Thanksgiving is Over but I’m Still Thankful

My Thanksgiving this year was lovely. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house and I ate enough turkey and carbs to fuel a small country for a week. Okay, I’m exaggerating. Obviously. I didn’t eat that much turkey.

Chandler is away at college in Washington D.C. and didn’t come home. It’s too far, too expensive, and he’ll be home in two weeks for winter break. He was invited to my friend’s for dinner (she lives in Virginia) and to a couple of teammates houses for the weekend, but declined all offers and stayed in the dorms with what seemed like very few others. (Most of the kids at his school are east coasters.) He wasn’t sad, so I tried not to be sad even though he probably had Easy Mac & microwave popcorn for dinner. I missed him like crazy but am so thankful he is living his dream.

Because I knew what I’d be eating, I went to the 5:30 AM boot camp class on Wednesday and the 90 minute 7:00 AM boot camp class on Thanksgiving Day, but skipped the 5:30 AM boot camp class on Friday morning and went on a hike with my friend Rita instead. (Not at 5:30 AM in case you’re wondering.) We were supposed to do a five-mile loop, but got lost twice and according to my step-keeper walked over ten miles. Then we went to brunch. Saturday I went to kickboxing, but Sunday I blew off my walk with my running group. Yes, you read that correctly, I said, walk with my running group. Some of us are walking now. Don’t judge. Walking is better for you anyway. Want proof? Read this article. (And ignore the fact that it has a picture of an old lady mature woman running.) I am thankful that at age 50 I am able to move my body so much. (Even if I was too tired to move it on Sunday morning.)

Mature woman jogging on beach
Quit running, old lady – it’s bad for you!

 

Friday night Dave, Marley and I went over to Rita’s house for pie and games. Rita’s sister was there with her eight year old daughter and Rita’s neighbor came over too. We played Guesstures, which is basically charades. When the game was over and Rita’s sister and niece left, instead of leaving like good people and good parents Marley convinced us to stay so we could play Cards Against Humanity. I knew what it was, but had never played before, and really should know better about letting Marley talk me into such things. If you are unfamiliar with the game their slogan is: A party game for horrible people. The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. It’s like Apples to Apples, but wrong. So very, very wrong.

Here are some examples of the combinations you might come up with:

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
So wrong!

 

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
Even wronger! (Yes, I know that’s not a real word.)

 

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
Actually, this one is kind of right!

 

These are actually some pretty tame combinations. If I screenshotted some of the more risque ones I’d forever live in fear of child protective services knocking on my door. But Marley has played the game before. (At school!) And as we all know, there are some parents that buy booze for their kid’s parties because “everybody does it” and “all kids drink anyway” (newsflash: everybody does NOT and all kids DON’T). I’m not that parent. So if I play a party game with my fifteen year old where possible answers could be assless chaps or foreskin, I guess I’m not the worst parent in the world (and I’m thankful for that).

Saturday night we went to my friend Arlyne’s for her annual Saturday night Thanksgiving and steal-the-presents bingo. Rita was there and Lisa (who says I never write about her in my blog) was there which meant I laughed a lot, because Arlyne and Rita and Lisa always make me laugh. Once again I ate too much and drank too much, but felt so happy and blessed that a retail job in the 80’s netted me life-long friendships with some amazingly awesome people.

Sunday I’d like to say that I detoxed, but I had leftover butternut squash lasagna and cheesecake for breakfast and two glasses of wine with dinner. I did do laundry and wrote a little (very little) and dusted the TV. It was a lazy day. After dinner Dave and I watched the movie About Timewhich was written and directed by Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed Love Actually. (Which everyone knows is one of the best movies ever!) I loved it (British humor is the best) and balled like a baby at the sentimentality of it. At 9:00 I was too tired to watch The Walking Dead and was so thankful for my DVR.

My life is not perfect. In fact, if you want to know the truth it is riddled with problems and stress and is oftentimes hard. (Like, impossibly fucking hard.) But every day I take the time to recognize what I am thankful for, both big and small.

The beauty of the sunrise or a desert flower in a parking lot planter.

desert flower
Finding beauty in everyday places. (And then snapping blurry pictures of it with my cellphone.)

 

The laughter I experience when I’m with my good friends.

A gym with kick-ass classes and kick-ass people.

Children who are happy and healthy.

A husband who still makes me laugh and think even after knowing him for over 26 years.

Parents who are healthy. And wonderful.

Music that makes me sing along and dance in the kitchen. (Did I forget to tell you about Marley catching me dancing and singing in the kitchen when I was making sweet potatoes?)

My Snuggie that keeps me warm as I binge watch TV.

Wine that is cheap, but still pretty damn good.

cheap wine that is good
Bargain wine from Costco – cheap and delicious

 

No, my life is not perfect, far from it. But it’s also pretty wonderful. Really wonderful. I know that I am so lucky. And I choose to be thankful for all that I have – big and small. Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

Every. Single. Day.

 

Photo credit of mature woman: here

 

Christmas Came Early This Year

I was at another cross country meet early Saturday morning when my phone rang. It was my uncle asking what I was doing and what time I’d be home.

“That was weird,” I said to Dave after hanging up. “My Uncle John said he’s coming over this afternoon to bring us something.”

“What do you think it is?” he asked. My uncle lives about an hour away from us, so it had to be something that he really wanted to get rid of. Especially since we are going to his house for Thanksgiving in less than two weeks. (Ohmygod how is it possible that Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks?!)

“I have no idea. I hope it’s a car,” I joked. “Or maybe he won Lotto and is splitting up the money.”

“I don’t think it’s either of those things,” Dave said bringing me quickly back to reality and popping the Italian-villa-vacation, new-car, new-floors, new-windows Lotto-dream thought bubble that was forming inside my head.

“Are you sure?” I joked again. I really had no idea what my uncle could be bringing us. Maybe some old Coke bottles he found at a yard sale for Chandler’s collection. Or perhaps he and my aunt got a new bed and were bringing us their old mattress. He always joked that he was going to give me a lump of coal for Christmas. Maybe it was a really big lump. I was certainly intrigued.

I called Marley to tell her to please vacuum the den and make sure the bathroom was at the very least not gross. We clean our house on Sundays so by Monday morning Saturday it’s full red alert FEMA disaster status. People dropping in on a Saturday (without giving me at least 24 hours notice) and seeing my dog-haired, dusty, two-teenagers-live-here-and-I-work-full-time mess of a house is enough to make me break out in hives.

When my uncle got to the house he had me look in the back of his truck. I could not believe my eyes. It was not a mattress or old Coke bottles or even a really big lump of coal. It was unbelievable. It was a box for a 60 inch flat screen smart TV.

“You got us a TV?! Where did you get this? Did it fall off a truck?”

He laughed. “This is the box for my new TV,” he said. “I read on your blog that you still have a box TV so I thought you might like my old one. It’s a few years old, but it’s a 50 inch flat screen.”

Uh, yeah. I was at his house about a month ago watching football on his “old TV.” Let’s just say that it’s more than just a little bit better than watching football on the twenty-year old twenty-six inch box we have sitting inside our antiquated TV cabinet.

He and Dave carried in the TV, we did a bit of furniture rearranging (and behind the furniture ohmygod-I-can’t-believe-how-much-dog-hair-there-is-back-here vacuuming) and set up the TV that brings the Ross family into the 21st century. Mostly.

We are a bit tech un-savvy (I know, shocker!) and had a little trouble getting the TV to display a picture (which it turns out is kind of important), but I figured out the problem shortly after my uncle had to go. (Hint: it helps to attach the cable box to the cable cord coming out of your wall as well as to the TV.)

I can’t tell you how blown away Dave, Chandler, Marley and I are at my uncle’s generosity. (Even though it’s painfully obvious he was just trying to find a clever way to be mentioned in my blog.)

Dave was in heaven watching the final NASCAR race of the season. Football is a lot more exciting to watch on our new flat screen. The Walking Dead is a lot gorier. According to Dave and Chandler we never need to go to the movie theater again. I think having a houseful of teenagers for a movie/video game night is in our near future. We might even host a Superbowl party next year.

Thank you Uncle John. I love you.

And to anyone reading this who’d like to be mentioned in my blog -and who wouldn’t?!- have I mentioned we drive a 2000 Honda Civic and a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer? (I’m just sayin’….)

Today is Not Black Friday

Today is Thanksgiving and as usual I’m up at 5AM. I didn’t mean to get up this early. I meant to “sleep in” until six. But as unnatural as it seems to wake up when it’s this dark and cold, I did wake up naturally. The pull of the computer and a blog post I had spinning around in my head got me to push my cozy flannel comforter off of myself and get up instead of burrowing in and trying to go back to sleep. That and I may have been having a hot flash. (Not that I would ever admit to that.)

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the things I am always thankful for. My family most of all of course. Our health. My many wonderful friends who fill my life with laughter. My house and the town that it’s planted in that feels like a modern-day Mayberry to me despite its close proximity to Los Angeles. Wine. (Yeah, you knew that was coming!) I have a job that I like that is only twelve minutes away from my Mayberry house (in a town that is more like Beverly Hills West). I have a good life. We have a good life.

Thanksgiving veggie tray

Our kids are growing up way too fast. Really, if someone wants to become the richest person in the world, what they need to do is figure out how to slow it all down. My son will be graduating high school in a year and a half – his childhood over. I don’t want it to stop, but can’t someone figure out how to make it stop happening at warp speed? It’s so hard to slow down when life moves so fast.

One thing I am truly not thankful for this Thanksgiving is the terrible trend of Black Friday sales taking place today. On Thanksgiving. How is a sale that takes place on Thanksgiving, which if I know how to read a calendar is certainly a Thursday, called Black Friday?!

I find it ironic that we’ve turned this American holiday of giving thanks into a “holiday” of competitive shopping. Forget about being thankful for what you have, go buy more, More, MORE. (And don’t be afraid to push someone out of the way to get it.)

Look, I get that some businesses are open on Thanksgiving. Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I’m quite thankful that my gym is open today (for limited hours – only 6:00 – 1:00) so I can take a 90 minute kickboxing class this morning and don’t have to run.

And I know that movie theaters are open so when families have stuffed themselves fuller than the stuffed turkey they just inhaled they can sit together in a dark comfortable room and watch Katniss Everdeen reluctantly murder her peers instead of hearing Great Aunt June tell everyone about the time she was chosen as the county fair cornfield queen for the 27th time (today). I get it. As a former movie theater employee who had to work on Thanksgiving, I don’t like it, but I get it.

And yes, most markets are open because we all forget things. Celery for stuffing. Milk for the mashed potatoes. Asti Spumante for the uncouth relative who prefers the guilty pleasure of a sweet sparkling wine to a buttery Chardonnay with her turkey. (Who me?) But markets are open to help people with their holidays – not take away from it. And if you want my honest opinion I think markets are open too long. Take a cue from my gym and be open from 6:00 to 1:00 or maybe 8:00 to 3:00. Closing at 7:00 may seem early, but I’m sure it doesn’t seem early for the employees. If you haven’t bought your celery or cheap wine by 3:00 you should be out of luck. Can’t we make things a little bit inconvenient for Americans just a few precious days of the year? Perhaps that will help us to feel even more thankful for just how good we’ve got it.

So tonight I will not be shopping any Black Friday Black Thursday Thanksgiving sales. And look – I’m on a budget. If there’s anyone who needs to save money it’s me. But if you’re planning on shopping tonight, I want you to ask yourself this – who are you shopping for? Yourself or your family? If the answer is your family you might want to think twice about heading out for those sales tonight. Because in ten years they likely won’t remember what they got for Christmas this year, but they’ll certainly remember mom not being around on Thanksgiving after dinner when everyone is relaxing and playing Bananagrams because she had to go wait in line to save 50%. So I propose that this Thanksgiving we all slow down and take a look around at all that we have. The X-Box can wait (and will probably still be there at 5AM tomorrow when the kids are sleeping if you really need it). Slow down. Pull out the Monopoly board. Tell Great Aunt June you bet she was the prettiest county fair cornfield queen there ever was (for the 27th time today). Don’t let retailers steal your holiday. Life is already happening at warp speed.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful for so many things… good friends, laughter, music, books, wine, coffee, my blog readers (all 10  of you – thank you so much!), living only 20 minutes from the beach, waking up to watch the sunrise every morning, beautiful sunsets, and our wonderful Southern California weather.

But above all, I am most thankful for this…

The loves of my life

What are you most thankful for?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!