I did this last year on American Thanksgiving too (tradition!) so here’s the short explanation.

This is my Ungratitude Game. Also known as the Lentil Game.

Okay. But that was a terrible explanation. So more explaining!

Things I do not really like:

  • forced gratitude.
  • being told I need to count my blessings.
  • people needing me to like Thanksgiving as much as they do.

Things I do like:

  • the lentil game.
  • the happy fuzzy feeling that you get when you remember the good stuff*.
  • acknowledging the hard (or at least the existence of hard) along with the good, like we do on the Chicken, because otherwise you end up pretending the hard doesn’t mean anything, and it does.

* Yes, I know there’s a word for that. I still call it the Ungratitude Game though.

The lentil game. And a caveat.

You have a bowl full of lentils. Or something small and countable that aren’t lentils. The lentil part isn’t important. The first time I did this there were seventy seven lentils. So that’s how many I’m stuck with.

Luckily, you can do something easy. Like eight pieces of macaroni. I won’t tell.

Anyway. Each thing that doesn’t completely suck gets to jump over to a different bowl. When the first bowl is empty, you feel better. It’s weird, but it works.

Of course, I always forget the really important things anyway. Like olives. Mmmm. Olives. And being (mostly) healthy. And the fact that we have this crazy, wonderful place online.

But it doesn’t remember if you get all the good stuff. It’s practicing.

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

In no particular order …

  1. Lilies. Big, gorgeous orange and red lilies. In my kitchen.
  2. Eating soup in a cheery orange bowl.
  3. Sitting on the window seat looking out at the garden.
  4. Roller Derby! This is always something that doesn’t suck, but now that Selma and I are sponsoring Guns N Rollers, it’s even better. Shivanauts FTW!
  5. Speaking of Shivanauts … the mad brain-zapping wonder that is Dance of Shiva and all the crazy epiphany sparklets that go along with that.
  6. Chimayo chilies that we brought back from New Mexico.
  7. New Mexico!
  8. Selma the duck. My partner and my familiar.
  9. Selma’s gorgeous wardrobe of hand-knit scarves from her cult following of knitters.
  10. My email sabbatical — the thing that allows me to do my job without burning out or getting resentful.
  11. My First Mate Marissa who makes being on email sabbatical possible.
  12. The wonderful Cairene who first helped me to understand that my business is a pirate ship.
  13. My new pirate queen necklace that Erin from Insane Jellyfish made for me and that I never want to take off.
  14. And the Bay Area contingency of my Kitchen Table program, who all chipped in to buy me a fabulous pirate queen outfit, that they gave me at a dinner when I came to San Francisco to teach a workshop this summer.
  15. Really, everything about the Kitchen Table. One of the best things I’ve ever brought into the world.
  16. The Portland Mercury. Ah, reliable snark in weekly doses.
  17. Also, courtesy of the Mercury, the phrase “our dreamboat President”.
  18. Our dreamboat President.
  19. The quality (and concept) of Sovereignty.
  20. Roasting jerusalem artichokes that come from our garden. Serving with the yogurt my gentleman friend made, the bread that I baked and the beer we brew in our basement.
  21. Living the way I want to live. See: above.
  22. My gentleman friend’s chuckle. He’s got a terrific guffaw as well, but it’s the chuckle that gets me every time. Best. Laugh. Ever.
  23. Sometimes — not very often, but sometimes — I can think about my friend who is dead without falling apart, and smile at memories.
  24. Hoppy House. I love Hoppy House.
  25. The rug. It really ties the room together.
  26. Knowing that I can quote any Coen Brothers film on this blog, without attribution, and the majority of my readers will know exactly what I’m talking about.
  27. Giving myself permission to not go anywhere or do anything for Thanksgiving, because I don’t feel like it, dammit.
  28. Oh that dammit list. How I love you.
  29. Brilliantly and sneakily opting out of doing either Thanksgiving or Christmas at the inlaws (aka the unlaws). Without pissing anyone off. Second year in a row. I’m thinking tradition.
  30. The Kindle app for the iPhone. I can take books with me wherever I go. In my pocket. It’s the future and I love it.
  31. The smell of bread baking.
  32. My pirate apron with the skull and crossbones. Another great present from the gentleman friend.
  33. The Friday Chickens. They might even be my favorite part of the week.
  34. The people in my life who always remember about the vegetarian thing and the no sugar thing.
  35. Support. Knowing it’s there.
  36. Getting my Starsky and Hutch fix at Hulu.com.
  37. Whole milk. From the sneaky milk co-op.
  38. God I love living in Portland.
  39. I never imagined coming back to the States, but if I’m going to be here, Portland is exactly where I want to be.
  40. Deborah’s weird, magic potions. Is there anything more genius (and bizarre) than a spray for healthy boundaries?
  41. Working from home.
  42. The “no computer-ing after 5 pm” rule.
  43. My clients and students, who are smart and kooky and make me laugh.
  44. People I’ve never met or even heard of … writing me letters.
  45. About how some concept from the blog totally changed their lives. Without taking any of my courses or buying any of my products, they have a completely different way of relating to themselves now.
  46. Wow.
  47. Snail mail. It is the happy.
  48. My wonderful friend, mentor and sister-in-silliness, Hiro.
  49. Barbara Sher. Barbara Freaking Sher. Love that woman.
  50. Friends.
  51. Like Dana.
  52. And Andreas.
  53. And Amna.
  54. The weird little world of being an internet rockstar. It’s like, the most random, obscure … completely ludicrous form of celebrity. And I can still go to the supermarket without being mobbed.
  55. Writing.
  56. Biggifying my writing.
  57. Swing dancing.
  58. Patsy Cline.
  59. Having a great massage therapist.
  60. Seriously. I have a knack for finding people.
  61. People to complain to when stuff is going ridiculously, horribly wrong.
  62. My business still doing well despite having made some tragic hiring choices this year.
  63. Painful lessons learned … and maybe the “learning painful lessons” part is over for a while. That would be nice.
  64. My gentleman friend makes me laugh.
  65. And drops everything to come with me on Emergency Vacation
  66. Having really great neighbors.
  67. Who don’t play the drums.
  68. Daily yoga, dependable source of comfort and support for over a decade.
  69. 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.
  70. Permission to be human.
  71. Every once in a while I remember to give that permission to myself.
  72. Plans.
  73. Possibility.
  74. Being here right now.
  75. You.
  76. I’m so glad you’re here.
  77. Thank you.

Also: olives.

The Fluent Self