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I love standing at a train station platform and waiting for one to come along and whisk you away to a new place. Yes, I purchased the tickets weeks in advance and spent wayyy too much time packing the night before (It’s tradition!) But, as I stood at the station Friday morning and took a deep breath of the recently crisped autumn air, I felt the familiar pre-trip excitement I always experience. “I made it! It’s really happening!” Doesn’t matter if it’s a flight to Italy or a train to DC, I am perpetually surprised when my plans come to fruition.

Now, I’m sitting on the train home, admiring the rusty reds and oranges appearing among the green leaves as we move north. I’m full of delicious food and new ideas, sore from some crazy workouts, and warmed by new and old friendships. I’m feeling pretty thankful…so here is week two:

1. I’m thankful that my mom personifies “mother knows best.” No one understands where I’m coming from better than she does and no one looks out for me with the same protective passion. And she was totally right, I would have been one sad little girl if I hadn’t brought a jacket this weekend!

2. I am thankful for a job that I love and that also gives me the freedom to do things I love. Sometimes I wonder how I got here and where I will go next. Sometimes I don’t feel like going in to work, and sometimes I stay in the office way too late at night. But I can honestly say I love the values, the people and the work. I feel challenged, yet comfortable. I feel capable of making a difference, without all of the pressure of having to solve every problem. I have a fantastic boss, who I learn from every day. And at the end of the work day, or the end of the week, I can leave it behind and enjoy my life outside of work. I can afford to splurge and afford to save. Someday I might trade it all in for something utterly different, but I need to slow down and remember to enjoy these blessings now!

3. I am thankful for eggplant.Fairy Tale Eggplant This often underrated food is one of the tastiest (and prettiest foods) out there! Just take a look at these from the Eastern Market’s stands. Fittingly, these are known as “Fairy Tale Eggplants.” My favorite variety of my favorite food would have a Once-Upon-A-Time vibe. Props to Pat for taking a picture for me when my phone ran out of juice!

4. I’m thankful for fresh sheets! Nothing is better than sliding between the covers of newly laundered sheets.

5. I’m thankful for bees. Yes, this is nearly as random as it sounds. I had to do some data entry at work this week, and to help pass the time, I took a break from Pandora and listened to some TED talks. Maria Spivak’s talk on “Why Bees are Disappearing” both relieved and terrified me. I know that bees are dying out, and I could imagine the catastrophic effect on the planet if they were to become endangered (let’s not even contemplate extinction). Winnie the Pooh Bear BeeI had also heard a major contributing factor to their decline is wireless technology disrupting the frequencies bees use to navigate the world. Yikes! With wireless being convenient, desirable and downright inescapable at this point, I felt very conflicted. Maria makes no mention of this, so I can once again rest easy while trying to achieve my dream of pumping music through every room of the house wirelessly one day.  So long as I plant some bee friendly flowers in the yard to help ensure our pollinating friends survive against the onslaught of factors that actually are contributing to their struggle to survive.

6. I am thankful for keyboards and mouses. Touch screens are atrocious. I said it; they are the worst thing that ever happened in technology. I just spent over an hour composing that last point on my iPad from work, and finally just busted out the good old laptop. My desire to own an iPad myself: cured. Nothing like clicking keys. *inhale* So much for my zen.*exhale* While I’m at it, I want to acknowledge Douglas Englebart, the inventory of the computer mouse who just passed away this summer. I love my mouse and can barely function on a laptop without one.

7. I am thankful for bakeries. I know personally how early in the morning you have thesweetlobbyto get up and turn on those ovens, how hot the kitchen gets and how finicky dough can be. Baking is time consuming and requires patience and expertise. Yet bakeries maintain cases full of bagels, breads, muffins, cakes, brownies, pies…. There is a reason that bakeries tend to gain a loyal following among their local residents. There is something essential to the human experience that necessitates picking up a fresh loaf or pie as the finishing touch on a homemade meal. They don’t call it breaking bread together for nothing!

8. I am thankful for music, in all of its forms. Friday night we went to see The Fishtank Ensemble, a group with a sound described as “cross pollinated gypsy music” at The Hamilton. Something about watching artists come alive on stage is incredible. And although I might not be running out to get their CD, it was one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever attended. I The Policealso got to use a record player for the first time this weekend. I felt like a kid in a candy shop as I flipped through the milk crates of albums my friend inherited from his father. Record took album artwork to a whole different level. There is something so soothing about a spinning record over Saturday morning waffles. And as I sit here on the train, I have access through my phone to an entire library of music to match whatever my way my mood takes me. Kind of awesome.

9. I am thankful for PSLs! Today is National Coffee Day and to celebrate I got a soy pumpkin spice latte on the way to the train this morning. Yes, it’s cliché. And yes, it was amazing to the very last drop.

10. I am thankful for friends who challenge me and keep me striving to stay present and engaged in the world. I am thankful for those of you who push me to relax, to be happy, to cook and bake and smile. Thank you for helping me to let go, hold on and reach out when I need it. I hope that I do the same for you.

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