Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Giving Thanks "Tree"

So, today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Which means it's the last Thursday of November.


That means I missed yesterday's update and I once again didn't even notice it was Wednesday.

Honestly, if it weren't for the numerous "Happy Thanksgiving" posts in my Facebook feed or the "Happy Thanksgiving" texts that I've been getting, I wouldn't have even remembered today was a holiday.

Downside to working retail and having to work on Thanksgiving; as least a part of it.

Hubby is at work now and I'm running around the house to try to do some last-minute cleaning before heading to visit my mom and sister for the weekend. First Thanksgiving in three years that I've had off, but it still doesn't feel like a holiday. When we go to the feast with my mom's siblings on Saturday; THAT will feel like Thanksgiving to me.

Right now all I feel is tired. Thanksgiving is obviously a huge holiday for grocery stores and we've been crazy all week. I felt so bad for customers at the beginning of the week because I honestly lost track of what day it was and forgot that new week means new sales. When I was suggesting things that were on sale LAST week I had the biggest "you're an idiot" looks.

Sorry, customers, I'm burned out.

Although most of the time off will be spent traveling, I'm hoping that taking a vacation this week will help recharge me.

Lord, I have no clue what state I would be in if I had tried to stick with NaNo.

On the plus side, I was able to let my mind wander. After this month I've been able to figure out more of what I'd like to do with Lottie. I've also learned more about being patient and really plotting out everything. Really giving a story time to build and grow. I was always pretty good at having a generic road map, but I also allowed my characters to just run off with the story.

While I'll most likely stick with that strategy when it comes to my writing, it's insanely hard to do when I don't already know the characters. It was easier when I was just writing fanfiction. I knew the characters inside and out and just needed an inspirational spark to get going. I feel like I've really matured the last year as I learned to build Gyateara and the X-Future reboot, and now Lottie and the other vampires of the Cobleskill World of Darkness.

Yes, I don't have much writing to show for November. I have one chapter before giving up NaNo, and I barely touched the X-Future board. However, I was able to recharge my writing brain so I'm once again excited to work on these stories.

Plus, I used the month to crochet instead and I'm actually about 70% done with my niece's Christmas gift already! I might actually have one done BEFORE the gift-date! Whoot! I also have a few presents gathered up/completed for my November-baby friends. So I have a few pitstops while visiting my mom. Speaking of which, I've got a moderate chunk of my mom's gift out of the way too. And my sister's set. December may not be as stressful-gift-giving-wise as it was in years past.

I'm most likely going to still be crocheting like mad and barely writing next month, but I'll at least be relaxed enough to keep my mind wandering so I can jumpstart 2015 with massive writing ready to go down on paper. That's something, right?

Now to finish up with a tradition my mother started with us. Here is my list of things I'm grateful for; one for every day of November leading up to Thanksgiving.
  1. My husband. He is my rock, my best friend, my grounding, my mind when I've lost it, my snuggle buddy, my big kid/Mommy-trainer, my smile and happiness, and my human space heater in the chilled months. I love you, baby!
  2. While we are still struggling, we are able to survive on the paychecks Hubby and I bring home. We can pay our bills, we are never hungry, we can keep a roof over our heads, we can stay warm, and we can still scrounge up enough money to entertain and destress ourselves on occasion.
  3. While on the subject, I'm thankful that there is still a one-screen movie theater in town. It's tiny. It's quaint. It's cheap; only $5 per ticket. It has big movies relatively soon to release dates. It's because of this theater that Hubby and I could watch the movies we were really looking forward to on just the change we've gathered over the month.
  4. My unofficial roomie Quarthix. It's been fun - distracting; hence the messy house, but still fun - having him come over nearly daily. A lot of the people we socialize with up here still feel a lot like Hubby's friends who grew to became mine as well. We all have a good time when together, but it still seems like it's awkward for them to be alone with me, and so they almost never come over except if Hubby's around. Quarthix - while mostly only visits Hubby - has no problem hanging out with just me, and it's been fantastic to finally find someone other than celestialTyrant that is truly a friend of BOTH mine and Hubby's.
  5. While talking about Quarthix I have to talk about his fiance too. It's great for Hubby and I to have a "couple friend" and we found them in these two. They love hanging out as a foursome, and her family has even invited us over to family events on at least three occasions the past year. We have fun just hanging out at each others' apartments and having game nights.
  6. Yeah, we're including this separately. I LOVE game nights. We just play four-player video games, or board games, or card games, etc. Quarthix's fiance even offered for us to do some sort of Dungeon Master study sessions so that we can team up and start our own D&D game instead of waiting for other people.
  7. Spink and her fiance need to be on this list too. While we don't really hang out with them as much as Quarthix and his fiance, this is another great couple that I enjoy hanging with. Yes, Spink still feels like "my" friend and her fiance "Hubby's" friend, but the four of us have a good time; if the duo can find free time in their tight schedules. Spink also works with me, and it's nice to have an ally at work; I have so few. She's also my exercise buddy and she pushes me to Zumba with her. We also Zelda together, so win all around!
  8. Keeping with my thankfulness of friends, I'm increasingly thankful for ChibiSunnie. She has become an ever-increasing presence in my life, and she always has the best timing. She seems to know exactly the right thing to say and the exact right time to tell me them. She manages to pick me up when I'm the most down, and cheer me on when I need the most push. She's one of my biggest fans and loudest cheerleaders.
  9. I'm also grateful that after 20-some years my bestie from elementary school is still in my life. I'm glad I get to visit her this weekend, as well as spend time with her son who just so happens to be my godson. We may not be as close as we once were, but the fact that our friendship endures and we can still stay up until 2am catching up is fantastic.
  10. Speaking of being close, I'm thankful that my sister and I are really clicking. It kept about 25years, but we're finally the sisters I wanted us to be. We miss each other dearly when away. We talk a lot more frequently. We joke with each other. We have fun as we hang out. We enjoy the time we have together. We support each other. She has really matured and stepped up, and I love that we're finally friends. Now, don't get me wrong, we've always been close - at least, I always tried to be close - but we would butt heads more often than not. For my Hey Arnold friends, I'd be Olga to her Helga.
  11. I've always had a passing enjoyment for American football. It was mostly watching New York Giants games whenever I could catch them, really pay attention during the playoffs, and regardless of how well the Giants did over the season I'd watch the Super Bowl. If nothing else but to watch the commercials. This year I grew a huge appreciation for the sport. In part it was because Hubby has been teaching me more and more about it. In part because I unofficially started hosting football parties for Quarthix, his fiance, and any other friends of ours that wished to visit. It was also in part because I was talking to my sister more during the games and bonding over them. It really helped me connect with Quarthix and my sister. So, THANK YOU, FOOTBALL!
  12. Even though it seemed that EVERYTHING went on my car at the same time, it is up and running within budget and set for my drive down to visit family for Thanksgiving. There's still a few things that need fixing, but it's in good enough condition to legally be on the road, and so I shouldn't have to worry about breaking down or traffic tickets.
  13. It was incredibly cold this month. Winter decided to come early up here. However, the weekend that I didn't have my car because it was in the shop the weather was unseasonably warm. The second-to-last weekend in November and I was walking home from work in 70-degree weather. The few times it was close to freezing it wasn't windy, and so it didn't seem so cold while in my winter coat. So, with all the walking I did this weekend I wasn't cold once. I'm SUPER grateful for that since I don't do well in cold.
  14. This one is going to seem super silly, but I'm grateful for this one street in my town. It's mildly out of the way when it comes to driving due to having to stop and turn instead of going straight. However, it does cut off a few minutes if you take this street while walking between my home and work. So I was able to really experience this road for the first time this weekend. I love it because it's pretty much the only place in the whole town that is a solid row of Cape Cod style kit homes. Between the style of home, the size of the property, and the types of trees in the front yard, it was like walking through my hometown. It was a nice strip of my old home nestled in my new. I even half-expected to see my hometown's public park as I turned the corner. It was a nice reminder of where I came from, and it was comforting.
  15. Space heaters, and the family members that buy me them. As I mentioned two up, I don't do well in cold. So having the space heaters available to keep me warm without kicking on the heat is fantastic! It's cheaper if we don't need to warm the whole place, and it's a way for me to stay toasty without roasting Hubby. He used to be a Polar Bear Swimmer, and so he more-or-less thrives in about 50-60 degree temperatures. Meanwhile, I'm frozen in anything less than 70 degrees.
  16. YouTube and free GooglePlay downloads. I get such a wide variety of music for free that I can custom-make my own radio playlist. I have something for every mood I'm in and it helps me through the day. Should I expand this to me being thankful for music in general?
  17. Netflix and friends willing to lend out season DVDs. Hubby and I can't afford too many TV channels, and so we miss a lot of awesome shows. As long as we don't mind being a season or two - or ten - behind, we can use Netflix - and a few friends - to watch these awesome stories and competitions. We're currently addicted to Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, and a buddy lent us the first season of Game of Thrones. While it's not as gorey as I thought - it's still super bloody - it has a LOT more nudity than I was expecting....
  18. Emoticons/Emojis/Facebook Stickers. Whatever you call them, they are fantastic! It's sad, but a large majority of my recreational human interaction is online. Being a writer I can still express myself fairly well, but the addition of emoticons really helps me get the full feeling across. Now I know the person I'm talking to gets exactly how I feel or what I mean. They can see the non-verbal that is so crucial to communication. Just ask Phfylburt. We're constantly joking that I'm reverting back in to speaking in hieroglyphics and that I can basically hold an entire conversation consisting of only Facebook stickers.
  19. Here's a really weird one, but I'm thankful that my niece seems to finally be warming up to me. She's still young - not yet two - and so she's in that stage in which she's weary of those she doesn't see all that often. Although I have seen her at least once a month all year, that's still pathetically little in the eyes of a toddler. I get that she knows she recognizes me, but is still unsure as to how we're connected. She's clingy to her mother or my mother-in-law whenever we're together, but yesterday I was able to get her to laugh, smile, and I was actually able to capture a smile or two on camera!
  20.  Facebook games. They are addicting. Facebook as a whole is an addition I keep getting suckered back in to. However, it's free entertainment - well, aside from the monthly internet bill - and it helps Hubby and I unwind without spending our limited funds.
  21. To try to promote all employees really taking the new "service message of the day" to heart, our store co-manager went around and asked us about the message of the day. Anyone who he felt answered appropriately received RedBox free movie rental coupons. Hubby and I had two to share, and so we got to finally watch a couple movies that were sitting on our "to watch" list for a while. Wow, we got a lot of free/discounted stuff this month/year...
  22. Digestive Advantage's Lactose Defense Formula by Schiff. I never realized how much I LOVED dairy until I became lactose intolerant. I was in so much pain, or I was depressed that I couldn't eat my favorite foods, or I was debating between the other two options or spending the massive amount of money of tearing through a full box of Lactaid just about every week. Then I tried Lactose Defense. What a godsend. Just one pill a day - so only about $9 a month - and I can have as much dairy as I want for the full day. A cheap solution that allows me to eat what I love without being doubled in pain later.
  23. Crocheting; more specifically, that my one friend in college taught me how to crochet and read patterns. My stuff still comes out looking silly and far from professional/sellable. However, yarn is cheap and people seem to enjoy the crafts I make them. It's a way for me to still show someone how much I care without breaking the bank. Hmmm, maybe I should extend this to "I'm thankful people at least pretend they appreciate the gifts I make them..."
  24. While I'm still thankful for the actual NaNo program, I'm grateful that Hubby convinced me to give up this year. Writing is once again fun and an escape as opposed to a stressful chore.
  25. The growth I've made with my writing over the year. From day to day it didn't seem like much, similar to watching a child grow, I'd wager. However, when I think back to everything I've learned since January, I really have changed to a more mature thought process and perspective. I've struggled, but grew with each struggle. I now have a better idea of what I want to do during the upcoming year.
  26. I can't finish this list without including you guys, my readers. I have no clue why you stick by me when I barely put out anything besides excuses and I routinely miss my weekly update time. Yet not only did you stay, but you've grown in number. It humbles me that you all enjoy what I'm doing that much. I'm amazed with every positive bit of feedback and plea for me to keep going with my stories. You are the forgotten heroes of my life. If I didn't have an audience I don't know if I'd be as determined to keep up with this blog, or writing in general. It would just be something else to add to the fail-pile and the "What if" list. Thank you so much for keeping me on a path I've wanted for two decades.
  27. Finally, I'm grateful that I had today and yesterday off. I had so many last-minute things I needed to do to get ready for my Thanksgiving Weekend trip. I barely had any time to relax yesterday; I can only imagine how behind or crazed I'd be if I had to work. Plus, I can have things set for when Hubby gets home instead of either us completely ignoring the holiday or him being forced to cook after his shift.
Mom, if you're reading this, know that even though you didn't make the list I am eternally grateful for everything you've done for and given me. There's just too much to ever fit on here...

With that I shall bid you all a happy and safe holiday. If you happen to not be American, then I'll just wish you a fantastic last weekend in November. Enjoy this last bit of calm before the craziness of the holiday season kicks in to full-swing.

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