Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Jar of Gratitude

Around this time last year, I was practically bedridden because of a major knee injury, our housing situation was uncertain, and I wasn’t sure where my career was going. I was depressed, anxious, and worst of all, I felt stuck.

During this period, I noticed a lot of people on Facebook posting about gratitude jars. It was a simple idea: every day, write down things that you’re thankful for on slips of paper and put them in a jar.

I don’t know why, but something about this interested me. Stirred out of my torpor, I got a really big jar, and I committed to writing down three good things that happened each day. I would make it my New Year’s resolution and start January 1.

Shortly after I started this practice, an amazing thing happened. I was able to walk normally—without crutches or a cane. It wasn’t a miracle and largely due to my amazing physical therapist. However, once I started to focus on the positive aspects of my life, other big things started to happen. I got an amazing job offer. I went on an unexpected fabulous trip to Costa Rica. I started cooking again.

I have faithfully put three good things every day in my gratitude jar, and by the end of the year, I will have over 1,000 things that I’m grateful for in my jar.

On New Year’s Eve, I plan to literally count all of my blessings and read all of the good things that happened in the past year. Then I’ll get a new jar ready for 2014.

Today I’m living with my family in a new house, I have a great job, and I’m starting to run again.

I am grateful that I have much to eat and much to love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gratitude jar


Filed under Essays, Holidays, NaBloPoMo 2013

Thanksgiving Timing Advice from Allrecipes

Like thousands of people across America, I am in a slight panic because Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and I AM NOT READY.

My husband is the youngest of five siblings, and we will be cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 16 of his family members. SIXTEEN! Neither my husband or I have prepared a turkey before. We will be roasting a 22-pound bird, which will take 4 to 4 1/2 hours to cook.

We only have one oven. What I’m finding most daunting is orchestrating a cooking strategy that will enable us to get all of the food on the table at the same time and to serve it hot.

Fortunately, the culinary brain trust at Allrecipes created this useful chart and a video that provides a comprehensive plan for getting it all done–including wine breaks. Brilliant.

Thanksgiving Timed Right by Allrecipes

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Filed under Holidays, NaBloPoMo 2013, Savory, Sweet

Lost in translation: wine coolers

My friend Thao didn’t go to the ends of the earth for love. She just went to Switzerland.

Her husband, Matthias, is Swiss and they live in Geneva, which is a long way from Seatle. I miss her terribly and was excited when Thao told me she, Matthias and Matthias’s parents, Helen and Hugo, were coming to Washington for Thanksgiving.

A couple days after turkey day, my husband and I had lunch with Thao, Matthias, Hugo and Helen to help polish off some leftovers.

There was turkey, prime rib, mashed potatoes, salad, pumpkin pie, and one thing that made me do a double take–one Bartles & Jaymes strawberry margarita wine cooler.

The wine cooler startled me because 1) Thao doesn’t really drink; 2) it seemed an odd thing to offer guests, especially your in-laws from Europe; and 3)there was only one wine cooler (they come in packs of four!)

I asked Thao about it, and she said nonchalantly, “Oh, my mom gave it to me with the rest of the leftovers.” I found this stranger still.

Matthias and his parents noticed my reaction and wanted to know what it was all about. It was a disconcerting experience to explain what a wine cooler is and why someone would want to drink one. I told them that a wine cooler was something that a “college-aged woman would drink.” I added that many young people in America tend to drink wine coolers when they first try alcohol because wine coolers are sweet and cheap. (During my own undergraduate years, I preferred to drink Boone’s Farm, a low-end fortified wine. Classy!)

I ask Matthias if there was a Swiss equivalent to the American wine cooler, and although I’m sure one exists (since most countries have some kind of cheap alcohol), none came to his mind.

I thought that I had conveyed that wine coolers weren’t really anyone’s drink of choice so I was surprised when Hugo said he wanted to sample some.

After the taste test, he said, “It’s too sweet, but it will help me sleep well during my siesta.”

I got to thinking about those Bartles & Jaymes commercials in the ’80s that featured two old guys and always ended with “Thank you for your support.” Here’s a funny one.

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Filed under Essays