Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 30, the internet

How did I ever do anything before the internet?  I mean, how would I have ever researched brining a turkey?  Or how to make a buttonhole on a knitted sweater?  Or spend countess hours reading about (insert intriguing notion here:  making soap, growing herbs, diy furniture, homemade dog biscuits)?

I am thankful for this crazy thing.  Because of it I have found friends that I have missed.  I have played games with people thousands of miles away.  Shared photos with family.  Seen weddings I couldn't attend personally.

I know that some argue that the internet and online profiles and other assorted issues of computers are really driving us apart.  That we don't really know anyone on the internet, and that we only know a subset of who they are.  I can understand that.  However, I am trying to use my online presence (as it were) for good.  Something that brings forth positive things.  The internet can be negative, and I don't want to be a part of that.

I am also thankful that, because of the internet, I was able to share my thoughts on thankfulness.  I am thankful that I was able to finish, with a little push at the end.  And I am thankful that I can move on to posting about Christmas knitting!  Yay!

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 29, family and friends

I am very thankful for my family and friends.

My family, like all families, can be trying at times but I love them so much.  I would not be who I am today without them.  Family for me means so much more than the group of people I was borne into.  There are friends that I consider true family, and I would do anything for them.

My family and friends are wonderful, crazy, caring, lovely, amazing people.  I am thankful each and every one of them is in my life.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 28, running, yoga, and more

Why in the world, even I ask myself some days, would I be thankful for working out.  Some days, it is the last thing I want to do, but every day that I do it I am glad.  There are days that I get really down on my body and what it can't do, but when I work out I am reminded of what I can do.

Running makes me feel exhilarated.  Yoga makes me feel centered.  Ballet makes me feel graceful.  Weight lifting makes me feel strong.  I am thankful I can do all of these things.  Some not well, and some days are better than others.  But every day that I work out is better than the days I don't.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 27, the stand-up garage freezer

I am thankful that Mike and I had the ability to buy a freezer for our garage.  It seemed like a bit of an extravagance at first, and like something that we didn't really need.  After all, it is currently just the two of us.  Why would we need an extra fourteen feet of cubic freezer space?  Yes, it is true that we couldn't buy a frozen pizza to keep on hand for those nights when neither of us feel like making anything else.  It is also true that our drawer-style freezer basket thing is kind of the stupidest type of freezer ever invented.

But this freezer has enabled us to eat at home more, buy surplus of items when they go on sale, buy meat from the local butcher when they come to farmer's market twice a month, and make food in bulk and store it for later.  We use it to more healthy meals, because with both of us driving over an hour in different direction every day, some days we really don't feel like cooking.
A peek inside

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 26, The Packer Room

Oh, the Packer Room.
This might have been our master bedroom, if the Packers had won the Superbowl one year earlier.  I told Mike that if the Packers won the Superbowl we could redo the bedroom in Packer theme.  They didn't win.  In fact, they choked in the playoffs that year.

That was 2008.  We bought the house that year and it was the first time we had an actual "extra" bedroom that we could make into a guest room.  Enter the Packer Room.  My mother bought us the bedding as a housewarming gift, and although you can't see it in the picture, even the window dressing is Packer.  And the lamps.  And both the clocks.  And the wall decor.  And the hand sanitizer on the nightstand.  You get the picture.

I am thankful for this room because it has allowed us to actually have guests and treat them appropriately.  No more bunking on the sofa or the floor or an air mattress that loses its air halfway though the night.  (For us, of course.  We would never let our guests sleep on the leaky air mattress.)
Brett also enjoys the Packer Room. 

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 25, our window garden

We have a little jungle growing right next to our dining room table.  Every time I cut some fresh basil for pasta or fresh parsley for stock, I am thankful for these plants.  We started a lot of these outside this past summer.  After going through all the work to get them going, we really didn't want to let them die in the frost.
Mike is really helpful with the upkeep of the plants.  In fact, I think he is more into them than I am.  In fact, I would say that he is borderline obsessed with keeping these plants alive and healthy.  It might be a personal challenge for him.  Fine with me-- he can grow than and I will cook them!  (Maybe I can get him interested in a garden in the spring......)

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 24, Small Business Saturday (and all other days, too)

I love shopping at small businesses!  I am so thankful they are around.  New Bern has a really cute downtown area with some really fun shops.  This year I am really trying to not buy mass-produced, big box type things for Christmas presents.  For my friend Jean, I bought from:
Carolina Creations.  They have really great things that you can't find in just any ole place.  I wish I could show you a picture of the Santa, but they wrapped it for me.  We also bought some hand poured soy candles.  Love soy candles.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 23, the movies

I am thankful for movies.  What would I do without the movies?  Movies have to power to make us think, and cry, and laugh, and feel joy and pain and love.  How many times have I sobbed at the end of Terms of Endearment?  Oh, just about every time.  I still cheer when Andy Dufresne claws his way out of Shawshank Prison.  And I still think Jack could have found another piece of floating wood and saved himself, too.

I filter my world through movies (and books, let us not forget about books; but movies are a different experience than books.  Movies are often experienced with someone, whereas books are usually experienced alone.  You can share books, but it isn't the same as movies.  At a movie, you share the exact same movie in the exact same moment in time.  The same rude person talking up front.  The same audience laughing or not at the same parts.)  For every experience I have, I can usually think of a movie quote or scene that matches up.  Weird?  Maybe.  But I married a guy who gets it.  He is just as likely to throw out a movie quote as I am.  And, of course, we have our favorites and our inside jokes.

We saw Lincoln this past weekend.  Go.  Go this weekend.  Cancel your plans and go see this movie.  This movie is why I continue to go to the movies-- in the hopes that someone will create magic like this.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 22, free range turkey

I am thankful for the free range turkey that we ate for Thanksgiving dinner.  But to say that I am thankful for just the turkey is misleading.  I am thankful for the people that have given me the option of having a free range turkey.

I am thankful for the farmers the hard work of humanely raising animals for us to eat.  I am thankful for the farmer's markets where I buy my local, humane meat and the free range eggs I use.  I am thankful for the people that have fought to make conditions better for all animals raised for consumption.  I am thankful that people are starting to listen, and hear, and vote with their money.

I used to be a vegetarian.  It was mostly for animal-rights reasons, but also partly for environmental reasons.  I was a vegetarian for about ten years.  Once I started eating meat again, I became really sensitive to where the meat came from.  Everywhere we have lived, I have searched out local options for meat.  This is becoming easier, and for that I am thankful.  I think that if we are going to consume animals, we owe them the respect of raising them humanely.

I still don't eat as much meat as many people.  I often go days without eating meat, and I don't even realize it.  I also cook in such a way that the meat will be more of an ingredient than the main course.  I roast a whole chicken about once a week or two, but other than that I never just grill some chicken breasts to eat just like that.  You will never come to my house and have a piece of meat on a plate with a vegetable and a potato.  Even with a Sunday Roast Chicken, I usually have at least two vegetables and a starch.  I expect the chicken to last for three meals, and we eat it that way.  More veggies, always.

But I am very thankful that our ideas of food are changing.  I know that trying to find organic, free range meat is a good problem to have.  I'm thankful that enough of us are choosing to use our money and time on this particular problem.  It's a good fight to have, and important to our world.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 21, knitting

I am thankful that I knit.  Knitting has calmed me, frustrated me, and excited me-- sometimes all withing the same project, hour, row.  Knitting has brought me closer to people and brought new people into my life.  I think it is fair to say that knitting has changed my life.  I know that I wouldn't have some of the friendships I have right now without knitting, and those people are very important to me.  There is one person in particular that I am close to because of knitting-- she wanted me to teach her how to make socks-- but has moved to be so much more.

I taught myself to knit from a Leisure Arts booklet.  I was waiting tables and mentioned that I wanted to learn to knit.  I was twenty-two years old.  My mother didn't knit.  My Gramma didn't knit, and although her mother did, I never met my Great Gramma Irene.  I have no idea why I wanted to learn how to knit, other than that I wanted to have a certain kind of creative life and felt that knitting might be an interesting and fun creative endeavor.

A co-worker brought in the Leisure Arts booklet, and the boss brought me in some yarn and needles.  I wish I could say that I took to it like a duck to water, but I didn't.  It was really difficult for me, and I didn't have anyone to ask.  Mary Ellen brought me in the booklet because she didn't knit anymore, and could barely remember doing it.  And the boss?  Well, I wasn't going to ask her!  (Like I said, I was 22 years old.  Bosses held more reverence then.)

I spent years only knitting very simple things.  I bought horrible, crappy yarn that hurt my hands to work with.  This was before the internet, or I'm sure I would have spent hours reading blogs about knitting.  I stayed with it, though.  When I moved, I moved my yarn and tried to keep at it.  Knitting was going to a part of my life!

Eventually it happened.  I became a knitter.  I got to the point where I knit more days than I didn't.  I bought good yarn and realized that it really is worth it.  I started this blog--twice-- with the intent of it being mostly a knitting blog.  (I think that the blog is still finding its way.  Time will tell how this falls out.)  But I'm still knitting.  And it still frustrates me sometimes.  But it also challenges me in a good way.  I love the fact that I can start with what looks like a pile of string and end up with a sock.  I hope that I am able to continue "this knitting thing" for a long time.
Still fooling around with PicMonkey.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 20, nursing school

Nursing school.  What can  I say?  Yes, I am thankful that I am in nursing school.  I think (hope?) that I will make a good nurse when all is said and done.  However, I have to remind myself that there is an end in there somewhere.  Thankful?  Yes.  Exhausted?  Yes.  Frustrated?  Much of the time.

I had some fun with PicMonkey.  Still learning, both nursing and photo editing.
I am also thankful that this semester is almost over.  We have a month-long break starting in a couple of weeks.  Mike's mother is coming down for a week in December, and my mother is coming down for a long weekend in January, so the entire break will not consist of me sitting on the davenport with a     glass of wine and my knitting, watching Hallmark movies (just kidding.  maybe.) but it should be fun.

Anyway, I've learned a LOT both about nursing and about myself.  I'm at a point in this semester where I'm looking forward to next semester.  There was a point where I didn't think I would get to next semester!  hah!  More on "nursing school" later.  I hope.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 19, afternoon tea

I am thankful for afternoon tea (and a homemade muffin).  There is something so relaxing and reviving about making a cup of tea 'round about 3 pm.  When I am home, I try to do this every day.  It gives me something to look forward to, and--let's face it here-- when I am home lately in the afternoon I am studying, so I need that something!  That is where the muffin comes in.  A little bit of a sweet treat that I can pretend is healthy, because I use half wheat flour when baking them.  (I know, I know.  But these are the things I tell myself, and I am okay with a little bit of self deception.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 18, handwritten letters

I am thankful for my friends who take the time to send a handwritten note or card.  Who doesn't love getting something in the mail that isn't a bill?  I enjoy sending them out almost as much as getting them.  I especially love sweet cards from my young nephews.  The last card I got from Luke said "I love you more than cookies."  That is a pretty high compliment from an eleven year old!

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 17, colder weather

I am a knitter.  I like wooly things.  Which is why I am thankful for Colder Weather.  Cold(er) weather is when I can pull out my handknits.  Cold is when my hobby makes sense, especially considering that for the past nine years I have lived somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.  But who can resist this?

I also think that cold in the winter is just how things are supposed to be.  I get more things done in the winter, because I feel more like doing things.  Sitting inside with the fire going calls to me to be working with my hands.  Dark by dinner?  No problem, since I have a pile of things that I can do indoors.  I'm a child of the midwest, which generally means that if if is nice outside I feel like I should be outside.  Winter and cold allow me to reset myself, gather my resources, and concentrate on renewing my energy.  So bring on the cold weather, I say, because I am ready to knit.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 16, ball winder and yarn swift

Okay, it might seem silly to be thankful for a ball winder and yarn swift, but if you have ever tried to wind several yarns for a multi-color project by hand, you should understand this.  It could take hours.  Now I can take yarn in this form:

and turn it into this form:

in a matter of about fifteen minutes.  Total.  Not per skein, but for all five skeins.  And I can do it without help.  Mike doesn't have to sit with his hands up, or unravel knots, or pick up the yarn from the corner of the room after I throw it in frustration.

But what this is actually about, what I am talking about when I am talking about yarn, is that the people in my life support my strange wooly habit.  My mother got my the Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder for my birthday this year.  It is lovely, not plastic (something that I fully support), made in the United States (also fully support) by a small family company (fully support), and quite dear in price (understandable, all things considered.  One must pay for craftsmanship of this caliber.)  And normally my mother doesn't quite go that far for birthdays.  But she listened to what I wanted and decided to go for it this year.

Once I had it in my hot little hands and wound a lopsided center-pull ball, I explained to Mike that what it really needed was a yarn swift.  That the two were really a set, you see.  And even though I had a ball winder, he would still need to hold the yarn, be my yarn swift, if you will, until I got an actual yarn swift.  That is when he asked, how do you get one of those?

Which is why, when I knit, I knit for the people I love.  Because they, too, do nice things for me.  Like get me yarn accessories.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 15, Charlie

Charlie is our foster dog, who might soon become the fourth dog.  (We lost our cat this summer.  Keeping Charlie maintains "paw equilibrium" of the house.)  I am thankful for him and the life and spirit he adds to our home.

I know less of Charlie's back story than I do our other guys.  He ended up with Small Paws Rescue somehow, which means that he was in a bad situation.  He wasn't as sacred as Fred was at first, but he had his quirks (some of which he retains today).  We couldn't pick him up, he would yelp if you came up behind him, and wasn't leash trained.  Well he quickly learned the leash thing, because we love our little Ws in this house.  We try to go for a walk at least once a day, usually twice.  Charlie now loves walks, and let me tell you, this dogs re-pees on everything the other dogs have peed on first.  Sometimes he has to double back to catch something the dawdler Fred hits.

Charlie looks like he is always smiling.  He has over-processed ears that look fuzzy and funny and cute.  He is an instigator and tries to chew on Frosty a lot.  Poor Frosty.  Our little old man isn't used to the sprightliness of young pups anymore.  But Charlie has helped to keep F-er active.  Charlie has no understanding of personal space.  He will jump up on the couch and stick his snout into whatever you are doing--paws on the computer, snout in a book, whatever is in your hand.

We call Charlie "Brett's Minion" because, let's face it, haven't we all wanted a minion to do our bidding every now and then.  That started when Simon was still around, and Brett taught Charlie to bark and bark and bark at Simon.  Charlie also goes by Pork Chop, Lunch Box, and Chuck Wagon.  He was a bit of an eater when we first got him, which makes us think that he probably was in a situation where he didn't get enough to eat at some point.

He's been with us about six months now, and we have been seriously thinking about keeping him.  He's become part of our pack now.  He loves us.  And we love him.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 14, Fred

I am thankful for my little Fred.  Also known as The Ferd, Freddy Bear, Ferdnando, NanaBanana, and Banana Head.  And I don't think I would be wrong in saying that Fred is thankful for me, too.

Fred started out as a foster.  He was from a puppy mill situation, and when we got him he weighed just over seven pounds (he weighs over thirteen pounds now).  His paws were in terrible shape, he had lost about half of his teeth, and he was terrified of everything.  People, other dogs, grass, the outside, leashes, big bowls, the couch, steps.  Everything.  The plan was to keep him for a little while, get him housebroken, get him used to people, and then send him off to live with other great people who would love him and take care of him.

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.

I fell head over heels in love with my little Ferddy.  And he fell in love with me.  He still loves me best, and that's okay with everyone.  He is far from perfect, still isn't completely house trained (when we are gone for long periods he wears a weenie wrap), and continues to avoid the grass in the backyard.  Since he is missing even more teeth, it takes him a long time to eat.  Sometimes his lip gets caught on one of his teeth and he looks like he is impersonating Elvis.  He has a bit of "shaggy mutt" about him.  He doesn't really like other people.

When he wants to play, he jumps straight up several times.  It is like watching a dog doing a Tigger impersonation.  He doesn't play with toys unless Brett has the toy first.  He needs steps to get on to the bed, and we (of course) provide them for him.  He is usually the last dog trailing behind on a walk.  He has to sniff everything on a walk, and then pee on it.  He is so slow about it!  If you can't find Fred, look under a stack of pillows.  He's a burrow-er.  He loves cuddling with his Miss Peep (me).

I love my little guy, and I'm very thankful for Fred and for the organization that saved him--Small Paws Rescue.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 13, Brett

I am thankful for Brett.  Brett is our second dog.  I found Brett on a pet rescue site (BFK) while we were in San Diego.  We decided that Frosty would like a companion and, truthfully, I wanted a cuddly dog.  A lap dog.  And dog that would sit by me on the sofa.  (Frosty is great, but a lap dog he is not.)  So I found Brett.

Now, Brett is a little funny looking.  He is a Bichon Poodle mix, which means that he has a really skinny body on top of really long, skinny legs.  His head is a little round, and his snout is a bit short.  But he has the sweetest little eyes.  And he is such a cuddler.  Everyone loves Brett.

When we first set eyes on Brett, he was staying at a foster house.  He was standing behind the foster person, and didn't even bark, just looked out at us.  He was so quiet.  Little did we know.  We spent some time getting to know Brett's foster people, and they determined that we were the right people for Brett.  Apparently, they had determined that two other sets of people looking at dogs were not the right fit for Brett.  Brett needed some patience.  He was found wandering on the streets of Riverside, CA.  They weren't sure what color he was, that is how dirty and matted his fur was.  He lacked some social skills.  He wasn't housebroken.  But we were in love.

Well, we brought Brett home.  He came with the name Winston, but he wouldn't answer to it.  I told Mike that if he answered to Brett (after Brett Favre) then we could change his name.  Mike called it out, and our little Brett ran right to him.  We joke now that it was because it sounds so much like "brat" which is probably what he was called-- a lot.

Brett loves Mike.  Mike is his Peep.  I am merely the Veep (Vice Peep) and sometimes am even the Seep (Secretary to the Peep).  Brett loves everyone, mostly, but really really really loves Mike.  Brett loves squeaky tennis balls and barking at squirrels.  He walks very quietly, and sometimes you will turn around he will be behind you and you had no idea.  He loves sleeping in the crook of a knee, if he isn't using a pillow like a human.  There have been many times when I have gone to bed only to find Brett using my pillow.

Brett sighs and sounds exasperated a lot, and he seems to do it at just the right parts of a conversation.  He sounds like he is put upon, and that is one of our jokes-- that Brett is troubled and put upon and is really the one that keeps the household together and if we didn't have him, well, somehow we would completely fall apart.  He bears up well under the weight of the world, though, and sometimes even manages to look dignified.  I think he know when I have a camera pointed at him, and will wait until I have taken his picture before he looks away.  The Brett we know is very proud of himself.

Everyone loves Brett.  Brett has broken through the anti-small-dog barriers of quite a few people.  Brett is full of personality and life and a bit of an attitude.  I am so thankful to have our Bretzger Metzger Pumpkin Head in our lives.  Even if he loves Mike a little bit more.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 12, Frosty

I am thankful for Frosty.  Frosty is our first dog (but not our first pet.  That honor goes to Simon Thecat, who passed away this summer.  And I'm still upset with the vet about it, and will not recommend that vet to anyone!)  Frosty started his life known to us with my mother.  My sister Karla was working at the animal shelter and brought Frosty home one night.  If memory serves, Frosty's name was Chevy back then.  Luke, Karla's oldest (and at that time, only) child renamed him Frosty, and I think it fits.

Before Mike and I were even married, we loved Frosty.  We had visited my mother, where Frosty woke us up each morning with his ferocious dog breath.  (We have since cured Frosty of the ferocious breath, but have at the same time created a ferocious Greenie addict who must have a Greenie every day or there could be severe consequences.)  After we left Frosty ran around the house, carrying his octopus squeaky toy, looking for us.  As soon as we could, we moved into an apartment that allowed dogs, with the sole intent of "rescuing" Frosty once again, this time from my mother.  (My mother loved Frosty.  I am not saying that Frosty was ignored.  What I am saying is that no one understands Frosty the way we do.  And that includes my mother.)

Frosty moved in with us in San Diego.  He loved our apartment, which was on the third floor.  It thrilled him to no end to be able to sit in the window and look down on everyone and everything.  We lived a block away from a dog park where we spent a lot of time.  Mike and I often went to the dog park on Friday nights instead of the bar.  Much better company.

Frosty loves many things.  He loves to go for a walk.  He loves to look out the window at who knows what. He is a pot-stirrer of the highest order.  He will bark once, while standing in the middle of the room, just to get the other dogs barking, and then stand back and listen while smiling away.  He is always in a good mood.  He doesn't particularly like to be picked up, and he isn't much of a lap dog, but he is always in the same room as we are.  He loves to eat, and does a little dance we call The Frosty Dance of Happiness when we are dishing out his food (or our food).  His middle name is Danger.  Truly it is.  His vet announcements come addressed to Frosty Danger Malone.

Frosty snouts things.  That's what we call it:  snouting.  He snouts the door open.  He snouts knick knacks on the shelf.  He snouts his food bowl, and has often overturned some of the food out of it.  His favorite toy is the squeaky elephant (EleFUNt).  He hates the Life Source Bits in his food and has been known to eat around them.  He will leave scatterings of Life Source Bits wherever he has decided to dine, which is almost never at his bowl.

Love that Frosty.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 11, our vets

It seems only proper to be thankful for our veterans.  My father and brother were both in the Army.  My husband is a Marine.  We have a nephew who is currently a Marine, and one who got out of the Marine Corps last year.  Mike's brother was a Marine.  It seems that serving our country is somewhat of a family business.
My Dad, 1969-ish
Amazing men and women, the lot of them.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 10, The United States Marine Corps

November 10th (the day on which this post was supposed to be published) is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.  Mike has been a Marine since 1991.  I am very proud of him for doing it, for so long and so well.

The Marines are very proud of their birthday and celebrate it with a Birthday Ball.  It is usually pretty fun.  The Marines get to wear their dress blues, and their dates get to dress up.  For me, it has always seemed like adult prom with a fun dress, sassy shoes, and fabulous make up.

Isn't he handsome?
A big shout out to my friend Liz for loaning me the dress!  Love friends that come through in a pinch!

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9, Green Smoothies

I know it seems like Green Smoothies are a silly thing to be thankful for, but I am.  I am thankful that I read about them, that I have a husband who will drink them, that I can buy much of what I need for them locally, that I have friends who drink them and don't find me to be weird (for drinking Green Smoothies; I think they might find me weird for other reasons), and I am thankful for the energy they give me.  (I am also thankful for my heavy duty blender, which I think is my most used kitchen appliance, after the coffee maker.)  I try to drink at least one a day, almost like a vitamin.

My typical "recipe" is an apple, some frozen strawberries (instead of ice), kale, and spinach.  If I have it, I use iced green tea instead of water-- I try to pack this baby with as much goodness as possible.  I used to put turmeric in it, but I must have gotten a little heavy-handed with it, and they started tasting kind of dirty, so I stopped.

Health in a glass.  Yum!
The recipe varies according to what I have in the fridge.  Cucumbers add a brightness to a Green Smoothie that I really like.  If mangoes are at the commissary, I grab a few of those.  (For some reason, I can't find frozen mangoes in the store very readily around here.)  I had a ton of blueberries that we picked this summer that I was adding, which makes the smoothie look more black than green, but I am out of those now.  (Note to self:  pick more next summer!)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 8, the view in my dining room

Yes, I'm behind on these.  But I am determined to catch up and finish!  It is true that I've been busy (oh my goodness, is there a LOT to learn in nursing school!) but I've also watched my share of Dancing with the Stars, so I could have been updating (especially since most of these have been written, they just needed pictures).  It's just that, when I get behind on something, I'm not always sure how to get back in front of it.  The answer is, of course, just to start.  So here I am, starting again.  At Day 8.

And what I am thankful for today is the view in my dining room window.
You can't see it clearly in this picture because of the glare on the window, but there are two rose bushes out there.  We planted them the first summer we were here, three years ago.  They are called Knockout Roses, and I highly recommend them.  They have grown so well!  They are up to the second window pane on the window, and the house is about three steps up from the ground.  I think they are over five feet tall now.  I love sitting at the table in the morning, drinking my coffee and seeing the rose bushes.  They make me really happy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 7, Ravelry

Today, as I sit here trying to put together my holiday knitting list, I am thankful for Ravelry.  Ravelry is where I go for patterns, pattern help, group discussions, and all other things knitting related.  It is social (if you want it to be) or not (if that's more your thing).  I spend more time on Ravelry than Facebook.  In fact, people have written about it.  I would know a whole lot less about knitting if there was no Ravelry.  To paraphrase Voltaire, if Ravelry didn't exist, we would have to invent it.

I also want to say that I am thankful for the outcome of the vote last night.  Although North Carolina didn't go quite the way I had hoped, I am very happy with the re-election of President Barack Obama.  I started crying when, at 11:12 p.m., MSNBC projected Obama the winner of Ohio and as such the national election.  I think this election will be historically important, and I am thankful and proud that I participated in it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5, the library

I love the library.  I have since I was young.  At my hometown library there was a Reading Tub that everyone used to fight over.  It was an antique cast iron bathtub that had been upholstered so you could just lean back and read.  I want one in my house right now.  I would put it in the middle of the living room and just relax while studying.

Which is how I ended up at the library today.  Studying.  This is how my coffee table looked this morning:
I really should clean the screen of that iPad.
I was all settled in for an afternoon of studying.  My Day of Thankfulness was going to be about spending a quiet afternoon with the dogs.  Because, you see, the dogs were doing this:
Brett lounging in the dining room.
Charlie hiding behind a chair.
Everything was peaceful.  And then, who knows.  A bird flew by.  A squirrel ran across the fence.  Maybe nothing.  But all the dogs started barking and I realized that I really should leave the house if I was going to get anything accomplished.

The base has a great library.  It has been renovated over the past couple of years and the chairs are really comfortable.  Mike and I often stop in there before going grocery shopping on the weekends.  They've really developed their teen/young adult section in the past year, too, which is great because I happen to think some very interesting fiction is being written for the YA set.  (And I'm not talking Twilight.  Don't even get me started on Twilight.  Blech.)

So I got some studying done.  Five hours of it to be exact.  And I picked up a couple of new books to read. Can't leave a library without picking up at least one book!  Yay for libraries!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4, My Sister

Today I am thankful for my sister.  I would not be the person I am if I didn't have siblings.  I would have hated to be an only child (although I suppose I wouldn't have known better, and I'm sure there were times growing up that I wished with all my heart that I was an only child) and I know that having a brother and a sister certainly helped shape the person I am today.

My sister and I have shared a room, shared a car, shared an apartment.  Not all of this was done gracefully, but we got through it.  We still have some inside jokes that have gone back years and years.  And the older I get the more important I think that is.  We share a history.  She is someone that I'll be able to say "remember when" and she will remember.  I have had some of the best most breath-catching laughs of my life with her.  And she frustrates me in a way that only a sister can do.  But I love her.
Look at my shoes.  I was all about shoes, even then.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3, Farm Fresh Eggs

The Incredible Edible Egg.  We eat a lot of eggs at our house, and I insisted those eggs be organic and hopefully free-range.  (Let's not talk about how "free-range" is not regulated and could mean a different thing to every large scale chicken farmer.)  I had a lot of criteria for buying eggs from the grocery store.  I preferred eggs in cardboard containers, and never bought them in Styrofoam.  Plastic, well I tried not buy but sometimes it was unavoidable.  Eggs were becoming difficult.

Which is why I was so excited to find Fothergill Farms through a friend of mine.  Three dollars for a dozen FARM FRESH eggs.  Literally from a farm about twenty miles from my house.  In fact, Mike drives withing miles of the farm on the way to work.  These are the definition of Local Food.  Not delivered in a semi truck, but in a silver Buick.  Once, they were even warm, since Karen Fothergill had grabbed them on her way to see me.  Oh my goodness!  Definitely free range, too.  If you visit the farm, you need to drive really slow so you don't hit a chicken crossing the road.  Seriously.
See the blue one?  I love when I get a blue egg in my order.
They are the tastiest, eggiest eggs I have ever eaten.  The yolks are so yellow, and they are almost creamy.  I truly forgot eggs tasted this good.  (I used to buy farm fresh eggs when I lived in Petoskey, Michigan fifteen years ago.  They were a dollar a dozen, and not many people were buying them then.  Just the vegetarian hippies, like me and my friends.)

So today I am thankful for Karen Fothergill and her husband Tony, and the delicious eggs that her family farm provides to my family.  Thank you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 2, Home

After watching the news coverage all week of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, I am so thankful to have a home.  We have four walls and a roof, and we are safe from the elements.  We have electricity.  To not have those things, with winter getting closer every day, well, I just can't imagine.  My heart goes out to all the people across the eastern seaboard that are affected by this storm.

Last year our little neighborhood saw both a tornado and a hurricane.  A house less than a half mile away had their roof ripped off by the tornado in the spring, only to have a tree fall on the new roof during the hurricane mere months later.  Another family down the road literally got out of their house minutes before the tornado ripped it to shreds.  They only had the clothes on their backs, their pets, and each other.
Does anything say 'home' like a candle on a mantel.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

For the next thirty days-- the month of November-- I am going to post daily with something each day that I am thankful for.  I want to do this for several reasons.  First, Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday.  I like Christmas fine.  Halloween is really fun and the "Halloween Season" seems to be extending to the entire month of October and lots more people decorate their yards and homes, and I like seeing all that.  I usually put up some decorations, too.  New Year's Eve doesn't thrill me (too many years working in restaurants on that night) and I feel the same about Valentine's Day (for the same reason).   Easter is nice, but not everyone "celebrates" Easter.

But Thanksgiving?  I love Thanksgiving.  It is the beginning of the winter holiday season, and people are usually in a pretty good mood.  I love food and cooking, and love all the tradition around what we have at the table.  I love that for many of us, Thanksgiving is a family-centered meal, but many of us invite friends to the table with us.  (I think that it is often easier to do this at a non-gift centered holiday because there is no uncomfortable-ness about 'should we get Person X a token gift to open'.)  And, I truly think that I have so much to be thankful for.  So this year I'm not containing it to one day.

Second, I want to get in a more regular habit of writing and posting.  I compose so many posts in my head that never make it online, and having a schedule will (hopefully) help me direct my thoughts.  And like most things, with practice it will become a habit.

And third, October was a difficult month for me to get through for many reasons.  Nursing school is hard, and there were moments I questioned my choice.  Mike is driving to a base over an hour away from our home for work every day, and that means that we haven't had as much time together.  We had to update our homestudy, which means that it has been a year since the last one (two years with our agency) and that was stressful.  There were a couple more things, too, all of which separately would have been nothing much but all together seemed so overwhelming.  Among everything difficult that is going on, I also have so so much in my life that is wonderful.

These posts are not going to be in any particular order.  Day 12 will not necessarily be a more important thing than Day 24, but for this the first day, I am going to start with the most important thing, something I am thankful for every day.  My husband, Mike.
I mean, how many people would agree to an Elvis wedding?  But seriously, Mike is my rock, my safe place. He allows me to be me.  He is, in the words of Julia Child, "the butter to my bread, the breath to my life."

I read somewhere that part of being successful in life is to marry the right person.  Well, I knew right from the start that I was marrying the right person.  I only had one worry on my wedding day:  that our Elvis would be fat.  No worries about Mike what so ever.  We've had struggles.  Who hasn't?  Our first three years of marriage we were apart more than together (he deployed a week after our wedding).  I know in my heart that this is the person I want sitting next to me in my porch rocking chair when I am eighty, and sitting next to me at our dinner table tonight, and all the days in between.