December 3rd, 2008

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A grateful update

Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful, and reminded me of things to truly be thankful for.

We drove down to Mike and Kirsten's for their Lost Lambs Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday morning. We skipped traffic, and were greeted by many friends and soon-to-be friends. It was great to see a whole host of folks, especially the ones rarely seen like Evja and her Tom, as well as the Caitlin and Naro. The food was plentiful and delicious, and the company was beyond compare. I was able to sit and chat a bit, embroider some, examine a simple antique loom and research information on how it may be warped for the new owner, showed off pictures of T-bone's eldest daughter with her pink rifle at the range, as well as help with some of the set-up, and redirect a child who was trying to open a nut with the pointy tines of a gardening tool that a rock might be easier and safer. There was no football, no Macy's Parade, and yet the day was full.
For friends, old and new, present and absent, I am blessed with a richness of company I am proud and humble to have around me.

We spent the night at Two Dog Hill, and after a leisurely morning of leftovers for breakfast, as well as Caitlin's fabulous blueberry bread, we kidnapped Kit and stole her away to Jamestown. We only worked a half day at Jamestown Settlement on Friday, but were kept busy by the wealth of visitors with interesting questions and a thirst for knowledge. I spent most of the four hours with Sandy at the Devon Oven, not baking, but being the mouthpiece to her activities to engage those interested in the methods of cooking of the past, and some of the daily life experiences those first folks to Virginia may have endured.
For the opportunity to participate in such a fun volunteer activity and have some faith restored in the creativity and search for information on history by the visitors, I am thankful.

Afterward, we retreated to Carla's rental condo for showers, easy pannini sandwiches for dinner and yet more interesting company. While a tired lot, we had Jimmy to entertain us, fun time with Cindy from JYF and excellent tales of the visitors experienced that day.
I am grateful for the gift of laughter.

Saturday we decided against a return to Jamestown since someone's back was unhappy from spending a day in armor, and someone else was a bit peopled-out. We helped pack up the condo and make cookies for breakfast using tin-foil and got back on the road home to Two Dog Hill, in a car full of fine conversation. Once returned we were greeted by a treed Corby, and very happy pups, and settled down for a bit more of a visit, and a nap, and some more embroidery before whisking off to downtown Charlottesville to join Rich and Genie in a post charity hockey game meal. The food was yummy, and again the company and conversation was fine. We were again captivated by stories of minor, if anticipated, family drama, and I only had a little of someone's Liquid Love (cocktail drink) spilled down my back, with good natured ribbing on the wet stickiness. :) Alan and I made it home safe and sound that night and crashed into our own bed with a happy belly of food and fun music in our heads.
For the freedom to do as we please and alter plans, I am lucky.

Sunday was spent sleeping in to the sound of the rain, taking care of some of the minor projects around the house, like hanging the hall bath mirror, hanging shower curtains, putting away parts of the kitchen into the upper cabinets, and given the opportunity to really consider placement and usage, and enjoy the new space. (Kirsten, the tea has been moved to be mostly over the electric kettle instead of crammed in a cabinet beside the stove.) I looked at the leftover paint chips from the bathroom consideration, and used it for a first level weeding out of colors and tones for paint, but I think we really need the countertops in before a final decision is reached. I meant to do some shopping, but the rain and inertia kept me home snuggled on the couch.
I am thankful for a comfortable home, and my Alan to share it with.

Last night was the delayed shopping for my Salvation Army Christmas Angels. I shopped for 3 hours trying to carefully choose items needed and hopefully desired by the disadvantaged children chosen. Normally I try to get two angels about my nieces ages so I can shop for twice the folks in the time given. This year I took on three siblings of different years, primarily due to the eldest daughter being a larger girl at only age 11. I hope most of all for her I was able to find clothes to make her feel pretty and boost her confidence. I also used some coupons at DSW to get her and her brother shoes that might last them a while, but still appeal to their youth. Naturally gift receipts are included so that color preferences or incorrect sizes can be exchanged. I bargain shop, but also try to get a good haul for the children I host, knowing that they are lucky to be loved, but not lucky enough to have extra for even some necessities. I spend more on these children than I do for my own nieces likely, but my nieces rarely need clothes and shoes, and mostly do not want for goods, activities, nor affection. And while I love to give to the Red Cross (good), Doctors Without Borders (great), and Heifer International (amazing!), I know that these gifts go directly to the children who may not expect much of a celebration despite the time of the year.
For the ability and inclination to be charitable, I am thankful for my job and my upbringing.