Today concludes my sixty days of gratitude writing exercise.
Today is my 60th birthday.
I’m grateful to be here.
I’ll indulge with a repeat on my sixty days of gratitude.
Because she deserves it. And more.
“Oma & Opa” is Dutch for grandmother and grandfather. Pictured are my mother’s parents with us on their visit circa 1964.
I never met my father’s parents. They were long gone before I arrived.
In looking back, I miss having never met them, and conversely, I’m very grateful I got to spend time with my mother’s parents.
It wouldn’t be my 60 days of gratitude if I didn’t include coffee. And vodka. And coffee-flavored vodka. And coffee-flavored rum, while I’m at it. And Starbucks, of course.
You get the idea. I’m grateful for coffee, with and without alcohol, and preferably from Starbucks.
But when I think about it, it’s really gratitude for something much, much larger: choice.
I’ve always been a reader. Some of my earliest memories include books of one sort or another. I’m sure I have my mother to thank for that.
I recall Little Golden Books on a bookshelf when I was perhaps five years old. Dick and Jane were part of my kindergarten or first grade curricula. I was an avid reader and collector of Tom Swift Jr. (my first science fiction), as well as The Hardy Boys.
But it wasn’t until high school that things really took off.
Sometimes it’s something very simple and yet out of the ordinary that I stumble into and suddenly feel some weird level of gratitude for.
Like my mother’s car.
While on an out of town trip, I chipped a tooth.
More specifically, a veneer on one of my front teeth broke in half. One half stayed in place, the other not so much. I wasn’t even doing anything particularly horrid at the time – using my teeth to start a tear in a plastic bag.
And of course this all happens while out of town.
It’s no secret that I believe quite strongly that the internet has created more community and opportunity than it’s destroyed, and connected more people in more ways than we could possibly have imagined. Yes, there are issues, but they are far outweighed by the positives.
A simple example: I’m currently in my travel trailer, parked outside my sister-in-laws house, near a workshop that has a 220 volt electrical outlet for a welder.
Can I plug in my trailer? I plug into a different type of 220 outlet at home, why not this one?
As part of my daily research to produce Not All News Is Bad (NANIB) I run across a lot of positive news stories. (That daily research is the intended goal of NANIB — that I publish it is just a side effect.)
When my wife stumbled into a story about a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that is showing promise my first thought was that I’ve been seeing a lot of stories about progress on the medical front.
Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. -Charles Dudley Warner
As I write this large portions of Texas are experiencing and recovering from hurricane Harvey. Even just skimming headlines is enouh to make me very, very grateful for the mostly mild & moderate weather we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s not fashionable to speak positively about the government, particularly in the United States, and particularly during the current administration.
And to be crystal clear, I believe our current president has no business being in the White House, and is a colossal embarrassment to this country.
What I’m grateful for, however, is that I can say that.
I don’t really believe in traditional “retirement”. The concept being that you work for some number of years, stop, and go on to a life of leisure at best, or boredom at worst.
I never planned to stop working, and I still don’t. To me my work is my “life of leisure”, so to speak. It’s what I expect to be doing my entire life.
But technically I am retired.
There’s no place like home.
There really isn’t. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, or what’s inside or outside, how big it is or how messy it is, there’s just something about … home.
I volunteer for a local animal rescue organization — not the “adopt a puppy” kind, but the “my dog’s stuck in a ravine” kind. When called out we mobilize with a collection of people, skills and equipment that allow us to help get animals — often large animals — out of a variety of sticky situations.
Earlier today I got the call.
When I was young we would typically get a Christmas Package from my grandmother. It would usually arrive in early December, to coincide with St. Nicholas Day — Sinterklaas — (December 6th), when the Dutch traditionally did their gift exchanges.
In the package would be a variety of things, much of which didn’t really interest me.
But a few things most definitely did.