101 Things I Appreciate from 2016

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At The Rose Bowl game

Inspired by Jeannette Maw’s post on 99 Ways 2016 Rocked It, and from my first ebook written years ago, 101 Ways to Uplift Your Spirit and of Those Around You, plus the fact that I’ve been quite silent here for months, I decided it was time for me to sit down, reflect on this past year and give it a huge dose of appreciation! So here goes:

1. I appreciate having a healthy 2016. It feels good!
2. I appreciate starting the year in California and ending it in NYC. Coast to coast, baby!
3. I appreciate having traveled to my loving home state of Iowa in between.
4. Speaking of travel, I loved spending time at Christmas with my kids in Iowa!
5. I loved their visit here in April, too!
6. I can’t forget the summer visit I made to Iowa, plus the September weekend visit.
7. I got to see my Iowa Hawkeye football beat Iowa State in September. Go Hawkeyes!
8. I loved having my daughter and her friend here in September and going to the Rutgers vs. Iowa football game, too! Go Hawkeyes!
9. While we didn’t win, I had an awesome time at the beginning of the year with my friend Sue and her hubby Tom in California! Go Hawkeyes!
10. I really love my alumni club people here in NYC. We have so much fun at game watches and I’ve made some amazing friends.  Go Hawkeyes!

Are you noticing a trend? I love my friends and family and my Iowa Hawkeyes! 🙂
11. I appreciate the two trips to Vietnam I made in 2016.
12. I love the colleagues that have become my friends in Vietnam. They are very special people.
13. I got to experience Emirates airlines for the first time in 2016 and liked it so much, I traveled on it again.
14. I loved my desert safari I did in Dubai! Who cares if it was tourist-y? It was a ton of fun and the desert was absolutely beautiful.

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The Arabian desert

15. I appreciate my friend Deborah and her daughter, Becca, for catsitting for me on my trips. It is so kind and helpful, and saves me money, too.
16. I appreciate having Jessica house and cat sit for me when Deborah, Becca and I went to Ann Arbor to get away, too! That was a win-win for all! And I got to see two friends I haven’t seen in a long while! 🙂
17. I love Vietnamese food. It’s so fresh and healthy.
18. I appreciate having fresh coconut water straight out of the coconut when I’m in Vietnam, too.
19. I appreciate that we finally figured out how to get a credit card for my office! It has generally made things much easier when buying things for our programs and traveling.
20. I also love Vietnamese coffee! How delicious!

Another trend? Let’s see, I love Vietnam, the people, the food, the hospitality, the travels I’ve done in 2016 there from my work (and the credit card I can now use) and the cat and house sitters who help support me while I’m gone. And my stopover in Dubai was awesome as well as my little get-away to Ann Arbor with my friend and meeting up with old friends!

21. I appreciate the 4 seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I love the change and when I’m tired of one season, it’s really not long before another one comes along.
22. While it fell on a weekend time when I didn’t have to work, the big snow storm at the beginning of 2016 was gorgeous. I appreciate being warm inside, until it was time to be out in the elements again.

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Someone else did all this work!

23. I appreciate not having to shovel sidewalks – one of the many benefits of renting!
24. I appreciate people who come around to help dig out our cars, too. It’s definitely worth the price and my back thanks me for it.
25. I really loved the hot weather this summer, too!
26. I appreciate the longer days of summer for the sounds and sights and fun one can have outside.
27. The spring flowers were so fragrant this year!
28. And the fall colors seemed to last a long time this fall. It was so beautiful, and especially on the campus where I work.
29. The ferrel cats in my neighborhood were well fed throughout all seasons, thanks to the former tenants and neighbors around.
30. I enjoyed my first year through all 4 seasons at my newest apartment.

Trending? 4 seasons, new apartment and feral cats, but more importantly, I’d say #appreciation is trending! 🙂

31. I appreciate warm showers.
32. I appreciate special soaps – especially the handmade ones.
33. I appreciate organic food.
34. I love that I can grow some food indoors in my apartment.
35. I appreciate hot water.
36. I appreciate clean water!
37. I love the walks on the boardwalk here I did in 2016. It’s a beautiful walk and feels great to hear and see the waves wash in and out while getting some exercise.

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Staten Island Boardwalk (at the fishing pier)

38. I appreciate the inspiration from my friend Judi this summer in buying myself a FitBit for my birthday.
39. I appreciate having another birthday in 2016!
40. I appreciate growing older but having people think I’m younger. hee hee

Trends? Water! Good food! Walks along the beach! Being youthful!

41. The presidential political race brought out extreme varieties of opinions from people all over the U.S. and abroad. I appreciate the often unwanted contrast for the clarity it gave me on who and what I wanted.
42. I appreciate Bernie Sanders for inspiring a younger generation during that process. He also inspired me. And wasn’t it fun when that bird sat on the podium while he was giving a speech and the campaign created a Birdie sticker? I got one!

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Birdie sticker

43. I appreciate my right to vote and appreciate that I voted. I always do and it is a right that I do not take lightly.
44. I appreciate the role of social media for the ease in contributing to causes and in gaining awareness about issues.
45. I also appreciate the resources out there online in which to verify the real news vs. the fake news.
46. I appreciate knowing that I usually feel a whole lot better when I don’t tune into the news everyday. I appreciate that I exercised that often during 2016 and turned it off.
47. I appreciate my ability to be quiet, sit still and meditate. It was often needed during 2016 and I appreciate using those skills to stay sane! lol
48. I’ve had a lot of fun watching the comic skits on this year’s election!
49. I’ve really enjoyed many conversations on Twitter as well.
50. I appreciate having hands and fingers that work perfectly to use a remote, to type on a keyboard, to grab a utensil, to handwrite in a journal and for many other reasons. I love when I remember to appreciate the little things like that.

Politics trending?! Who would have thought that? lol

51. I love conveniences in this modern world of ours.
52. I love Amazon Prime for the delivery of items quickly and with free shipping.
53. I love delivery of good food from Fresh Direct.
54. I’ve loved trying out the food boxes where you cook the meals and I’ve tried quite a few. My favorite is SunBasket because I can order Paleo meals that are all organic and non-GMO.
55. I love that I still have more food box services to try! New businesses keep popping up!
56. I love this city that never sleeps! There are many conveniences to living in this city.
57. I appreciate the Staten Island ferry for its 24/7 service and for the half-hour increments late at night. No more waiting an hour when I’ve just missed that 12:30 a.m. boat!

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On the Staten Island ferry

58. I appreciate my NYCID card and the cultural benefits it has. I appreciated become a member of the Brooklyn Public Library this year.
59. I really am enjoying my Theatermania Gold Club membership, too! I’m getting to see many events and performances for the small fee of $4 or $4.50. It’s a deal!
60. I appreciate the shows on Broadway I saw this year. There were quite a few and I’m blessed to be here to enjoy them.

Trending #NYC #conveniences #Sunbasket #Broadway #StatenIslandFerry

61. I love how quickly Zelda adapted to my new place this year. What cat wouldn’t love the bountiful of windows up high, with eagle-eye views of treetops, birds and squirrels? She’s got her CAT-TV on all day! 😉
62. I love how Zelda talks with me and all the cute noises she makes.
63. I love taking photos of Zelda, and appreciate how she seems to really love the camera/phone!
64. I love Zelda and her boxes, too.
65. I appreciate finding an easy way to make a little hide-out for her that I saw on Facebook, using a t-shirt and a box. She climbs in there sometimes and thinks I can’t see her. hee hee
66. I love Zelda’s personality and how she tries to escape to the ground floor of my building, knowing perfectly well that it’s against “the rules.” She meows and eventually comes back up the stairs, talking all the way. It reminds me of a little kid whose has cookie crumbs over his/her face and says “Who, me?” when asked if s/he took a cookie! Ha! She’s like a little kid some times and makes me laugh.
67. I love snuggling with Zelda. She particularly loves laying over my leg and stretching out her paw.
68. I appreciate how much Zelda loves to be brushed, too. It helps control the fur and makes her coat shiny and bright.
69. I appreciate the love that pets give so generously and how they bring out the love within us.
70. I appreciate having a cat again after many years without a pet. I also appreciate cat videos on Facebook! They’re the best!

Yes, she’s trending! #Zelda.

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Zelda claiming the pillows as hers!

71. I appreciate the “firsts” I had this year.
72. I rode a camel.
72. I drank camel milk.
73. I toured the Arabian desert.
74. I rode down the Mekong Delta and through narrow passages in a small boat.
75. I met Cindy from my appreciation group.

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Cindy and me at NY harbor

76. I met up with a family member and met his spouse here when they were in NYC.
77. I ate at several restaurants in Iowa City I’d never eaten at before.
78. I optimistically bought tickets to the Big10 championship game early, thinking Iowa would be there.
79. I easily sold those tickets once I knew Iowa wasn’t going! lol
80. I tried a couple of veggies I’d never eaten before from my purchase of a winter  “stock-up” veggie sale through a local co-op.

Trending #firsts

81. I appreciate the friends and coaches I have in my life.
82. I appreciate Jeannette Maw and everyone at GVU!
83. I love Ming and her Reiki Fur Babies, and her and Amina’s Being Present to Serve.
84. I love being a part of Andy Dooley’s Vibe Tribe.
85. I love that my Facebook group  “41 Days of Appreciating Rampages.” While it’s not always very active, I appreciate the energy of the group and when some of us get inspired to post our appreciations more regularly. It’s a great group of people in there!

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41 Days of Appreciating Rampages Facebook group

86. I love, love, love the women in the special secret Facebook group of appreciators. You know who you are!
87. I appreciate the new Facebook groups I’ve been part of this year, too.
88. I appreciate the Sunday #SpiritChat community on Twitter. It’s a great community of beautiful people.
89. I love the Laughter Yoga community! hee hee
90. While he transitioned in 2015, I’m still inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s works. He lives on in so many ways through his work and through Hay House and his family members.

Trending #coaches #appreciation #laughter #inspiringpeople

And last, but not least, are 11 more “little things” I appreciate. If I sit and savor just the thought of these things and moments, appreciation flows very easily.

91. The sound of the birds chirping and singing.
92. A cat’s purr and especially when it’s right up against my ear.
93. That swaying movement cats make right before they’re going to pounce on their “prey.”
94. The sun peeping through the clouds after a rainy or cloudy day.
95. The warmth of the sun through my bedroom window, heating up my bedroom with its rays.
96. A teapot whistling as I know my cup of tea will soon be ready for sipping!
97. The morning smell of freshly brewed coffee.
98. The sweet touch of a loving partner.
99. A hand-written card in the mail from a loved one.
100. Drawings and art projects I have from my kids that they made.
101. The excitement of a new season of Iowa Hawkeye football! Go Hawkeyes! 🙂

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University of Iowa Hawkeye football – Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa

I Love My Iowa Hawkeyes!

I have a passion for college football, and particularly for my Iowa Hawkeyes team. They are my team and have been since I can remember. I’m originally from Iowa and particularly from the Iowa City area, so it follows that I’m a true Iowa Hawkeye fan. So if you add on a couple of degrees from the University to that, you have a recipe for a true fanatic. Then again, if you’re from anywhere in Iowa, you’re likely to either be a Hawkeye,  Cyclone or Panther fan. (Cyclones are the ones at Iowa State and the Panthers are from the University of Northern Iowa).   And if you dare to get confused on which school is which, watch out! The fans will set you straight right away.

Why do I love my Iowa Hawkeyes and college football in general so much? Let me give you a taste of what it means to me and how much I really appreciate it all.

I love the anticipation of  the weekly Saturday game, the camaraderie of talking about the upcoming game with other fans, the planning on where to watch it (or) where to tailgate and what to wear, if I have tickets and can travel back for the game, the suspense and controversy over the weekly football rankings, the unity of the fans brought together toward a common goal, the excitement inside the stadium, full of rituals like the marching band, the tunnel and the players who join hands together entering the stadium like a herd of hungry cattle rushing into a pasture of green grass to eat, the coordinated effort of which color to wear for a particular game, the celebration of every first down, and particularly those key plays like interceptions, forced fumbles and 70 yard + touchdown runs, the energy of a stadium full of fans cheering on their team, the excitement of the players as they encourage fans to yell loudly by waving their hands up and down, the noise from the crowd of the opposing team’s 3rd down attempt, cheering our defense on,  the appreciation of the fans by the players when after a win on the road when the team gathers to sing the “Iowa Fight Song” together with their fans…..

….I could go on and on but it’s time to take a deep breath! 🙂 What is evident about being a Hawkeye fan is that we are extremely passionate and loyal to our team. I “survived” the years of Iowa Hawkeye football where we used to hold the national record for the most losing seasons, and was a loyal Hawkeye and would go to games, even when we got beat by scores like 64-0. The difference between then and now is that the fans would get excited if we scored ANY points at all back then, while now we’ve seen a much more favorable winning streak over the years.

Hawkeye fans are special fans. They stick with their team over decades, pass down family traditions generation after generation, have all types of Hawkeye gear to show off their Hawkeye pride, and can tell you where they were watching the Iowa vs. Michigan game in 1985–and if they’re not old enough to remember that game, they have a family member who does so they’ve heard the story of how exciting that game was between the #1 Iowa vs. #2 Michigan. (By the way, I was in the stands, cheering on my Hawkeyes to the victory.)

Iowa football  brings people together in ways that people wouldn’t normally get together otherwise, united by the ONE thing that matters: their black and gold. I love how being a Hawkeye fan connects me with others.  I can travel the world with an Iowa Hawkeye shirt on and always find someone who yells out, “Let’s go Hawks!” or makes a comment about how good the game was.

Yes, I love my Iowa Hawkeyes and I’m glad I was born a Hawkeye fan. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Didn’t you know that it’s in our genes? 🙂  And no matter how far away I live from Iowa City, I will always be a Hawkeye fan.  Let’s go Hawks!