Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

I don't usually engage in the whole "I am thankful for" gig.  Mostly because people assume that one must be thankful TO some grand being somewhere.  I, of course, am not thankful to any ghosties or beasties.  Because I don't want to hassle with the idea that I somehow SHOULD be, I tend to avoid the language altogether.  When I offer up thanks, it's a general, universe/life/existence/happenstance thing.  No deities need apply.

Which is not, of course, to say that you can't have your deities--if you lean that way, I am happy for you.  I hope it brings you great joy.

Anyway, back on point--I just spent two hours doing the "obligatory family phone calls" shuffle.  Gonna take me a minute to get back to where I was in my head.

Thankfulness.  Right.

I started to write this with the little Pakistani girls in mind.  You know, the ones braving Taliban bullets to obtain an education?  And my mind wandered to my own education, something I was so disdainful of when I was a child.  See, I didn't have to worry about being shot or having my family's home firebombed.  No, I had it just slightly easier.  Easier enough that I could look at that risk-free education as no big deal.  I read about these brave girls and their courageous families and I realize just how very lucky I am.

For that, I'm thankful.

Last night, I was cold.  My hands and feet, which tend toward the Raynaud's, were icy cold.  This used to be devastating for me, keeping me awake for hours.  I've found the cure for cold hands and feet when trying to sleep--a warm Cairn Terrier.  Charlie sleeps on my legs, and my whole body warms up.  So this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my first little rat dog.  He's a keeper, a sweetheart, a comedian, and a heating pad all wrapped up into one carrot-eating, rolling-over-and-playing-dead, squirrel-loving bundle.

Speaking of thankfulness, we just gave Charlie his first ever Thanksgiving organ meat feast.  Ew, but he sure was impressed.  Impressed enough that he kept kicking around his dish and trying to make more magically appear.  Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie!

The car is back home--picked it up last night.  Haven't seen it in the daylight, so don't know how well they matched the paint.  Regardless, I'm thankful my husband wasn't compacted by the 18 wheeler that did three grand worth of damage to our new car.  Hopefully, come March when our premium period is over, I can be thankful for our insurance company NOT screwing us on devastatingly high new rates.  Cross your fingers.

Our boy is really opening up at Hapkido.  Getting to know the other people, learning to relate on a more grown-up, easy level.  He's having fun, he's learning, and he's coming to more openly relate to other people in social situations.  For that, I am very thankful--it's been a concern.

Speaking of being thankful where our boy is concerned, let me just say that, as we watch hubby's nephew do his level best to be a cautionary tale (you know, if you can't be a good example, be an excellent cautionary tale?), I am SO thankful that our boy isn't striving to be an utter waste like his cousin.  His cousin, which is super-sad because the kid really does have a sweet heart inside that homophobic, blustering, "look how cool I am" exterior.   Sounds harsh, I know, but the kid just turned 18 and is about to be a "daddy" for the THIRD time.  Smokes, dropped out of school, can't support the kids he already has (his mom has custody of one, the STATE has custody of the second), and, whoops!  Here comes a third!  An epic git by any estimation, and, by comparison, my boy is Einstein, Lincoln, Socrates, Isaac Newton, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one.  My boy's a good kid, but it sure does help to have the nephew around.  Keeps everything in perspective.

On a slightly snarky-seeming, yet absolutely sincere note?  I am indescribably happy that I will NEVER, EVER have to utter the words "President Romney."  Joy!

And finally?  I am thankful to have that family that, so often, drives me batty.  Doing the "phone call shuffle" may be a pain, but not being able to do it would be a whole lot worse.  Holidays were never very good with my family--too many fights, too many pitched emotions, too much stress in the air.  Some day, I'll tell a tale or two of Thanksgiving with my mom, of sneaking into the kitchen every few minutes to turn the oven down from the blistering 475 at which she thought a turkey must broil away to dust, only to have her stomp back out and crank that bugger back up.  Surreptitiously creeping to the oven to dump can after can of chicken broth into the pan in a desperate attempt to be spared another year of utterly flavorless, lumpy gravy.  Maybe not good times, and maybe long-distance makes it all easier, but my times, and funny in hindsight.

A couple of funny things--the first maybe not as funny as the second:

1) Went to the store last night to pick up some last-minute things for tonight's dinner.  Hubby whipped out the debit card to pay . . . and it was rejected.  DE-nied!  We knew we had sufficient funds, so we wound up going to the bank.  It was late, after hours, but hubby hoped it was a problem with the store's machines rather than our account.  No such luck.  Hitting the bank's site on his phone, hubby was informed that, by paying for the car repair with the debit card, we had "exceeded our daily transaction limit."  Good thing I had fifty bucks cash hanging out with the emergency kit, huh?  No, the irony of having a limit to how much of my own money I can spend hasn't escaped me.

2) For months, we've been giving Charlie, our Cairn Terrier, chunks of carrots.  Just a round of raw carrot while we're preparing julienne for pasta or whatever.  He runs around with them eagerly, parading about, really, then drops them at our feet.  All this time, we've assumed he just wanted to play fetch, and so we've picked up the carrot and thrown it.  He chases it down, brings it back, and drops it again.  A fun game, right?

Turns out he didn't want to play fetch.  No, he wanted us to break it up into smaller pieces for him so he could more easily chew it.  Yeah, don't we feel stupid?  Imagine how frustrating that must have been for him, bringing the carrots for help in eating and, instead, having us throw the things across the house each time.  Poor Charlie!

On a wildly unrelated note, if you've any familiarity with the cemetery at Old Frisco, Utah, please drop me a note.  I'm on something of a quest. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Be safe, love, be loved, and enjoy!

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