Tuesday, November 13, 2012


One of the nice things about November is that the elections are over.  In this case, my favorite causes won in the national election- Elizabeth Warren, Mazie Hirono, and Tulsi Gabbard all won historic spots in Congress, bringing women up to a record (and still not 50%) number of women representing all of We The People in Washington.  Tammy Baldwin became the first openly lesbian senator from Wisconsin.  It's not that I'm so "pro-woman" or "pro-LGBT" (ok, yes, I am, but I have a bigger purpose here) as I am adamant that our representatives reflect the demographics of who makes up our country.  I am glad that these people- Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists and women- have stepped up.  In many cases, in my opinion, it's just a matter of finding the right person with the courage and backing to go forth and put themselves out there.  I'm not sure I would have the wherewithal myself.

But enough of political talk.

November is also a month of gratitude for many of my friends.  They list all sorts of things they are thankful for, from books and warm houses to coffee, friends, family and even death. I thought about jumping on the bandwagon.  I am grateful for those things too, and would also add technology (hint to my in-laws: we'd love to skype with you!) my job, my amazing husband and boots and snow and a house that doesn't leak.

I love reading what people put up.  It's poignant and often insightful, whimsical and sometimes just sentimental. I guess I could make a short list..

I'm grateful for Eleanor, who is 16 and a cat, for waking me up every day around 6:30 to give her water from the faucet because such a grand dame cannot possibly drink out of a bowl.

I'm grateful for snow because it gives me a chance to stay inside and get fat over the winter.

I'm grateful for coffee for powering my life and uh, keeping things moving...

I'm grateful for my friends in Oklahoma who somehow have the courage to live in a state that not only preemptively banned Sharia law but also in the last 10 years finally banned cockfighting and allowed tattoos, and has only this month done away with Affirmative Action.  Mmmmm yeah...

I'm grateful for breath mints.  If anyone ever, EVER offers you one, you eat that motha and like it.  I don't care if it's not vegetarian.

I'm grateful for deodorant.  See above, you smelly hippie.

I'm grateful for underwear too.  Warm underwear.

And cheese graters.

And unemployment.  When we decided to move here, Grey sacrificed his job in Oklahoma and moved across the country so that I might follow my dream.  As it turns out, this is a very small town with not a lot of employment opportunities.  And it's taking some time to find something.  There are often over 100 applications for every job.  What this translates to is a very patient man who does a wonderful job of distracting his attention into positive energy.  He researches, plans and cooks amazing and nutritious dishes.  I eat like a queen and all I have to do is dishes.  So while I hope Grey finds what he is looking for, I benefit directly from that not working out quite yet.  Nom Nom Nom!

I'm grateful to my mom because she makes amazing and beautiful quilts.  She made me one for my graduation last December and it's currently on the bed, keeping us warm on these frozen nights.  Now if Eleanor would just stop farting on the bed...

I'm grateful for my brother-in-law.  There was a time not too many years ago- long enough that my nephew, his son, would not remember but not long enough for me to forget- that we were not friends.  In fact, there was this moment during an angry confrontation between he and my sister that I had out a knife and I was a few moments of terror and self-righteousness away from letting a little more light into his noggin.  It's no secret that my sisters and I grew up a little on the rough side, and that means quite often that we made choices in our dating and marriages that sometimes involved rough guys.  And my brother-in-law was a rough guy.  And I about stabbed him, straight up.  I'm not proud of that.  I had to go to years of counseling to work out those issues.  The really great thing is that when you flash forward to ten years later, I am glad to report that one of the cool things about visiting my sister is also seeing my brother-in-law.  He is sober and clean and involved with his son's life.  He is supportive of my sister.  He goes fishing and is an expert at smoking salmon.  I should know; it's the only meat I really eat unless my cousin makes duck.  If B-- is making deer jerky, smoked salmon, or anything with crab or shrimp, I'm there.  I feel sorry for everyone who isn't me when B-- cooks.  I eat the hell out of that food and the only stabbing going on is if someone gets in the way.  On second thought, they are much more likely to get bit.  Grey got to witness this phenomena on our last visit.  He wasn't horrified, but let's just say that the honeymoon is over. 

Classic rock is also on the list of things I am grateful for. ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Seger, The Eagles, Queen, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Rush, Sting (with and without The Police) Iron Butterfly and the plethora of music that I grew up with and still love. We didn't get to bring any stereo equipment when we moved, so I listen to Pandora and a favorite classic rock station in Oklahoma City.  Classic rock is the soundtrack of my life.  Ok, that and classical music.  Don't judge me. Because, seriously, if you were going to judge me, it should have been about the meat-eating or stabbing confession above.

There are a few less tangible things for which I am grateful.

Like perspective.  I had a rough week.  Things just did not go the way I wanted them to go and for the life of me, not everything is under my control. I also know that my dandelion had a rough week too, probably much rougher than mine.  A friend of mine finally got the news this week - after weeks of waiting- that her husband does not have lymphoma as originally thought.  How difficult to wait to exhale for two weeks, and how lovely to get such good news!  My other friend sent me a text this week too- her mom, who is only in her 60s, has been sent home with hospice care for renal failure.  Her diabetes has made it impossible to keep her on the kidney transplant list.  It is a matter of time, and when she goes, my friend will be an orphan.  Her dad died when she was 19 and that's a tough thing to lose both of your parents by the time you are 32.  When I put into perspective how lucky and blessed I am to live the life I do, I am on the whole a fortunate person. So I don't get everything I want- who does? This does not mean I cannot be happy.

Anger.  I am grateful for anger.  For the longest time, I had two feelings: extreme joy or burning hot anger. Over the years, I have been able to identify and feel lots of feelings in between, like indifference, annoyance, slightly okie-dokie, significantly non-plussed and bemused.  The toughest one is "little bit pissed but still reasonable", which is as far as I want to go towards anger.  The acronym I have for self-assessment is HALT.  If I am angry, I have to do a quick self-assessment: Am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?  If I am any one or more of those, it means I need to do some self-care before approaching human beings.  I often just need a nap, a sandwich, a hug or a few minutes to reflect on my part in a situation so that I can refocus on making things better rather than worse.  That just leads to regret.

Regret. I am grateful for the stupid things I have often done.  I tend not to repeat those mistakes and since I'm not 39 and about halfway through my life, I think I have made about half of my mistakes.  I am fairly confident, however, that the mistakes I make from here on out are not the crazy, life-changing ones I made in the past.  Like that '78 Firebird I bought so that I could teach myself to power slide.  Or that time I moved to Denver on 24 hours notice.  Or how I was a bartender for about a year, and not a good one.  Or how I broke a few hearts. 

There are some things I never got to regret.  I had three older sisters I could watch grow up.  That saved me a lot, you know.  I never made their mistakes and they were protective of me.  So protective that on my first date, I was home by 9 with a quick peck on the cheek from a boy terrified that Yvette would beat him up.  She had a reputation for doing that- she beat the snot out of a kid for beating me up in sixth grade.  I'm pretty sure he went on to live a normal life.

Family.  I think this is my favorite intangible.  There is the family you get and the family that gets you.  I have both and I am lucky.  I wouldn't trade my family for anything, as crazy as we are.  My sisters are so funny, creative, laugh-inducing and heartful.  And like me, they each have a streak of iron through them.  We get each other as only siblings can.  Sometimes we tell the old stories, to reassure ourselves that these things really happened.  We used to tell them to someone draw out the poison.  Now we tell the new-old stories, of the younger years in my nieces and nephews' lives.  Of dance parties and grandparents and becoming women.  And now we plot new stories for our families.  And we connect on a deeper level than I can with anyone else.  I married someone who fits right in without even trying, and he is becoming part of those stories. The rest of my family is comprised of long time friends from Washington and Oklahoma. People who know the other parts of me, who have helped me become an adult and who saved me as much as I saved them. 

I guess I jumped on the bandwagon after all, in the style of oversharing and gratitude.  If you are reading this, I am grateful for you too, and hope you have a wonderful holiday season.  Stay warm, eat some turkey (or tofurky) and spend some time with people you love. 
That's not powdered sugar


  1. Perhaps all the people on facebook sharing what they're thankful for is a little on the hokey side, but I must be getting older (and growing out of Gen X cynicism) because I like it. And that Grey IS a good cook, isn't he?

    By the way, I love the picture of the apple tree!

    1. I must be a little hokey too, then. Ah well, there are worse things. And yes... Grey is an amazing chef. :)