Given it is the day for giving thanks, and of course things I am thankful for invariably include the usual suspects of my family, friends, of the comforts we live in and with everyday, and yes, of books and being able to write, and to interact, today’s list of thankfulness is a list of 13 wonderful things I am thankful for, which are – mostly – a bit different from those usual suspects.
Some are kind of generic things while others are more specific. And then there are those things and events and people we encounter every so often that we are not sure why, and not initially thinking that it is wonderful or even just ok, but… Anyway, here are
13 Wonderful Things I Am Thankful For
# 1 – Discovering Local Hidden Gems
Discovering hidden wonders right in the neighborhood over the past couple of years; well, almost local.. Like:
- the Murals at Balmy Alley
- or the building that turned out to be the first Hindu temple in the Americas
- this amazing county park (picture below)
- or the
#2 – Life is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
So, on our way to drop off my daughter and three other scouts from her troop for a snow camping weekend at Camp Hi-Sierra near Long Barn, CA, one Friday in February this year, we noticed an accident. Someone else mentioned that a vehicle had gone off the cliff there and at that particular point in the road, it was a pretty steep drop.
So the incident worried me for a while, until a few days later, when I did a search which led me to a news article that talked about the lone male passenger/driver of the truck who had been rescued using the ‘jaws of death’ tool; and only minor injuries after having gone down 400 feet down that mountainside! In fact, the vehicle was finally retrieved on Sunday when we went back to pick up the scouts from the camp after having stayed at an Airbnb locally for those two days. We actually had seen what remained of the truck and that made me doubly glad that the person was recovering somewhere.
#3 – Exploring California Some More
Gold Rush Towns: Stepping Back in Time
The Dunes at Oceano
Otherwordly, or at least, other contintent-ly is the feeling you experience when you first see the Dunes
Monarch Butterfly Grove
It was simply a marvelous experience to be among the monarchs! Read all about our experiences at the beautiful Monarch Butterfly Grove at Pismo beach in this post (which also contains information about the place if you wish to see it for yourself)
And so Many More I Need Many Posts to List them All
The colorful quaint town of Capitola, the Getty museum, the very many other wonders I have read about and am yet to explore.
#4 – Wondrous Words: The Ones I Read and Those I Write Too!
Words are always something I am thankful for, and while rains were far and few in between in the Bay Area, the rain of a few days ago brought to mind this word I had saved up.
- geosmin: Geosmin is a chemical produced from the breakdown of organic matter by a variety of microbes that are found in soil
Geosmin was the smell of survival. – From 52 Ways to Walk by
This of course led me to one of my favorite words, petrichor, which is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil, or rather, the smell of geosmin!
#5 – Found, on Hikes in the Wilderness
Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
Wise Words on a Bench
#6 – Airbnbs and Other Such Things
We stayed at our very first Airbnb earlier this year (see #2), and here are my thoughts about it (extracted from my review):
Barry and Davy Jones helped make our first Airbnb stay as one filled with wonderful memories to cherish. Their place is beautiful, comfortable, quiet, and to put it simply – more than perfect! Really the best place to stay for visiting the local Gold Rush towns, Calaveras Big Trees, and even Yosemite.
While we are yet to try this, Hipcamp sounds cool, and so very like something I know-I-will-try in the future.
#7 – Being Able to Lend a Helping Hand
That we can do our bit in lending a helping hand to others, in whatever way we can..
The Little Ways
Like helping with my daughter’s scout troop to volunteer in cleaning up gardens of local elderly people, or collecting and sending food to local shelters, as well as grooming kits for them with essentials like shampoo, toothbrush, a comb, deodorant, and other such items.
Help the Refugees
And speaking of Airbnb, while the Ukraine crisis seems to be elsewhere, it is still very much there, and here too (since I am so sure so many of us might know someone who knows someone who is impacted), here is one way Airbnb is trying to help. You can also help house refugees by offering stays for free or at a discount via Airbnb here.
#8 – Detours on the Road and in Life, And the Things that Cause Them
On the Road
Reconfirming what we know – that detours or the longer scenic routes are sometimes worth it, totally. 128 from Fort Bragg to our area, and 154 from SLO to SB. Both these routes take us through amazing vistas; from driving at sea level below towering redwoods to looking over.
Sometimes, it is traffic-jammed usual routes that force us to take a detour in our neighborhood, and we realize everything is new and strange – even the things that should have been familiar. And so very often, these discoveries are delightful!
And in Life
When I lost my job unexpectedly in 2017, like one of those out of the blue scenarios. But in retrospect, it was ok. The following year, in April, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 gall bladder cancer, and given just a few more months. I traveled to India in April to spend time with him, and then again in the summer (which had already been planned before the diagnosis) with family, and then again in November when he passed away. Being free from the pressures of a job made it so much more better for me during those tough times.
And there are so many other such things that happen, little and big, that we can be thankful for though we don’t realize it at first.
#9 – Those Passing Ships We Encounter at the Right Times (They Have All We Need)
During those trips to India in 2018, I met many people who, somehow, lent me support unexpectedly.
- Like the twin brothers (don’t recall where they were from, but they were African-Americans in their late 60s) who were sitting next to me in the middle row of seats on a plane on my way to India as I rushed home, hoping to see my dad one last time before he passed away. When I looked back at my interaction with them – the brothers – who were almost my dad’s age (he was 73), were so much like him in so many ways.
- Or this lady who was with a missionary on their way to somewhere in south Africa, and who, by some mistake on the airlines part, ended up sitting with me instead of with her group. She gave me a strength that I needed at that time (in April 2018 when my dad was first diagnosed).
- and a few others as well, but another day for those stories
A helping hand, well, tow, at the Dunes
At the beach in Oceano, we wandered in our van further than we should have, and ended up with our wheel stuck in sand. Every attempt to get out simply sunk our van deeper in. When calling a tow-truck (and not AAA, but one specialized in coming on to the beach which would have cost us a pretty penny) seemed to be the only option, strangers on the beach, or rather, angels in disguise, came up with their humungous beach vehicle, a towing cable, and got us right out! They had noticed us from afar, and drove down to help us.
Well, I said I will avoid the usual suspects, but couldn’t help it. Since things about family and friends is always things I am thankful for.
#10 – Care Packages From Home
Receiving my mom’s care packages (twice last year, so double the thrills!). Last year, my mom made many of her amazing snacks and sweets, and mailed them to us along with other things, like clothes for my daughter and me, and more miscellany that we loved discovering as we opened the packages. While this year turned out to be different, one, with our visit to India in summer (another wonderful thing by the way I am so very thankful for), and her own health (unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer during our trip to India), I still recall the joy of receiving those packages she sent with lots of love within.
And to My Son
While my son is only a little more than a couple of hours drive away, sometimes we just can’t make that trip on a weekend like we planned to. So this meant that I am also now a mom making and mailing care packages to my son (and am sure to my daughter too in a couple of years) which he loves getting!
#11 – Having Everyone Home
Like when we went to India this summer after four long years and were all together at home. Or like during this holiday, when my son is back home here in the Bay Area from college, and while he is busy studying for his finals, and my daughter busy with a project for her language class in high school, we are home together. Or like getting together with our cousins who live in the area after so long..
#12 – Friends
Having friends who want us around, and who we always want around us too! Enough said….
#13 – And the Rest
Technology, and Social Media too…
who want us around, and who we always want around us too!
Technology, and social media too..
- That enables me to talk to my mom everyday via WhatsApp without worrying about huge phone bills (and yes, it is true, right?)
- or getting the insider news on what is happening/upcoming at my son’s college via the really super-helpful parent’s group (yes, really, no sarcasm here) on Facebook – I sometimes update my son on things happening at his college!
- on being able to blog and interact with wonderful bloggers (thank you to all of you who read my posts, sometimes rambling ones too, and comment tirelessly, and simply are part of my world!)
- and well, everything else it enables us to do…
And Now, the End of This Post
So dear reader, if you were to make a list with a title – ‘Wonderful Things I am Thankful For’ – what would it contain? Any one thing?
Please check out all the other wonderful bloggers at Thursday 13 where I’ll be linking up with today’s post. Happy Thanksgiving!