A hospital is not a nice place to live.  Especially if you are not the one who is being treated.  I have never lost a baby myself. I can’t imagine how horrible it will be for them to return home after this ordeal, empty-handed.

What I learned this week is that I am not good with birth. Or death. And that we never appreciate what we have.

I didn’t get that shining moment when you hold your baby and smile at it. I was busy puking while someone else was trying to tape a bag to his tiny nutsack so they could get a urine sample.

I live in denial about death. I try not to think about my hamster who died over ten years ago. I compartmentalized my gramma’s death. Part of my brain just thinks she is still off in the nursing home.

I think we are just programmed as humans to not be able to realize how lucky we are. It is so easy to get in an argument with my 3 year old son over eating his breakfast or sitting on the potty. I should be so happy that he is here and healthy. But, I guess, if I remembered that, I would also never discipline him and buy him Thomas toys until we are broke, bankrupt, and foreclosed on.

Life balance is hard. Maybe we should just spend a few minutes every day realizing what we really have.

This is all painful. It is not my story. That is why I haven’t included any names or dates. But a lot of my past week was thinking about this little peanut, and I felt like I had to spill it out of me.

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