Today is, of course, Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. Many of my friends have spent the last twenty-one days listing things that they are thankful for in their facebook statuses or twitter feeds or tumblr posts as part of a meme. I knew from day one that I just wasn’t going to start it because I’d never finish it.
Not that I don’t have 30 (or more) things to be thankful for, on the contrary. The things I have to be thankful for are countless. But I am, as I pointed out early on in my blog posts, horrible at keeping up with things like that. I have, in fact, left this blog go for two weeks since my last post (and I’d promised myself that I would post at least once a week, if not more).
I could list the multitude of excuses I have (and not all of them are really excuses, per se) for this: NaNoWriMo, for one. My first edits for Choices have come back from Dreamspinner and I’ve been working through those. I had oral surgery two weeks ago that has just knocked me flat with pain. Not to mention, of course, that I still teach during the day and provide IT support for the school. Oh, and my family (three kids, a husband, a dog and a cat). And if all that isn’t enough, the holidays are sneaking up on me fast and I’m not nearly ready for them.
I guess I did list them, didn’t I? Ah, well. I just do want to let those who follow me know that I haven’t ignored them. I really have simply been buried under a pile of things that, with any luck, will settle down soon.
That said, being as it is Thanksgiving, I do want to give some of what I am thankful for as I feel it is only right. I have been given the opportunity this year to live my dream. I am teaching and writing and loving both. My first book was contracted and I am incredibly thankful that Dreamspinner Press saw potential in my book. They are a wonderful and amazing group of people and I am very lucky that my first choice also chose me.
I am thankful for all the wonderful people I am surrounded by: my family – including my patient husband and helpful, understanding children; my father-in law without whom I would not be able to work part time and, thus, write, who also encourages me in my writing; my friends who listen to me babble on and on and on about my stories and not only listen but talk about them, too! I am thankful for my fellow authors at DSP and elsewhere who do much to encourage and support each other and provide an amazing place to learn and grow as a writer.
And last and most important, I am thankful for my readers. Without them, I would never have had the courage to submit my book. The encouragement, support and demand for more has helped me in more ways than I can begin to count.
Aside from writing, I want to say that I am thankful for my health that I do have. I lost my mother four years ago, this past August. She, essentially, gave up after struggling for six months in the wake of a stroke and brain surgery. But she had a mess of problems plaguing her and so despite my own physical problems, I am grateful that I don’t the problems she did and that I had the wake up call of her mess to help me get my own health into perspective. I intend to be around for a long time. I have a lot to do – a lot of words to write, stories to tell, events to see, grandchildren and great grandchildren I hope to have and love.
I am also in a place financially that, while not great, allows me to have the job and time to write that I want, donate to charities that I care about, provide for my children and then some. There are Thanksgivings in my past that include turkey sandwiches in a car, macaroni and cheese and even soup kitchens.
But this year, I get to cook, not only for my immediate family, but for my brother in law and his son as well as my father in law. I have a lovely turkey about to go into the oven, casseroles, stuffing, pies and football. In fact, I thought I would include a recipe below for a potato dish that has been passed down in my family for generations. If my mom wasn’t able to make anything else, she found a way for us to have this when we were together.
Instant mashed potatoes (you can use real, but the rest of this takes so much that it’s really not suggested and you really can’t taste the difference)
~3/4 c milk
1c each chopped onion and celery
2 c. dried bread cubes
Preheat oven to 350⁰.
Make mashed potatoes according to package directions. I usually make enough for 8 servings. When finished, add one of the eggs and mix carefully and thoroughly (do not let the egg cook!). Meanwhile, place bread cubes in a large bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, beat the other egg and add enough milk to make a cup. Pour over bread cubes and toss to coat. Set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and celery and sauté until lightly browned. Add bread cubes and mashed potatoes, mixing well.
Coat the inside of a baking dish or casserole dish with margarine or cooking spray and transfer mix to the dish. Dot the top with butter (I usually pretty much cover the whole thing). Bake for about 45 minutes or so, until the top is golden brown and crusty.
Thanks so much for giving me a bit of time on your holiday! Remember to be thankful for what you have even when it’s not Thanksgiving. It’s important to remember all year long.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? And what are you thankful for?