I thought in honor of Thanksgiving I would dedicate today’s blog to all the things for which I am thankful (this year’s lot anyway). Especially as living on this side of the pond (the English side), Thanksgiving passes through my life without a slice of turkey in sight. I blame sheer laziness on my part and the fact that if I did try to make a grand meal like most yanks do, I would either burn the house down or poison my partner and I. Hence, I shall let the rest of you celebrate in large culinary fashion while I fix myself a crumpet and a cup of tea. Saying that, here is my list for all that I am grateful for….
For starters, the no brainers…I am thankful for the King, the King’s rolly adorable thighs, his giggly little laugh, the lint that gets stuck in his toes when I take his socks off (it’s just so cute), and the smile that he emits any time I walk into the room; except of course when he’s pissed off, tired or hungry, and then he makes sure to remind me that smiles have to be earned.
I’m thankful for my partner and the fact that he is still around despite my four-month sojourn of no sleep that at times turned me into a raving lunatic. I’m also thankful that despite how much our lives have changed in recent months, we still find time to curl up on the sofa, watch our favorite crap TV, and countdown the days until Formula One starts again.
I’m thankful for sugar infused food that makes those of us that are running on sheer adrenaline able to function (somewhat). This of course includes chocolate, chocolate, and oh yeah, chocolate. Oh, and fat, fat is good too. In fact, chocolate covered fatty things are something to be thankful for as well.
I’m thankful for my sisters, their patience through all my new mother nervous breakdowns, and their consistency at picking up the phone when I call or email. They could ignore me, but they don’t. Thanks guys. I am thankful for my parents who have always loved and supported me and of course helped lay the foundation for what the King is experiencing now [so King, if you want to blame anyone when I am too strict, blame them].
I am thankful for my laptop. There are too many reasons why and I don’t think I need to explain how great they are. In fact, I spend more time with my laptop than anything that breathes – other than my son – so it is high up on the important list….then again, I could just be pathetic and need to leave the house more.
I am thankful for my son sleeping thru the night (ohhhh so thankful); for colored leaves; for decaf soy lattes; for my best friends that make this world a bit brighter, and god knows, a lot funnier; for good food, good films, and good music, and for the written word…especially the four letter ones. They’re just so much fun to say aren’t they?
And most importantly, I’m thankful that I live far enough away from North and South Korea (play nice, it’s thanksgiving for god sakes). Oh…and I’m also thankful for the fact that everyone reads my ramblings. So…thank YOU.
Apparently Americans have changed their view of marriage over the decades. No surprise there really; It does, as an institution, need a better PR company. According to a survey from Pew Research Center and Time Magazine, only half of Americans are getting married, which is down from 72 percent in 1960. And 40 percent of US adults think marriage is obsolete. On the flip side, cohabitation has doubled since 1990. Pretty ironic considering there are those out there battling hard to be allowed the right to marry, whilst those allowed are losing interest in the concept as a whole.
Over the years, marriage has definitely become something much less sacrosanct than it used to be. It could be due to the odds that over sixty percent of marriages end in divorce. I’m thinking that if over 60 percent of people died when they went into surgery, a lot of people would start avoiding their local hospitals. The problem is human beings have changed dramatically over the years (and not necessarily for the better), especially women and their place in the world, but marriage as an institution has not changed. It’s man and woman joined together, by god, or the government – your choice you lucky people - forever and ever. Good luck to you, cause the return policy sucks.
So this got me thinking, as marriage isn’t doing so hot as a concept, maybe it is time to customize marriage, like one’s own website or homepage. For each couple, marriage could become a bespoke arrangement, as we know by now it is not one size fits all. One could propose time-share husbands as a concept? Or the weekend off marriage…or the four day a week marriage like Carrie and Big (god was that movie awful). Or how about the separate living spaces marriage with communal areas? I’m just brainstorming here – I’m not even married, so you see how far I've gotten - but there must be something to bring about the evolution of an institution that does not seem to be working anymore.
Then again, maybe it comes down to how we approach the institution as it stands; maybe it’s not you, marriage, it’s us, and we’re the ones failing, not the institution. If you think about it, we work harder now at everything – our careers, on ourselves – inside and out – on the community around us; but the thing we seem to put by the wayside and expect to always be there is our relationship, and hence, the union of marriage. Maybe we just have to work harder and the odds will slowly but surely reflect this. Sadly as we are the transient generation seemingly married to our electronic devices, maybe the notion of forever with other human beings just doesn’t compute anymore in our fleeting, over-stimulated, need to change every second brains.
CNN is taking a poll this week and asking people what makes a great teacher. As America is facing a huge crisis when it comes to their education system, I think in times like these we need to remember how important good teachers truly are, not to mention underrated. I have been lucky enough in my life to have several good teachers. Ones that left their mark in such a way that I still think about them to this day. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a job very well done.
Of course there were many I remember, but some for very bizarre reasons....my first grade teacher I will always remember for her perfect hair. It was like June Cleaver hair. Not a whisp out of place, and it never seemed to move. To a five year old this seemed very important. Then of course there was the teacher that was always in the bad mood, and you knew she wanted to be doing anything else, and the religion teacher that would tell me I was going to hell in a hand basket for my sins. Thanks for that.
On the positive side of things, I had two teachers in junior high that truly left their mark. One was equal measure of kindness and sternness, but of course only when she had to be. But more importantly, you could feel how much this teacher cared and how much she loved her job. She would find out what every student in the room excelled at and then accentuate exactly that. Of course she would do it in a way that would make you feel like you weren’t just learning, but you were cultivating an interest, something you could actually become very good at (I know I know, I end my sentences in prepositions, I'm sorry Mrs. K!). Okay, fine, at twelve years old, I didn’t use terms like 'cultivate my interests,' but I discovered in her class that I was good with the written word and I felt that spark of wanting to see where it would take me.
Another teacher I always remember as being tall, commanding and instilled just enough fear in us so that you stayed in line - her praise was much more palatable than her bark. More importantly, she was queen of the projects. She would design these lofty and often complex class projects that would bring into play so many different things, that you didn’t have time to wonder if you could do it or not. You just got on with it. One that comes to mind – it’s a bit hazy I will admit – involved each of us owning land, and on that land we were responsible for the crops, the purchase of our equipment, and the maintenance of all our assets. I just remember thinking at the time that I may not have known exactly how to grow corn or what price to sell it at, but that it beat memorizing pages of the history book....which of course we had to do as well. 1066. Battle of Hastings. It's the only date I can remember pretty much. Which I'm thinking is pretty good considering I can barely remember yesterday's breakfast.
My other favorite teacher was by far the most flamboyant. It was in high school and he, shall we say, was a very unique individual. He was frenetic, slightly manic (looking back on this now of course), and you never quite knew what you were going to get in terms of his mood. I know this sounds alarming, but he channeled his crazy energy into his teaching and that’s where it got interesting. For it was in that class that my writing became something more tangible. He would challenge you with questions and push you to delve deeper. Like the others, he would identify your strengths and then make sure you were aware of them too. I think he was one of the first teachers to appreciate my humor and taught me to infuse my writing with my voice. If you got him to laugh – which was a huge coup – as he was tearing across the classroom in a frenetic whirlwind, he would suddenly shout out HA (!) at the top of his lungs, causing half the students to jump out of their seats. [I found out later he had a nervous breakdown. Explains the manic behavior].
Another teacher I commend purely because he got me through math; something that required a boat load of patience, not to mention humor. When it comes to numbers I have a severe mental block. He had an office near our classroom and a little group of us would hang out in there, drink his coffee, and do anything but discuss math. He would always stroll in, roll his eyes slightly at the state of the place, but secretly you knew that he loved having us there. Or so we told ourselves. And of course, as each one of us would burst in there having a mathematical nervous breakdown, protesting that no grown adult needed to use trig in his or her daily lives, he would quietly and patiently walk us through every step of it until we got it. But as for his coffee, so bad, and no amount of dairy creamer was going to fix that.
So, Mrs. K, Mrs.L, and Mr. S, and Mr. S (again) respectively…thank you! Although Mr. S, I still think math is another form of torture. Let's hear it for calculators!