(Seriously, how can I not be happy when I wear my monkey shoes?)

I used to read a blog called Feministing, although I no longer read this blog, mostly because of their treatment of racial issues (or lack thereof). One thing I did like about it was their weekly “Thank You Thursdays,” in which they blogged about someone who helps promote the rights of women and girls.

From here on out, I’m going to try to do something similar, expressing my gratitude for something or someone in my life every Thursday. I think that we all have at least one thing to be thankful for, and I’m guessing that people I know have multiple things to be thankful for. This isn’t necessarily any sort of exercise of religious beliefs, although a large part of my personal beliefs involve being grateful for everything, even things that at first blush don’t seem to be blessings.

So, without further ado, my first Thank You Thursday post…

1. September in Alabama-most of the year, it’s hot here. And humid as hell. It starts getting warm in about March or April, and by June it’s blazing sticky hot every day (90+, humidity in the 70-80s). Some rare years, the heat (i.e., daily highs of 80 or above) lasts until mid-December, and I wear t-shirts and sandals to fall semester exams. Other years, it gets crisp much earlier in the year. This year is a little more typical, as this week brought the beginning of the cooldown. There is nothing better than walking out to my car in the morning and feeling the cool Alabama morning air on my skin and face. Each breeze feels so full of possibility and yet so calming. The afternoons are still kind of warm, but the punishing heat seems to be gone for this year.

2. Smoked paprika-Seriously, is there anything that can’t be made better using smoked paprika? I dare say, “No.” Something about the smoky, peppery, haunting flavor takes me away to another place.

3. Grad school-No, really. It kicks my ass; it gives me acne, headaches, gastrointestinal ailments, and rampant insomnia, but it consistently challenges me and pushes me to be the best person and scholar I can be. I’ve learned to multitask like a pro. I’ve learned how to prioritize and how to be diplomatic by balancing the demands of multiple, competing parties. In all of this turmoil, I’ve learned who I am, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.