Mary Beth Writes

This image this morning: The sun comes up over the top of the hill on which we live. The new-rising sun was shining on a long freight train rumbling past. All the train cars were side-lit with glowing colors - rust, manila, peaches and creams and the sky was dusky November blue behind them. The rumbling of the train in this old house was comfortable. It was a beautiful and pleasant moment.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stirring up our emotions and words to remember the wondrous people and moments around us.  We don’t have to make a list or say it right or count our blessings.  I mean, some people like to do those things and that’s cool. But many of us love Thanksgiving but kind of balk at the “being properly thankful” thing.

So in case that’s you. Here’s a plan.

1. Five or six is the number of times you are going to take a half moment today to like the minute you are in.  The image in front of you is going to catch your attention, or you are going to put reminders in your pocket to tell you to look around. But 5 or 6 is your number.

2. What to do in the moment. Look around. Smell the turkey. Watch the baby crawl across the floor or the teenager laugh with the old uncle, or the sunshine spill in the kitchen window, or listen fully when the whole family cheers or groans at a football game play.  There will be moments.

3. You don’t have to “keep” those moments. Don’t write them down, don’t take a picture, don’t tell them to anyone. Try to keep your senses going and the wordy-gurdy in your brain turned off. Just be awake and alive and revel a little that you are alive to experience what you are experiencing.

4. Like I said, you aren’t going to hoard this moment. If you can still remember all your moments tomorrow, you did it wrong. They are just going to come into your awareness, you are going to smile and be grateful, and then you let them go.

5.  Put  5 rubber bands on your wrist, take one off every time you are awake to a moment and put the band on your other wrist, or put it on a beer can going to recycling, or wrap it around a candlestick on your mom’s mantelpiece. Or set your phone to vibrate every couple hours. Use that moment to look around for the good thing. Or put five rings or bracelets on one hand and by the end of the day they should be on the other hand. Or 5 pieces of hard candy and eat them or share them along your day.

6. Remember, don’t tell anyone what you are doing. You are just not listing what you are thankful for - you are just being thankful.

Happy Thanks Giving, Friends.

Comments

He wanted to grow mashed potatoes!

He goes all the way from one end of the freezer to the other, and finally asks the clerk, "Hey, don't these turkeys get any bigger?" Clerk says, "No, sir. They're dead."

All we have is this moment.

Thanks MB (as always), for the evocative pictures you draw with your words. I guess I'm well-trained, as I have learned to stand back and notice the lovely little nuggets that a family gathering can provide. This attitude was not modeled in my family-of-origin, and began for me as an act of rebellion. It took me years to learn, and was worth all of the quiet effort. I hope that your Thanksgiving was warm and cozy, my friend!

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Where are the Movies that don't Blither and Lie?

Last night we watched last year’s “Happytime Murders” with Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and a bunch of puppets who look like Muppets. Yes, the director is Brian Henson.

The plot? A former kids’ puppet show is making a comeback, and someone is machine-gunning down alumni puppets in order to get a bigger cut of potential franchise income. Phil Philips, puppet detective, partners with Melissa McCarthy to find the culprit. Along the way we see various episodes of puppet porn.

I laughed a lot and then the movie was over.

Went to bed. Woke up this morning irritated.

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First thing to report: we only had one fight.

Why is it so hard to keep a poor Black man who has committed NO crime out of jail?

(Our Brother’s back story is here:  https://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/what-happens-personal-finances-when-one-grows-poor-and-black-america )

.....

Our Brother is not in jail. This has been a challenge for him, for the people he loves, and for those of us who try to help and support him. Keeping O.B. out of jail is a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.

“Oh,” you ask. “Did he commit a crime?”

Love, two days later.

As some of you know it was an unromantically large number of years ago when Len gave me flowers. (The story is here.) 

The next morning, he drove me home on his way to work (read the first article if you have forgotten how why I spent the night at his house and in his bed…)

He ignored me for a day while I rested and recuperated in my apartment.

#UTLAStrong!

My niece Susan is a speech therapist educator in the Los Angeles public schools. She is on strike and I am proud to be in her family. Teachers are the foundation of everything else we all do. For most of the skills most of us depend on to live our lives - If no one teaches you, you don’t know.   

Some Unrelated Observations 12/31/18

I'm working on some big projects lately, so here are some small thoughts along the way. 

...

Mansfield Park is Jane Austen’s weirdest novel. Jane-Readers love Jane because her best characters are bright women stuck in situations too small for them. Their observations are bitingly perceptive; you see their inner spirit and you identify, identify, identify.

I’m amazed at critics who think that those of us who love Jane Austen are not-quite-evolved humans; how can we love a book about a girl in a big dress catching her man?

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