31 days of gratitude, extremely abridged grumpy edition (days 13 to 20)

Oh dear.

I just want to say, in my defense, that for the past week I have been full of gratitudes of various sorts.  I think grateful thoughts all day long, as I visualize myself making it down to the computer and writing about those thoughts.  I’m grateful I don’t blog for a living, with a deadline and a fussy editor.  I’m grateful that I can just shove this blog to the side when other matters of the day take over, without feeling particularly bad about it.

EXCEPT FOR THIS MONTH, WHEN I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULD BLOG EVERY DAY ABOUT GRATITUDE.

So, as I probably should have anticipated, a commitment to daily gratitude has kind of dragged me down, the same way positive affirmations and up-beat music take me down.

Never mind.  I offer you the following data dump of various grumpy gratitudes, and I invite you to chunk them out and assign them as you see fit to days 13 through 20.

* * * * *

This morning I settled down on the sofa after making Nick’s breakfast and school lunch.  The dogs sat all over me, and Nick was in an armchair nearby.  I opened a casual game called Archero on my phone.  Some months ago, Nick introduced Anthony and me to this game, which is basically slightly more complicated dodge ball.  The hero player moves around the screen and dodges enemy attacks, while randomly throwing out her own projectiles at the enemies and destroying them before she runs out of HP, which I just had to google so that I could tell you it means “health points.”

Nick quit playing after a few days, but Anthony and I remain hooked.  We’ve been tracking our way through the levels of this game slowly, upgrading our respective heroes and monitoring each other’s progress, and also occasionally throwing in a little smash mouth.  Anthony was ahead of me for a while, probably because he was playing the game more obsessively.  But I’ve caught up as of a couple days ago, and I announced as much this morning.

“Can you believe I’ve caught up to dad??” I issued a jaunty chuckle.

Nick, staring down at his own device, spoke in a matter-of-fact and supportive voice,  “That should not be surprising to you.”

What curious, articulate, grown-up phrases come out of the mouths of 10-year-old kids.  I replied, “Why not?”

He looked up at me and shrugged.  “Because you’re MOM.

Jesse came down later in the morning.  She’s been on a very short school schedule for a little while now, and she gets to sleep in.  She saw me making coffee with this stovetop device.

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She looked at me. She looked at the pot.  She looked back at me, her eyebrows raised, her eyes hiding a laugh.

“What?”

“Mom.  Does that say Grouch?”

She didn’t need to say aloud that she feels it suits me.

I love my kids, both of them.  I love being put on a parenting pedestal now and then, even if it’s slightly weird.  I also love being fed humble pie; that goes down much easier because it fits into my natural self-loathing more easily.  I’m grateful for the honesty of my children, who see me with such fresh eyes, and who offer me insights every day into all the ways I amaze them and let them down.

(I’m also thankful that Anthony and I can sit happily next to each other playing silly iphone games. Very little beats light chatter about how Archero is going, after a long day.)

* * * * *

It’s not only and all about electronic devices in our house, though they do tend to take more of our time than I’d like. Nick made me go running with him yesterday, and apparently he’s decided to harangue me into doing so most days. Yesterday, he wanted to re-create a cross country practice.  So after we walk/jogged with the dogs, Nick made me stay outside and do a full cross country practice with him. We started with stretches, sprints, lunges, something involving weird sideways crab running with legs crossing over like bad dancing, power skipping, knee-ups and leg-ups.  He didactically informed me that his coach had explained the warm-ups are the hardest part.  Then he made me head out on a closing jog.

It’s great when your ten-year-old son gives you the exercise what-for.  I’m not wheezing this morning, but there’s a reason I’m sitting in front of this computer screen typing instead of hitting the gym.  I need to save something up for Nick, who’s going to be coming at me about running when he pops out of school this afternoon.

I’m thrilled that Nick has finally found something physical that he loves.  He says running feels like “an instinct.” He has a work rate that I cannot match without dislocating a hip, his feet pitter-pattering down the road efficiently.  I’ve explained to him that I’m 53 years old and quite overweight right now, so running doesn’t come so easy to me. He’ll always be faster than me, because he’s still growing stronger and stronger, and I’m at the age of entropy.  It’s hard for him to see that, I guess, because I’m MOM and apparently that means I can do anything.  I’m thankful for his faith in me, and I hope to reward it with effort and more effort.

* * * * *

Much gratitude that the ninth and final (yeah right) episode in the Skywalker saga is finally out, and that I’m going with Anthony to see it on Sunday.  We’ll see it a second time with the kids a couple days later, but we deserve to see it first without any attendant parenting obligations. No pee breaks!

The original Star Wars movie, Episode 4, came out when we were just ten years old! So we will hit the theaters Sunday with our marital inner child on full display.

Luke was always a whiny snowflake who I wanted to slap upside the head, and the Ewoks were so annoying, and poor Leia had to wear those outfits — but the first trilogy was still good.  Then episodes 1 through 3 came along, and we learned that Anakin could be even more annoying than Luke — a feat I had believed to be unattainable, until I saw it with my own eyes (for 6+ horrible hours). By the time episode 3 came out, in 2005, I had endured the tragedy of the incredibly awful Matrix sequels as well, and the so-so-ness of Terminator 3, and I abandoned all hope for excellency in cinematic sequels.

Nonetheless, 43 years after Star Wars was first released, I find that I have really enjoyed the latest round of Star Wars movies.  I love the new characters, Rey and Finn and Poe and Rosie and Kylo Ren. I’ve enjoyed where the story is headed.  Still, I’m ready for it to end, and I’m looking forward to a final resolution — though I would guess even episode 9 will leave some wiggle room for further sequels.  It’s become just like one of those endless sci fi/fantasy novel cycles — the Game of Thrones series (up to 6 books so far) or Wheel of Time (fourteen books so far!) or Dragonriders of Pern (well over twenty books).  How many versions of a death star can we face before it just gets old?  Move on already, creators. Make money some other way.

But still, grateful.  Anthony and I have seen a million movies together over a million years, and going to movies with Anthony is one of my very happiest of things. So, gratituding heavily for my movie date with Anthony on Sunday.

* * * * *

Speaking of making money, if you’ve been reading my blog recently, you’ve probably seen the incredibly gross ads WordPress has been throwing up. I have nothing to do with them, except that I’ve been cheap and have been maintaining this as a free WordPress site.

Look at these ads, which WordPress has been relentlessly wedging in among my own lovely photos and incredibly brilliant prose:

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WTF WORDPRESS.  What is that hand holding?

I literally wince and flinch when I see these ads.  Because ew. What is it about grumpiness that makes WordPress think my readers want to see this stuff? Do my readers suffer from toenail fungus and enjoy handling unidentifiable greasy little balls of shriveled… something?

Well. I did a quick sweep through WordPress settings and learned that for 8 dollars a month I can get rid of those ads.  So I holiday-gifted myself an upgrade just now and the ads should officially be gone.  Thank you, WordPress, for offering me the  chance to pay you actual money to get rid of the grossest ads you were able to find for my blog! And for this wonderful follow up screen display after you took my money.

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My blog is doing somersaults in excitement?  My eyes just rolled up in my head. Awkward.

* * * * *

For 98 bucks a year, I get a lot of PREMIUM stuff, “best for freelancers,” not just no ads.  Look at all these other goodies:

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Yay! If I want, I can give even more data to Google! I’m sure my visitors would love to have Google take an in-depth look at them. Thinking about it… thinking about it… No.

But Google is tenacious.  I also can get a $100 credit with Google!

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As long as I spend $25 bucks first on ads.  Thinking about it… Nope.

I can MONETIZE my site.

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Oh now that’s tempting.  I think Anthony would like that. Would you like to advertise here? Give me a call or drop a note, and let’s see what we can work out – you will be reaching the same audience that looks forward to toe fungus and ear wax ads.  It’s a niche audience, what can I say.

Grateful to have a niche, but also grateful that I don’t yet have toe fungi or excessive earwax, and ditto Anthony.  Much gratituding about Anthony today.

* * * * *

I’m still not done telling you about all the amazingness arising out of my PREMIUM WordPress plan.  Two more things.

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Ooooh I get a jetpack??? That is definitely worth $98 a year.

But no.  It’s just the site security and stuff like that. That is a really unfair tease.  Not grateful at all.

And finally for the win:

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I’m sorry, but when I saw this one, it took me over the edge. A Happiness Engineer.

Who comes up with a name like that? What does Happiness have to do with blogging? What kind of stupid euphemism is that?

Just stop, WordPress, because if you throw one more piece of PREMIUM stupidity at me, I am going to move to another blog site.  Put your Happiness Engineer, which I assume is a faux AI, in a dark hole and turn the key.  Carla isn’t having it.

(Grateful I can ignore the Happiness Engineer and carry on with grumpiness.)

* * * * *

Rummaging around in IMDB to find the specific dates for movie releases I discussed above, I was reminded how much I adore Keanu Reeves.  Grateful for Keanu.  Grateful for the John Wick movies so far, which have renewed my faith in the possibilities of good sequels.  Grateful that, despite my adoration of Keanu, he was not cast as Kylo Ren, because no, just no.

And finally [she whispers with misgiving]: I see that Keanu is signed up to make a fourth Matrix movie.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this.  Possibly grateful.  Possibly not.

But I can definitely be grateful for that emoji right there, because it captures pretty much how I feel for a majority of each day.  I just don’t get life, I don’t get people, I don’t get systems and institutions, I don’t get family, I don’t get any of it.

And yet… I have life, and people, and systems, and family; and I’m (pretty much) grateful for all that.  Despite all the grumpy, despite the way people suck all the time, I continue to breath, and I still have a strong hope that my children will outlive me and go on to fight for mother earth and social justice, and I’m lucky to still be so in love with my Anthony, and my blood pressure is well-controlled most of the time, and I know I don’t have calcified arteries thanks to a $50 CT scan that took three minutes. So that’s all good.  It’ll be fine.  I’m fine.

#GrumpyGratitude

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