Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008 - A day of Thanksgiving

Dear God:

Today, as I reflect on the things for which I am thankful, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Let our hearts be filled with kindness,
Our minds be calm and light,

May thanks arise within us

For all we share tonight.

~Susan Smalley

I've been away for some time ... entangled in frenzy of Senator Obama's Presidential campaign, suffering from severe writer's block that made me feel like I had nothing important or new to say and watching depression's gray fog creep towards me as the holidays approach. This week, I'm feeling much better about life in general and am ready to begin writing again.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I give special thanks for:

Good health
At the Air Force Academy's human performance lab, I had a DEXA full body scan. The results confirmed that my self-prescribed diet and exercise routine has worked miracles. My bone density now falls solidly in the normal range, a result that negates past diagnoses of osteopenia (early osteoporosis). To my surprise, my nonessential body fat content is below 15%, equaling that of NCAA Division 1 women athletes at the Academy - not bad for a 54-year-old woman.

Senator Barack Obama's win in the Presidential election.

Change is definitely upon us, and it feels marvelous. S and I worked hard, especially during the Democratic Party primary, to nominate and elect Senator Obama. On November 4, after MSNBC declared an Obama victory, I turned to S and exclaimed, "We did it!" I am still fired up and ready to go. Yes we can!

Blue state cheers.

Colorado turned blue this election season (although El Paso County, where we live, remained bright red). Imagine that. Two Democratic US senators and an overall win for Senator Obama. I'm elated to be residing once again in a blue state. I say "yes" to progressives and those who support 21st century solutions to our country's problems.


Because no matter its nature, complexity or opportunities, work adds value and purpose to my life.

First snow.

Snow arrived late this season ... October 21, 2008 to be exact. T, of course, was delighted by the flurries and small drifts. He thrives in cooler weather. His high energy level and spirits continue to impress S and me. T turns 12 next month ... a sad reminder that he won't be with us forever.

More climbing adventures.

Autumn's cooler weather and shorter days don't deter our outdoor climbing adventures. We're still regulars at Red Rock Canyon and the Ute Valley Park boulders. My current favorite is the 5.10b route that S and I climbed earlier this month. It resides on the notorious Wailing Wall in Red Rock Canyon and presents climbers with 90 feet of sustained 5.10 climbing. Because I'm so short (only 5'2"), climbing from bolt to bolt requires three or four sequential bouldering-type moves. Needless to say, I fell a few times during my first ascent. Next time we attempt this route, I plan to redpoint the climb.

Extended family.

Our Colorado Springs family includes neighbors, business colleagues and climbing friends. I'm pleased that our two Air Force Academy cadet friends continue to spend time with us on a regular basis - climbing, bouldering, watching NCAA or pro football, hanging out in the house with T and eating meals that showcase my cooking and baking skills.

Thanksgiving traditions.
Each Thanksgiving Day, S, T and I gather near the radio to listen to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" on KRCC, the local public radio station. For dinner, we usually join friends and neighbors, contributing a few bottles of wine or a side dish or two (my best are homemade cranberry relish with a splash of whisky and sweet potatoes/yams flavored with rum). This year, we're joining our next door neighbor's celebration. The day after Thanksgiving, I cook our own feast (except I won't this year because I have to work). I don't shop on Black Friday ... just because it feels like the right thing to do.

I feel it ... love ... the Universe's assurance that my mere existence makes a difference on Earth. I think Mother Teresa said it best - "Every act of love is a work of peace, no matter how small." Here's to love, to peace.

For these blessings, I am very grateful.


Photo: T poses near the Wailing Wall in Red Rock Canyon.

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