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This year is nearly over. I am ready for it to end. Aside from my lovely trip to Savannah and the August dinner party, this year has nothing to recommend it. It’s been full of strife, frustration, uncertainty and sadness. In the beginning, it’s easy to deal with less than stellar conditions in your life, because things usually balance out. To have it last for so long takes a toll.

You begin to look not for big nuggets of goodness or luck because evidently there aren’t any. You simply expect things will not go your way for the foreseeable future. It’s exhausting.

But since I am generally a glass-half-full person, I keep trying to tell myself it could be worse. And have no doubt, that is very true. We are healthy. I have a roof over my head.

But if that’s as good as things get, a person has to begin to find the goodness in the smaller things. Because there has to be a reason to keep plodding through this muck.

And so I’ve started a little list in my head that gives me hope or happiness in the midst of not-so-great.

Coffee. With milk and sugar. Or a cappuccino, on the dry side with sugar and cinnamon.

A weekend day with no plans. Sunny or rainy, but wide open with possibility even if I do nothing.

Jeans that fit just right.

My tattoos.

A well-made cocktail. Usually in a martini glass. Making them for other people is sometimes better than making them for myself. Must use high-quality booze and accoutrements.

Dinner parties. I don’t even mind the cleaning. It’s about planning the menu, inviting, cooking, conversation. Nourishing people’s bodies and souls. It’s selfish of me, because I get more out of it than any guest does.

Fire on a windy, rainy winter night. Preferably with a cocktail and candles.

A perfect set of words. Current favorites:

“Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship”.

Dorothy Parker

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun”.

Jane Austen

Anything by e.e. cummings. The man is magic.

Crispness. Of a perfect french fry. Creme brulee topping. A fall day when leaves are changing and bright. A winter day after snow. Fresh sheets. A chocolate chip cookie, buttery crisp. A retort.

Jack. The one in my family who asks nothing but food and a walk. His heart is so wide.

Serendipity. The color and texture that became just right after the 5th layer. The mistake that led to the perfect combination. Being in the right spot to see an old friend.

No laundry pile.

When my son says thank you for making his lunch.

Glen Hansard’s voice.

Friends who let me be snarky and know exactly what I mean.

Champagne.

This last thing is perhaps not so small. Over these many months when things are not-so-great, even when it seems I am alone, I am not. The Geek stands beside me. Sometimes I am the strong one; sometimes he is. Bolstering, encouraging, reminding. Someday soon hopefully, our luck will change. In the meantime, there are the tiny things that sometimes add up to enough greatness to light the way.

Leaving you with some magic. May it light the way.

[love is more thicker than forget]

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
e.e. cummings
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