Thankful: An Alphabet

I didn’t write last week. That’s not true. I did write and write and write last week, but even though I wrote toward many things, I never arrived. The whole point is the journey, though, right. Arriving is overrated unless you promised yourself that you would post a new essay on your blog once a week. 

Tomorrow we leave on vacation, and it’s very likely that I will not post a blog while we are gone; however, I’m not ruling it out because my cool cousin Gordon wrote a song based on one of my essays (the one where I bust my face). When the recording is finished, I am going to post it here. If that is next week then we are all in for a treat!

I’m rereading Amy Krouse Rosenthal‘s book, An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life because she has a new book for adults coming out called Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and I can’t wait. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is one of my favorite all-time books. I’ve had numerous copies. It is a book I reread, give to friends, teach from, and then buy again. Last night, I was reading the entries from “T” and came across “Thankful.” That gave me an idea–why not write a blog post inspired by Amy’s “Thankful” entry? 

Why not indeed!

I’m thankful for…

asparagus (in spite of the pee thing) and art and artists and aardvarks–isn’t aardvark a great word, fun to say and write. There are very few words that make use of the double a. Off the top of my head I can come up with bazaar and naan and aargh. I’m lying. I did not come up with these words off the top of my head. I googled “words with a double a” and was directed to a cool Scrabble website.

breakfast and beans (because Eric is a vegetarian and the rest of us aren’t, but he’s always happy with a pot of beans) and brothers–I have two of them and they are both handsome and kind and funny, and if I’m at a party and my brothers are there, I will always end up hanging out with them.

bruises because they remind me to slow down and not bang myself into the edges of tables trying to get something done. 

books, musty or crisp-paged, palm-sized or two inches thick, a thin volume of poetry or a three volume history of something or another. I like pages and typeset and hard covers and black ink. I love the way a book left in the rain or dropped accidentally into a bathtub will swell and bow out.

birds and birdsong–waking up to birds in the morning because it’s spring and the windows are still opened.

cats–especially my cat Jozee who is a mouser extraordinaire and if she were big she would just eat us.

Call the Midwife which I have just discovered and is available on Netflix

cousins–inappropriate and witty people in your family tree who like to dance to Sister Sledge’s We Are Family and bring casseroles when you are sick and support you when you write a blog and write songs about those who have left us.

diet Coke and DirectTV because it keeps the family busy when I want to read, and dresses in the summer because it’s hot as hell (I think).

dandelions–both persistent and insistent and despite all of our attempts at eradication they persevere.

dad–dads who hold you up, pick you up, make kick-ass burgers, always bring wine, laugh at your jokes, and love you not in spite of but because of your lifelong aspiration to contrariness.

eggs (scrambled, dippy–this is what I grew up calling sunny side up eggs, hard and soft boiled, poached–my poached eggs look like egg drop soup, deviled, and in a salad), empty rooms, elevators (I still like to push the buttons), and elephants.

fries–with ketchup, with salt and vinegar, waffled, spiced, curled, made of sweet potatoes or russets or even polenta; fairy tales; and flax seed (not really, I just had a good rhythm going!).

friends who meet you for lunch or wine or ice cream, friends you’ve known your entire life or just a week, friends who call when they are hurting because they need to hear your voice or stop by for a beer because you are on the front porch, friends who laugh so hard that they snort soda through their noses.

grandmas (having them and being one); grandpas; gorillas; grapes–super cold and firm, or frozen–I swear they taste like candy.

grace–never expected; glimpsing–that moment when you think you see something but you aren’t sure; gin and tonic on the back porch in the hot sun; and grandkids–I only have two so far, but they are by far the best small people I have ever met.

hippies (born too late, but always aspired to be one); help (receiving and giving); heat; home; hostas–so big and green; hampers and hills and hollyhocks and humility.

and of course, Hillary. I love her and I’m thankful for her hoarse and shouty voice because she has been speaking into and over power for a long fucking time.

ice cream (I’m partial to chocolate).

idiot a word that can be said a variety of ways, my favorite being idyot.

jello (watch it wiggle, see it jiggle); jelly beans; jingle bells; and juice (especially grapefruit which goes great with gin).

kleenex for crying and colds and the occasional snotty nose of a small child who is visiting  and ketchup for hamburgers and French fries even though my husband puts it on eggs and cottage cheese–yes, I said cottage cheese. Who does that? I might have to take ketchup off the list.

kids–Lefty, Isky, Peanut, and Sheldon, if my list could contain only one entry, this is the one I would keep.

lips (I am a fan of the full on-the-lip kiss, none of that sissy cheek kissing for me) and love–bigger than we know, all around us all the time even when we don’t know it or expect it or believe in it or even want it, bold enough to save us if we only let it.

my mac book–it’s shameful how much I love it.

mothers, being one, knowing many, having one who continues to teach me everything I need to know about joy and love and grief, who cooks a beef roast like nobody’s business, whose smile blings up any room she enters.

nieces and nephews and Nellie Olson who was so good at being bad that I both loved and hated her and what a great lesson that was–being able to hold two opposing feelings at the same time.

old folks–smart and resilient and crusty and sweet old folks who tell it like it is and bake cookies for their neighbors and hold the stories we need in their hearts.

ocean–the waves and the sound of the waves, the mystery and the danger, how salty it is and wild, how it is always there when I go back each year, in spite of our best efforts to destroy it.

principal–especially the one who is my sister and my best friend, who brings me cucumber salad mix from Chicago and a book with writerly quotes, who shared a bed with me until I left home and put up with any number of bad habits on my part, cover hogging, reading until morning, nervous coughing, and the cat-like way I would pad my feet against her legs until she screamed.

pistachios, salty, delicious, shelled pistachios, especially those requiring extra effort to release from their barely cracked shells. Eating them is more gratifying.

picking pimples (I know, gross); pizza without onions; pasta with cream sauce and vegetables; and pugs–snorting, reverse-sneezing, shedding, flat-faced pugs.

quiet. no radio, no TV, no CD playing, the kind of quiet that encompasses birds singing and wind blowing through the trees while water drips and drops upon and from green leaves.

some q words I like: querulous, queasy, quip, and quandary

resting in a hammock (I wish I had one)

raptors–hawks, eagles, buzzards–I love them all.

silly jokes and Silly Sally who “went to town, walking backwards upside down” and summer with its heat and humidity and swimming and sweating.

soap in the bar shape I became accustomed to as a child, soap with little scrubby nubs and expensive soap that smells like lemon and mint and rosemary and plain old Ivory Soap that leaves my skin feeling tight and somehow cleaner.

turtles, the box turtles you come across along the side of the road that you take home and try to keep in a box or in a sandbox in the back yard, but they always get away; the snapping turtle in the lake whose big head pops up ominously and makes lake swimming seem more dangerous than it is.

tans (I know this is bad, but I can’t help it, I love the way a tan looks although I do wear sunscreen which I do not love but am probably thankful for) and t-shirts with graphics that say things like feminism is the radical notion that women are people, or Hillary Clinton for President: I’m With Her!

umbrella–mostly the way I say it with the emphasis on the UM instead of on the BREL because this makes me feel unique and ukuleles because I like the music and the word. I mean is there a better, happier, more upbeat word than ukulele?

violins and violas and violets and vivid colors. words like vivisection and virulent.

vaccinations which are safer and more available than they were years ago when Edward Jenner smeared cowpox pus into lesions on a small boy’s arm.

wind and weeping willow trees; washing machines as opposed to washboards; whistling–I don’t do it very well, but I certainly appreciate a good whistler.

walking and writing–most days, a crone I know and I walk together even though we live states apart. When we are finished walking, we write to each other about our walks. This practice has saved my life many times over.

warrior women–my tribe

x-rays (so far I haven’t needed many, but I’m glad they exist)

yellow–I prefer creamy yellow to bright yellow in clothing. I have lots of t-shirts this color because they look soft even if they aren’t. Lots of things I love are  yellow–dandelions and black-eyed susans, butter and moonbeam coreopsis and goldfinches and the walls in my kitchen and those big suns that kids draw with crayons.

zzzzzz–I like zebras okay, but I normally wouldn’t put them on a “thankful for” list and I think the word zaftig is fabulous, but most z-words don’t do much for me, although maybe I’m just leaving the zone…

7 thoughts on “Thankful: An Alphabet

  1. Well, this is simply marvelous!!! Gobsmackingly delightful and full of everything that makes me percolate. My day is now headed in the right direction…thank you, thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alpacas, artichoke dip, buttons, bald eagles, brussel sprouts, books, clotheslines, crows, cribbage games with my husband, my daughter practicing her cello, Great Danes, dandeLIONS, dancing, eggs (still warm and wet from being laid), frog sounds, fabric, gardens, honey, hans, impossible things, junk drawers, kayaking, kids, knitting needles, letters in the mail, monkey bread, moss, making out, nieces and nephews, octopuses, pie, homemade pesto, paper dolls, piano music, quilts, Quibbler by the fire on Saturday mornings with my kids, readings, rocks, rain, sewing machines, sisters, socks, tea, text messages, trees, umbrellas, vintage dresses, walking, windows left open all night, women who get me, x-rays showing that your daughter’s broken bone has healed, yoga, yucca plants, and zombies in Jane Austen novels. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Thank God, Amy Krouse Rosenthal is NOT a Man! | The 49th Year

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