A pair of Thanksgiving trees now stands at attention in the center of my dining room table. They were a project my boys worked on one day with their Nana. They consist a foam trunk with a scattering of bare branches. Red, yellow, and orange leaves, attached by glue, proudly proclaim all the things my children are grateful for this year.
Kiddo’s lists all the things you might expect from a sweet and sensitive nine-year-old. On it, there is mom and dad, his brother’s name, his grandparents, and his cousins.
Then there is LT’s tree and all the previously unsung heroes of my youngest’s truth.
As much as I wanted to laugh at what he chose to be grateful for this year, I can see the kid’s point for each and every one of his selections. And so this year I am attempting to follow his lead and give thanks to my own semi-ridiculous, but no less true, list of things that have made life that much better.
1. Her Royal Highness’s ‘Royal’ Sensibilities
It is a generally recommended that one does not do one’s business where one eats. I believe my dog, Her Royal Highness has this stitched on a pillow somewhere as she would prefer to drag us out in the snow and rain to do her business down the block than within the perimeter of our yard. This, of course, has necessitated many a walk resulting in many of my favorite posts, as well as the occasional swear words.
2. Mexican Restaurants
Specifically the Mexican restaurant close to my day job. While technically a sit-down establishment, the food arrives within minutes of me sitting down no matter how full the dining area is which gives me the ability to eat with time to spare for writing, editing, brainstorming, and other creative ponderings.
3. Bulletproof coffee
I love breakfast. Its one of the few meals I can be trusted to cook in its entirety (most of the time), but I love sleep too, and as a mom with a day job as well as novels to write and designs to create, I sometimes have to choose between the two. When forced, I choose sleep. Who knew that by adding a bit of butter to my morning brew, the drink would tide me over until lunch while giving me a few extra minutes of zzzzs?
4. Turn by turn navigation enabled by GPS
I have gifts – a natural directional instinct is not one of them. If left to my own devices, I can get lost pretty much anywhere. I’ve even managed to get myself lost on a battleship which is no small feat considering you are pretty much restricted to a defined parameter and a handful of decks. If it wasn’t for that lovely voice saying re-calculating when running a quick errand, I might have found myself several states over by now.
If I am going to be stuck in traffic, I at least can listen to something as entertaining as it is educational. My personal favorite is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, which is geared toward the indie author, and I enjoyed getting into the Halloween spirit last month listening to Lore and Spooked. This month I’m giving This American Life a try and already have learned quite a bit about US copyright law simply by hearing about how an Indonesian monkey sued a British photographer in our courts.
6. A broken air conditioner
Raleigh, NC isn’t exactly known for its moderate summers, so when our air conditioner broke down not once, but twice this summer, we decided a change of scenery was in order. We spent the weekend in the mountains hiking and hunting for waterfalls. While her Royal Highness wasn’t a fan of the thunderstorm that kept us up all night (nor was I), we all agreed that the steak dinner cooked over campfire flames was one of the best meals this family has ever eaten together.
7. The neighbor’s trampoline
This one was on LT’s list as well and is a story in and of itself. The neighbors down the street had a trampoline and a son who’d recently graduated from high school.
One evening, they asked my husband if he would like to take it off their hands. A week of backbreaking work later in which we’d removed clay and pebble-filled soil over a 14-foot diameter, the corner of our newly leveled backyard became our kid’s (even Her Royal Highness) new favorite hang-out.
It may be old, and it may not be the prettiest, but bouncing and laughing under a blue sky while shaded by more than a few towering trees beats video games most days of the week.
8. Net Neutrality
This is not a joke. In the US, there is a serious concern that regulations currently on the books preventing internet service providers from being able to treat one site’s traffic differently than another’s may be overturned in the coming weeks. While currently, the major internet providers have publicly stated that they remain committed to the concept of net neutrality regardless of legislation, there is no guarantee that this will remain the case in the future.
Those not in the US who generate content should also care because, without net neutrality, US audiences will be further segmented as people opt not to pay for (or are otherwise unable to afford) access to sites the ISP wishes to restrict, disincentivize, or otherwise categorize as premium or exclusive content. This means marketing, which is already tough enough for a small business owner (like an indie author), is going to be even more difficult to navigate and connecting with an audience, an even bigger challenge.
So I am grateful for the net neutrality I’ve enjoyed thus far and would prefer to keep it.
And on that happy note, I will leave you, as Thanksgiving has taught me over the years that you can rarely feast to excess without experiencing at least a little indigestion.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I continue to be grateful for all of you year round and wish you and yours all the best.
He should be grateful for his smile. It’s the only thing keeping him out of trouble some days.
The Watch & Wand Update:
My advance proof arrived last week and it is every bit as wonderful to hold in my hands as I imagined. Going on sale December 5th, 2017, you can read an excerpt here or pre-order for kindle here.