thankful

Having spent much of the past eighteen months wondering whether I’d go blind or lose my mind, I’m thankful for what eyesight I have. Others may argue I lost my mind long ago.

Whatever.

Being thankful is the cornerstone of a happy life.

Here’s my short gratitude list for 2017:

  • MTM didn’t divorce me over my illness. He’s still steadfast. He loves me. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
  • When I was at my lowest, unexpected souls stepped in the chasm. I’m thankful for friends in unexpected places.
  • I’m finding my writing voice. The worse-than-chemotherapy-like drugs I took for almost half-a-year made me a mush-brain. These days, I’m hearing characters again.
  • I’ve only lost 25% of my vision in one eye. I’m thankful for what remains.
  • I found a publicist!
  • My assistant didn’t quit, no matter how trying I’ve been.

And if that’s not thankful enough:

  • We’re fielding some really interesting appearance opportunities for 2018. If you aren’t one of my elite readers, you don’t know what they are. Email assistant(at)andrawatkins(dot)com to be added to that super-special group.
  • I’M THANKFUL FOR EVERYONE IN MY ELITE GROUP. SERIOUSLY, I’D SLOPPY KISS EVERY SINGLE DANG ONE OF YOU.
  • Despite all sorts of online changes that have decimated my income and reach, my stories still find readers. People make memories EVERY DAY because of my work. I’m grateful for every person who gives my stories a chance.
  • I’m glad Dad still finds joy in going out, bothering strangers, telling stories, and selling the crap out of THE DAD BOOK. Having my parents in my life, still healthy, is a blessing.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT DESERVES YOUR GRATITUDE THIS THANKSGIVING WEEK? PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORIES IN A COMMENT.

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3 Generations Make A Memory In Italy

Sometimes, I open my email and find better stories than I can weave. Here’s three generations making a memory  from reader BJ McCafferty.

Hi Andra,

I was in the audience when you spoke at the History on Tap Series in Crandon, WI. After we met, I read all three books and love them.  I especially liked “Not Without My Father“.

You wrote as you signed one of the books, “Make a Memory”.

I told you I was taking my granddaughter to Italy this summer.

We are beginning our journey next week, and Sofie(8) says it is going to be an “Epic” trip!  I believe her! I will record memories, but sometimes I’ll leave my camera behind and enjoy the moments.

May your Days be long and your Memories Bright,
BJ McCafferty

Grandma and granddaughter

Dear BJ:

I’ve thought often about your upcoming trip with Sofie. My grandmother never saw the ocean and only visited three states. Your adventurous spirit is going to inspire and mold your granddaughter. I hope you’ll tell me all about the trip.

If you’re going to Florence, visit Aqua Flor. I love their soaps and scented waters. The place looks like an old lab, and the proprietor is charming.

I’m also glad to hear you enjoyed my books. The fiction is the most fun for me to write, but I understand why NWMF appeals to so many people. I love what it’s done for Dad and me. His 83rd birthday is tomorrow, and we’re going to celebrate with him.

Please give everyone in Crandon my regards. I enjoyed my time with you so much and look forward to returning someday.

Andra

granddaughter and grandmother

Hi Andra,

Just a couple of photos of our trip.  It was epic!

I am so glad to have shared it with my granddaughter and my daughter. The first day in Rome we walked over 10 miles…..not quite 15 though. I have been sorting over 3,000 photos since our return.

All my best to you,
BJ McCafferty

Read more stories of people who made a memory.

smartphone

Last week, I read an interesting article in The Guardian about tech industry founders who are stepping back from social media and the smartphone. Many of them claim constant connectivity is rotting our brains.

Read “Our Minds Can Be Hijacked: The Tech Insiders Who Fear Smartphone Dystopia.

I BELIEVE THEM. The pressure to stay constantly connected, to respond to every comment, to acknowledge every message, to interact faster and wittier than anyone……well, it’s crushing.

I do nothing well.

So over the weekend, I pretended it was 2005. Social media didn’t exist. I spent a weekend without the computer or multiple devices.

It. Was. Hard.

But here’s what I did with my time instead of surfing and scrolling and staring.

1. Slept in.
2. Had sex.
3. Attended two separate yoga classes totaling 3 hours because zen.
4. Ate tater tots at Mercantile and Mash with MTM because yoga.
5. Shopped at Costco because the cupboards were bare.
6. Admitted to buying a rose gold sequin skirt I didn’t need and hiding it from MTM. Wondered whether it still fits because of tater tots.
7. Finished The Templars by Dan Jones because I had two hours uninterrupted to read.
8. Worked a word puzzle in the NY Times because I wanted to beat MTM to it.
9. Ate 2 brunches with MTM because he made quiche.
10. Cooked 2 dinners at home with MTM because we had so much food.
11. Cleaned those neglected things in the kitchen because I slowed down enough to notice them.
12. Went to buy vegetables at the Lowcountry Food Bus.
13. Had drinks at Harold’s Cabin because they had a new sofa.
14. Took a nap because I could.

Do you hate me yet?

15. Read the Sunday NY Times with MTM over coffee because we used to spend most Sundays sharing the paper and coffee.
16. Folded laundry.
17. Locked the Roomba in our bedroom because the floor was filthy.
18. Dusted.
19. Ate chocolate.
20. Saw Blade Runner 2049 with MTM because Harrison Ford.
21. Discussed Blade Runner 2049 with MTM.
22. Researched flights to Kazakhstan, the closest I got to working.
23. Actually found myself bored.
24. Looked up recipes for red beans and rice because I had a craving.

As a result of taking it easy, I’ve already tackled my entire to do list for the week and have more clarity and energy than I’ve had on a Monday in ages. I’m grateful for my old fashioned, memory-making weekend, because it gave me a great shot of positivity!!

What about you? How do you give yourself a break from constant connectivity?