Saturday, December 5, 2009

Much to be thankful for.

It is hard to believe that we are past Thanksgiving and finishing up our first week of December, yet that is exactly where we are. As I sit in my apartment and look out the window at the first real snow fall of the winter, makeup still on my face from my first holiday party of the season the night before, I am content and happy and filled with emotions. I am slightly overwhelmed that I have yet to really begin my holiday shopping. I am nervous, that my finances won't be able to cover all of the gifts I want to be able to give to the many people who have loved me and been there for me throughout this past year. I am satisfied, although I have yet to eat today, the $2.25 coffee from the Daily Grind coffee shop around the corner is running warm through my body, which is curled underneath my gray Syracuse University blanket. I am warm. I am happy. I am a tid bit anxious but I am comfortable. More so than anything else though, I am thankful.

I am thankful for an apartment that I love being in so much. I am thankful for roommates who help me with my makeup and accessories before a night out, who comfort me when I am upset, and who make me laugh. I am thankful for my family, that spreads from Rhode Island to Massachusetts to New Hampshire to California and back. My family, who loves me and protects me and pushes me to be who I am not matter what the situation. I am thankful for my network of friends, that spreads around the world and who have known me from a range of one year, five years, or twenty years. Friends that know me better than myself and who I have no doubt in my mind will continue to get to know me as I change and grow throughout the years. I am thankful for Skype and video chatting, which helps me stay in touch with those friends, whether they be in New Jersey or Indonesia. I am thankful for my own self-conviction. I am thankful for a lot.

This past Thanksgiving was a really happy one for me. It was filled with so many people I love, so many people that make my life rich and fulfilling and happy, so much goodness, and SO MUCH good food.

I ate my first Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before the actual holiday at my friend Andrew's house. We had a potluck dinner, with everybody bringing a different dish. This is a tradition that I had the pleasure of taking part in for the first time in 2008. I don't know if it was my state of mind or the food itself, but this year's dinner at Andrews was perfect. Everybody's dishes complemented each other perfectly even though they ranged from Persian rice to mashed potatoes to pumpkin to chili to a variety of stuffings and then oh, my, gosh, the deep fried turkey. It was delicious.

My second Thanksgiving dinner was at Cumberland House of Pizza with my girls Erin and Meag. Although it may not have been an official Thanksgiving dinner and although our crew was missing some very key people, it is definitely something I am thankful for. Broccoli and mushroom pizza. Antipasto salad. Good conversation. Loud and boisterous. Yeah, it was definitely a Thanksgiving dinner.

My third Thanksgiving dinner was at my grandmother's in Massachusetts. A smaller crowd than that of years past, but the room was just as full with love and laughter and over-eating. Again, it may have been my state-of-mind or it could have been the actual food, but everything tasted more delicious than ever. And for the first time in my life, I ate gravy. Yum, yum, yum.

(if you know my family... tell me if you notice anything about the photos below... hehe)

My fourth Thanksgiving dinner, which was actually a lunch, was at my Dad's on Friday. Again, lots of laughter and love and food. This year brought new family members to the table and new excitement for all of us.

My fifth, and final Thanksgiving dinner took place at a bar in Manchester, NH with my sister, her husband, her sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law's boyfriend. Chicken fingers and potato skins. Not the most traditional, but it was fun. It was a meal that I am again, incredibly thankful for. I had a wonderful night visiting my sister and her husband. Our relationship has progressed so much throughout this past year and we have some amazing memories to take with us into 2010.

So there you have it. My Thanksgiving in pictures and food and memories. Outside, the snow continues to fall. Accumulating now and covering the rooftops and tree branches in a soft blanket of beautiful white. My coffee is finished and my stomach is starting to rumble. No big cooking plans today. Perhaps tomorrow. Today I am enjoying the beauty outside and am thankful for all the beauty within my life as well.

Happy holidays.

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