1. Harry Potter. Yes, seriously, I am. We're visiting Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (for the second time since it opened on June 2010). I read (multiple times) and loved the series of books, saw each film multiple times, bought them all, and still watch in TV every time ABC Family has a Harry Potter weekend.
JK Rowlings brought magic into all our lives with her wonderful characters. The tale of the boy wizard captured our hearts and minds, made children beg to read and be read to, drew families together to read and watch, and it was all written intelligently and thoughtfully. There was no talking down to kids, no pounding them over the head with the "message." Rowlings trusted kids to "get it." And they did. In droves. I'm very thankful that I shared in the excitement and joy of getting caught up in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and thankful the kid in me can still be taken away by the written world to other places, times, and adventures.
2. I'm thankful for good coffee, and for the ability to tell the difference between expensive, but bad coffee and really good coffee. Don't know if it's because of my time in PR, Europe, or a bit of both. But, I've lived in "coffee cultures" where people believe in taking the time and effort to enjoy a truly good cup of coffee. I learned, in Puerto Rico, that strong coffee tastes full-bodied, rich, dark, that the aroma is of coffee - earthy, not bitter. I'm thankful I can tell when cream or sugar are used to enhance the taste of good coffee, rather than hide the taste of bad. I'm thankful I'm not gullible enough to buy into the hoax perpetrated on naive Yuppies, wanting to demonstrate their worldliness and discriminating taste, being convinced that burnt, bad coffee, because it's expensive, must be "good." So, as with choosing VHS over Beta, IBM over Mac, and a dozen other times the American consumer, with more money than brains or taste, has been sold an inferior good in order to "keep up with the Joneses." For folks who really think Starbucks is good coffee, you need to go to a coffee-growing, coffee-drinking country. Go to Italy or France or Turkey - the only Starbucks you'll see is filled with American's who don't know any better. Europeans don't drink that rot. Go to Puerto Rico, Colombia, or Costa Rica - you'll taste strong coffee that's delicious and rich, and you won't have to get it loaded up with flavored creamers and syrups, topped with whipped cream and a shot of cocoa because the coffee itself won't bite back with a nasty, burned taste. The only time you'd find coffee that tastes or smells like Starbucks in a REAL coffee shop is if someone forgot to turn off the burner on the almost empty pot.
I'm thankful that I've enjoyed real, delicious coffee and know what it's supposed to taste like - and cost. I wish I had some right now, instead of the only thing this hotel serves to cater to it's tasteless clientele - Starbucks. (can you tell I feel strongly about my coffee?