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Isabel Burley
Elder-Care Worker
El Cajon
Interviewed at Ralphs in El Cajon

I am thankful for the war in Iraq going so well and having our troops come back. I don’t have any family or friends involved in the war, but as an American, I am very thankful that it went well. We all should be. And we should all be thankful to live here, after seeing so much about how people in other parts of the world live. I’m also thankful that I have my health and I have a job — I’m working and I’m making it. I am thankful that the economy looks like it’s doing better — unemployment is going down, and there are more opportunities out there. Things are looking a little bit better for everybody.

Blaire Harrington
Quality Lab Technician
Pacific Beach
Interviewed at UCSD

Coming from Utah, I’m thankful for how liberal San Diego is. I appreciate the large amount of beautiful gay ladies (haven’t seen a mullet in a year!). Despite the hard times (playing straight in the workplace, dealing with a coworker who thought I was stealing her boyfriend, or men with power issues), I still have a good story to tell. I’m really grateful that my best friend, my brother, is in L.A., so I see him often! That San Diego is diverse and open. I can hang out with just the girls or bring out all my friends anywhere and we are safe. It’s never boring, and though it took a while, I am fortunate to have found colorful friends and loving family.

Megan Schwarzbach
Interviewed in Hillcrest

I find that the unremarkable and seemingly insignificant matters of everyday life are what I am thankful for most this year. One such instance is when my cat greets me at the door at the end of the day. He may bite and claw at my appendages for the other 80 percent of the time we spend together; but for those first fleeting five minutes, it seems like he is genuinely happy to see me. Other things I am grateful for are the ludicrous plotlines on Days of Our Lives, living near a 24-hour taco stand, and the latest issue of US Weekly arriving in the mail.

Nicole Braa
Interviewed at Fashion Valley

I’m thankful for my daughter Zoe. And for having all the wisdom that being 29 brings to you, because it’s a lot more than when I was 21.

Reno Harnish
Interviewed at Fashion Valley

My baby here. That’s all I’m thankful for. I’m excited about going to Raleigh, North Carolina, with my baby here. That’s where I usually go for Thanksgiving. My family is there. But it’s always a damn riot act because there’s too much wine early in the day. They start throwing pumpkin pie by around 4:00 p.m. Tears begin probably around 7:00.

Joseph Helms
Interviewed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

One, I got back from Iraq all right. Two, I have a wonderful, beautiful fiancée. Health, of course. I’m thankful for being in the Marines. I have many different opportunities once I decide to get out. I can diversify in so many different ways. I’m thankful for a lot of things.

Jean Schmiedel
Interviewed at Los Coches Vons

I am thankful to be alive and healthy at my age. I am 70, and I have had some difficulties with my health, but I am overcoming them, and I am really thankful for that. I am thankful to have the finances to feed myself and live relatively comfortably. And I am very thankful to have people who care about me. That is very important to me. It is comforting to know that I have people that care about me.

David Baginski
Not Married
Interviewed at Galaxy of Costumes in Vista

I’m thankful that I’m still alive, that I haven’t died prematurely, that I’m doing well. I have a good job, a place to live, and clothes on my back. And that I have good friends who have helped me when I’ve been down and are happy for me when I do well. Things get tough, and it’s not always easy. But you’ve got to have hope for the future that things are going to get better. That’s the most important thing: to be thankful when things do work out and things do get better. Everybody has spells where things don’t go well. I just think some people take it harder than others. I’m probably one of those people. If you have enough bad things in a row, it’s easy to get discouraged. I have a way of tricking my mind into thinking things are going to be like that permanently. That’s not the case.

Kellen Churchill
Tenth-Grade Student
Interviewed at Mira Mesa High School

I’m thankful for friends. Mostly just my friends.

Sister Sheila Collins
Age not for publication
Pastoral Assistant
San Marcos
Interviewed at St. Mark’s Church

“Gratitude is the fairest flower that blossoms in the soul.” I don’t remember who first said this, but it is a kind of creed for me. Life is the greatest gift we have, and I cherish every moment. I am grateful for the gift of life given to me by my parents and the values they taught me which have helped me be a good citizen of the world and a faithful member of my church. I am grateful for God’s call and the strength He has given me to be faithful to that call for 50 years. This weekend I will celebrate 50 years of ministry among the people of California. From my childhood, I was taught to build bridges, not walls, and so friendship is a very special value for me. I have made marvelous friends who have walked with me and encouraged me. For these I am very grateful and give thanks every day.

David Barclay
Not Married
Interviewed outside Bub’s Whiskey Dive in Oceanside

What am I thankful for? I guess for my health, my family. I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve met out here. I’m from Iowa. Music brought me here. I’ve had a lot of really rough times. Every last thing that I own has been stolen. I trust people too easily. I’ll leave my stuff with someone for 10, 15 minutes. I come back, and they’re gone and my stuff is gone. That includes two guitars, clothes, money, ID, Social Security card. As of right now, I’m couch surfing with some of my friends. I really don’t have a place to live. But I’m working. I’m alive. I guess that’s the best thing to be thankful for.

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