1. Gratitude. Yes, on this week’s list of things I’m grateful for is gratitude. I was outside looking at the sky when I got up this morning and I realized that this list could be subtitled “things that keep me from giving up.” Noticing, being aware and amazed, feeling that warm rush of thankfulness that is a strange mix of hello/goodbye, love and grief, full and empty — keeps me from giving up. Sometimes it’s as simple as birds in the feeder or a glass of orange juice or a warm shower, and other times it’s more complicated, bigger than that, like hugging Eric as we stand in our kitchen in a house we’ve made our home for 20 years with a love that’s sustained us for almost 30 years, knowing that we are so lucky and also that it won’t last, that everything we love will die, including us.

2. Morning walks. We were back on our regular schedule this week. It involved some different routes because of the snow still left on the ground. After a few days without more snow coming down to cover it or enough sun to melt it all, the trails where people have walked pack down, with the top layer thawing and refreezing into a sheet of ice, so to walk our normal dirt trails means wearing spikes on my shoes and has the potential to make Ringo’s feet too cold or him slip, so we stay on the city paved trails that are kept clear. Thankfully, there are still spots on these routes where we can see the river.

3. Pink sky. Some mornings it’s so vibrant, it changes the color of the light inside the house.

4. Ringo’s lost & found. I told you recently about the pair of gloves, which started to wear and tear and thankfully he found a bear on a walk to replace them so I could sneak them into the trash. A few days ago, his find was a soft fuzzy duck, this one not for dogs but a baby toy, the kind our Dexter always loved so much. It’s the new favorite. And just to be clear, if we can even guess at the true owner, such as a dog toy in someone’s front yard, we make him leave it. We only take home the truly lost.

5. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Eric was back at work this week and classes start next week, so Ringo and I were missing him.

Bonus joy: hanging out with Chloe’ and Hendrix, tater tots with salt and homemade fry sauce (seriously, the sauce is so good I’ve planned entire meals around it), old school grilled cheese sandwiches (texas toast with “american” cheese slices), new Catfish episodes, podcasts, really good books, my Kindle, snow tires, Wild Writing, vaccines, clean sheets, orange juice, a warm shower, cuddling with Ringo, smart phones, texting with Mom and Chris, feeling better after a couple of weeks of crud, down blankets and pillows and coats, wool socks, practice, physical therapy, gummy vitamins, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.

I'd love to hear what you think, kind and gentle reader.

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