1. My family. This has been a sad year for us, but we've grown so close as a result of Uncle Jeff's death. I love them beyond description.
2. My Portland "family". Which is growing and becoming that elusive friend group that I've always wished for. They are so great.
3. My Sunny, who loves to sleep on top of my smelly running clothes, with her nose right close to the socks. (snapped this picture yesterday morning)
4. My job! And the general direction my organization is moving in, the positive folks I work with, the beautiful place we're dedicated to.
5. John Muir and what he did for wild places in this country and by extension, the example set by the US of forming national parks, since then adopted by much of the rest of the world in places that would otherwise surely meet their demise.
6. The rain in Portland, that although it becomes depressing come April and May when all I wish for in the world is sunshine, makes this place what it is and what I love, a lush, green paradise full of waterfalls and tall trees.
7. Portland, in general, which is easily the coolest place I've even been. And I get to live here.
8. Music. In particular Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine and, of course, The Punch Brothers.
9. The genius of Mark Twain, who continues to delight readers and afficionados of his work by stipulating in his will that his memoirs not be released until 100 years after his death. 2010 was a great year for bibliophiles like myself.
10. My home and the fact that I refer to it as "home" rather than "house." My wonderful roommates and the peaceful feeling I get when I walk in the door after a day of work or play elsewhere. It's a haven, for sure.
11. My health, which is spotty at best at times, but has overall held strong in the last couple years and allows me to think about things like extended travels and taking on big responsibilities without worrying about dropping out due to major illness.
12. My legs. Weird, I know. But my favorite things in life, walking, hiking and running, are all made possible by these amazing appendages that get me where I want to go with very few complaints.
13. Art and the way it continues to inspire and delight me. My membership to the Portland Art Museum and the opportunities I have to visit and relish in other people's genius.
I could go on, because in the time it took me to run 4 miles at that track I didn't run out of things to add to the list in my mind. I've decided that in general, this is a great way to pass the time while running and I'd like to make it a habit. I bet my longer runs, too, could be filled to the last stride with thankfulness.
Post run, I cleaned up and headed to my friends, Ian & Sasha's, to spend the day cooking, drinking and eating (starting with raw oyster shooters and white wine for breakfast - delicious!). And, have you heard the hype about deep fried turkey? It's every bit and more delicious than you've heard! I was just a little bit hoping to have need of the fire extinguisher we had on the deck next to the huge pot of bubbling peanut oil, but Ian had things under control and the whole day, from the time I arrived at 11 a.m. to the time I left 12 hours later, was packed full of laughter, good conversation, plenty of booze and the tastiest food one could hope for.
So, long post short, I'm feeling so blessed right now. So thrilled to be undertaking this huge endeavor I've talked about for so long, so lucky to have the support of friends along the way, so relieved to have a four day weekend! My Team In Training training officially starts a week from tomorrow and I'll finally meet my teammates and coach. My first batch of holiday cards are in the post and will be making their way into mailboxes all over the country (and world, actually, with several headed to Germany as I type) in the next several days. But should you not be a family member on this list, you can still be involved. My fundraising page can be found here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/oswim/eugene11/koldani Give generously, people, tis the season!
In a nutshell:
Now playing on my iPod: Sufjan's Christmas albums, burned for me by my Uncle Jeff three Christmases ago. He loved those albums despite the fact that he didn't celebrate Christmas.
Reading: Great House by Nicole Krauss.
Looking forward to: December 19th, 9:30 p.m. when I walk out of the airport in St. Louis, MO to be met by my mom and dad and the ensuing chaos that is Christmas with the Oldani family.