ABCs of Thankfulness

abcs of thankfulness

My favorite holiday blogging tradition is here! Happy Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if today is not a holiday where you are!). Originally started by Trish way way back in the day.

Andes Mints. When I was little, my amazing, wonderful, missed grandmother kept a box of Andes Mints in her dining room. I remember spending most of Thanksgiving sneaking Andes mints before dinner started and trying to stay out of the way. I thought it was a memory all my own, something that no one else really remembered. Then, when my family and I got together for an early Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, my aunt pulled a HUGE box of Andes Mints out of her purse. I realized then that the memory wasn’t only mine, it was shared with everyone, and that made it all the more special.

Blog. Okay, so I haven’t been the most consistent at this blogging thing this year, but I’m thankful that Regular Rumination is always here for me when I need a place to write down my thoughts.

Crochet. There are a lot of reasons I’m thankful for crochet, but my number one reason is because it is the only thing that will really calm me down when I am in an airplane. I’m a nervous flyer, but the repetition and focus required for crocheting keeps my heart rate down.

Dear Michael, You are someone I am forever grateful for. 

Evenings. The day is winding down, I don’t have to worry about work, dinner has been cooked, there’s just a book to read or a tv show to watch or some sleep to be had.

Feasts. How many times a year do you get to have a feast?

Ghost stories. I’m realizing that these might be some of my favorite kinds of stories. Why did I ever stop reading them?

Health. I am, for the most part, pretty healthy and I am always grateful for that.

Ice cream. So, Michael and I got our own ice cream maker about a year ago and it’s amazing! I love making ice cream at home. I’m thankful for the ice cream, but also for trying out new recipes.

Jam! This year, in addition to making our own ice cream, Michael and I have experimented making our own bread and our own peanut butter. Next on the list? I think it should be jam. So I’m thankful that I still have some homemade goodies to try out and learn how to make, but also because PB&J is just so so good.

Kickstarter. I’m thankful for Kickstarter, among many other things online, to remind me that there are amazing, creative people out there doing new things every day. I’m also really excited for the Veronica Mars movie and for this hot sauce. 

Love. I try to choose different things every year, but I can’t help but give love a special shout out every year. I’m so thankful for all the people in my life whom I love and who love me in return.

Mail order catalogs. I haven’t talked about this much here, but my job in publishing is as a sales rep to mail order catalogs. So, for keeping me gainfully employed, I’m very thankful to mail order catalogs!

November. You are just such a great month.

Oatmeal. Breakfast of champions! I can’t wait to make my first big batch of oatmeal for the season.

Pho. My favorite cold-weather food, not feeling great food, who-am-I-kidding-every-day food.

Quilts. Nothing better than curling up on the couch with a big, warm quilt someone made with love.

Raven Boys, The. This was such a fun book for me this year, but it really represents any book I can get lost in. I’m so thankful for those books that make my commute melt away into nothing.

Siblings. You guys don’t even know how much you mean to me. I love you and I’m so thankful for you!

Too Cute! Guys, have you seen this show? It’s amazing. I can’t have a puppy in my real life, so I’m thankful for Too Cute! to give me my puppy fix.

Unexpected, The. I’m thankful for the times when life throws me something unexpected, whether it’s a new friend when I wasn’t expecting it, a book I didn’t think I was going to love but do, or when something totally surpasses all my expectations.

Variety. I’m thankful for the fact that I relish in variety: I’ll read any genre, try any food, watch any TV show once, etc. etc.

Winter. I’ve always thought I loved every season except winter, but every year I like winter a little bit more. It’s just so nice sometimes to sit in a warm room while the snow is falling outside and you have a hot drink in your hand. Bonus points if there is a fireplace involved.

Nan Xiang Dumpling House. One of the best places to eat in NYC. I’m thankful for you!

YOU. If you’re reading this blog, I’m thankful for you!

Zillions of books. No matter how much I read, I’m always thankful that there’s another book on the shelf waiting for me!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May it be full of family, food, warmth, happiness, and, of course, a good book.

What I was thankful for in 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.

9. ACTUALLY RUNNING WHEN I SAY I’M GOING TO RUN

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It was gray. It was cold. My knees hurt. But hey! There’s the Statue of Liberty and there was a peewee football team practicing out on one of the piers. I listened to The Woman in Black on audio (perfect book for the weather) and generally felt accomplished, even with my slow slow speed. I feel like it doesn’t really matter how slow you go, though, if your heart is racing and your muscles hurt. Eventually I’ll go faster.

I hate cardio machines and I love my weight lifting and pilates classes, but I need a way to get more cardio in my life. Hence, the running. I’ve been talking about it for a long time, so it felt good today to finally just do something.

 

8. New Projects

If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m addicted to starting things. Projects that get me excited about blogging again, about cooking again, about reading. It all just depends on what I’m “missing.”  Well, I’m about to start something new! And I’m telling all of you so I actually have to commit to it. Today, I finally got in the mail my copy of Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

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I have never been much of a baker, but I do really enjoy baking my own bread. I’d like to learn more, so I’ve been looking through blogs and finding new recipes. While doing that, I came across Tuesdays with Dorie on a few of the blogs I was checking out. Essentially, this is a group of bloggers who are working their way through every recipe in a book by Dorie Greenspan. They’ve already finished one and they have been working on this one since February of last year. Obviously, the project is well underway, but I thought it would be a good way to make myself bake if I had someone telling me what to bake, when. I’m actually really excited for the recipe for next Tuesday and I can’t wait to share photos! I’m not promising I will get to this for every scheduled Tuesday, but it seems like a really great place to learn how to bake. Some of the recipes seem a little bit challenging, so I know that I’m kind of diving in here. I expect lots of failures! Hopefully they are the kind of failures that still taste good and also teach me something.

6. Fall Festival

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We ate grilled corn with cajun seasoning and butter!

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I made some new alpaca friends.

IMG_20131006_132317Two alpaca friends!

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There were chickens.

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And just generally enjoying feeling like I’m in the middle of the country instead of the middle of the city. Now, I think I’ll go drink my half gallon of cider I brought home.

 

 

 

 

3. This Mug.

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October is one of my favorite month’s of the year. Pumpkins! Fall! Hocus Pocus! Baked goods! Scarves! Apple picking! Festivals! It’s a month full of things I love, so to honor my favorite month, each day I will post about something that is currently making me happy.

Like this mug from David’s Tea. When you put hot water in it, the leaves change color from black to orange and yellow. I love it so much that I bought myself a second one today so I have one at the office and one at home. Sometimes you have to surround yourself by the simple things and this is the perfect example.

 

1. The xx

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How impossible is it to describe a concert experience? I’ll never be able to write down exactly how I felt when I saw The xx live at Radio City Music Hall on September 24. I remember hearing The xx for the first time on the radio back in 2009 and feeling like the song was “nice.” And, invariably, when I play an xx song for people, trying to get them to understand, their first reaction is often well, that was pleasant. I don’t know enough about music to tell you why it’s so much more than pleasant, but I’d like to sit everyone down to listen to one of The xx’s songs on repeat  until they hear what I hear.

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The first thing I noticed about The xx was the combination of voices. Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft’s voices are perfect together. Her voice is clear and his is gravely and as much as I love the songs they sing alone, their chemistry is really what makes it all work for me. Then there is the actual sound. It’s deceptively quiet music. It’s music that doesn’t really seem to take up a lot of room at first. And, then, I don’t know, suddenly it’s bigger. I enjoyed watching Jamie xx on stage as much as I did Madley-Croft and Sim and it really made me appreciate his role in the trio.

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I enjoy their first album, but I really fell in love with The xx with Coexist. Last October, when I first got my new phone, it was the only album I bothered to download. Every subway ride was nothing but The xx. I guess, you get it, I really love The xx. This was going to be a great concert no matter what. How do you talk about music without sounding like I am a better fan than youI listened to Coexist more times than you? How do you talk about music at all? Music is something of a mystery to me. I can play very basic stuff on the piano and read very basic music, but I always had a hard time hearing what my music teacher was trying to explain. When I am listening to music, I know what I like, but I rarely know why. That’s why this isn’t a review and why it could never be a review. This is just a love letter.

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I guess if you twisted my arm and I had to give one criticism it would be the lights. They were intense. And while it produced amazing pictures like this one, it was also a bit blinding. But this is another credit to how amazing the show was: I stopped caring that I was blinded by a spotlight and just listened. And danced. And sang along. I was amazed at how they played with tempo and also fascinated by Sim’s weird, almost slow motion dance moves. When they came out for their encore and began playing “Intro” was the moment of the whole concert and the moment I didn’t want it to all end. I knew that, soon, we would all be leaving Radio City and I had no idea what I would do when it was over.

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I feel a kind of sadness now that it is over. I will see The xx again (though not anytime soon, since they aren’t touring in the US anymore this year), but it will never again be this particular concert. Which seems so obvious now that I’ve typed it out, but I’d like to go back and experience it all again if only I could. There is something amazing about being in a huge room full of thousands of people who are scream-at-the-top-of-their-lungs in love with the same thing you are. Everything, from the ice cream we got before the concert to the halal truck after, to every single beat in between, was perfect. There are only so many times in life when the thing you are looking forward to far surpasses all of your expectations.

 

Things I Have Loved Recently

For a few reasons, the past month has been one that has felt like a roller coaster. Good things happen and then bad and in between, a whole lot of smooth and steady. I blog mostly on the weekends, so being out of town a lot makes it difficult, but I’m trying to be more organized. (When am I not trying to be more organized?) I thought I might tell you about a few things that I have loved recently, things that are making my days brighter and better, just because they exist. We all need a few of those, right?

Music

Concerts – I am going to see The xx in September. I am not sure I have listened to any other band or musician as much as The xx in the past few years. I think they are perfect and I haven’t been this excited for a show in a long time. I’ve heard they are amazing live.

Songs – “The Mother We Share” by CHVRCHES, “Pompeii” by Bastille, “Lightning Bolt” and “Note To Self” by Jake Bugg, “Believer” by American Authors, “Breezeblocks” by Alt J, “Faithful Heights” by NIght Beds, “Synesthesia” by Andrew MacMahon

Albums – Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend

Movies

So, a few years ago, Michael and I were looking for something to do. How to Train Your Dragon was playing at our local $1 movie theater, so we took my little sister, thinking it would be a fun afternoon. Except I’m pretty sure I loved the movie more than my sister did. I’ve seen it a few times since then and every time I love it even more. It’s funny and beautifully drawn and heartwarming. Anyway, the trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2 was released this week and I just keep watching it again and again. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. Just so perfect!

ParaNorman – Did you tell me to watch this? Because if you did, I’m so sorry I ignored you. You haven’t seen ParaNorman yet? What are you waiting for?! I have a predisposition to love ghost stories, and awesome sidekicks who steal the show, and siblings, and autumn, and John Goodman, but honestly. If you like any of those things, or just a few of them, ParaNorman is on Netflix Instant and you are missing out by not watching this.

Television

Gravity Falls – After I watched ParaNorman and stalked the tumblr tags, I noticed a lot of comparisons to Gravity Falls. Michael and I have watched a few episodes now and it is hilarious. Mabel is the 12-year-old I wish I was. See all of the above things that I love (except for John Goodman) and you also have Gravity Falls.

I’m definitely missing the shows that I watched during the winter, especially Supernatural and Nashville. I also finished my first watch of Buffy and Game of Thrones S2, so I don’t really have a show that I’m watching whenever I have a spare 50 minutes. Do you have any suggestions? I prefer something that is available on Netflix Instant or Hulu+!

Books

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I listened to this on audio and I loved it. I can’t wait to read the sequel! It always feels so good to get completely lost in a fantasy world that you buy into entirely and that’s how I felt about Shadow & Bone.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – One of my favorite listens this year was The Raven Boys and this book was my most-coveted galley at BEA. Thanks to the amazing Memory, I was able to get a copy. I’m reading it now and it is living up to everything, though I certainly miss having Will Patton read it to me. I will be downloading the audiobook as soon as it is available.

Tumblr

It’s true, I’ve been neglecting most other corners of the internet for tumblr, and I’ve been thinking a lot about why. I suppose there might be a whole post in here, but tumblr gives me a space to just love things. I do not need to comment on it, though I can if I want to. It’s just a space that is full of the things I love. Lately, that’s been exactly what I need. I don’t think it could ever sustain me as my only way of blogging or staying connected, it’s too specific for that, but as a tool to share the things I love and discover new things (like Gravity Falls, for example!), it’s just what the doctor ordered.

What have you loved lately?