What to Expect When You’re Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here, and with it the wholly unrealistic expectations of peaceful family togetherness and a tasty home cooked meal.

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In order to have a truly enjoyable Thanksgiving and limit the amount of times your head gets banged against the wall near the festive corn and pumpkin display, certain things just need to be accepted as inevitable:

  1. Canned foods and instant recipes will abound. Who has time to make homemade cranberry sauce when the in-laws are knocking down your door and the mantle hasn’t been dusted since last Thanksgiving?
  2. Christmas will be acknowledged. Come the weekend after Thanksgiving, it’ll be December. So those boxes of Christmas decorations lurking in the corner of the living room will just be skillfully ignored.
  3. No matter how loudly you speak, Poppy will not be able to understand you. Even if you can get his hearing aid working and his attention focused, once he finally discerns the word “twerk” the conversation will self-implode.
  4. Skinny jeans will be banned from the premises. Both looking good and stuffing yourself until you pop cannot exist together. Bring the sweatpants with the mustard stains; family doesn’t judge you.
  5. Your family will judge you. Your grandmother will notice the untidy state of your hair and mother will ask if a second helping of pie is really such a good idea, and do you need that much whipped cream anyway?
  6. The pets will want in on the action. Can you really blame little Josie for jumping onto the fine china? She’s not use to you putting in any effort and just wanted a closer view of what exactly “trying” looks like.
  7. You will want to quit your job. Crescent rolls are all that matter in life.
  8. Nothing will ever change. The fruit cake will still taste like boot, you’ll still fall asleep during the football game, and the panic of the impending holiday season will upset the mound of potatoes settling in your gut.

As long as you prepare for what’s ahead, there is no reason that Thanksgiving can’t be a perfectly lovely holiday that allows you to spend time enjoying the company of others and their attempts at cooking. And when Christmas arrives, simply duck and cover.

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered They’re Yours

50 years from now the only mail people will be familiar with will be of the “e” variety.

pig mailboxNo one will express their love of farm animals with a pink porky piggy mailbox, no one will experience the thrill of raising the little red flag on the side of the pink porky piggy mailbox, and no one will walk away from the pink porky piggy mailbox with the taste of envelope glue still on their tongue.
As a lover of all things pink piggy, I’m fighting this growing trend with paper and pen. I’ve adopted a few somewhat willing pen pals, a resolution to finally pay for some colorful stamps, and an appreciation for the wonders of the past and simple pleasures.

I cherish nothing more than reclining at my polished oak desk by the roaring fire that’s aged the pages of the classics in the nearby cramped bookshelf while dipping my quill feathered pen in the inky blue well that contains thoughts and sentiments yet unbeknownst to me. And then cramming those thoughtful sentiments into the dorm’s mailbox once I’ve taped the envelope closed after unsuccessfully licking the flap until my tongue was raw.

IMG_1996However, while my virtual inbox continues to accumulate messages with beloved subjects such as “Dr Oz-FaT BustEr RevealeD” I’m just not receiving any letters in my physical mailbox meant for tangible letters. There is nothing more depressing than opening that off-gray squeaky door lid only to stare blankly at the off-gray empty inside. Yet the joy that one experiences when that off-gray empty inside is masked by a off-white letter is only rivaled by sitting on Santa’s lap as a four year old who knows they have a Barbie Dream House coming their way. It is that rare occurrence of actually receiving letters that keeps me looking to the mailbox, keeps me writing letters in hopes of a response, and keeps my heart permanently fixed on the pink porky piggy mailbox that I’d like to someday have a use for.

Support pigs everywhere, mail a letter today.

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Bucket Lists and Bombshells

There is never a convenient enough time for anything, so why ever let that be an excuse for not doing something special?

Whether it’s your deepest passion to travel to Spain despite a lack of financial stability, the willingness to go on a camping excursion though threatened by the time commitment, a craving for higher education while needing to support a family, or the desire for something as simple as wanting to dye your hair, sometimes you just convince yourself that “the time isn’t right” to follow up with your dreams.

But it is!

live unless bed

The time is always right for happiness and living and experiencing life. There is never a bad time to celebrate being alive and creating a memory to look back upon with the grandest of smiles and the happiest of recollections. Why delay what you were put on this earth to do? Live!

IMG_2849So before I could compile an even larger range of excuses as to why I can not complete one of my Pail List  items, before I graduate in the spring, before I begin a full time job, before my supposedly approaching wedding day, before my future catches up to me, I took care of item numero uno and dyed my hair blonde (“Medium Natural Blonde” which when combined with my already dark hair color translates into “Sun-Kissed Brown Cinnamon”).

I’m already so much happier for deciding to commit to this wish of mine. I feel more confident, I feel like I’ve just returned from a delightful tropical vacation, and I feel like I’m ready to seek out some more of life’s experiences despite any obstacles that I perceive. I also feel like a model and am struggling to stop taking pictures of myself…IMG_2868IMG_2859IMG_2871

A Nail Night to Remember

One special night each week, in my never ending effort to spend time with friends, keep my fingers feeling pretty, and avoid homework at all costs, I host Manicure Monday in my dorm room.

Girls from all around the hall flock to the 70’s patterned furniture in the lounge to cozy up with some friendly talk and brightly colored nail polish. On occasion, we’ll thrown in a movie to make the boys wandering by feel welcome, though none can bear the smell of nail beautification polish long enough to stop in for a hello; though the fear of a feminine ambush may be what’s keeping them at bay…

Somehow, despite the noticeable lack of testosterone and funky smelling furniture that an open window just can’t sort out, I still manage to have a rockin’ time. I’ve boosted my self esteem, I’ve visually and creatively expressed my mood, and I’ve found a way to bond with the girls around me despite having no opinion to offer on whatever popular shows are playing on MTV.

I truly hope that when I get older/get money/get a place to live I host people at my home in a fashion similar to Manicure Monday, hopefully extenuating the bonding aspect of get-togethers and minimizing the smell of chemicals that we’ve grown accustomed to from nail polish.

While away at college it seems almost too easy to make and retain friends. Aside from bouts of essays and finals, all of the people I care to spend time with are easily and readily accessible to me. And I know that won’t always be the case. I really hope that I make a sincere effort in the future to host murder mystery parties, football extravaganzas, and random board game nights, to keep the spirit of life and friendship alive and kickin’.

With our 70’s furniture, I seem to live in the past. With my longing for murder mystery parties, I seem to dwell in the future. I need to stop wishing the present away and simply commit to enjoying the time at hand, mostly, at my freshly manicured hand.

Free Fallin’

Today, I woke up to an odd tingling throughout my body. A tingling that I hadn’t felt for many months. An unpleasant and altogether alarming sensation that bid me to raise my head from my matted and cozy pillow and look to the window and the world beyond. Though my eyes were still heavily crusted with the eye gunk that spoke to my deep sleep, there could be no mistaking what I saw. But, just to make sure, I rubbed my eyes and inched up a bit further off of the bed. Sighing, I plopped back down; yes, there was no mistaking it, I saw autumn.

I pulled the previously discarded covers up to my nose and took a few deep breaths. The chill I had previously experienced seemed to be disappearing, and a new emotion was stewing. Disappointment.

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With the beginning of fall comes a lack of vacations, the end of day trips to the beach, more school reading than is good for your developing eyesight, and a sun that just can’t compare to its glory days of summertime. From the moment that I looked outside through the slightly frosted window pane towards the browning leaves and dark morning sky, I knew that I wasn’t far from bidding my flip flops farewell.

These depressing trees are once again in our future...

These depressing trees are once again in our future…

The colder months have always seemed to fill me with despair (there is a reason this blog was started back in February, I am absolutely miserable during the winter months and I thought that I’d need something to keep me upbeat, positive, and positively engaged with the world). Both the fall and the winter greedily snatch away my afternoon tennis matches, make soaking up some rays a chilly impossibility, and cruelly transform the beautiful trees of the world into nothing more than a pile of grimy sticks with no aesthetic value until covered by the soft white of snow.

I did not ask for this. I never ask for this. In fact, I’ve so far removed myself from the possibility of having another couple months in the cold weather that this seasonal shift has taken me completely by surprise.

That might just be why, though in the throngs of an autumn transformation, I managed to enjoy my first fall since I foolishly longed for the days of snow and silence as a kid.

Those leaves hanging off of the tree sure do look beautiful.

When did smooth jazz become such a delight?

It’s been far too long since I’ve slide into slippers.

I never knew that the color red had so many shades.

Goodness, don’t I look cute in this scarf?

I was so shocked to find fall upon me that I forgot to compile a mental list of why I dislike this season. Instead, I was bombarded by all of the beauty and promise that fall has to offer. While my new-found affinity for this season may be short lived, I’m glad to give autumn one more chance to get into my good graces and search for the wonder behind the weather; provided it never again disrupts my sleep with its chill.

Though this signals an approaching winter, I can still appreciate its beauty while it lasts.

Though this signals an approaching winter, I can still appreciate its beauty while it lasts.

Mood Swings

Music, dancing, laughter, reminiscing, nature, wining, dining, friends, happiness, summertime, Mood Swings.

In my never ending quest to say yes to life and experience the beautiful and intriguing world around me, I agreed to attend a wine tasting accompanied by the swinging stylings of the band, Mood Swings. Because, why not?

IMG_2390This event was hosted at the beautiful Boordy Vineyards, a historic Maryland winery that hosts tours in addition to their Saturday music nights. Even for a 20 year old who couldn’t sample the wine selections, I still had an amazing time on the back patio, with friendly people, during a magical summer night, donning a smile that just wouldn’t quit.

IMG_2396It began with a long lost neighbor and friend, and an extra ticket that their family possessed.

It went along to include winding roads, a country atmosphere, grapes fresh off the vine, and a sunset that my camera couldn’t do justice to.

It included a good ol’ fashioned gab fest with some old friends, new friends, and friendly acquaintances.IMG_2397

It got me dancing to oldies, classics, and contemporary tunes that had a splash of modern flare with a dash of old fashioned charm.

It rounded out the evening with a lack of mosquito bites, an upbeat vibe, and the promises of more memorable and happening times to come.

With a college semester fast approaching, this night was exactly what I needed to unwind, relax, and appreciate everything that this summer has given me. I am so glad that I approached this new experience with a “can-do” attitude, because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on the simple pleasures that make life worth living, like friends, food, and swingin’ music.

Minty Fresh

The smell of mint does something to me. It tickles my nose in such a way that I can’t help but smile. I just hear the name, spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, mint, mint, mint, and I begin giggling like a school girl. When at restaurants, I load up on those after-dinner mints to a point where it’d be embarrassing to be seen with me. If you looked in my car, you’d be sure to find those dinner mints spilling out of the glove compartment whenever you’d reach inside expecting to grab a napkin. Come the holiday season, I’ll begin applying a peppermint lotion that tempts me to lick it off my fingers, and would certainly succeed if I didn’t have mint whipped cream to add on top of a steamy cup of mint hot chocolate served in a mug decked out with holly leaves (sorry, no mint mug) to distract me.

DSCN1091The other night, in an effort to complete a bucket list item and cook up some tasty and healthy recipes, I made a delicious fettuccine pistachio-mint pesto dish. Can you guess what main ingredient attracted me to this dish?

But while combing the grocery store for ingredients, I still found myself wanting for a small sprig of mint. Finally, I found some mint, but it definitely wasn’t a small sprig; instead, they had a mint plant. A whole plant producing that wonderful smell and delightful taste that has long left me cheerful! Needless to say, I bought it. The whole plant. And now it sits in a pot on our deck, and I find myself making more and more excuses to sit outside, smell my mint, and be happy.

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An Ode to Swimming Pools

Please enjoy this silly little poem about how in love I am with swimming pools.

Swimming pools, oh swimming pools, what to even say?

The way I anticipate your cooling embrace all throughout the day.

It gives me chills to think of you and you light a certain spark.

Especially when I jump in and see your inflatable blow-up shark.

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My affinity for swimming pools runs deeper than an in-ground.

Especially when I noticed all the bugs you’ve sweetly drowned.

Though our time together is brief, I cherish your blue waters,

The only thing you could improve, is if you were filled with otters.

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For the joy you bring to me, swimming pool, I will always yearn,

Even when I must leave you, because your owners have returned.

Make Your Bed, Make Your Day

I have vivid memories of being a young child and constantly being nagged to make my bed. I don’t know why it was any concern of my mother’s as to the cleanliness of my room, but she constantly fought with me over the state of my purple flowered sheets and green flowered quilt.

bed sheetsBut now that I’m older, something weird has happened. I simply cannot bare to start my day with an unmade bed.

I love knowing that no matter what happens in the day, I’m off to an organized and predictable start when I wake up and begin folding covers and tucking in edges just how I like. There’s a peace of mind offered by knowing that no matter what the day brings, I at least know I’ve gotten one thing right in making my bed.

Sometimes, mothers are smart ladies.

Shucking Corn and Loving Life

I never expected shucking corn to be one of life’s simple pleasures. But when you’re sitting on your back porch enjoying the light rays of sunshine, watching bunnies and chipmunks dart around in front of you, smiling at the memories of running outside to catch the falling hale so you could water the house plants with the tiny cubes of ice, remembering how you would catch fireflies for your mom and gently carry them back to the same steps you’re sitting on, and smelling the freshly cut grass from your neighbor’s lawn, it’s hard not to fall into happiness.

I never wanted to be out there dealing with errant silk strings and messy corn leaves, but I’m oh so grateful that I did, because I found more life on those steps than I had ever expected.