Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Yet another Thanksgiving is now under our belt (literally) and I've seen so many changes in this year's celebration. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all because of the lack of pretense and expectation. Because it's a holiday set aside to truly count your blessings, however few or many they may be... it seems that no matter who you are you should be able to find a handful of things to be thankful for in your life no matter what. I truly am quite thankful. I have 3 wonderful children, a man who loves me beyond words and truly is my soul mate for life, 3 crazy but wonderful fur babies, a quaint and warm house, food on our table, bills that get paid, and so much more. I have life, which I will never take for granted after fighting cancer so many times. I may have poor health, but I have it easier and luckier than so many others and I'm thankful for that. I also am quite thankful for being able to live in a country that is "The Land of The Free" and has so much.

Ryan Loves to Take His Own Picture
As my children have all grown (my twins are now 21 & oldest 23) they've become adults who have their own lives to live and places to be. My oldest has almost always been away for the holiday as she's been in Emergency Veterinary medicine many years. The difference was, for many years she was till here locally with me and we would celebrate around her schedule or I'd make a whole dinner for the crew she was working with. (They all still comment about 'Mom & how much they loved Thanksgiving with me making it special there). However, this year she's moved into a large city about an hour or so away and is now working in one of the largest specialty vet hospitals in North America. She loves it there but because she continues in the ER, Triage, or ICU unit she is still working holidays most of the time. So we didn't have her here this year. My son has a girlfriend and my grandson (20 months) whom I don't see near enough and they were going between the girlfriends and here, plus he had to work. I didn't want to force that "double dinner" thing on them so I just enjoyed being with them and as I was preparing dinner for my guy, his sister, great-nephew, and I my son enjoyed nibbling on some turkey. He proclaimed that "This is the best turkey you've made yet mom!" as he went crazy taking the seasoned, brown skin off and pulled a few pieces of turkey. My grandson LOVED sneaking some of gram's "Purple Potatoes" and turkey too and then they went to my son's girlfriend's parents. I'm okay with sharing, especially as they grow and have to do the two family thing, but appreciate when they make an effort to at least see me. My son's twin sister has seemed to take a turn that none of us understand. She has decided to more or less ignore that she has family and do everything with her boyfriend's family. She's been with this guy for over 4 years and I've met him twice. Yeah, real personable guy. I've come to the conclusion that one of two things will happen here; she will realize that family should be important and come back to us or she'll be that 'one kid' who graces the family gatherings once in a blue moon or never. Sometimes you have to go with the flow, even if it's hard.

So Thanksgiving dinner was quite nice, plenty of leftovers for the weekend.

The above caption and joke says it all for me. I absolutely despise Black Friday and feel that it would be a great time to consider it "In Season" for cleaning out the gene pool. I'm just saying.

Black Friday is when I let the anti-social person in me come out; or perhaps the "sane" person. If I dealt with that ignorant crowd someone would end up in jail and it would probably be me for punching people in the face. LOL  Yes, I can be dangerous and I hate shopping. Mix shopping with ignorant people and you have a day that this girl stays away from. There is nothing out there worth dealing with that much ignorance in one day!

Instead we did the SHOP LOCAL SATURDAY a day early! I loved it. We went to this great place filled with local vendors called Crossroads in Westfield, NY. What I loved was there was such a variety and it went from homemade crafts and items to small "stores" that carried specialty things like jams and jellies, cheeses, and so much more. It's a wonderful experience. I also appreciated that they had a wheelchair in each building (there are 3 large buildings to go through) for those that come and have difficulty walking. I took my quad cane to help me along and didn't use the wheelchair; however, there was plenty of places throughout to take a seat and let my back relax a bit and my joints take a moment to rest. (I have back issues from cancer, MS, & recently dx'd with Fibro & Rheumatoid Arthritis so there's nary a body part that doesn't hurt immensely with any movement). I liked being able to get some walking in but then not being overwhelmed and in so much pain I couldn't move. I tend to enjoy the small things in life that allow me to think I'm somewhat "normal" in lifestyle and can do something that most people take for granted, like walking through a large shopping area to enjoy just browsing.

Of course I HAD to buy some PUMPKIN PIE FUDGE from the local fudge gal. It was buy a pound and get 1/2 pound free. It is truly the most amazing fudge ever not to mention unreal flavors. My guy loved the peanut butter swirl (a luscious vanilla fudge with a layer of peanut butter, then more fudge, and chocolate swirled on top), while I stuck with Pumpkin Pie and a maple fudge. By the way, rumor has it that the fudge has no calories if nobody sees you eating it (I swear! It says so on the box! It has to be true right?) *Note to self: Remind my thighs of that rule. LOL

I picked up some smoked cheeses too. As odd as it sounds I have not been able to find a good, authentically smoked cheddar cheese in Erie ANYWHERE and low & behold I found some at the Cheese House vendor there called Blanche's Fruits and Vegetables which has a whole lot more than fruits and veggies. The smoked cheddar was about $8 a pound and literally melts in your mouth. I also got a few slices of smoked swiss and came home to make smoked swiss and turkey panninis for us. Can you say YUM?!

There's a nice little winery, Merritt's, that offers free samples of anything you want to try. I tried a wine called XTC (a pomegranate wine, sweet and very good), along with a Raspberry Chocolate (not quite as sweet but a sweeter wine with a hint of chocolate that hits the palate just after you swallow it), and then my favorite type of wine - an Ice Wine (I can't even recall what type but it was divine). We ended up with a bottle of that. Ice Wines are a little more expensive because the wineries literally have to wait for a frost to hit the grapes and then get them all collected as they are partially frozen to frozen as the sugar content is the highest; making it a very sweet wine).

I also took a short stop for one of my favorite items, maple. I caroused the maple items, drooled a lot and for the sake of my large butt decided to buy ONE piece of maple sugar candy from Maple Country USA and not allow myself to buy a tub of "Maple Cream" to spread on (well just about anything) pancakes, waffles, etc. or even a larger box of all sorts of maple sugar candies. I love maple about as much as I love pumpkin by the way. I'm sure the vendor was disappointed that I used my will power just ONCE and spent a whopping $2 to get my maple fix. :-D

While I went for some stocking stuffers I really didn't end up with any. I went to do some Christmas shopping and, well I think I got 3 items (1 of the same thing for each kid for their stockings LOL) but I did come home with a lot of neat things that I liked. Including a special potato sack for microwaving. Very interesting concept that keeps you from nuking plastic (releasing cancer causing chemicals).and two very inexpensive ready to put in your bread machine bread mixes (all natural, giving the smell of fresh bread baking and for less than you can purchase a fresh baked loaf at any bakery). 

So I felt great about our Black Friday! I kept it local and bought from nothing but local vendors and shops. I got to get some walking in, which is a feat for me because I have to stop so often; but with the set-up they had it was possible to walk and rest. I spent a fair amount of money that I probably shouldn't have but, because I NEVER get to truly shop anymore, it felt good! Not to mention I got to spend a nice day with the love of my life and my "sis" just enjoying a laid back morning.

So don't forget to keep you Black Saturday a LOCAL BLACK SATURDAY shopping adventure. Let's keep those "Made in America" and especially those "Made Locally" places in business! Leave a note where you shopped "LOCAL" this weekend or any day and perhaps others will be able to order from their website or someday visit!