Here It Comes!!!

Today is the last day of November. Sigh. Goodbye Fall. You know what’s next, right? That’s right – Christmas. This is the general feeling of anticipation at my house today…

Waiting-for-Santa-ClausMy Sweetie loves – and I mean LOVES, L-O-V-E-S – Christmas. I do too, actually, but not to the extent he does. It is actually one of the reasons I love him so much – he is totally invested in holidays, and makes every one special for me/us. Plus – the good news about marrying someone from another culture? You get to celebrate the holidays observed by BOTH. So, while I have always enjoyed Christmas, now I also get to enjoy St. Nikolai Day, too. St. Nikolai Day on 06 December is observed with a small gift and delicious cookies:

cookiesCookies? A gift? Then Christmas two and half weeks later? How could it get any better?!?

I’m a lucky guy in so many ways – I have a great spouse, a loving family and friends, a job I enjoy (I guess I could be richer and thinner, but…) and my health is pretty sound. So, going into Christmas, I really don’t have “much on my list.” I pretty much have everything I need/want already. Like I said, I am a lucky guy!

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Did Stuff

Did stuffToday (Friday) I had a “full day” – some Black Friday shopping, some time with my Sweet MSW and (together) we spent a few hours at our friends’ house, helping them decorate for Christmas (they host a LAVISH Christmas party every December and decorate like 7-9 trees a year – we helped a little today!) So yeah – this post is late but I have been busy and now I am tired today/this morning…

A better post tomorrow, promise.

My Belly Hurts

I know, I know – every year it is the same old story. I cannot help myself…

ate too muchI have had a LOVELY Thanksgiving – I spent the day with my husband, at my Dad’s house, with my siblings and their families… If I had ONE request, it would have been my other brother-in-law, my oldest niece, her husband and their adorable son and my rotten oldest nephew would have also been with us today. They live 506 miles away, so such a trip isn’t really a reality (but I can always hope, right?)

The meal was great, the company fun and – for probably the first time since my Mom passed away five years ago – the day felt “right.” Don’t get me wrong, we all miss Grammy (my Mom) but I think my family has finally “re-invented” Thanksgiving so hopefully, going forward, it can be the happy day it is supposed to be. For all this, I am thankful…

Hard to believe this is how the day ended. The turkey looked like it had been attacked by walkers from The Walking Dead…

turkey carcassI have never been able to understand why Thanksgiving turkey tastes so much better than “any other day” turkey – but it does! Thank you to my beloved partner, MSW, for a beautiful day, my Dad and family for being with us and The Universe for allowing it all to happen. Hope everyone had a GREAT Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving Friend

One of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is seeing old friends – friends you may not have seen or really even thought about since LAST Thanksgiving. I got together again with a long-time friend like that tonight:

Vintage Crock PotYeah, that’s right – my old friend, the legendary Rival Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. I get to “visit” with mine usually twice a year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes we even get together for New Year’s. See, my “requested covered dish” at every family holiday gathering is grape jelly meatballs. Uh huh, grape jelly meatballs – you know the ones: three ingredients, throw ’em in the oven, serve them in a Crock-Pot. My family loves them (I do, too!) and, for whatever reason, my family seems to think they are an elegant appetizer.

Works for me…  

So the meatballs are already out of the oven. I have pulled my old friend down from that weird, useless cabinet above the fridge, the one that stores everything you use once or twice a year – candlesticks, a table runner and the Crock-Pot. I have had my Crock-Pot for probably 25 years (no lie!) and, if I had been as successful at investing in stocks as I have been in investing in a “reliable slow-cooker,” well, I’d be rich.

It’s funny how you associate food traditions with holidays. I mean, my Crock-Pot is not the one pictured here (mine has a cute circle of mod trees around the base) but, every time I see it, I am transported back to past holidays and enjoyable times with friends and family. It is a nice feeling…

So tomorrow, as my family sits down to enjoy our “classic” Thanksgiving meal together – a Butterball turkey, Stovetop Stuffing, potatoes (both mashed and sweet w/mini marshmallows), green bean casserole with those crunchy French’s Onion thingies on top, dinner rolls and, of course, some jellied cranberry sauce, sliced right out of the can – I will be thankful for good food, great friends and a family that loves and supports me. And I will certainly smile and wink at my old friend, the Crock-Pot, sitting in its usual place of honor on the folding table in my parents’ kitchen.

Hmmm – As faithful and steadfast as the Crock-Pot has been to me, and with it being such a good friend to my entire family, I might have to consider moving it out onto the counter top to a place of “higher honor” – maybe right beside the Keurig Coffeemaker!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Chillin’ Out When It’s Chilly Out

It’s happening, just like always, every winter. It’s starting to snow, and the world is getting hysterical…

The evening news is on as I type this, so currently I can hear the endless discussion of potential flight delays and airport closings, and blah blah, blah blah blah… Yeah, seems there is a big, significant winter storm immediately to our east, and this is a holiday week – the biggest travel week of the year, according to the stats they are reporting. But I guess, in my mind I ask, why the insanity? It snows EVERY YEAR come winter time, so – as a life-long Ohio resident – I say “Bring it on, Mother Nature. Show me what you got.”

snowI understand how bad weather can compromise travel plans, and believe me, I relate to the disappointment that comes when a trip to see family and/or friends has to be canceled. However, for the world to act as if civilization will end if we even get a foot of snow is ridiculous. And – no offense, weathermen and women – but even with your “Dozen Doppler Forecasts,” you all rarely get the weather right anyway. So, everyone? RELAX. Tomorrow will still come. It may be cold, windy and white, but we will be here. We will all survive, no matter what the weather is.

iglooI just heard the news anchor announce that Pittsburgh is a “…virtual white-out.” Hmmmm. That is not our weather here in Cleveland but, if it were, I would slip into my flannel PJ pants with the reindeer on them (one of last year’s Christmas gifts), load one of my favorite movies in the DVD player, make a big ass cup of hot chocolate, crawl under a blanket on the couch with my Beloved MSW and just relax. Relax and enjoy it.

I mean, what the heck? The holiday season is upon us – isn’t there enough to stress out about without giving yourself an ulcer over a snow storm? What if they sell out of the big screen TV’s before we get one?

Black Friday

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock…

That’s right – the clock is ticking my friends. I am excited (and anxiety-ridden) to remind you all that Christmas is a mere ONE MONTH from today! Hooray!!!

Christmas LightsSo to get you all in the same “festive” holiday spirit I am embracing, here are a few holiday-themed pics to (hopefully) help you get your jolly on early…

Christmas VintageI know, I know – it seems a disservice to Thanksgiving to speak of Christmas already but, hey – I didn’t make the old “fourth-Thursday-in-November” rule. Thanksgiving is LATE this year and so, while I honor the spirit and intent of THAT holiday, I am already looking forward to Christmas…

Christmas picSee, my Beloved and I have family overseas and – to ensure their holiday packages arrive in time – we must mail their presents this week. So today, there is wrapping paper and cards and bows, and carols and eggnog – you know, all the good things that make Christmas fun and family-focused. And essentially, isn’t that what makes ANY holiday meaningful – loved ones, happiness and good will?

This week is a double header for me – it’s like I get to enjoy TWO great holidays with the people I love, and use today as the kick to a month of joy, love and goodwill. I’m a lucky guy.

Elves

You’re Getting The Finger Today

As my series of thankful posts continues, today I wanna’ give you the finger:

happy fingerI know. Silly, right? After an emotionally-challenging past few days, I had a pretty great day – I was dressed in “real clothes” for about ten minutes (I had to return a movie to Redbox) but, otherwise?

I have spent the entire day in my pajamas, at home, with the guy I love. Life is good. Thanks for asking…