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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Nine day weekend, Day 3. Where does the time go! It’s Thanksgiving week, my favorite time of year. The leaves outside are beautiful, the food is on the way. There are at least two days this week during which nobody will want anything, and the rest of the days are a gift from the universe.

I’m pretty hard on the universe sometimes. To be fair, it can be kind of a jerk, but maybe that’s because it doesn’t get enough credit for the things it does right. So I wanted to remedy that today.

In honor of the week I was going to write a gratitude post but I’ve already used that word. So I compromised and instead of being grateful, I am going to be thankful.

I’m thankful for synonyms.

The thing about being thankful is that you are thankful for different things at different points in your life. Or maybe more intensely thankful. The more years you spend on this earth, the more time there is for priorities to shift.

For instance, I am intensely thankful for paper and pencils today in a way I have only previously been fleetingly thankful. Yet the more time I spend with technology, the more thankful I am for anything that isn’t.

Since this is the thankful post, I won’t belabor the hour I spent in front of my computer today, in a futile attempt to accomplish one small task for a client (Something went wrong! Try again later! Error!)

I will merely be exceptionally thankful for the fact that I could shut the computer and go sweep my balcony. The weather was sublime, and I was thankful for that. Mid 60s, breezy, puffy clouds in the sky.

There were a LOT of ladybugs out there today. Not sure if the warmer weather brought them out or if they liked my dead mint plant, but there they were, crawling on the ground, on the railing, on the walls. Unlike stink bugs, they are welcome to hang out with me anytime. I stepped very carefully and was thankful for their pretty little wings.

I’ve always loved the natural world and often feel thankful for the bounty of Mother Nature. As this blog can attest, I love clouds and wind, birds and trees, seashells and pinecones, mountains and oceans. I love the thunder and the rain and the sun and the rainbows.

There’s not a lot that I don’t love. Except stink bugs. Definitely don’t love them.

But in a pinch, being outdoors, or bringing a little bit of the outdoors in, is a good remedy for a bad universe day.

I took a moment to be thankful for my pinecones and gourds, my potato plant and my dried hydrangea. My six Alices.

Since I had no pressing things to do today, I called my mother after lunch. You’d be surprised by how much the hour difference between us messes with our talk time. When I’m done with work she is just having dinner and when she’s done with dinner I’m just making mine and by the time we’re done with all that, half the time we’re too tired to push a button on the phone let alone speak a word into it.

So when I can, I call her at odd hours, which reminded me of how thankful I am that she is there. Mostly we talk about recipes, and sometimes we talk about whatever thing we forgot to do and try to think of what we forgot we wanted to say. But she is a bright spot in my day whatever the conversation.

I’d say the same about my father except if he is somehow required to answer the phone when I call, he almost always just says Here’s your mother and drops me like a hot potato. Still, it gives me material for making fun of him and I know if I really want to torture him I can call on his cell phone, which means I have specifically called to talk to him and he knows he’s stuck with me.

I’m thankful that we sometimes get stuck with each other.

Besides being consistently and persistently aggravated by technology, I am also none too fond of dealing with people. Which is why when there are people who don’t aggravate me, I am especially thankful for them.

First, I am thankful for them as themselves, then I am thankful for their continued lack of aggravatingness.

Which reminds me that of course I’m thankful for all of my brothers, who thoroughly aggravate me at times but who get a pass because I’m sure I aggravate them, too.

Sometimes we have a lot in common and I’m thankful for that, because we can talk and laugh and snort and grumble about the same things. Sometimes we have nothing in common and I’m thankful for that because I get to see the world a little differently.

I’m thankful for my friend Kaarina who not only seems to be a Hello Kitty magnet but always shares the wealth with me. She is a true friend, the kind who can listen without speaking, who can let you be as stupid as you need to be and still find ways to make you feel good about that.

We have quite a lot in common, including our frustration with computers and humans alike. In a typical ironic twist of the universe, it was thanks to technology that we met and still communicate.

I’m thankful for our new friends here, who let me feed them and try out new cocktails on them and drink too many cocktails when I’m with them. They, too, have the gift of being able to listen like they care about what you’re saying, not just what they’re going to say next, which is truly rare.

As I pondered my thankful list today, I considered the things that made me feel thankful for being here. The beeping of the construction trucks was not helping. They were trying their level best to derail the exercise. Even Ralph, who complains a fair bit less than me, had to stand in front of the window for a minute and exclaim, WHAT IS HAPPENING OUT THERE?

But I decided to be thankful for the lovely view and the golden grasses and the orange leaves, and for the opportunity to open the windows and breathe the fresh air.

The universe can be kind of a jerk sometimes, but so can I, and sometimes you have to drop your weapons and make peace. We sparred a bit today but mostly we sat down and ate pumpkin oatmeal and counted our blessings. I thanked it for pumpkin oatmeal, which was both delicious and healthy, indulgent without requiring any extra hours on the Peloton.

I wonder if it will be as forgiving with the pumpkin pie I plan on demolishing later this week. Perhaps not, but at the very least I will be thankful for the pumpkin pie.

There are about a billion more things I could add, but both of us should be thankful that eventually even I run out of words. For getting to the bottomof this, and for every other post you get to the bottom of, I’m thankful.

Photo: my superb bowl of pumpkin oatmeal.