Here we are, the final day of thanks for the month of November. I think every day, in my normal life, I say a mental and emotional thank you for something… the way my honey laughs, the excited way the pups greet me every time I walk in a room, the smiles of my grandsons, the beauty of the sky or the day or the soul of a friend. I appreciate things. Even so, this has been a lovely exercise in purposed thankfulness. Being cognizant of what I have in my life. I have a lot.
30. I am thankful for love. Love of all kinds. Love from friends, family, my pups, the grandsons, the kids, my Mom, my siblings, and most of all my honey. I am blessed to have so much love in my life. More love and more joy from that love than I could ever dream possible. I feel it like a wave sometimes, immense and overwhelming in a totally good way, and other times it’s presence is like a vast and endless calm sea supporting the weight of this tiny ship. Most importantly, I feel it. Always. I’m lucky, fortunate, grateful, thankful, honored, blessed, graced, and humbled by the magnitude of it. I am loved, and I love. It’s beautiful.
Here we are, a third of the way through, and I feel like I’m just getting started. This is good for the soul. This little affirmation every day of things to be thankful and grateful for. It’s sending positive energy out into the world. I feel that from others. I feel that for myself.
10. I’m thankful for coffee, in all it’s forms — lattes, au laits, drip, french press, espresso, iced, hot, and a lovely thing called a Bibero I once had in Spain. Not only does it help me to wake in the morning, I enjoy it. I love the warmth in the morning and sometimes the cold in the afternoon. I love the flavor of a flavored drink or the simplicity of a really good cup o’ joe. I enjoy trying new cafes and stands and diners. I’m a fan, and thankful I get to drink the stuff. It brings me joy.
Here we are, day eight.
8. I’m thankful for my second family. When K and I got together I didn’t realize at the time that I’d be gaining a whole new set of people to call my own. People who in turn would call me their own. People who made me a part of the family and have accepted and loved me ever since. They are amazing and I’m so fortunate to have them in my life.
November. So many great things about it – leaves changing and falling, cooler temperatures lead to the wearing of jackets and hats, blankets and the beginnings of spending more cozy time indoors, women’s basketball, football in full swing, and Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.
I’m actually not much of a holiday person. I know, bah hum bug, but it’s true. I don’t much like decorating or dressing up and I definitely don’t like the commercialism if it all. Decidedly not my thing. But Thanksgiving, that’s for me. Family time, food, conversation, and a general spirit of thankfulness.
In the last couple of years I’ve noticed more and more people doing this thing called 30 Days of Thanks on Facebook. Listing, each day of the month, something they’re thankful for. I love this idea. I’ve written a lot about being thankful, grateful, and lucky for various things in my life on this blog. Obviously I’m a big proponent of saying thank you and so jumping on the bandwagon of something as cool as taking a moment every day to give thanks for someone or something seems like a great idea to me. All this thanking is good for the world. It’s been good for me to read the thanks other people are putting down. It’s warm and fuzzy. It’s good energy. It’s a beautiful thing.
I’m a bit late starting this, so I’ll be doing a little catch up, but here we go…
1. I’m thankful for my split apart. Every day I get more love, laughter, and togetherness than a person really has a right to. She’s poetry and light. She completes me.
2. I’m thankful for the wag in our pups tails. The pups add so much joy, fun, and wonder, and magic to our lives. They make our family. I love them.
3. I’m thankful for having the coolest, most wonderful, amazingly awesome Mom a person could have. Not just my Mom, she’s also my friend. And that smile — wow.
4. I’m thankful for words. They have, and continue to, inspire, transform, encourage, explain the world, and enlighten me. I’m so appreciative of their presence in my life.
And there it is… I’ve caught up. Tomorrow number 5 on the 5th.
What are you thankful for?
Wow… Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Can’t believe it. Sometimes these things sneak up on us. Not that we aren’t prepared, we are. It’s just that I can’t believe it’s already that time of year. We have entered the holiday season. And again I’ll say… wow.
Now that I’m getting over my shock at the time of year it is, I want to give some thanks, as has become my tradition here at the think tank every year. I am thankful for so many things….
First, as always, I’m thankful for my honey. I just spent a couple of weeks away from her and let me tell you, I’m no good without her. I mean this in a metaphorical sense people so don’t go making assumptions about my lack of self esteem… my self esteem is in tact. It’s just that I don’t like being without her. As I explained to my Mom and my brother, Karen is my home. A house is a structure that, if done correctly, reflects who we are, feels cozy to that end, and shelters us from the elements. A home, on the other hand, is where our heart lives. Mine lives with Karen. Hers with me. We are simpatico in this. Which makes it all the more real and heartfelt. My home is with her, no matter where we live, and I am beyond thankful for that. I’m blessed to have met her, lucky to have snagged her, and honored and humbled by the fact that she continues to love me, and love me more every day. I can’t begin to express what this means to me, and really I don’t think there are words to describe it. She is my breath, my light, my warmth, my love. She is my split apart, and I am hers. I whisper, thank you thank you thank you, out to the universe every day for her.
Mom and Kev… We are, and have been for a long long time, the three amigos. Having spent time with you these least three weeks (one here and two there), I appreciate you even more, if that’s even possible. There is a magic that happens when we are all in the same room. I’m so lucky to be a part of that. So lucky to have you… I feel love and gratitude for you every day.
Mary, Martin, and our little man… Thank you. Thank you for allowing me into your lives, into your family. As I’ve said before, I never had my own children, but nevertheless I consider you mine. I feel a part of a family, with children, and grandchildren, that I would never have without you and your acceptance and love of me. I love you guys and am so very grateful for you every day.
My family and friends… I tear up thinking about all of you, near and far. For one person to be blessed with such an outstanding group of people in my life… I am so humbled. You bring the zest, the encouragement, the support, the fun, and more love than I thought possible. I’m amazed every day by the depth and quality of the people in my life. Not only the sheer numbers of you, but by the people you are. Each and every one of you is a stellar human. I mean this. Family to friends, each of you brings something so uniquely you to my life. I treasure that. I treasure how individual you are, how loving you are, how fun you are, how many smiles and laughs you’ve given me over the years, and I feel so fortunate to have all of that with you. I am blessed beyond measure for knowing you, for having you in my life, and for continuing to get to spend time with you when I can. No matter the distance it seems we always manage to pick up where we left off, be that a year ago or yesterday, and I am honored by that, by your presence in my life. I feel you with me every day and I’m so very thankful for you.
The pups… I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but they are so important to me and every day I’m so loved by them, and grateful to them for their little selves in my life. They are my home as well, and I am so lucky to have them. They love without condition, without pretense, without judgement or agenda. They’re always excited to see me, even if I’ve only been outside for a moment, and they are always completely genuine. I love them more than I can measure, and am so very thankful for them. They bring a joy to my life, our lives, that can’t be measured.
I always say the only thing in life that truly matters are the people we love and who love us. I mean this. Everything else is set dressing, though nature, in all it’s glory, is a wonder and something I’m also grateful for every day. To that end I’d like to include the following poem by e.e. cummings. He’s my favorite poet, and I’m humbled by and grateful for his words, words that have helped, at times, me to get through periods of struggle. Words that have at times helped me to better explain the world to myself. This is one of my favorites of his… and it pretty much sums up the rest of it, the rest of what I’m grateful for…
i thank You God for most this amazing
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
I have been mulling over what to write for my Thanksgiving blog this year. So much mulling that Thanksgiving came and went without so much as a peep from this girl. But today, sitting here with the rain coming down and the weather turned cold I thought I might just dive in.
Thanksgiving. A holiday that, though initially maybe not traditionally about this, has become mostly about people eating, watching football, and most importantly pausing to give thanks to anything, everything, and everyone that people might pause to give thanks to. It’s a holiday about family and friends. A holiday about the people in our lives. Breaking bread (and don’t we all wish we could break it with Stan M? LOL An inside joke… and I digress), telling tales, laughing, loving, crying, and getting really full.
I think I’m still full from the meal we had on Thanksgiving over at the kid’s place. It was a lovely day. Spending time playing with the little man, helping to make what turned out to be a fantastic meal (my help consisted of making the green bean casserole… just empty cans into dish, but hey… I helped… and it was damn good baby!), hanging out with my honey, Mary, Martin, the little dude, and also Raya, Alex, and Tavish. We ate, chatted, played with the two little lads, and then after those lads went to bed we played games, drank tea, laughed. I will not reveal anything about things discussed during those games other than to use a couple of tell-tale phrases… Pam and skid marks. All other secrets are better left hidden. To be sure, it was a grand good day.
What I want to say here I think is that Thanksgiving should be a state of mind, not a one day a year kind of deal. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying do away with the turkey, fixin’s, football, game playing, and all of that. Let’s keep the day and on that day doubly send out those vibes of many thanks. I guess what I’m saying is we should strive to be thankful every day. All days. Always. It’s tough when the day is dark and dreary and work is a pain and people in one way or another are suffering. But it’s a great thing to still, in the face of all of that, pause during the day and say to yourself, if you don’t say it aloud, I’m thankful for… I’m grateful for… I’m happy I have this person or that thing or that dog or cat in my life…
So today I decided I’m going to say it out loud…
I am so grateful, thankful, lucky, fill in any other and all other words to express gratitude, thanks, and praise all rolled into one, for my honey. I will cry writing this, but I am in awe of your presence in my life. I say this over and over… but I have no idea what I did to have this happen. Whatever it was, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are light, laughter, air, grace, beauty, imagination, wonder, art, and all my wishes fulfilled. It’s been over eight and a half years and I love you more with each passing minute. I can’t believe it’s possible to love someone this much and tomorrow it will be more, but that’s what happens… every day. You get me. And I’m not easy. But, you get me. You understand me I think better than I do. Know where I’m at before I know I’m there. You are joy walking, my little sage in disguise. You bring light with you everywhere, and I am so blessed that your light gets to shine on me every day. I love you my love… more than this much.
I’m blessed also to have the best Mom ever. I don’t know what to say about her other than to say she is also grace walking. My Mom has been through some stuff, and I’ve seen her handle it all with so much class and grace. Maybe not always with a smile, but nearly always. People tell me I have a great smile, and I always say I got it from my Mom. It’s true. To say you’re my friend as well… bonus. It’s not everyone who can say they just like hanging out with their Mom. I can. I do. I love you so very much and every day I know how lucky I am to have you in my life. To have had you in my life through everything. We are separated this year. Me moving away to another state. We’ve never been this far apart and even though we are both dealing with it pretty well I think I miss you. I miss you but also know you’re right here with me. As I am right there with you. It’s that kind of bond. The kind big love makes.
Kev… You are my champion, my defender, my buddy, my partner in crime, my big little brother. To say we are peas in a pod is putting it mildly. We have seen a lot you and I. Been through a lot and always been there for each other. Always. Sometimes when life hasn’t been as kind as it could be to us we were all we had. Or at least it seemed that way. Kev and I against the world. I love that big lug of a guy. Fort building, mini bike riding, pool playing, adventure making, fighting each other and defending each other against others. I am grateful for you. For your friendship, your noble ideals, your loyalty, your laugh, your grin, and the best hugs given by any human on the planet. You are an amazing man. And thank goodness, you are my brother.
Mary… I never had my own children, I didn’t want any actually, until I met your Mom and by then it was, we felt, a little late in life for us. But lucky me, I didn’t just get a life with your Mom, I got a life with you. And you, my step-daughter, are amazing. I have never said these things to you, but I am so very happy and lucky to have you in my life. I am so very proud of you. Funny, fun, so very smart, silly, clear minded, stubborn, tough, with high expectations and a loyalty stronger than steel, you are fantastic. I am also so very grateful for the little man, our Sebastian. And you, Mary, are a fantastic Mom. I watch you with him and think to myself… wow, she’s doing this or that just right. Teaching him to swim, teaching him to be in the world, teaching him to grow up and be an amazing man. You are a great Mom Mary. And I am grateful every day that I get to be around you, be around your son, be in your life. Thank you for letting me be a part of things, for not just being my partner’s daughter, but mine as well. Thank you… and I love you very much.
Martin… No greater son-in-law could a mother in law have. You are a gentleman… and gentle man. I love how you treat Mary. How you make a home with her. How you are as a father. I love watching you with Sebastian, talking to him, playing with him. I love how you take care of your family. All that, and you make me think and laugh. You are easy to be around. Easy to be with. And that, my son-in-law is a gift. As you are a gift to me.
And what would this blog post be without a mention of our pups… Weston and Riley. Every day I get joy from them. Exasperating, sometimes annoying, loud, hyper, needy… but always loving. Always loyal. Always affectionate. Always there with a snuggle. Funny little creatures that have totally stolen our hearts. We adore them. Are in love with our dogs. I sometimes say it’s a sad state of affairs, loving dogs this much. But it isn’t. It’s a glad, happy, wonderful, grateful state of affairs. Unconditional mutual admiration and adoration.
I can’t go on to list everyone I should… to say thank you to everyone I love. If I did this blog would be much longer than anyone would probably want to read, or have the attention span for. I will just say this… to my family and friends, old and new, I am blessed. I have the gold standard of people in my life. Each one of you brings something to my life that is cherished, noticed, and appreciated by me. I couldn’t be luckier to know and call you friends and family. I don’t say it enough, maybe don’t even talk to some of you enough, but I think of you often. I can’t begin to express how deep my appreciation and love go. It’s deep. It’s endless. My life is a beautiful tapestry of people, woven together by thread upon thread of shared life experiences and stories. I love you guys. I’m so very lucky to have you. And I hope with all that I am that I’ve been and continue to be as good a friend, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, grand-daughter, cousin, sister-in-law, and all around person as you all have been to me. I’m lucky. Lucky. Lucky. So fortunate. And so very thankful for each and every one of you.
And there it is… my none Thanksgiving Day thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has come, but not gone.
It’s Thanksgiving so I thought I’d write a little about being thankful….
As you all might be aware we decided to do something different this year for Thanksgiving. Something fresh and new. Something we’ve never done before. We ended up going out for Chinese food. A great idea in theory…. and if you talk about the company alone it was most certainly a great idea, but the food… not so great. We cannot recommend House of Louie. However… I am thankful we got to spend the meal with great friends who we love very much. Afterward we headed to Maggie’s place to meet her dad and step mom and say hello to her dinner guests. We enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate while we were there. I’m thankful for the graciousness and love Maggie always shows us when we go to her place and for the sincere love we both felt from the other people present. It touches my heart to know how many people have been thinking of me/us these past months. I’m deeply humbled by their genuine outpouring of emotion.
I talked to Mom this morning, she called to say a big happy Thanksgiving to us. I’m grateful and thankful I have the amazing mother I do. Mom, you are the best… hands down. I’ve been lucky to realize, all along, what a gift I have in you, and that feeling of love, gratitude and thankfulness for having you in my life just gets stronger with each passing year. I love you.
I’m also thankful for the family and friends near and far I didn’t get to see today, but felt none the less. You all mean so much to me. I can’t express how blessed I feel to have you all in my life. We might not see each other that often or as much as we would like, but I value having you in my life… so very much.
I’m so thankful and grateful I ended up with a great step daughter and son in law who I love very very much. They have given us the most wonderful gift this year… a new grandson. I can’t wait to meet him.
And most importantly… my honey. How can I not talk about her, but what do I say? Every day I wonder in awe at the amazing luck I had in finding you. I don’t know what I did to get you in my life, but I am thankful for it every day. I know I can be moody and difficult sometimes… can’t we all…. but I look at you and get that feeling inside, the complete sense of joy when you are doing something so cute, and I forget I’m moody. I stop being difficult. I’ve never felt joy like this, like the kind you’ve brought to my life, my heart. I am more than thankful for you honey. I am blessed to have you. I am awed by you… and I am grateful, to the bones, for you. You make me so happy. Our life makes me so happy. So thankful.
I feel so lucky, so thankful, so happy. It’s amazing. This is, as I’ve said… such a beautiful life. Happy Thanksgiving everyone…
Getting the maintenance phase of this all worked out is… happening. Had to go in again today (had the CBC yesterday) for another blood test (one of my liver function tests were high from last week and my doc, who is the hospital doc this week, didn’t get it ordered before we went in yesterday). No biggie. Just another slip sliding adventure coming back up our driveway. Have to go in again today to get my shot. The results of all of this tweaking of my maintenance (my doc lowered my shot dose to half last week as well as my pills from two to one after getting my blood work back last week and finding my white count wasn’t quite as high as he’d hoped)… I will, from now on, be on the half dose amount of both shot and pills. They will not be raised back up. The protocol calls for starting at the high dose and if the counts don’t go too low, staying at that dose, but if the counts don’t maintain well enough at the high dose it should be lowered to the half dose amount, which is what seems to work in my case. My liver test from today also improved with the lower doses so the doc and all feel this is the dose for me. We will see next week. We’re hoping to get all this stable in the next couple of weeks… before we fly to England to see the kids and our grand boy, Sebastian. I can’t wait to meet him!
To clear all this up… I am now on half the shot amount and one pill a day. Then, every three months, I take another 15 days of ATRA along with the continued weekly shot and daily pill. The only thing left to finish working out is getting it squared away with an oncology department in England to give me my shot every week while we are there. Four shots in total. Karen called and talked to them to start the process and got the contact info for my doc to call them. Kaiser is going to package my shot meds so that Karen and I can carry them to England. Karen talked to the TSA to make sure we had what we needed from the doc, paperwork wise, etc., to get through security. So after my doc talks to the doc there we should, hopefully, be good to go. Yay!!!
I’m not looking forward to the long hours of travel… we fly to Chicago from Portland then from Chicago to Manchester, England. O’Hare is a bummer of an airport. Busy, no good services (internet, etc.), and weather effected this time of year. But hey, we’ve flown through there many a time so we are familiar with it and know how to deal with it well. We are definitely seasoned travelers. We make ourselves laugh we are so efficient…. Get to the airport, check bags, go toward security, stop to take off watches, put cell phones in the backpack, get to security and take out computers and take off shoes in line, go through the line… get some food for the plane, get on the plane, get out Bose headphones and laptop for movies if movies on plane aren’t any good and also iPod in case music is the thing, eat our previously purchased food, get to O’Hare, find some floor space in a terminal hallway near an outlet (they don’t have areas with plugins for computers, etc…. part of it being a bummer), plug in and put in a movie or two depending on amount of time, get on the plane to Manchester, repeat all plane activities mentioned before, get off the plane, bags, customs, train to Lancaster, stay up to what is a reasonable evening hour in Lancaster to combat the jet lag, and then crash for like 13 hours. And that, ladies and gents, is how it’s done. It’s going to be a tiring long day, but it’s so worth it… and always kind of exciting. I might say it’s tiring, but it’s also sort of fun while it’s all happening.
For now we have tiny bits of snow coming down and we leave in another hour and half to go back in to the clinic. Tomorrow… Thanksgiving and really taking time to be joyful and thankful. As I said in an email to some of my family the other day… to quote myself…
I am thankful every day for the day itself, for my beautiful family loving me and me loving them back, for my friends who also love me greatly and who I love as well, and for the wonder and joy I feel just looking at the world around me. It’s a glorious beautiful thing, this life. So thank you both for the Thanksgiving dedication… I think Thanksgiving has, this year and moving forward, become my favorite holiday. What better reason to have a day of celebration… to stop, pause, and be thankful and grateful in a very conscious way.
Happy early Thanksgiving everyone…
The last time we were out of the house was Thanksgiving Day. I have to upload some photos from that day and I’ll do a post later about it. For now I’d just like to say this… we were asked a question at dinner, what are you thankful for. I immediately said Karen, but was told I had to pick something besides friends and family. I get the idea of that, but have this to say about it none the less. The people in my life, the people I love and who love me, are all there is really. I’ve been through enough to know there is nothing more important. There is nothing that defines a life well lived more than the people we choose and who choose us. So I’ll stick with my initial answer and expound on it a bit….
I am thankful, every moment of every day, for Karen. I’ve, in previous years, given thanks to friends and family, all of which still hold true, you guys… well…. I’m so lucky. But this year I’d like to devote my thanks to Karen.
I don’t know how many times I sit and think of her and tear up. Just thinking of her does it to me. It’s happiness you see. Happiness and a sort of amazement about how fortunate I am. I’m sitting her now, not all that far from being 7 years into this, tears coming, and loving her even more than I did six and half years ago. How is this possible? I don’t know. I am beyond lucky. She is the most genuine person I’ve ever met. Always herself. No matter where we go, who we are with, what we are doing… genuine. She is joyful. She lives every moment, never holding back what she feels. I love this about her. She is playful. Making me laugh just by being naturally herself all the time. She doesn’t put it on, she just IS it. She’s loving. She feels things deeply, loves without limit. She’s strong. She doesn’t take any crap. She stands up for herself. I admire this in her as I’m not always able to do it for myself. She isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. She will fight like a little pit bull if she has to, especially if she thinks someone she loves has been wronged. She’s a dork. I add this and love this about her because I’ve never met anyone who appreciates the dorkiness in me and matches it the way she does. She is silly, we are silly, a lot. She’s smart. Her mind is an amazing thing. I see this in the way she is in her work, but also in the way she just is in life. She can see things, how they connect, what they will look like in the future. She’s very good at this. She is insightful. She reads people. Especially me, which isn’t always easy, but she does it in spectacular fashion. She gets me. She loves me. She does this well. Better than I sometimes deserve. I can’t believe it actually. I’m stunned by her. Over and over again. Floored by her depth, her spirit, her love of life. To say I am lucky doesn’t even come close to really expressing how I feel about her, to defining what she means to me. To say I’m thankful doesn’t even touch the depth of feeling I have. But since I have no words to better describe it, I will just say… on this Thanksgiving weekend… I am thankful, every moment of every day for her. So very thankful. There is nothing more important in my life than she is to be thankful for.
Just got home from hanging with the in-laws. It was a good trip. Karen’s parents seem to have accepted me, and better yet, they really like me. I think it’s nice for her. All the years of not really being able to be herself, and now she can just be. They are obviously happy she is happy, which is really the important thing anyway. We didn’t do much while we were there, other than hang around chatting, but that was nice. Every time I’m with them I like them more.
We did go to a movie one night with her sister, Cathy, and her nephew, Charles. I really like that kid. He’s 16 and sort of quirky, and it’s that great kind of quirky. He’s smart, has a great off beat sense of humor, and he doesn’t feel the need to conform to what’s hip. He’s a kid who absolutely loves movies. Old and new, it doesn’t matter. Plus, he knows about them… technique, directors, cast, etc. He’s passionate about it, and that, in anyone, is very attractive. We saw the movie Serenity. Good movie even if you’ve never seen the tv show. There were a lot of people there who obviously had not just watched the tv show, but have gotten into it so much they dress the part. There are clubs for browncoats. Who knew. Not I, but it was pretty entertaining watching them. It was premiere weekend for this particular film and since there’s such a huge cult following, which I also was unaware of, there was a line, the people in costume as I mentioned before, and pre-show trivia complete with prizes for those who knew obscure tidbits about the characters, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t win anything. I did, however, come home with a key chain, thanks to Cathy’s quick grab of a flying key chain after the trivia was over.
Karen’s parents made a full on turkey dinner Saturday night. I guess they figure that they don’t get their kids together very often and since all three were there, it was a time to celebrate. I got the honor of being the forker. When Karen’s dad carves the turkey a person stands there and forks the carved turkey onto the platter. I was told that not everyone gets to be a forker so I was touched he asked me. Standing there, forks at the ready, I felt the pressure to perform and live up to my new post and title. He said I did well, so I might, if I’m lucky, be asked to fork again.
Today I’m lucky enough to be able to hang at home. Relax after traveling. Karen, busy as she is, had to go in to work today. A perk of my job is getting to take off quite a bit of time. I’m fortunate enough to earn comp time on top of my accrued vacation time, so that helps. I slept in today. What a luxury. Sitting here sipping on green tea, still wearing pajamas that I know I won’t change out of, looking outside at the forest and the rain, I think it’s time to head in and see what movie I can find to watch. It’s Monday, and I’m home. How lucky am I?