Day 361 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ Grateful for (Good) Coffee

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
~~ Cassandra Clare

“Come on, don’t you ever stop and smell the coffee?”
~~ Justina Chen

I used to hate coffee. A lot. I thought it was bitter and nasty and the only way I could drink it was with tons of cream or milk and sugar. And anything can taste good when you add enough to cover up the taste, so why bother?

Then I started this job I’ve had forever—a job with 12-hour shifts that start at six in the morning which means I have to be up between 4:30—five at the latest. I started drinking it—with tons of cream or milk and sugar—so I could wake up and stay up. It was awful!

Then my long-time and wonderful Live Journal friend CocoaJava heard my problem and thankfully stepped in and lent a hand.

She explained that what Americans were used to drinking was not coffee. At least good coffee. She told me how most brands were made of a cheap but highly caffeinated and high yielding plant versus the type that was originally discovered in Ethiopia centuries before. Those beans have less of a yield and less caffeine. Americans want caffeine, they don’t care about taste.

Did you know that Starbucks sells more milk that actual coffee? It’s to cover up the taste.

I discovered that the beans we are used to drinking from have often sat in small mountains for months and months and months before they are even roasted, and then it can be a year before we drink it.

She encouraged me to check my local quality grocery store in the coffee section. She told me that often a larger city will have a local roaster. That way I could be drinking Arabica beans (the original) that have been roasted very recently. She also explained that the minute beans are ground they begin to lose their flavor. She recommended that I check out the store and she betted that I could ground them right here—and to start with small batches to see if I liked them.

What did I have to lose?

I checked. And yes, they had beans that had been roasted that very week. And they had beans. And a grinder. So I did it. I tried about three small batches and took them home and tried them and OMG!!! Vive la différence!

It was like the difference between fresh ground pepper and those little packets you get from a fast food restaurant. Or Budweiser and the beer that comes from a local small brewery. Like fresh caught fish that day and frozen from Van de Kamp.

I loved it!

I discovered the place that roasted the coffee was right across the street from where I worked and they did tours. I learned more about coffee.

Then I read an article in a little free newspaper that comes out once a week in Kansas City called The Pitch. It featured a store that had just opened less than a mile from where I worked. I checked it out. WOW!

They grind the coffee right as you order it. It’s coffee that was roasted they day before, two or three days at the most. It is roasted in very small batches. Then they do something extraordinary. They take this think that looks a lot like the funnel-thingie in the top of a coffee brewer. They put it on top of a small pitcher. They put a brown filter in, pour in the grounds, and then very very slowly pour the hot water in a spiral pattern over the grounds.

Then came the biggest surprise. They had no creams. No half and half. No sugar. No sweetner. They explained real coffee didn’t need such additives any more than a good steak needed a sauce to cover up the taste of the meat. I was pissed. I had already bought my coffee. They encouraged me to drink it. Their whole mission was to be an Anti-Starbucks and teach people how wonderful coffee really was.

But no sugar? I thought. But what about the bitterness? Even the brand I had learned to love had some bitterness.

I tried it.

And was stunned.

Not one teeny tiny bit of bitterness. Not one. Not a hint. It was almost sweet.

And those claims—similar to the ones that wine tasters make—that a batch might, say, start with a cherry candies flavor as it hits your tounge, and the progress to sweet yellow bell pepper, go to white grape juice and end with a lingering floral/hoppy finish? It was true!

OMG!

And thus was born a lover of coffee. Real coffee.

The store was called “Oddly Correct” and it, and all that I had learned about coffee, were the inspiration for my novel Hound Dog & Bean and the shop I call The Shepherd’s Bean. I go there whenever I can (Oddly Correct, not The Shepherd’s Bean). It’s a wonderful place.

And they even have cream now. But only for their steamed drinks like something called a Gibraltar (which is heaven).

In fact, the owner—Greg—told me that coffee has been referred to as “God in a cup.”

And hey, since God is everything, why not coffee too?

Now when I travel and go to another city, if I get to explore, I try and find a roaster and bring back a bag of something roasted in that city. I often bring home wonderful treasures.

Today (and always) I am grateful for coffee!

After all, it’s God in a cup.

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

PS: Checkout Oddly Correct’s website right here: http://www.oddlycorrect.com/ You will be amazed!

Day 360 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ So Thankful for My Friend Linnea

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“Nothing come from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good….”
~~ The Sound of Music

It all started with a beckoning finger. And a pair of pants.

And so started one of the best and most important friendships of my life.

I don’t know if people remember, but there was this jean fashion that the rock group Def Leppard made popular. The were torn in multiple horizontal slashes down the front and the back. They were a total bitch to get on because your feet kept sticking through the wrong holes, in and how with fabric that was supposed to go in the front going in the back and visa versa. So you had to have someone help you get them on. They would weave their hand up through the mess, grab your foot, and then pull it down and through. It was hilarious but oh it looked so sexy. I was in my early thirties and in good shape and I looked pretty good in the ones I made.

So I was at this convention and I feel this little tap on my shoulder and I turn around to see this vivacious lady and she is doing the old beckoning finger movement and she says, “Come here little boy, I have just what you need.”

I looked at her, then my buddy, back at her, then my buddy. Did I go with her? Who was she? What did she have? Was this a come on? Did she know I was gay?

My friend shrugged and told me to go with her.

So I followed her across the atrium, where many hucksters/dealers were selling all kinds of stuff, and when we got to her booth I saw it was all clothes and stuff. She reached into a rack and….

….pulled out a jeans jacked that was shredded all down the back.

My eyes went wide! I gasped! All wonderings of who this lady was vanished in an instant.

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” And then the fear. How much did she want? Could I afford it? “How much do you want?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Five bucks okay?”

What? Five dollars? For that jacket?? “That’s all? Are you sure?”

She grinned a grin that was almost evil…but too fun to truly be so. “It belonged to an ex. He was a creep. He left it at my place.”

I grinned back. I could get behind that. “Sold!”

And as I said before, so started one of the best and most important friendships of my life.

If there were ever a real life Lucy and Ethel, it’s us, although we switch roles.

Linnea is amazing. She’s beautiful, she’s classy, she is sexy as hell, she’s fun, she’s trouble (the best kind), she’s talented, she throws the best parties, she’s an inspiration…. All this and more.

She’s been there for me through thick and thin. She was there when I found out my ex was cheating and held my hand many a time and was thrilled for me when I split up with him and was a ear for me, and she never ever repeated anything I told her. AND when I did leave him, she was an example. I thought to myself, “What would Linnea do?” What she would do was keep her mouth shut, keep her business to herself, and not bad mouth the ex no matter how much he might have “deserved” it. That is what I did. And I never asked anyone to choose! My ex on the other hand spread all kinds of vicious horrible stories about me.

And all our friends, most of his included, chose me.

For years my husband and I had a incredible Halloween party. Two hundred people could show up. I learned most of my tricks from Linnea on how to throw a good party and then through her, figured out even more.

We have played Easter rabbits at a big party. That is a funny story too long to tell here, but I will say we had to dress out in the woods and thought we were all alone and just as we dropped trou, a family came down the path. Embarrassing and so funny!

Have I mentioned that Linnea throws the most incredible parties ever? The last decade she has been doing a Chinese New Year’s party which is beyond description. Of course she goes with the theme and that (in one evening) goes from the sacred and serious to the absurd and hilarious. There was the blow up the monkey contest and sumu wrestling and of course we are encouraged to wear costumes and there are prizes prizes prizes. Generous prizes. The year of the rabbit she put out a Playboy calendar with her sexy friends as the montly mondels and I got to help with that! I helped photograph a lot of the ladies and it was so much fun. She promises that her last CNY party—the year of the Cock (LOL!)—will be the best ever!

Linnea always matches. She has the most fabulous outfits in the world and from skirts to tops to gloves to boots to belts to hats to purses to clutches to coin purses to lighters, everything goes together. Why she will find exact same patterns spread out over years worth of time and see that hat is the exact leopard print as a belt and gloves she has. She can remember! And all leopard prints are not the same!

It’s inspiring! As I’ve said already, she’s inspiring.

Like my friend Greg from Men’s Festival, she’s always in the know of the new cocktail (or the revised cocktail from the twenties or something) that all the cool kids are drinking. I like ordering the cool drink. Right now it’s the Moscow Mule and it’s citrus vodka and ginger beer served in a frigid cold brass mug. There have been many cool drinks in the past and Linnea taught me how fabulous a G&T can be in the spring and summer—so refreshing. The secret is lot of ice and lots of lime.

Trips, even day trips, with Linnea are a blast. Always fun. Always an adventure waiting to happen.

She is generosity personified.

To tie her generous nature and adventure together…. One year for my birthday she got me seats to see the mind-blowing group called Pink Martini. I was so excited, they are one of my favorites of all time. She told me she wasn’t able to get floor tickets. I didn’t care. We started off at a martini bar to celebrate and had pink ones, and the were surprised to find out that the bar had a free ride to go to the theater we needed to go (we all fall into these things when we’re together). Then we get there and ask the theatre guide for help and we start walking toward the stage. What? I wondered. And we kept going. At about the fifteenth row a couple I know—very well off calls to me and I stop and we hug and the guide clears this throat and I say I have to leave and….we keep going. To the third row! The third row! The concert was every single thing I could have hoped for and more. The more being….

1) I was singing along and then the people around us started singing along and at intermission thanked us because they wanted to sing along but were afraid it would be rude and….
2) The entire band was waiting in the lobby and we got to get all their autographs and that was a lot of autographs!

Then we got a ride back to the bar and had more martinis!

This is just one of the many many many adventures I’ve had with my dear friend Linnea.

Linnea can sing. OMGosh can she sing! I know she could have been a professional and famous but she chose a life-life instead. But that doesn’t mean she can’t sing! Almost every year at this convention we go to, she does a huge (and I mean huge) production number with singers and dancers and costumes and everything. I’ve even got to be in a few. It’s like being famous for one night. Ahhhhhhh, so much fun!

Have I mentioned that she has done parties for me? At least one surprise party and then she hosted one of the BIG ones for me. It was incredible.

She gets the tab far too often. Or more than 50% of the bill. That’s the way she is.

Generosity personified.

Of course she has inspired a character. You can find her in my story Uninvited in the four-author anthology Bones. I am very proud of that story.

We’ve been there for each other a lot. At least I hope I’ve been there for her. She has been through a few illnesses that I don’t feel I can’t bandy about (she’s also private) and I hope I was able to be there in some small way for her. She sure has been there for me. Through the fear that I might have been infected with HIV (I wasn’t), a horrible breakup that changed my life, illnesses and getting married.

She sang at my wedding. She sang, At Last and it was unbelievable and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I love Linnea without reservation. I hope one day that she and I will take some magical trip together. To some other country. Something incredible together.

And I hope one day, in some old folks home, we are still doing production numbers together showing that we will be singing and dancing and entertaining until the very edge.

Lucy and Ethel.

Or is it Ethel and Lucy?

Who knows?

All I know is that there must be a God. Because it’s the only explanation for having such a wonderful friend. As the Sound of Music says, “I must have done something good….”

Today I am extremely grateful to call the amazing woman Linnea, “friend.”

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

Day 359 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ Thankful For Christmas With Family

“It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.”
~~ Moliere

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
~~ Calvin Coolidge

So it’s only like the second Christmas I haven’t had to work in nine years…and believe me, I’m very grateful.

Got up and walked the dogs—it’s interesting walking two with very different ideas on where they want to go, and when, and when they want to stop to go potty, and when the other one doesn’t…. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Then I made coffee and cinnamon rolls and the neighbor gave us some Irish cream liqueur for Christmas! Just in time to go into the coffee.

We exchanged a few pressies, simple, fun. We’re getting to the point after fifteen years that sometimes the real present can come weeks or even few months later when one of us says, “That. That’s what I want! Is that okay?”

And of course it is.

It might not seem magickal, but I think it is. To have been together long enough that we can be that way and love each other so deeply, even if it’s not always demonstrative. I sure do like it when someone asks how long we’ve been together and their eyes go wide and they say, “Wow! That’s great.” And I don’t think it’s really truly because we’re gay. Not anymore anyway. It used to be that way at only five years because people didn’t think gay couples stayed together even that long (wrong) and then we started hearing, “You’ve been together longer than most of my straight friends,” and the honest smile showed me that really do believe it’s love.

And it is. Why else would we put up with the worst if not for the best? There is sure some best, I can say that.

We snacked on leftovers and we made a big crockpot of tortilla soup to go with the Christmas lasagna we knew was to come, packed the car and were on our way.

Dinner was a feast and it was nice. Really nice. It’s great to be an accepted (and loved by some) part of this small town American family that used to tell fag jokes and think they were pretty funny until their family member—my husband—brought homosexuality into their lives. R’s niece tell jokes and seems very happy when I compliment her (she really is pretty) and R’s uncle has mostly gotten over his uncomfortableness (is that a word?) and R’s nephew (old enough to have a eight or ten year old daughter) accepted us long ago and loves that he can talk to me about Star Wars and Marvel superhero movies and the like. He always reaches out to me. And to his daughter, we’re just Uncle R and Uncle Ben.

Nice. Really nice.

Called my mom and she asked for forgiveness that she couldn’t host us this year. Really, Mom? Your new husband had a massive stroke and hasn’t been home in at least two months and his is recovering very very very slowly and you spend your every day in the various facilities where he has been and you are apologizing because we couldn’t come to stay with you?

Let me say now that the reason I have the moral foundation that I have, the loving heart, the sure geniality is because of my mother.

We’re home now and maybe going to watch a Christmas movie, something with a dog that we found at Walmart in the $3.95 bend. We can hardly go wrong with a dog.

And I ask R earlier if he was okay with Christmas—if I did okay with the Dr. Who DVDs—and he said he was very happy. And after all, what he really wanted to do was spend a Christmas back in his beloved house that he lost years ago, and go back this year. And he was glad I wanted to be here in this house in Brookfield with him. That’s about as romantic as R usually gets.

I’ll take it any day.

So tonight I am grateful for a very nice Christmas shared with my husband (husband!) and our two wonderful dogs in this, our second home, in Brookfield.

And love. Plenty of love.

Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a good night.
B.G. Thomas


photograph is from our own family front door, by me

Day 358 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ Thankful for Christmas Lights

Oh, Christmas lights, light up the street
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Those Christmas lights keep shinin’ on
~~ Coldplay

Growing up I always loved Christmas lights. They were magical. Of course that was back when the bulbs were the same size as the ones often used in night lights. And there were only a few colors. If I remember right; white, red, green…and maybe yellow and orange?

But that made them no less lovely.

Through the years the sellers of such stuff have gotten smart and thrown us all kinds of lights and decorations through the years. Smaller and brighter, blinkies of all different speeds and patterns, more colors, icicles, and more. More being such things as all the scenes/scenery stuff—nativities and Christmas stars and flying reindeer and lit up blow up Santas and snowmen and countless other delights.

I guess there are those that could say it’s all very commercialistic and it’s all about Walmart and other such giants trying to make a buck.

To you I say, “Bah, humbug!” I love Christmas decorations—re, lights. They so often look to me like the houses have been sprinkled with those little itty-bitty pieces of candy that people shake over Christmas cookies! The little balls, not the stuff that looks like glitter. Soooooooo pretty!

There are all kinds of displays and setups! Some people go with all one color. Some with only cool or only warm. Some people think that less is more and others seem to be trying to signal in the Mother Ship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Some displays are masterworks and I think secretly to myself, gay men did this house. Lights flawlessly lined up, usually in colors that I wouldn’t necessarily thing of as Christmas, say silver and purple with huge bows of shimmery fabric here and there and a large matching perfect wreath on the door.

Then there’s the houses with so many blow-ups and statues and plastic characters crammed onto their lawns, so many lights on their houses (all mismatched and hung any which way) that I wonder if their December light bill is higher than the rest of the year combined. The word “tacky” might apply.

I don’t care, I love ‘em anyway. I love the tacky and the minimalist and the crazy and the bright and the blinkies and those houses that I shamelessly credit to fashion conscious (and perhaps OCD) homosexuals.

There are neighborhoods where all the neighbors get together and decorate the whole block—in matching themes. It’s like a modern electric Winter Wonderland.

Sometimes a small city will set up their park and let people sign up to light up certain sections. That’s what happened last year down in Arkansas where my mom lives. We drove through it and it was like some kind of Christmas light Disneyland ride. I freaking loved it! There were Christmas trout! I kid thee not (the town my mom retired to is famous for their fishing and trout) I loved it!

Years ago my parents participated in this park-thing. My dad created this elaborate board filled with lights before he died. It was easy to take down so my mom would, with a little help, set it up again year after year even after he passed—but she finally had to stop.

I used to put up a lot of lights, but that was when I was with my ex and he didn’t mind climbing like a monkey all over our very tall house. My legally wed husband on the other hand isn’t into all of that and since I can’t stand on a kitchen chair to change a light bulb in a ceiling fixture we have joined the ranks of what I would call minimalist decorators. I will put up those clear hose-things with lights inside. Around the porch. Where I don’t have to climb. And they’re pretty enough.

I miss all the lights though. But, ah well. Who knows what could happen next year?

Anything could happen.

For weeks now I’ve been taking pictures of Christmas lights. But funny thing, I’m not seeing as many as I am used to, which made me a little sad. Maybe it’s the price of the electric bill?

*pouts*

Because Christmas lights brings back my childhood and I am a pretty darned amazing childhood. Very magic. And we had lights. Lots of them. *happy sigh*

Last night my hubby drove me all over Brookfield looking for lights. There weren’t as many as I hoped, even in Small Town Midwest America, but there were still a lot. And they fit all the categories I have mentioned above. I had a ball.

On this day, where there are only eight days left of both the year and 365 Days of Silver, I am very thankful for Christmas lights.

And especially for a husband who was willing to drive me all over town to take pictures. I asked for five minutes. He gave me near an hour. I would say, “Okay, we can go home now” (being very aware that what we were doing was not his thing) and then he would say, “Oh look, want me to go down this street?”

I am teary thinking of it. I think he loves me. *grin*

And what is more “Christmas” than that? What more holiday and Chanukah and Solstice and Kwanzaa that that?

Because the overriding theme is Love, right?

And wow, what is there to be more grateful for than love?

Much Love and Happy Holidays,
B.G. Thomas

PS: I would love to see your holiday lights if you want to share them.
PPS: *hint*hint*

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This is Kansas City’s famous Plaza. The light it up each year and it is simply stunning!

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A gay couple owns this house. Are you surprised? I love these two guys and have been in their home several times. They’re the penultimate hosts! I can’t figure out how they get this giant display up!

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This house I found both lovely and a little bit spooky at the same time. Loved it!

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One of many, many Nativities I saw. This one though, instead of being plastic statues, was some kind of billboard. Very bright.

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This one struck me because of just how high that star was. Hope you can tell by the photo. They really missed a bet skipping a Nativity set.

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This Nativity made me laugh and laugh (sacrilegiously though it may have been). Check the inset. The three kings are laying on the ground. We couldn’t figure out if it was the fact that they were just so tuckered out after their long long journey that they just decided to take a nap after delivering the gold, frankincense and myrrh em or if they had partied a bit too hardy after the self-same gift delivery!

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Something mysterious happened to this flying reindeer. It looks to me like perhaps he was strung up after being hunted. See the red blood beneath him?

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I wish you could see just how gorgeous the tree in the window is here in this picture. Hundreds of lights along with huge red bows made it stunningly gorgeous. I am betting a gay man decorated it!

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I simply loved the three snowmen sitting on the porch swing at this house!

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My husband thought I was making fun of Brookfield in my quest for tacky lights. he couldn’t have been more wrong. I love them all and this house–the winner as far as I am concerned, was wonderfully wonderfully tacky! LOVED IT!

I left the rest of these smaller. Click on them if you want to see them bigger!

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Day 357 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ Remembering What Is Important

“We need to regularly stop and take stock; to sit down and determine within ourselves which things are worth valuing and which things are not; which risks are worth the cost and which are not. Even the most confusing or hurtful aspects of life can be made more tolerable by clear seeing and by choice.”
~~ Epictetus

It’s been a rough few months. It has. There is no other way to look at it. Pretending that it hasn’t is foolish.

However….

I admit my guilt in what I did to make it worse.

I commend myself for looking for silver linings!

But I dwelled a lot on what has been taken from me.

And now I am remembering…. Remembering that I never know what is coming, what is around the bend in the road, and that nothing lasts forever.

I’ve talked about here that one of the things I like about being the age I am is that I can look back at my life and that even though there were some dark and even horrible times, it got better. Times got better. Much better.

Have I told this story before? Forgive me if I have, but heck, it’s a good story….

I knew someone who wanted to work for the city. He knew it would be a terrific spring board to better things. He was young and working for the government for awhile (maybe a decade or so?) could only do him good.

I those days you went down town and you took these tests—only one of them a typing test—which took hours, and when you were all done—it you passed—then you got three interviews with various branches in city government. If you didn’t get one of the three jobs, you had to start over again and take the tests again.

So my friend asked me to pray for him, because we both believed….

John 14:13-14: Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Then my friend got his interviews. He was one of those people who interview well. We knew he would get one of those jobs. We knew it!

And he didn’t.

He was devastated. We prayed in Jesus’ name after all. We were told that if you ask Jesus anything in his name, it would be done.

“I feel like Jesus has slapped my in the face,” he told me.

I reminded him that we never know what’s waiting…and we have to trust.

Then a funny thing happen. My friend got a fourth interview—which you are never supposed to get.

So he went, he interviewed…and he got the job!

Now this is were the story really rocks.

A few weeks later Kansas City did the biggest layoff in the city’s history. People were let go in every single department by seniority…except for one.

The department where he was hired. Which was the water department and the only department that made its own money. The layoff didn’t affect them.

If my friend had gotten a job in any other department he would have lost his job.

And when we prayed? We prayed he would get a job with the city.

That is what happened.

Because “God” can see around the bend in the road—a thing we can’t do.

So I have to remember—I believe in leaping and nets appearing. It’s not something I pretend to believe in. I believe that “God” is in all things. I believe God can see around the bend in the road.

And so I must believe, can continue to believe, that “whether or not it is clear to [me], no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

For some reason it has taken far longer for me to get away from the Evil Job where I work, and at least a year longer for me to make my living from my writing.

But suddenly in the last weeks things, bit by bit, are lining up more and more.

I must remember that everything is happening as it should and that God can see around the bend in the road and will make what is best for me happen.

So I am very grateful that I am remembering what is important. That I believe, That I fully know that….

Mark 11:24: Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Everything that I want is coming to me.

Exactly when it should.

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

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photograph by ghouston from mourgeFile

Day 356 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ Thankful for Pain Relievers

Not that I like to take pain relievers—I try and wait most days. But when relaxation doesn’t help and I don’t have access to a hot bath (or even when I do, like right this second)—it’s nice to have access to them.

I had a very rough day at work. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a bad day. Not compared to how they’ve been at work. But it was a rough day.

(Side note: Yesterday was a great day. A really great day. At work. The first good day I can remember while at work in months. Perhaps a year even.)

Today the overtime work they’ve been expecting for almost two weeks hit and hit with a vengeance.

I am aching everywhere. My back. My knees. My feet. My legs. My shoulders. My right elbow (!!!). At some point my right big toe nail (of the toe that I have mentioned is sometimes completely numb since my right knee replacement) got tore up and bled into my sock and the one relief is that it’s numb enough that I don’t feel any real pain there….

And what can I do? I can take a few pills (and I mean a few, no more) and the pain will go away!

Not that I’m all that worried about pain. I mean after a heart attack at 38, several afibs, and appendicitis, the after effects of an appendicitis (where they had accidentally stuck my intestine closed) that was so horribly painful while I was in bed I hallucinated a shimmering rainbow ghost-stagecoach explode out of the wall, leap over me, and then plow into the opposite wall, a gallbladder attack (where it turned out it had gangrene) then what I am going through today is (you should excuse the cliché) is peanuts.

But the thing is that I don’t have to suffer.

I can run to my local CVS and get some pain relief.

I can even get the CVS brand which is much cheaper.

And pick up my low strength aspirin (for my heart) that I was out of.

And now I’ve taken it and in just a half hour I am already feeling better.

I’d say that’s something to be grateful for.

And I am.

I think I can get back to editing now!

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

Day 355 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ The Joys of Crossword Puzzles

“There seem to be two main types of people in the world, crosswords and sudokus.”
~~ Rebecca McKinsey

A few years ago my crossword puzzle skills were pretty negligible. But then with a little help from my friend Caryl, I got better and better at them and soon came to enjoy them a lot.

I’m no whiz like Caryl or my faerie brother Alan aka Leadfoot. She uses a pen and he can do five a day, some in mete minutes.

But I’m no slouch either!

The one in People magazine is ridiculously easy and I’ve never finished a NYT puzzle, not even Monday’s. But the Kansas City Star has a good one though. Some days it will take me (on and off throughout the day) about an hour, and on a good day about fifteen minutes! I get excited when I can do that!

They’re so much fun.

But what’s really cool is that working a crossword puzzle puts my brain into a different rhythm. A different mindset. The old neurons seem to fire in a different way.

I love it as it all, quite suddenly, starts coming together like magic and I begin solving the clues faster and faster. It’s a thrill!

But what I really like is that working those puzzles somehow activates a creative part of my brain. If I do a crossword and then start writing…?

Words begin to flow easier. My inner library of knowledge more accessible. My vocabulary changes for the better, along with my word usage.

Somehow crossword puzzles activate my creativity on an exciting level. Without thinking I’ll pick different words that I might usually use (I way overuse certain words like “amazing”).

As I said, it’s exciting.

So first of all, crossword puzzles are fun. And second, they’re useful. My brain works better and my creative side is boosted.

And it’s perfectly safe, and healthy!

All in all, I can’t go bad.

And how can l be anything less than grateful for that?

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

P.S. Does anyone know a four letter word for “sled race?”