Friday, October 17, 2014

Thank you so very much

1.       Bushy eyebrows are back in.

Thank God.  Or just thanks.  Or gee whiz!  No more tweezing! 

When I heard that news, I wasted no time tossing the hot wax.  Going back to my Brooke Shields!

Even though I have only a few faded eyebrow hairs left, I do appreciate that piece of retro styling.

2.      Now, let’s see…parsnips!  Gotta love parsnips:  Parsnip fries.  Mashed parsnips.  Can’t forget parsnip-carrot salad.  Mm mm!  Yummy!  Makes life worth living!

OK, full disclosure:  I’ve never eaten a parsnip.  Not sure I’d knowingly seen one until today – this picture.


Parsnips look like albino carrots.  Just realizing in this moment that parsnip-carrot salad would be a sort of orange and white affair made by shredding the fraternal twins of the root vegetable world.

Man oh man!

3.      And what’s this?!  A filtered water pitcher that’s nice enough to put on the table?  How long have we waited for just such a breakthrough?!

Shatter proof glass.  Coconut and silk filters.  And only $59.  Wow. 

Up until now, I’ve been pouring tap water into drinking glasses, never even dreaming of the possibility.  We live in an amazing world.

OK.  So.  That’s it.  Those are my entries into my gratitude journal today.  I have to give credit to Oprah for helping me out with this.  I took those items directly from her magazine’s latest edition – an article entitled “25 Unexpected Things to be Grateful for Right Now.”  Really.

See, I’ve been living gratefully for quite a while now and I had begun to have trouble keeping up the pace.   I had a lot of repeats – wonderful husband, great kid, blue skies, raindrops, blah ditty blah blah blah.

Years ago, on the advice of Reader’sDigest, I made notes on a calendar each time something happened that lifted my spirits or made me smile.  The idea was to fill the days up and then, when a bad day came, I could flip to that date on my gratitude calendar and feel good again. 

I was a classroom teacher at the time, so it was easy.  Young people are like slot machines.  They pay out good feelings like cherries.

I kept that calendar for years, starting over each September.  I clipped school pictures to its pages – notes, even a packet of sugar – any token a student offered.  Soon, most weeks had two or three entries, so if I had a dismal January 10th and found it empty in the calendar, I could just look at the 9th or 11th and read something sweet that a teenager had said to me.

It worked.  I always felt better.  Noting those tiny gestures kept me mindful of the beauty in my life.

These days I just look around myself and sing like Lois Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World!”

But lately, gratitude’s become mandatory.  Wherever you look, someone’s wagging a finger and admonishing appreciation.  You’ll sleep better.  It’s good for business.  Your breath will be fresher.

And I’m beginning to resist the whole gratitude thing. 

Just back off telling me to be thankful, OK?  I’m thankful already! 

How could expressions of appreciation have become annoying?  Yes, it’s a beautiful day.  Yes, yes, the sunrise, the sunset, the twilight, the moon.  Children playing.  Puppy’s breath. 

Yes, it’s all lovely – and you’re starting to tick me off. 

We are reaching just a bit, don’t you think?

I mean really:  The mandate.  The minutia.  Bushy eyebrows?  A filtered pitcher?  Parsnips for Pete’s sake!

Nowadays, you can be living your oblivious, thankful life and if you’d don’t maneuver fast enough someone on Facebook will challenge you to an Appreciation-Off whereby you must declare publicly five things a day you’re glad about.  Or else.

I’ll tell you what I’m glad about:  I’m glad no one has tagged me on that one because I might appreciate poking that person in the nose!

I know, I know.  It’s a good habit.  It’s worthwhile.  But how do you think curmudgeons are born?
Forced appreciation! 

Don’t try to make me grateful!  It takes away the impetus – the sincere up-welling of emotion in the face of beauty, or kindness, or generosity, or grace.

You can’t over water a plant.  And too much sunshine makes a desert.