Bourbon Turkey Sausage and Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing Cheesey-Hot Corn Casserole Roasted Red Potatoes in Garlic Butter with Bacon Brussel Sprouts* Crescent Rolls*
Cinnamon Struesal-topped Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Banana Dream Pie
Hopefully, it will live up to the lunch Tim and Sam had of corn dog nuggets and fries from Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. It occurred to me while they ate their meals of one color that perhaps I shoudl have tried harder to work more *green* into the mix of our menu. Ah, well. Next year.
So this week, being thanksgiving and all, I have decided to try to make a list of things I'm thankful for.
It shall be ongoing.
Look forward to it.
I had decided to do this earlier in the week and just hadn't taken the time. There was other stuff to write about. And then today I got a "good news" call from the dr. today, assuring me that what could have been a very very bad thing was in fact just an okay thing and I realized I should start my list today. I am choosing not to look like a selfish selfish unappreciating girl to the good-things gods. So off I go:
1. My health. It's not perfect, it's not great - but I can live my life to its fullest without worry. I can plan for the future without temper, and that is priceless.
2. My husband (of course). The man who patiently lets me completely lose it from time to time and seemingly never tires of helping put the pieces all back together again. Not everyone finds a friend such as he, let alone gets to marry him. He truly makes me a very happy, lucky lucky girl.
3. My family and friends. I'd list them all out separately if I could. But there's too many. See that? TOO MANY. I am blessed.
4. My apartment. Hell, I live in NYC and wake up to the sounds of BIRDS, people! And horses! And carriages! Seriously. It's amazing. And my neighborhood is called Hell's Kitchen. It doesn't get better than that.
5. Juicy Twists. I don't who invented these things but I WANT MORE. Thank you, inventor of the yummiest candy ever. I'd send you a Christmas card if I could. Or if I sent them at all. Or celebrated Christmas, even. Anyway, THANKS FOR THE ENDLESS JOY.
6. My job. It rocks. My co-workers kick ass and I am challenged every day. I'm a better designer now than when I started, and it is truly all because of them. And, bonus, I get paid to be creative every day. Oh, and they PAY me. Go me.
This is a quote (which I love) from an article in the Chicago Tribune:
"In the remains of this exploded life, Joan reaches backward, back to the lessons about fate and fortitude she learned as a girl in a land where the summer sun was as pitiless as the winter wind and the snow along the empty roads could dwarf a man.
When people marvel that she's strong, as they so often do in admiration and bewilderment and relief, she shakes her head, says no, she's not strong. She's just from Kansas."
So I saw the Johnny Cash movie this weekend. And no, I did not see Harry Potter. I felt like he would get enough love, and with tickets at ten bucks a pop there was only room for one new movie this weekend.
So we saw John and June and I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. Brilliant performaces and a truly great story. (And I took special joy out of knowing who Waylon Jennings was.) I loved picturing Jerry Lee Lewis hanging with John Cash and Elvis and Roy Orbison. I love the thought that greatness every once in a while intercepts with itself. And I loved all the music.
And yes, I just announced that out loud. Internet, I loved every single second of that old-timey country. And not just in the context of the movie. People, I am not just walking the line - I've crossed it. I might be a fan of country music.
Now don't get me wrong. I would recognize very little of what plays on the radio. I'm not a radio listener, really, anymore. But I have found that since moving to this city and dating Sam, my musical interests have expanded a bit.
When I first got to NYC I relished the few bits of country music I had. It reminded me of home. Of pick-ups and state fairs and open fields. Of the smell of hay and the the farms along the interstate. I can try to be as metropolitan as possible, but I am a great plains girl at my heart. I prefer open spaces and long stretches of highway. Thunderstorms that tumble over the horizon and race to you. And yes, even the small, dirty, tacky wooden bars where all they serve is four kinds of beer and bad gin. There's home in all of that to me. And the country songs I had saved over the years to mix CDs brought of it all to me once again.
So I would walk the crowded streets to the sounds of Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks. I would fight down thirty fourth street, my heart heavy with absent friends and places. Then Dar Williams led me to Alison Krauss who in turn led me to all kinds of new music and people. And then Sam moved in, and DEAR LORD that boy. He's a cowboy at heart, really. And I now had more country music on my iPOD then I ever wanted or needed.
And I liked it. I liked two-stepping in the living room with Sam to Alabama. I loved driving through Texas late late at night and having Sam tell me about Luckenbach, Texas with Waylon, Willie and the boys. I loved listening to Biggie wax poetic to me about Keith Whitley and then buying the whole album, unable to separate Biggs and Montana and that wonderful week from the music. It's become a part of too many memories for me NOT to like it.
And now, my ever-growing repertoire has grown to embrace Johnny Cash. Which is ironic, to happen now. Only because out in Lawrence, Kansas ten years or so back I saw him and June in concert. Only I had no idea who they were. It was fun, I enjoyed myself, but I didn't think twice about it. Much like I didn't think twice when I tossed my signed "Man in Black" poster a few years later. I had no idea who he was.
And now I do. And I wish I could go back in time and see that concert again. Now that I know the history and the stories behind the music. But I can't. What I will do, however, is sit back as I design at my desk and listen to a little FolSom County Prison. And maybe after that some Denver's Montana Sky.
It's funny. I've become so much more Midwestern after leaving the Midwest. Everything I fought against growing up I find myself finding pride in now. Who knew. And I know still, I'm no country girl. And I'm no city girl, that's for sure. In fact, I'm not so sure where I fit, really. But every once in a while I like to listen to those songs about open fields and mountains and horses and wildness and simpleness and think some day maybe I can be a part of all of it again, and this time appreciate it a helluva lot more.
We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.
Not that my loved ones would not, if I were to one day just disappear. But to the world, my disappearance would be but a small breath of air escaping. A notion of relief; a clean space where there was once a place, a face, a being.
My impact on this world is not what I want it to be.
I do not know how to get to where I'm going. To where I wish to be. I once wanted to change the world, and in many ways, I still do. And yes, I know there a million ways to do such a thing - none of them large and fantastic. I well know that it is the small, the unnoticed; the minutia of the breeze that in the end can turn the storm. However, I am not where I want to be. And I must consider. I must reconsider.
I don't know where this will take me, if I will truly go anywhere at all. But I want to leave a mark, an imprint. So when I am erased what is left is some small line, some shadow from the crack - where I dared raise my fist and beat against the wall.
So I married someone, who let's just say, excels at the saving of the pennies. This, this is fortunate for me - for I am one who is truly magnificent at the spending of the pennies. The marriage was more than just the promising of a permanent chance for me to drive Sam crazy, but the combining of our household budgets and bills.
Now let me point out I got the better end of this deal. See the opening statement for explanation.
However, this past summer Sam got a promotion and just yesterday I got a raise. So Sam has been working on strange things called "financial plans." He talks of "savings accounts" and such. This is all beyond me. It's not that I don't understand, or couldn't handle the finances . . .I just could CARE LESS. I'd rather not be bothered. I have things I'd rather think about, like where will the DVDs go when we get our new TV? Or how shall we hang the pots? Sam, on the other hand, would much prefer to think of all the ways we can save to do cool things and I'm all for him doing that.
One thing that occurred to me, as he was unveiling his multiple plans was, if we stick to his budget - we could feasibly have a down payment for an apartment here in the next couple years. Let me say that again. An apartment. Here. TO OWN. And while I do not want to own anything here unless we win the lottery, assuring us space for our as yet unplanned family, it's nice to know that we are choosing to rent our home for now. Manhattan is in fact NOT shutting us out. (So there you rich, wealthy, stinky city! I didn't want to own you anyway!)
And you'd be surprised how much that has changed my outlook. I have always felt, since Sam moved here and we started building our home, that we were doppelgangers of a sort. That any minute someone would see us and say we didn't belong or we couldn't stay anymore. And I know that's silly, but it was like a splinter in my finger. Not enough to stop typing, but some days I'd hit it just right and it would shock me a little. Slow me down.
Now I look around and my roots sink into the hard cement a bit deeper than before. Sam and I can do this; I couldn't do it before, not really, not by myself. But together, I really feel like we can do just about anything. This whole budget thing is just one miniscule example of that.
That and the plans we're coming up with together? I really just cannot wait. Kenya? Ireland? Paris? I truly cannot wait to see the world with him. Even if it requires some pinching of the pennies and fewer pairs of new shoes.
P.S. The photo is a shot of my office taken from the front steps of our stoop. My commute rocks.
I love the city, don't get me wrong. This place as much as it drives me mad, like most good things in my life, rewards me for sticking with it. I'm am constantly barraged with ideas for paintings, wonderful, interesting, intelligent people - places that awe and inspire me.
But a piece of me wants to run away to the link up there. I could knit, Sam could build. We'd have a small garden and I'd sit on the rock wall and just watch the sea. The mornings would be brisk and cold, but smell of wind and sea and salt. The evenings warm in front of our fire; we'd sit at a large heavy wooden table. The kind that lacks grace, but is sturdy and steady and gathers old friends.
We'd live simply and quietly. We'd have time to take long rambling walks where we would see no other but birds. The noises that would invade our space would be that of water and wind, not cars and people.
Part of me wants to run away from it all some days. Go somewhere quiet and small. Somewhere where it's just the two of us for a while. With no other worries or cares. Just us, a rock wall, and the sounds of the sea.
This is me with the most wonderful smoothie made with our new most wonderful Magic Bullet (c). Now, don't laugh. When I used to tell people I wanted this they would laugh at me. A ton of them said it wouldn't work like it did on tv, or worse, wouldn't' work at all.
Well, I'm here to tell you differently. I've made fresh, delicious guacamole and yummy fresh pesto (the pesto was a bit of a disaster, but only because our new microwave is *nuclear.*) And these smoothies, dear lord. I might only eat them and Juicy Twists (my favorite licorice) for the next three months.
So, people, just when you think infomercials are ridiculous - do not believe the hype. THEY ARE REAL. Heavens, now I'm tempted by ALL the infomercials. That's how great this little bullet is.
I am now off to watch PAX and try to talk Sam into some of those Space Bags . . . .
Okay, first off - how could I NOT buy this shirt for Sam? Seriously.
And second, the concert was amazing. It was Sam and I's first trip to Radio City and it was *beautiful.* Cross another thing off our list of things we want to do in NYC before we leave. Not that we're leaving anytime soon. This, strangely, has very much become home. I walk down the streets and they are filled with memories. A lot of Sam and I's "firsts." A million special dinners for no reason, a thousand wonderful walks hand-in-hand. When I head to or from New Jersey in a dirty crowded bus, a part of me always leaps with joy when I can point out "our building." We know the family from the hardware store and the family that works the video store. We know no one Amish works in our market. The doormen within a three block radius never fail to tell me hi and ask me about my day.
This is home. I never meant for it to be. I thought I would move here, have amazing experiences that would lead to good stories and then I'd leave. A hiatus, a sybbatical. An extended vacation of sorts. Living here rarely felt real. But now, after almost four years, it feels suddenly like home. Walking back from Radio City at almost midnight, the sidewalks packed with their usual thrust of tourists, Sam and I laughing and wondering home . . .
Well, it couldn't have been more familiar, or more wonderful. It's no small house with a big porch in an open field, but for now? It could not be more perfect.
I sat there, in the passenger side of her car, as I had all week. I felt totally normal there, and a part of me had completely forgotten we no longer lived in the same city. I sat there, in my bridal brattiness, tired and exhausted and missing my fiancé.
And she took my hand and looked at me, eyes brimming with tears, and told me everything would be okay. Not just now, but always. It would work out. Because Sam and I loved each other, and we were not alone in the madness. "We're fighting for you. You'll never be on your own. You'll always have us."
And then *my* eyes brimmed with tears and we shrugged and laughed it off like it was ridiculous, and who were those sappy girls?! But inside, my heart swelled.
And now, looking back at all the moments, all the precious things that whipped by at lightening speed . . . This is one I know I will never forget.
Some people just belong with long hair. Some people can even pull off long or short hair, you know the ones, the classic beauties. My friend Jamie being one. But me? I cannot pull off long hair. I try, but it never quite works. I don't feel myself and I certainly never feel pretty. Basically, I need short hair. So Saturday afternoon, Robb-with-two-Bs, my awesome stylist, cut off ELEVEN inches. Neither of us were sad about the affair. In fact, we practically had a party right there in the salon.
He understands I need short hair, too. So after a hug and kiss from Robb, I am now officially back to my sassy short red hair, and a little girl somewhere will benefit from my long-hair-just-for-the-wedding. A fair deal in all, I think.
PS - If any of you have long hair and want to share - go here: http://www.locksoflove.org/ They're good people.
I'm not sure what to say - other than I have been so very blessed. The week of the wedding was amazing and time and time again I found words failed me in expressing my gratitude for everything everyone did for us. We have the most wonderful friends and family ever.
And today, officially, Sam and I started work again. And as much as I hated doing it, as much as I would have killed for just one more day - it's nice somehow. Knowing that in many ways this is our first day. Our first real, normal day married. And I already love it. Marriage didn't change anything really, and yet, everything's different. And now, when I do something to annoy Sam and he calls me on it I get to look at him and say "FOOOOOOOORRRRR-EV-EEERRRRR!!!"
Which really made all the madness totally worth it.