Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Attitude of Gratitude

For several years, before we started to pass the food at Thanksgiving dinner and after saying grace, I terrorized my daughters, and any unfortunate guests, by making each person around the table tell what they were grateful for. The answers, as often happens when hungry folks are put on the spot and denied mashed potatoes, ranged from truly banal to gloriously provocative. Sometimes they even (amazingly!) created conversation fodder. What a treat! I have always loved hearing what was going on inside other people's minds.

This year, for the first time I can remember in about 30 years, I won't have control of that table and I won't be able to put anyone on the spot. But I still rule the roost here, and can do what I want. So, I'll terrorize you by telling you what's on my mind, just for a change.

I'm grateful for, in no particular order, and with the understanding that the list is incomplete:

- Spit. I'm knitting a Lotorp bag (Noro Revisited, I think) and when you knit with Noro, you better have an ample supply of saliva to spit-splice all the knots. My bag, about half complete, has way more of my spit than I had originally planned. On the other hand, if my body is ever discovered in a strange place, ID missing, in close proximity to the Lotorp, please feel free to use it for DNA testing.

But damn, that Noro is gorgeous!

- The November birthdays are done. As in complete, over, finished, put your wallet back into your purse. In my family, three biggies among the immediates: Jake, KC and Kerrigan. (And several more among the next-to-immediates.) Let me just say that after one weekend that included KC's birthday (NASCAR Speedpark) and Kerrigan 's (Monkey Joe's), I'm exhausted. No more birthdays until Haley and Deirdre in December. Whew!

- Measles, or more particularly, having had measles Back in the Day, or, as they were known then, The 50's. The only thing worse than being at Monkey Joe's for a birthday party is being there with a child who is unexpectedly spotty and whiny and hot and who turns out to be highly contagious. We're lucky we escaped with our lives. (There's a certain irony in having your child GET measles from the shot that was supposed to innoculate him from it, but then that's a fact that some people learn from their flu shots every years. I'm still a believer.)

- Family. As a whole, we're all pretty healthy, but there are always worries in any family. This is the year that my oldest nephew Mike had a terrible bicyling accident in the course of his duties as a police officer. He's going to be okay and for that I'm almost pathetically grateful. Jake's mom's and stepfather's health have been chancy this year and I'm glad they're doing better. We've got a wedding coming up in March (Caitlin and Bobby) and a new baby in April (Sarah and Andrew's). My two sisters are doing well. All the grands are growing up, intelligent, mouthy, beautiful--perfect in every way. My two daughters have been through tough times this year and they're both stronger for it. We are extremely lucky!

- L'Occitane en Provence Hand Cream. It's officially cold weather, although here in Georgia that's relative. But my hands know it, and they are dry, cracked, chapped. My hangnails have hangnails. And, if there was even a drop of moisture in my skin before, the aforementiond Noro has removed every trace. And don't be thinking that all that spit I'm slathering on my spliced ends is helping. The Noro has sucked all that up, along with any moisture native to my skin. And L'Occitane isn't cheap--a smallish tube, tinier than the average infant's foot but still too large to be carried onto an airplane because it qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, costs about $650 and is worth every penny. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

- Military Personnel. One day this week, I flew to Savannah and back in one day (for a job interview that will probably go nowhere). And the airports were everything you have heard and seen on the news--ugly, crowded, noisy, filled with many lovely and some quite nasty folk. (It's never a good sign when you're greeted at the airport entrance with the news that the place is such a zoo that Meredith Viera is reporting on the chaos Right Now, From Right Here in The Airport, Yes, That's What I Said, Right Here!!!!!) But back to the military. On both planes, there were numerous military personnel, traveling on leave to visit with their families before returning to Iraq. The man sitting next to me on one plane was on his way to Savannah to get married on Saturday before going back to Iraq on Monday. I felt quite teary to see all these folks who are working so hard to keep my life so peaceful here at home. Thank you to all who serve our country. And, because I'm a patriot, I won't mention that we wouldn't be there at all if folks in Florida knew how to count votes.

- Grandchildren. Well, I know I mentioned some of them earlier, but I am especially grateful because I have eight of the little suckers, after all, ranging from 2 to 21. And what they are best at is putting it all in perspective. When you're feeling a little down, like the world sucks and you can't find a job and you're too fat and you just dropped a stitch, for heaven's sake, there's nothing quite like a grandchild's hug to take your mood back up a few notches. And, if your ego needs a little downsizing, the comment that will do it is this one: "Duuuuuude, what did you do to your hair color? Man! What were YOU thinking?"

Gotta love it.

- Pugs. What can you say? A life without a pug is just plain bleak, unthinkable, a wasteland of infinite proportions. Life with four pugs, on the other hand, is a little unthinkable some days too. It takes all my meager powers to be grateful for Bluto when he starts his howler monkey imitation, which he does when he cannot see me sitting ten feet from him and therefore he believes himself to have been abandoned. But that's a story for another day.

-Low Drama, High Darhma. Things are quiet around Chez Pug, and in my life. Oh, occasionally there might be a brief scuffle over ownership of a stuffed toy or a chewie, or maybe a serenade from the howler pug and the other members of his quartet, but basically life is good. No conflicts, no anxiety (well, maybe a little about the J-O-B situation, but it's still minimal). I'm trying to live mindfully these days, taking note of the effects of my actions on others, and being aware of my blessings in life. When I hear about the drama in other people's lives, I'm just really grateful to be out of that particular fray. Yesterday morning I sat out on the knitting perch (yeah, it was kind of chilly but not too bad--remember that in Georgia, everything's relative), just knitting and enjoying the yard. The leaves were falling, spectacularly in a whirlygig fashion, dropping noisily onto the ground. The bird feeder and squirrel tray had customers lined up for the seeds and suet. The pugs were on patrol and I talked on the cellphone with Mr. Pug, who's visiting his family in Salt Lake City. Drama? Not here. Life is damned good.

- Finally, the knitting community. My life is enriched every day by the knitters I know. They are amazing people, for the most part, generous and friendly and loving. And thanks to the Atlanta knitting shops for that wonderful Shop Hop these past two weeks. I missed a few shops I wanted to get to, but having a job, looking for a job, and family obligations kept me away. Sometimes you've got to prioritize, and yarn doesn't always win. (Mostly, but not always.) But I had fun and hung out with a lot of nice people and it was a great event. And I love all those knitters I knit with every day, and the ones I just read about on their blogs, and the ones who post fabulous pictures on Ravelry. I love our community's charitable work. (A special shout-out to the new knitting ministry at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Sedona. Good work, guys!) Basically, I'm grateful for all of you--you're all exceptional people.


Sheri said...

Great post! I read the whole thing. And I agree, life with pugs is always interesting! Your grandchildren sound super, as do your kids. I think you're very lucky to live so close to all those awesome yarn shops up there.
Sheri in Southeast GA (not too far from the Savannah Airport!)

Knit Witch said...

Great post!! Mindfullness....something I practice every single day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank the universe for all I have been given and all I HAVEN'T been given each morning and evening. The things we don't have and haven't achieved and haven't gotten (even if we desperately wanted them) play as much into who and where we are as the things we do have and have achieved!! :)

I want to hear more about this knitting ministry......

PS - where can my husband take some good spinning lessons??