I haven't done one of these in....oh....a really long while. So here's my list of five things I'm very thankful for, in no particular order.
1. Awesome neighbors. Y'all hear about White Trash Bob and his awesomeness pretty frequently. (The latest awesome thing he did was to pull up that tree growing on the front porch roof and paint the trim while he was up there.) But I have other awesomely terrific neighbors too: Floyd and Gwen next door, who loaned me their big sturdy ladder so I could reach the high parts of my house for shingle-ripping and painting; Carl across the street, who tells me every day, "It's lookin' great!" and dispenses glasses of wine as necessary; and people who live in my neighborhood, whose names I don't know yet, who randomly stop by to congratulate me on the appearance of my house. (Latest awesome comment: "Your house looks 9,000 times better!")
2. Cardboard mice. I don't usually decorate my house much for Halloween. Up until this year, I always thought the house looked plenty creepy on its own. But now that the front's all yellow and green and cheerful, I thought it could do with a few decorations. At Martha Stewart's website I found mice templates, which I will cut out and tape to my front windows. I giggle every time I think about it. (Yes, I have a strange sense of humor.) But oh, the irony of having mice cavorting about on the windowsills in a house ruled by three cats. And we won't even mention again the little mouse that fell out of my range hood...and now probably lives at Carl's.
3. My friend Harriet. It was Harriet who stopped her car in the middle of the street last fall when the last of the shingles came off to whistle and applaud as if she were cheering a home run at a baseball game. Now that's a friend. She stops by once or twice a week to admire the house and show me her latest knitting or crocheting project. (I really covet those fingerless gloves she crocheted out of yarn made from recycled tires and I'm not-so-secretly hoping she gives me a pair for Christmas.) Harriet's encouragement kept me going in the heat of the summer last year when I just wanted to give up and lie in a sweaty heap in the grass.
4. Zion United Church of Christ. Y'all know it's been a tough year, and one in which I thought I might be losing my faith. I've gone to a UCC church in my hometown since I was a baby, but recently I've not gotten what I needed from that particular church. So three weeks ago at the suggestion of my mom, I wandered into Zion in the little town of Mayview. Mom grew up in Mayview and had attended Zion for years (when it was a German Evangelical Church) before moving to Lexington. She thought I might find what I need there. She was right. The people are welcoming and friendly, but not smothering. The sermons help me to understand some passages in the Bible better and give me food for thought all week. Changing churches is not something I take lightly, so I'll give it another three or four months before I decide if I want to change my membership to Zion. This may be where I'm led.
5. October baseball. The division playoffs, followed by the World Series, are the only things that make October and the arrival of colder weather somewhat bearable. Having the Twins and Tigers wring an extra game out of the regular season was a little gift. I don't even really care who wins the division championships or even the World Series. I just hope they take as many games as possible to do it. A sweep means less fun watching and a sooner end to baseball season. Because after the end of the World Series, it's a long, gloomy, cold winter without baseball. I get through it only by counting the days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. You know that MLB slogan "I live for this"? Yeah, that's me. Baseball. How I love it.