Eat, Drink, Blog / Gypsy's Musings

30 Days of Giving Thanks

FridgeOverflowsAs I noted a couple of days ago, many of my friends are doing the “30 Days of Gratitude” challenge, each day posting something on social media for which they are grateful. Since I didn’t feel particularly grateful this month, I didn’t even try to put together a list. However, this week I’ve felt better, so I’m going to make my list (probably won’t check it twice) and throw out 30 random things that make my life better.

  1. I’m grateful for joy and humor. I took this one straight from Louise Hay’s newsletter. If you don’t get it, you should. Especially if you are prone to negative thinking. She’s a blessing to read, and you don’t have to buy anything to get her affirmations and regular reminders just how awesome you are!
  2. I’m grateful for talented buskers. Every now and again, someone with genuine talent is busking in the subway or on the platform in NYC. The best of the bunch (on my regular commute, at any rate) tend to congregate amidst the labyrinth that is 14th Street, Union Square (it’s the second largest hub for trains, if you don’t count MetroNorth going out of Grand Central, so there’s an enormous amount of foot traffic and lots of spots to set up your equipment). This week I gave a dollar to an amazing guitarist who opened his set with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.” It takes a lot for this jaded New Yorker to pull out her wallet, and this guy really put a smile on my face.
  3. I’m grateful for tweezers. I know this is TMI (so what else is new on my blog?), but especially as I age, I don’t like random hairs where they just shouldn’t be. Tweezers are a gift from the esthetical gods.
  4. I’m grateful for winter weather. I know I’m in the minority here, but I remember real winters in the northern lower 48. Now, with the exception of a couple states, there really isn’t a winter season (I’m not grateful for climate change or its deniers, but I digress…). There’s something really cool—pun intended—about putting on fur coats and boots, bundling up in scarves and hats and heading outside to feel that sting in your nose and lungs. I have to remind my peers (i.e. people as old as I am) that once upon a time, winter started in October and sometimes went into May. Now, winter in the north resembles what winter in the south used to be (a couple months with daily temperature variation). I don’t want to go back to six-months of winter (my sister can keep that crap, although since Wasilla hit triple digits this past summer, I suspect winter in Alaska is on the endangered list, as well). But a couple months of below-freezing temps makes ice skating outdoors a lot more fun.
  5. I’m grateful for indoor plumbing. Do I even need to explain this one? Clean water is a precious resource, and westerners just don’t get how fucking lucky we are to have it. But you might want to think about it before you embrace fracking.
  6. I’m grateful for expensive gasoline. Americans have long had artificially low fuel prices. And our gas-guzzling cars loved it. All throughout the 90s boon years, I thought that we would never get the memo of how ridiculous our conspicuous consumption was unless the price of gas went up. And while the pain of our economy is great (and a much larger issue), the fact that we now are becoming much more efficient, even—gasp!—foregoing automobiles for bikes and public transit (or just fewer trips in the hybrid car) is a seismic change in American behavior. And good for us (in every sense)!
  7. I’m grateful for first world problems. Speaking of plumbing (which sometimes gets clogged) or expensive gas, I’m grateful for all these first world problems. I have heat (that I pay a lot for), food (ditto!), not a big enough refrigerator to hold my Thanksgiving larder (we’ve been precariously stacking things all week long), and so many other “problems” that simply do not register on the global scene, where basic necessities are hard to acquire. So the next time your Internet goes out or you mistakenly delete your favorite film from the DVR, be grateful for your first world problems!
  8. I’m grateful for the James Earl Jones v. Malcolm McDowell commercials. Honestly, these commercials are iconic. And no one even remembers what they’re advertising, so the branding sucks (it’s for Sprint, by the way). But I stop what I’m doing every time one of them comes on.
  9. I’m grateful for commercials. Aside from the fact they’re paying for my television show or that my daughter makes more money from a 30-second Goldfish spot than she does working for a week on Boardwalk Empire, I love that somebody finally figured out that if you want to stop us from fast-forwarding through the commercials, make them great! Seriously. The quality of commercials has gone up so much the past year or so, that I no longer have to wait for the Super Bowl just to see a good ad (Go Daddy excepted, of course… they wouldn’t know quality if it sat on their collective faces).
  10. I’m grateful I can touch my toes. Thanks to a yoga practice going on 11 years, I have a full range of motion. I’m horribly fat, but I’m flexible.
  11. I’m grateful that print magazines are making a resurgence. Things looked really bleak for magazine publishing five years ago. Then something remarkable happened… people realized that if they wanted great art and great writing, maybe they should spring for print. This is not to say that there aren’t amazing blogs (photography and word-centric), but their numbers are dwarfed by the crappy content that we have to wade through to find them. And magazines pay. Well.
  12. I’m grateful that I snagged the last turkey breast at the Farmers Market last Saturday. Last year, I did a whole turkey, in large part because I couldn’t find a breast (granted, I waited until last minute to shop). Although I wish I were cooking for more people (I sent invites both last year and this, but no takers), I hate wasting food. And a whole turkey is way too big, especially when you put in sides and pie. A breast is really much better, even if it means no dark meat this year.
  13. I’m grateful for SAG screeners. Because my daughter is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, she gets to see a ton of movies this time of year. Although she rarely makes it to the theater (Leonardo DiCaprio is speaking after next week’s screening of The Wolf of Wall Street, I never forgave her for not taking me to meet Viggo Mortensen a few years back), we do get disks mailed to us and iTunes downloads. It saves me a ton on tickets, plus we can watch at our leisure.
  14. I’m grateful for Movember. While it’s cool that this annual no-shave month brings attention to prostate care (and who doesn’t love caring for his prostate?), what really rocks my world is facial hair. I adore men with some rough on their faces. Not the scraggly beards of brewers so much, which makes Movember even better, because a lot of guys in my world start the month with a clean shave, meaning they’re all pretty damn yummy right about now.
  15. I’m grateful for Almost Human. Speaking of yummy men. Karl Urban. He had me at Eomer. And Michael Ealy isn’t bad on the eyes either. And since people aren’t tuning in, I’m guessing this will be the only season for this really cool show. I’ll enjoy it while I can.
  16. I’m grateful for Jaromir Jagr. Yummy men, sports edition. Is was and shall forever be my favorite hockey player of all time. He has his detractors, but I adore him. Even though he’s aging, he still makes players half his age break down and cry like little girls when he gets a breakaway.
  17. I’m grateful for my cats. Speaking of television shows, I really love My Cat From Hell. And I really love that my two kitties do not resemble any of the cats Jackson Galaxy is helping. They almost never fight, and they don’t destroy shit. They have very different personalities, which makes them cool, as well.
  18. I’m grateful for my kids. I’m not a perfect person, and lord knows my kids aren’t perfect. But the three of us are the best family I’ve ever had. I can honestly say that my daughter is my best friend in the world (and lest you assume I’m that kind of mom, Nadia swears she was terrified of me most of her life, which kept her on the straight and narrow during the adolescent years). And my son wants to major in chemical engineering when he goes to college, so I feel like I’m on track with number two. And while they fight more than the cats do and aren’t nearly as neat, they “play well” together, sharing confidences as siblings should (despite the huge age gap, they are incredibly close).
  19. I’m grateful that my daughter still needs me. I’m not looking forward to the day when we go our separate ways, whether temporarily or permanently, so I’m really glad that she still needs me. Even if I’m not always happy when she crashes into my bedroom at midnight to wake me up and talk to me about some pressing issue that’s weighing on her.
  20. I’m grateful for the Long Hard Book Club. As I mentioned earlier this year, I joined the first book club of my life. We’re currently reading Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. I’m bogged down in section three, but I never would have attempted entering The Zone without this über cool group that meets up in Bushwick once a month.
  21. I’m grateful for craft beer. You knew it was going to be on the list. Truth is, I’ve become a bit of a beer snob. I can still drink with the masses (especially if the masses are drinking PBR) but I’ve lost my taste for crap beer. And you can buy some amazingly great craft beer for less than what a bad bottle of wine will set you back. Chubbiness aside, I love these beers and the amazing brewers who make them. Not to mention the industry that Michael Jackson created and of which I am a proud (dues paying) member.
  22. I’m grateful that my parents are financially secure. My own fiscal health is precarious, so I’m relieved that my folks dodged the proverbial bullet. My parents have always handled their money intelligently, but they also lucked out that they aged into their 401Ks (not to mention pensions, remember those?) before the markets crashed. My dad was withdrawing money that would have been gone with the wind a few years later. As addendum: I’m grateful for the checks they send that help me survive in NYC and have a bit of fun now and again.
  23. I’m grateful for my kids’ piano teacher. My kids’ piano teacher is not like any piano teacher I’ve ever known. He doesn’t do scales or drills or the classical curriculum. Instead, he lets the kids lead the way, while surreptitiously teaching them what they need to know. And he helped my daughter find her voice (which was already being trained by her amazing vocal teacher via a more traditional musical theater program). She now accompanies herself and has even composed some of her own songs. Plus, I never have to fight with my son to get him to practice; he’s playing songs from video games that the piano teacher has transcribed.
  24. I’m grateful for the many small farmers who provide me with sustenance. Being a diversified farmer in this country is a huge challenge (see the anti-fracking argument above) with money woes and weather woes and pretty much every other kind of woe imaginable. So, thank you for fighting the food fight and bringing safe, high-quality goods to my table.
  25. I’m grateful for early menopause. While it won’t be official for a few months yet (you have to be period-free for a year), I’m totally psyched that I hit menopause at a very early age. Most of my female friends are still going strong and hating every minute of it. And don’t think that #24 doesn’t have a lot to do with this; I’ve limited the hormones I’ve ingested and reduced my risk of cancer even further (knock knock).
  26. I’m grateful for Thanksgivukkah. My son tells me there will not be another “Thanksgivukkah”—where Thanksgiving falls on the first day of Hanukkah—for another 7,000 years. I don’t know if that factoid is accurate, but I’m absolutely sure I won’t be here to see it (and at the rate we’re going, neither will any other humans). Gobble tov!
  27. I’m grateful for 50 years of Doctor Who. Just watched the 50th Anniversary issue. In the words of River Song: Spoilers! They managed to create an homage to all 13 Doctors (yes, there is a 13th doctor), including having my doctor, Tom Baker, do a cameo. Not too many shows can resurrect themselves successfully (Ironside much?), and from Peter Capaldi to William Hartnell the Doctor is arguably the coolest television character (and the TARDIS the coolest creation) of all time. And Weeping Angels will give you nightmares.
  28. I’m grateful for Google. Yeah, they’re selling me out to the NSA (see below) and god knows what capital interests, but unlike Facebook, I actually think the tradeoff is worth it. Aside from Gmail’s functionality (love my Drive, it’s the only cloud I’m okay with), I remember what life was like when you had to go to the library and research shit. Now I can find what I need in a matter of minutes (most of the time; I’m a very thorough researcher, which is why I don’t use Google or Wikipedia for deep articles). And you might as well put Wikipedia on the list, too, although I gave them money this year to support their work, so technically, it’s not free. But their annotations save me a ton of time.
  29. I’m grateful for Edward Snowden. Hear me out. I get it that spilling state secrets is not a great thing, but the shit our government is doing to its own law abiding citizens borders on totalitarianism. And I spent enough time in the former USSR to know how quickly freedom can be taken from you. And I’m not talking your guns, because all the firepower in the world will not stop the government from teaching you the meaning of the word rendition. Not only are people making a huge profit on our personal data while the system does nothing to protect us, but our government is turning fascist in a way that terrifies me. Investigative journalism is dead (the only news I am finding is via NPR or Al-Jazeera, because everything else is owned by the same special interests that are spying on us). Without these whistle blowers who have no choice but to engage in massive leaks (do you honestly believe Snowden wouldn’t have been eliminated had he gone through “proper channels”?), we would have no warning about the breadth of wrong-doing that is going on in the USA. And maybe as a result, the people will finally wake up and realize that our civil liberties are worth dying for instead of rolling over and playing dead while we are stripped of them entirely.
  30. I am grateful for you! You read this really long blog post, so I thank you. And wish you love, friendship, joy and moments of bliss. Be grateful!

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