1. Well, didn't quite make it all the way to the end of November, posting every day per the NaBloPoMo initiative, did I? But I did post a whole lot more than has been typical lately, and if not for the week long Thanksgiving holiday festivities, I probably would have made it. Truth is, though? The external distractions were worth more to me, and I wouldn't trade a minute of them for another blog post.
2. The week played out perfectly, really. Jessi and Henley arrived the Friday before Thanksgiving, meaning we had several days of their company all to ourselves. Local family were in and out; the New Orleans contingent stayed elsewhere, coming and going themselves as they liked. Mom was here from Tuesday to Friday, and my best friend and her husband arrived Thanksgiving morning and stayed through Saturday. Jessi and Henley headed home after the Big Meal to spend the rest of the week with the son-in-law's family. So with all the ebb and flow, the overlaps were just right, and the guest of honor spot was able to be rotated among many along the way.
3. Henley is getting so grown up. Her communication skills are pretty amazing, she knows several books well enough to "read" them to me already, and she never ceased to bring the house down with her rousing rendition of Counting to 10. The child is not even two yet. CLEARLY, she's genius material. CLEARLY. Besides which, she is beautiful. Game. Set. Match.
4. We had so much food. SO. MUCH. FOOD. It's was delicious, though. Every last bite. Yesterday morning, I put a package of 15 bean mix in the crock pot with the very last of the ham, which was also the very last of the Thanksgiving bounty leftovers. My fridge is no longer bulging at the seams, but rather seems to be heaving great sighs of relief that its burden has been so lightened in such a relatively short period of time.
5. I love Thanksgiving.
6. But now we transition into the Christmas holiday and I have many thoughts on the matter this year. More than most years, actually. This feels a transitional time in my life in many ways, although it is really strange that typing those words just now is the first outward acknowledgement of an inner rumbling that has been brewing for weeks. Fascinating. THIS is why I keep coming back here. Set your fingers free upon the keyboard and you never know what you may discover about yourself.
7. The ambiguity above will have to sort itself out later. That kind of exploration is not suited especially well to a nonsensical listicle of randomnimity. Another day, and then, another dollar. Or something.
8. One week from day, I'll be all packed for a three day weekend at The Greenbrier with Mom. We are both looking forward to it with great enthusiasm for a whole host of reasons between us. This place is very special to my mother. It's where she and Dad spent their wedding night, and subsequently became one of their favorite places to visit anywhere. My mother, brother, and I made a special trip up there shortly after my father died to place his ashes in strategically meaningful spots around the property - the Old White TPC golf course, for a start. The resort's front gardens and the yard of one of the Spring Row Cottages, for a couple more. So, it's special. And I hope the mother-daughter weekend provides our memory banks with even more goodness to reflect upon in the years to come.
9. We booked this weekend to take advantage of an incredible $99 Bed & Breakfast package the resort is offering. Funny story: I bought two new outfits, got a mani/pedi, and have a hair cut & color appointment on Tuesday. So I've officially already spent more getting to the Greenbrier than I will be spending on my room and morning meals. Go figure. Ha!
10. I have always wanted to host a cookie exchange party with a bunch of funny, talented, awesome lady friends, but never had the guts or the ... I dunno ... gumption? ... to actually pull it off. That changes this year (fingers crossed). Last night, I sent out an invitation to a couple dozen of my favorite mix and match women for a gathering on the 17th. Now, I will be holding my breath and wringing my hands as I hopehopehope at least a few of them will say, "Why, yes! I'd love to come!" It's nerve wracking stuff, I tell ya. If I get a nice turnout, this is going to be one fun evening. I've got big ideas and grand plans! Wanna come? You're invited!
11. Tonight is the first party of the season. I get to play corporate wife for this one, which is kind of cool as these days I am not required to play that role very often. Once upon a time I approached such evenings with great dread. Not so much anymore. Age? Maturity? Whateveritis?
12. In fact, starting with tonight's soiree, the next three days will be full-up-to-here with holiday cheer. Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's birthday and we're taking her to see Jerry Seinfeld, which should be big fun. And then on Saturday, we will continue our tradition of celebrating her birthday with a tree decorating/early dinner eating affair at our home, followed by a perfectly lovely evening - and new three year old tradition for the husband and I - spent with the WV Symphony at the annual Home for the Holidays concert. I can't tell you how much I look forward to this event every single year now that we've made it a habit. It's a fabulous kickstart to the Christmas season. I leave the theater skipping to the beat of a happy, cheerful heart.
13. One day during the Thanksgiving holiday, I received an anonymous note in the mail, with a little orange felt flower enclosed. The sentiment on the note made my day; it was a simple, straightforward message filled with kindness, and I was so incredibly moved. It's hard to explain. It meant so much to me that I immediately took it up to my studio and tacked it in a place of honor above my writing/thinking table in my studio. I had no idea who sent the envelope, sans return address or signature. But I kept them - and their selfless act - in my heart with the deep intention of passing the thoughtfulness forward and onward in their honor.
A couple of days ago, the sender came forward.
And her story? Well. It was amazing.
Read it for yourself. And after you do, I hope you'll take a few minutes out of your busy life to let kindness reign. It's one of those rare gifts that is even more valuable in the giving than in the receiving.
Merry Christmas season to each and every one.
*Title quote borrowed from the mind of David Sedaris.