I'm thankful to be married this year. I figure
I'd better start out with this one, right off the bat, since we all
know it's coming anyway.
I'm thankful that our wedding was sweet and
simple and lovely -- truly the wedding of our dreams -- thanks to a lot
of people to whom I owe an unending debt of gratitude.
I'm thankful that David and I were married in
the presence of so many people we love. I'm thankful that the things that
went wrong that day didn't go too far wrong, and
that the things that went right were positively breathtaking in their
rightness. I'm thankful that we laughed as much as we cried on our
wedding day. I'm thankful that the memory of that special day will burn
brightly in our hearts for the rest of our days together.
I'm thankful that I'm married to my very best
friend: someone who makes me feel brave even when my resolve (and my
knees) are wobbly ... someone who makes me feel worthwhile even when
I've screwed up again ... someone who makes me feel hopeful even when
I'm mired in gloom and hormones.
I'm thankful that this marriage is more about
possibilities than inevitabilities.
I'm thankful that this marriage feels more like
a beginning than an ending.
And I'm thankful that I'm thankful
to be married. There was a time when I didn't believe it was possible
to feel that way.
* * * * *
The American flag.
I'm sorry and sad and embarrassed that it took a
tragedy of such terrible magnitude for me to realize how much I love my
country ... how thankful I am to live here ... and how profoundly I can
be affected by its familiar symbols of patriotism, freedom and courage.
(On the other hand, I am so tired of "God
Bless America" -- particularly as rendered by that famous CANADIAN,
Celine *I Never Said I Was Retiring Forever, Did I?*
Dion -- that I could scream. Can we please start
beating another song to death now? I vote for "Lust For Life.")
* * * * *
We may have put bike-riding on the back burner
for the season, but my knees are still getting a SERIOUS
work-out, every single day.
Bending down to stuff large manila folders into
bottom file drawers. Stooping to pick up fourteen pound boxes of dirt.
Squatting to refill the Xerox paper tray.
I'm spending more time on my
knees these days than The Pope and Divine Brown put together.
Which is why I'm so thankful for glucosamine
Even while we were still riding -- during the
waning days of summer/earliest days of autumn -- I felt the difference
immediately, after just a couple of weeks of taking the glucosamine. My
knees didn't hurt as much, during OR after an extensive ride. I had
greater flexibility of movement. I could make it up the easy hills
without bursting into tears.
And I didn't have to make David push my bike up
the not-so-easy hills.
So I'm thankful for discovering glucosamine. It
made bike-riding more fun this year ... and it will make me less likely
to try and find excuses to get out of it next year.
* * * * *
My new web host and I are still in the honeymoon
stage of our relationship: we're as nice to each other in private as we
are in public, we return each others' phone
calls/e-mails immediately and we have yet to have a
relationship-threatening disagreement of any kind.
(Check back with us in a year.)
And no, I didn't pick Intelligent Hosting
because of its name. If that were the case, I would have signed up with
'We Almost Never Put You On Hold!'
Hosting Service ... or 'We Love Your Website So Much, We
Want to Pay YOU To Live Here!' Hosting
Service. I picked Intelligent because they met all the most important
criteria: they were in my price range ... they offered the services I
needed, without forcing me to pay for services I didn't
need ... their Customer Support Department is demonstrably quick and
responsive ... and they explained things in terminology even *I* could
understand. No more parallel flange indicators.
Plus they aren't my OLD web host.
Having *FootNotes* housed in a secure and
reliable new home, finally, frees me to worry about all of the other,
more important website-related stuff: whether or not to prune the
archives ... how to fit a little more e-mail-writing time into an
already cramped writing schedule ... whether Santa can afford to bring
me that digital camera I'm craving, or whether we're going to have to
be content with another year of muddy Polaroids.
* * * * *
Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine.
For a recovering alcoholic/drug
addict/hypochondriac like me ... this is as close to stoned as it gets,
For the past two or three nights running, I've
come home feeling raggedy and congested and physically threadbare ...
as though I've got a major head cold waiting in the wings, just looking
for the perfect opportunity to swoop in and ruin our Thanksgiving
weekend. So rather than spend another night tossing and turning and
groping for Kleenex and nasal spray at 2 a.m., I've been chugging down
a little Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, just before bedtime. It not
only knocks me on my butt about twenty minutes after I drink it --
fifteen, if I only had vegetables for dinner -- but right up until the
moment I lose consciousness, it helps remind me of all the things I
really hated about getting high.
The loss of mental and physical
control. That foggy, disconnected feeling. Giggling. Drooling. Trails.
Plus I feel sort of stoopid and tired and
headachey for a little while the next morning, right after I get out of
bed. It's not as bad as a real hangover, of course ... but it's close
enough to remind me how THANKFUL I am that I don't
have REAL hangovers any more.
* * * * *
The woman who had my job before me.
Thank you, Fiona.
Thank you for being good at our job: for setting
up the file system in orderly fashion, for labeling everything, for
maintaining a good relationship with the office supply vendors, for
leaving me a detailed and comprehensive "How To" book. It has made
transitioning into the position a whole lot easier.
But mostly I want to thank you for not being SO
good at our job that you're all they ever talk about. You know what I
mean? Thank you for not being an impossible act to follow. Thank you
for screwing up occasionally (and for leaving evidence of your
screw-ups behind: the condensation reports are all filed backwards, and
you're still getting personal e-mail from "Chuck.")
And while I'm giving thanks for job-related
stuff, allow me to add the following: I'm thankful for my new job ...
I'm thankful for my new paychecks ... and I'm especially thankful for
my new boss.
I'll bet SHE doesn't give me
a jar of spaghetti sauce for National SecraTerri's Day next year.
* * * * *
I wasted my teen years. We all do. I took all
the good things for granted -- shiny hair, sharp eyesight, an
identifiable waistline -- while expecting that the bad things -- acne,
alcoholism, a complete lack of life goals/job skills/plans for the
future -- would just sort of magically fix themselves, without any
effort on my part.
My twenties went by in a blur of saddle blocks,
Sesame Street and Swanson's Frozen Pot Pies. I don't regret any of it
-- I ended up with the three greatest Tots in the universe, as a result
-- but I wish now that I would have worried a little less about what
was falling apart on the outside, and a little more about what was
falling apart on the inside.
I am regretful about
screwing up my thirties. This was the decade that could have been a
real powerhouse time in my life, and in the lives of my children ...
but instead I spent most of it fat, broke, drunk, depressed and waiting
for somebody to save me from myself. After a while I figured it was
always going to be this way.
So my forties have been a revelation, to put it
One of the greatest gifts of midlife sobriety --
although there are plenty of times when it feels less like a "gift"
than a punishment -- is a restored awareness of myself as a woman. Read
this: now that I'm not drunk all the time, I actually notice
stuff like *monthly hormonal fluctuations.* (I wasn't even aware of The
72 Hours From Hell until I got sober. Seriously.) I
understand now --
in a way I could never understand when I was forever pregnant/trying NOT
to be pregnant/drunk/hungover/otherwise malfunctioning -- how my body
works, and what I can do to make sure it's still working, ten or
twenty or forty years from now.
It sounds simplistic, I know. But it's one of
those things that you don't even realize you're being stoopid about
until you're not being stoopid about it anymore.
Every once in a while I slip up and refer to The
Seventy-Two Hours as "PMS," when they should probably more accurately
be referred to as perimenopause. (My mother gently and patiently writes
to correct me whenever this happens. I love her for it ... not only
because she's right, but because she isn't needlessly shrill or unkind
about it.) I'm not
denying or avoiding anything. It's like getting used to the new married
name: it takes a little while for the newness to wear off, and for
"Rafter" -- or "menopause" -- to automatically roll off my tongue. For
me, the idea of moving gracefully into the next phase of my life, with
ALL that that involves, is as exciting an adventure as any I
contemplate. I will be forty-four years old in a couple of weeks, and I
have never been healthier, happier, more forgiving of past mistakes ...
or less afraid of what comes next.
And I'm thankful for that.
* * * * *
Family and friends, near and far.
We're spread out between a lot of Zip Codes/Area
Codes/Time Zones this year, it's true -- parents, Tots, siblings,
steps, halves, exes, World's Cutest Nephews, in-laws, out-laws, friends
(both the online and offline variety), faithful *FootNotes* readers --
but I am thankful for your presence in my life, just the same.
I'm thankful for those who have supported and
nurtured me, throughout the year ... and for those who have allowed me
to provide support and nurturing to them. I'm thankful for those I'm
permitted to write about, here on *FootNotes* ... and for those I'm
not. I'm thankful for those who are speaking to me ... and for those
who aren't ... and for those who are still making up their minds about
it. I'm thankful for our history, and for our connection, and for all
of the ways that our lives intersect.
And I'm thankful for you,
sitting out there reading *FootNotes* right this very minute. After
all, without you ... I'd be sitting here talking to myself this
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.