Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

It's time again for my annual Thanksgiving post.  I think it is only proper to take time out to say thank you to all of the people who have positively impacted my life over the last year.  With how my horizons have broadened over the last year, we've got quite a few new characters to cover, so let's get started.

I want to start this year with my crew of indomitable souls at work.  I am so thankful for all of their hard work and their ability to battle back from even the worst situations.  So to Brian, Michelle, Alex, Jim, Jon, Frank, Darla, Kathy, and Ben, you guys have been my rock in the hardest of moments, you've absolutely helped me keep my sanity when I thought that I'd really lose it, and you always remind me that in every situation you can always find hope.  To Alex and Brian, my brothers-in-arms, you have both shown me how to stay fair, balanced and honest with my feelings in how I handle even the worst moments.  To Bruce and Karl, you guys  are my sweet Feydakin, I don't know what I'd do without you guys making sure I'm in the loop on everything.  Finally to Michelle and Darla, my sweet soul-sisters, you are my touchstone that reminds me that it is perfectly fine to be a girl that is just as tough as the boys.

Next up, my set of sweet young women at school.  I'm truly thankful to all of these persevering young women who remind me to stay young at heart while putting shoulder to the wheel to "get it done."  Claire, you rock.  I'm so grateful that you always remind me that acceptance is not the end-all, be-all, but that you have to accept yourself first and be proud of who you are.  Alicia gets a jab in the ribs by my elbow and my thanks for reminding me that work and school put together sometimes wear you out, but sometimes it takes that watered down cup of coffee you suffer through to reach the goal.  I'm grateful to Nataline who's taught me that sometimes a dry wit is all it takes to make a point.  I'm also grateful to Jami, Honey and George who are the earth, water and firey elements that have worked so hard to bring Doc L. a quality show.

I'm so thankful for Doc L. and Scorsese.  Without those two men really backstopping me and making sure that I'm on course and following the second star to the left, straight on until morning, I don't know where I'd be.  I'm really grateful for all of the support they've shown me.  Speaking of support, I gotta give major props and hugs to Doc S.  He has put up with me popping my head into his office for my passioned dissertations on the NSAC.  Finally, three more of my professors who have really stepped up to the plate this year for me, Doc M. and Ron K., thank you so much for helping me see the light on so many topics for work, you guys have really helped loads and I'm so grateful for your patience and understanding.  Finally, to Prof. H., seeing you around campus and the encouragement you've given me is really fantastic.

I'm always grateful for Raj, KP, Michelle, Josh and my crew of WoW'ers who always seem to make me smile when I need it most.  KP, you are just incredible and I'm so grateful to see you back in school just like me.  Over, under, around and through, thanks for always bringing out the very best in me.  Raj, thanks for always taking my 2 a.m. eastern time texts, I always forget the time difference.

Now, let's take it home...

Mom, Dad and Nan...thank you.  This year, with turning 40, you guys have really shown me that it's all about getting to where you need to go and the humble pride you can have by getting out there and making your life your own.  Daddy, thank you for all of your encouragement, Mom, thanks for the votes of support and those little invaluable tidbits of wisdom you always seem to throw my way.  Nan, well, Nan's just Nan.  She is the fighting spirit that doesn't take no for an answer and through all of her fights she has always shown me that nothing in life worth fighting for should ever be taken for granted.

Finally, I'm going to wrap up with someone who's made the biggest difference for me this year, and that's Ace.  It's tough to show how grateful you are to someone who doesn't believe that they're really worth all of those thanks, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Ace sure did suffer for me this year as he took a reclused woman behind a computer, living solely for work and school, made her go outside and embrace the world again.  He's suffered through my very worst, he's seen me at my best and he's always been right there, helping me balance my stresses and being an adviser through it all.  He doesn't get that his big blue eyes, his diesel-driven steed (a.k.a. the nickname he loves the most "gas-guzzling smog monster"), and his scruffy chin are just the gravy that covers someone with the most nutritional value I've ever met in my life.  We battle our PTSD every day together, we've held on to each other even in moments we've wanted to kill each other, we've been through some tough moments and still back each other up.  Every year I'm grateful to every single person who's made a difference in my life, and I'm the most grateful to Ace because he showed me that even though life can be hard, unbearable at times, it's still worth getting up and facing the world because you never know what good things will happen to you when you do.  Ace reminded me this year that we are all worth the love people give us, even when we don't want to accept it.  He reminded me that we all have value beyond the value we place on ourselves and we don't know our true nutritional value until we look into a mirror that just happens to be a person who is just like ourselves.

However, I can't talk about Ace without following it up with my favorite mooch-pooch, Lucky.  Lucky, like me, is a great comeback story.  You'd never know, with all of the love that dog gives, that he was rescued from a dog-fighting ring, that that same dog was lying on the ground with his leg maliciously broken, starved to emaciation and weakness as a victim for a larger dog to learn how to kill on.  Now, that same abused animal, barring his hip-dysplasia and a bit of arthrits, has shown me that love, in all of it's forms, can cure every hurt, that it can lift you up to a place you never thought possible.  I guess what I should say here is that Ace rescued Lucky, then Ace rescued me.  If that's not someone with a ton of nutritional value, I don't know what is.

I think it's really hard to judge how much of an impact you make on a person's life.  But, just with all of the people who have stepped up, helped out, given love and just been all-around outstanding people, I guess I'm kind of like Lucky, extremely fortunate to have been given all the love that I have received.  

Enjoy every bit of your turkey, stuffing, and every single person who has given you nutritional value over the last year.  I know I am.

As my friend Henning always says, "Love is the only truth that is worth sharing every day."  After you pass the sweet potatoes, pass a plate of love to the person next to you as well.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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