Sunday, November 28, 2010

giving thanks

A small group of my friends and I went upstate and descended on my dad's house again this year for Thanksgiving. The cast of characters consisted of my dad, four friends, three dogs, a fat old cat, and me. I'm grateful that I was able to get away for a few days, show up for my Pop, and offer a warm and friendly place to friends and extended family for the Holiday.

I did most of the cooking and most everything turned out pretty well (I did learn, however, that the rack in the oven shouldn't be put on the lowest level because the electric coil tends to burn the bottom of whatever your cooking/baking). The Brussels sprouts and fennel gratin could've been baked to a crispier finish, but overall, not bad.
One of the friends who was there had just relapsed a couple of days before we went up. While this is, of course, an unfortunate occurrence for him, it was a great opportunity for me because I was able to see very clearly how miserable, uncomfortable, agitated, irritable, and discontented he was. I had the ability to distance myself and consequently be enthusiastically grateful that it has been almost eight years since I've felt exactly that same way. Of all the things for me to be grateful for (and if I'm honest with myself, the list is pretty long), watching someone writhe in the unbearable agony of remorse and self-pity bathed me in a gratitude that I can't be reminded of enough. When I start to feel restless and irritable about common inconveniences, it is so important for me to remember that self-imposed demoralization and self-hatred is only ever an arms length away.

Dear Gracious and Loving God
(of whom I have not even the most basic understanding),

Thank you for the the countless gifts I've been given, for reminding me how far I've been brought.
Please, continue to hold me in the hollow of your hand and protect me with your Grace. Please Loving Spirit, help me maintain a healthy, daily spiritual condition, so that I might help protect myself in those times when I may not feel your presence.

Thank You, and Amen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Apparently, as part of preparing for a trip to India, one should make sure that certain health precautions are taken. And while it is no longer legally necessary to receive inoculations in order to travel to certain parts of the world, some inoculations are strongly suggested. Today I got a tetanus shot, a whooping cough inoculation, and a pneumonia inoculation. I chose not to get the malaria tablets because 1) they're supposed to upset the tummy, 2) malaria is only found during the rainy season in the North of India (it's not the rainy season and I'll only be in the South), and 3) they're rather costly. The Japanese encephalitis inoculation costs a thousand dollars, so I opted out of that one too. There are antibodies of both hepatitis A and B in my blood (read immunity), so I didn't need those inoculations, but tomorrow I will be picking up typhoid tablets at the pharmacy as well as antibiotics to take with me in case I get sick.

Now, I usually don't mind needles, but the pneumonia shot actually hurt. It felt like a small inflatable ping pong ball was being forced underneath my skin, and right now my arm is aching. Oooowww.