Friday, August 1, 2008


Do you remember, years ago, when Oprah wanted all of us to keep “Gratitude Journals”? I’m embarrassed, kind of in the same way I’m embarrassed to ‘fess that I dig an occasional Danielle Steele novel, to say that I kept one for a month or two way back when. And maybe more embarrassed to say that it did improve my day-to-day mood, if not all day every day then at least when I read over a couple of days’ worth of entries. I am constitutionally skeptical of this kind of thing, as I am of so much self-help "all you have to do is be positive to be happy" crap that's out there these days. And it's also extremely self-involved. At little too Joel Osteen, "What's in it for me?", if you know what I mean. 

But busy lives can tangle us in webs of self-involvement that block the ends of our noses, much less the beauty in the world.

It’s August 1. Every day is either hot as hell or almost as hot as hell and twice as humid. School for Small Child begins in 24 days and I’ve accomplished next to nothing on my list of things-I’ll-be-able-to-do-during-summer-vacation list. Large Dog’s presence in the house is becoming a source of domestic discord. I still need to clean out my office at the college. My last two go-to babysitters are leaving their parental nests for the joys of higher education.

What better time, then, to pull out the Gratitude Journal concept?

Hence, from a dark room late on a Friday night, a totally random, off-the-top-of-my-head compilation of a few things I like about my world right now.

• I have a large, private backyard. Like many around these parts it’s crunchy and hosts fire ants, but it has big trees and (for most of the part along the street) a solid fence. Therefore, on a night when I have a serious case of lazy, I have an alternative to the long, hot dog-walk (wasn’t sure about that hyphen, but I want to make clear that I’m not walking long hotdogs). Between the fence and the foliage, it’s unlikely that anyone speeding by in the dark will be able to discern the woman with the icy drink and her faithful companion prowling the perimeter, whatever she does or does bother to don.

• Many wonderful young women have helped out with Small Child over the years, but no one comes near to the delightful woman I shall now label The Sommelier. She finished college, with honors, four years ago. She didn’t take the route many expected – graduate or professional school, foreign study, or the like; she refused to do what was supposed to come next just because. Now she does great things in a job that has turned out to be an education in itself. The Sommelier dropped in for a visit today, bearing gifts for Small Child, a huge smile, and news of great personal growth and happiness. We will always consider her part of our family.

• Have you visited
Goodreads? If you are reading this you are obviously highly accomplished at finding ways to waste time at your computer, so tread carefully here. You can post what you are reading, trade suggestions and actual books with your friends, and waste waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time playing The Never-ending Book quiz (which, in my opinion, has too many questions about fantasy series and too few on Modernist novels). Just don’t play when you’re really sleepy, or you’ll get your Bronte sisters and your Austen characters mixed up and end up with a percentage like mine.

• While I did not reach my
goal of reading an actual, physical book every week, I have begun to read more actual, physical books. During the last week of our California vacation, I enjoyed a paperback a day. To preserve my reputation, I doubt I’ll be posting any of these great works on Goodreads. True confession: I even ponied up the $3.99 for Amazon Prime overnight shipping to get the book whose teaser chapters ended the one before. Straight to the beach house, for less than a tank of gas. That’s living.

• I’ve made peace with the decision to take Small Child out of public school. This deserves a blog entry of its very own.

• And I like my friends. Near and far.


Lori V. said...

And I like you too! :-)

Give me 'til late morning to call today... I didn't sleep well, and am simply still awake right now. :-(

Anonymous said...

K, highly amusing post. Curious: What school did you decide on for Small Child?