Gratitude Friday

Boy, I have a ton of stuff for which to be thankful right now, as I sit here with a stomach full of great food and tired legs from a long, busy day. Usually it's my better half who delivers the "Gratitude Friday" posts, but I'll take a shot today. A partial list, in more-or-less chronological order:

1. Two wonderful daughters who mostly compensated for an insanely late night (up til 9:30 pm on Thursday!) by sleeping in this morning and then being in great moods all day.

2. The Declaration of Independence, as written by Thomas Jefferson and as read by the NPR anchors and reporters this morning. Maybe it was the early morning, but I got chills when I heard, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Powerful stuff, and as hard to live up to in 1776 as in 2008.

3. Our stimulus check, which was converted to a new bed and mattress. Economy, you're on your own now.

4. The annual "Fourth of July Criterium" bike races here in Northfield. Julia and I stumbled on them in 2006, made a point to go last year, and this year attended them because now it's a tradition. Julia even got to skip her nap to go! Good lord, can these racers fly. And my god, the size of their thighs...

5. Five of my oldest friends, who - along with their kids - came from points far and wide to have a Fourth of July party at our place and brought a wide assortment of delectables, from pork sandwiches and hot dogs to potato salad and a killer s'mores cheesecake. That's not a typo, and yes, it was as good as it sounds.

6. My wife, who not only did all the virtual legwork of getting our friends together today, but then made a couple dishes, organized the entire event, and played hostess for the better part of four hours. Then she cleaned up virtually everything - and looked good doing it. Amazing.

Forecast: Significant blowing and drifting, with the possibility of heavy accumulation in rural areas.