1. Y., my young Puerto Rican friend who likes to sometimes call me her American mom, phoned this morning and asked me what it means if the test shows two lines, but the second line is lighter than the first. I told her that her baby probably prefers pastels.
2. Another friend of mine, K., a single woman, gave an amazing talk about gratitude this evening at the Saturday session of our stake conference. I got to visit with her afterward and it was sweet to catch up a bit, and also compare notes about our recent thoughts on the subject of her address. K. took care of her elderly mother for ages till she died about three years back. K. told me that for as long as her mother lived with her, every day when K. came home from work her mother said to her, "I'm so glad you're back. It's so nice to have you home." When her mother passed away, K. said it was such a lonely feeling coming home to a quiet house with no one there to greet her with words of warmth and love. I'm sure the house would've loved to offer some, but like most houses, it didn't come outfitted with a tongue. After some time went by, K. decided she needed to get a pet: a cat for company. She carefully conducted a search for just the right creature. She looked everywhere, taking great pains to make no mistake. When she met up with a small cross little kitten she felt such a strong sense that this was her pet, so she took him in, lacerating claws and biting teeth and all. This cat now has a nasty reputation among the neighbors. Wo to the catsitter when K. goes on a trip! There have been stories of blood and gore, and I believe them. Boots, of course, is not a cuddler (not that anyone's offering), and he sniffs at the idea of condescending to purr . . . generally speaking. The astonishing thing is that every day when K. comes home from work, Boots is expectantly perched (as he is at no other time of the day or night) in the front window, watching for her arrival. When she walks through the door, Boots purrs at her with the greatest of genuine pleasure and solicitous affection, and they have their moment of greeting. K. says she knows that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives, and that he cared enough about her lonely feelings to help her locate a little grumpy cat who would say (in catspeak) the same things to her that her dear mother did. She attributes her recognition of this connection to spending time every night recounting her day and looking for ways to be grateful as she prays. She says, "I'm sure I would have missed that detail otherwise."
3. T., a friend from Salt Lake, stopped by late tonight on his way out of town to say hello and give us an update on life. He is in his early 50s, I think, and his wife of just a couple years, L., is either closing in on or just beyond 40. Their news? A baby on the way, of course. We don't have frequent contact with T. and L., but we like them both a lot. They'd heard from our good friends next door about our recent episode—miscarriage #3—and he was very serious about encouraging us to "keep trying," "whatever it takes," "the fourth time was the charm for us." He shared with us that they had miscarried three times in rapid succession before this one "took." (And at the six-month mark, they are well past their dangerously unlucky first trimester.) T. talked about environmental factors and all sorts of other possibilities that he saw as potential hindrances, so we agreed we should wear nothing but organic fig leaves and get off the consumer grid to help our fertility along. Anyway, he was so kind and so sincere. They've had dreams of two boys like we've had dreams of two girls, so his parting suggestion was that we merge the family lines when the time is right.
Why stop there? I'm also grateful for:
• spotting our friends for the first time out with their new adopted baby, and noticing how thrilled and involved they look
• the fragrant green wreath on my front door (finally a piece of Christmas cheer!)
• a wonderful handmade Japanese-style pin cushion, just arrived from Australia—thank you, Donna, for the fabulous PIF pressie!
• running half of my laps this morning
• no shin splints yet
• Portabella ravioli, sautéed mushrooms, garlic cream sauce
• knee socks
• way too many umbrellas and Rob's plan to give them to strangers getting wet
• contrasting friends
• hearing a story about Elder Russell M. Nelson memorizing faces and names of people he'd be with for less than a day
• the white stuff—the right stuff (snow, snow, and more snow)
• snowmen and snowwomen appearing everywhere
• safely accomplished car errands
• not falling down stairs
• the way the tiny girl dragged her dad away from the psychology aisle (also the sexuality aisle, which is where Dad's attention seemed to be stealthily drawn) and said, "C'mon, Dad, c'mon. C'mon, Dad. Kids' books. C'mon, Dad."
• seeing one of our teen friends doing a giftwrapping fundraiser with his speech and debate club at Borders (apparent positive extra-curricular involvement + one very überintelligent, dynamic kid = relief for those who worry about him)
• writing something small and impromptu for a Segullah word game
• News from Lake Wobegon
• walking together in the snow