I’m grateful to see Ice Canyon forming up, and to be able to walk there with my little dog. I’m grateful for the vast, tremendous sky and all that happens in it day to day, moment to moment. I’m grateful for my life just as it is on this day of giving thanks, for where I live and how, for teachers and students, for friends and community, for a sense, in this moment, of safety and ease. I’m grateful for knowing any of this can change in any moment, which inspires me to appreciate all of it every moment as much as possible.
I’m grateful for a tidy stack of wood in the shed, protected from the elements, and for the helpers who stacked it. I’m grateful for the simple meal I made for my Thanksgiving dinner, cheesy samosa puffs, and for the jar of last year’s salsa verde I pulled from the pantry to dip them in. It was a delicious early dinner.
I’m grateful for eggs, flour, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla extract, cream cheese and butter, and the knowledge to turn them into a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It’s not exactly like the Sarah Lee cakes I grew up with, but pretty good nonetheless! I did substitute cream cheese for some of the butter in the frosting because I could and plain butter cream is too–well, buttery–for my taste. I’m grateful that two dear neighbors wanted to share their Thanksgiving dinners with me, and that I was able to share this cake with them. And so glad that I’ll have plenty of turkey, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and more to enjoy for the next few days. I’m grateful for leftovers! I’m grateful for friends. I’m grateful for the leisure and opportunity to cultivate contentment in my life.
We girls are taught from a young age to spend a lot of money on skin care, buying all sorts of products in countless fancy brands. I’m grateful that I’ve learned at long last how to take care of my skin, the body’s largest organ, fairly efficiently with just a few items, in this arid desert climate. The most important thing we can do for our skin (and our hearts) is to stay hydrated, simply drinking more water each day than we think we need. I’m grateful, as I am every day, for potable water at the turn of a tap. But beyond that, in this harsh climate, I do use just a few products.
First, I almost never use soap on my face anymore, and I’m grateful for figuring out I don’t need it. Once I’ve washed my face in the morning with hot water, I squirt some avocado oil into my palm and smooth it all over my face and neck. Just regular avocado oil from the grocery store, organic when possible. It’s much cheaper than fancy lotion, without unnecessary chemicals, and moisturizes better than anything I’ve ever tried. Once I’ve rubbed that in, I apply a layer of Elta MD physical sunscreen which uses zinc instead of chemicals to protect from UV rays. I’m grateful for the aesthetician who recommended that to me many years ago.
I keep several jars of Hive Magic moisturizing cream around the house for lips and hands, and use it on my face at bedtime. This rich, handcrafted, small-batch cream contains organic plant-based oils, beeswax, honey, propolis, and pollen, period. It’s great for extra-dry skin, it keeps those fingertip cracks at bay in winter and summer, and can be used anywhere, hair, face, hands, lips, heels. I suffer from dry lips, especially when I don’t drink enough water. After trying a number of recipes with multiple ingredients, I finally made a great exfoliant by adding fine caster sugar to this cream. Rub it gently on my lips every morning for about a minute, then rinse as I wash my face with hot water. After that, I apply the cream plain, or use some other kind of lip balm, and reapply throughout the day.
I sometimes use another lotion aprés-shower on arms and legs, and that’s about it. After forty years of spending too much money and suffering the assault of random fragrances, I’m grateful that I can get my most important skin care at the grocery store, and with a few extra items keep this aging skin in pretty good shape. I’m grateful I no longer have to think about it! No more manipulation by advertisers, no more costly gambles, just functional, affordable skin care. I’m grateful there are still avocados. I don’t expect avocados, almonds, chocolate, or coffee to be readily available later in my life, as climate chaos wreaks its havoc, but I’m grateful to have access to them now, and intend to make the most of them for as long as I can.