An Attitude of Gratitude

I've been home less than three weeks and already things are wacko-exciting and involving.

First off and most importantly, I'm deeply grateful to be home. Because living in China was so difficult, I became even more appreciative of my life here. Simply turning on a tap and drinking the water directly from it is a miracle. Washing a fruit or a vegetable in it and then eating it, as opposed to boiling the water first and blanching the food, is great. I feel that I have reclaimed oodles of time that had been stolen from me.

My karate sensei, Dave Kovar, used to talk about having an attitude of gratitude. That chat usually came around Thanksgiving Day, which many Americans selfishly call Turkey Day, (as though the murder and consumption of millions of sentient beings is a celebration).

As far as I am concerned, Thanksgiving is every day.

After a couple of days of relaxation and reconnection with friends, I went up to Tahoe to hang out with my brother, who lives with an artist and whose houseguest is a British musician. The musician, Peter, came down to Sacramento with my ex-sister-in-law, Vanessa, for a few days. They stayed in my mom's house, where Nessa lives—we both share responsibility for my mom, who's eighty and getting a little fuzzy.

My mom was away in Cleveland for a couple of months with her significant other, but returned two days ago. Before she came back, I cleaned out her refrigerator. As I threw away out-of-date eggs and moldy spaghetti sauce, I wonder what her housekeeper had been doing for the last months. Then I came to a double wrapped package—what was it?

I opened the two plastic bags and found…a dead rat.

I screamed. I am not a screamer.

Then I screamed again. It wasn't rational. One surprised scream is enough, isn't it?

Cries arose from Nessa's bedroom from Peter and Ness. "What? What?"

"There's a dead rat!"

"Oh, that's for Mudra. My python," she said between snorts of laughter. "Remember?"

"For f*ck's sake, Vanessa!"

Welcome home, Suzie.