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Thanks A Lot

(Meant to post this last week. What a shocker: my blog is late…)

In November I do “the Thankful Project.” That means that every day of the month I post on Facebook something I am thankful for. Some days it’s easy to come up with something that makes me genuinely grateful. Other days, its a struggle. But I think that’s the point of the exercise: no matter what is going on in your life, you need to know that there is good in your life.

Here’s a day to day account of this month’s project!

Thankful project day 1: HWSNBN is home from his European trip, and so tonight: we date!

Thankful project day 2: spending the day with my friend Anna learning travel secrets at the Thrifty Traveler University. My head is reeling with all the info, but I can’t wait to put it to use!

Thankful project day 3: In a few hours I will see my girlie!!! Been more than 2 months since I’ve seen Singer Girl!

Thankful project day 4: the amazing volunteers at Secondhand Hounds. Every week it seems I have a puppy party staffing crisis. But somehow, all the dogs, drivers and wranglers come together in the end. And I can breathe, even when a time Zone away!(I was visiting Singer Girl at school in Ann Arbor)

Thankful project day 6: that Singer Girl discovered this fascinating big school in such a cute little town! @uofmichigan #goblue #college #annarbor #thankfulproject @University of Michigan


Thankful project day 7: Kate at Peak Life Clinic! Who knew getting voluntarily suck with dozens of little needles would make me feel so good? Headache? What headache?

Thankful project day 8: that I am able to spend fun days with my mom! Thanks for planning our outing! (we went to a huge craft fair/Christmas boutique event at US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings) 74365739_10220359545409009_362196215569317888_n

Thankful project day 9: tears and heartache. Today I said goodbye to the last of the sub pups. Stickball Special was my favorite from day one, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a tiny bit grateful every time the vet said he needed more time before he could go to his forever home. So today I cried. And my heart hurts. But when I see the smile on his adopter’s face, I know it’s okay. Lots of highs fostering this group (like having folks call them fat when I know how hard we worked to feed them) and lows (I still miss sweet Phyllis). My heart hurts, but I am grateful for the opportunity to help them survive and thrive. @shhfostersmn #StickballSpecial #Styx #neonatal #givetothemaxday #adopted #yellowlab @ Lake Minnetonka 73224770_10220370101952916_7802760665390645248_o

Thankful project day 10: that I live in a place that has so much character and variety and fun (and that I have cool friends who want to explore it with me!). Today’s calories brought to you from @kegandcasemn , @truckparkusa, #cosettasstpaul #sundayfunday #thankfulproject #food #stpaul #minnevangelist @ Saint Paul, Minnesota 74915057_10220383104917982_5047409986750119936_o

Thankful project day 11: my dad, my son, my nephew, my father in law, my uncle, my brother in law, my grandfathers, and all my ancestors who have served in all the wars of this country. Thank you for your service. (Veterans’ Day post) 318417_2564603604658_1340499554_n

Thankful project day 12 (yesterday!): that I have found the Skipper salute community, where we hold each other’s hands while we hand over kleenex and pour the wine. This weekend I get to help make holiday care packages for military men and women deployed all over the globe through the valiant efforts of Semper Fi Flo. If you want to help, she is still accepting donations!

Thankful project day 13: I am FINALLY getting around to getting the Spooktacular pics published! (this referenced my Halloween Party blog post)

Thankful project day 14: thanks to everyone who has donated today to their favorite charities! Give to the Max Day is THE BIGGEST day of the year for many. It certainly is for Secondhand Hounds! What happens today determines the course of the next year — who we can save. We have a benefactor who has pledged to match your donations, so please contribute something. ANYTHING will help! Donate before midnight tonight!

Thankful project day 15: yesterday I kinda chilled, as the day before had been pretty darn crazy! Two puppy parties, and lots of online stalking watching the G2theMax numbers changing.  At the end, we did it. Actually, YOU did it! Secondhand Hounds brought in $400,000 in donations! That. Is Amazing. Every dollar will count — whether it’s $10 to microchip a dog, or $5000 to save a sick litter of puppies with parvo or distemper (we have THREE such litters right now, two with parvo, one with distemper. So far we have lost about six puppies, but we are working hard to save the rest. Vaccinate your pets, people!!!). Thank you to all!

Thankful project day 16: Stevie Nicks! Happy gotcha day, Miss Stevie. The Stevester has been with us officially for one year today, and we couldn’t be more grateful. She is still a bit of a hot mess at times (some people have dogs who defend their homes against strangers. Ours pees.). And yet again we find ourselves dog proofing when we leave the house — but not against food, as we did for Penny Torres, but for anything miss neurotic can destroy during her fear we won’t return. Like tissues. Or baking soda. Or scrub brushes. But she is bombproof with puppies, a hilarious goofball, and makes coming home a joy. I recommend everyone feather their empty nest with a touch of fur! 75486070_10220434757809272_3258653513529425920_o

Thankful project day 17: cooking. I am grateful that having food is a given for me and those I love. I am grateful that I get joy from cooking. I am grateful that I have people with whom to share a meal. Tonight’s meal includes wild rice given to me as a gift from the lovely gal who adopted my last foster. Food brings us together! 74188269_10220449173729661_555894013643718656_n

Thankful project day 18: the Power of 100. This amazing group of like-minded women meets quarterly to choose a locally-based charity to support. Each time three people present worthy options and the group votes who to support. After many tries on my part, they picked the neonatal program at Secondhand Hounds.

Some folks have questioned why I kept presenting. Well, every time I got up and spoke, a few people stopped me afterwards. Either to hand me a separate check, or to ask questions. I met wonderful women who were genuinely I trigger about fostering, adoption, rescue, and how they could help. So yes: the meant is amazing. But the chance to bring awareness is invaluable.

If you would like to learn more about the Power of 100, come with me next time! It’s a fun, quick, casual gathering, and the group has donated more than $100,000 to local charities!


Thankful project day 19: going clubbing in my 50s. Wine club, meet book club. #thankful #thankfulproject #bookclub #wineclub @pejuwinery #pinotnoir @calmereestatewinery @annpatchett #thedutchhouse #wine


Thankful project day 20 (yesterday): Etsy! I can shop online and still support small business people!!

Thankful project day 21: the moments I have left with my dad. 75081232_10220484626055947_3101722198876880896_n


Thankful project day 22: a quiet night at home. Dinner will likely be popcorn and wine, and I’m okay with that. Busy (but fun) weeks ahead!

Thankful project day 23: new friends who enjoy doing fun things! @mn_arb #lights #holiday #doubledatenight #tistheseason @ Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 76911049_10220512657756722_2248418798249967616_o

Thankful project day 24: that my brother Trevor found Sarah and married her 6 years ago today. She’s a keeper. Him? Jury’s still out. Happy anniversary you crazy kids!

Thankful project day 25: bubble baths, books, and wine! (yeah, I’ve mentioned 2 of the 3 of those before. But I am on my third book since that post, and well, like more than that bottles of wine since then)

Thankful project day 26 (again, a day late): the girl is home! And thank goodness Singer Girl arrived before the storm!

Thankful project day 27: (I posted a link to my blog post, “Merry Thanksvgivmas”)

Thankful project day 28: the Melly-dallys and their infinite hospitality. Thank you, Mike, Erika, Lucy, Joey and Paige for another fun, delicious Thanksgiving. Fat and happy, signing off!

Thankful project day 29: When you are ready to snuggle in for the night before 7pm, and Netflix drops an almost 4 hour movie that you’ve been excited to see. I mean, I know we’ll never finish it in one sitting, but at least we have a fighting chance to get it more than halfway done! (NOTE: we watched “The Irishman.” So good!)

Thankful project day 30: the tree is up, and my girl Is home for one last night. It has been an emotional few days, and I will miss her again when she is gone.

We all need to concentrate on what we have in this life, and not worry so much about what we lack. I am thankful for all of you!

Falling low, Swinging High, and Getting Stabbed

One of my resolutions was to blog more, and if I didn’t have something to write about, I should find something. So I slipped on the ice, paid to have needles rammed into my body, and flew through the air. At the same time — and not.

Let me explain.

We’ve had an interesting couple of months, weather wise, in Minnesota. Currently we are going through a massive and frankly nerve-wracking melt down. With record levels of snow fall in February, and lots of rain and melting temps in March, people are bailing out basements and digging out storm drains and bagging sand.  This might get very ugly.  We are torn.  We desperately want spring, but man it is a wet price to pay.

In January, we enjoyed (survived?) the Polar Vortex. It was effing cold. For a week, our temps raged from a high of 17 F to a low of -26 F — without wind chill.  It was tough. Then we spiked to 39 and everything MELTED. Good news? Nope. Then it froze. Hard. Sheets of ice so beautiful and deadly we even had a snowplow truck slide sideways down a hill (

This big freeze happened on a day devoted to friendship, side bets, and nachos: Super Bowl Sunday. I was enjoying a party at our friends’ home, and after the game stepped outside to go home.

One step. And I was up and DOWN.

My husband saw it happen — our friends cred out for help.  Everyone assumed I would have a concussion as it was hard. The cold ice actually felt good for a minute, so I chose to lay there, taking stock, assessing the damage. Nothing apparently broken, amazingly. We would late find out that hospitals were full of the injured, many with brain bleeds.  Hand surgeons would be booked nonstop to repair all the appendages fruitlessly used to break falls. Luckily my hands were full of leftover yumminess, so the only casualty related to my hands was some spilled meatball sauce (and if you have had my friend Sandi’s balls, you know that is a tragedy).

But the price for intact hands was a whacked back. After a week of muddling through the gripping, breath-taking pain, I got checked out by a doctor who proclaimed me only bruised, thankfully. But this pain wasn’t going anywhere, so HWSNBN decided I should try something new: acupuncture.

I guess he knows me well — I rarely shy from adventure, so I was game.  I mean, it might help. A few days later I was having my pulses listened to and my tongue examined.  Then it was lay down (easier said than done) and prepare to be pricked.

The whole thing was pretty cool. I have done three sessions so far with Meghan at Peak Life Clinic ( The first time I went in I could barely move; by the time I left I was pain free. Now, it didn’t last forever, but each time I have gone in I have felt better and better. She does my front first, then my back, then cupping (google images of Michael Phelps, cupping, and you will get an idea of what my back looked like!). It’s relaxing, and weirdly successful. Heck, one time I was congested from a cold. She stuck a few well placed needles and within minutes my nose was clear and dripping. Very weird!

At my second session, we talked about my date night that evening, and how we were about to do something probably really stupid for my healing back: trapeze lessons. Yes, HWSNBN and I dragged our 50 year old bodies up a long narrow ladder and jumped off the platform. Repeatedly. I booked the class at Twin Cities Trapeze Center (

For 90 minutes we were strapped in and swinging, culminating in an actual catch by another person.  I mean: so cool! And soooo hard. When I first revealed to HWSNBN what we were doing, he was giddy, boasting he would be doing flips and stuff (and reminding me of his brief foray into gymnastics as a kid). After one turn on the bar, we quickly realized this was not a game for the young. We were so exhausted by the end of the night we couldn’t even make it to after-event cocktails (which really sucked, because my outfit that night was super cute: some 20-something gals ask me where I got my clothes, as they said I was the best dressed person in the room when we went to dinner before the lessons. Total ego boost!).

The next day we were comparing bruises, and deciding which hurt most — the backs of our legs, or our shoulders, or, in my case, my back.  So yeah: not the best activity for my bruised back.

I have since done more acupuncture, and some chiropractor appointments. The healing process is often two steps forward, one step back.  Oddly enough, getting back on the treadmill made all the pain go away for several days (until I had to lift and twist and move supplies while volunteering at Secondhand Hounds).  I’m looking to add a massage into my mix sometime soon — maybe next week when I can fit it in.In the mean time, I walk like a penguin over the remaining ice patches I see!




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