Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving: Friends

I run the risk of being ridiculously cheesy with this next series of posts, but it's my blog...I'll be cheesy if I want to.

As we all know, it's coming up on Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I mean, it's All About Food - what's not to love? Turkey, yum; stuffing, used to hate it when I was a kid, but think it's one of the best things about roasted turkey now; mashed potatoes, must have garlic in them; and pies, lots of pies. And cranberries. With walnuts.

Just a few days ago, I was wondering where I was the last couple of Thanksgivings. It's a little thing I do around holidays - think about what's changed since last year and where I was. It's usually kinda a tough little exercise since I move around so much. Last year, KISKA's ombudsman invited everyone over for dinner. Delish! And fun. Year before that...Bahrain, don't remember if we were underway or not.

Holidays are odd underway. Somebody has to stand the watch. Every day. All day. And night. But it's a little sad when it's you standing the watch, hanging out with people you wouldn't necessarily choose to be with on those special days, missing family and the football games and parades and all the little traditions that make holidays something to look forward to. I find this lingering sadness tinged with pride, though. Pride for doing a job that not everyone is willing or able to do, pride for serving in an amazing service for a great nation with a fascinating history, pride for being willing to make sacrifices in order to contribute to a "greater good." I was never so great a patriot before I joined the service and went overseas somehow, but there's more reflection on that than I want to do here. Holidays can suck underway, but I think it's something that helps bond shipmates...you're all suffering together. Though the cooks (and the command) usually try to make sure that "suffering" is tempered with some morale.

Anyway, this post wasn't really supposed to be about holidays underway. It's supposed to be about Thanksgiving. And the cheesy part is that I'm going to write the next few posts on things that I'm thankful for. I've got so much that is going, has gone, and will very likely continue to go well for me that I feel it's somehow necessary to acknowledge that I've got it *really* good.

So, friends...I am thankful for my friends. I don't have a ton of friends, mostly because I'm a pretty introverted person, and I move a lot. I volunteered a few weeks ago at the phone bank for the local public radio station's fund drive, and after the four of us at our table introduced ourselves and talked a little about what we did with our days, one of the women asked me how I dealt with moving around so much? How did I make friends at each new place? Did I already know people here? I hemmed and hawed a little bit because I didn't know how to answer her. Usually I'm so busy with learning my new job that making friends and having a social life is pushed to the side. And I like the people I work with, so it's easy to hang out with them. But one thing about not being able to make friends easily makes me really, really grateful for the ones I *do*have.

Another friend-related anecdote: in Friday's yoga class, the instructor had us do a forearm balance with a partner. It's like a handstand, but with your forearms flat on the deck. I had tried and tried to do these in class on the Big Island and never quite gotten it right. I'd always overpower through kicking up my feet and end up going over the other side, or banging my feet off the wall, if I was using the wall as a support. But this time, with fellow-yogi Jennie supporting one leg while I lifted the other, I was able to find some stability and hang out for a couple minutes. She had a couple of fingers on one of my little toes to remind me that she was there, but wasn't doing anything else to help me.

Naomi, the instructor, gave us the explanation: friends provide that bit of assistance to see us through our weaknesses...just that little bit of extra support and encouragement that we usually need to succeed in a challenge. And they accentuate our strengths.

I immediately thought of my friend Anne. We've got a few things in common, but she's way, way, way smarter than I am and has a lot, A LOT more professional motivation and chance for success (like big picture success) than I do. I truly value her opinion, and have been known to email or text or call her to whine, complain and bitch about whatever triviality has recently vexed me. She always commiserates with just the right amount of sympathy and understanding, and then provides some spot-on insightful recommendation for how to make the most of a bad or frustrating situation.

And she has never complained about my food-nerdiness :) Though she did think I was a little out of my mind to go to all seven grocery stores in the local area looking for different ingredients for a wardroom dinner. Or was it ten stores?

And a shout out to a couple other friends:
Craig, thanks for your patience with listening to my tales of woe when we were all so far away from home. I can't help but remember those card games and smile.

Frank can always, always make me laugh. I usually give him good material to work with ("more work to be done in the kitchen"), but he has a true gift for poking fun at the absurdities that surround us all.

I'm so glad I met Auntie Jane. She's a wonderful woman, so full of love and aloha. I wish so very, very much that her neighborhood was peaceful, and hopes she and husband Terry are able to find the peace and happiness they deserve from being great people and having helped and befriended so many others.

Rickey taught me a lot about myself. He showed me how to slow down and look at things differently. 

And Lili is always there for me, even when we don't talk for months and months. We can pick right back up like no time passed at all.

Amy, Vicki, and Steve...I'll deal with you guys in a separate post.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Mahalo for your comments, they mean a lot.