Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now, more than ever, thankful

Tomorrow, three-quarters of my family will be together for Thanksgiving (that's just counting the nuclear family of two parents and two kids).

My parents and my brother work at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, and thus all three will be working on Thanksgiving, preparing for the retail nightmare that is Black Friday. Luckily, my parents don't have to be at work until 4 p.m., so Kyle and I are hosting our parents and his sister and nephew for a Thanksgiving lunch, noon-ish.

My brother, on the other hand, will be working 9 a.m.-7 p.m. -- he won't even make it to his in-laws Thanksgiving. I usually refrain my cursing in this blog, as it's supposed to be family-friendly, blog name notwithstanding, but I mean this deeply and sincerely: fuck you, Wal-Mart.

In the past, I've taken on the whole Thanksgiving meal myself; I have a Martha/martyr facet to my personality. This year, Kyle decided he wanted to fry the turkey, and anything that gets cooked outdoors is his territory (I happily concede this). That saves me a lot of time, effort and space in the refrigerator, as I usually brine my bird, a three-day process. I asked my parents to bring some wine, and Kyle asked his parents and sister to bring something simple, so I still get to do the rest.


Simple Green Salad
Deep-Fried Turkey
Savory Dressing with Sage, Cranberries and Pecans
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Mr. Sykes' Cranberry Relish
A selection of assorted olives and pickles
Brussel Sprouts with Cream and Peppered Bacon
Velvet Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Sauce or Gravy
Freshly-baked Yeast Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with real whipped cream

(I'm hoping someone makes a sweet potato casserole.)

We'll be offering a selection of beverages, including a fantastic white called Conundrum, Champagne, two reds my parents are bringing, Coke Zero, coffee, eggnog, Silk Pumpkin Spice, and milk. There's also a wide range of beers to choose from: Guinness, Blue Moon's Full Moon Winter Ale, various Sam Adams, and--let's not forget--Budweiser and Bud Light.

Mentally preparing for such a big meal makes me introspective. It's strange; my fortunes tend be out of step with that of the nation's. I can remember struggling in my first "job" after dropping out of graduate school, while the rest of the world was getting rich off the technology boom. And now that the country's mood has darkened, I find myself in an enviable place: a steady job that I really enjoy, likable and friendly colleagues, a home of my own and a man with whom I look forward to spending the rest of my life. Throw in my generally good health, some true friends, and family nearby and I've got a pretty damn sweet life!

I have so much to be thankful for, and it doesn't take a holiday to remind me; the news does a good enough job. More often than not, I wake up every day with the realization that I'm happier now than I've ever been. How many people can say that?

And while I'm well aware that everything in life changes, and times will get tough at some point, right now, this year, at this moment, I'm very thankful. I try to soak it up - really enjoy it for what it is now. I'm so blessed.

Thank you, my friends, my colleagues, the people who've randomly stumbled across this. Thank you for reading. I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful as well.

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