Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah, Thanksgiving.  That glorious time of the year when families get together, visit, commiserate and stuff their faces full of yummy food.  Yes, Thanksgiving is a North American holiday – in the States it falls sometime in November but here in the Great White North, lovely and beautiful Canada, it falls on the second Monday of October.  If you’re reading this from outside of North America, you either have no idea what I’m talking about or you do and are perhaps a bit curious.  That’s good because I will break it down for you, explain Thanksgiving the way I know it.

I know it’s a little early but I will be heading up North tomorrow morning to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and I won’t be here to write/post this weekend so…here it is.

First let me start by saying this – Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday – everyone can enjoy it, no one is excluded, everyone can be happy.  The only requisite is that you live in this great, wonderful country of ours.  No one can cry foul this weekend!  There is nothing attached to this holiday other than family, friends, lots of food and the chance to be grateful and say thanks.  Thinking about it, I think Thanksgiving is probably one of the very few holidays NOT taken over by marketing gurus around the country.  Sure, the turkey has been exploited to some extent (his unfortunate little mug is flashed around everywhere you look), but that’s about it.  There is no jolly little man handing out gifts, no bunny rabbit handing out gifts and candy and no ghosts and ghouls scaring the bejesus out of people and handing out candy.  The holiday stands on its own with nothing more than, like I think I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, food and family and friends.  It’s wonderful!  Can you tell I’m excited?

As you’ve probably figured out by now, food plays a big role in our family’s Thanksgiving weekend.  With us, the turkey is king.  Few things smell as great as a turkey roasting in the oven.  Unless, of course, you smell my mom’s stuffing!   Now, we are quite the fussy little family and only her stuffing will do.  One year, she, for reasons only she knows, tried a different recipe out on her picky brood but it didn’t wash – there were too many things in it, too many ingredients like celery and apples.   Her recipe, which incidentally she got from my father’s mother, is super simple – nothing but cubed bread, onions, lots of butter and salt and pepper.  Absolute perfection!  We’re not huge on desserts, at least not like at Christmas, but word on the street is that my mom is making a pecan pie.  And I just finished baking pumpkin chocolate chip brownies which I topped with little multi-coloured maple leaf sprinkles (I love sprinkles!!).  I have to say they are super yummy – yes, of course I tried one already!  Unlike in the States where the sweet potato pie seems to reign supreme, Canada remains sweet potato pie free.  I have never met a single person in this country who has eaten a piece of sweet potato pie let alone made one.  I have nothing against sweet potatoes, in fact I love them but to make them into a pie with sugar and marshmallows?  No thanks.  Of course, this is coming from a person who loathes pumpkin pie but still, it sounds awful.  (No offense meant to any Americans reading this, really!)

Okay, enough about food.

There is something so peaceful and heartwarming about this weekend.  It’s a great opportunity to take stock of all of the blessings in your life and to appreciate everything and everyone around you.  For me, going home always feels right.  As soon as I enter into my hometown I start to feel the stress literally melt.  I always say that I feel as though I can actually exhale when I go home.  And when there’s a holiday to go along with it, so much the better.  I’m incredibly lucky to be very close to my parents and I not only love them, I like them, I like spending time with them.  Sure we butt heads occasionally, especially when we spend a lot of time together, but we always know that the visit will come to an end too quickly and it will be months before we see each other again so we hug and make up as soon as our stubborn pride allows.  And really, holidays like Thanksgiving are no time for arguing.  The older I get, the more I appreciate being able to spend this time with my family; I know there are people who would give anything to spend one more holiday with a loved one.  Treasure these times.

Okay, I’m getting all emotional now, so I’ll sign off!

To all my lovely fellow Canadians, my heartfelt wish that you have a fun, happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.  Eats lots, be thankful, travel safe and love the ones you spend this wonderful holiday with.



A Summer Weekend

Aaaah, summer!

What is it about a summer weekend and the way they seem to go so quickly?  It seems like I just left work and already it’s Monday morning, and I’m here getting ready for work again.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’m sad that it’s over, but I have great memories to take with me.  I know that technically, weekends don’t go any faster than any other day of the week, it just seems like they do.  We are all out and about and doing things we enjoy as opposed to when we’re at work, doing the same old, same old (or at least that’s how it is for me!), and the days move so much more slowly.  In the winter, unless you’re a snow bunny, more people stay indoors and closer to home, and the weekends don’t rush by like a warm activity-filled summer one.  In the summer, it’s all about barbecues, dinners, lazing around on balconies and patios enjoying good food and friends and the weather.  What is there not to like about a summer weekend?  That’s probably why I hate to see them end, and why I’m always just a little bit lonely when they’re over.

Oh, I’m not complaining – I’m thankful that I’m able to do the things I can do and am blessed with the friends and family that I have and who want me around.  All of that makes a weekend in the summer something to look forward to.  I just wish they lasted a little bit longer…


The Long Distance Friendship

Good friends are like stars.  You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there. – Anon

Growing up, I had friends; not a lot, but enough that I was happy.  I was never what you would call the/a popular girl although I was, at one point in my life, part of the “popular group” in school.  It lasted for about two years, during my 8th and 9th grades, until I realized that I wasn’t cut out for that kind of life – the gossiping, the backstabbing, the paranoia I felt every time I left a group of girls worrying that the minute my back was turned, they were talking about me (not that I was doing anything for them to talk about!).  I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I slowly gravitated back to the girls who had accepted me as is before my foray into the popular society, and was once again a happy camper.  We weren’t popular, no, and we didn’t get all the looks from all the boys in school, no one started food fights with us just to get our attention; we hung out in our own little group, talking, laughing, doing high school girl things, building friendships that saw us through the rest of our high school years .

We all finished high school at different times and as happens (although when you’re young, you never think it will ever happen), we all drifted away.  Growing up in a small town like we did, the options for life advancement are minimal and most people tend to leave and pursue their academic dreams elsewhere.  I was not one of those people, at least not right away.  I chose to go to hairdressing school much to the horror of my parents – they wanted me to go to university, or at least college, but I was never much of a student so a miracle would have had to occur for me to be admitted into college.  And, quite frankly, as I said, I wasn’t much of a student, and I didn’t want to go on to college.  Anyway, I’m digressing from the point here.

So a couple of years after I finished high school –  after hairdressing school, struggling to get work, a move to another city eight hours from home, more schooling – I wound up moving back to my hometown, and wound up back in touch with an old friend from high school.  We quickly picked up where we had left off and over the ensuing years we have become dear friends.  I consider her one of my best friends, a lifelong friend.

Now here’s the thing: we no longer live in the same city as each other and talk quite infrequently and yet, whenever I have needed a shoulder or a laugh or just a friend, she has been one of the few people I know I can count on, and I hope the same is true for her.  Often it will be (insert shame-faced look here) months between calls – we text and email but those just aren’t the same – but an actual phone call?  Sadly, they aren’t often enough.  I know it’s been too long when my Mom asks if I’ve spoken to her lately, and I have to admit that I haven’t; then I have to rack my brain trying to remember when I spoke with her last.

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.

Friendships, especially long distance friendships, require effort and a little work, especially when we’re older; we all know this.  When we were younger, we had a lot more time at our disposal, and we spent considerable amounts of time with our friends. In our teens, let’s face it, our friends became like our families (because I mean, you know, our own families are just, like, so embarrassing).  But then we start getting older and we take on more responsibilities, and oh-so-sadly our friendships start moving down our lists of priorities on a day-to-day basis.  I am in no way saying that my friends aren’t important to me.  I would drop everything and anything for a friend.  What I’m saying is that, even with every good intention, life just rushes by leaving little time; before you know it, months have gone by when you realize that you haven’t spoken to the person you think of as a sister.

One of the issues with a long-distance friendship is that I have never gotten on the phone and had a brief, 20 minute phone call.  I literally schedule in phone calls with them, and they with me, because we know that once we get on the phone, we can count on being there for an hour, minimum.  And that’s a short call.

When I get off the phone with a long-distance friend, I feel happy and warm and fuzzy, you know, all those good things.  And every time I get off the phone, I make the promise to myself to make a greater effort to call them more often and to try to see them more.   But you know what, these friends of mine aren’t complaining about the way things are, and neither am I.  We are doing what works and that’s good enough.  We make sure to stay in touch, to catch up, to laugh and to build our friendships.  Sure, the guilt creeps in every once in a while, but no matter what, we’re there for each other and we know that.  And that is all that really matters.



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