31 Days of Gratitude: Days 7 – 19


Holy moly! I don’t know where the time has gone, other than to say that a big IT project my team is working goes live on January 9th so needless to say tempers are high and the work is insane! However, that is NO excuse to neglect my 31 days of gratitude- because let’s be honest though I’m grateful, I need to make this a priority! With that said, here are days 7-19.

Day 7: What place are you most grateful for? I think I am most grateful for Disneyland. This may surprise people, but I have very fond memories of visiting Disneyland as a child, one of my best friends got engaged while we were all in Disneyland, I’ve celebrated birthdays and bachelorette weekends in Disneyland, and it’s been my escape a time or two to mend a broken heart. It literally is the happiest place on earth. If you don’t smile when you walk through those gates then you probably didn’t have a magical childhood like I did, and I can’t wait to do that with my kids someday!

Day 8: What memory are you grateful for? There are so many days I am grateful for, the day my Dad had his heart transplant surgery, the two days my beautiful nieces were born, the list can go on and on. However, I am going to go with a very memorable day…the day I passed my graduate oral exam. This was an interesting time for me because I had just broken up with my ex of 5 years, my parents were not living in California (they were in Nevada), and it was the middle of the day. I remember getting up that morning and trying very hard to not throw up because I was so nervous. I put on a nice sweater and a pair of black slacks. I took one last look at myself in the mirror and headed out to the college. I was going to be meeting with three professors who knew me very well (they had also been my professors while I was in school for my bachelor’s degree). I got there on time, sat down on one side of the long intimidating table and the three professors walked in, and sat down across from me. I had submitted a ridiculously long exam that I had written pages upon pages of answers for – which I was not going to be interrogated about. It lasted about 2 hours and when it was complete they asked me to step outside and wait while they basically sat there and decided whether I had passed. Literally, 3 1/2 years of work, the stress, the tears, the worry had all come down to a 30 minute deliberation between 3 of my professors.

They called me back in and before I could sit down one of my professors said “congratulations.” I barely heard him, and I just kind of stared at him dumbly. Then he said, “Nikki, did you hear me? I said congratulations, you passed.” I said, “Oh!” And everyone started laughing. The funny thing is that I don’t know what I expected, maybe balloons? A procession? No, that was it. Just a simple congratulations. So, that was it. I now needed to walk back to my car and do something. Anything? I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked out, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, it was a really nice day, and I had just passed my master’s oral exam. Naturally, I called my mom to tell her – and I can’t really even remember what that conversation consisted of. But, getting into my car and taking a deep breath, I began to cry. There was a lot behind those tears, and that day was the most anticlimactic day of my life, but also the most satisfying. I will never forget that day, and that day was 100% mine – and I didn’t experience that with anyone else by myself today, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Day 9: What book are you most grateful for? This is a hard one for me because I love to read, and have read more books than I can count, but I found a love for art history books my first year in community college. My bookcase today is full of art books and I cherish them and would never, ever, not in a million years get rid of them. My love for these books started when I was in community college. I had told my counselor in high school to sign me up for an art class. What I had meant was like a drawing class or something (my family, and myself at times included, is very artistic). She placed me in an “Art 1” class – cool with me. When I went to pick up my text books my art class had a book! I was slightly excited because I just love books in general, but when I saw it I was VERY confused. It looked like a history book.

Turns out it was Art 1 – history of art. Like, literally starting from the beginning of time art work. I LOVED it! I fell in love with the topic, and I fell in love with my professor – figuratively that is. I have always held my fantastic and passionate teachers on a pedestal. They inspire me and motivate me which I find admirable. And Professor Zuliani did just that. I had never met a professor who was as passionate about art history as she was. She inspired me to take all of her art history classes, and at times toyed with the idea of exploring a career in the area. Alas, I didn’t because my options were small – either teach it or curate it – but nonetheless Professor Zuliani ignited something in me that made me love and appreciate art, learn it’s importance in our world history, and how indicative art is of what is socially and politically happening in our lives at the time. So, having these art history books that remind me of that passion I discovered and still have is something I will always be grateful for.

Day 10: What taste are you grateful for today? Coffee – especially on the weekends. I LOVE coffee, but may no means am I a coffee snob. However, coffee on the weekends is one of my favorite things (and Ruby’s too). Ruby knows that if I get up and don’t hit the shower first, that means my next stop is coffee and then either climbing back into bed to snuggle up with Ruby, or to plop on the couch, watch HGTV, snuggle up with Ruby and my cup of coffee. Coffee is also one of those things that brings people together, or keeps people’s connections alive. Coffee – the taste of waking up, staring your day, and these days with uber cold weather – helping me keep warm!

Day 11: What holiday are you grateful for? My birthday (no, I am not being selfish – read the next line), and my mom’s birthday. I realize these are two holidays, BUT they are very important to me because I believe it is one of the things that connects my mom and I the most. I am born on July 11th and my mom is born on July 13th. Some might think, oh no what a nightmare, two cancers under the same roof? Well, yeah sometimes that’s it, but most of the time it just means that we say the same things at the same times and like the same stuff. To have a mom that I’m not just genetically connected to, but also emotionally and spiritually is something I am grateful for and I’m happy that we celebrate that connection every year when we celebrate our birthdays that are so close to each other.

Day 12: What texture are you grateful for? Anything soft and fuzzy – not only does it make your brain relax a tiny bit upon touching it, but it reminds me the fuzzy scruffy thing I call my pup – Ruby Sue.

Day 13: What abilities are you grateful for? The ability to write. I have always had a passion for words. I was the kid that would be up until 1am reading instead of sleeping. But when I discovered that I also loved to write, and that I actually wasn’t half bad at it, it became something I am grateful for. It is the thing that made me a good student and the thing that has given me a successful career thus far. I get complete joy from writing and it’s something that happily relaxes me.

Day 14: What season are you grateful for? The holiday season. It encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Fall/Winter. Thanksgiving is all about eating all day – who doesn’t love that? Christmas is about magic – and is just that much more fun now that my nieces are here and Fall and Winter just seem a little more relaxing, and the excuse to sit on the couch cozied up with blankets – watching holiday movies!

Day 15: What sight are you grateful for today? The sight I’m most grateful for was one I saw/created that was the pile of Christmas gifts I just wrapped up. I’m grateful for this because I am capable of giving gifts to my friends and family this year, and I’m grateful to be showing the people I love how much I appreciate them.

Day 16: What about your body are you grateful for? My legs. These legs have run a handful of 5Ks, one 10K and 3 half marathons (13.1 miles). I admit that I don’t use them as I should for 30 minutes every day 😉 But I am definitely grateful for what they have been capable of doing in the past, and what I know they are still capable of doing in the future. Full marathon someday? Hmmm…I’ll have to come back to that one.

Day 17: What knowledge are you grateful for? One of the key pieces of knowledge I took away from college (and ironically enough, not academic) was to always have my resume updated and ready to go – no matter how secure in your job you feel you are. The professor who shared this with the class I used to think was completely insane, paranoid, crazy tree hugger (mind you, I am and Independent, middle-of-the-road type of person), but he was a extreme liberal. He also said that I should always have my passport up to date and handy. I have since consistently strived to do both (despite how crazy he sounded when he said it). For that piece of advice though, I’m grateful.

Day 18: What piece of art are you grateful for? Oh boy – this one is hard. I can’t choose just one, but as someone who once wanted to major in art history  I feel like I appreciate art on many levels. For example, I am very grateful for an original piece of art that my brother made for me. My brother Dustin’s style of artwork is unique and so beautiful. I will forever cherish the painting of my pup Ruby Sue that my brother created for me and gave to me for Christmas last year. Best present ever!

Day 19: What touch are you grateful for today? Puppy kisses. Ruby doesn’t give a lot of kisses, but when she does it’s the best – love that pup to the moon and back.