NaBloPoMo, thanksgiving

Still So Much For Which to Be Thankful

I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving Eve, remembering the old days when at 10pm I’d just be getting dressed to go out on the biggest party night of the year (we’re talking 20 years ago, here). How when tonight I’m using toothpicks to hold open my eyes, back then I’d be applying eye liner. I’d be wondering who I was going to see (vs now when I go out and pray I don’t see anyone!).

But for so many reasons, this year is different. I’m old, for one. Two, I have a kid. And three, I have zero desire to be out past 8pm (pandemic or no pandemic).

2020 was – and will continue to be – a dumpster fire.

But even with all that has happened – losing my grandmother, getting Lyme disease, Mr. KK falling off his parents’ roof (he’s miraculously ok!) – I still have so much to be thankful for this year.

Our health. We’re all healthy. Yes, I was slightly neurotic about it, but it was for good reasons. When the pandemic started it was like herding goats keeping the seniors at home. But, thankfully, they are all healthy, too.

Our time with Little Mister. Was it always perfect? NOPE. Did I want to hide in the bathroom some days? YEP. Are we closer because of it? Absolutely. We’ll never have time like this again. I’ll blink me eyes and he’ll be telling me, “You can leave now, Mom.” Oh, how I wish he could stay small forever.

My time with Mr. KK. In March we found ourselves both working from home. And our work schedules – and responsibilities – couldn’t be more different. My work days consist of back-to-back meetings pretty much the whole day, with me multi-tasking and trying to get work done in small pockets of time between my meetings or when I’m scarfing down lunch. Basically, my entire days are planned out. Mr. KK, on the other hand, rarely has meetings. Instead, he has random coworkers and clients calling him throughout the day to ask him questions. That would drive me bananas! I could never work like that! So we had to coordinate work schedules, Little Mister schedules, and dog schedules. And through it all, we got a better understanding of what each of us did every day. I can’t believe how much he’s responsible for, and he can’t believe how many hats I wear and positions I “cover”. Last weekend, in an effort to get our kitchen back and provide a better workspace or Mr. KK, he moved into the office with me. COZY! It’s nice having a coworker officemate!

I learned to appreciate doing nothing. I don’t know how to relax. It’s a personality flaw that I’m not proud of. I can never just sit down and watch a movie, I need to be doing something else: making a grocery list, folding laundry, going through emails. Because I can’t let myself do nothing. Well, over the last 8 months, I learned how to do nothing. And, not only that, I learned to like it. Having a blank social calendar meant finding myself on a Saturday morning wondering what we were going to do all weekend. Some weekends, it would be 2pm and I would realize that I hadn’t gotten dressed yet (gone were the day of my early morning grocery store and Target runs). One rainy afternoon, Little Mister and I laid on the couch and watched movies all day. And you know what? It was awesome. Things I would obsess over getting done over the weekend no longer mattered. Honestly, if I accomplished one thing on a Saturday, I chalked it up to a good day.

Little Mister is thriving in school. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we chose full remote learning for him because we had the resources to do it successfully. We had no idea what to expect. I had heard horror stories from friends who had kids who moved to remote learning this past March. What would kindergarten be like for him on a computer? But somehow, it’s all working out. He loves school, he’s starting to read, he likes having us next to him when he’s learning. Once we got through the initial Chromebook issues, everything fell into place. Thank goodness!

We’re appreciating the little things. Family dinners each night. Game nights. Impromptu games of hide and seek. Things we didn’t have time for before, are suddenly the most important things we do.

I am thankful for my family. And for my sanity – however much longer I can hang onto it.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Christmas, Decorating

Hurry it up, Thanksgiving. I’m ready for Christmas.

If you’re like me, in the last few weeks you’ve been wondering where the hell this year went. I could swear it was just 100 degrees out and we were sweating.

Now the trees are bare, we build a fire every night, and the holidays are knocking on my door.

And, to make things even MORE fun, this year there are only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That’s only 3 weekends to prepare for Christmas: tree getting, house decorating, present buying, holiday meal planning. How is a girl supposed to get everything done and have time for a holiday manicure?

And while I like Thanksgiving – we host every year which is fun, though I could do without the turkey – I’d jump right into full-blown Christmas mode and trade my turkeys for trees if I didn’t think my Thanksgiving guests would be confused by the holiday mash-up.

My holiday worlds are colliding; on Sunday I started my Christmas shopping and made a Thanksgiving menu in the same afternoon. The season says pumpkin but my heart says gingerbread.

Because of how late Thanksgiving is this year, that long weekend is going to be jam-packed with all things Christmas (sorry, Thanksgiving; you’ll still get your one day).

So here’s the game plan on the big holiday switcheroo:

Thursday, November 28th: Thanksgiving! Turkey! Pumpkins! Gourds!

Friday, November 29th (aka: Black Friday): SEE YA, Thanksgiving! All Thanksgiving decor gets packed up, Christmas decor gets brought upstairs and the Christmas trees (yes, trees plural) are purchased!

Last year’s decor prep:

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There are about 20 holiday bins in our basement. When putting it all away last year, I tried to label everything to make it easier on myself this year:

Saturday, November 30th: decorate, decorate, decorate!

Last year I was pretty proud of my red tractor sideboard:

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And the mantel:

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Sunday, December 1st-24th: FULL BLOWN CHRISTMAS MODE. Shopping. More shopping. Planning. Santa visit. Wrapping. Hosting. Last-minute shopping. More hosting.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the garage shame-listening to Christmas songs on Sirius in the car.

 

 

NaBloPoMo, thanksgiving

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving

Besides being the biggest travel day of the year (I’m sure everyone has a story of nightmare traffic…I know I do!), it’s also the biggest going out night of the year. I’m sure there are millennials around the globe putting on makeup and flat ironing their hair, selecting outfits to make ex-boyfriends jealous, and pre-gaming before heading to the town bar.

Ah, the old days.

My current Thanksgiving Eve consists of clipping preschooler fingernails and toe nails and watching Blaze and the Monster Machines. And honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for my past life because in my currently life, I’m able to be in bed by 10pm. (9:30pm if I’m lucky).

These days, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving means the day off from work, prepping all the delicious food for our feast, and doing a little afternoon drinking with Mr. KK.

Today’s prep went rather smoothly, with me sailing into the kitchen at 7:30am, fresh off of my drive home from Boston. I chopped, sliced, diced, sautéed, mixed and blended my way to being ready for guests tomorrow.

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And every year – every. single. year. – when I make my pumpkin cheesecake, I follow the directions religiously (don’t over mix, reduce oven heat, leave in oven for 2 hours when it’s done) to avoid cracks…to no avail. This year’s crack is rather impressive, I sure hope it tastes good!

This year is the second year we’re not going to do our Black Friday tradition of shopping and lunch. I’m not talking 3am wait in line madness; no, we used to head to the mall around 9:30am on Friday. At that time all of the early birds were wrapping up and clearing out; it was like a changing of the shopping guards, so to speak.

So whether you’re heading out to the bar or heading to bed (it’s almost time!), may you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends. We all have so much to be thankful for.

(I’m thankful I’ve kept up with my NaBloPoMo without driving Mr. KK crazy (which is what usually happens) when I have writer’s block.)

 

NaBloPoMo

Not bad for a Tuesday.

I woke up at 4:30am this morning, because I had to get ready to drive to Boston. I was going to work for the day, and then meet my very, very good friend J for dinner and…our night with Ina Garten!

It was raining, which meant everyone forgot how to drive, so my 2 hour drive took 3 hours and 15 minutes. I listened to the final episode in the Serial season 3 podcast, and started listening to Jennifer Weiner’s memoir, “Hungry Heart”.

A night with Ina Garten.

I was antsy all day, anticipating my delicious dinner with J (whom I hadn’t seen in almost 6 months) and our night with our soon to be BFF, Ina.

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We met for dinner at Eataly Boston, nabbing 2 bar stools and ordering a board of charcuterie that could have fed 6 people (though that didn’t stop us from ordering a pasta dish to share as well. Or wine.)

Ina was speaking at Boston’s Symphony Hall. A gorgeous, ornate building, that was casting a golden glow onto the cold, wet streets.

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Best I could do from row KK, taking an illegal photo.

Ina was her welcoming, wonderful self. She was honest and open, funny and warm. She talked about Jeffrey (whom she married when she was 20), revealed some little-known facts (she has her pilot’s license, and Jeffrey discovered he was dyslexic when he went to get his), shared the recipe she’s been working on for 8 years and hasn’t mastered yet (Boston cream pie) and let everyone in on her secret for success: “follow your dreams, and jump in the pond. Find something you love, and figure out how to make a living doing it.”

Ina Nerds that we are, J and I had our cookbooks with us, ready for her to sign. Unfortunately, there was no signing event this time around (she DID sign my cookbook the last time I saw her on tour).

I’m staying in Boston tonight, at a hotel. I used to travel quite a bit for work in my last job, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in a hotel room by myself. Will I be able to sleep without the beacon of light from the monitor in my face? (Hopefully) Will I remember how to barricade the door? (Yes) Will I wake up at 3:30am like I used to do when I traveled alone, not being able to go back to sleep? (Probably)

I’m up early tomorrow to beat the holiday traffic and start Thanksgiving prep. Because Thursday is the day that REALLY kicks off the holiday season…and I can’t wait.