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An Attitude Of Gratitude
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 11-30-22
Kim Van Meter

By the time you read this, the turkey leftovers will be long gone, family will have returned home and the holiday push toward Christmas will officially be underway.

But as I actually wrote this column before Thanksgiving, let’s step into a time machine for a minute and pretend it hasn’t happened yet so I can share what I am most thankful for this season.


High-quality camera phones: Never again will we lose the opportunity to capture that memory because we never know when that moment might be our last.


Warm, fuzzy socks on cold days: There’s nothing better than the feeling of fuzzy cotton surrounding your frozen toes on a winter day. Bonus, if you’re also snuggled up with an equally cozy blanket. No points deducted if the socks are mismatched.


My family: For the endless supply of quirky personality traits that show up in our family tree — and then, may or may not, end up in my books.


A flushing toilet: Oh, the things we take for granted, until, say, they break, and then you realize you’ll leverage your kids’ future to pay for a plumber to fix the problem because you’re not going to do your business in a bucket like a medieval noblewoman hoisting her skirts to squat over a chamber pot.


Plumbers: See above.


A rice cooker: Don’t judge me, this is my list, not yours.


Modern medicine: I’m so grateful I don’t have to lick a frog, collect bark to boil, or snort cocaine to take care of a headache.


Pets: Cat, dog, lizard or fish, pets remind us not to take ourselves so seriously. They don’t care about your social media followers, your financial status, or what you’re wearing — they care about food. If you were miniature, they’d eat you, too.


Being top of the food chain: See above.


Sunsets: Hello darkness, my old friend.


Instacart: Because stepping foot in the grocery store reminds me of how much I loathe cooking. Also, my unmedicated ADHD coupled with my Libra brain is overwhelmed by all of the choices.


Binge-worthy TV shows: When I need to unwind or decompress, losing myself in a great show is the best way to recharge my batteries.


My readers: Whether you enjoy my books or my nonfiction work, thank you for indulging my passion — and for helping to pay my bills.


It goes without saying we should count our blessings year-round but we don’t so let’s take the time to be grateful right now as we barrel into the holiday season at breakneck speed and remember … anything encased in clear, gelatinous muck is not edible and should be immediately thrown into the trash.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide a monthly column. She can be reached at