Sunday, November 25, 2007

50 things I'm thankful for: the 2007 edition.

There's been a good amount of wrestling going on in my brain for the last number of weeks. A lot of that has to do with the holiday we just had a few days back. In fact, I can't recall a time in my life that I've thought about Thanksgiving as much as I have. And, after this year's turkey day, I can at least add some more to my hodge-podge of observations.

Diving back into my memories of Thanksgivings past, I recall many things, both good and bad. There was being able to sit next to my cousin as I told her all about what I wouldn't be giving her for Christmas. There was sitting at the kiddie table, as none of them were married, either. Inexplicably, there were a few guys who wanted to play football in the snow. There were platters filled with turkey and canned cranberry sauce and marshmallows atop sweet potatoes going up in flames. There was eating way, way too much. There were naps that bordered on hibernation. Sometimes siblings were there, sometimes they were at the in-laws.

In my crankiest of remembrances, I've viewed the day as a time when we eat too much and talk too little and spit out small talk to those we hardly know anyway and give obligatory gifts to those we won't see again for the rest of the year and play nice for those the crowd and, well, it was boring and meaningless and that's that. If there was a Thanksgiving Scrooge, I'd gladly nominate myself.

Bent on changing things up, I made the decision last year not to attend this year. But the Cancun trip didn't pan out. Neither did the backup plan to hit a man-made beach in Vegas. Which had me at some kind of a crossroads. It's as if I was scrambling for something to do to get out of Thanksgiving. I didn't want to eat turkey and be lonely and bored and all the rest of the emotions that went with it, but I didn't want to run away from it, either. That's not so much my style. It goes against the way I view life. So I talked it over with my mom. My grandma chimed in, too. It's a holiday that means something more to those with kids, according to mom, but I was one of those kids. I was? I mean ... I am. Distancing myself from those who loved me early on would inevitably lead to even more loneliness later (or so my grandma advised). I took their thoughts and swirled them around with mine some.

Conclusion? Ultimately, I felt it selfish to not go this year. Sounds crazy, I guess, but that's what got me to my aunt's house. I made pumpkin gingerbread and pumpkin pie and fresh cranberry sauce and I kinda liked being there. I got to sit next to my cousin Amberlynn (now with a daughter of her own) and tell her (again) that I wouldn't be getting her anything for Christmas. I got to squeeze some nieces and share some happy "You came!" smiles with some sisters. True to form, I ate too much. And turkey and Bruce Willis sent me into a hibernation of no return, but you know? It wasn't so bad. I guess it never really is once it comes down to it, is it?

Last year, I shared 50 things I was thankful for. I did it the year before that and the year before that, even. So's not to break tradition, I'm doing the same this year. Yeah, it's past the actual day, but so what? I aim to make this entry one filled with many, many words.

  1. Wasabi Mustard. Because who doesn’t love to burn their face off with each bite of sandwich?
  2. Musicians who can’t hide their smiles after an audience rewards them with well-deserved applause. Embarrassed but happy grins are the best kind there are.
  3. The ability to drag my tired body to the radio station and proceed to unintentionally rejuvenate myself over the course of a two-and-a-half hour radio program. Good music = power.
  4. When nieces rush over to me before I get a chance to beat them to it.
  5. The proper timing of a mother who doesn’t quite understand the clicks and buzzes that I hold inside my head, but listens to me try to explain them nonetheless.
  6. For the most comfortable bed/cloud I’ve ever slept on in my life (thanks, hoteliforgotthenameof in Coeur d’Alene!)
  7. One summer’s day, on a trampoline and in the mountains, sharing it with somebody new and wildly interesting, falling back into childhood some—bouncing, talking, bouncing … until it was too dark to safely continue.
  8. Being surprised by a healthy dollop of authentic horseradish in the only restaurant in O’Brien, Oregon—and being forced to real live tears as a result.
  9. The magic Redwoods.
  10. Being 33. It feels not unlike a big easy chair. I like settling into it just fine.
  11. Zooey Deschanel. Or, more specifically, her large, curious, child-like eyes. I’d like to deliver her a Thank You note personally, too, if at all possible.
  12. When last minute, thrown together house concerts end up feeling like warm family reunions. Only there are more friends there and less weird uncles.
  13. The very regular, very consistent water breaks/rest stops along the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon course.
  14. Homemade strawberry freezer jam.
  15. When experiences (bad and good) give inevitable birth to later reflection.
  16. Cobblestone streets in Zurich. Add the clanging of church bells, the mysterious murmur of surrounding languages and a pot of fondue to that equation and you may as well set up residence inside a French film.
  17. When God is kind enough to offer up His outsides for campfires, hikes, sights and sleeping bags. Sometimes a dirt floor rivals my pillowtop mattress. Millions of stars outshine the brightest nightlight.
  18. Meeting those who make me laugh … who then laugh at me laughing at/with them. It keeps going and going. And it beats doing crunches.
  19. Apple crisp. It’s the only dessert that I can’t stop eating, no matter how hard I might actually try to do so. It’s so good, I am literally tempted to eat my fill, throw up, then proceed to fill my stomach up all over again.
  20. A kind soul who insists on taking care of me when I fall ill.
  21. That noodle dish I had on a First Class Delta flight to Mexico City, the one so delicious, I had the hankering to thank the chef, if one actually existed.
  22. Incredibly fat babies.
  23. Unwarranted glimpses into what feels like the far-off future, ones that widen the realm of possibility just that much more. They tend to hold greater intrigue than daydreams, even.
  24. John Coltrane. Or, in a pinch, Coltrane meshed with the impossibly low, impossibly gorgeous vocal stylings of the lateJohnny Hartman.
  25. When friends reveal their true colors, defending your name and sticking by you when you don’t always deserve the stickbyedness they so freely offer up.
  26. That online Scrabble has all the addictive power as others taking to Guitar Hero. Enriching your word power is not a fad that wears off.
  27. Being surrounded by better men and women than I’ve ever been in the workplace. This is not something I take for granted after 2+ years time (nor will I).
  28. That my best friend at 15 years of age still retains that title, without so much as even trying. We still talk and laugh and hypothesize just as much as we did then, only with less profanity and perhaps more name-calling.
  29. The keen power of observation.
  30. The directions one can and does go to when one sidesteps fear and keeps on going.
  31. Mornings the alarm never goes off.
  32. Love—in all the forms I’ve seen it, felt it or been able to express it.
  33. Those unabashed enough to sing out loud in front of their friends or strangers. Be it rock over the telephone lines or opera on the streets of Dublin, it is an expression of openness I can’t help but admire.
  34. The Swell Season or, more specifically, Glen Hansard, and all of the songs that accompanied the movie Once. They reached out and rattled my insides.
  35. A father who instilled an amazing love of the outdoors in me, as well as those who share the same passion I do to hike and camp with reckless abandon.
  36. Poetry, both written and otherwise.
  37. Having a (mostly) loyal wingman when one is required.
  38. The peace that accompanies solitude as well as the joy that is born of togetherness.
  39. Being on the phone with someone long enough to run out of things to say.
  40. My little brother and sharing an equal fondness with him for sending crazy faced photos at all hours of the day and night.
  41. Being recognized at my job. Less “Oh, hey, so you’re that guy who writes, eh?” and more “We like you so much, we think you’re capable of doing even more.”
  42. When the air gets invaded by Father Christmas.
  43. Receiving the rare postmarked Thank You cards and discovering, time and again, that gratitude does not to go out of style.
  44. Seeing parts of this world that had never crossed my vivid imagination. In my dreams, the Alps in Switzerland beg for a return visit.
  45. Being granted the unique ability to fall in love with someone in two hours’ time. Maybe not a romantic love, per se, but a good deep smit nonetheless.
  46. Friends who are wary or kind or conscious enough to grow along with you.
  47. Sunday nights that are just as quiet as the afternoons that precede them.
  48. The wisdom and common sense that is my grandma.
  49. How anything in the Iron & Wine catalog works brilliantly as a de-stresser.
  50. A warm oven with an open door on a cold winter’s evening.


ZLB said...

ah your list puts mine to shame sir. right now i'm ever so grateful for blogs and chirstmas trees and your ever so prompt scrabble playing.

plainoldsarah said...

i too loved year 33! and i appreciated your lessons learned about tday.

ewesa said...

Amen! To all of it.

Jillian said...

Exactlly....I have tried to explain to my mom why these types of gatherings leave me less than enthused. But your list is awesome!

MAnderson said...

wow. I think I have a crush on your list. Well....most of it. The outdoors stuff I can appreciate but probably wouldn't make a list like this for me. But any list that includes ONCE is an awesome list in my book.

Glad we have re-connected. Word.

Olivia said...

Good words, D. One of the items on this list made me remember an insane conversation in which a certain young man who had suddenly taken ill was sprawled out on his kitchen floor trying to cool himself off and a certain young woman kept bugging him about eating soup and juice. that certain young man had very particular ideas about what kinds of juice he might be willing to drink of that certain young woman were to insist on bringing something over. i'm now wondering how often this sort of thing happens to this certain young man. you make me laugh. hard.

Dainon. said...

Um, I aim to please? And I like that I make you laugh, so there.

Sherpa said...

Nice list, Dainon.

Sarahbellum said...

I love this.

Ashley said...

Such a thoughtful, interesting list. Thanks for taking the time to write it--it has given me much to think about.

Michelle said...

#14 made me really hungry, filled with nostalgia and longing for the deliciousness of visitng my grandmother's house in days gone by. The rest reminded me why I stalk your blog. Thank you for sharing.

drivinman said...

Nice to see your interest in house concerts...

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Fran Snyder

The Carrie Collection said...

I remember your list from last year! I think number 37 was the same... maybe not. I'm thankful for my Superstar cereal bowl and I'll be even more thankful when I get to use it again :) Happy Thanksgiving.

Judd & Amberlynn Whiting said...

Dainon, I LOVED visiting with you at Thanksgiving and on Sunday. I miss you. I'll keep askin what you got me, cause one day your gonna deliver! Ha, ha.
Love you cuz!

Bawdy said...

Eloquent delivery! I like it...thank you for sharing!! BUT, You forgot to put how grateful you were that i can hardly hold back the excitement when you call! ha ha ha!