Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

The holidays have officially arrived as of today, bearing their brightly colored pinata...inside is a ton of bricks. They tie a bandanna over my eyes, hand me a bat and tell me to get swinging. Someone switches on a mariachi version of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

The Holidays are such a strange time of year. I like them in the same way I like extreme weather. Everyone deals with it in their own way, but, in some regard, we are all in it together.

Before the Holiday hurricane makes landfall...I want to share the list of big and small things that continue to make my life more interesting. And yes, I am thankful today (and everyday) for them.

1. I like my nephews. Of course I love them, but I also like them a lot, the two savage gentlemen. Even when they draw on my computer. Even when they screech right outside my door at 7am on a Sunday.

2. My friends. The women in LA, CP Jan and Tina, who have called me to check in on a regular basis. You know me better than almost anyone, and have put up with loads of my bullshit. Thanks for not jilting me into the Pacific. Thanks for WANTING to talk about politics, art, pop-philosophy, and getting drunk and telling the Truth. You are hard women. I love you.

For Chicago friends who have continued to care and offer support. For being among the most intelligent, most creative badasses I know. For being funny. For being excellent writers. For enduring weirdness after weirdness.

For my new friends, who I have gotten to know in the last few months, and who I am excited to know more about, and who are great inspirations to me.

For the unknowing lighthouses out there. You may not realize it, but you keep my ship from going belly up. Thank you.

3. My sister has a great shower. Nice water pressure. Extended hot water supply.

4. I have a job that teaches me. I am adjunct faculty at a University and the more I teach these kids, the more I learn.

5. I have all my fingers and toes. I have not one, but two eyes that work. My nervous system seems to be fully operational. I'm also really glad that it's not 1905, that most things are clean, and most maladies I have are treatable. If it were 1905, I think I'd be dead or in a house of bedlam.

6. The CTA. As much as you torture me, I'm still thankful that you're around.

7. My Parents. Familial relationships continue to be a convoluted mess. There is never one way to describe one's relationship with their mother or father. I'm always a little suspicious when someone says, "Oh, yeah...I have a good relationship with my parents." I suppose I shouldn't be so can one say "Oh yeah, I have a total push/pull, love/hate, blame/forgiveness thing going on and I'm terrified that one day they will die and leave me here and how will I ever survive when that part of my childhood is gone?" I guess you can't say that, "Yeah, I have a good relationship with my parents."

And I do. My dad has a quirky sense of humor, and quiet sense of honor. My mother is explosively creative and can express delight without shame. I can never fully convey my gratitude to them and for them.

8. My Brother-in-Law, B. A generous and funny man, who has offered sage advice. During the storms, he fixed the rudder with some good common sense. I'm glad you married my sister.

9. My sister. My role model. My inspiration. My support system. My best friend. She is always the smartest person I have ever met. She has listen to me cry and moan, gotten me out of jams. She is thoughtful in ways that I have never been. She walks the walk...even when she doesn't feel 100%.

To all of this she will shrug, and roll her eyes and say "I'm not that great, JJ."

To which I will say, "Shut up."

10. My time with D. As difficult as these months have been, I am still thankful for your presence in my life. Then and now.

The people are cheering as I swat at the pinata. I know how this will end, but I swing anyway. It's fun. There's music and everyone is laughing.

Maybe there's some candy mixed in the ton of bricks.


Anonymous said...


I am glad I got/am getting to know you this year!


Jan Smelk said...

You are ridiculous. I am thankful that you are not in some sort of 1905 bedlam, Marat/Sade interpretation. I think. Although you might write something interesting. If you could get and hold a pencil for that long.

-j-j- said...

Thank you Jan.

I'm sure that, in a past life, I was in a house of bedlam. Late at night, you, a Nelly Bly type disguised as an orderly, would sneak whiskey into my cell.

Whiskey or Helena Rubenstein Cosmetics..I'm not sure which.

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