Every day my husband comes home, I hear the key turn in the lock, I am thankful. A smile crosses my face just knowing I will get to see him in moments. My heart floods with warmth, and I am content. A man who, this morning, when I said “Baby, it might not matter to you, but I’m really sad Dmitri Hvorostovsky died,” said “The Russian Baritone? Wasn’t he only 56?” and I was reminded, again, of the deeply running waters of my amazingly surprising man. Every time I see him, this is the feeling that comes over me. Seeing him happy, smiling, makes my heart smile.
When we get to curl up with our ridiculous cat, our familiar who is such a part of our lives and our home, those rare moments when we’re all sleeping in, my heart basks in warm light and I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that it brings tears to my eyes.
When I am on the way to work, I have several lady friends that I often speak with. I talk on the phone like a teenage girl – I know this, because I used to be one. Friends with whom I touch base regularly, know what’s going on in their lives, they know from day to day my little dramas, nothing big, nothing life-altering, nothing worth mentioning to the people I see less than once a month. Just… daily. It is such a joy to hear their lives, day by day, “Did you talk to that teacher?” “What happened with the desk situation at work?” I am thankful, every day, to still have friends who spend this time with me.
My best friend of 25 years, who has seen all of my ups and downs, who calls me on my shit and supports me and, despite having twins, has never made my problems feel trivial. For her I am immensely thankful.
I get to take the ferry to work. Of all of the commutes in the world, this feels so decadent. I write in my journal, I breathe deeply. I am thankful to live in this beautiful, ridiculous place, still so full of stunning nature.
My work is challenging, exhausting, wonderful. I’m surrounded by intelligent people in an environment where I am constantly expected to perform better, and we are building amazing things. It enables me to live the life I live in the Bay Area and take vacations. I am immensely thankful.
My fiercely loving, opinionated family. They’re all still talking to me, not necessarily to each other. So, I’m thankful. Wary, but thankful.
My nephew, with whom I spend a few hours a week of dedicated us time, hearing how his mind works, asking questions, marveling at the goodness in nature, giving, empathetic spirit of this small human I got to watch enter this world. I am thankful that his heart is helping to build the next generation.
Wine lunch. Some of my closest friends also moved to the island. People I have known, some of them, more than 25 years. So, there is a weekly wine lunch. I can’t drink at lunch because I fall asleep in the afternoon but, once a week, like a ridiculous sitcom that shows people hanging out talking more than any adults hang out and talk, we hang out and talk in a way I was sure, 15 years ago, was a lie. We share a meal, catch up with each other’s lives. For this moment, this touchpoint of unbelievable fortune, I am thankful.
Verismo Opera, specifically Fred Winthrop who, this year, helped me to realized the biggest operatic dream I had. I have had to set new challenges, because he helped me to blow the roof off of the old ones. For that love of learning that only other learners will understand (the rest confuse us for people who like being onstage). I am so, so thankful.
Gregangelo Herrera and Velocity Arts and Entertainment, who continue to challenge me, grow me, see me through injuries, let me play, expand my performer self, who is the first group that encouraged me to be all of me, not parceled out into easily understood parameters. I’m immeasurably thankful.
For the many opportunities I have to sing; for Entire Productions, for St. John’s Presbyterian, for the other organizations and groups that hire me, again and again, and let me live my art, I am so thankful, beyond thankful; whole.
For the artists with whom I have the opportunity to collaborate as a result of Burning Man – Sonic Runway, Center Camp Cafe, the Artumnal. To be sought out to perform in these venues… well, I didn’t know enough to dream this when I was a young weirdo singer. To have been a part of creating this…an honor of which I dared not dream. I am thankful.
For Thunderdome. But not just Thunderdome. For this evolving group of people who have grown so, so much in the 19 years I’ve been doing this crazy thing. The people that continue to be drawn to this adventure, the ass busters who match each other’s (and my) work-hard-play-hard in a way I wasn’t sure existed; brilliant people from machinist to sex worker to doctor (several!) to rigger to CTO to corporate trainer to club manager to visual artist to musician and back again, thriving with each other. We are in each other’s lives, seek out more and more ways to spend time together. We could do, literally, anything, with this group of people. These are the people I want to, am, getting old with. I am beyond humbled to be steering this ship. Thankful doesn’t cover it.
My non-Thunderfriends. People who do things like fly across the country to see me in an opera I’ve spent a year memorizing. That I can join for dinner after not seeing them for a year and we simply pick up where we left off. I am beyond rich in friends, and I can’t say why, and I’m thankful.
Every day I come home, and step up the steps of our home, and open the door, I’m thankful. My sanctuary. Sanctuary I don’t leave for days when I’m in town, because it’s warm, and lovely, and clean, and home. The feeling of that work, that payoff, a place I can call my own, make my own with my husband, is so often more of what I feel than the crushing weight of the remaining debt of the place. I wrap myself in thankfulness, in gratitude, and I stay that way most days. There is so much externally – not just my health, or that I was born in country with clean drinking water, where I cannot (technically) be persecuted for being bisexual, or pagan, or for hating our president, or for a family where going to college was going to be the bare minimum – for which I am thankful, that I can only hope to do justice to all of these gifts.