I did this last year and the year before, so now it’s a thing. Tradition!

Backstory. I feel very uncomfortable with the various forms of culturally acceptable Forced Gratitude that show up this time of year.

And, at the same time, it really is such a beautiful and useful thing to stop and breathe and say oh about all the things that are working.

Appreciating the good and acknowledging the hard is the weekly ritual anyway (huzzah for the Friday Chicken!), but it’s nice to have a thing.

So we play the “I don’t have to like anything but I am also allowed to casually-but-earnestly appreciate things that are not horrible” game, also known as the Lentil Game.

How it works.

You have two cups. One is full of lentils.* The other is empty.

*Or something that is not lentils. The lentil part isn’t important.

The first time I did this there were seventy seven. So that’s how many I’m sticking with.

Each thing that doesn’t completely suck gets to jump over to to the other cup.

When the cup that was empty is full of lentils and the lentil cup is empty, you feel better.
Works every time.

(And it doesn’t matter if you forget some of the good stuff — it’s practicing.)

Havi’s current list of 77 Things That Don’t Completely Suck

In no particular order …

  1. The Great Ducking Out! Instead of suffering through Thanksgiving or furiously avoiding it, I win! I get to wear silly hats with smart, sweet, interesting people.
  2. Silly hats. All hats, really. God, I love hats.
  3. The “always looks good in hats” gene that I inherited from the Brooks side of the family.
  4. The costumery in the Treasure Room at the Playground where all the hats are.
  5. “Ohmygod”, the Playground. Everything that came together this year to make that happen.
  6. Roller Derby! Every single thing about Roller Derby, including drag names and pink mustache socks. Sponsoring the Guns N Rollers. Teaching coordination techniques at the Playground.
  7. Red flannel sheets.
  8. Hot baths with epsom salts.
  9. Grilled cheese.
  10. Also, pickles. Yes, please!
  11. Tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp on the tiny trampoline.
  12. Long walks.
  13. Streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch. Old turkish lady yoga and other forms of happily rolling around on the floor..
  14. Hoppy House. It’s extra-hoppy! I love living here so much I can hardly stand it.
  15. Home. It’s my home. Deep sigh of relief.
  16. My (extremely hot) red sovereignty boots.
  17. And my sovereignty ring.
  18. And the concept, in general.
  19. Superhero gloves, even though I don’t have any yet.
  20. The Week of Biggification and how much fun it was to spend an entire week running around a giant hotel brandishing our magic wands.
  21. Each and every time I realize that my baby business isn’t a baby anymore (five years and counting).
  22. Our awesome CPA who wears bowties and knows how to make me laugh and doesn’t at all mind being associated with a pirate ship.
  23. Ooh, having Drunk Pirate Council instead of “meetings”.
  24. Not ever having meetings.
  25. And, of course, Metaphor Mouse. He has gotten me out of all kinds of scrapes this year. And meetings. Bless him for that.
  26. Closing doors. And then some other doors.
  27. Nearly two years without email — I could not be happier about that.
  28. Rituals and transitions.
  29. Sunday Very Personal Ads.
  30. Friends.
  31. Like Hiro.
  32. And Michelle.
  33. And Cairene.
  34. And Shannon.
  35. Going to bed at 8:30 in the evening, because I can.
  36. Delicious uninterrupted sleep.
  37. The San Francisco Giants win the WORLD SERIES! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to express how elated I feel about this.
  38. Writing.
  39. Having a place to put all that writing.
  40. This wonderfully safe, sweet, loving place where we get to hang out that is so different from oh, the rest of the internet.
  41. I was able to explain about not going to Bolivia, and people got it, and it was okay. That was a beautiful and astonishing thing to experience.
  42. Shiva Nata.
  43. And all the shivanauts.
  44. Seeing your patterns and then not needing them anymore because you’re already bringing in the new ones.
  45. Brain-melting epiphanies.
  46. I cannot wait for the next teacher training. There are zap-filled things that will happen.
  47. Speaking of which, this crazy world of the future thing. People are coming to the teacher training from England and France and Australia. The internet. It’s magic.
  48. The amazing, thoughtful, kind, hilarious, fascinating people I have met through this blog.
  49. Like Sanders, my favorite storyteller (and one day he will have a website and I will point you there).
  50. And Jesse — I get to hug her today.
  51. And Maryann, who gives serious thought to everything, and also knows how to play and always has the best glasses.
  52. So many! I am the luckiest.
  53. Also, thank you, J.J., for making me do that thing. You were right.
  54. And thank you, Maria, for teaching me to answer questions by pretending that I’m five years old.
  55. The Kindle app for the iPhone. I have hundreds of books in my pocket. Childhood dream: fulfilled!
  56. Trust. Getting better at it.
  57. Giving myself permission to just sit and enjoy a leisurely picnic — when everyone I know is rushing past me to the top of the mountain. This is still one of the hardest things for me. But I’m doing it. Counts for something.
  58. The dammit list.
  59. The Nuevo Mexico food cart.
  60. Oh, Portland. I love you.
  61. Working from home.
  62. But having pirate queen quarters at the Playground.
  63. Amy’s hilarious and beautiful permission slips.
  64. Costumes.
  65. The fact that total strangers send me costumes! To the Playground! All the time! Incredible. Beautiful. Thank you.
  66. Snail mail.
  67. The giant box of thank you — letters people have sent to me and Selma. Just knowing it’s there makes the hard days less hard.
  68. Doing things my way.
  69. The world not falling apart when I do things my way, much to the surprise of all of my monsters.
  70. My gentleman friend.
  71. Who just so happens to also be the most amazing cook I know.
  72. Selma. My business partner is a duck.
  73. The crazed but charming Schmoppet. Schmoppet! I still do not know his name.
  74. Also the Schmurphle. And the process of schmurphling. I cannot explain what that is so you will have to come to a Rally (Rally!) and experience it for yourself.
  75. The insane amount of actual work as well as massive progress on destuckifying that happens at a Rally.
  76. All of the Rallions. Or Rallygators. Or whatever they are calling themselves today. Playmates! Secret spy ring! Co-conspirators in silliness!
  77. Possibility. Everywhere.

And I will repeat what I said last year:

Even though there are lots of things that I’m not feeling grateful for right now — some of which I’m even feeling seriously upset and resentful about — I’m glad that I have room in me for a variety of feelings and emotions.

And you. I’m glad you’re here.

That is all. Thank you.