Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thankful #6 – #12

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website

Today’s list of blessings is comprised entirely of websites. What an amazing time we live in, with a world of information (and misinformation) right at our fingertips. With the aid of the internet, we can be either madly clicking paragons of productivity or ravaged wastrels lounging atop a throne of empty pizza boxes in our underwear. Either way, here are some of the websites I’m thankful for:

6. WebMD. How else could I find out all the things I didn’t know were wrong with me? By the way, today I either have mild wrist swelling caused by overuse or creeping bone cancer. Could be either, according to WebMD.

7. Google. It’s the search engine whose name became synonymous with searching for things on the internet. I’ve tried a number of others, but always come back to the megalith of internet construction. Not only is it the most comprehensive and useful, but the Google doodle occasionally provides hours of entertainment.

8. I Can Has Cheezburger. Life can be brutal, man. Some days, we get knocked down so many times that staying down starts to seem like the best option. On those days, I like to fill my brain up with cute hedgehog babies in teacups and puppies wearing tiny fedoras. I like to imagine that I live in a world where my cat has something clever and pithy to say about the mess  I left in the kitchen, and where every animal, from cow to platypus, is blessed with a rapier sharp sarcastic wit. Cheezburgers for everyone!

9. Lifehacker. This too-practical-to-be-believed website has tips and tricks for everything from making your own bicycle-powered battery to optimizing your Google searches. I just recently used it to find a good (and free) language learning app. No matter what you want to do (deseed a pomegranate, interview for a job, water your plants), Lifehacker has a tip for you! Never again will I have to suffer from excess pool noodle accumulation. Thanks,  Lifehacker!

10. Wikipedia. It’s exhaustive. It’s crowd-sourced. And it’s mostly accurate. To think, my parents had to spend $300 in 1995 for an actual printed set of World Book encyclopedias. It was out of date before we received it.  And it didn’t even have an entry for the Hollywood Freeway Chickens. Well-researched accounts of roving feral chicken bands living in the urban jungles of Southern California are exactly the sort of thing I look for in a good encyclopedia.

11. Craigslist. Buy stuff. Sell stuff. Even meet people (if you’re brave/crazy), and get a chuckle out of seeing the weirdness of humanity on full display.

12. The Marriage Bed. There’s a vicious rumor going around that Christians don’t like sex. I’m pretty sure I’ve debunked that idea at length in other posts, however, if you need more convincing, check out The Marriage Bed, a website that celebrates sex in the context of Christian marriage. There are general discussion boards that are open to click through, as well as boards that address more specific interests; those can be accessed by registering on the site and opting in to the boards you’d like to read. There is also a library of articles and helpful links. Whether you’re facing challenges in your sex life or are just looking for some new ideas, The Marriage Bed is a great resource!

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Thankful #3, #4, and #5

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Here are three things that win my gratitude today:

3. For Paul’s birthday this year, I got him a Keurig coffee maker. I honestly wasn’t thinking of myself when I bought it (well, perhaps I was thinking about those three dollar cups of coffee Paul routinely purchased on his way to work. That adds up in a hurry!) However, since its appearance on our kitchen counter, I have used it almost as much as he has.

I’ve never been much of a coffee person, but when Keurig came into our lives, dazzling us with his lightning fast, one-cup brewmastery and his intoxicating array of K-cups, I was easily hooked. Morning by morning, I’ve spilled out of bed and clawed my way to the kitchen with increasing anticipation, my mind on the possibilities: Donut Shop coffee, or Newman’s Own? Hazelnut creamer, or vanilla? Ooh, maybe I’ll have a mocha today! Whipped cream? Yes, please. Whatever I choose, the first scalding sip of that bold elixir squares my shoulders, propels me out the door, and sets me face-forward on the day’s path.

So THIS is coffee! I get it now, world! (Plus, at 30-50 cents a cup, the savings would make Scrooge McDuck do the money dance!)

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4. It never fails. I’m working on a big project in Microsoft Publisher, a document that has taken hours of cutting, pasting, and tweaking to perfection, and I decide to do just One More Thing to it. It’s a thing I don’t know exactly how to do, but I tell myself that if I play around with the tools long enough, I’ll figure it out. In a few short keystrokes, my carefully calibrated document is a mess, the casualty of unseen forces called into being by the misuse of my feeble wizardry, set on destroying my formatting and breaking my brain.

Just as I’m on the verge of a temper tantrum, I remember! The Undo button! Merciful mother of microchips! A click or two, and the world has once again righted itself. I make the decision to leave well enough alone, print my document, and collapse in a grateful heap. Day saved. (It’s too bad there’s not an Undo button for the analog world. Just think of all the poor decisions that could be undone! All the inappropriate Facebook statuses erased, the ill-conceived tweets untweeted, and the bombed jokes untold…)

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5. This being November in Idaho, our weather has just made the transition from “brisk” to “biting” cold. Add in the damp from the fall rains, and it’s a chill that slowly works its way down into your bones. On days like this, I am thankful for the heater in my car, which warms up surprisingly quickly, within 60 seconds or so. I can get in with the shivers and, in moments, be toasting my frozen fingers in the lovely flow of warmth from the dashboard heater vent. It would be hard to survive an Idaho winter without it!

Thankful #2

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toilet paper

I have used leaves. I have used crumpled up fast food napkins from my purse. In a pinch, I have even used a very scratchy and uncomfortable piece of loose leaf notebook paper. These experiences have only buttressed (Heh. Get it?) my resolve to offer thanks for the subject of today’s gratitude post:

Toilet paper.

What would we do without you, toilet paper?

Well, we know that, actually. Before there was toilet paper, our ancestors used grass, leaves, fur, corncobs–you name it. The Vikings used lamb’s wool. Eskimos used snow and moss off the tundra. The French used hemp, various coastal people used seashells (carefully, I assume), and throughout Medieval Europe, straw and hay was the common choice.  In ancient Rome, they used a sponge soaked in salt water and fastened to the end of a stick. And in the Middle East, well… there’s a reason it was considered rude to offer your left hand for a handshake.

Perhaps those days are past, but it wasn’t that long ago that country families would hang the Sears & Roebuck catalog in their outhouses to serve a purpose beyond providing reading material. You had to be a fast reader to get through all of it before it went to its final resting place. It may have been convenient, but soft it was not.

Now we have Mr. Whipple, whose curmudgeonly admonishment not to squeeze the Charmin serves to remind us how soft it is. And that’s not all. We have so many choices! Do you want it quilted, three-ply, extra-soft, extra-strong, and extra-absorbent? We have that! You can buy it mildly scented, sprinkled with embossed flowers, and in a delightful array of colors to match your bathroom decor!

I myself have experienced increasing satisfaction in the area of toilet paper performance, ever since leaving behind the insufficiencies of the thin, sandpaper-y institutional toilet tissue of my college dorm years. We are now Cottonelle people, and you’ll never convince us otherwise. The only way to go up from here would be to buy a bidet.

At any rate, I am enraptured to be living, loving, and eliminating in the enlightened age of toilet paper. The alternatives do not even bear* thinking about.

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“European toilet paper is made from the same material that Americans use for roofing, which is why Europeans tend to remain standing throughout soccer matches.” –Dave Barry

“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.” –George Lindsey

“Today you can go to a gas station and find the cash register open and the toilets locked. They must think toilet paper is worth more than money.” –Joey Bishop

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tp bear

Thankful #1

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Over the years, I’ve made a lot of lists of my blessings. I’ve written Thanksgiving blog posts and taken on November daily Facebook challenges. I usually approach the counting of blessings in order of importance, starting with the Big Ones – God, my husband, my children, my friends, my church family, etc. This November, I am still incredibly blessed in all of those large and important ways.  I am grateful beyond words for the gifts of faith and love and life. But I’m not going to write about them.

Instead, I want to dedicate this month to being thankful for the little things. For the things that make me smile or make life easier, the things I often ignore or take for granted as I pursue great goals and dodge great crises. I’ve started to realize that there are more things to be grateful for than I will ever have time to tell. But I’m going to make a start.

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In that spirit, today I am thankful for refrigeration.

With almost no effort at all, I can walk upstairs right now and get a cold soda out of the fridge. I can cook and eat meat that I bought four days ago without worrying that it will make me and my family sick. I can stock my freezer up with Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream when it’s on sale and eat it slowly over the course of weeks, or even months (that’s theoretical, of course. Breyers mint chip never lasts more than a couple of days in our house.)

We’ve come a long way from cooling our food in springhouses to the wonder that is the Electrolux Stainless Steel French Door Refrigerator with SpillSafe Glass Shelves, Luxury-Glide Cool Zone Drawer, Humidity-Controlled Crispers, Ice Maker and IQ-Touch Controls.

Down through history, man has always yearned to knock back a cold one now and then. Thanks to modern refrigeration, it has never been easier than it is right now.

Refrigerators, you rock!

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“He was already dead, and we Schrutes use every part of the goose. The meat has a delicious smoky rich flavor. Plus, you can use the molten goose grease and save it in the refrigerator, thus saving you a trip to the store for a can of expensive goose grease.” –Dwight Schrute, on the benefits of refrigeration