My family isn't super into sharing Thanksgiving gratitude lists. It's something I see far more often on TV shows than in real life. But I thought I'd make an exception and share a few things that I'm thankful for this year.
It's something you don't notice until you have it. Last year, I lived in downtown Duluth and it was anything but quiet. Every few hours I'd hear a fire engine scream past, a police siren or a group of snowboarders in the park next door. It's true that after a while you get used to the noise and it becomes like a backdrop, something that only rises to the surface occasionally. In fact, I was stubbornly proud of my ability to sleep through just about anything.
Back in August, I moved into a different apartment and it's quiet. I was nervous about moving into an apartment building as I remember loud neighbors from my college years in a dormitory. But so far, so quiet. In fact, I'm often more nervous to make noise because I don't want to disrupt the peaceful environment.
Kind of the complete opposite of my last point, earbuds are something I use to fill the quiet. I'm thankful for the ability to choose the noise with which I fill my ears. Even as I type this, I've got a Spotify playlist playing through one earbud to help drown out the office background noise and improve my focus.
I'm especially grateful this year as there were a few weeks when I couldn't use earbuds. I had a miserable ear infection and while I recovered I was advised to keep away from the small round buds. As an avid podcast listener, I was annoyed to not be able to keep up with my daily podcast feed.
My workouts suddenly seemed so much longer without the music to push me forward. I tried to switch to headphones and they worked for the interim. But it's so much harder to keep one ear on the world around you with headphones than earbuds.
I'm a pretty avid crafter. My first passion was knitting, followed shortly by crochet and embroidery.
But for years, I've avoided counted cross stitch. I dismissed it for only using two stitches. I remembered hating it when I was forced to take it up in a home economics class in eighth grade.
While walking through the aisles of a craft store this July, I noticed a cheap cross stitch kit that looked like fun. I picked it up, intending to give it another shot and if I decided I hated it, no big deal.
While reading the instructions, I realized I'd fundamentally misunderstood cross stitch. Everything in cross stitch is worked in relation to the first stitches. For some reason, that had never clicked for me before.
Suddenly, the concept made sense. I started stitching. Two weeks later, I finished my first piece and already lined up my second, slightly more ambitious project. Now, I'm on my fifth piece and there are no signs of slowing down.
There are several other people and things for which I'm grateful this year, but these are a few that bring joy to my life. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and remember a few of the little things that make life enjoyable.
Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She can be reached at 218-830-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.