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Okay – so I discovered Lizzi – and her wonderful blog Considerings about a month ago.

She does this blog hop every weekend called Ten Things of Thankful.

Ten Things of Thankful

And I pondered giving it a go.

Then didn’t.

But I’ve had an interesting few weeks.  And during them I realized – while sometimes life isn’t always non-stop cupfuls of awesome, I do have a lot to be thankful for.  And there were a number of moments in the past little while where I realized, “Yes.  Thankful for THIS.”

To add to it – this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  So perhaps that also helps with the sudden inclination to thankful reflection.  However, if I need to reflect on this weekend specifically – I’m mostly thankful to be attending (NOT HOSTING) two family Thanksgiving meals.  Did I mention not hosting?  After last weekend’s non stop party hosting ‘palooza, I’m thankful that all that’s expected of me this weekend is to show up; be a good guest; make sure my kids behave; eat; drink; and say thank you.   And I’m a wonderful guest, if I do say so myself.  I do that awesome!

But getting back to the here and now of this post, given part of the point of blogging is to also write things down so as to remember them – as well as to share with others – I give you ten things I’ve been thankful for in the past couple weeks.

Number 10

My iPhone randomly stopped charging earlier this week.  It was working just fine, except for the fact it wouldn’t charge.  I would have backed all my photos up to the computer – except that the connection wasn’t recognized by my computer.  I tried two different connector cords before I started emailing myself all the photos I wanted to keep before my phone died since my last back-up was about three months ago.  That was my last iPhone trauma.  You can read about that here if you are so motivated, but the short story is that both Roger’s (my provider) and the Apple store were pretty useless and basically both told me my phone was ruined, my warranty was void (on my less than a year old phone – my baby drooled into it and water damage voids the warranty), and that almost a year’s worth of photos were lost, and both just tried to sell me a new phone for $200.  I then found this little shop called Bill & Dave Computer Repair who fixed my problem in about 15 minutes for about $50 without losing my photos.  So two days ago I swung by there between a meeting and work.  They sold me a connector cord that worked – for two dollars – which they’d picked up from the dollar store.  I cringe to think the time I would have wasted – and extra money I’d have inevitably spent – if I’d first booked a meeting at the “Genius Bar” in the Apple Store or tried to call Rogers. So I’m thankful – again – for Bill & Dave and cannot say enough good things about them!

Number 9

I discovered three weeks ago that there is a Rock Art Exhibit on the Ottawa River, at the Remic Rapids, less than 10 minutes from my office tower.  I can’t believe I can decide, weather permitting, to stretch my legs and go hang out here to clear my head.  So thank you to artist John Ceprano, who apparently has been at this since 1986, making the Remic Rapids even more beautiful than nature did on its own.

Number 8

My eldest daughter turned four this past weekend.  The Godparents of my youngest – good family friends – not only remembered, but realized they’d be away and bought her a present earlier in the week.  It is a little dolly – sort of looks liked Skipper from Barbie if you want a visual – and she’s been playing with her non-stop ever since she got it – combing her hair and taking her with her wherever she goes.  I am thankful for good friends like this – who not only remember the important moments, but know my kids well enough to even know what my daughter would love.  I can only aspire to this level of detail with friends.

Number 7

I am thankful for drama free coffee.  We have a coffee club at work where we all chip in, in rotation, and purchase coffee to brew at the office.  I had initially thought this was just our floor.  But apparently coffee-lovers two floors down make the trek to our floor for their freshly brewed coffee.  I discovered this last Friday because our admin assistant was out sick and so coffee was not made by 8:20 when they arrived, mugs in hand.  The lack of coffee started a discussion on how a) 75% of the time coffee was not ready by 8:15 as per coffee club guidelines (thus resulting in having to come up, brew, and wait) and b) they couldn’t brew it on their own floor because someone there had an “odor aversion” to coffee and had contacted Health and Safety.  They can apparently only drink coffee on their floor in covered cups to prevent unduly affecting their odor averse colleague.  And it is not allowed in meetings.  So I am suddenly thankful I can be a “loud and proud” coffee drinker.

Number 6

My Aunt – a favourite of both my daughters because she is, well, a force of nature – came to visit last week.  She stayed with my parents, but brought my 3-YEAR-OLD a gift: a CHINA CUP AND TEA POT to “play” tea party with.  I initially thought she had taken leave of her senses.  But she presented it to my daughter in such a way that she carries it about like it’s the Holy Grail.  She explained how it was breakable, and how, now that she was almost four, she could be trusted with these things, and that she had to be careful.  She showed her how to hold the lid so it didn’t fall off.  Then they had a few “dry run” tea parties together where my daughter practiced.  We’ve now had – and played – with the set multiple times without incident.  My daughter is very careful with it, putting it back in its cushioned packaging when we’re done playing.  I bow down and pay homage to the parenting prowess of the generation before me.  I am thankful for the wisdom of my elders.

Number 5

I mentioned above that my eldest turned four last weekend.  We had a party for her on Sunday (2 actually – kiddy party from 1-3, then hosting extended family dinner at 6:30) and so – given life – much of last Saturday was spent running around like insane people preparing and cleaning.  As such, my sister-in-law offered to take the girls out that afternoon to the Carleton Butterfly Show so we could have some time alone to get things organized.  This is a wonderful annual event put on by Carleton University in Ottawa – we went last year and the girls had a blast.  So I knew they’d have fun, while my husband and I got ready for Sunday.  So I am thankful for my brother and wonderful sister-in-law.  Here are some pics from last year’s show:

I was initially bummed that I was missing it this year – but as it turns out, they didn’t end up going as they got there and the wait was over an hour so they went to the park instead.  The show is still running this weekend, so, depending how the days go, I might try again with the girls.

Number 4

I am thankful for my daycare provider. Two examples from the past two weeks as to why she is wonderful.  Reason one:  There was an accident on the way to pick up my kids on Thursday and so I was almost 30 minutes late picking them up.  I texted (from the traffic jam – so I really. wasn’t. driving) to let her know I’d be late.  And she was fine.  They even had plans and her text back was to the effect of “No problem. Can you park in the street?  Because as soon as you get here we need to leave.”  No berating because they had plans I’d obviously adversely influenced. Reason two: She not only gave us advice as to who to invite for the party last weekend, but as she couldn’t make it (because we invited both her and her daughter) she had a wonderfully thoughtful gift for my daughter when she left daycare last Friday.  Two little dollies and a collection of little doggies complete with feed bowls etc…  My daughter played with them contentedly for a good hour + when we got home (and many times since) and so obviously loved them.  So many times thankful we found her in 2010 and she continues helps raise our (now) two children.

Number 3

I alluded to it before with the rock art, but there is so much more to it.  My new office – I recently changed jobs – is less than a 10 minute walk from the Ottawa River Parkway.  If rock art doesn’t do it for me on any given day, I can also now spend my lunch wandering down the bike trails near the Ottawa River and checking out the views below.  There is something so immensely calming about being able to walk out and suddenly be so close to nature.

Number 2

My husband took the day off work last Friday.  And cleaned the house.  That’s all I have to (OMG thankful) say about (in case you missed it: THANKFUL) that.

Number 1

I went to Hog’s Back two weekends ago with my daughters.  For non-locals, it’s basically a big urban park area in Ottawa along the Rideau River with a big waterfall in the middle.  I’ve taken my eldest before and she had fun scaling the rocks and throwing stuff in the water.

I got a bit ahead of myself, in the way that parents do when they visualize idyllic scenes with their kids, and I figured I’d bring both out for a few hours because a) the weather was gorgeous and b) my husband needed a break.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some wonderful moments, but there were also the moments where I wondered a) what made me think I could scale rocks with two kids under 4 and, b) what made me think hanging out near rapids with two kids under 4 as they ran up to the edge and chucked stuff in the water (taken from a stagnant pool that, honestly, could have contained broken condoms and syringes as far as I could see) was a good idea.

Anyway, we’d navigated all that without incident, I’d snapped a few forgettable photos – lamenting the limits of my iPhone, and we were leaving, when this random man came up to me and said, “I took a photo of your kids, I hope you don’t mind.”

Well, my honest, gut reaction was, well, yes, I do.  Can you please delete it?

But I stopped my cynical self and instead said something like, “Oh, okay, That’s nice.”  Rational me thinking that, really, if there is some insidious reason for this, the main damage has been done – the picture has been taken – and I should figure out the “scam”.

He shows me the picture.

He seemed very nice.  He was with his partner/wife/girlfriend; he had a good quality camera.  I married a photographer and my father is a hobby photographer so I know me a good camera when I see it!

It’s a good picture.  I say as much.  You can’t see my kids’ faces. I’m kinda relieved at that.  I’m still busily trying to figure out what he wants.  Is he going to pull out a water heater contract and try and sign me up?  Are my kids going to end up on some freaky site?  But I don’t get that vibe.

I compliment the photo and say goodbye.  He says he could email it to me if I give him my email address.

I pause again.  This seems benign.  Nice even.  But when do strangers do something just to be nice?  What’s the angle?  I rack my brain and can’t work out the harm in handing out an email I’ve been using since 1997 for anything and everything.

He taps it into his smart phone while my kids, being kids, wander off in two different directions and his wife/partner chases after my youngest.  I have a flash from episodes of “Without a Trace”.  Is this the scam?  No.  His wife catches my youngest, passes her back to me and everything ends.

My family – parents, husband, brother – second guesses my every move at Sunday night dinner. I should have demanded deletion of the photo.  I shouldn’t have given my email.  I should have fled the scene!

On the following Monday, I got an email from Victor Deveau with this beautiful photo of my two girls:

Princesses and Diamonds

He’s a photographer who took a good shot; liked it; shared it; and nothing more.  And he’s got some beautiful photos you can check out via the link above if you are so inclined.  I love this photo.  It is a gift I am thankful for – both for the photo  – and for the reminder that sometimes people are just – kind – with no further expectation.

Happy Thanksgiving!