I think a lot about what inspires me, and sometimes it’s the super random stuff that gets me going. And then I realize some things aren’t so random.
I was inspired to write this little ditty en route from LA to the suburbs of Chicago to be with Matt’s friends for their infamous annual Friendsgiving. I was mulling over what felt like me leaving my family and our Thanksgiving traditions behind for time to be spent with strangers.
I was nervous, but to trick myself into an eased state of I mind, I considered it an adventure. There would be planes, trains and automobiles and I’d get to make a pit stop in Kenosha (my home town) for a few hours. Plus, Matt had been talking about the event for months and how fantastic the friends were and how much he loved them and how they were really looking forward to meeting me. (Which all turned out to be wonderfully true.)
I, too, was looking forward to something, but I hadn’t quite put my finger on it until now.
I realized that by choosing to go, as foreign as it would be, that I wasn’t necessarily choosing these new folks over my own family, but that I was choosing to add value to my life. Sometimes this happens, no? You have to go out on a limb to not only please and enrich yourself, but also those that you love. #Matt.
Plus, I’m really lucky to have a family that loves me no matter what I do (within reason). While they would miss me around any of their Turkey tables from DC to Tucson, “Go do your thing” is the main sentiment I got from them, rather than a guilt trip that would eat away at me only to be filled with endless gin martinis. I come from good cloth (of which we will see at Christmas!)
This trip really made me think about how cool it is when things come into your life that make it exponentially better. So, because my brain works the way it does, it got me started on thinking about other stuff that makes my life better, besides the obvious. I thought perhaps you could use some inspiration to do the same and we can all be thankful together, so here goes:
1. Coffee that isn’t burnt. I swear, I’ve been burned so many times by burnt coffee and when times were tough and nickles were being rubbed, a coffee (seriously) was like a meal and oooooh, the rub, when I’d sit down at the cafe to work on my laptop and “eat” only to take that first sip and be stung by bitter horribleness. To help avoid this, I tend to order an Americano and that saves me from the horror. But what’s really lovely is that I have a choice. I don’t have to order the black coffee because it’s the cheapest. This is growth. For this, I am thankful.
2. YouTube. I must admit I used to only use YouTube for music and “how to” tutorials, and then, in Europe, I didn’t have Netflix or anything and I turned to YouTube for TV where I found my lovely Jessica Fletcher and Monsieur Poirot. They became my comfort food and for that, I am thankful. (I’ve since added Rosemary & Thyme and now I’m doubly thankful.) If you don’t have something, find a way to get it. This leads me to the next thing:
3. Nordstrom’s Perfume Samples. When I worked as a bookkeeper at my favorite business management company in New York, a high-end client gave me Jo Malone Grapefruit body cream for a gift. F-a-n-c-y. That kind gesture introduced me to a world of swank to which I didn’t really belong. But I discovered that you can get samples of Jo Malone and Nordstrom’s! Walking out of the store with my little glass tube of sensory amazingness helped me feel like I did belong to the fancy, even if just for 1.5 ml’s worth. If you need this in your life, try it. (This isn’t limited to perfume. This writer tries on Chanel for confidence boosting.) I still get samples because I love my Jo Malone sniffing sessions and I can’t commit to which gorgeously distinctive fragrance I like the most. I consistently sample between Pomegranate Noir; Orange Blossom; Amber and Lavender; or Lime Basil and Mandarin. When a friend introduced me to Rose and then Velvet Rose recently, new life began! All these beauties make my senses sing; I feel super happy, bright, airy and sexy. And for that, I am thankful.
4. Knowing myself. I may not know which fragrance I like the best, but I can say that I’m getting to know myself better-er and better-er more and more. I like that I know FOR SURE that I don’t like rice pudding; I like that I finally know for sure that I’m worth more than $10 an hour jobs which I took as penance for wanting to go for my dreams — you can go for your dreams and get paid; I like that I know I’m definitely going to get nervous when I have to meet a bunch of new people, but I also really like that I know I’ll be okay. And lastly, after my naked spa trip, I like that I know I should continue to accept/admire/appreciate every inch of my changing-with-age body ’cause all this ain’t gonna look like this forever. (I’m talking to you, 20-year-old girls; you’re not fat, you’re fab.) We should be thankful.
Being perfect. (Thank you for the reminder, Jennie!)
5. Being able to walk. When I broke my ankle in June, I was slapped with the reality that it’s sorta nice to walk. I’m now incredibly aware of what a gift it is to be able to put one foot in front of the other successfully. Call me thankful. If you’re going through this in one way or another, I feel you. For the rest of us, be ready to give a helping hand. Which leads me to:
6. Asking for help. The broken ankle thing and having crutches and stuff also made me aware that I have a hard time asking for and receiving help. Trying to open heavy glass doors with crutches and then getting stuck between them because I was conditioned to yell out, “I’m fine!” instead of “Yes, please help!” when a passer-by offered to hold the door for me, is for the birds. Now, when I hear myself start to say, “I’m fine,” I squash that mess and accept what’s being offered. You should, too. For this, so very thankful.
7. Being psychic. My paranormal abilities have really ramped up this year, guys. I think mainly because I keep telling all the strangers I meet (especially my Uber drivers) that I am, indeed, psychic. You wouldn’t believe how many Uber lives I’ve changed because of my psychic ability to read auras. For some reason, I become in tune with their needs, hopes, desires (and sometimes sadness or loneliness) and I can help. Because I listen. I love that, because making others feel good makes me feel good and then there’s butterflies and rainbows all around and the world becomes a better place for a few moments. For this, I am thankful.
8. Being a matchmaker. My psychicness has also helped me put Dicks n’ Janes together: My mom and Steve. Denise and Jay. Almost Andy and Ashley. Maybe Uber driver Steve and Samantha. If you’re looking to be matched up, message me (really!) and if the wind blows right, I’ll use my powers to find you someone so you can enjoy the holidays with strangers, too! For this, I say ‘Thanks!”
9. Butter. Specifically good butter. Like the kind Petit Trois serves with their de-li-cious breadbasket where my match Matt took me for my birthday. I have to say that sharing butter with someone is really romantic and sweet. I missed a photo of the butter, but this is the photo of the birthday lavender meringue. Thaaaankful!
10. The right to vote. Seriously, seriously thankful. Voting day often falls on my birthday; in fact my first time I was legal to vote was on my 18th birthday. I exercise my right like its butter.
11. Warm socks and a bed to sleep in. LA’s homeless situation is insane. In-sane. Every day I see people sleeping outside; sometimes in tents, sometimes not. In my own neighborhood, it’s not much different. In the morning, when I walk the dog, I send a “Good Morning” smile to the young homeless couple in the gray car on Weddington as they are waking up and brushing their teeth. I cross the street and as I wait for the light to change to get to the bike path, I smile at the two guys in their tents at the light near Vineland and Weddington; they moved in around October. A third arrived last week. As I walk a few blocks on the Chandlar bike path, I say a prayer for the new person in the blue sleeping bag that moved in last week. For them all, I want an opportunity to be thankful. I voted for Prop 10, a California’s rent control measure; it didn’t pass. (#notthankful)
12. This Blog. I love that I always have something to look forward to when it comes to writing. Most of you know that I am still writing part two to “Harlem’s Awakening“. Le Petite Ugh! I’m on year four and I tell you, it seriously stresses me out that I can’t make myself sit down consistently and write that gosh-darn book (the first book took nearly six years, so I’m not far off I guess.) The upside is that writing, managing and sharing stuff with you guys this year really helped me solidify what my intended purpose in life is: to put Pen to Peppur. So, if you would, please subscribe to this blog, and tell a friend. You sign up in the box to the right on the blog. For that, I would be totally grateful.
Oh and #13:
Good boobs. In the main photo above in the furry white sweater? I was so excited for my birthday … and the vintage sweater was so soft and yummy … that when I put it on right out of the shower, I forgot to put on a bra. And I didn’t realize until we took this photo. I’m thankful no one noticed. Including me.