california holidays life

Thanks, and the Giving of

27 November 2008


[Wildcat Beach, Pt. Reyes National Seashore, July 2008.]

I’m at my parents’ house for the long weekend and the kitchen has been filled up with good smells for days. I worked a half day from home yesterday and then the real work began: I peeled and sliced apples and wound them through a bowl of cinnamon and sugar and flour; I whisked corn meal and eggs and vegetable oil together, baked the loaf and and let it dry out on the counter to be turned into apple-cornbread dressing with shallots and mushrooms later on today; I rolled out pie crust and dumped in pumpkin puree laced with nutmeg (baked it just a tad too long I think, rats); I sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil and made a sort of roux with soy sauce and flour that somehow transformed itself into thick, salty, unbelievably delicious vegetarian gravy; I made a batch of hummus.

That’s just the tiniest portion of the meal we’ll eat this afternoon, and it will come as no surprise I’ve eaten lightly this morning in preparation.

Today is Thanksgiving, one of my very favorite holidays mainly because it combines two things very close to my heart: food, of course, and the giving of thanks — or, really, the feeling grateful for. In the past year or so I swear I have been feeling even more full of gratitude than ever before and I’m not sure to what I can attribute this — yoga? more days spent at the ocean? a new fascination with photographing all the beautiful things I am lucky enough to come across — but there I are some days I am simply grateful that I feel grateful. Does that make sense? It might sound a little silly but honestly I am so glad, so, yes, grateful for every day I get to wake up and make myself a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee for breakfast. I mean, of course there are many (err, many) days I rise on the wrong side of the bed and burn my toast or drink green tea because I’m out of milk and there is just no way I can drink my coffee without milk or cream. In general, though, I know I have it pretty good and I try not to take it for granted.

Each year on Thanksgiving I can’t help but reflect on the things for which I’m particularly grateful. Today, I feel very thankful for

– My family and friends, always
– This beautiful place in which I live — in all its bright sun and crashing ocean, redwood forests and bay trees that sweeten the air

– The 11 (!) miles I ran last Saturday and the 6 I did today along the sun-swept back roads
– My two wonderful farmers’ markets, both within walking distance of my house
– Cowgirl Creamery
– A new president so very soon
– The food we’ll eat today, and that we are fortunate enough to have such a bountiful table. To be able to eat enough every day to feel full
– My book group, which is so much more at this point (you know it, ladies)
– The hope of peace
– Possiblity
– Backpacking plans for late December, rain be damned
– All the travels I’ve made in the past year
– That I’ve finally learned to love Brussels sprouts
– Point Reyes in sun and wind, and fog, too

Wishing you lots of good food, friends, and family today and every day.

  • L*Joy 5 December 2008 at 10:41 am

    I finally learned to love brussel sprouts too! (among the many other things worth being thankful for)

  • Helen 1 December 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Your list is beautiful….so upbeat and uplifting. It is so like you to take the time to reflect on the reasons for thankfulness. You are always giving of yourself and for that I am truly thankful. We are so fortunate that you are in our lives.