I’m Thankful For…

thankful

I’ll be the first to admit that I have an incredibly amazing life. I don’t mean that in a braggy way–I just consider myself wildly lucky, and I’m grateful for so many people and things. Some of these will be pretty personal and some will be of the fluffier variety–but all are appreciated.

In no particular order, these are the things I’m grateful for.

Whoever invented salt and vinegar chips and salted dark chocolate. I love those people a lot.

The strength to remove myself from negative situations – both professional and personal.  I can’t tell you how much better that’s made my life.

My kids. Holy shit, my kids. I’m so grateful for these two, I’m not even sure I can put it into words. Yeah. I know it’s my job to use words and all, but some things just defy explanation. However, I’ll try. I am convinced I have the kids I was meant to have–I feel like they might have driven other parents to beat them and I feel like we might have wanted to strangle other kids. Some days, they drive me batshit crazy, but most days, I’m in awe at their cleverness, their kind and giving natures, their brilliant self-expression, their unflagging ability to truly be themselves even when it’s hard and scary, their emotional honesty, their wicked senses of humor, and their openness and willingness to accept others.

My husband is pretty freaking awesome. He’s not perfect, but he’s pretty perfect for me. Yeah, there are some days I want to throat punch him, but those days aren’t very common. He makes me laugh nearly every day, he’s unflaggingly supportive and loving and he’s an awesome dad. Also?  He gets me.

My family. I love my parents, brothers, sister, their spouses, nieces and nephews the whole crazy pile of them. Sure, we want to strangle each other sometimes, but I’m so crazy lucky to get to travel through life with these people. I don’t know that anyone makes me laugh as hard as they do. And these are the same people who will drop everything to help others.

My friends. OMG, my friends. I literally have the most amazing friends on the planet. Every single one of them is incredibly kind and supportive. These are the people who will do whatever it takes to help the people they love. They’re bright, talented, and hilariously funny. (What? So I gravitate toward funny people. It happens.) But I love these people. I love them so hard, and I would utterly devastated without them.

Readers. Those who read my books and those who don’t. I love that they’re out there reading making it possible for authors to keep doing what they love best.

The internet. Look, the internet is where a lot of my friends live. It’s also where Netflix and Tumblr and Twitter and, yes, Facebook are. Also? It’s where my job is. Writing books and editing books. Yeah, I could do that stuff without the internet, but this makes it a hell of a lot easier.

Cats. Yeah, I said it. I love the furry little assholes.

Adderall. Nope – not even trying to be funny, here. I finally feel like I can think clearly again for the first time in years. Without evangelizing too much, here’s why in detail.

Creativity. I’m so glad that I can do things like write and knit and sew and cross stitch and make pottery. I’m not sure what I’d even do with myself if I couldn’t.

Okay, I think I’ve rambled on enough. What are you grateful for? Oh, and be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts by clicking their names.

Jess

Kellie

Jessica

Gwen

Bringing the Green Bean Casserole. Again.

It’s that time of year when my family only trusts me to bring one dish to the big family gathering. Green Bean Casserole. Now granted, I make a bitchin GBC – it includes extra goodies like garlic, cheddar cheese and bacon. Mmmmm…bacon.

You see, while my family loves me, they don’t trust me.

It’s true, I’m not a great cook, but I get by. I’d like to think that I could branch out a little and try something else. Maybe those cheesy potatoes with the crunchy stuff on top. Or squash. Or hell, a pie. But nope, I’m on GBC duty. Again.

As has become tradition on this blog, I’m going to mention a few things I’m thankful for.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for my family – even though they’re actively stifling my creativity in the kitchen. I have the most amazing kids, husband, siblings, parents and extended family. They’re all a little crazypants, but I wouldn’t trade any of them.

I’m thankful for my friends – online and real life alike. The connection that have with these people is amazing. I know that there are some people who don’t understand that it’s possible to build real, loving, supportive relationships with people you may never physically meet, but it’s true. I love you guys, and I’m grateful for each and every one of you. And my real life friends, I love you, too. You’re all amazing.

I’m thankful that I’m able to build a career that encompasses two of my biggest passions – reading and writing. I feel incredibly lucky to spend my work day editing other authors and writing my own stuff. Grants, some work days are longer than others – and I’ve had some doozies lately – but no matter how crappy the day is, I’d still rather do this than anything else.

In no particular order, I’m thankful for laughter, dark chocolate, my kids’ laughter, changing leaves, the support of my friends and laughing til we cry, bonfires, music, purring kittens, Starbucks, foggy mornings, starry nights, stories to lose myself in, a roof over our heads, books, creative outlets, thunderstorms, snow days, the clacking sound of knitting needles, hot tea, apple butter…

I could go on and on and I probably would if I didn’t have to mix up that green bean casserole. Mostly, I’m just thankful for the life I have and I’m thankful for everyone in it. I hope that everyone who celebrates has an awesome Thanksgiving and those who don’t have a wonderful day.

And as we say in my fam, Happy Infect and Kill the Indigenous People Day. (As you may have gathered, we’re not particularly reverent.) 😉

Let me sum up…

You know that line from The Princess Bride? The one where Inigo says, “Let me explain…no…there is too much. Let me sum up?” Well, I’m about to sum up.

The last two weeks of November are a blur.

Friday the 21st I went to see Twilight, with Brynn and her oldest son and my oldest son Killian. Cleverly, Brynn and I had both of our kids three months apart so they’re very close in age. Apart from the super annoying fan grrrrrrrls in the audience, we had a great time.

Saturday the 22nd I went to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas with Killian and many other kids from his former eighth grade class and his former teacher. She read the book to them at the end of last year and then Killian brought it home for me to read…because apparently he’s a sadist. It’s an excellent book, but it’s gut wrenching and heartrending. Think children during the Holocaust. The movie is probably the best book to film adaptation I’ve ever seen and yes…I sobbed my freaking eyes out.

Also Saturday the 22nd my Mom and I drove up to my sister’s college to take her out to supper and to see her in one of the seven One Act plays that were being performed. The theatre program at her college is excellent and the majority of the performances were great. Do I think Cait was the best? Absofreakinglutely. She played Betty in Sure Thing and her good friend Josh played Bill. It’s a hilarious show anyway and their performances were perfect – the crowd (which was sold out for the second night in a row) ate it up and we were proud, proud, proud.

Sunday the 23rd I was trapped at the baby shower from hell for almost four hours. Okay…honestly, I’ve probably been to worse, but I’m not a shower person unless it’s the bridal shower Brynn and I threw for Jen Armintrout which involved a bizarre cake made out of Twinkies and that weird moldable frosting and a psychic…but this, unfortunately, was not that shower. This one had annoying shower games, the slowest present opening in the history of mankind and disturbing little sandwiches cut out in the shape of children and the bread was dyed bright screaming blue and yellow. I felt vaguely cannibalistic eating them…

Monday the 24th – Wednesday the 26th I only have vague memories of running to the grocery store constantly, doing laundry and trying to get far enough ahead on my day job so I could leave town for a few days.

Tursday the 27th – I made two green bean casseroles (the only dish I’m allowed to bring to family functions – Yes, my cooking is just that bad) in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house. Killian and Corwin and I hopped a ride with my Mom and Cait (hubby – had to work – stupid international company) and we drove three hours to Detroit…crammed in a Saturn Ion.

It was still fun. Cait insisted that all car trips must begin with ABBA (that girl can do some mighty fine seat dancing while driving) and continued with our family’s annual listening of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant (it’s just not Thanksgiving in our family without it) followed by tons of songs from the 70s. Car trips in our family involve a lot of loud singing by me, Cait and Mom while Killian tries desperately to ignore us with his mp3 player. Good times…good times.

We had a great meal with about 20 other random family members – including a bunch of my sister-in-law’s family, played another hilarious game of Apples to Apples which I almost won, listened to my niece complain that she was the “Princess Monster” and the rest of the kids weren’t appreciating her destructive qualities.

Friday the 28th – I didn’t go shopping – mostly because we were 3 hours from home and I LOATHE shopping and I really loathe shopping on Black Friday. We drove home, I snuggled with my honey and collapsed.

Saturday the 29th – We put up our Christmas tree which is always a production…mostly because I’m the Christmas tree nazi. I get cranky when ornaments are too close or if like ornaments aren’t spaced evenly. Killian made up a little song about OCD Mama. It was pretty funny and pretty much mostly true – lol.

Sunday the 30th – Laundry and doing end of the month stuff for the day job.

Monday the 1st – the kids had a snow day and I went to Bynn’s to make cards.

Tuesday the 2nd – the dumbest day in recent history – from 7am ’til 10:10am I drove three car loads of kids to school (one set had a two hour weather delay which is why it took so long) then went home for ten minutes to send an email, then went for a blood draw, then went grocery shopping and dropped off the food at home, then met my daycare kid and her mom at her school and followed them out to a high school they’re considering (I think it’s really sweet that they’re involving me in their school decision) then back to the high school to pick up Killian and his friends then to Corwin’s school, then to the orthodontist, then to the fabric store for Christmas present supplies…and then finally home.

Today I’ve mostly been a lump, catching up on the day job and working on writing…and Christmas presents. I can’t believe Christmas is only 22 days away! Better get back to work!!!

I’m Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving, or Happy Kill the Indigenous Peoples Day as my family often says. I joke about Thanksgiving…well…Columbus Day, too, for that matter, but I do think it’s important to take the time to reflect on the things we’re grateful for.
So often the mindset seems to be about focusing on what we want rather than the what we have, and that can lead to dissatisfaction with our lives. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve our lives, but when we don’t acknowledge the great – or yeah – even the mediocre stuff we tend to take it for granted or cease to appreciate it all together. Sometimes the acknowledging process requires us to reframe our perceptions a bit.

For instance, I could be pissy that our house needs a new roof, but looking at the economic crisis in the state of Michigan, I’m thrilled that we have a house. It’s warm, it’s not in danger of foreclosure and my family is safe and protected.
I could be bitter because my hubby has to work today. And truth be told, I’m not thrilled, but because he was without permanent work and we were all without health insurance for almost two years makes the fact that he now has a great job (with benefits) that he loves 99.9% of the time more important than the fact that he has to work a holiday. (I’ll be bringing home leftovers for him.)
Now, I’m not trying to sound like Pollyanna here, cause really, I kinda want to slap her, but I would like to share some of the things I’m grateful for.
My kids who make me laugh and help me see the world with new eyes and teach me about love every day.
My hubby – even though he pisses me off from time to time, I love him more each day.
My family – the whole crazyass lot of them. No matter what, we’re all there for one another.
My friends – they listen to me whine, share my joys, make me laugh til I turn an unhealthy shade of purple and gasp for breath.
My kitties – I’m especially thankful that Small’s health is improving every day.
My career – I’m doing what I always wanted to do and loving it.
And now, in no particular order, some random bits I’m grateful for…Johnny Depp, Coke, pretty stones, music, Buffy, hot tea, the sound of clacking knitting needles, hugs, frequent and clean restrooms along the highway, the internet, Ani Difranco, vanilla flavored lip balm, sleep, chocolate, salt & vinegar potato chips, sandalwood essential oil, Adam Duritz, faeries, falling leaves, ibuprofen, cheese pizza, ren faires, books, Brian Froud, fabric stores, legos, Kate Rusby, more books, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, central air, the muppets, laughter, standing stones, new baby smell, oak trees and the nice, warm bed I’m about to crawl into.

How about it – what are you grateful for?