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My Gratitude List

Today is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for much. I used to have a sad life and now instead days are rich and full of friendship, art, good music, good food…

I am thankful for (not necessarily in order)..

  • Brian, and our Music.
  • My family-of-origin… Eric, who knows me better than anyone else, and Mom who is my best fan.
  • Altu, who is the truest of friends (and who took me to Africa for 5 weeks if I ever doubted her love).
  • Sara, my Goddaughter who at 19 still asks to go out for dinner and knitting.
  • All the amazing people now in my life… friends of all types, yarn shop owners, students young and old and in-between, neighbors, colleagues and former colleagues. Including you guys who read my words here.
  • The Yarn Shops who in large part make it possible for me to make a living doing what I love.
  • The arts community in Greater Lansing… no matter where I go, I know someone who dances, sings, acts, knits, does poetry… something!
  • Other folks’ children and pets. I have neither, and it’s great to get a taste now and then.
  • A decent-sized collection of good ethnic restaurants in my town, unheard of when I grew up here in the 1960’s and 70’s (unless Italian and Chinese makes up an “ethnic collection”).
  • My paid-off blue 1998 New Beetle, Joy… who is dependable as rain at over 100,000 miles.
  • My laptop.
  • The Internet.
  • My collection of warm sweaters and other wool goodies.
  • My cute little house with light purple and coral trim, and flocks of plastic flamingos… and a husband who thinks a house like that is just fine.
  • The luxury of time alone regularly, and the maturity to appreciate it.
  • My pretty-colored dishes (I lost the formal china/crystal set in my divorce, 1991, and never missed it).
  • Wool, Alpaca, Mohair… warm animal fibers to keep me happy and comfortable, and knitting stitch by happy stitch.
  • Wool socks. That fit. In bright colors!
  • Good tea. Perhaps especially good tea. It can make an ordinary moment into heaven on earth.

A more immediate gratitude is that we got to stay home for Thanksgiving. No early alarm clock, no making my portion of food for a group (I don’t like to cook), no slippery roads, no tank or two of gasoline. None of the down sides that can come with a holiday…

feast of Ethiopian foodjust a leisurely day with my beloved. And food I bought from Altu’s restaurant on Wednesday night, to heat up at meal time. I confess I bought all the supplies for pumpkin pie but have no particular interest in baking it, so maybe I’ll make it on this coming Monday (my birthday, and I really do prefer pumpkin pie to birthday cake).

Of course, I was sure I’d knit all day! Instead I slept in until I just could not stay asleep any longer. Total luxury! I read a bunch of blogs, I’m so desperately behind in my reading I think I’ll never catch up. I read a magazine. I totally love magazines far beyond their real value, but it gave me an hour of happiness anyway.

Then something that took a little bit of time, is Brian and I fussed with my laptop, which is complaining lately. I think I’m going to just buy new parts for the laptop I have rather than buying a new one. The hard drive is on its way out but the basic machine is more satisfactory than anything I can find on the market, at least in my price range.

I appreciate Brian’s viewpoints on geeky subjects like this. I now think we are just going to work together to put a new hard drive in, buy a better wireless card and live with this machine for a bit longer. I got so spoiled with my first laptop 7 years ago! It was one inch thin and only three pounds, and not ridiculously expensive. Now the only lightweight laptops with features I can live with are too pricey, and the smallest ones with a 12.1″ monitor (the perfect size in my opinion) still weigh 4 pounds or more. Pout. The one I have now is 4.5 lb so I will hang out for another time.

After the computer chat, we went for a walk. It is brutal out there today! It was about 19-20F (-6C) and sunny during our walk, but the wind was wicked!

Yesterday it snowed in earnest for the first time this season, and it kept coming down for hour after hour. Thank goodness it stopped and got cold enough to make the roads a bit safer for holiday traffic today. If Thanksgiving had been yesterday, we could have had some serious highway disasters. As it was, there were slowdowns at “rush minute” after work, but no major problems. Today, colder is better for the roads anyway.

Today we walked 5 blocks to see if the 24 hour diner was open (figuring we’d be good neighbors and have a cup o’tea there if they were open… but glad for the employees when we found the lights off). We walked a little further but then raced home to get warm.

plate of Ethiopian foodDinner was wonderful, thanks to the great cooking of my friend Altu. I bought 3 dinners last night just before she closed her restaurant. Today I just heated up the food and had the best possible food I can think of. Everything we had was from Altu… mild chicken with a wonderful onion sauce, mild lima beans (these are to die for… Americans don’t have a clue how to make them but Altu makes them creamy and flavorful), spicy lentils, collard greens and cabbage. Plus the famous Ethiopian bread, injera, with which one picks up the stews and eats with one’s fingers. Real food!!!

I’m so full I feel like curling up like a snake and sleeping until I digest it all. Brian’s listening to some turn-of-the-century marimba music he found on the Internet. It’s a bit surreal listening to that as I type on the Internet, but it is lovely background music.

Now it’s getting dark, and I have only knit a few stitches today. My Watercolor Bag for Threadbear is in the dryer after two rounds of washing in hot/cold.

The bottom of the bag (Montera wool/llama) felted really densely as expected, and there’s no real surprise that the K1C2 “Paint Box” yarn sides did not felt as much. This is just as true when I use Cascade 220 for the bottom and Noro Kureyon for the sides. It just is, I guess, and I do like a softer side on my bag most of the time.

What is odd is that I did a decent-sized sample swatch. It shrunk a lot more evenly than the larger bag is doing right now. We’ll see what happens, but that’s the extent of work I’m doing today on Thanksgiving.

I had planned to knit and knit and knit on my Lucy Neatby Equilateral vest! LOL (laughing out loud) on that one! I maybe have knit ten stitches on my scribble lace and that’s all the knitting I have done so far. And it’s dark already! I may easily be awake for another six to eight hours, though, so there is time to make up for that lost early knitting time.

My Wish to All of You
May you all find something to be thankful for today, if only a soft piece of wool, a smile, a ray of sun, a beautiful color, a good song, a friend, a story, a warm heat vent, a comfy sweater, a cup of tea…

Remember, if you wait for big things in order to be happy, you’ll likely miss the boat. Small things can bring happiness. In fact, noticing small things may be our only real chance of bringing ourselves a happy life. There are not enough big things to keep us going, yet there are so many small joys available to us, even daily, if we just open our eyes.

In fact, I’m sure that my ability to love small things is what got me through my many sad years. I somehow could forget the sadness for a moment, when I saw a flower or a sunset or a beautiful color. I sang a lot in those days… sang most of the time I was alone. The singing could change my day.

So, even if today is rough for you, do look around you. Find something that might give you a better day, a smile even. I’m aware that not everyone is in a good place right now. It’s the nature of life to go up and down. Feeling down during holidays is painfully obvious to the sad one, and often invisible to outsiders. Hang in there, and take care of yourself in any way you can.

Photos: 1) Our Thanksgiving feast for two, before serving up any food, 2) my plate after serving… center food is spicy lentils… then clockwise, from top, are mild chicken, mild lima beans, medium collard greens, mild cabbage (it’s yellow from the flavorings she uses, but it’s not spicy). Add the injera sourdough flat bread under it all, plus a cup of Twinings English Breakfast tea (unfortunately without the spices I’d have in Ethiopia) and it’s as wonderful a meal as one could ask for!

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