Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving past...because I was too sick today to take pictures...

When I was a senior in high school, my dad and I got the stomach flu on Thanksgiving.  Of all the days out of the year to get the stomach flu, we got it on a day centered around food and it was horrible.  In fact, I was so sick that day that it took me a couple of weeks to regain my appetite.
This year, a cold has been circling around the house.  The thing about a staycation is that you are with each other all the time…and each other’s germs.  I mentioned that Katy had been sick, well, then Lucy fell and now I am sick.  I keep reflecting on that Thanksgiving many years ago, and I am so grateful to have a cold, instead of the stomach flu.

It was a bit touch and go this morning.  I thought, well, at least I made pie the day before.  We can at least have pie.  A good morning nap helped turn things around, at least long enough to get some other food prepared, and the turkey in the oven. 
The turkey.  I purchased it a little less than a week ago.  Since it is just the four of us this year, I wanted a small breast.  The smallest one I could find at the store was 12 pounds.  Seemed like a bit of a mutant turkey.  Until I opened up the package today to find that I actually purchased a whole turkey.  That made me feel more comfortable with the 12 pound weight.  But didn’t I read the packaging?  Oh well, I’ve made a whole turkey before so it wasn’t a kitchen emergency.  More of a kitchen surprise. 

Feeling less than stellar has made me reflect on some other Thanksgivings that weren’t up to the Hallmark commercial standard.  The stomach flu one, of course.  Billy and I have had many years of working odd shifts.  There were many Thanksgivings when one of us might be sleeping from an overnight shift, we would share a quick meal and one of us would end the night back at work. 
I guess I have been thinking about those because in the grand scheme, having a cold isn’t such a big deal.  We are all together.  Germs and all.  There is yummy food to eat, beer in the fridge and another episode of Sherlock left.    And pie!

And that’s what this holiday is about, after all.  Being thankful for life.  Being thankful for the big and little things.
I hope on this holiday you are surrounded by friends and family.  I hope you have a moment to reflect on those big and little things.  And I wish you many more of those big and little things in the next year.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Vacation To-Dos

Often I comment on here about the to-dos in life getting the better of me.  And this past week has been full of to-dos.  That’s what happens before vacation time-that pressure to finish projects and get things in order.
As of last night, my vacation time officially started.  And I am so relieved.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do over the next week.  I am such a homebody, and I don’t like to have an agenda on my days off.  Billy is the opposite, and he also has the week off.  This should be an interesting week…
I really wanted to make a list of what would help me relax and recharge and feel ready for the business of helping again. 

Here’s what I have come up with so far.
· Watch Sherlock again.  All six episodes.  It’s been a couple of years.  I feel like I need to prepare for January.

· Watch a Ken Burns documentary…or two.  Last year, The Dust Bowl aired while I was on vacation.  So this year, I was thinking The War and/or Prohibition.  I started watching The War years ago, but never finished it. 
· Sew.  Sew like crazy. Finish some projects.  Make a project for myself!

· While I am at it, finish my unfinished craft projects.  This includes both sewing and non-sewing ones.
· Clean my craft cabinet.  Actually, I did that earlier today.  But I like putting things on a to-do list that I have already done.  It makes me feel good.  Seriously, the craft cabinet was a mess…again.  The whole laundry room area is a mess but now it’s limited to Billy’s stuff.  And as long as it’s not mine, I’m not bothered by it.  Shutting the door helps.

· Have a pajama day.  No errands.  No running.  Laziness.  Of course, there will be cooking because we need to eat.
· Drink coffee in the middle of the day.  Three cups is one too many in the morning.  But an afternoon cup (or two), that feels right for vacation.

· Cook.  Make some new recipes.  Eat some old favorites.  Mom and Dad, those cinnamon rolls will be happening.
· Run.  To justify the eating.  As Sister Runner says, anything goes after a long run.  I’m going to make it count.

· Have fun with the people around me.  Poor Katy has been fighting a cold since last weekend.  We are all still excited about having a week off together, even if it means jammies every day and watching tv under blankets.
· Relax.  I’m not sure that needed a separate line item, but I am kind of feeling itchy with such a long to-do list for a vacation.  I need to remember that this is supposed to be relaxing.  It’s ok for the to-do list to get thrown out the window.

And there we have it.  That seems like a good start to a week of rejuvenation!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Changing Days

This unassuming month of November has quickly flown by.
I went into it knowing that I only had a few weeks left at work before my vacation time (some would call it a staycation-I’m simply happy call it time off).

These weeks have been spent with work projects during the day and quiet evenings at home working on crafts.  Look at how precious this little lady is with her giant embroidery hoop!
November brought change.  There were some lingering unknowns that were resolved this month.  And the answer was change.

Like many other humans, I fear change.  Even good change is scary.
Goodbyes will soon be said to people and old ways of doing things.

I spent much of this past weekend with fear.  Middle of the night thinking about change.
Church on Sunday brought a message about change.  Funny how that works sometimes-the message comes when you need it (doesn’t always work that way or maybe I’m not always listening).  I remembered that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

We start clicking through the days, and we develop this false sense of control.  The sense that we are creating opportunities through our actions.
Until we are stopped by change.  And remember how small we are.

Today, swimming through the change, I am embracing gratitude. 
Thankful for those experiences and people. 

Thankful for those pieces of life that remain constant.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gentle November

The day before Halloween, we received the Target toy ad in the mail.  This post isn’t a rant about skipping over holidays…or holiday toy excess.  I’m sure I could go on one of those rants.
This is a post about one of the best months…November.

November is unassuming.
Thanksgiving isn’t a flashy holiday.  It’s about food and being together with loved ones.  Really, every holiday should be about this.

For me, November is a month about reflection and gratitude.  Or as Katy put it at dinner last night, it’s about “thanks.”
Speaking of giving thanks, the past couple of nights, Katy has thanked me for making dinner for her.  I have been a little surprised both times.  This is something I do (almost) every day.  She is finding gratitude in the ordinary, and she doesn’t even realize it.  Amazing.  And yes, I meant Katy, not my insightful little Lucy.

I’m always grateful when November rolls around.  The over the top Halloween decorations come down.  For those of you who may have noticed some of these decorations in the background of the blog photos, those are actually my neighbor’s decorations.  He decorates our yard.  Every year.  I have no idea why.
Our personal Halloween decorations are typically limited to some pumpkins and whatever homemade items the girls make.  Honestly, after six years of having the yard decorated for us, there’s just no need to buy any more than that.

In November, I enjoy reading everyone’s moments of gratitude on facebook.  I love the simplicity of the gratitude.  Someone has already posted they are grateful for coffee.  Amen.
I usually take some time off in November to recharge.  I already have my time off this month approved.  I love the simplicity of a staycation.  I’m sure there will be a lot of sewing.  And pajama wearing.  And coffee drinking.

Of course, there will be some holiday preparation.  We are making many handmade gifts for Christmas this year, and we are already getting started.  I love it.  It gives me an excuse to buy craft stuff without Billy judging me…ok, he is probably still judging….  So for those of you who typically get a gift from me, prepare yourselves for the handmade.  And keep in mind that perfection does not exist.
For the next few weeks, I am going to do my best to embrace November, in all of its quiet joy.  I hope you are able to find moments of gratitude and peace as well.