This Atheist Has Lots to Be Thankful For

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA. For those celebrating, I hope you had a reasonably good time with the minimum of irritations and indigestion. For those who were protesting, I hope you got a good response. It pays to remember that our history is complex and quite often not very nice.

Thanksgiving has often been a day filled with family and friends for me, but it’s also frequently a holiday where Misha and I take the opportunity to celebrate alone. This year, we were going to entertain a friend who’s just had surgery, but her caretaker decided to stay in town and they had a quiet feast of their own. I didn’t know for sure until the last minute, so I declined plans with another friend, and by the time the day rolled around, I was feeling like having an introvert’s Thanksgiving, so I turned down an offer from my housemate to tag along to another gathering. I had everything I needed for a feast. I had a ton of editing to do. I was happy staying home alone! All of this to say: don’t worry a bit that it was just me and my kitty and Facebook. We love our solitary holidays.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First and foremost: there’s you. My readership has made my precarious first steps as a freelancer possible. You’ve all gotten me through some pretty tough times. There have been a few unexpected hurdles, which you helped me clear. I’ve landed on my feet so far because of you, and I’m writing this on an amazing sweet computer you funded, and I cannot possibly be more grateful for having such a community. You are all the best!

Misha wants to thank you, too. She adores this new machine. She thinks the vent gently blowing warm air is the best thing ever.

Image shows Misha lying beside my laptop with her paw on the edge and her cheek resting on her paw.
Misha cuddles up to the laptop vent. I’m thankful to the designers of this machine, who seem to have found ways to allow it to vent heat despite cats being in the way.

I’m thankful to my housemates for providing me an affordable, safe, and nurturing place to live. They are awesome people who have enriched my life, and don’t get fussed by my extreme introvert moments.

I’m thankful to my parents for making a me who’s thankful for all this stuff, and raising me in a wonderful, stable home. They cared for me, educated me, provided me with the best childhood a kid could ask for, fed my creativity until I about burst with it, and sent me off into the world equipped to be a responsible adult. My stepmom didn’t come into the picture until I’d already moved out, but that doesn’t make her any less my mom – she’s been there for me when I needed a mom for advice, encouragement, and the occasional ganging up on my poor father. And my dad has given me so much strength and love over these years. I love them to bits, and the only bad thing about living in Seattle is being so far from them. I don’t call and write enough, but they’re always held right here in my heart, and I will always be grateful I’ve got them.

I’m thankful to my blogosphere colleagues, who have taken me from wanna-be writer to a person with not one but two amazing blogging platforms. Yeah, I’ve worked my ass off to become a halfway decent writer, but without them, I’d still be toiling away on Blogger in relative obscurity.

I’m thankful to my friends, who have broadened my horizons, shown me entirely new ways to have fun, been there for the tough times, been my cheerleaders when writing’s been hard, and are overall just a remarkably neato bunch of human beings I’m entirely fortunate to know.

I’m thankful for the protesters and agitators who are risking their lives and their health to improve this mucked up world. They’re out there every day fighting to make life better for racial and sexual/gender minorities, refugees, women, and children. They’re challenging systems many of us are just trying hard not to get crushed by. This has been an amazing year for protests, and I think we’re going to see a lot of history made. I think this is going to be as crucial an era as the Civil Rights era. And I’m thankful to everyone who’s making it happen.

Turning abruptly to the domestic, my solo Thanksgiving feast turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself:

Image shows a plate of food, with roughly equal proportions of turkey and gravy, stuffing, and taters.
Easiest Thanksgiving feast ever: turkey breast roasted by the grocery store, Stovetop stuffing, brown gravy, and Idahoan au gratin potatoes.

I’m thankful to everyone who made this feast possible, including but not limited to: farmers, ranchers, field and dairy workers, slaughter houses, various production and transportation workers, store employees, people who make all the cookware and dinnerware, the folks who provide the energy that makes the stove and refrigerator run, and finally, the government that makes sure this food is safe for human consumption.

Misha had her own little feast of Whiskas Temptations treats. I’m thankful to the people who invented them, and discovered some sort of kitty heroin to sprinkle over them, because they have even a fussy elderly felid who has lost much of her sense of taste and smell going bonkers for them. Sometimes, when she’s being ultra-disinterested in food, it’s the only thing outside of tuna that she’ll eat. So, these treats have not only provided her a fun feast today, but kept her alive to enjoy this day. Twenty-one years and eight months, people. This was our twenty-first Thanksgiving together. Incredible.

Image shows Misha eating treats off of a white paper plate.
Misha’s snarfing up her feast so quick she’s blurry!

I’m thankful to the folks who thought up mini frozen pies, because they are amazeballs.

Image shows two small round pies on a cookie sheet.
Mah pies, ready to go into the oven. No worries, folks: despite the lack of a vent, they did not asplode. They are a miracle of modern food engineering.

One is cherry-blueberry, the other apple, for those who are curious. They’re nowhere near as good as the pies my dad makes, but they’ll still be mightily tasty, and I am thankful to the people who invented and manufactured them so that I didn’t have to spend all day baking. I got kitty cuddles instead. Speaking of which, I’m thankful to the people who made, sold, and delivered our bedding, so that we could have a magnificently warm and comfy post-feast nap.

Image shows Misha curled up on my tummy with a little white paw by her face. She's buried in a pile of blue and green down blankets.
Naptime for Misha and mommy.

I could go on for days, mentioning people I’m thankful for. None of us is in this alone. We’re all supported by a sometimes-invisible network of folks, all contributing their bit. We can do better by each other. And many of us are working our asses off to ensure the world becomes kinder, and people don’t have to struggle so much to have good, fulfilling lives. There’s a long, tough journey ahead. So it’s good to pause occasionally and appreciate and thank everyone who’s gotten us this far.

Thank you, my darlings, for everything.

I shall now hug and smooch my cat by way of showing my love for her and you and everything.

Image shows me with Misha. She's in my lap, and I have her head cupped in my hand while I give her a kiss on the cheek. All that's visible of her is her chest, foot, and nose.
Smoochies! It looks terribly undignified, but no kittehs were harmed in the making of this photo. She was getting chin rubs and looks ridiculous.

And you have witnessed a miracle: she doesn’t try to rip my face off in the process. I’m thankful to her for that!

If you’re having to Black Friday shop today or travel, be safe out there, and please be kind to the poor retail folk, for whom today is just about like the apocalypse.

This Atheist Has Lots to Be Thankful For

7 thoughts on “This Atheist Has Lots to Be Thankful For

  1. rq

    So I already asked about the potatoes, but can I just give a huge shout-out to stove-top stuffing? Just YUM.
    And while I’m a big fan of the home-made pie (may I pat myself on the back for a moment there), I have a special weak spot for store-bought pies, and I have no idea why.
    Can’t wait to see your volcano-pies, whenever you figure out how to make them!!!

  2. 2

    I appreciated your shout-out to all the people behind the scenes that produce our food and other necessities and comforts of civilized life.

    It always irked me that Obama was criticized for the “you didn’t build that” remark (about infrastructure). It was perfectly true and valid, and the criticisms revealed a lot about the criticizers.

  3. 3

    Yes, they make some pet treats and foods with stuff that is formulated to be essentially drug-like in taste and smell. It’s kind of an evil marketing thing, but i have also been grateful for the same effect in the past.

    Glad to know you had a happy Thanksgiving. And thank you.

  4. 4

    I’m thankful that you all here at FtB (both bloggers and commenters) provide such great content and continue to take inclusiveness so seriously. It’s so great to be able to come to a place and get my atheism/skepticism/science/SJW needs met with an environment that doesn’t tolerate Racism/Sexism/Homophobia/Transphobia/Ableism etc., even from it’s front-pagers. Thank you. Hope you had wonderful holidays/non-holidays.

  5. 5

    Happy kitty, lucky kitty.

    Lovely to see an appreciation for all the other people in our society. We, all of us, have made something amazing. Thanks to all who are trying to make it even better.

    Thanks for the shout-out to retail workers. My wife was working yesterday.

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