Monday, December 01, 2008

December's NaBlo Theme is "THANKS", and I'm Thankful for That.

Once again, it's the beginning of another new and hope-filled month, and that means there's a new theme around which to loosely base my blog posts for a month. I like this, because having a vague focus is a little nicer than having no focus at all. Sort of like the difference between a Hans Hoffmann painting (no focus, very abstract) and one by Claude Monet (blurry, but you can tell they're grainstacks covered by snow in the twillight).

(I get to admit now that I actually prefer the Hoffmann paintings... Contrarian, to the bone.)

Our theme this month is THANKS. And I feel very grateful for that! I tried to adhere to a theme of thankfulness this month, gearing up for the big holiday, but inevitably got distracted along the way. There was so much that happened, so many shiny things and events to catch my raven-like eye. I have no doubt that will happen again this month -- it happens every month -- but I will plunge right in with a good spirit!! I have so much to be thankful for.

In fact, this being the first day of the theme, I shall start with a retrospective of the weekend of Thanksgiving. That's the first thing for which I am thankful.

We had an exhaustive (in the lovliest of ways) schedule of visiting and celebrating. Thursday through Sunday we had at least one major meal with friends or family. I simply love this holiday. It means so much to me to be able to set aside special time to sit down and dine with loved ones, with no electronic device interference, and all attention placed on the meal and the company. Divine.

Thursday was spent with my dad and my new bonus family. Daddy, having gotten remarried in October, now has an extensive family here in Ohio, whereas prior to this it was just me. There were 18 people joyfully, snuggly, LOUDLY! gathered in Ginny's living and dining room! We had a lovely time. It was reasonably harmonius for a family gathering. It was the sort of gathering that we hope builds up over the course of the next several years. What fun!!

Friday was a "leftovers feast" at a friend's house. Except that most of the meal wasn't really leftovers, as he said!! Nevermind, it was completely delicious. Chris is a fantastic cook, and he loves to show off his prodigious talent. We love to heap praise on him and benefit from his skills. Once again, the company was spectacular. We are so rich; not in material wealth, but in those with whom we choose to associate.

Traditionally, most major holidays are celebrated with Rick's family on the Saturday closest to that holiday, as we travel to the farm in Holmes County. It's quite a hike from Cleveland! And one of our favorite places. So that's where we were on Saturday. Warm, wonderful, and wow, were we full!! I love Rick's family. In this context, it's Rick's family: I described my dad and my bonus family above, so the differentiation is solely to keep the sides straight. We are each others' family, and IN each others' families; therefore, each others' families are our own, too. I'm not just thankful for that, I jump up and down for joy over that!!

Finally, this morning we met another group of friends for brunch. It was all laughter and smiles and gentle teasing and good-naturedness and "ooh -- what'd you get? That looks WONderfuuuullllll!" over coffee and juice. Again, our wealth cannot be counted on calculators nor kept in a bank. They really are a great bunch of folk. We'll get to see them again a few times throughout the month, and then there's a party one is having on Boxing Day. Can't wait!!

We have so much to be thankful for, though this year the news and the radio and tv keep telling us instead to panic. They are right that Christmas will be a lean one, materially, and that's ok. We're concentrating on the things we already have, and working on the things we really need, like the means to keep a roof over our heads. We wish we could just open the floodgates and give and give and give, willy-nilly, but we also know that no one wants us to beggar ourselves in the course of being generous. There is a persistent fantasy we share. We see lottery winners, and we both sigh heavily and wish that had happened to us. After we eliminate our bills, we rattle off the ways we would spend the money charitably -- it's pretty well planned now. But this isn't the sort of thing that happens to folk like us...

Still. There are plenty of things and people and events that make me grateful and fill my days. They even distract me from the doom-and-gloom in the news. I'm thankful for that, too.


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