Saturday, August 8, 2015

One Thousand Gratitudes, Part XXXIV, 175-151

In the beginning of this project I joked about how hard it would be to avoid repetition by the time I got to the end, and that's turning out to be true in every sense. I'm doing everything I can to try and think of the real things, the important things in life, and instead of coming up with stuff, I'm probably coming across as a 21st-century, idiot, American male.

At this point, though, my sole focus is split into two tiers: a) the perspective gained from starting this series, and b) finishing it.

As I chisel away at the remaining few, I'll make an effort to try and get outside of myself.

As always, thanks for reading. 


One Hundred Seventy-Five: Blackmill

            This Chill Sounds playlist on Spotify keeps blowing my mind. It’s not for you if you don’t dig electronica or any of that kind of thing. It is deeelicious, though. For reals. Blackmill’s been added to the list of stuff to research. Super cool.

One Hundred Seventy-Four: a parish reader

            My wife told me that, after Mass a few Sundays ago, a parishioner and a friend inquired about my motivation to finish this project, and whether or not I’d considered attending an upcoming retreat. I guess that makes this a two-piece gratitude, then: the readership and the interest in participating in something that might leave me a better person.

            Thank you.

One Hundred Seventy-Three: that YouTube clip about the surf-competition shark attack

            I think my essence was created with the spice of the kind of person that was meant to surf. I totally love that kind of thing and the one, solitary time I surfed, I loved it. I was also created with the kind of flavoring that can only be described by two words (and in this order): huge chicken.

            I’m so terrified of being attacked by a shark that I look twice in the toilet before I sit on it. So, I ain’t surfin’ for all of the money in Mark Zuckerberg’s bank account.

            Fuck. That.

            Anyway, this clip went around over a few weeks ago, and I’m grateful that -- on the other side of the planet -- people value friendships and life. Not that I suspected the Australians didn’t, but still…

One Hundred Seventy-Two: getting job offers

            About once every other month I get offered a job by one of my customers. It feels nice when this occurs. Awkward, but nice. I remind them that I took this job to get out of operations and they -- so far -- have not hesitated in understanding my stance.

One Hundred Seventy-One: Married on FX

            We chose this as our summer show last year and loved it. The new season started a few weeks ago and did not disappoint. We don’t always have a show airing that we watch together, but we look forward to the together time when we do. This program’s our loner right now, and the subject matter couldn’t be perfecter.

One Hundred Seventy: Longmire on A&E

            I discovered this gem three summers ago --sick in the basement of the old house -- and fell in love. I felt like I’d uncovered the next greatest television secret and by the time season two began it’d gone from my show to our show. We loved season three and then the flippin’ thing got cancelled. So we wait for the next installment to come out on Netflix. Glad this show got made, though. Way cool.

One Hundred Sixty-Nine: childhood board games

            Be it Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry!, Clue, Connect Four, Enchanted Forest, or any of the others I’ve forgotten, I’m thankful for these pastimes when -- for one reason or another -- going outside was not an option.

One Hundred Sixty-Eight: big giant Macy’s bag

            About six weeks ago my wife just me a huge pile of clothes. She says it’s the first time we’ve gotten clothes for me in six years. Immense gratitude here. Hate clothes shopping; always have.

One Hundred Sixty-Seven: the start of summer tour

            The boys launched their 25-night stretch of July-September dates a few weeks ago. Couldn’t be happier. They were here the other night and in a few weeks we’ll be rolling out to Colorado for a three-evening date with them. I’m not sorry for having so many Phishy gratitudes in this series, but I do apologize for the reader redundancy. These guys have brought me joy for over 20 years and I’ve got to ride this wave while it continues to last.

            Summer tour!

One Hundred Sixty-Six: old but not that old

            My mom’s crew of people has had a rough go of things. A number of her friends has either been diagnosed with cancer or died from it, now totaling five that I can count. I’m certain other circles have had it worse, but five seems high, considering that four have them have been in the last eight years. I feel for the loved ones of all of these people, and for my mom. I’m thankful that -- to date -- I’ve not suffered the distress of having a friend acquire this terminal illness.

One Hundred Sixty-Five: scheduling things of convenience based on convenience

            I’ve had a consultation for a vasectomy and now we’re trying to choose the best date, all of which just reeks of the absurd.

            I can elect to have a convenient walk-out medical procedure performed that will enhance my ability to not produce any more children.

            I just have to choose the date that fits our schedule the best.

            And by “fits our schedule the best” I mean gives me the largest opportunity to sit around for three days with a) no responsibilities and b) a bag of frozen peas down my pants.

            Life can be pretty easy.

One Hundred Sixty-Four: the new book I’m reading

            As I neared the finish of David Steinberg’s little number I knew I would struggle to pick my next challenge. I have so many books on my shelves that I’ve wanted to make “next” for so many varying times. I surprised myself by choosing Tim Cahill’s Road Fever (Note:  If you don’t see the word “road” in print and immediately start doing the David Spade Tommy Boy “ro-ad” voice, you should probably see a doctor; there’s something wrong with you.).

            I’ve never been sure what the story’s about, but it’s cool for three reasons:

1)      Dude’s one of the founders of Outside Magazine and has contributed to National Geographic Adventure (which I’ve never heard of but I dig National Geographic)
2)      It’s about making the longest car drive possible on the planet, this one being from southern Argentina to northern Alaska, which -- I gotta admit -- is pretty rad.
3)      A friend gave it to me in college. I think I was knee-deep in my Kerouac phase and she recognized some title similarity, plus my affinity for writing

      I dig it so far. Very thankful for the idea behind the gift and the gift itself.

One Hundred Sixty-Three: the previous home owner’s leave behinds

      Dude that sold us the house had a giant old television in the man cave and a kegerator just outside of it. He wanted to sell these things to us; I wanted them but not enough to pay for them. Knowing his intentions to downgrade to an apartment, I declined and he left them. I use the TV all the time. The kegerator I’m just waiting to find the right person to whom to give it. At first I loved the idea of having one or two flavors of beer on tap (and in mass, cold quantities). Loved it.

      That lasted for a few days at most and then it occurred to me that I have zero reasons for needing that amount of fermented hops water in my home. I always dreamed of owning one, though, and now I do. Have for three years. Weird how time changes things.

One Hundred Sixty-Two: The Tradition

      For 10 years my buddies and I had this gig that involved attending Kansas City Chiefs games in Denver and Denver Broncos games in Kansas City.

      In the early years Jason and I hit both games, and for the first season or two, we drove.

      It didn’t take long for us to realize that we’d gotten too old for that, so air travel took windshield time’s place. Not long after our boy Alex joined the mix.

      At the time of his initial inclusion in the routine, Alex had already spent several years in the ecstasy of wedded bliss; Jason and I joined that club later. Once all three of us had married, the ladies got involved, and -- for a moment -- we had this nifty rotation where one year the Kansas City game would be wives and husbands while the Denver game would be just the boys; the next year we’d flop, making Colorado a family affair and K.C. a guy’s game.

      Then Jason screwed everything up by making parents out of himself and his wife. Alex and his wife kept scheduling trans-Atlantic vacations in the middle of football season, and before long, my better half and I had wee ones, too. In short, life got a little too busy for such fun.

      When the decade-long run of festivities came to a close there were whispers of resurrecting the thing at a future date, and said date centered on kids getting older, which, well, is now.

      Whether we ever get the thing off the ground again or not, it was fun while it lasted. A lot of fun. So many stories, so many adventures, so many good times, and so many Chiefs losses.

(A pair of home-team losses in this fine 2009-2010 season)


      I consider myself lucky to have not only made these five great friends, but to have spent such a collection of great times with them gives me endless delight.

One Hundred Sixty-One: Town Mountain’s cover of “I’m on Fire”



One Hundred Sixty: Cumberland Gap’s cover of “I Won’t Back Down”

      The one I dig has vocals, but this’ll have to do:



One Hundred Fifty-Nine: “I’ll Fly Away” by Alison Kraus and Gillian Welch

      Man, I gotta get my hands on this soundtrack:




One Hundred Fifty-Eight: Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack

      Shit’s like medicine.

One Hundred Fifty-Seven: “The Stable Song” by Gregory Alan Isakov



One Hundred Fifty-Six: Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer doing “Big Country”



One Hundred Fifty-Five: Dr. Dog’s cover of “Heart It Races”




One Hundred Fifty-Four: “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart



One Hundred Fifty-Three: Feist and Ben Gibbard do “Train Song”



One Hundred Fifty-Two: Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War”



One Hundred Fifty-One: sibling Chicago trip

      My sister Jessica organized and booked a trip for us Kansas City Johnson siblings to visit our sister Megan and her husband Jack in their Illinois home. I wished it could’ve lasted about three days longer. We don’t get to see Megan enough. We admire her for so many things and love her for even more. Our weekend couldn’t have had a better script written for it if you’d paid a professional to do it.

      Fun, easy-going, quality time with our Keegs, her Warren, their Hadley, and a crazy circle of people and energy that cannot wait to meet Biff.


      So sad it ended so quick, but so grateful for the experience.