Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This week there will be many posts about being thankful. Yes, I'm jumping on the wagon. I'll try not to be sappy.

I'm thankful for people. (Not all, because some aren't worth it.) My family and friends top the list, but I'm also thankful for Dr. Gianacopoulis, the surgeon at Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, who rebuilt the disc in my jaw, relieving me of years of pain when others wouldn't touch me. I'm grateful for all the wonderful 'writerly' people I've met, my editors, agent, people from the SCBWI, aspiring young writers at schools and signings who talked and bought books. Not least among people I'm happy to have in my life are those who give the most--in return for nothing: police officers, firefighters, first responders, our troops and the National Guard. And finally, people I can't name--because I haven't met them; strangers who do some small kindness for me and future friends in the making. I look forward to learning their names.

The world is a wonderful place, full of mystery and adventure and culture. I'm thankful for Mattituck, the small town where I lived from age 12 to 21, where my high school graduating class was the first to break 100, where there was room to lay in farm fields, daydreaming, to see the ocean's waves smashing the shoreline after a hurricane, to walk for miles through woods without No Trespassing signs. And St. Thomas, where I've vacationed and hope to run away to after the hubs retires and the kids are out of the house. I'm in awe of its aqua waters, 85 degree days, brightly colored tropical fish, and it being a part of the US. My dream is to set up an umbrella, plop my tush into a comfy beach chair and read or write for hours, then swim till I die. In Florence, Italy, I walked where DaVinci and Donatello and the DeMedicis strolled. I saw DaVinci's La Pieta, I sat in cozy sidewalk cafes, the smell of espresso wafting on an autumn day. I crossed over the Ponte Vecchio, that famous bridge with its shops. It may sound funny, but I'm thankful for--New Jersey. Originally I was an unwilling transferee, but NJ has given me Rutgers, my first home, doctors who helped me conceive my sons, good neighbors and friends, George Street Playhouse, and the Bridgewater United Methodist Church.There are so many places I want to see in this world. I won't get to see them all, but I'll find something wonderful in each place.

It may sound silly, but being grateful for working in McDonalds? As a dishwasher? A house painter? All my jobs--paralegal, secretary, hotel maid, office manager, store clerk, professor's assistant, newspaper reporter, mom, author--have enriched my human experience. I know what it's like to work for under minimum wage, bepaid less than a man for the same work, and to be fired. No one can accuse me of feeling 'entitled' or not understanding reality as I worked to buy my own cars and the insurance, managed a budget, lived within my means, and paid for my own college. Experiences like this made me appreciate life, broadened my mind, and kept me motivated.Yes I'm thankful for them--and glad not to have to do most of them ever again!

Being thankful for things sounds a little shallow, but wait. I'm not going to list my Coach bag (previous year's model, bought on sale) or other such thing. (Not even my pool.) I will mention- that hot cup of chai latte tea in the morning or when I'm stressed. Then there's the hubster's BBQ ribs, rich in dripping spices on a summer's eve. I love my chattering squirrel who sits in our backyard oak tree, who pilfered the bird seed and savored the apple cores I threw out. Okay, I have to mention my pool; I love to swim and it's given me days and summers of pleasure, exercise and fun. One last thing; my grandmother's topaz ring. She got it from Tiffany's for her 16th birthday (1923!). She left it to me. We shareda love of English grammar, indulged in arguments, and enjoyed glasses of wine.It reminds me of her and how much I miss her.

My thankful list is long, but it's diverse, strange, complicated and it's me. Wishing you all people, places and things to be thankful for--