Thursday, November 20, 2008

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~ Thornton Wilder "

Well, as you know if you read my update in my Monday post, I DID, in fact, attempt to do my walk/run. I did not do it on Wednesday, as scheduled, because I had pulled a muscle in my back; a muscle that runs from my spine to around my ribcage ~ Gawd...Freakin OUCH! It's pretty much gone this morning, but although I will be doing my walk run, it won't be with Goldie. Too bad.

Today is my in-laws anniversary and tonight we will meet my sister-in-law, Christina, and her husband over at my in-laws to present them with a photograph album Christina put together from the Anniversary/Family Reunion in July. I am taking dessert ~ Oreo Crunch Brownies ~ and some ice cream to go with them. We are meeting there at 6:00pm, after my in-laws having eaten dinner. They eat their evening meal at exactly 5:00pm every day and have for as long as I've known them. We don't eat that early, so we will not be having dessert... just taking it. After we leave my in-laws, we will go to Gusano's Pizza and order The Chaplain, which comes with an oil-based sauce on a Chicago-style thick crust with chicken, artichoke hearts, onions, tomatoes, mozzarella and Feta cheese. We also add spinach. It is just delicious. And it is one of the newer places in town where you can buy a beer or a glass of wine with dinner (remember, this is a "dry" county and to serve alcohol establishments must seek a liquor permit as a private club ~ a really stupid thing to have to do, but it works out okay...we just can't have liquor stores...yet).

Anyway, we will have a nice dinner and come back to the house for the dessert I will have left at home for us.

So, I had a real surprise. I don't know why I was so surprised. Maybe because I expected a different response, or maybe I expected no response at all. Yesterday, while I was on Myspace, I sent a request to my son, Mike, asking to be one of his Myspace friends and he accepted. I know it sounds like it is really nothing, but considering what we've been through this year, it's a lot... at least to me.

I am starting to get into the holiday spirit. My depression has not yet set in, but it's not the day before Thanksgiving yet, either. But, I feel differently this season. I don't feel obsessed or pulled in a million directions (so far) or like there is an impending cloud looming in the distance. Tom has taken all of the Christmas decorations down from the attic and this weekend we will start putting up lights, lighted grazing reindeer and a lighted sled with flying reindeer. Over the last few years, I have been collecting beautiful Santa's in many different Christmas costumes. They are my favorite decorations, besides the Christmas tree. The house will be festive for Thanksgiving and we have the entire 4-day Thanksgiving weekend to just enjoy!

After a few revisions, I have finalized our Thanksgiving Day menu and I will spend probably most of Monday shopping, then start preparing some of the dishes ahead of time on Tuesday and Wednesday. How can I spend so much time?? Well, sadly, I didn't get the job I interviewed for a couple of weeks ago. That just means I have to keep on trying to convince someone to hire an experienced old lady instead of a young, energetic newbee. I will keep applying until someone finally says, "You know, I think she might just do a good job and add something positive to our department. Until then, I have many projects to fill my time, including painting, Thanksgiving dinner, holiday baking, etc.

So I found this following little meme somewhere on the net which just asks you to list 13 things you are thankful for this holiday season. It seemed appropriate. It's a nice exercise in gratitude. I think everyone should try it.

Thirteen Things I’m Thankful for This Holiday Season... in no particular order...

1. My health and the health of my family: After my Dad's death in 1992, my mom's death in 2003, brother-in-law's and my sister, Kim's deaths earlier this year...well, I can't help but be thankful. Those are strong reminders of what a tenuous grasp we have on our lives. And, I don't think I'm overstating or exaggerating it.

2. My husband, Tom, and his love and support: He has been beside me, loving, encouraging, supporting, helping me since the day we married, even when I wasn't the most receptive or lovable. His love and commitment to me has never wavered.

3. My sons, Mike and Chris: We’ve been through some really great times and some rocky times over the years, but somehow we always, in the end, are able to choose to embrace our love for one another rather than our differences or disagreements.

4. My grandchildren: They are so precious to me. It makes my day...okay, it actually makes my week...when I receive even the shortest email or text from one of them..."Hi Grandma. Love you!" or "Hi. How are you?" or "Love you!" or just "Hi!". Or when I receive an envelope in the mail of some pictures they've drawn. It's hard being so far away from all of them. It's the little things that make me feel like they consider me part of their lives.

5. Reconnecting with my sisters: It has been a lonely 17 years. All five of us went our separate ways and held onto old grudges for all that time. Did we change? Did we just change our minds? No. We acknowledged our own participation in the resentment and lack of communication and stopped blaming. And we allowed ourselves to trust and be vulnerable enough to acknowledge our love for each other. We are still the same people we were before this. We each have our own problems, neurosis, idiosyncrasies and personality flaws. We are human. Do we always agree now? Nope, not a chance. But we recognize and accept that we will have differences and even disagreements, but still love each other. I think we grew up!

6. Our neighbors, Bill and Denise, Rob and Amanda, Jim and Mary, Steve and Nelda and Mrs. Duke: The "hellooo's" across the drive ways, the helping hands, the conversations. I love it.

7. My sister-in-law, Christina: She takes my in-laws to doctor's appointments, medical tests and any where else they want to go, without ever complaining or being resentful. Then she emails the whole family of brothers and sisters to keep everyone up to date.

8. Good Friends, both online and off: There are not many people that I call a close friend, but the ones that I do, as far as I am concerned they are my friends for life, whether they move away or not. I am very grateful for the friendship of each and every one.

9. The men and women of the United States Armed Forces: I salute you all. You're brave and unquestioning service to your country is nothing short of astonishing. I also salute your families for the sacrifices they make on your behalf.

10. My dog, Goldie: I know I talk about her being a lump and such, but I love her just the same and she is really part of our family.

11. My readers, visitors and guests of this blog and Terri's Table: Thank you for your comments, emails and just reading what I write. You make me smile every day. Gawd, I never thought anyone would be interested except me and Tom.

12. My nephews and nieces: All of them, wherever they are and whether we have contact or not. Some are still single, some are married, some have children, some have not yet started a family. They have grown into really wonderful people in their own right. I am proud of each and every single one of you. Whether you believe it or not, I think about you every single day.

13. Laughing: Not at someone, but with someone. Not poking fun or ridiculing people, but laughing at ourselves. Tom always says, "Life's too short not to laugh," and he makes me laugh every single day. Try holding on to a bad mood when a 63 year old guy starts talking about how cool he is and let's his tongue out of his mouth (like he thinks it looks sexy) then does a silly, fairly uncoordinated dance just to prove it. I love to laugh and I'm grateful that I can still appreciate the silly things in life, in people, on television and in the movies. A good sense of humor contributes to better health, better relationships and a better life. Just ask my Aunt Sally, who has the best laugh in the world.

I would like to finish this post with the lovely, insightful words of Warren Barfield's song:

Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
And then commit to never leave

Lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Love is a shelter in the raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
If we try to leave, may God send His angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing of us
But demand we give our all

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for.

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