Thirteen Things I’m Thankful For

If I tried to list everything I’m thankful for, it would end up being either really abstract (silliness, grace, love, freedom, etc.) or downright molecular (oxygen, water, carbon…)

(Also, infinitely long… moreso because I’m a super-analytical, detail-oriented perfectionist, than actually because I’m grateful for that many things. I mean, I am, but what would really kill the list is the precision and thoroughness with which I would list them, and 2 feet of text later I’d give up, having only described the things that I’m thankful for that are presently on my desk.)

I’m obviously incredibly grateful for the big things like my home and my job and those abstract and molecular things, and most of all, family and friends and puppy obviously top the list, so we’ll skip them for this list, and I’ll attempt to avoid listing components and prerequisites and broad categories, SO…

Thirteen specific, tangible(ish), pretty random things that I am particularly grateful for at this relatively arbitrary moment in time! Alternately titled,

13 Assorted Nouns Lauren Gets Inordinately Excited About.

(in no particular order, just as they come to mind. ):

  1. My dog, Rocky.
    Ok, I just said I wasn’t going to list the dog, (twice, since he is also family… or maybe thrice since he’s also my friend!) but he is fuzzy and cuddly and delightful (and in snuggle range as I start typing this post), so apparently he’s getting included anyway. He’s a Bichon Frise, almost 12 in human years, and an impressively good communicator for someone who neither speaks words nor writes. Sometimes he’s a bad dog, but mostly he’s just a big fluffy pile of love and adorableness.
  2. Apple Soy Chai Lattes
    A couple months ago, I discovered Burlap & Bean offered apple among the many flavor syrups available to add to your coffee or whatever beverage. I thought, “Hmm, I bet that would be good in chai…” and holy hello was I right! It instantly became my “usual”! It is also amusing to see the baristas react, as I seem to be the first to think of it (there, at least), and they’re all intrigued, always saying, “Ooh, I’ll have to try that!” and today one guy told me he finally did, and confirmed it is absurdly delicious. Also, the one girl calls me “Apple Soy Chai Girl,” which makes me smile!
  3. Crochet/Knitting
    I sometimes say my attention span is as long as my yarn. My Grandma taught me the basics of crochet when I was like, 6 or so, and I figured out how to knit a few years later, so I’ve been making things with yarn long enough that it’s second nature– the simple repetitive motion only occasionally requires conscious thought, but keeps my hands busy while I pay attention to other things (teachers/presenters/tv/conversations/etc.). It provides a point of focus — a sort of tether to reality, keeping my scatterbrain from wandering — and you get a scarf or something out of it! And I’m the sort who mostly makes up my own patterns, so the figuring out a project/design is a fun, half art/half math puzzle to solve!
  4. Graph Paper
    For the aformentioned design puzzling, not just for crochet projects, but for sketching out layouts and all sorts of ideas!
  5. Comfortable Shoes
    Almost every day, I wear either my tan sneakery shoes or my black sandals. The sneakers are barely sneakers… soft lightweight almost sock-like sort-of running shoes with elastic instead of laces. The sandals are near-magical slides which I’ve worn pretty much nonstop when its warm-ish for the last 5 years, including a month in Taiwan where we walked way too much, and they’re holding up really well, and perfectly molded to my feet. Every time I wear any other shoes, I’m reminded of how awesome these two pairs are! They feel less like shoes, and more like hugs for my feet.
  6. NASAtweetups and such
    NASAtweetups, CSAtweetups, NASAsocials, rogue tweetups, really any gathering of “people from the internet” is bound to be a good time! I’ve written about this before, but I’m especially and specifically grateful to NASA and CSA (and other space agencies doing the same that I haven’t been to yet) for hosting us spacetweeps, educating and entertaining us — and showing us how amazing both the universe, and mankind’s endeavors to explore it, are. And generally making field trips for grown-ups a thing that exists.
  7. Electric/Heated Blankets
    The heat in our house doesn’t really reach upstairs (which is confusing, since I was pretty sure heat rises), so a blanket that actually produces heat is very welcome in my bed!
  8. Netflix/Hulu/TV on the internet in general
    I love tv, but I can never remember to watch current shows when they air, so I’d miss at least half the episodes if that was the only option. And since I’m all about character development and the long-term plot, I can’t stand seeing episodes out of order or missing them, so I’d pretty much just never watch anything good until it came out on DVD. And since I’m broke, that wouldn’t happen either. So Hulu and individual networks’ steaming video (and occasionally filling in the gaps with sources of questionable legality) are miraculous for keeping up with current shows. And if it’s too old for Hulu, it’s probably on Netflix or will be soon. I can mad marathon all previous seasons of as many shows as I want (and movies too) for a very reasonable $8 a month (which I have now roped my parents into paying, since the whole family started using my account)!
  9. My Car, Neil
    I like him. He is cute and shiny and blue and has a cd player and everything works! But I’ve already rambled on about that a bit too… it’s nice having a car that isn’t perpetually breaking!
  10. Tote Bags
    There is something to be said for purses and computer bags and cases for various things — consistency and organization and such. But I’m a big fan of simple tote bags. Like one giant-ass pocket you throw everything you need in, sling it over your shoulder, and off you go! Any shape/size/color/design you want, they probably make that tote bag, and if not, you can get one printed! And they’re cheap, so you can keep a bunch handy! And if you spill something on it, or something leaks inside it, just throw it in the wash and dump your stuff in another one. Plus, unlike more structured bags, which stay pretty much the same size whether they’re empty or full, a simple cloth tote bag only takes up as much space as the stuff inside it! *magic*
  11. Connectivity
    Ok, this is getting dangerously close to that abstract territory I said I’d avoid, but it’s simultaneously astounding and easy to take for granted, so it’s worth a mention. It’s tangible in smartphones and tablets, anyway. So many places have WiFi, and cellular data networks are finally getting fast enough to be worth using, so the internet is accessible pretty much anywhere, any time! And with technical connectivity comes human connectedness. A certain amount of paradoxical disconnectedness too, but things like Twitter and Skype and Wikipedia and Coursera and Trello and a thousand other sites and apps connect me with people and books and knowledge and tools in every area of human experience and the world geographically! Clearly, I’m a nerd about these sorts of things (and all the things!) but it makes me happy!
  12. Ukulele!
    I got a cheap but decently nice uke off eBay a thousand years or so ago, and mostly it has sat on a shelf collecting dust, but lately I’ve been playing it more, and while I still suck, it’s fun! Small enough for my stupidtiny hands to handle easily, and only four strings to keep track of, so I’m having better luck learning than on guitar. I wrote a song for/inspired by Rachel’s sweet kiddo, Gwenny, about a sassy pterodactyl, and managed to figure out a suitable chord progression for it! And theoretically, some day, I will know more than 4 chords! It’s fun!
  13. Cup-a-noodles
    Yes, instant ramen in a styrofoam cup. For 50 cents or less. I am poor and like hot food at work. Don’t judge me. Mmm salty chicken-flavor noodles of cheapness.