Gratitude 2021 From A to Z

Source: Getty via TheDailyBeast

It’s November already? Seriously? And I’m also supposed to understand that it’s also mid-November?

I did not see this coming. I just figured those anti-daylight savings time people were just a bunch of bellyachers. Maybe they’re onto something after all.

With Thanksgiving swiftly approaching, everything still feels out of whack again this year. Things are somewhat safer, of course, yet there’s this feeling of something still being, well, off. I entered a store yesterday and immediately began humming along to Ringo Starr’s “Photograph” which was playing overhead. It was only after I exited the store did I realize how strange it was not to hear Christmas music, which usually begins right after Halloween. I just hope Fox News doesn’t cancel their annual “War on Christmas” tradition because that would really ruin my whole season spirit.

And then there’s the whole matter of this inflationary supply chain crisis, which up until quite recently I was sure wouldn’t even affect little ‘ol me. But Gorgeous, who is much more attuned to grocery prices than I am, slyly suggested the other day that it would be “helpful” if I went out to fetch the turkey this year instead of her. “It’s so heavy to haul from the car and then up the stairs [to our condo],” she said. Helpful indeed. For her wallet maybe? Once again I’m being played, dear readers.

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It all begins and ends with the food, of course. But there are also those innumerable memories which for me stretch back to the 1960’s. My family would all gather with cousins, aunts, uncles, and also the odd in-law or two; the latter I only ever saw on this one holiday each year, and about whom my toddler brain could never quite piece together how he or she fit into our shared bloodlines. This was the day that loud talking and laughter became omnipresent at our dinner table. And seemingly every adult in my family also kept a wary eye on Aunt Nancy, who never failed to elicit an off-color observation after finishing a second glass of wine.

Earlier this year we briefly entertained the notion of driving north to be with family for the holiday. However, with the earlier Delta variant, and now the current rise of cases in the upper Midwest, it seems that the most prudent thing to do is stay where we are and just have a Thanksgiving for two. There are benefits to this: I’m a dark meat lover and my lovely bride prefers white meat. There’s thus no competition.

So on that somewhat selfish note…

… I once again submit for your annual approval, all the things from A-Z for which I am grateful:

(A) My intrepid financial advisor, Hank. For all of his bizarre maneuvers, he did manage to keep the investment till firmly in the black again this year. He does continue to baffle, however. His latest scheme is a BOGO opportunity: buy one share in his offshore Cayman Island investment, get one Belarusian cryptocurrency coin.

(B) Booster shots. I do look forward to when I’ll be eligible to get one. The vaccines have been a miraculous achievement for the medical and scientific community. Hats off to them!

(C) Coronation Street. This one is really Gorgeous’ contribution to the list, as I don’t — ahemofficially watch the show. But what started as a new habit during the lockdown period is now a post-dinner viewing ritual in our home (courtesy of Britbox). I do admit to loving that one of the character’s name is Fiz. Fancy a pint, anyone?

Actress Jennie McAlpine plays Fiz Stape on Coronation Street
Source: FM104

(D) Vitamin D, which is what one gets in spades by living in Florida because of all the sunshine we receive here. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones. One study purports to show that it also has a protective effect against getting the flu. Each day, however, I smear sunscreen over my face, neck, and arms. I’m a living contradiction.

(E) We have an extra car which we don’t technically need. It’s mine, a 2007 Toyota with close to 180,000 miles and looks like hell thanks to the Great Egg Foo Young Mishap from a couple of years ago. It remains a daily embarrassment when we walk out our front door and enter the parking lot of our condo building. I park it on the extreme end of the lot, away from our newer one and all of our immediate neighbors. In spite of this, it runs great and is mostly reliable. For me it’s a luxury.

(F) Friends. Simply put, I have fewer now than I had in past years. Moving around so much, changing jobs, etc., has made it challenging to sustain long-lasting relationships. But I am exceedingly grateful for the friends who’ve stuck by me and continue to regularly keep in touch.

(G) My Gorgeous. To say I’m a lucky man is an understatement.

(H) Our heritage. My maternal grandparents came from Russia, and my paternal ones from Hungary. Gorgeous’ father was an Iraqi Armenian, and her maternal grandparents immigrated from Hungary. It makes for some awfully interesting stories and varied cuisines in our home.

(I) Health insurance. This is something I absolutely never take for granted. Being able to keep the coverage I had while working is was what allowed me to retire early back in 2014. Well, that and my lovely wife’s income too. Health insurance should be a right and not a privilege.

(J) The Jewish sense of humor. You don’t have to be Jewish to get this joke, but it might be a wee bit challenging if you’re not: “Two gentile businessman meet on the street. One of them says, ‘How’s business?’ The other one says, ‘Great!” (Hat tip to Jerry Seinfeld).

(K) Kindness. We live daily amongst so much division that I worry we’re becoming numb to it all. But every now and again you do see a story like this one that was recently shown on the CBS Evening News. Warning: watching it may result in watery eyes and/or a throat lump.

(L) Front line workers. It’s not just the medical staff over the last year that have been heroes. It’s been all those others who have put themselves in harm’s way to serve the public: grocery workers, mechanics, plumbers, heating/air conditioning repairmen, postal service employees, and restaurant workers just to name just a few. We all owe them our thanks.

(M) Meals out. We returned to eating in restaurants back in late May, two weeks after we got our second shots. We then stopped for all of August and September as the Delta variant raged through our state. For now we’re visiting them again, yet it still seems odd doing so; as if we’re engaging in something naughty. But it also feels good doing so again. Please remember to tip generously.

(N) I absolutely love afternoon naps. They are decadent defined.

(O) Being organized. From my mother I must have received the gene to keep my ducks all in a row. I admit to getting flustered when multiple things happen at once (well, “multiple” here can be defined as “two”), but I pride myself on being prepared and ready for most situations. Gorgeous is the same way, which makes our daily routines become synchronized quite well. Are you organized? Your significant other?

(P) Podcasts. Over the last year I’ve gotten hooked to listening to different ones, particularly during my workouts at the gym (hat tip to my friend Sue for suggesting it). Two I highly recommend: Rockonteurs (musicians Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt) and Conan Needs a Friend (Conan O’Brien). Do you have a favorite? Share it below.

(R) Reunions. Earlier this year I saw two of my siblings, and in October Gorgeous saw her daughter for the first time in over two years. Living far apart from family is complicated enough, but it was made even harder because of the pandemic. The wonderful things about separations, though, is that the reunions make everything better in an instant.

Gorgeous celebrating her 60th birthday with a “surprise” visit from her daughter.

(S) My savings. Lord knows I’m not rich, but I am grateful that I was a slave to contributing to my 401(k) every paycheck for all of my career. I never panicked (too much) during those turbulent times (such as the 2007-2009 recession). For those still working, stay the course and keep to a strategy. In retirement I’m learning the same holds true: stay the course and stick to a strategy!

(T) Timing. We bought a new car in March of 2020, literally just before things began shutting down. We even had our choice of models. We were lucky.

(U) Underage. I may not get carded anymore, but I’m still not yet eligible for Medicare…


(V) This is a repeat from last year, but I’ll just say it again: Vaccines.

[W] WordPress. More than having an audience to read my imbecilic humor on this site, I’ve been very fortunate to get to know some awfully talented and friendly bloggers who have made the experience so enjoyable. If you’re at all thinking of starting a blog, I can’t think of a better platform to do it.

(X) Oh, X, how you taunt and terrorize me yet again with your vapid word offerings. I’ll simply leave with you this: XTC were an English rock band whose highest charting single was a song called “Senses Working Overtime.” Some of you might even have even have been fans of them (I wasn’t). There: you can thank me if this ever comes up for you at pub quiz night. Now go away, X. I hate your kind.

(Y) Being exposed to Yiddish words and expressions while growing up. The Yiddish language is full of absolutely wonderful put-downs and insults. You too can use them! One that every Jewish kid heard probably from a parent several times in his life is the word Shamatta. Its English translation is loosely the word “rags” but it essentially meant any article of clothing that your mother didn’t like. A common refrain was, “You’re going to go outside wearing that Shamatta?!!!

(Z) Keeping with the Yiddish theme for just one more letter, we’ll end with another one of my favorites: Zets. It means to receive a spanking or a slap. This time it would have been from my father: “I’ll give you a zets like you won’t believe if you don’t come home on time!” So do have a wonderful Thanksgiving, dear readers, or I might give YOU a zets.

If you haven’t already, please try to give to a local food bank in your area to offer a holiday meal for those who are struggling this year.

From our home to yours, we do wish you a very happy Thanksgiving…

35 thoughts on “Gratitude 2021 From A to Z

  1. A lovely list of gratitude. I agree with all of your items especially Front Line Workers and WordPress [even though I complain about it often]. Both have helped me stay sane during these last pandemic months. Great photo you kids, btw. You look happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Marty and Gorgeous!
    Great ‘gratitude list’ and wonderful reminder about donating to local food banks and charities. We gave to our food bank today. Firetrucks were located throughout our town collecting food, toys and money donations. That added to the community spirit and made donating even easier!


  3. Great post with good points laced with just the right amount of humor. 🙂 Big applause to ‘all’ of the front line workers, take out meals, and, of course, I’m organized. Podcasts, yes, but they are gardening. 🙂 Not on Medicare yet? Did you have to add that one so some of us all feel as mature as we are? Of course, you had to include it. I would have. 🙂 Ditto to vaccines, and thanks to WordPress from me too. The WP community is a special place. Thank you for being part of the family. Happy Turkey Day. 🦃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Judy! Indeed, I’ve virtually met so man wonderful people — such as yourself! I’ll probably make periodic visits to your blog over the next few months; one does need to get their gardening and South Carolina information fixes. Enjoy your southern sojourn and have a wonderful holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes, that’s too much great material to take in and respond to, Marty. So much to be thankful for, starting with a great sense of humour and terrific writing. Happy (American) Thanksgiving and happy and productive hiatus. You will be missed, so don’t forget to come back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jane. I’ve been a little AWOL from blog reading lately (sorry!). Just too much distraction of late, so I’m lightening the load a bit. But I’ll probably check in from time-to-time to see what you’re up to. Have a great holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a wonderful list. You and Gorgeous looks so happy together. As far as your questions, I listen regularly to Clark Howard’s podcast. I am an organized person, and Dan is driven by routines. So, basically, things can get pretty dull around our place. 🙂 Enjoy your hiatus, and good luck with your projects. I’ll be looking for a best seller in the humor category early next summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ZETS back atchya – in a friendly sort of way!

    Please tell Gorgeous, “Welcome back to the Sixties” from me – my favorite thing to say to those of us as we get inducted into that decade of life with a nod to a decade known for not being at all sedate, conforming or ‘retiring’.
    Now, get after those books!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Marty, Nice to hear how and why Thanksgiving is your favourite holiday. Another thing you and Gorgeous have in common with us – the ‘dark meat’ ‘white meat’ thing – helps to keep the marriage going. 😊I love the photo of Gorgeous and her daughter. A great photo of the two of you! I am also a fan of Conan’s podcast and I was inspired to use his theme song on my last post. My other favourite is “Smartless” and I have almost had an accident driving/laughing listening to these guys.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your “W.” I have also pressed “pause” on blogging for a myriad of personal reasons. I look forward to connecting with you, Marty, when you come up for air.💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all about compromise, Erika, unless you end up who likes the same part of the turkey as you do. Then it can be marital war! I’m grateful that didn’t happen to either of us. 😉

      I hadn’t heard of “Smartness” (which isn’t saying an awful lot since I really don’t know that many podcasters yet). OMG I love all three of those guys! I took a quick look at their past programs, and I will make a beeline for the Amy Sedaris one first thing tomorrow. Thank you so much for telling me about it.

      Ah yes, blog breaks. As I always tell people, it’s not the actual writing but the reading of other bloggers that takes up so much time. My books have literally piled up — not as much as the picture I posted but almost! I’ll try to drop in every now and then and see what you’re up to in the months ahead when you return to blogging. Be well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, my goodness, Marty! You are going to love Smartless. I began listening about a year ago. You may have read the premise where only one of them knows who the guest is. If I can be so bold to lead you to one of our funniest/witty – this time my husband driving and we almost had to pull over – “Stephen Colbert” – I think this is the one where they talk about Conan – another too funny for words “George Clooney” (I don’t want to spoil the story)- “Gwnyeth Paltrow” – re they share their ‘sex talk’ with their children – Have fun!😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m definitely signing up for sure now. There’s a direct line between Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris because both of them were in the same improv group back in the eighties (I think it was Second City but I’m not positive). Whenever Amy is on Colbert, I always make a point of recording it. And, of course, Conan and Stephen are “frenemies” and I love all of their antics. Gorgeous has this whole thing about Gwyneth Paltrow (she gets on her nerves), so naturally I always find ways to bring her picture up on her iPad for when she opens it later. lol So I’ll definitely want to tune in for that one. I’m signing up for it now!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Firstly, gorgeous photo of two gorgeous people – may you enjoy your Thanksgiving a deux. Also, as I see you’re now going on a hiatus, may I send you wishes for happy holidays (Christmas, Hanukah and anything else you enjoy celebrating), and say that I look forward to your return to blog land.

    Secondly, another fabulous list. You’ve inspired me to do the same – not sure if I’ll do it on my usual one, or on the life coaching site. Either way, many thanks for the inspiration and the fabulous list.

    Take care Marty, good reading & I look forward to seeing you in 2022 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments, Debs! The list is both fun and frustrating to write, mainly because the challenge is to come up with things I haven’t used in the past. That’s increasingly difficult with each passing year! Plus a couple of letters (such as that wretched “X”) are nearly impossible, ugh. But I still get a kick out of doing it. My only suggestion — one that I continually fail at following myself, though not for lack of trying — is to try and keep up the list through the year rather than doing so at the last minute. I’ve learned I’m not very disciplined!

      I wish you and Himself a wonderful holidays and New Year also. I’ll try and catch up with your posts now and then!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha! I’ve done the A-Z annual blogging challenge a number of years and the challenge to find solutions to the difficult letters is ever constant. I cheat (a lot!)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Marty I kept this post open (a month after you posted it of course) as inspiration/aspiration to get on the ball with my own posting, specifically to do a year ending or year opening post, one of which I remembered starting and finally dug up! Finally got back there this week so you will see (1) new – scheduled – posts on both of my blogs and (2) the year end post which will be posted at the beginning of next year and which I will aspire to update annually thereafter!

    Liked by 1 person

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