It happened.

That bone-chilling cold wind that comes to my neck of the woods (gee, thanks, Canada) that serves as Winter’s calling card, hit us today.  The thermometer said that it was in the high 30s, but my skin told me that was a blatant lie; it was probably in the low 20s.  Either way, people have already begun to use the dreaded “S-word,” and I’m not happy in the least.  Unless there’s some freaky natural event, we’ve seen the last day this year where the daily high temperature will begin with any digit higher than a “3,” and the wonderful three-digit credit I’ve built up with the local utility will vanish, within thirty minutes after I turn the thermostat to 65°F.

I could complain, but to be honest, things are looking pretty nice for the time being, and that’s good enough for me.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Thanksgiving for me.  It’s the day when I make the menu (which hasn’t changed in something like twelve years), and I draft the list of ingredients I’ll need.  I don’t plan a big spread, mainly because the holiday is usually limited to the Little Woman and myself.  Other family members (mine and hers) have tried to wiggle an invitation out of us, but none have yet been successful.  Yes, I know that the point of the holiday is to focus on family, to share one’s bounty, and to imitate the people in a bad Hallmark holiday movie, but that’s not happening.  Not on my watch, anyway.

For me, Thanksgiving has traditionally been a holiday for me to get away from the world.  When, long ago, I worked in other fields, it symbolized a necessary break in my autumn routine; it was a chance to sleep late, mentally regroup, and to prepare for the craziness that was my December.  In graduate school, Thanksgiving was a break from studies, but also a reminder that those final papers were due in a week – now we had time to finish them.  Even now, I look at the holiday as a time to exhale – to ponder the year that was, consider the year to come, and to make peace with everything in between.

The Little Woman shares my view – to a point: She’s grown to appreciate the calm that comes from pulling back from the world for a few days for one’s self.  (Actually, I think she’s more interested in preserving more of my German Chocolate Pie for herself, rather than sharing it with others, but that’s my take on things.)  So I’m fortunate in that I don’t have someone pushing me to be social, when I’d rather just have time to myself.

Incidentally, the menu of food (that I’m not sharing) will be pretty basic:

  • Turkey,
  • Mashed potatoes,
  • Sliced sweet potatoes,
  • Dressing (not stuffing!) and gravy,
  • Various vegetables,
  • Homemade bread,
  • Baked macaroni and cheese (per dictate of the Little Woman),
  • A casserole of some sort, and,
  • A certain special pie.

I will start the day with a viewing of The Sand Pebbles (1966), a film that has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but has become a traditional event for me, nonetheless.

This Saturday (11/11), marks the 99th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War (1914-1918).  It also marks Veteran’s Day (originally Armistice Day), in the United States.

I just want to extend best wishes and a hearty thank you to my fellow veterans.

If you know someone who has served – or is serving – in the Armed Forces, take a minute out of your day and wish them well.  It won’t cost you a dime, yet it could mean the world to them.



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