Life is Good

‘Tis the season to remember everything that makes this life fabulous. My gratitude list for 2012—partial of course:

Colors, all types, from Rothko’s squares to that electric turquoise fashionable in purses a season or two back to the jacaranda tree’s purple flowers.

The days Elm St. is inexplicably empty allowing me to catch the van despite the the space-time continuum’s attempts to thwart me.

The way that people’s creativity flourishes in different mediums—paint, clothing, conversation, leadership, gardens.

The rotations of nature, from seasonal changes to a single day’s palette of light, morning’s yellow, speaking of promise, distinct from evening’s paler shade of repose.

Food—that it exists, that we are required to eat it, that one of its subcategories is chocolate, that said subcategory correlates with production of Nobel Prize winners. I am not making this up. Read the article on chocolate and Nobel Prizes. Thanks to my aunt for passing on this essential knowledge.

The times I remember to pray instead of attempting to solve something far beyond my powers.

Quirky things—people, movies, my cat, possibly all cats.

The astonishing difference a smile can make in someone’s day.

The times I remember to have a sense of humor about myself.

People—the ones who are passionate; the ones who do jobs I never could, such as home healthcare worker or probation officer; the ones who are incalculably kind; the ones who love me and tell me I’m doing a wonderful job of being human on those days I can’t find that belief anywhere in my universe.

The stunning abundance of all these things in the lives of so many. Here’s hoping that this time next year, those who lack food or love or the chance to express their creativity are sharing in the abundance.

Spiderman and Red Cellophane

My dad has always been my most faithful valentine.

He and I share certain challenges with punctuality and housekeeping, which gives me the handy excuse of genetics. He sometimes calls on my birthday to say, “I’ll stick your present in the mail tomorrow” or leaves an envelope under the Christmas tree describing a gift that has yet to arrive.

heart-shaped box of chocolatesBut when it comes to Valentine’s Day, he is always on time. Every year of my life, I have received a red, heart-shaped box of chocolates. The Russell Stover my sister and I looked forward to as children came wrapped in this fabulous cellophane that turned the whole world red when you looked through it. The invention of the Internet gave Dad instant access to See’s, a serious improvement in chocolate quality if not in packaging.

The card in the box of See’s says the same thing every year, “Happy Valentine’s Day. Love, Dad.” I love the consistency. Some might call it repetitive or unimaginative, but I find it reliable and comforting.

As happens to many chronically single people, my attitude toward Valentine’s Day fluctuates. Some years, such as this one, I get in the spirit and hand out Spiderman pencils at work just for fun. Other years I sequester myself away from the adoring couples whose faces might end up buried in their shared pasta dishes were I allowed out in public. If forced to confront this romantic bliss, single people often recover by watching the beginning of Oliver Twist over and over again, the part filled with misery and endless, dreary, gray days.

During those ill-disposed years especially, the box delivered to my doorstep saves me. Inside awaits a pound of chocolate that speaks of solid, unwavering, male love, not the kind splashed across the store aisles and television ads, but one I know will abide, year after year.

Thanks, Dad. I love you. Many unsuspecting, pasta-sharing lovebirds thank you, too.