Tuesday, December 02, 2008

50 Things I'm Thankful For (2008).

It was both good and bad having Thanksgiving in another country. The good part was obvious—travel + adventure + Thai food = amazingness—but the bad part was, well, no traditional holiday eats. And, once that craving hits, it eats at you like a cancer; it’s next to impossible to stave it off. So, last Sunday, I held my jet lag demons at bay long enough to whip up a poor man’s turkey dinner for one. It was pretty impressive, too. This next bit counts as tooting my horn both loudly and proudly.

From this photo, you’ll see a good chunk of my slow cooked turkey breast (crockpots are now, and will always be, a godsend), a smattering of whole berry cranberry sauce, a mess of spinach salad with honey Dijon, one smashed baked potato and a deformed croissant. Not pictured, due to an incredible lack of patience on my part, were the uncooked sweet potatoes and the unmade FRESH cranberry sauce. Also not pictured were the two pumpkin pies, which I attacked with the ferocity of Captain Caveman and Cookie Monster put together.

And, speaking of tradition, I’ve been prone to putting together a list of things I’m thankful for around this time. It’s a few days past the holiday, sure, but I remain as thankful as ever. This isn’t an all-inclusive list (nor is it meant to be), but just a smattering of things that warm the ticker.

1. That breaking open a Navel orange permeates the air around me and the air of pretty much whoever is nearby, forcing silly questions like “Somebody eating an orange?” when they know the answer all along.
2. Also, fingers that smell like an opened orange much, much later than eating the orange lasts. It’s like cologne for the fingertips.
3. The joy that accompanies those blessed enough to perform the honkytonk muzak … and that it translates so seamlessly from a fiddle, to my ears, to my feet.
4. The ridiculously honest spontaneity of a niece.
5. A lone bird on a street lamp on an early Friday morning, singing a greeting in the sun’s direction. Because he can.
6. That I can rediscover a childhood love of apricots on accident, 25+ years later.
7. When two people over 30 decide to turn their backs on their comfortable worlds of independence and give that whole life long commitment of marriage a whirl.
8. And, well, it’s even better when said ‘people’ are a cousin and a dear friend.
9. Warm raindrops in mid-November.
10. Friends who fill up holes in their schedule with real life one-on-one conversations. Those who prefer to spend their time discovering realities along with you by talking. People are never, ever wastes of time.
11. Surprise naps. These are the same kind my friend Rebekah would describe as “passing out drunk like a wino.” I couldn’t put it better myself. And they’re delicious.
12. The simple warmth that accompanies unguarded honesty.
13. The messy process that is the eating of an impossibly sweet Asian mango while slumming it on the other side of the world, as well as being able to repeat that process twice (and even three times) in a row.
14. “I’m not a shreemp! I’m a King Prawn … okay?!”
15. That learning never ceases to stop, save we allow life to constantly provide us with its many lessons.
16. Getting someone to smile.
17. When friends remember.
18. Having the ability and desire to make it to the top of the mountain.
19. Organic eggnog. Bumps soy nog and pumpkin spice nog clean off the list of what to drink during the whole nog season.
20. Friends who have trained their eyes and minds to find the good poetry, the kind that’s thankfully devoid of pretentiousness, the stuff that acts as soul lyrics … and who then turn right around and share it with other eager eyes.
21. The wonder that is Cat Stevens. Whether I’m receiving him undiluted or whether someone is covering him, the end result is about the same. Which is to say there’s that whole breaking sensation going on in my chest.
22. Surprises. Even if they involve, say, your (former) boss and a co-worker jumping out from behind a wall one early morning, yelling and wearing luchador and ninja masks, when all’s you wanted to do was come to work, plug in your computer and sniff at your scarf for a bit.
23. Unselfish thoughts, wherever and in whomever they reside.
24. That I’ve been allowed to write for my daily bread for going on four years now.
25. That I can sometimes golf nine holes wearing just a swimsuit and flip-flops on the other side of the world and pass that off as part of my job.
26. Feeling the winter weather outside, just cold enough to scare the sleepy out of me and wake my skin right up.
27. The History of Love. I haven’t even finished it yet—I’ve barely started it—and I’m already wondering who I should go about recommending it to.
28. The peace that so inevitably accompanies understanding.
29. Receiving excited calls from suddenly enlightened, excited listeners during my radio show. They happen now and again and I end up thrilled. I get instantly giddy, accidentally beaming all over myself.
30. That the right concerts can still deliver unexpected magic.
31. Proper beards and beard appreciators. The few, the strong.
32. One long orange and red forever-lasting Hong Kong sunset while on one long gondola ride over the mountains and ocean.
33. A grandma who invents the easiest piecrust recipe in existence.
34. Friends and lovers, the friends being the ones who help you get over the lovers.
35. 115 freaking vacation hours in the month of December alone.
36. Second chances.
37. Cottage cheese + balsamic vinegar = dinner of the champions.
38. Waking up along with the rest of the world in the out of doors, but only when Mother Nature gets around to nudging you in the shoulders. Even if she does it early—and she always, always does.
39. Seeing someone exactly as they want to be seen. And vice versa.
40. Sufjan Stevens’ version of Christmas.
41. Knees that make it through a half marathon in southern Utah without once acting their age.
42. The timesuck that is the Internet. There, I said it. And I meant it, too.
43. Kindness. Which is better? The kind that comes from strangers or the kind that comes from those who know you extremely well? Either way, I like it in double doses. I’ll go about passing out some of my own, too.
44. That my baby sis gets to see everything I already have and more way over yonder in the Philippines. She’ll gonna come back with some kinda wicked sunburn.
45. Word games.
46. Eucalyptus Spearmint lotion, care of Bath & Body works.
47. A once-in-a-lifetime Panamanian family vacation.
48. Riding on an elephant. It may not have changed the person I am, but it amazes me as much now as it did a few weeks ago. It woke up the little, excited boy on my inside.
49. Actually wanting to ski for the first time in two years.
50. Smooth landings.

Past lists for 2006 and 2007 can be found both HERE and HERE ...


i i eee said...

I'm grateful for lovely lists of lovely things.

Thanks for sharing.

Mel said...

Well put. Beautiful writing as usual.

k8 said...

that is a beautiful list. maybe inspiring me to do one of my own.

ewesa said...

Yea over-thirty weddings! :)

Dorienne said...

When are you goingt to give #7 a whirl?

Morley Muse said...

It's funny on #47 you say it excited the boy inside--well, I always thought the picture of your riding it, looking down, holding the bar, looked so much like you when you were a little boy. I truly believe you!