Gratitude Friday

A Modern American Thanksgiving, image by Eric

1. Good food with good friends. The picture Eric took cracks me up every time I look at it. I was the only one sitting at the table ready to eat. All three of the other adults were taking pictures of the table. I know that many people would think this was awful or sad, but I just think it’s funny, and let’s be honest I only wasn’t taking a picture because I knew Eric would get one I could borrow. This picture was just a few minutes of that whole night, and doesn’t show all the time we spent laughing, talking, sharing food and stories.

2. Cupcakes. These are the ones I really wanted when I made some last week. The first batch turned out terrible. These aren’t a recipe adjusted for the altitude here, and the batter is deep and dense. I’ve baked these before, but the first time yesterday, I filled the cups too full and they spilled over then collapsed. We saved them because even though they were a mess they still taste good, but I made another batch to take with us to share. I made a few adjustments to the recipe for altitude (less baking powder, less sugar, and a bit of additional liquid) and filled the cups only half full, and they turned out pretty good. I also realized the mistake I’d made the last time with the frosting — I used butter and powdered sugar but forgot the cream cheese. It makes all the difference.

3. Snow day! We got 16 inches of snow overnight, so I cancelled my morning yoga class and my therapy appointment, stayed home in my pajamas and worked on cleaning and organizing my office. I also convinced Eric that even though he might be okay going out, it was better to just stay home with me and spend the day shoveling snow, (he did a LOT of shoveling).

4. Practice. As a teacher, it was actually a nice reset, a lovely rest to skip teaching last week. It’s like that thing they say about “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Since I wasn’t teaching, I got to sink into my own practice in a way I might not typically. I could practice just for me, do what felt good for only me — which in turn makes me a better teacher.

5. My tiny family. Eric was home this week on his fall break, and with the snow, the three of us got to slow down and hunker down in a way we don’t normally do. It was wonderful.

Bonus joy: friends with nice kids who you enjoy spending time with, how much bigger my writing desk is with all the crap cleaned off, good TV (Mike Birbiglia: The New One is streaming on Netflix. I saw the show live last year with Eric and it’s just so good), good music (Mary Lambert’s new album Grief Creature is everything I expected it would be), the stuffing I make every year (maple pork sausage, onion, celery, apples, cranberries, bread crumbs, chicken broth, a few eggs, thyme, rosemary, and sage — it’s SO good), leftovers, cuddling with Ringo, how Sam is always happy to take a nap with me, knowing that it’s okay if I need to take a full year off before I really start working in earnest again, having a partner who just wants me to be happy, the privilege that allows all this to be so easy, how happy it makes me when my clothes all match (like right now I’m wearing a black shirt, eggplant pj pants that are so ridiculously soft, and socks with black, eggplant and gray stripes), hanging out with Mikalina and Chloe’, texting with people I don’t get to see in person as much as I’d like but still feeling like I’m “there” with them, all things citrus (I start to crave it this time of year).

I'd love to hear what you think, kind and gentle reader.

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