Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone today! Last night Joe and I went to the theatre to see the new James Bond movie, SkyFall, and it didn’t get done until midnight so we are a little tired this morning. Actually, Joe is still asleep, but he will probably be tired when he gets up and I was tired when I woke up but now I have had several cups of coffee and I’m working on my Peaches and Cream oatmeal with Flax Seeds while I type. I meant to get up and run this morning but that didn’t happen. I set my alarm at least 3 times and finally I just had to wake up to get ready. Shortly here, within the hour, we need to be at a local church to help prepare food for a few hundred elderly people who need to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m glad to serve this year, but I’m also going to miss watching the Macy’s parade in my jammies too. I guess I can’t have it both ways and at least today we will be making a difference for others. This afternoon is in the air, we may stay here and we may head to Joe’s friend’s house (he just bought it so he is excited about it) to visit for awhile and then come back here. We will see!
The sun is coming up now (It’s just after 8am), our table has the beginnings of a table setting on it, and Cora just heard Joe wake up and head to the shower to get ready 🙂
To start the morning off I thought I would follow the trend and list many of the things I am thankful for. I won’t have time to complete my post this morning, but I’ll finish updating it later in the day. Today is one day that I suppose I should have my post done on time instead of a week later! 🙂
- Our Families are of course the first thing I am thankful for. Who or What would we be without them? Including are immediate parent’s and siblings all the way out to our furthest cousins, second cousins and relatives far away that we love but don’t see often. They’re the ones who made us, us and without them we wouldn’t be here!
- Joe. My best friend and my most fantastic husband. I’m very spoiled, and very lucky to have him. Beyond the easy things like he makes our house possible, our animals possible, drivable reliable cars possible. He also makes other things possible, like when I wanted to run a marathon… and then another marathon. He put up with hours of training runs and traveled with me. When I was taking a distance learning course and starting to slow down on it, he encouraged me to finish it. When I go to the doctor each year and they ask “Do you feel safe in your home?”. I can quickly and easily say “yes” and know that he would never even think of violence like that against me. It’s just not an option, not even a question they need to ask or consider. I don’t know if they ask this everywhere, but up here they ask every woman every time she goes for a check up… so somewhere there are women who can’t say ‘yes’. Ones that don’t feel safe… even in their own homes. How terrible. I’m thankful to say that I look forward to coming home, to seeing Joe and to spending time here (or elsewhere) with him.
- All of our animals… past, present, and even future. There is nothing like getting up in the morning knowing that there are close to 70 creatures in your care that are happy to see you and looking forward to your day. When I sleep Ocean is often curled around my head. Pinga, if she is in bed, by my pillow or between Joe and I. Cora sleeps across the bottom of the bed and Chloe by Joe’s feet. When I wake up, they call hello for me and nudge for a pet. When I turn the lights on, the birds sing and there is a rabbit looking at me. When I go outside the chickens rush to the door and when I come home Cora and Chloe (and used to be Buddy) will greet me at the door. No matter what they day, or what happens… they love us and look to us. Chores may not always be fun but it is well worth it to see that everybody is happy and well cared for!
- Electricity. Reliable and always on. I can watch T.V., run the dishwasher, microwave my coffee, blow dry my hair and have half the lights on in the house all at the same time. Some countries have no electricity, or very little. Others have it but it isn’t reliable. Do all the people on the East coast even have electricity back yet from Sandy? I’m not sure that they do… they may be in the dark today.
- Hot water. It heats our house and gives us nice warm showers. I can’t imagine how it would be to have to use a fire for warmth or to heat water or take a cold bath. A few months ago went I used all our hot water trying to thaw a chicken, I had to take a cold shower and it was awful.
- Food. Good food, bad food… whatever type, style or flavour of food I could ever want. I have never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from. We’ve always had whatever we needed, and even a surplus of food to include whatever we want as well. Not even everyone in our own country can say they know when or what their next meal will be. We donate at least a couple of times a year to local food drives. Nobody should go hungry.
- Insurance. Good or bad, some insurance is better than none. Our car insurance just paid for our deer dent entirely with the deductible waived and our health insurance is there in case of an emergency.
- The right to vote. Especially as a woman when not all woman can vote, and in a country where our votes matter and our elections are fair.
- Two good, stable jobs. Joe and I have been lucky we both have incomes that are stable and fairly certain. We aren’t rich of course, but we can live comfortably and have the things we need and/or want.
- A nice safe neighborhood and community. We lock our doors for sure… but half my coworkers never lock them. I don’t even know if they could find the key to their house if they tried! Not everybody is safe or trustworthy but compared to the big cities we live in a safe haven. People are generally good and everything is very safe with very little major crime.
- Clean air and nature nearby. We have nice fresh air here and there are trees and animals everywhere. Deer walk through our yard, along with our coyote friend. There are regular bear and/or wolf sitings within a few blocks of our home so they are around even if we have never seen them here exactly. We have plenty of birds, a few squirrels and chipmunks and our own fair share of neighborhood mice. Geese nest within a couple of miles and there are numerous bald eagle nests locally too. Not to mention hawks, foxes, turtles and hundreds of other animals that you can find in our neighborhoods and the woods surrounding them. Hiking places are never far away and there is plenty of water front to enjoy the Lake too.
- Four distinct seasons… although when I am cold I lump three of them all under ‘winter’ 🙂
- All of our friends who we either work with or have met over the years through other things. We don’t always see them often but they are always there when we need them and we try to make sure we are there if they need us too!
- The ability to use all my limbs and senses and everything I have. Some people would give anything just to walk but I can run, stand all day at work, walk wherever I need to and never have problems. I can see and hear, taste and mostly smell, and feel textures and temperatures with my skin. Not everybody can do all of that and we take it for granted. The few times some part of me is impaired like during a running injury, or a cold or other illness where I can’t function like normal… makes me realize how lucky I am to be healthy and able to use all that I have! What some people wouldn’t give to be able to do that and most of us never even think twice about it!
to be continued…
It’s almost 3pm now and Joe and I spent most of the day helping out with Little Brothers’ Friends of the Elderly and their Thanksgiving for elderly people. It was a nice time… we arrived at 9am and we helped cook and set up the dining room. The food included turkey, gravy, stuffing, yams, roast red potatoes, veggies, rolls, coleslaw and cranberry sauce. Along with hot punch, coffee and pie for dessert. The tables were set up all nice with candles, flowers and center piece decorations. Joe and I did whatever we had to and met some really sweet volunteers. At 9am there were maybe half a dozen of us cooking and as the morning wore on more people started to arrive to help with tables and other set up. By 1pm when we began serving there was probably three or four times the number of volunteers and plenty of people to wait on tables and help elderly folks with whatever they needed. Joe and I helped plate up food and then we got to eat some food ourselves. Afterwards we began to clean up a bit in the kitchen but other volunteers arrived to take over so we headed out. Our site served about 100 people, including almost 30 volunteers, and there were maybe close to 10 other sites around the area along with take-out/delivery available for home-bound people. I wasn’t sure if we would be helpful or not (I thought there might be too many volunteers) but it ended up working perfectly and we had a lot of fun.
Late morning in the kitchen. A lot of the people here are the ones who were with us at 9am, along with a few extras. One of the ladies had already helped out at one site and then joined ours to help us too. Joe is across the island there in the black shirt. Everything was mostly cooked or in the process of baking at this point and Joe and the other lady were finishing up some cranberry sauce and we were about to start taking preliminary food (Cranberry sauce, cole slaw, rolls) out to the tables.
Old folks and volunteers starting to arrive and get settled in. My friend Eleanor went to the location in South Range so I didn’t get to see her, but I will call her later this afternoon.
We came home around 1:30 or 2pm and decided to take Cora for a Thanksgiving walk. A good idea, but everybody else thought that was a good idea too so we saw some other people out on the trail. It is an unusually warm, in the 50’s, day today so I can’t blame people for wanting to get outside!
Now at 8:30pm Joe and I finished our own Thanksgiving supper, the kitchen is like 98% cleaned up and the dishwasher is running, everybody is fed and happy, we are watching James Bond movies on T.V. and in a little while we will finish up the night with pumpkin pie and/or (probably and!) apple crisp. I made the apple crisp, I bought the pie. We didn’t eat at the table since we never eat at the table with just the two of us but I set all the food out nicely, buffet style and then we got our food and ate in the living room. I didn’t buy wine so we had some bottled margaritas with supper. Super classy 🙂
Our supper included turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, baked/mashed squash and sweet potato, semi-homemade stuffing, buttered green beans, pan gravy, olives and then like I mentioned apple crisp and/or pumpkin pie for dessert! All of the larger mammals (minus the rabbit who got celery) got a sample of turkey which they enjoyed. In fact, Cora enjoyed it so much that while I was upstairs feeding turkey to the cats, she decided to haul the turkey carcass off the counter all by herself. Luckily all the meat was removed, although I still saved the carcass to make broth with… the floor is clean enough and it was only for a few seconds!
Overall it was a great day! Too bad our families were so far away but it was nice to be temporarily adopted into the Little Brothers’ family for the day and to make Thanksgiving special for so many elderly people. We both talked to our families and I also called Eleanor and she had a good day at her South Range supper location. She even topped off her meal with two desserts, one from Little Brothers and a second when her and her boyfriend Hank went back to her house… they had extra cheesecake with raspberry topping. When you’re 92 you can have as many desserts as you want!
Since I mentioned most of the big, serious things to be thankful for above here are some more light-hearted things I am thankful for to finish out the day!
- Pumpkin anything. The only thing I don’t love is pumpkin seeds. I like them but they are often so salty my mouth puckers…. and I love salt but man, some of those… too much salt! Pumpkin anything else though is fair game!
- Raw, whole milk in my coffee in the morning. Mmmm. I should buy the cow a Christmas present, maybe some fancy hay or some tasty grain or whatever cows eat… or a nice new bell. I’m sure they would love that!
- Pre-packaged oatmeal bags to take to work with me
- My spin class
- My new mittens (already put a tiny hole in them… my fault for wearing them out to the chicken coop!)
- Our treadmill and my bright blue running shoes
- Nachos or any form of chips and queso
- A car that heats up quickly and defrosts the front window fast for when I am late for work
- The nice people at the dump who help me carry my trash even though it’s my own fault for waiting so long that my car is super full.
- Christmas trees that sacrifice themselves for us to decorate (I tell Joe I want a live tree in a pot in the house to decorate but he doesn’t buy it)
- Christmas music
- Egg money to put in my Christmas Jar
- CSA food, even if I don’t know what it is or how to cook it
- Slobbery dog toys in my lap every single morning when I eat breakfast
- My roosters that drive Joe nuts. If we were old-fashioned farmers, they would be the perfect creatures… they crow about 2 hours before the sun rises which would give us enough time to get up, get fires started, breakfast cooked and ready for the day to begin at dawn.
- Comfy pants and my bright pink hand-me-down sweatshirt from one of the girls at work. It is has become my favourite and I find it whenever it is clean!
- Crocs… I wear mine, they are bright orange with mud spots on them, almost the entire year (here at home, not in public). Only forgoing them when it is really rainy and I need muck boots or when it is really, really cold or there is deep fresh snow and I need winter books. Love my crocs.
- Local parades and events like Seafood fest, the Fair or the Copper Dog (annual sled dog race up here).
- New socks
- The change in dress code at work… we went from navy blue shirts and khaki pants to a variety of acceptable colours of dress pants and any blue or white collared shirt. It isn’t an endless supply of choices but it gives us a bigger variety than we had before. I would take dress pants over khaki pants anyday and now I can finally wear all my business clothes from college again. Thank goodness I saved them all!
- Our nice foam bed. I haven’t regretted getting it once since we got it about 8 or 9 months ago.
- Being forced to wake up early enough to see the sun rise and shine through our pine trees into our front windows
- Sleeping in late enough that I wake up naturally or because the dog has to go to the bathroom
- The few late nights that I go outside in the dark and see the stars so bright or the Northern lights
- All of the knowledge and information, for better or worse, that I can find online whenever I want it
- A husband who remembers how to start things like the lawn mower and the chain saw because that kind of thing flies right out of my head. Not that I am generally allowed to touch the lawn mower or chain saw without supervision….
- Our recliner because it is one of Cora’s favourite nap spots. The other night I set all of my stuff next to it on the table, and grabbed a blanket and as I went to sit down she jumped into the chair and laid down behind me so I was forced to move to the couch. She loves that chair.
- The bunny who thumps his foot loudly on the floor when he is angry with me, or nudges my hand when he was his ears scratched or wants to know what snack I brought him.
- The birds and chickens for always being so cheerful and content.
- Chloe for being friends with the dog and the other two cats for keeping each other company so everybody has a friend to play with or hang out around.
- All the years we got to spend with Buddy! Our first Thanksgiving without him…
- The chance to drive and see both our families each year at Christmas
- Dog toys that make cool noises (Joe is making one oink at Cora right now)
- Prepackaged water…. yes I know it is bad for the environment!
- The ability to recycle in most places…. hopefully it gets here soon.
- Anybody and everyone who cuts their 6-pack rings before they throw them away so animals don’t get stuck. Same goes for crushing yogurt containers etc.
- Wood chips to keep the weeds out of my garden
- Indoor plumbing.
- Flashlights and lanterns for when I am forced to go outside in the dark.
- Polar Fleece anything
- Contact lenses so I don’t have to wear glasses all the time, they hurt the spot on my head behind my ears and it makes me grumpy.
- Hair brushes and hair bands that don’t break. I broke mine today while we were cooking this morning and had no spares in my purse so I had to tie it together and make-do. Won’t buy that brand again.
- Wireless things that work… my mouse, the printer, my phone, the computers and internet. But only when they work.
- My Kindle. I almost forgot my Kindle but I have no idea how I could forget that. My beloved Kindle that goes practically everywhere with me and once in awhile when I forget it, I tend to find myself needing or wanting it. I love my Kindle.
- My phone, especially now that service is much more reliable here. I can text Joe from the couch, check Facebook from the car (not while I am driving of course… only as a passenger!) and call for help if I get stuck!
- T.V. shows about crazy people. The ones like hoarders where our dust bunnies and dog food on the floor make us look like the Hilton compared to their homes!
- Debit cards and places that accept them. Or at least places that post they only take cash in a prominent place!
- Sushi. I told Joe tonight I wanted sushi for my birthday… which by the way, is in less than two months. It will be my last year before I enter into a new decade….
- Our vet. So glad we switched and they have always been good to us. We see them a lot less now that Buddy is gone and Pinga is feeling a million times better. I’m sure they miss us! Thankfully they remind me when an animal needs something because I can never keep track. Right now I have two post cards on my fridge reminding me about things that Cora and Ocean need. I will take the cat but the dog is all Joe.
There… I could keep going, there are so many things I take for granted that I love and am thankful to have but I think that is enough for one night! I know my mom and dad had their own little Thanksgiving today and Joe’s family was having a larger family gathering at their house this evening too. I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had plenty of time to think of all the things they appreciate or are thankful for!