San Diego – The week has continued to be chilly and rainy here in Sunny Southern California. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving I am very thankful that we are not getting the blizzards of the mid west. I do sometimes miss the seasonal changes but in the last 10 years that I have been here (a length of time I find hard to get my mind around) I have not once missed filling a shovel full of snow or cranking up the snow blower or putting chains on cars. Snow country is beautiful in winter and to see sun come up on a high mountain morning with the air filled with powdery snow so that the sun makes it look as if the air were full of diamond dust is a sight I will cherish forever. But working in the snow is a less than pleasant experience, or at least was for me. I do not enjoy being cold and once my feet get cold then I’m done and ready to retreat to the hearth for some cookies and hot chocolate.
Thanksgiving was a time for my family to come together at the dinner table and, one at a time, share what it was they had to be thankful for. No whining, no dark moments, only the things that enriched and fulfilled our lives were allowable topics of discussion at those feasts. When I was married (a time in my life for which I am also very thankful) we carried on that tradition and created one of our own where we would invite our single “orphan” friends to share our day of Thanksgiving. I confess I never, at that time, thought I would be one of those orphans myself some day. But sometimes what goes around comes around in a good way and in the 17 years since then there have only been a few occasions when I was not the grateful recipient of an invitation to someone’s home to share that day and meal. I can only hope I have properly shown my gratitude to those friends for inviting me and allowing me the honor of sharing the day with them. This year too I will be venturing out on the great California freeways to visit and share dinner with friends. So now I have new friends to add to my list of people for which I am thankful for and honored by their presence in my life. New and old, I am grateful for all of them and the warmth, love, growth, and sheer pleasure they have added to my life.
The truth is, I have so many things to be thankful for it would take a very long list to get into specifics so I’ll be general. I am thankful that in the midst of this idiotic economy and the State and Country’s devastatingly counter productive attempts to change the course of our ships of State, big and small, I work for a college district that has exercised fiscally sound practices that have kept us well afloat and our jobs, thus far, well secured. If the State adopted even some of their approaches, painful as they have been in some ways, things overall would be far better. Ditto for the country’s policies.
But this is a post about good things not bad so I’ll leave policy issue discussions for another time. I am grateful that I have a great teaching partner and that we are so closely aligned in terms of our vision for the program. We have been able to unite and create an environment that received incredible accolades from the visiting western states professors at the SPW conference a week ago. It was a twist of fate that dumped us together coincidental with the exit of all of the other full time faculty so that we had no outside variants to contend with. But I have been around some who could not have taken good advantage of that and for whatever reasons, we could and did. I’m also grateful for a great cadre of adjunct professors who are constantly giving far more of their time and efforts to the program than they are being paid to provide. Without them and their enthusiastic support our own efforts would be stymied. And I am grateful for a great lab manager who is completely on top of those issues and, with his staff of lab techs, helps to keep us running far more smoothly than the program has ever run in the 10 years I’ve known it.
I am thankful that I seem to be in good health. When I was a kid anyone in their late 60s was OLD… really old. They looked old, acted old, dressed old. One of the wonderful things about this area especially and perhaps this time in history is that people act as if death were an option and so, to their credit, have refused to give in and give up just because the traditional calendar says it is time. With them I threw away that calendar years ago and unless I am really tired or stressed do not see myself as an old man and never as a decrepit antique leaping headlong into dotage. It may happen next week but this week I refuse. I think I will refuse next week as well…
I have a few more things to do at campus so need to get going. We are re-arranging the printer scanner room to put in more printers in anticipation of finals week (3 weeks away) with the plethora of portfolios to be created so they need to be installed and profiled for their proper papers and the computers that drive them calibrated. We are almost there but one of our re-installed printers from the old building was showing some head banding yesterday. I will try to realign the heads and if that fails then will replace it with ones we still have in the box.
I am thankful that I love what I do: I love making images and I love teaching. Working on school stuff whether here at home or when going down to campus to work on things, is not really work for me. Life is good and for that I am most thankful.