I Give Thanks For Spanx And So Many Other Incredible Things
Friday, December 31, 2010
Since it's New Year's Eve and most of you are busy planning what booze you'll be drinking tonight and not here, I thought I'd replay one some of you might have not seen. 

Last month, my friend Gigi asked some of us to collaborate on an Ebook titled, Talk At The Table, where we all told tales about anything and everything Thanksgiving. 

I contributed with my annual list of things that make me weep with gratitude for their presence in my life. 

So, for those of you already set on pomegranate martinis, (I'm thinking that's the way I'm going tonight) or for those of you non drinkers, I give you something to do with your day. You can read my incredibly asinine list. 

You are welcome. 

Here we go! The holidays are upon us, again. It's time to bust out the pilgrim salt and pepper shakers. 

Oh, who I am kidding! I never put them away after last Thanksgiving. Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim have been visiting our house all year round because refilling my other salt and pepper shakers would take effort and I am so not into effort. It's why our everyday china is Chinet. 

But there is one time of the year I do put some effort into my role as Domestic Diva and that is Thanksgiving time. 

I love Thanksgiving because it's a holiday all about giving thanks by gathering your family and friends together and gorging yourself. It's also the one day out of the year you can get away with squirting whipped cream directly into your mouth. 

And that, sir, is my kind of holiday. 

And even though I love stuffing myself until I have to use some deep cleansing yoga breaths to ease the stomach pains, I love even more, reflecting on my life and giving thanks for all the big and little things. 

I've been contemplating and compiling my list and I'd like to share a few of them with you. 

I'll skip the part about being thankful for my family, friends, health, happiness and of course, Bono. Everyone's thankful for those magnificent blessings. Instead, I'd like to share with you some of the good things most people don't even think about. 

Here is my list of thankfulness, in no certain order: 

☺The Chilean Miners— that out of the blackness of despair, 33 men arose into the light, into a second chance at life. Across the world, we collectively held our breaths, united in hope as we watched a miracle unfold before our very eyes. And in these days filled with dismal news, our lives all grew a little brighter in the sweet truth that miracles do indeed happen. 

I'm getting a T-shirt made that says, "I ♥ The Chilean Miners, Even The Cheater."

I'm also grateful that this will give Eric Estrada his richly deserved comeback when the movie comes out. I miss his toothy smile and glossy hair.

☺Hostess Ho Hos. I'm pretty sure the ingredients on the back of the package are listed exactly like this, "A bunch of chemicals you don't even want to know about and that's it, folks." 

You can get four boxes for something like 99¢, since clearly chemicals are a lot cheaper than real ingredients. And even though everything about them is so very wrong, they are just ridiculous in their deliciousness. Thank you velvety rolls of lard for making me happy and for coming in packages of two.

☺I am incredibly grateful for this look from my childhood. 

Because really? Isn't everything after this fashion "No", just a great big step up? I feel like a fashionista when I take a look at this picture and realize how far I've come, even when I'm in my jammies, which may or may not be most of the time.

☺I am also grateful for giblet juice. That's right, giblet juice. Because when I was just a young 'un one year, my mom was busy making the Thanksgiving dinner. She'd cooked up the gizzards, neck, heart and liver, (after writing this, I think I might just pass on gravy from now on), and she strained them in this regular pitcher that just happened to be handy. My brother came along a little while later with a big ole hankering for some iced tea. 

Now, how on earth my brother mistook organ meat juice for iced tea is beyond me. 

But he did and I am ever so grateful for that. I love telling the story of watching my brother spew gizzard juice over all our kitchen. 

☺Synchronized line dances at weddings. I love to dance. I'm talking, I am out on the dance floor through every single tune during the reception. That is, until it comes time for The Electric Slide and the Macarena and all of those other, "Let's all act like extras in the Thriller video" types of dances. I hate those line dances because even though I'm a dancing machine, I didn't say I was good at dancing. I am an uncoordinated boob and I look even more boobish when I'm not going freestyle, à la Elaine on Seinfeld. So that is why I am thankful for these songs because it gives me a chance to cool down and refresh myself with a little healthy pomegranate juice . . . mixed with vodka, of course. 

☺Which brings me to my next little blessing—I was pumping gas the other day when I noticed my gas station has installed TVs above the gas pumps! Here's another tedious moment in my life that technology has filled. Thank you technology. 

And they were running all these interesting little tidbits across the bottom of the screen. There was a tidbit that said some shoe designer was making one-of-a-kind goatskin shoes for the Chilean miners. And I was all, "Hurray for those super cool miners! Now they'll have stylin' shoes to go along with their faboosh sunglasses." 

And then I thought, Gosh, I sure wish had a pair of goatskin shoes because I can only imagine goatskin shoes must be FAB-U-LOOOUUS. 

And for all you goat huggers out there—I could care less about goats giving their lives for shoes. 

Shoes are beautiful. Goats are assholes. 

Take it from me. I had a goat in a petting zoo one time eat the entire strap of my favorite purse. I wish I'd made a pair of shoes out of him. 

And I also learned something very practical while watching the gas station TV. If a bandaid is stuck to one's skin and guaranteed to cause a painful, "YEEOOW" when being pulled off, just soak the area in vodka first and the bandaid will slide right off. 

Another reason to be thankful for vodka and, of course, TVs in gas stations. 

☺The man whose running schedule intersects with my school route every morning. His really thick shock of hair and his preference for running shirtless, thereby displaying his nicely sculpted pecs, are as yummy as my morning cup of coffee. And I haven't even mentioned his cut-just-right running shorts. Good Morning Running Man! Thank you! 

☺I am very grateful for this cherished memento. This is the wold I came into:

See, I have three older brothers and three younger sisters. I was the first girl to enter this household of constant black eyes, toy guns and baseball bats. My brothers were my first experience with terrorists. 

Kind of another reason why I'm thankful for the giblet juice story. 

And this moment, just embodies my childhood. My one brother is chasing balloons, which I'm certain after they popped, he either stuffed them up his nose or fed them to the baby or both. My other brother is batting a balloon with a hockey stick, that's right, a hockey stick, right above the baby's pumpkin head. My mother, I'm guessing, is looking for an escape hatch in the ceiling to fly, far, far away from her chaotic life. 

And the baby, well, I think that just sums up the whole situation. A baby with a gun in his mouth. I'm thankful we all survived. 

☺The song, "Sweet Home Alabama" because that, Mister, is one kick-ass song. And because when that song comes on the radio, I have no choice but to roll down my windows, crank it UP and sing at the top of my lungs, even if my children are slinking down in their seats, mortified. Actually, any reason to embarrass my children is a reason to be grateful. And because I grew up in the South when that song ruled the air waves, it became our anthem. 

Even though for many years, I thought the song went, "In Birmingham, they love the gumbo." Which is nowhere near the real verse of "In Birmingham they love the governor." 

Clearly, I was not up on my anthem's political message. 

☺I am thankful for Pam, my senior citizen Walmart greeter. 

Pam has hair the color of which I have never seen in my life, it's kind of a fluorescent red mixed with a pumpkin orange sheen. She also likes to draw her eyebrows on, obviously with a very shaky hand and her lips, which are etched in a permanent sneer, are painted clown red. 

Pam has definitely picked the wrong profession. Pam is better suited for a job that fits her sneering disposition, something like a women's prison guard or even better, a clerk at the DMV. 

Pam takes it as a personal affront when I try to replace my dysfunctional cart with its three working wheels, with a cart that, you know, works. And since 90% of the carts at Walmart have polio of the wheels, I am often coming back for one that doesn't bump-bump-bump throughout the store. 

Pam does not like this one bit. 

And lets me know this through her lipstick stained sneers, heavy sighs and the way she points at me and says mysteriously, "THAT ONE!"  No idea what "that one" means. 

And there was even one time when she tried to block me from getting a cart. She stood there, trying to look super threatening with her osteoporosis hunch, blocking the carts with her liver-spotted, crossed arms like she was Betty White's bodyguard. 

But I am not one to be intimidated, at least not by 70-year-old women. I just said, "Pam, this is America! And in America I have the right to pick any cart I want! Now get out of my way!"

Well, I really didn't say "get out of my way", because maybe I did feel a little intimidated by her liver spots. But she did move. 

And so I'm thankful for America and for Pam because without her, I'd have nothing to tell my Hubby when he says, "So, what happened to you today?"

☺Profanity. Because like Rainman, I am an excellent driver. But I would not be able to be an excellent driver without my wealthy supply of profanity. 

☺Mark Ruffalo. 

Quite often, I thank the Lord Above for Mark and his hot manliness. I also thank the Lord for Google Images because anytime at all I can just type in Mark Ruffalo and wham, that beautiful man is staring at me with his gorgeous dark eyes and perfect lips. Just look at those lips! *Sigh* Thank you Lord for Mark Ruffalo and of course, Google. No offense to Bono. He always comes first. 

☺I'm also thankful for Neil Diamond because it proves my theory that there are certain people with hypnotic powers. What else would explain a hairy man in Sansabelt pants building a massive superstar 30-year career out of songs like, "Heartlight" and "Love On The Rocks." The same goes for Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. How did they even get recording contracts? I think it's a mixture of hypnotic powers and a deal with the devil, at least in Miley Cyrus's case. Do not mess with the daughter of an achy breaky heart.  

☺Hysterectomies—specifically mine. Hysterectomies are little party favors from the medical community. It's like the docs are saying, "Thanks for stopping by and making some of our house payments with those three kids you brought into the world. Now here's what we're going to do for you—We're going to take out your tired womb." God bless the gynecologists who have provided this jingly, joyful service to women all over the world. 

☺And lastly, I am thankful for our dear, precious Monsignor at our church, God rest his newly departed old soul. I'm pretty sure he was Moses's next door neighbor and he might just have hand delivered Mose's original stone commandments to our church. But that's not why I am so grateful for him and his memory. 
I'm grateful because when my youngest girl went to weekly confession with her class, she was assigned to Monsignor. And for those of you not familiar with the Catholic faith, we no longer have those confessionals where you slide open the window so the priest can't tell who he's talking to. No. You're now in the same room, face to face. Because it wasn't hard enough to confess our sins out loud to a dude in a gown. Now you have to do it face to freaking face. We Catholics love the power of guilt. 

So my sweet little girl is kneeling there and she starts out with her, "Bless me Father for I have sinned . . ." She proceeds onto her sins when suddenly she hears a ringing. 

And then, THEN! Monsignor holds up one finger for her to stop confessing her little, "I called my sister a poopy butt." 

He fishes a cell phone out of his vestments and says to my girl, "Hang on. I've got to take this call."

And that is why I'm grateful to our awesome Monsignor because, that sir, is the best story of all times. 

At this time of year, I am grateful for these blessings and so many other things I haven't mentioned like: flavored coffee creamer, the return of Conan O'Brien, the Ritz Carlton, blow dryers, more cowbell, Spanx, satellite radio, Betty White, Pirate Booty, platinum blond hair dye, the fashion comeback of leggings, my vitamin B12 shots, The Star Spangled Banner, Daniel Craig and his chest, Tweezerman tweezers, my iPhone camera, Johnny Depp, the use of wine and my iPod on a very high volume to combat the fact that my daughters all have PMS at the same time, Modern Family, seeing Bono and the boys three times in concert this past tour, San Francisco, Reese's Pieces, Costco, Retin A, and Hammer Time. 

May you be filled with rich bountiful blessings of your own on this eve of the new year and for all the rest of your days. 


Heather said...

How did I miss this before.
I love your list of "thanks".
I didn't realize you had three brothers and three sisters. Wow. You are right, your mom probably was looking for an escape hatch...not that you weren't all angels I am sure!

It has been great getting to know you through your blog this year. Happy New Year. I hope you have a great pomegranate martini and a great 2011.

JoAnna said...

You had my rolling on the floor the FIRST time I read this list and the second reading did not disappoint. You never do. It was this post back in November that made me certain you belong on my list of favorite blogs. My absolute favorite part of this whole thing is your commentary on the picture of you and your brothers. I laughed so hard, my eyes were soaking wet. I'm so glad I was not in a public place reading this. And WHAT is with that bathing cap? You should also be thankful that you are young enough that pictures from your childhood are in color!!

Kim@stuffcould.... said...

I love the list, yes the holiday's are fun. Love your pics too.

Unknown said...

that was hilarious! Thanks for sharing your wonderful, crazy list! And Happy New Year to you!

A. B. Keuser said...

I LOVE "My brothers were my first experience with terrorists."
Funniest thing I've heard all morning!

TesoriTrovati said...

Okay... that picture of you with your terrorist brothers? Makes me pee my pants every time I see it! So many details that you might miss if you were just flying right by it. I just now noticed that there is someone (presumbably your mother searching for the escape hatch) standing on the ottoman. I thought that was a lamp in the center of the room. Which makes me realize that there was another adult in the room taking the picture, unless one of your terrorist brothers was adept at working with a tripod, your mother set it up on a timer with impeccable timing to capture that slice of life, or you were the subject of one of those Mutual of Omaha documentaries where they set up a camera in the natural habitat of the animals and this is what was caught on tape. Either way, this picture makes me snort and chuckle all over myself.

Hope you are sticking to your goal of Joann time imposed by your darling hubby! Have a pom-martini on me. I will think of you whilst I sip champagne and nosh on stale Christmas cookies and Papa Murphy's pizza!

Enjoy the day!

Kelly said...

Awesome, just awesome. I don't know what had me laughing harder, the baby with the gun in its mouth narrowly escaping being swatted with a hockey stick, the FABULOUS swim cap or Monsignor "I gotta take this call."

But why no photo of Running Man?

Cheeseboy said...

Here, I just slammed Wally world in my latest post and there are people like Pam that make the place not so bad. (Except that it is.)

The line dances at weddings are the only reason I go. That and the free corsages.

Hey, I finally gave in and joined Twitter. I know you are still a hold out. I don't know why I caved. I guess all bloggers were doing it.

Baby Sister said...

It's pink!! Sorry, I just was excited that the background was back, cause the last time I looked, it wasn't.

I hate Miley Cyrus. With a passion. I had a whole slew of other things to say, but the hatred I feel towards Miley erased them all from my mind. So there you go. :)

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

That was a funny list! Now I know where you get your sense of humor, middle child. And P.S., all I can picture is that chick who played Mimi on Drew Carey as Pam the WalMart greeter! Did you tell her bite me?

Undeserving Grace said...

You didn't have a choice but to come out of those family photos w/ a hilarious side to you! It must have came in handy for coping reasons. Ha! I laughed til my eyes were watery and people looking at me like I lost my marbles {yes i'm implying I had some to begin with} b/c I read this on my cell phone. I'm stopping by from undeserving grace I'd love to have you come over when you get the time! Happy new years eve!

Gigi said...

Still funny. Always funny. That's you, my favorite blogger. Ever. and friend :)

happy new year! I hope January starts to look up for you!

Rebecca Grace said...

I finally broke down today and placed my first order for Spanx! Some kind of suck-in-the-muffin-top tights and a pair of scary-looking Skinny Britches, selected with the help of Friendly Tiffany the Spanx Consultant. I hope I will be thankful for my Spanx, too, although I might just have to cut the crotches out to make them more exciting. If I could go back in time, I would run around BUTT NAKED back when I was young and skinny and didn't know any better!

...Too much info, perhaps! Anyway, your Thankful list gave me a chuckle. Happy New Year right back atcha!

Rainyday said...

Awwwwww... we are thankful for so many of the same things! Happy New Year!

Pat said...

I love your list, too. Very funny stuff. Your old pictures are priceless. Seeing that picture of your brothers makes me wonder how they ever survived their childhood. I just received a Tweezerman Tweezer for Christmas. Geez those are great! Where have I been?

Have a wonderful New Year!

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for you making me laugh early this New Years day!
The idea that Eric Estrada will play one of the miners cracks me up! And those pictures from your childhood are the funniest things I've seen. Especially that sweet baby with the gun in his mouth. Hysterical!
Have a great year!

Gretchen Seefried said...

I'm thankful for this blog that even when I am nursing a new year's day hangover can make me guffaw with laughter. My hubby and I have this little thing we say when we want to REALLY express how crazy we are about each other...and it is "I love you so much I want to be you" well Joann, forgive my girl crush, but I must say it to you! happy new year-2011 is going to be a biggie. can't wait for your book!

Bossy Betty said...

I just loved this. Your list of blessings is about the same as mine-except for the daughters with PMS thing. (Only sons here.)

Hope your New Year is a wonderful one!

Bossy Betty said...

I loved your list! Blessings are all around if we just look!

Hope your New Year is a wonderful one!

Mom vs. the boys said...

great list, I'm thankful for your awesome blog that makes me laugh everytime I visit!

Dawn in D.C. said...

I giggled my way through your list! The picture of the brothers is priceless, as is the gizzard juice story!

Have a great new year, and really? how bad can a new year be when it starts with vodka? I'm just sayin.

jayayceeblog said...

Thank you so much for the laughs. I have snorted and howled my way through this post. My favorite, of course, is the baby with the gun in his mouth. And the giblet juice tea and the monsignor with the cell phone. Lovin' your stories and your story telling talent!!!

Judie said...

I have a picture of my Joey with Eric Estrada in New York at the Today show. I will find it and send it to you. Why? So you can see how gorgeous Joey is!
Now, back to my Kindle.

The Zadge said...

Were your parents charged with child abuse for putting you in that getup? Love your list, just step back from my boyfriend Daniel Craig.

Liz said...

I feel like a proud mom to be able to say that even kate knows you need to give 'em some cowbell.

Joann, you could put that photo of you in the swim cap in every post you write and I would laugh every time.

Sandra said...

I love Chilean miners, even the cheater...I am still laughing, and although I read the entire post, I kept going back to that part because it was too hilarious!

Deborah said...

Aaaaah! Your list is fabulous!

I adore google images as well and will continue to steal from them with wild abandon.

Happy New Year my blogalicious friend. Your blog is a bright spot.

And . . . thanks for Mark.

Jerry said...

I'm with you on Neil Diamond and the Chilean Miners...and now have a special fondness for Pam.

I do enjoy your thoughts.

Shabbygal said...

I almost peed my pants reading that one! I loove that pic of your bros! Did that baby have a gun in his mouth! That was hilarious gives a lot of insight to your zaniness! MMMMHHHHMMM Mark!Yummy! Hugs,Traci

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