Tuesday, January 01, 2008

"W.W.O.D.?"

If there is a circle of life, that circle just might be the "O" at the start of "Oprah."

It all starts and ends with Her Royal TalkNess, dunn't it?

If we need a book to read, she tells us what to buy, and invariably we'll find ourselves gratified to have paged through yet another tale of an abused foster child in the American South.

If we need shoes to ogle, she marches out in a pair of brown suede Louboutin ankle boots, rousing all viewers to a fevered pitch.




If we find ourselves feeling politically undecided or veering towards independence, Ms. Winfrey-If-You're-Nasty tells us for whom to cast our vote.

If we need to buy Christmas gifts, she details a list of several thousand dollars worth of her Favorite Things, never minding that we can hardly afford to buy Panini Presses for twenty-four of our closest friends, much less fit such a thing into a stocking.

And if we find ourselves spiritually hollow, she recommends we keep "gratitude journals," catalogues of our internal thank you's which spur on greater appreciation and, subsequently, result in renewal and abundance.

Feh.


Frankly? I'm not sure how challenging a gratitude journal is when you sleep on 700-thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets, own six homes, and have a personal chef flavoring your gnocchi with truffle oil. And personally, I feel the time I would spend on a gratitude journal is better spent clinking the spoon into my nearly-empty ice cream bowl, as I--deliberately and gratefully--swipe out every last remnant of the Moose Tracks.

Plus, I can hardly make it through a day without at least a two-minute weeping break simply for the wonderment of it all: my robust health, my children's intelligence and beauty, my husband's steadfast adoration, my dynamic job, my gracious house, the stack of books on my nightstand, the readers of this blog, the chance to see Juno, the espresso maker, the fleece socks, the gentle curve in the handle of my toothbrush.

Every day is full. Every day is amazing. I don't get over that.

So I don't keep a journal of my thank you's, as a rule. However, since the new year has just launched, it does seem a fair moment to take stock of the bounty that plumps up my life and waistline.

Of course, I am also bountiful in years, and since I've hit forty, the memory ain't what she used to...


Crap. I trailed off there. What was I saying?

Something about losing the power of memory. I can't recall the rest.

At any rate, since my memory would be hard-pressed to cover the entire year in review, I'll limit myself to Recent Days of Gratitude:

1) Saturday: Thank you, Little Pork Pies. When Groom rolled out that pie crust and brought the muffin tins up from the basement, I knew it was still the giving season. Of course, I'm almost better at receiving than giving, so thanks for the receipt of those warm, crusty, flaky pies stuffed full of pork and onions and sloughed-off skin cells. Every bit of it was yum.

2) Sunday: Thank you, Zamboni, for being the perfect distraction. Most wondrous of machines (save the hot air balloon, if we can count that as a machine), you were there at the hockey rink in Lester Park at just the right time, re-surfacing the ice as Girl and I, tired from an hour-and-a-half ski around a groomed loop, hit that last long, steep hill. Knowing we'd break limbs if we attempted the descent, our pretended interest in you, Zamboni, gave us cause to take off our skis and let them slide down the hill, unpersoned, as we chased after them. You kept up your work as we retrieved our rogue skis from the bushes, chere Zamboni, so we could point at you and marvel at your prowess instead of considering that we might be spineless wimps, too cowardly to hurl our bodies into the open, white softness, preferring instead to hoof it down Everest there.

By the way, Zambon-er, through the twirling of your brushes, did you get a look at that Girl of mine? Did you see her chugging along all that time, over hill and dale, before she de-ski-ified? Could you believe she's only seven and just kept going and going, so good-naturedly? If you are ever fortunate enough to spit a little Zamboodlie out your junk, Ms. Zamboni, you'd count yourself doubly lucky to have one like my Girl.

3) Monday: Thank you, Chicken McNuggets, for providing the leverage to get my kids to agree to play in the YMCA's "Kids' Club." They have been burned there before by a scary babysitter lady named Judy (as Girl described her a couple of years ago, "Even when a kid hasn't done anything wrong, she talks at them like they have"), making them reluctant to hang out in this "club" so that their mama can get in a workout on the days when Pappy is at work (good thing he's a lazy slouch, and that's a rarity in our lives). But as soon as I slip the words "Happy" and "Meal" and "McNuggets" and "new Bionicle toy" out of my mouth, along with the caveat that these things find life only in the Kids' Club, the deal is struck; the deed is done; the fries are ketchupped; the mother is sweaty and giddy with endorphins.

4) Tuesday: Thank you, NPR, for talking in my ear whenever I run or ski or cook. Sure, as happened today, you freaked out some onlookers who passed me on the Superior Hiking Trail. They couldn't figure out why the redhead running on snowshoes was sobbing as she puffed along. It didn't look that painful, after all, and she seemed to have a choice about what she was doing. So why the tears?

Because your stories move me, NPR. When you pour into my ears audio essays about people's lives--as a man weakens from cancer and passes away in a hospital bed placed in the living room; as a father of a child with mental delays notes, "My son has so much to give, but unfortunately there are very few takers"; as a transgendered individual explains why a life on the streets as a "working girl" is the best she can expect for happiness--I am reminded of my copious luck. These vignettes, peppered with the sublime counterpoint of Pavarotti's soaring tenor, keep my cheeks frozen with tears of salutation.
----------

So you see, Ofrey Winprah Steadwoman, my hours are breathing entries in an unwritten journal of gratitude. You can tell me what bra to buy, how to network with angels, and how to lose weight by dragging the fat out onto a stage in a Little Red Wagon, but the truth is that you can't tell me how to live my best life. I'm on my own with that one.

Providentially, 2007 offered up 362.5 days of grace and acclamation and awe.


The other 2.5 days sucked fudge crackers, of course.

37 comments:

geewits said...

I'm glad 99.3% of your year was good! Mine was more like 94% what with the hail crashing into my house, the shower leak, the hot water leak, the pnuemonia and my husband denting my truck. But those, they were minor inconveniences. And the Oprah did help me get a bra that fits!

SQT said...

Oh God, I love this post. I need to write a "I'm thankful" list just to remind myself how easy I really have it. And no, I can't afford a friggin' thing on Oprah's list.

Hammer said...

Oprah no longer lives in the real world and has totally forgotten the address.

Glad you had a good year!

chelle said...

hehe I am glad I do not watch television :) It is nice to be reminded to be thankful for the good stuff when life is throwing curve balls, however I am not sure I want to be TOLD to be thankful.

I am happy to read that you had a great year!

charlotta-love said...

Wait, she dragged a wagon of fat onto the stage?! That's gross.

Glad you had a good year. Looking back, I reallly was blessed. Here's to 2008!

Jamie said...

Oh, how I loathe the "O"

Happy New Year!

lime said...

i think if only 2.5 days sucked fudge crackers you are blessed indeed. and damn, i was really expecting that panini press from you...sigh.

and you know, long years before oprah had her stupid journal which is no doubt covered in fine grain leather with her initials handtooled by artisans in spain or somesuch, i had a 99 cent spiral bound notebook into which i decided i would begin listing 10 things a day that made me smile. i did this because i realized i had fallen into a profound sense of ingratitude for all the good things around me. it was a very good antidote for my bad attitude but i now, like you, am able to open my eyes, look around and just breathe a thankful sigh. as we are somewhat short on zambonis here in my neck of the woods i'll just thank my lucky stars for that particularly buff driver of a backhoe who winked at me the other day.

Casdok said...

Brillient post!!

Diesel said...

People like Oprah exist to make me feel bad about my relative lack of success in life as a middle-class white male. I'm even better looking than her, and still I don't have my own TV show.

Diana said...

Absolutely! All that!

Plus, there are doughnuts.

May 2008 shape up to be as wonderful-filled for you as 2007.

(Oh, for next year, if you remove all the nuts and bolts, you can fit the panini press in that stocking and still have room for a very slim candy cane. Plus, the looks on their little faces when you hand them the gift-wrapped wrench so they have the fun of re-assembly, is a gift right back for you.)

rak said...

you are sheer genius, my friend... we are completely and totally on our own with living our best life!! so simple, yet so profound. i may quote you in an upcoming post ;)

Franki said...

Oprah is indeed a powerful woman. She has become too ubiquitous recently, but I'm glad she's around to remind those who don't regularly look around with gratitude that that is an option. And the fact that she single-handedly made the People Magazine readers of the USA read books...any books...is a miracle!

Jill said...

Only 2.5 days sucked? Sounds like you had a wonderful year! :)

I too have tired of listening to the proclamations and instructions of Her Royal Oprahness.

velvet said...

Oprah, who?

But seriously, it sounds like your year was "all that and a bag of chips" if you only had 2.5 icky days!

Hopefully 2008 can break that record. :-)

frannie said...

and you think I'm positive??? just look in the mirror! :)

Mother of Invention said...

Yes, I'm sure Oprah's lost her real sense of gratitude for the simple things a long time ago. All depends on our frame of reference.

Nice to know what real people are thankful for!!

Shari said...

At least you weren't talking to yourself as you listened to NPR. Would that be much worse?

Happy 2008.

Ann(ie) said...

You never ever ever fail to make me laugh, girlie. I love this post. I love hammer's comment and I concur 100%!!!!

Spider Girl said...

Happy New Year!

Because of people like you, I am now looking at the elegant curve of my toothbrush handle with renewed appreciation.

I DO like the concept of gratitude journals, but if I acknowledged one journal JUST for that, then I'd also have to have a sweet little leather-bound notebook of Spider Girl's Rants and Whiny, Ungrateful Thoughts too. (Subtitled: Gratitude Schmatitude)

Hey, I just lump the good,bad, and ugly together into a lovely new red journal I bought just a week ago.

Claire said...

I actually love Oprah and read her magazine every month along with my Scientific American (seriously!). But you are right about the gratitude thing. Everytime I start to think about something depressing I remind myself of my copious blessings. And her magazine does have some goofy sections such as "love that!" featuring "premium cotton pajamas for only $220" WTF!? If I became a gazillionaire, I wouldn't pay that for something I might drool on at night. Grrr!

Princess Pointful said...

It's a sad thing when only the mighty Oprah is able to remind us of the importance of being grateful.

(What I am grateful for? That Oprah came up as not a word on my automatic spellcheck. You aren't quite as ubiquitous as you though, Ms. Winfrey, are ya'?

August said...

Those blessings, great and small, are apparent in all your posts.

What a special bunch you & fam are.

August

Jazz said...

I feel the time I would spend on a gratitude journal is better spent clinking the spoon into my nearly-empty ice cream bowl, as I--deliberately and gratefully--swipe out every last remnant of the Moose Tracks.

How adult of you, I just lick the bowl.

As for Ms. O. Oprah Schmoprah, and that's all I have to say about that subject.

Em said...

I fear for the day that Oprah retires and we are left to our own instincts. I'm quite certain we will all soon be running naked and hungry in the streets without the big O to help guide us to proper clothing and eating.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

Happy New Year to you, and I raise a glass to toast a life will lived, gratitude given where it's deserved, and yet another pair of beautiful shoes that I'll never be able to afford!

CS said...

"my hours are breathing entries in an unwritten journal of gratitude"

Beautifully said, my friend, and exactly so.

(And, personally, I think those boots are hideous.)

Tai said...

I'm foolishly, soppingly full of gratitude about things like my snowdrops blooming, and a star-clear sky.
And they don't cost a damn thing.

Cheers!

susan said...

It amazes me how I just know so much about O and what she's been up to...I don't watch or read her stuff. Do you think maybe she's even further along than we all thought with her mind-control project?

My Reflecting Pool said...

Yeah for you and your unsucking fudge cracker days!!!! I love this post.

Karen MEG said...

O Mighty post... you are fantastic.
Who needs Oprah? Well, after a recent episode I now know that the absolute best khakis in the world are a Elie Tahari number which I wouldn't even think on purchasing ($19.99 Old Navy works OK for me), and that the best panties for no-panty lines are the boycut kind, because, after all, thongs tend to "gotcha". Some things to be thankful for.
But I like yours WAYYYY better.
Happy 2008 to you.

AmyTree said...

Wow - what a graceful essay! Thank you for sharing your thanks (and reminding me that yes, NPR was great - and I should find it again.)

Dave said...

Just arrived back here... Somehow you got lost to me. This post certainly made my day. Thank you! :-)

my4kids said...

Sometimes I am not sure where your posts are leading in the beggining but always enjoy where they go in the end! You are a delight for my reading pleasure! hehe
I'm not much for Oprah personally. Just can't bring myself to take her very seriously.

Glamourpuss said...

I'm sorry, were you saying something? I saw the shoes and everything else faded...

Happy New Year, lovely one.

Puss

tutekx said...

Easy Get Money
1. go to the following link; http://www.AWSurveys.com/HomeMain.cfm?RefID=tutekx Join this site. It is also free. You get paid for completing surveys over there 6$ to 4$ dollars per survey and 1.25$ per referral . have a 1 year premium account and now i am collecting some exta cash .
2. Then create a paypal PREMIUM Account at this address. It is free; http://www.paypal.com When asked for credit card details simply say cancel. You do not need to fill it . Another thing you can also use paypal money to buy stuff on ebay and other shopping sites.
3. Thats is it. So Simple and I swear it works.
4. I learnt this from another friend and i thought it will be good for my friends here. So I thought of helping
5. Try Now Klik Here

1. go to the following link; http://www.AWSurveys.com/HomeMain.cfm?RefID=tutekx Join this site. It is also free. You get paid for completing surveys over there 6$ to 4$ dollars per survey and 1.25$ per referral . have a 1 year premium account and now i am collecting some exta cash .
2. Then create a paypal PREMIUM Account at this address. It is free; http://www.paypal.com When asked for credit card details simply say cancel. You do not need to fill it . Another thing you can also use paypal money to buy stuff on ebay and other shopping sites.
3. Thats is it. So Simple and I swear it works.
4. I learnt this from another friend and i thought it will be good for my friends here. So I thought of helping
5. Try Now Klik Here

liv said...

Wow, Jocelyn, I somehow scrolled down too fast and landed on this one. You nailed it. I once worked at Neiman Marcus for 2 days (THAT's a story) in customer service and as a test scenario, we would pull up O's account. For instance, she bought 40K in merchandise one day and paid it off the next. I mean, I think she likes to think she keeps it real, but please... not so much.

Anonymous said...

!!!Easy Get Money!!!
1. go to the following link; Welcome $6 Registration Free Join this site. It is also free. You get paid for completing surveys over there 6$ to 4$ dollars per survey and 1.25$ per referral . have a 1 year premium account and now i am collecting some exta cash .
2. Then create a paypal PREMIUM Account at this address. It is free; ; http://www.paypal.com . When asked for credit card details simply say cancel. You do not need to fill it . Another thing you can also use paypal money to buy stuff on ebay and other shopping sites.
3. Thats is it. So Simple and I swear it works.
4. I learnt this from another friend and i thought it will be good for my friends here. So I thought of helping
5. Try Now Click here