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Danke Schoen

If you are like me, you spent no less than an entire hour verifying that Wayne Newton, the person who sings “Danke Schoen” is actually a MAN. Just listen to that voice, that is not a man’s voice. Only it is. This is really similar to the way I was convinced for months/years that Adele and Duffy were black, only to find out I was very wrong. The moral of the story, I guess, is not to judge a singer by the very convincing qualities of their voice. The other point of the story is that I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned “Danke Schoen” at least five times in this blog, and I want this post to spend a little bit more than six words talking about what the song is about.

1. I’m thankful for the journals that have been piling up in my room since I was 6 that let me travel back in time and allow me to be simultaneously embarrassed and entertained. Sometimes, I feel good knowing that I’ve grown a lot since 5th grade. Most of the time, I just see that most things have stayed the same. Ten years ago, for instance, I STILL 1) never knew what date it was, 2) used too many exclamation points, 4) made everything into lists / bad poems, 5) wrote too much about food and TV, and 6) had terrible cursive. It would be a lot of fun to make this post into a list-poem for old times’ sake, but I’m already up past my bedtime and I don’t think I could come up with something meaningful for V that isn’t velcro (… Vinny Guadagnino?). Anyway, I’m thankful for my mom, who gave me my first journal (a bunch of colored index cards) and told me to write. 
2. This is sort of a cop-out because it’s an extension of number 1, but I’m thankful for National Novel Writing Month. A month ago, I told myself to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, and that novel is officially finished as of Nov. 30, 2011. It’s a terrible novel that probably needs 30 months of editing, there are plot holes and continuity errors all over the place, random lists of Crayola colors and magical candles, and a couple of characters with no first name because I’d run out of good ones, but according to the creators of National Novel Writing Month, it’s a capital N Novel and I am so happy. I couldn’t have done this without the teachers who taught me what it meant to write and what it meant to love it, particularly Mrs. Barbara Bonday in 2nd grade, Dr. Rebecca Koelln in 10th grade and Prof. Greg Smith in my third year of college. And (duh) I’m thankful for a very patient and understanding husband who encouraged me the entire time, and was willing to put up with late dinners, leftovers and a lot of Basil’s pizza while I typed away. 
3. I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am for Christmas music, and that it’s finally socially accepable to listen to it all I want. ALL I WANT. (yes, Ernesto). Panino and I grew up listening to a “Frosty The Snowman” album that taught us Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Up On the House and ten other essential songs. I love that there are entire radio stations dedicated to Christmas music, I love that there is a Christmas song for every occasion, I love that Celine Dion recorded O Holy Night, I love watching Love Actually just so I can sing along, I love that there are about 10 bajillion Christmas-related excuses to listen to Christmas music (baking cookies, decorating the tree, cooking a huge meal, washing the dishes after eating a huge meal, ice skating, Christmas Charaoke (or Kristmas Karaoke), wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards, all of it). MOST OF ALL, I am so thankful that two of my favorite singers have re-made one of my favorite songs. 

Danke Schoen, Justin and Mariah, for saving Christmas.

       I spent this past Thanksgiving in El Paso with Ernesto, his parents and his sister, and it made me feel very lucky to be a part of their family. Naturally, I missed being at home, which reminded me of how lucky I am to have a family that I love enough to miss and that loves me enough to save me some cranberry mold leftovers for when I got back. I am indescribably thankful for Ernesto, who constantly rescues me from the towers that I build for myself.
     The past two months have had a pretty fair deal of challenges for me, for Ernesto, for my family, for our friends and for our neighbors, and throughout it all, I’ve felt so lucky to be surrounded by people with such an impressive capacity to love and to persevere. Wayne Newton sang, “Thank you for all the joy and pain,” and to that, I’d add that I’m thankful for all of the people in my life who have made the joy worth remembering and the pain worth enduring.