Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One Thousand Gratitudes, Part XXXVI: 125-101

I don't imagine we're beyond all of the summer heat just yet, but last evening and this morning provided some calm, cool air here in the sticky midwest.

Here's entry #36.

Thanks for reading.

One Hundred Twenty-Five: that strange feeling

      A couple of weeks ago I tucked a few edited pages into their spot in the stack and had my first feeling of sadness regarding this project coming to a close.

      Such a funny thing this human experience.

      Such a funny, amazing, ironic experience.

One Hundred Twenty-Four: being “regular”

      Speaking of funny: It’s nice to be regular. It doesn’t happen all the time, and what an odd piece to the sustenance cycle, but it sure is nice.

One Hundred Twenty-Three: Abbrevs Plurals

      I gave well-deserved credit to unnamed friend number 20 for this, and I should note that it has -- for over 15 years -- made my sisters laugh when I’ve used it.

      Take the Chicago-weekend trip, for example, when I had a not-so-regular moment.

      By “not-so-regular” I mean I almost shit my pants in public.

      After I escaped the Def-Con-III-level threat, I took the liberty of recounting the instance, and used the phrase “trembs fings” to describe that moment when your brain tells your bowels that you’ve “made it” to the lavatory, but, really, you haven’t made it until you’ve unfastened your garments and sat. On this particular occasion of loveliness, I wore shorts with a drawstring and a belt.

      As things will go in moments of haste, the simple bow in which I’d fastened my drawstring became a sudden web that resembled the knotted mess of a toddler’s shoestrings. My fingers, unable to find the free, release ends of the drawstring bow, developed an immediate palsy, making those precious remaining seconds, well, precious-er.

      Close call.

      So close in fact that all of my lifelines and phone-a-friends would’ve been exhausted on one play had I not made it. This might’ve made for a better story than the one I recounted while back with the group, but not so much for me. I’m glad I returned with shorts unsoiled and I’m glad -- as always -- to get a laugh courtesy of good, ol’ Abbrevs Plurals.

One Hundred Twenty-Two: my children’s newfound love of swimming

      I’ve learned that phases in child-rearing come and go. I’ve learned to celebrate when the bad ones pass, to embrace the good ones, to know that the bad ones have good lessons in them, and to love the mix as a whole. While I’ve probably already forgotten a few, I’m grateful for the complete package, the experiences that make them into who they are and who they will be. The swimming thing is pretty cool. Pure joy for them, and for us, too.

One Hundred Twenty-One: my son’s love for food

      You know what they say about pictures…

(Who said happiness was a warm gun?)

One Hundred Twenty: my brother-in-law’s duck tales

      It’s a silly thing, really, but it matters.

      Our sibling weekend in Chicago wouldn’t be complete without including my sister’s husband. He was a trooper, a treat, and a treasure, and he started it off perfect by insinuating that I “was probably just splashing around like a duck down there” when I claimed that the basement shower leaked. It set the perfect tone for the weekend and made for a fantastic time. He has since, it would appear, showered in the basement for the sole purpose of investigation, and, being somewhat anti-social-media, he posted this in jest.

One Hundred Nineteen: life-size Jenga

      Speaking of my brother-in-law, he went to the hardware store the morning of our arrival and procured a handful of two-by-fours, which he sawed into equal segments, then sanded. It made for quite the fun final WindyCity evening.

One Hundred Eighteen: happiness in Chicago

      My sister and her husband have endured college, a stint in Chicago, some time in D.C., and their quasi-recent return to Illinois, and they are happy there.

      If the rest of us Johnsons had our way, we’d have them here in Kansas City, but they wouldn’t be as happy. They’re happy where they are, and I’m happy for them.

One Hundred Seventeen: our shopping-outing find

      I bought a small painting at a little store. It makes me happy that I found it, that I found it in Chicago, that I found it in Chicago while out shopping with my sisters, and that my wife liked it, too. It makes a nice addition to our collection.

One Hundred Sixteen: that the shopping outing only lasted about 20 minutes

      I may have perished had the trip lasted 25. I can’t bear to do the thing unless I’m procuring books and music and have an endless budget in which to do so.

One Hundred Fifteen: my youngest sister’s home endeavor

      The baby of our family seems serious in purchasing a home. I think this is super cool. I think she’s super rad, and I hope she finds the perfect spot.

One Hundred Fourteen: my oldest younger sister’s gig

      Not too long ago, a work scenario arose for my sister. She almost panicked. Instead she showed some confidence and some moxie and she went after the thing. It turned out to be a great decision and I’m proud of her for doing it.

One Hundred Thirteen: my youngest sister’s gig

      Not long after the aforementioned, my youngest sister found herself in a situation. She made a choice to make a move, and for a minute, I think she regretted it. For a few I thought she might pull the ripcord, but she showed some grit and hung in there. I think it’s not perfect, but I think it’s better than it was. I think it will wind up paying off for her in several ways, and I’m proud of her for the courage that she showed in flipping the switch, and the strength she displayed in hanging in there. Way cool stuff.

One Hundred Twelve: my wife’s gig

      The form of employment held by my spouse weighs in heavy, will never be easy, and -- if I may -- brings home a fair amount of the bacon. Although I once ran on a track that could’ve led me in a similar career direction, I could never see myself doing what my wife does. She endures a ton of heavy-duty shit, and I’m proud of her for not only sticking with it, but excelling in the way that she has.

One Hundred Eleven: not waking up hungover

      Now that I’m old, one of the most important things centers on how the day starts. I love waking up early, rested, and not feeling like hot garbage. Grateful.

One Hundred Ten: doing things the “right” way

      Often I find myself in scenarios where the ol’ devil on the shoulder suggests a shortcut or a dishonest way of doing something. Most of the time I think I make the appropriate choice in the hope that karma will prevail. Maybe it’s a faith-in-humanity thing, but it feels right and I’m thankful that I’m wired to tend to make what feels like the right choice.

One Hundred Nine: my wife showing me how to take responsibility

      Anna illustrated to me the other morning that I can’t just have a list of expectations and act a certain way if they don’t get met. Mostly this pertains to our relationship and what my role looks like in terms of our happiness together. She’s helping me realize the ways in which I’m difficult and I’m thankful for that.

One Hundred Eight: the strength of my mother-in-law

      This lady always seems to have a lot on her plate. In recent weeks she’s dealt with a significant injury to her second born, the declining health of her mother (and what her siblings roles will or will not look like in managing that), as well as the usual work, church, grandchildren, and spouse support she provides in all of those arenas. I hope to be as strong as she is in 20 years. Very thankful to have her in my circle.

One Hundred Seven: Independence Avenue

      I’m thankful I don’t live near the Avenue. I’m thankful I only have to drive on it once or twice a week. Too many insane drivers, too many panhandlers, and too many shenanigans in general. I’m glad that it’s a part of my city, but I’d go nuts if I had to navigate it every day.

One Hundred Six: mental health
      Between my wife’s profession and a handful of the crazy people I work with, I’m glad most of my marbles appear to be intact. There are a lot of messed-up folks rolling around out there in the world, and I’m thankful that, at the very least, my head appears to be on straight.

One Hundred Five: ska

      This genre seems to have surfaced in waves over the years. I hope it makes another surge because it can be a lot of fun. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to dance to a bit of it.

One Hundred Four: Quentin Tarantino

      Dude’s made some killer flicks.

One Hundred Three: professional wrestling

      I write this the day after “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s death surprised the wrestling world, and as Deadspin has illustrated, many of the former World Wrestling Federation icons have fallen short of the average life expectancy. Professional wrestling today resembles the sport I loved as a kid, but much of it has changed. The details don’t matter, but the 1980s had an incredible array of athletes, figureheads, and stars associated with the WWF. Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The British Bulldogs, Koko B. Ware, The Junkyard Dog, The Hart Foundation, “King” Harley Race, George “The Animal” Steele, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, Demolition, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, The Honky Tonk Man, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Don “The Rock” Muraco, “The Natural” Butch Reed, Akeem/The One Man Gang, Dino Bravo, The Iron Sheik, Superstar Billy Graham, Bam Bam Bigelow, The Ultimate Warrior, Big Boss Man, just to name a few.

      Then you had the crew: Vince McMahon, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “Mean” Gene Okerlund. The managers: Mr. Fuji, The Lovely Elizabeth, Captain Lou Albano, Slick, Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

      What excitement. What drama. What a franchise.

One Hundred Two: Saturday Night Live

      I suppose this show was pretty cool, too.

One Hundred One: Saturday-morning cartoons

      From Super Friends to Dungeons and Dragons to The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour to Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. Hell, even The Smurfs. Saturday-morning cartoons were what the week was all about. Waking up on Saturday to cereal and a marathon in front of the screen meant everything. Very thankful for these fond memories.

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