Archives for posts with tag: Happy Thanksgiving

The house is quiet. Cool jazz plays in the background, softly. I sip a small glass of sherry, sweet, smooth, and deliciously raisin-y; it tastes of luxury, and satisfying moments. I look back on a gentle, fulfilling day of celebration, utterly lacking in any hint of drama, stress, or conflict. The day was spent harmoniously, in the good company of my Traveling Partner. It’s been a memorable Thanksgiving Day, peaceful and connected. Intimate. Romantic. Fun.

Dinner for two was effortless; we went out. We went to dinner sharply dressed in our best “going out to dinner on a holiday” clothes, subtly coordinated with each other’s choices. There was no particular wait; we made reservations well in advance. There was no traffic, really, most people were already at home, in their kitchens, or with their families, making merry their own way. It was an easy evening out. The meal was quite pleasant: good food, great service, worth the price paid. The drive home? Similarly pleasant. It was, in the simplest terms, an easy, delightful, holiday spent wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner looked fantastic. My mirror suggested to me that I looked pretty wonderful, too. The mingled scents of his cologne and my perfume complimented each other well, and were applied with care so as not to overwhelm dinner.

…I don’t know what else to say… this was my experience, this year. I’ve had others. My results, over a lifetime, have varied. This was one exceptionally pleasant, relaxed, and satisfying- an intimate holiday.

…I’ve much to be thankful for. Not just this grand date out with my love; also, just generally. Here in the quiet, sipping my sherry, I consider my life in context. I consider all the many unspoken “thank you’s” due here, or there, or again, just generally. Not all of life’s lessons are “easy”, and sometimes, the cost to learn them is pretty fucking high. Still, close attention to the curriculum, and learning (and growing), and becoming more this woman I want to be is worth it, so far, and the payout seems to be lovely moments (or days) such as this. It’s enough.

…This too shall pass. lol Just being real; clinging to this moment wouldn’t serve me well. As with clinging to any other moment (or notion, or assumption, or expectation), clinging to this charming here-and-now experience would set me up for failure in some other moment. So, I sip my sherry in the quiet of evening, content with what is, and not much concerned with anything else. There is time for this, here, now. It’s certainly worth savoring.

For me, Thanksgiving kicks off “the winter holiday season”, which will last through New Year’s Day. There’s much to enjoy, to explore, to wonder upon… It is a “season of gratitude”, and also of contemplation, consideration, and change. It is a season to be most generous, and also a season to let go of ego, and share the journey for a little while, to reach across the strange chasms that separate “us” and “them” to become “we” for awhile. It is a season to receive gifts graciously, and to forgive with an open heart (and open mind), aware that we’re all in this together, although we are each having our own experience.

…This can be an amazing life. Slow down. Enjoy some of it. Stop yelling for a minute. Hug someone you love. Care about your loved ones more than you care about being right. Laugh – yes, and even at yourself. Is any moment of anger really worth sacrificing the beautiful lives we could have instead, so easily? I’m just saying… use your words, not your weapons. (It should go without saying that well-mannered, reasonable, people do not take up arms against their loved ones in a moment of anger, for fuck’s sake. …And killing them? Just… no. Do not do that. Ever. Just… no. That’s not love. Ever. At all. Shouldn’t have to say that… unfortunately, it’s clear from the news that some folks did not get that memo. 😦 )

…I sip my sherry and dispel the grim thought that one thing I am truly grateful for is that I survived my first marriage…

I’m definitely grateful I didn’t spend the day cleaning and cooking, and then find myself also having to clean up afterward. Been there (fuck that). Today was unreservedly joyful, and so emotionally rich and satisfying, I hesitate to mention it for fear it may burst like a soap bubble. I needn’t worry so. It’s already so quiet now…

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful warm Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe you didn’t, this year? In that case, there’s still some good news; you can let this one go, and simply begin again. 😉

I slept in, grateful for a comfortable bed, a heated home, shelter from the ceaseless autumn rain, and a well-stocked pantry, looking forward to a long weekend. I woke slowly this morning, a bit at a time, returning to sleep a few minutes more without reluctance or judgement, until I felt truly rested, and definitely awake. I feel grateful for the small luxuries I am fortunate to enjoy each day. My espresso is tasty, and I made this latte with almond milk, which doesn’t aggravate my health in the way that bovine milk seems to do. I smile when I think about the butterflied turkey breast waiting in the fridge, and – honestly – about having a fucking refrigerator in the first place. I am grateful for the means to enjoy a comfortable life in a place that feels safe to me, without much stress.

I greeted my Traveling Partner online, first thing. He was already awake. He is sick at home and will not be making the trip up. I’m grateful he has the wisdom to wisely choose self-care when he must. I am grateful that he loves me such that he is also pretty bummed out not to be here, with me, as planned. We chat a bit. We chat about coffee. lol Of course. 😀

An unexpected solo holiday, and I find that I am nonetheless filled with gratitude. A holiday in a household filled with people, crowded with family members visiting from afar, or friends popping ’round with sides and desserts and bottles of wine, can be so utterly warm and joyful – and I’m not “missing” that, because I’ve done it many many times. I am grateful for those experiences, and those memories. I enjoy a mental montage of those today, and find that I remain grateful for this quiet holiday, wrapped in love, and warmth, and contentment, and quite deliciously alone.

I have a friend who is also solo for Thanksgiving, and he made mention of frozen microwave breakfast sandwiches and despairing loneliness. Ouch. I’d have invited him to join me – because that sounds pretty shitty – but firstly, he is very far away and would not be able to make it, and secondly – and this is a bit hard to observe without a poignant moment of real pain – he chooses this experience, with his whole will. I’m grateful to have the positive experience of life, generally, that I do these days. I’m grateful I gave some of those verbs a try (meditating, caring for myself, letting go attachments, eating a good diet, practicing good sleep hygiene, showing self-compassion, showing self-respect… oh, just a ton of verbs, really) and that I have continued to begin again when I fail, and continued to practice what works. We each choose our adventure. I’m grateful for free will, and I am grateful to be in relationships that respect my agency.

My coffee is very good this morning. I’m grateful for the 133 year old technology that put it into my cup as a latte. I’m grateful for the 45-year-old technology that lets me enjoy real-time communication with my Traveling Partner on a holiday we can’t share in real life, in shared space. I’m grateful for the 90-year-old technology that will provide me with ample entertainment today, in the form of video, and the 562 years of the printed word that always ensures I have something to read – and let’s not forget the many thousands of years of literacy that makes having a book in my hands worthwhile in the first place.

I am grateful for paved roads, sidewalks, and convenient, well-stocked, retail spaces. I’m grateful for the remaining acres of unspoiled wilderness.

My point, this morning, is that I am grateful for so many things, it only makes sense that there be a holiday to savor and cherish gratitude itself. It makes sense to cultivate it within my experience, and to enjoy the things I am most grateful for in a mindful and aware state of mind. I know a few people who are enjoying, instead, some Thanksgiving ire or Thanksgiving outrage instead, today, due to pilgrims, heinous violations of the agency of indigenous Americans by entitled European land thieves, and more modern outrages against our modern indigenous brothers and sisters that are so shamefully still ongoing – those things are worth being angry about, no lie. My own thought on this holiday is that the connection between this date on the calendar, this celebration at the autumn dinner table, and this holiday gathering under a banner of gratitude, is tenuous at best, and frankly wholly artificial. That being the case, and this being a “made up holiday” intended to move school children, and sell turkeys, I choose to honor it at face value; a holiday about gratitude, and a day to appreciate, together, or alone, what we do have, what does work, what is valued in our shared or individual experiences. An autumn feast day, a start to the holiday season, a moment of thanks – because we all have things to be thankful for, and we all need a moment of celebration now and then. It’s not about pilgrims, land grabs, or empire, for me. It doesn’t have to be – it’s a made up holiday. Make it your own. 🙂

I finish my coffee just as I finish that paragraph. I continue the conversation with my Traveling Partner, which will no doubt last the day in small exchanges over the hours – shared moments are shared moments, and in the 21st century, a great many of those are online, digital, and remote. It’s the emotional connectivity that matters most – the internet connectivity just holds the door open for that to occur. (Have you phoned your congressional and senatorial representatives to demand that net neutrality be preserved? It matters a great deal.)

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have far more to be grateful for than you have to bitch about. I hope your recipes turn out well, and your guests are entertaining and delightful. I hope you take care of yourself, and enjoy a low-stress holiday. I hope that you love, and are loved in return. ❤

Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season has begun. Black Friday is a memory.

Thanksgiving was simple, quiet, intimate and amazing – unscripted, and as it turned out, entirely unplanned. We’d made dinner reservations to go out. It seemed the better choice at the time we made our plans; I have a very small kitchen, and although more than a year has now passed since I moved into my own place, my kitchen efficiency is still somewhat limited by the loss of some favored gadgets and appliances that I have not yet replaced… like my Kitchen Aid mixer, which I miss greatly.

I’d had my mixer for decades; it was a wedding gift left from my first marriage. It had become redundant when I moved in to the big house “with everyone”, and the newer mixer on hand won out. Mine became someone else’s cherished favored kitchen appliance (I no longer remember who). It was a painful moment to move out with the hurt and anger of the break-up flavored by the poignant loss of an appliance I’d never have given up except – love. It’s strange to me that the intense feelings over the break up have diminished, but the irritation over allowing myself to be so short-sighted as to be persuaded to give up my mixer, when there was ample room to store it more or less forever, somehow persists, particularly as this kitchen, now, is so small that there is neither space to store it, nor space to use it. lol Silly primates, emotions lack substance. Better to let such lingering ire just go; it serves no purpose now save to remind me that I do want to replace that mixer – which, I am well aware of, without the emotional reinforcement.

My Traveling Partner and I planned to be spending the afternoon and evening together. At some early point in the day, we agreed neither of us was particularly enthusiastic about our dinner plans, although the restaurant is one we both enjoy. I canceled the reservations. Hell, frozen waffles and powdered hot cocoa shared with my traveling partner in a tent in the dead of winter, wrapped in love and enjoying each other’s good company would still be a Thanksgiving to cherish; it isn’t about the venue or the menu. I looked over the pantry, committed to using what I had on hand. The drenching rain that had fallen all night, and continued through the morning was ample discouragement from any grocery shopping, and most places were closed. Could I pull off an unplanned Thanksgiving dinner for two? Neither of us had any specific expectations beyond sharing the time together and enjoying each other. I would do  my best. My best would be enough.

It was a simple meal. Chicken breasts baked in foil, seasoned with sage, onions, and chives from my container garden. Steamed baby Nero di Toscana kale, and savory baked heirloom carrots, from my autumn vegetable garden. Canned corn and box stuffing; durable staples always on hand from my pantry. I even had a solitary can of cranberry sauce left from… whenever. It was a lovely meal. We had a great evening. Around the time that our friends next door returned home from dinners with family, we were also settling in to relax and we all gathered together over music and friendly conversation. It was appropriately festive and joyful. It never needed to be elaborate.

I slept in Friday morning, and woke to my Traveling Partner awake ahead of me, working on his set list for a gig later in the day. We had coffee together. A bite of lunch a little later. When the time came he packed up his gear and I played roadie helping load it into the car. Then he was gone and quiet filled my solitary space, along with happy daydreams of love, and good intentions about housekeeping that never quite came to fruition. 🙂

I did my traditional Black Friday thing, which is to say, I stayed home and did not participate in the retail frenzy that exploits so many workers on a day of the year when they might like to be at home with their loved ones. (Go ahead and take a moment to reflect on how few potential four-day weekends exist for most “entry level”, retail, restaurant, or service industry employees, and then reflect on how much you have valued and needed that precious limited down time in your own life…I’ll wait.Do you suppose you really needed that discount on a crock pot more?) I’m okay with paying a reasonable price for goods and services, and I’m more than okay with doing my part to refraining from adding to the literal Black Friday body count that seems unique to American greed.  It is my tradition to spend Thanksgiving weekend setting up the holiday tree, lights, baking holiday treats… it is a long weekend, suitable for all those things. I didn’t do any of that yesterday, I just relaxed in the happy glow of being well-loved, reading, meditating, daydreaming about the future, and just generally enjoying myself quietly and in a state of great contentment. It was lovely. It was enough.

Misty mornings seem to offer the potential to remake the world, differently.

Misty mornings seem to offer the potential to remake the world, differently.

This morning I woke from a night of peculiarly interrupted sleep, and feeling rested, in spite of that. I gazed out over the misty meadow, considering where to the put holiday tree, sipping my coffee, watching the Canada geese stepping through the meadow, feasting on whatever it is they pull up from the mud along their way. My squirrel visitor returned, too, and enjoyed breakfast while I had my coffee. The Northern Flicker who comes by regularly joined us, taking a few moments to enjoy the seed bell and the suet feeder before departing. A flock of red-wing blackbirds took his place. There is nothing spectacular about this gentle morning, nothing to exclaim about, nothing I am inclined to change. I am content. As it turns out, contentment is quite every bit of “enough”, and far more easily reached than “happily ever after”.  I smile, and sip my coffee; it has grown cold in the morning chill of the room. I pause my writing to consider lighting a fire… later, perhaps. A lovely long walk on a misty morning, first, sounds like just the ideal thing to precede a hot shower, a mug of cocoa, and a crackling fire in the fireplace. 🙂

As with most things, even "enough" is a matter of perspective.

As with most things, even “enough” is a matter of perspective…

...What is "within reach" depends, too, on our perceptions, and our tools...

…what is “within reach” depends, too, on our perceptions, and our tools…

...We are each having our own experience.

…We are each having our own experience.

I’m still sitting around in comfy clothes, sipping my now-cold coffee, smiling out over the meadow whenever I glance out at the world. This feels good. I feel safe. Content. Loved. I have enough to get by on – and not that “oh fuck what now, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, we’ll all get through this, just breathe” level of “enough” that requires real commitment to staying present in this moment. (We all have those moments, eventually, it’s part of the human experience.) This morning it is the “oh hey, nothing to fear, nothing to want for, it’s all good my friends, can I pour you a coffee?” level of enough, and those times can feel so delicate, so precious and rare… I think because it has taken me so long to understand that they must be enjoyed with the same deep commitment to savoring them, lingering in that headspace, and revisiting the recollection again and again, as one might do for some grave challenge or anxiety-provoking moment, otherwise they seems to slip away. So, this morning, I’m here, enjoying now, enjoying me, and even enjoying my cold coffee in this chilly room, before I do something different – just to be sure I don’t forget how awesome this moment here also is. 🙂 Today, this is enough.

Merry Everything, everyone, and Happy All-of-whatever-the-fuck-this-is-right-here! May your day be merry and bright; it’s not holiday-dependent. Enjoy this moment, too. 😉

 

A quiet autumn morning begins. Rain taps at the skylight, reminding me to considering what I wear when I head out into the world a bit more than an hour from now. The sky is still dark. My coffee tastes strange; we’re nearly out of vanilla syrup, the early morning favorite here, so I made my coffee with caramel syrup this morning instead. (I feel a mild moment of regret that doesn’t linger.) Waking to the alarm was an unpleasant surprise. I had forgotten, already, that the work week begins this morning, although I remembered last night when I set the clock.

I woke with the alarm. I reconsider that, and find myself smiling. It’s a lovely morning, in spite of feeling a bit groggy and disinclined to fulfill the obligations of employment. 8 more days, counting today, then I get a bit of a break for the holidays. That’ll be a nice change.

The unexpected demise of a fish called Wyatt was harder on me than I’d like it to have been. I addressed my reluctance to deal with new fish by tearing down my quarantine, cleaning it thoroughly, testing the parts and rebuilding it, and testing the success of my basic processes with the addition of a few new neon tetras.

Neon tetras? I’ll admit they are quite my favorite fish, if I were limited to choosing just one sort, although I’m not sure why.  They were the specie I wanted first, most, and indeed built my planned habitat around.  Generally considered a ‘starter fish’ by aquarists, they are still a startling flash of exotic delight for me; I love their color, and movement.  I don’t mind that they aren’t taken at all seriously by many people. lol. I don’t need them to be anything but what they are.

Wee fish, thriving.

Wee fish, thriving.

Life isn’t always especially challenging or complicated. It’s nice to enjoy the simple stuff, too. It’s been a wonderful holiday weekend to share at home with family.

Today I hope to make wise choices. Today I am kind. Today I am compassionate. Today I smile because life is worth smiling about. Today I will change the world.