Ten Things I’m NOT Thankful For This Thanksgiving

As the clock strikes 12, it is now officially Thanksgiving — a day to express gratitude for all that we have. Like everyone else on social media, I, too, am grateful for my loving (albeit sometimes frustrating) family, my lifesaving (but too far away) girlfriends, my (overall good) health and all my worldly (and mostly unnecessary) possessions. But at the risk of the inevitable backlash from those who can’t read sarcasm or appreciate my sass, I’m going to take a different approach to this week’s holiday. Instead of posting a long, sappy and, frankly, generic and expected, list of the things for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving, I am going to tell you about a few things for which I am not.

  1. I am not thankful for those stubborn 5 lbs. that keep finding their way back to me every few months … but I am grateful for my strength.
  2. I am not thankful for workouts that include thrusters, power cleans or manmakers … but I am grateful for finishing them.
  3. I am not thankful for food allergies and the digestive woes that accompany my autoimmune disease … but I am grateful for my newfound love of squash and eggplant.
  4. I am not thankful for teenage (and tweenage) moodiness … but I am grateful for glowing teacher reports (I guess they save their crappy attitudes just for me).
  5. I am not thankful for my husband’s long work hours … but I am grateful for his paycheck (and his dedication).
  6. I am not thankful for my twice (sometimes trice) nightly pee breaks … but I am grateful for a bathroom en suite.
  7. I am not thankful for always feeling cold … but I am grateful for hot tea and long sleeves with thumbholes.
  8. I am not thankful for hectic schedules … but I am grateful for carpools.
  9. I am not thankful for deadlines … but I am grateful for having paid writing and editing gigs (keep ’em coming!).
  10. I am not thankful for the far distance between my family and me … but I am grateful for them driving here to spend Thanksgiving with us.

I could go on about a dozen more things for which I am not thankful … prejudice, racism, long lines at the grocery store … But for every minor annoyance, I probably have two or three things for which to be grateful. Here are two of my favorites:

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Thanksgiving, c. 2008

Happy Thanksgiving … Eat, drink and be grateful!

– LJDT

My Country ‘Tis of Thee

I had planned on not posting this week because after Tuesday night’s election results, no other topic seemed relevant and frankly, I didn’t want to talk about it.  We have a new President-elect and while some people are celebrating, others are protesting.  Nothing I can say here will be different from what you’ve probably already read in your Facebook and Twitter feeds over the past few days, so I wasn’t planning on adding to the deluge of social media commentary.

There’s an old adage that says you shouldn’t discuss religion, politics or money with company because it’s impolite, not to mention uncomfortable, emotional and personal.  I generally follow that thinking and, as such, my blog is not a platform for political or religious debate.  Whether or not the toilet paper should come over or under the roll and if November 1st is too early to start preparing for Christmas — Yes, we can argue about that (although the correct answers are over and yes, respectively).  But who should be President?  No.  SIDE NOTE: I won’t be discussing my sex life or in-laws here either for two simple reasons: (1) My parents read this and if you ask my dad, he’ll tell you that I’ve had sex exactly twice, resulting in my two sons, and (2) my husband reads this and I’d like to remain married to him.

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Weird Al speaks the truth!

So back to the discussion at hand.  If the election is the only pertinent topic this week and I said I wasn’t going to discuss it, then why am I still posting today?  Because today is Veterans Day.  A day to recognize, honor and thank the men and women who serve (or have served) in the U.S. Armed Forces to protect our rights and liberties as Americans.  I will shamefully admit that I usually take this day for granted.  Other than not getting mail delivered, it’s usually just an ordinary day for me.  But this year, after all that’s transpired this week, it feels different.  Today, Veterans Day made me stop and think: This really is the land of the free because of the brave.  The land of opportunity, of democracy and of hope.  And my hope — the one that I shared with my children — is that human decency prevails.  That we start spreading love instead of hate.  That we treat everyone fairly and with respect.  That we fight for the people who can’t fight for themselves.  That we learn and grow from our differences.  And that we truly become “… one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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My little guy speaking this morning to his school about the history of Veterans Day. Based on all those wrinkles, it’s clear I exercised my right not to iron.

– LJDT

Back To (Middle) School, Again

At this time last week, I was slinking out of my son’s middle school, trying not to look like a bad parent. Last Wednesday was Parent Visitation Day, a day when parents are supposed to shadow their children, attending classes and getting a feel for how their days are spent. I had not planned on going because I thought my big shot eighth grader wouldn’t want me there. Okay, that’s only half-true. I hadn’t planned on going because Wednesdays are a great heavy lifting day at my gym and I didn’t want to miss it, plus I had a writing deadline and, oh yeah, I just didn’t want to go. Two years ago, when middle school was a new experience for our family, I spent the entire day trailing my son … From 7:30AM to 2:30PM … It was brutal, and yes, I blogged about it.

But to my surprise (and slight disappointment), my 13-year-old did want me there. So after a quick morning workout at home and an even quicker shower, I arrived for my first (technically second) day of eighth grade.

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That’s me at the end of eighth grade with my besties, Kerin and Carin. Yes, we are holding hands and yes, that is a big, white bow in my hair. Don’t judge!

Despite arriving a few minutes late and with my hair still damp (pulled into my trademark messy top-knot bun with headband, as usual), this time around I did it right. I wore comfy leggings with riding boots for maximum comfort to accommodate all the sitting and walking. I came prepared with a fully charged iPhone and a notebook to scribble notes for this blog post. I brought two large cups of green tea plus a big bottle of water to help me stay alert. And most importantly, I ditched school after morning classes to avoid the cafeteria disaster. Two words, people: Older (and) wiser.

Later, while I casually ate my lunch at home, I read through my notes and reread my blog post from two years ago. Not unexpectedly, my commentary was nearly the same: The school is still a depressing rat maze, it’s still easy to pick out the sixth graders from the eighth graders, the chairs are still super uncomfortable and I’m still tardy. That said, I did make a few new observations this time around. Specifically,

  • most moms dressed to impress; I was showered and out of my workout clothes, so I guess I was, too
  • geography is pretty boring (today’s lesson: cartography = snoozefest!)
  • I don’t remember much from geometry class
  • middle schoolers don’t pee (at least not before lunchtime)
  • my son is pretty popular in the middle school hallways, and so am I 🙂
  • my kid, while a pain in the ass most days at home, really is a good kid

After attending six classes in four hours, I can honestly say that I am not cut out for school anymore. I am too fidgety, uncomfortable and uninterested (except for Honors English class). Plus, I pee too often. So while I’m still bummed about missing last Wednesday’s workout and I’m certainly not looking forward to doing this again next year when my younger son hits middle school, I am glad I went because it seemed to make my son happy … And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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My eighth grader with his buddies: Too cool for school. Oh wait, that’s not what they say anymore … They’re on fleek.

What boys looked like when I was in the 8th grade.

For comparison, here’s what boys looked like when I was in the eighth grade back in the 80s.

– LJDT