Nanopoblano 2016: Day 1

November 1st.  It’s the first day of National Blog Posting Month.

It’s also the first day of Nano Poblano: a month-long, daily word lagniappe – a blog-i-licious goody bag of stories, poetry, photos and posts from the Cheer Peppers, led by the lovely Ra and her constellation of glowing, twinkly blokin.

I’m so excited to be a part of Nano Poblano – it thrills me each year to be included with these kind, supportive, talented Peppers.  I’m excited to write, but (totally typical) I’m having a crazy-hard time writing.

It’s been a year of changes for me – and not just actual change, a lot of that is still coming, but planning for change t00 and that’s pretty huge stuff ’cause you want to get it right.

I’ve had to find the right space for this garden of what-i-want-to-be where I can grow and become, clearing out the underbrush so the sunlight and starlight can flood in, studying and planning and sorting the things to plant that I want to bloom into reality.  Prepping and weeding and watering and breathing and believing and watching as the tiny sprout-lets push towards the surface.

I decided it might help to have a theme for my contributions to Nano Poblano this year.  There’s so many thoughts swirling and twirling about my wee kitten head that maybe a label could also be a focus, an anchor, a corral, a guide.

My choice is motion.

Sailing on Saturday with my husband, I saw these amazing beings dancing through the water with such grace and joy and ease that I hope with all my heart I can bring some of their magic into my movement forward.

 

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At six, I stood
by the big American flag
and pledged allegiance,
empty words of a child.
Friday night, I stood
by the blaring TV
and pledged again,
weighted words of an adult,
to honor my country and those who protect her.

Peppering with thanks…

I can’t believe that today is the 30th of November.

It’s the last day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), and more specifically, the last day of the Nano Poblano Challenge.

I participated in (and survived) NaBloPoMo for the first time last year.  I managed to write every day that November, but I continuously fought writer’s block and time constraints. Although there were a couple of posts I’m OK about, I don’t think it’s my best writing. Last year was all about honoring my commitment and cranking out that post each day, regardless.

This year, I had the tremendous opportunity to be a part of a group of writers called Team Pepper, participating in their own version of NaBloPoMo, Nano Poblano (Very Tiny Peppers).  They provided me with some great reading and the fun of different ideas and viewpoints. They helped me overcome my fear of “commenting.” They provided some wonderful writing challenges and some very helpful prompts.  Most importantly, they gave an incredible sense of community and support.

This year, the writing came easier. Maybe I was more inspired, or maybe I had more to say, or maybe it was that for once, someone was reading.

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Some of those someones are my husband, David and my Mom-in-Law, Linda, who read every post, every single day and gave me such awesome feedback. I love you both.

I have much gratitude for our Captain Poblano, Mark Bialczak for sorting Peppers and herding cats and his support and encouragement.

And to all the Fabulous Peppers (and other Bloggers) who have stopped by, “liked,” made comments, asked questions and made me feel I had something worth writing about and could tell it in a worthwhile way:

Thank you, so very, very much. I am fortunate to have been a part of this.

Feelin’ the Burns

So far this NaBloPoMo, I’ve managed to write a fresh post every day without resorting to a re-post of one of my old favorites. However, I noticed a fun-sounding  Post-a-Day yesterday when I was scrolling through the Reader and realized I had written something years ago that would respond beautifully to the challenge.  It brings up some great memories, too, so I thought I would share again.

“What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story (pictures are welcome, of course).”

This is a story from 2011, right after my husband and I met, about a very special dinner.

The Last (Burn’s) Supper

Just in case you’ve missed the clues, I am a Ferguson. For the uninitiated, uninformed or uncaring, that means I’m of Scottish heritage, something my family is insanely proud of; after all, we are descendants of the first kings of Scotland. Our royal pedigree made absolute sense when I found out – I’ve always felt I was a princess, my tiara is simply implied.

Clann Ferguson Badge

Imagine my delight when my fabulous new boyfriend, David, turns out to be of Scottish ancestry as well–Clann Douglass, to be exact. Visions of bagpipes and Caber Tosses dancing in my head, I turned to him one January night and asked him the question burning so long and lonely in my soul:

“Would you host a Burns Supper with me?”

So for those uninitiated, uninformed or uncaring (and for you now joining them) Burns Supper is one of the major Scottish Holidays (along with Tartan Day, Hogmanay and St. Andrew’s Day) celebrated by Scots around the world. Specifically, it’s the commemoration of the life and works of famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who was born in 1759, and has been known as the “Bard of Scotland.” Burns is revered for his egalitarian beliefs (rare for those days) and his works, most notably poems such as “To a Mouse,” which inspired the Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men; and “My Heart’s in the Highlands;” and the traditional New Year’s anthem, “Auld Lang Syne,” a classic to this day. Typically Burns Night, or simply “Burns Supper” is held on the anniversary of his birthday, January 25th, and is celebrated by eating the customary supper of haggis, neeps and tatties, reading his poems, singing his songs and downing shots of Scotch Whiskey to toast his “immortal memory.”

Since eating, drinking and being of Scottish descent come somewhat naturally to me, I had always aspired to host a Burns Supper, but in the past had found myself overwhelmed by the proscribed ritual: the entire night is shaped around a complicated timeline of speeches, toasts and songs a little beyond my American-born and raised sensibilities. I was also intimidated (read: flat out terrified) at the thought of creating the traditional menu, as it stars not only “Neeps and Tatties” (mashed turnips-bleck! and potatoes) but features the dread Haggis as centerpiece of the entire event. To be honest, for me, organ meat steamed in sheep intestine doesn’t exactly pique any desire to chow.

The Dread Haggis

The Dread Haggis

Ahh, but now! A partner in crime! Not only Scottish, but an excellent chef and delightfully (and possibly foolishly) excited to do things with me. Let the (Highland) games begin!

We decided to stage the event at David’s house, since he would be doing most of the cooking. If you’ve been following along with my blogging adventures, you know by now that I’m not only not much of a chef, but neither do I possess the culinary infrastructure required for major meal production. The guest list was easy: my dear friend (and fellow Scottish-American) Dana McPherson, who I knew was not only familiar with Burns Supper, but culinarily adventurous, free that evening and and in possession of a formal dress kilt with no apprehension to wearing.

Me and my bonnie laddie in our Scottish finery

The next step was to convert the menu to something that, in my opinion, was actually edible. Judicious internet research revealed, ta dumm!, that others share my aversion to turnips and tripe, and have created alternatives to the classic offal and root veg offering. Armed with a “Neo-Scottish” menu and a sheath of recipes, David took over in the kitchen, leaving me to figure out my wardrobe for the evening. David, despite limited mobility due to a broken leg (fodder for another blog post) had managed to acquire a last-minute formal dress kilt, but I was scrappin’ for anything fancy-n-Ferguson, finally donning a royal blue velvet Betsy Johnson slip dress with my Ferguson scarf jauntily knotted over one shoulder and afixed with our Clann kilt pin. Not nearly as fabulous as the boys, but would have to do.

Due to a spectacular and incendiary incident with a can of compressed air and a faulty furnace (yes, also most likely another blog post) Dana arrived late, a little crispy around the edges, but properly bandaged and bearing our evening’s libations. He was primed with pain meds, but David and I had taken the precaution of blunting our trepidacious tummies with the contents of a bottle of champagne (a Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvee Palmes d’Or 1996, a gift from Dana and a really incredible bottle of wine, btw.), so we were all three buzzily excited when we finally sat down around 10 p.m. for our official celebration.

David and Dana

The first order of business, according to Tradition, is to say a blessing, called the Selkirk Grace or the Kircudbright Grace, made famous by Burns who recited it for the Earl of Selkirk near Kircudbright.

Some hae meat and canna eat
And some wad eat that want it
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit

Next up: the grand event! David, bless his heart, had not only undertaken cooking the entire dinner (hey, I did make the salad) but had also spent weeks learning the infamous Burns’ poem, “Address to a Haggis.” According to ritual, after the salad (or first course), the haggis is born in triumphantly (ahem) on a platter, accompanied by bagpipe music. The host then lauds the haggis with Burns’ immortal tribute.

Me and Dana

David may have cheated a little by having the poem pulled up his Blackberry
(ahh, modern technology) but executed it with such zeal and such an admirable brogue, that Dana and I were stunned into silence. (Well, to be honest, we were mostly stunned from two bottles of excellent Chardonnay, a 2002 Darioush Reserve, and if you listen to the video we took of the night, the “silence” part is also a little questionable.) Needless to say, we were pretty impressed.

Address to a Haggis
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hudies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reeking, rich!
Then horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit!’ hums.
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

David’s Address to A Haggis

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Tho’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whistle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned
Like taps o’ thrissle.
Ye pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratfu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

The poem ends with a dramatic (and somewhat violent) stabbing of the Haggis (I presume to let out the steam, but knowing what goes into traditional haggis, my thought is it probably originated as a precaution). I have to say, David did a spectacular job – the Neo-Haggis was really quite tasty and I went back for seconds of Neeps N Tatties!

We paired the entree with Dana’s contribution of a 2000 Darioush Reserve Cabernet –truly an exceptional wine (not that we were in any perceived danger of dehydration by then) which David broke up with shots of Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch for inspiration.

Enjoying an amazing meal

The evening’s framework cust0marily calls for more toasts and speeches, including a toast to Burns’ Immortal Memory and a “Toast to the Lassies” to which I had prepared the counter-toast, the “Reply to the Laddies,” (“Down with trousers! Up with kilts!”) but it was so late by the time we’d finished dinner that we decided to save them for next year. It was a truly lovely night, dare I say say intoxicating, in every way, with great companionship and wonderful food and wines. What a fun, fabulous and incredible ode to our heritage!

Now, on to Hogmanay!

Well Read

A couple of months ago, I did one of those Facebook thingies a good friend tagged me for, asking me to compile a list of 10 books that have had an effect on my life.

It was painfully difficult to narrow it down to 10 (at which I failed miserably) and of course, once I hit “post,” I immediately thought of at least 10 more.  (Warning: I skew a heavily towards Science Fiction and Fantasy.)  These tend to be my most favorite books, that I reread at least once a year – old friends who have woven themselves into the person I am.

I guess that’s part of being a bookworm, and books and reading are odd things (to some, at least) that I am highly grateful for today.

My Top Ten(ish) in no particular order:

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1) Grass – Sheri Tepper  As mentioned before, I was “horse-mad” growing up and I particularly loved the comparison of an alien society to upper-class English equestrian culture. It was the first book I ever read by Sheri Tepper, who writes beautiful social commentary cloaked in delightful and innovative suspense.

2) Hobbit, Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien  Who doesn’t want to visit Middle Earth?  His amazingly detailed world is complex and beautifully crafted, as are his characters and their interaction.  I’m actually such a Tolkien geek that when I recently saw a business card my husband left on the counter that said, “Mellon” (name of a company), I said without thinking, “Speak, friend, and enter!”

It earned me a weird look, but I’m used to it.

3) The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis  Allegory and the fabulous SNL Short “Lazy Sunday” aside, these books have a great storyline and were the first “fantasy” books I read as a child.  Plus there are talking animals and an amazing magic wardrobe that moves through space and time (hmmm, kinda like a certain blue police box?) I used to have a  little plaque that showed a beam of sunlight illuminating a forest glade (trés fae) with the caption, “Of magic doors there is this, you do not see them even as you are passing through.”  I carted that thing for years around my various college apartments and always kept it in a special place, because it reminded me of Narnia and to keep a little magic in my life.

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4) Sunshine – Robin McKinley (and Beauty, and the Blue Sword by her as well) McKinley is also a great world builder, with really lovely characters and a gift for retelling childhood fables.  Her versions of Beauty and the Beast (she actually has two – I like the first one, “Beauty” the best) and Sleeping Beauty (Spindle’s End) make the stories come alive.

“Sunshine” is a vampire story, but far from the prototypical goth romance – the very grounded heroine of this tale (set in an alternative America) is a baker famous for her cinnamon rolls and snickerdoodles.
 
5) American Gods – Neil Gaimon  Deliciously dark and twisty look at mythology and belief in modern America.

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6) Illusions – Richard Bach  Sadly there seems to be a little hippy – dippy 70’s seagull poo clinging to this book, but it’s a brilliant story that packs a very powerful message,  complete with some potent words to live by; words I have been grateful for during times of difficulty and loss.

“Don’t be dismayed at good-byes.  A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.  And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”
 
7) Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling  Book candy for adults, mistakenly purposed for children.
 
8) Disc World and Wee Free Men series – Terry Pratchet Some of the most side-splittingly, wicked humor to ever crack a book; layered like an onion, or a mystery wrapped in an enigma (or as Pratchett says, “like a misery wrapped in an enema.”)

“You could read the Nac Mac Feegle like a book.  And it would be a big, simple book with lots of pictures of Spot the Dog and a Big Red Ball and one or two short sentences on each page.” Wee Free Men
 
9) A Song of Ice and Fire – George R. R. Martin  I read it (at least as far as it had gotten at the time) years before the HBO series came out.  It really annoys my husband when we are watching the show and I already know what happens.  (Basically advance knowledge of who dies next).  A little windy and drawn out, but some excellent plot lines within.
 
10) Spenser series – Robert Parker  Some of the snappiest, razor-sharp dialogue ever.  The banter between characters is pure joy.
 
And of course, I can’t not mention:
 
11) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin ::sigh::Austin Awesomeness.
 
and
 
12) Almost anything by Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, the Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini).  Conroy is a wordsmith and reading his books instilled in me a love for the magic and power of language.

I will stop now before I think of 100 10 more.  And yes, since I’m off today, I’ll most likely go and read a book.

Are there books that have made an impact on your life?

 

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

Thank you so much, Ann from The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally for tagging me (and the kind words)!  I sorta went rogue last week and began posting about odd and random things I am grateful for, so I should be warmed up and ready to go.

Here are the rules:

hop

 

  1. Add to the list with your own oddly specific bits of gratitude. Add as few or as many things as you’d like. Include a picture or two if you’d like… but you certainly don’t have to. Put your name at the top of the list to see where yours started and the next blogger’s begins.
  2. Tag the post with the usual pepper tags and oddly specific gratitude. 
  3. Tag another pepper to add to the list by linking to their About page, but there’s a catch! When you tag the next blogger, be sure to include a bit about why you’re grateful to be in the same blogging world with them.:) (Try not to tag anyone who has already been tagged that way more people get to join in the fun.) The List of Oddly Specific Gratitude

Nerd in the Brain:

1. the smell of wild onions when I mow the lawn
2. coffee makers (having the coffee already prepared in the mornings is magical)
3. the way my crazy dog barks likes a vicious beast at the horses across the road, but then cowers behind me like a needy wimp whenever a horse actually comes close
4. hearing my husband talk on the phone to the rest of his team at work… it reminds me that he’s not just my silly, sweet, awesome husband… he’s also my competent, responsible, highly skilled husband
5. opening a blank lesson plan book and imagining the possibilities to come
6. sausage balls
7. watching Grace’s enthusiasm for all things musical
8. the way I can hear a smile on Olivia’s face whenever we say hello or goodbye on the phone
9. knitting with really soft, squishy yarn

Not a Punk Rocker

10. Getting a random text when Matthew is in cell-signal range. (“Hi”)
11. Awesome stuff in the mail, including Legos and letters from friends, making me smile when I need it the most at the end of a long day.
12. Cherry chapstick.
13. Somebody found my blog by searching for “deadpool talks about political social issues” yesterday.
14. Skype and chat for keeping me in touch with friends in “real-time” when one or the other of us needs it the most.
15. Finding new blogs to read and follow through this challenge!

Jackie P (tobreathistowrite)

16. Having friends like I do here in the blogging world. You all make my days brighter.
17. My dog Sam. He loves me unconditionally, wish more people could love like that. Plus, he makes me laugh daily.
18.Coffee. Without it the world would be a much sadder and thirsty place. And I would be a much harder person to deal with.
19. All the bright and cheerful colors around. Something about bright colors makes me happy. The gold of the sun, the cerulean blue of the sky, the wonder of a rainbow, they never cease to make me glad I’m alive.
20. Books…… you all know what I mean.

Fish of Gold

21. Spell check. Even though it did just strangely try to correct my horribly botched spelling of “another” to “Antoine.” I don’t even know anyone named Antoine, spell check.
22. I’m grateful to myself for being the sucker who couldn’t walk away from my dog’s cage at the animal rescue. My failure to do so has converted 70 dog pounds into a metric ton of joy and unconditional love.
23. Male’s hilariously failed attempts at sexting.
24. My sense of humor. I wouldn’t have survived this long without it.
25. To the Peppers for continuing my harebrained Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story idea and turning it into something unexpectedly awesome. Go Team Pepper
26.I also second #18.

Knocked Over by a Feather

27. My aunts Oreo truffles. They are addictive.
28. Finding my comfy spot in bed.
29. Receiving a spontaneous real hug from my daughter, which rarely happens.
30. Watching stupid TV with my husband.
31. Hearing my mom call me sweetie or something similarly saccharine sweet on the phone

Mental Mama ( Mental in the Midwest)

32. the world’s best tiny mommy
33. Evie and Sissy Cats
34. lithium, depakote, and gabapentin
35. the world’s most amazing support network
36. good dark chocolate, preferably with cherries
37. the jumbo margaritas at Romeo’s – lime, on the rocks, extra salt

Mark Bialczak

38. My dear wife Karen for buying me two season tickets for Syracuse University football six years ago, going to every game with me (but one when she went on a cruise) since and turning home game Saturdays into Happy Happy days win or lose. 39. That Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle usually looks like this on the end of the living room couch and her specially covered ottoman daily come 10 p.m. after a day of enthusiastically ruling our Syracuse city home we call Little Bitty

Ellie B

40. That Karen talked me into going to the Paws for the Cause rescue dog event that March day four years ago when we saw Ellie marching around in her orange “Adopt Me” vest.
41.That my daughter Elisabeth was smart enough and confident enough and brave enough to go back to school this fall to get her associate’s degree and New York State certificate to become a physical therapist’s assistant, 2 1/2 years after getting her bachelor’s in biology.
42. That writing every day on markbialczak.com since Oct. 27, 2013 has turned out to be so much fun.
43.That Sheena Not a Punk Rocker talked me into hosting Nano Poblano this year, allowing me to meet so many interesting new bloggers! Wait. I want to add two more exclamation points to this one!!

Coulddoworse (Rachel or Lundygirl)

44. The park that I walk through four mornings a week

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45. Iced fingers

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46. Crochet and blogging; though never at the same time

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47. making something beautiful

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48. flowers

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49. Hot toasted sandwiches with my family on a very rainy bank holiday.

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50. beauty that you see in the detail

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51. Great memories to mull over and enjoy.

SAM_0116

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

52. I am grateful that I was able to copy this whole list with pictures and get it pasted on to my post without messing it up at all, I hope.
53. I am grateful for my kids xoxo, and my husband xoxo
54. I am grateful to read good books, and watch good films
55. Good food, good wine and good friends
56. That I live in the state of California, USA
57. Discussions with my blogger friends and getting their support for my writing

Linda G. Hill – Life in Progress

58. That moment when I’m not aware that I’m falling asleep.
59. The one Smartie (candy-coated chocolate) that tastes slightly different than every other one in the box.
60. #18 – on this list, not the number eighteen.
61. That my children are alive.
62. Whatever it is that compels me to write; specifically to tell stories.

Idiot Writer ~ Idiot Writing :

63. Poetry (obviously) – mostly my poetry – I need it – lots to say things I cannot say any other way.
64. The Sun – when it shines in the UK.
65. The cheap chocolate bars I found! (and so do not feel guilty buying)
66. The fire-place – though I hate the smoke it emits.
67. Figuring out how to pump the tyre on my car yesterday.
68. Internet – SPEcifiCALLY – finding WordPress.
69. Saturdays – Cos I do not drive on Saturdays. Usually.
70. The sound system in my car – and my teens choice of music…it COULD have been – so so – not good.
71. I nearly forgot about SALT. Salt has so many uses! I am eternally grateful that salt – AND potatoes exist.

Last but not least...or rather first

72. Last but not least…or rather first – EVER so, very grateful – that Linda has wine. 😛

Doobster418

I’m grateful for:

73. The 11 bloggers who came up with 72 oddly specific items for which they are grateful, leaving me to really stretch to come up with anything new or different.
74. That said, I wish to second, third, or fourth (I’ve lost count) #18. COFFEE!
75. God, the almighty creator of everything and everyone, for granting in me the wisdom to…oh damn, the devil made me write that. Never mind.
76. Those rare days when I’m able to sleep later than 6 a.m.
77. My wife, for being a wonderful mother who stayed home to raise two great kids while I was off doing my worky-thing.
78. San Francisco weather, because it never snows, never gets below freezing, and never gets really hot and muggy.
79. My health, except for my vertigo, tinnitus, and my current lameness due to plantar fisciitis. But otherwise, my health is pretty damn good.
80. My blog and the fellow bloggers I interact with on pretty much a daily basis.
81. iTunes
82. The Oxford comma and those who use it.

Lucy at the Excessive Gardener 

I am grateful for :

83. I am so grateful for Evernote. Those of us who use and cherish it know why life is so much better. I am really grateful that I spend the few dollars each month for the premium version.
84. Golden Retrievers. My Golden, Roger, died years ago and I still miss him. I live with a Golden, my roommate’s, and he is a joy and a pain to live with but he is proof that if you know one Golden Retriever, you know them all.
85. My new knee. How wonderful it is to walk without pain. I can hardly wait to have the other knee replaced.
86. The drug Avastin. The FDA withdrew approval of the chemo drug for breast cancer, which means insurance companies won’t cover it, and it is not cheap.  I was lucky and got in on clinical trials for Avastin. It saved my life.
87. That I live in Florida, right where I want to be: minutes from white, sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters and only 2 hours to Disney World.
88.  Better World Books.  If you know it, you know what I mean.
89. Quad Core.
90. Defensive gardening. There’s nothing more satisfying than out-smarting a bug or an animal.

Now my list:

91. I’ll start by saying what goes without saying but should be said anyway:  I’m grateful for my husband Mark, my family, and my friends.

92. I’m grateful that I live in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) of Minnesota. We have an amazing combination of abundant cultural opportunities, a highly educated and literate population, PLUS endless amounts of parks, lakes, bike trails, you name it.  We need the horrific winters to keep out the riffraff.

93. I’m grateful for having a job that provides me opportunity for (partially) subsidized travel experiences.

94. As everyone else said, #18 (coffee!)

95. I’m grateful for books! So many books!  So many writers with so many words!  As long as I have the capacity to read, I’ll never be bored.

96. I’m grateful that my husband has the best hobby ever: in his spare time, he makes furniture out of wood in our garage.  He loves doing it and I love the furniture he makes for me.  Talk about win-win!

Mark made this for me!

97.  I am grateful for the internet, which provides me with the opportunity to blog and to meet all of you amazing bloggers. I’m particularly grateful for the Nano Poblano Peppers for the sense of community y’all have been providing this month.

98. Cats! I’m grateful for my kitties Tennessee and Zelda for being such cute and cuddly pains in the butt.

Tennessee and Zelda

Me – Who Am I

I’m grateful for:

99. Warmth! When it’s -10 outside, I’m grateful for a heater that works.
100. We made it to 100! I feel privileged to be the one who fills this one out.
101. My son. He shows me the world in a way that no one else can.
102. Fellow bloggers and the wonderful community we have here.
103. Today I’m grateful for today; a day that I may not have had.
104. Fruit. Fruit does a body good.
105. Sleep, finally! Insomnia is terrible.

Me Next – Chatter Master

106.  Not having a body temperature of 94 degrees.

107.  Fat baby cheeks that split in to super wide grins and smiles with various numbers of teeth-when they see me.

108.  That moment at the end of the day when I know I’m done “doing” all that I am going to do for the day and there are those peaceful few minutes of quiet and relaxing with my husband.

109.  Saying “I love you” at the end of phone calls and visits and not feeling awkward about it.  And knowing my kids don’t either because I raised them with it being easy to say “I love you”.

110.  Remembering a song from childhood and thinking no one else in the world knows it, only to Youtube it and there it is!

111.  People.   Good people.  I’m so very thankful for good people.

Pssst!  It’s me, Ann Koplow, from The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, trying to let go of judgment and add my list of oddly specific gratitudes, starting with #112, which is a number I have no particular associations with:

112.  Numbers and other things I have no particular associations with, since I love seeing things in a new light, letting go of baggage from the past.

113. Numbers and other things that I do have particular associations with, since I love things that have been in my life, up to this point.

114. Even though #112 and #113 cover everything in the universe (at least the way I think), I am also oddly specifically grateful for the way I think.

115.  Everybody who had ever read my blog or anybody else’s blog, which may seem oddly general instead of oddly specific, at this point.  (I’ve been in a very feisty mood lately, so I would like to see ANYBODY give me a difficult time about how I’m choosing to participate here.)

116. My cats, including Oscar, shown here moments after he accidentally accessed Siri — the alleged “personal helper” on my iPhone —  having about as much luck getting help from her as I usually do:

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117. My keyboard (pictured) and my fingers (not pictured):

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118. Photos I take accidentally with my iPhone, like that one directly above.

119. People I meet during the day who are willing to engage in an authentic, open way, even if only for a moment, like Kenny

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who stands guardian at the parking lot where I get my medical care, where I’ve been needing to go to several appointments lately because nobody knows what the hell is going on with my health.

120.  My memory, which allows me to quote, accurately enough, dialogs I have with people like Kenny, such as:

Kenny (obviously using the memorized script he has to say to every driver who enters the parking lot since, apparently, people are parking there who shouldn’t be): Do you have an appointment here?  Are you a patient?

Me (making an exaggerated sad face, because I REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE GOING TO A MEDICAL APPOINTMENT and then nodding “yes” slowly, saying nothing).

Kenny: (after a brief pause) Oh.

Me:  Do you believe me?

Kenny: No.

… which cheered me up considerably and resulted in my Literally Laughing Out Loud.

121. My memory, which allows me to recall another thing Kenny said to me, after I Laughed Out Loud: “You have a good day, sweetie.” (Yes, I know this is supposed to be a list of Oddly Specific Gratitude, not Oddly Repetitive Gratitude, but please see #115, above.)

122. The room to have all my feelings, including sadness, humor, fear,  disappointment, annoyance, gratitude, etc. etc. etc.

123.  The opportunity to end lists (at least my portion of them)

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After I published this post, I realized I forgot to include something, for which I am NOT oddly specifically grateful:

Michael’s cooking. On what planet would it be odd to be grateful for that?

 

Kim at Drunk on Life

Not sure if I start with “123.” or “124.” if I include Ann’s postscript?
I’ll go “124.” so…

124. My warm, fuzzy Sasquatch slippers

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125. Sunsets from the terrace at my loft.

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126. A fire in the fireplace on chilly Sunday mornings, especially if accompanied by #127/#18

127. #18 (Coffee ) even more so with an upgrade (a little Bailey’s Irish Cream)

128. My sister-cousins Patti and Christa.  Let me be clear that “Sister-cousins” are not a weird Southern relationship like an “Uncle Daddy.”  It’s merely cousins that are more like sisters and mine are a wonderful part of my life.

129. Making jewelry.  I don’t do it much anymore, usually just for gifts around the holidays, but I like working with beautiful materials and the soothing feeling you get while working with your hands (and letting your brain go wander).

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130. That awesome feeling when you get “your hairs did” as we say in the South.  Going to the salon, getting a shampoo with a scalp massage, a glossy new cut and color and the fabulous super-shiny blowout that makes you feel like a rockstar for the rest of the day until you sleep on your glorious new “do” and wake up in the morning looking like a haystack (i.e. back to normal).

131. The good things about Christmas (not the commercial, mass media stuff). Christmas music, candles, Christmas trees and all the sparkly holiday decor, parties, party dresses, cookies, old movies, feeling festive…most of all being with friends and family and the stuff that’s all still a little magical.

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132. Nano Poblano and Team Pepper.  The support and comments and community are wonderful and I have greatly appreciated being a part of it.

The List of Oddly Specific Bloggers

Nerd in the Brain
Not a Punk Rocker
To Breath is to Write
Fish of Gold
Knocked Over by a Feather
Mental in the Midwest
Markbialczak.com
Coulddoworse
Deborah at Notes Tied on the Sagebrush
Linda at Life In Progress
Idiot Writer
Mindful Digressions
The Excessive Gardener
Booking It

Me – Who Am I.

The Chatter Blog

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Drunk on Life

I would like to nominate grandmalin of Breathing Space if she will do the honors.  I really enjoy seeing her art every day – she’s very talented!