Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Thanksgiving - Another Wonderful Day

We had one of those really special Thanksgivings this year. We decided to have just our family rather than getting with extended family this year. That made it quiet, but relaxing and fun.

Billy drove down from Iowa on Tuesday. Wednesday we made sure we had everything we were going to need - but of course Billy still had to run to Kroger's on Thursday morning. I had checked the spice cabinet and was sure I saw sage for the stuffing so I didn't buy any. When I started to make it, I couldn't find any - so he saved the day and the stuffing by making a run to the store. I also made a chocolate peanut butter cream pie that day. It was something new to try.

We worked together getting things going on Thursday morning. Part of the fun of Thanksgiving is cooking together. I made the stuffing while Billy got the turkey ready (and made the run to the store). The goal was to get our 20-pounder into the oven by 9:00. At 8:55, we closed the oven door and did a little cheer! Meanwhile, Bill was snapping the green beans and getting them on to cook. We then got the table all set - using the Lenox china and sterling silver that belonged to my grandmother, of course. It only gets used once or twice a year. After getting all the serving dishes figured out, we took a little break.

The second thing that makes Thanksgiving fun is watching football, so that is where Bill and Billy planted themselves. The games weren't on yet, but there is plenty of pre-game coverage and other sports tidbits to fill in.

After Ashby napped, David and Lisa showed up bringing their share of the dinner. We got potatoes peeled and cooking and other last minute things going. Finally around 3:00, we sat down for our feast. Everything turned out perfect! We ooh'ed and aah'ed our way through dinner until everyone was stuffed - just like the turkey!

After cleaning everything up, the rest of the afternoon was spent lying in front of the TV, napping, taking a walk, or other equally relaxing events. Lisa and David wanted to nap, so Bill watched Ashby since all she wanted to do was run around. I had thought I would take a nap, and was on the bed, when Ashby and Bill showed up. We all spent the next hour and more playing together. She was on the bed and having more fun. We laughed the whole time. Needless to say, we never did get naps.

Later, after eating some of the four pies we had for dessert, I watched Ashby while everyone else played some games. She entertains herself so well - just have to keep an eye on her because she is curious enough that you never know where she will head next.

It turned out to be one of those special Thanksgivings - so relaxing, fun, and quiet, with all the elements of a perfect holiday. It is one of my favorites, because it is just about family and remembering blessings. For me, having Billy, Lisa, David and Ashby made it perfect!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Books I Read This Year

Since I have read so many books while recuperating from the surgery, I got to wondering how many books I had read this year. I started recording every book I read on Shelfari so I can remember what I read and when. I started in April 2008 and so far have 86 books posted. I did not go back and add books I had read before that, so that is what I have actually read since then.

For 2009, I have read 55 books - more than I would have thought. There are some that I gave 5 stars to. I am really stingy with 5 stars, so these are the books that really impressed me. That list includes: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

When I give 4 stars, it means it was a great book that I think everyone should read. I had a lot of those, including: Run by Ann Patchett, The Emigrants by Wilhelm Moberg, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Testimony by Anita Shreve, Unto a Good Land by Wilhelm Moberg, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, December by Elizabeth Winthrop, How Americans View Mormons by Gary Lawrence, My Abandonment by Peter Rock, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Settler by Wilhelm Moberg, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling, The Last Letter Home by Wilhelm Moberg, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, In the Woods by Tana French, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, Conqueror's Pride by Timothy Zahn, The Likeness by Tana French, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Conqueror's Heritage by Timothy Zahn, The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani, Saints at the River by Ron Rash, The Blue Castle by L M Montgomery, Before I Forget by Leonard Pitts, and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.

I have read a lot of good books (32) - and a few not worth the time. From the list, you can see that I jump from contemporary to classic, with a few science fiction and young adult books thrown in for good measure. I just love to read!

So part of what I am thankful for this year is that there are so many good books out there; that there are good authors who take the time to write good books; that I have so many friends who guide me to good books; that the internet has allowed us to be able to share good books with a huge audience; and that my life has been touched, sometimes very profoundly, by all this reading.

Thanks to all you bookworms out there!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Recovering Well

It will be two weeks tomorrow since I had my surgery - a hysterectomy. They were able to do it vaginally, so I only spent one day at the hospital. I have had almost no pain and am feeling really good at this point. Since everything is still healing, I am still taking it easy and using it as an excuse to be lazy.

There have been some good things that have come from this.

Obviously, the medical issues have been dealt with, so I should feel better as I heal.

My friend Sarah brought over a big bag of books that she had chosen from her own library so I could keep myself entertained. She knows how much I love to read and I have read 8 so far and am looking forward to finishing a few more in the next week or so. She did a great job of choosing books that I would like. I may need to use her as my bookfinder in the future!

Best of all, my son Billy drove down from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help take care of mom. He left to go back home yesterday. He was a tremendous help - mostly doing those little errands that you don't usually even think about, like picking up milk and bread, prescriptions, etc. He likes to cook so he also fixed several meals for us while he was here. He doesn't cook a lot of things, but he is very good at what he does. We had salmon a couple of times, as well as a number of other things.

He was also able to spend a lot of time with Lisa, which I really liked. I want so much for my children to be close as adults. He thoroughly enjoyed his niece Ashby. (And I have to ask - who wouldn't? She is just about the best thing that ever happened to the world!) We were able to spend some time just talking, which is always nice. All in all, it was a wonderful time with him here and it is feeling a little lonely now that he is gone. I don't need the help anymore, but I still liked having him here. He is planning on coming again for Christmas, and maybe Thanksgiving, so I am already looking forward to that.

I will probably have one or two more weeks off work. I like my job just fine, but I like being home even more. I have a pile of projects that I had planned to work on, but I don't seem to be making much headway on them. Maybe the next couple of weeks I will have a little more energy so I can do a few of them. Of course, then I will be reading less. What a dilemma!!

I have appreciated the kind thoughts and gestures that my friends have made to let me know that they are thinking of me. I am a pretty lucky woman - loving husband, great children, wonderful granddaughter, many friends. I am blessed abundantly!