Thanksgiving Reflections

When I was a kid we spent a lot of Thanksgiving mornings traveling for hours to get to my aunt and uncle’s house in Massachusetts.

I hated traveling on holidays then and I still don’t like it much. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I enjoy cooking and all the other preparations that go into the holiday meal. Maybe because it’s like a mini vacation from school and it’s nice to be able to take the time to relax at home doing my own thing. Or nothing at all. Maybe it’s because riding for four hours in a car with my four siblings was chaotic at best and downright painful at worst. And that’s just one way. We still had to drive home again. It was definitely uncomfortable.

I remember one year I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to discover it had snowed a good 8-10 inches and I was ecstatic because I was absolutely positive that meant we couldn’t possible drive to Massachusetts. I didn’t even care if I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. That was still better than four hours in the car ONE WAY! You can’t imagine my disappointment when my parents said, “Of course we’re going to Massachusetts! It’s just a little snow.” You also can’t imagine the fit I threw because I DID NOT WANT TO GO! I don’t recall all the details of my tantrum, but I can guess it was seriously overly dramatic and seriously annoying to my mother. But I didn’t care because I DID NOT WANT TO GO!

Sometimes we stayed overnight in Massachusetts and that was even worse. BORING! It’s not like we were going to Boston or anything good like that. My aunt and uncle lived in a big old farm-house in the middle of nowhere. At least nowhere I wanted to be. I already lived nowhere (or so I thought), so why would I want to go nowhere else? Obviously my parents were totally unconcerned with my feelings on the subject, because no matter how much I protested we kept driving to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.

Since those preteen and teenage days filled with angst over nothing, I’ve come to understand a different perspective on Holiday traveling.

I am sure that staying home with five children and attempting to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner on her own for five kids (who tended toward picky self-centeredness) was not a pleasant idea. Actually, that was probably a downright torturous idea that my mother would have had to have been insane to entertain. So she didn’t entertain that thought, but a much more pleasant one. Going to a 17th century farmhouse, in the country, surrounded by relatives, to dine on a gourmet meal served in a traditional and formal way. What a lovely time that must have been for my mother. Her children were, for the most part, entertained by their cousins and she got to spend time with her sister and brother-in-law – no pressure. Smart woman, my mother.

While I still don’t want to travel during the holidays, I can look back on those days at my aunt and uncle’s house with fondness. Their home was lovely and sprawling, like going back to another century, when life was simple, the cookin’ was good and the blessings abundant. There were special tables for the kids to sit at and for many years that really was a special place to sit. Who wanted to sit with the grown ups anyway? And we spent hours and hours playing games with our cousins; checkers and Chinese checkers, Monopoly, Go Fish, Slap Jack, War, King’s Corners. . .

Today I applaud my mother for doing what was right for her. I’m guessing she knew it was right for all of us because that time with family cannot be replaced. As an educator I see firsthand how little time some children have with their families. So today, and everyday, I am thankful for a mother who often listened to her heart instead of her children and made good choices for us.

We will be home today, just the two of us, cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. We are glad to have friends and family join us if they wish. They all know this. But they will make their own choices, ones that are right for them. To every member of our precious family, near or far, biological or of the larger world, know that we are thankful to be a part of your lives and we send you our love today and always.

New Year's Turkey

Karen and Dave

Gratitude #37

Today I am appreciating


It is that time of year ~ actually it’s a bit late, but I am ready, ready, ready for the white fluffiness of snow to fall and beautify the dreary November landscape.

Think of all that snow allows one to do in an otherwise frozen world:

snowshoe 10

snow angel

ski day 2

Willoughby Winter

And oh. . .the colors against the whiteness are magnificent!

fence lines - Copy

Farmhouse watercolored - Copy

New Year's Truck

Everything looks more beautiful covered in a blanket of snow, so Mother Nature ~ BRING IT ON!

Unusual Measurements

1. Butt

Surely you can come up with multiple meanings for the word butt:

~slang for buttocks
~the end of a cigarette
~the end or extremity of anything, especially the thicker, larger, or blunt end considered as a bottom, base, support, or handle, as of a log, fishing rod, or pistol
~a cut of pork

Yet, did you know that it is also a unit of measurement? True.

A butt is considered to be equal to two hogsheads. Now, hogsheads will vary in size, but in the United States a hogshead is estimated to be about 63 pounds so two hogsheads – or a butt – equals about 126 pounds.

2. Jiffy

You all have likely heard the phrase “in a jiffy”, but did you know it was an actually measurement of time? True.

A chemist used the word jiffy to describe the time it takes for light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum (about 33.3564 picoseconds) – thanks to Today I Found It

3. Clove – weight of seven to ten pounds for wool or cheese

4. Digit – unit of length equal to 3/4 of an inch

5. Elephant – large unit of paper measurement equal to 28 by 23 inches

6. Shake – unit of one hundred millionth of a second used to measure nuclear

7. Slug – unit of gravitational mass of approximately 32.174 pounds

8. Kip – unit of weight equivalent to 1000 pounds

(Thanks to The Phrontistery)

9. Mickey – One mickey (named after Mickey Mouse) is the length of the smallest detectable movement of a computer mouse. This is about 0.1 mm, but its exact size depends on the equipment used

10.Donkeypower – A playful engineering unit defined as 250 watts, approximately one third of a horsepower

(Thanks to



Does it seem like you have a collection of something without actually intending to collect that thing?

You know. . .sometimes you go to someone’s house and they have an amazing collection of Dresden plates, teddy bears, golf balls, trivets. . .
it could be anything.

I wonder about the stories behind those collections, because most of them started with one item. The one piece that kicked off the whole mountain of collectibles.

I will admit it, I have at least one collection. It happens to be snowmen.

Today I can not even recall how I came to collect snowmen (and snow-women), but I have observed an interesting phenomenon over the years.
Once someone gets the idea that you are a collector of something, then the gifts of those things start rolling in and even if you didn’t really intend to be a collector, suddenly you are.

Here is a sampling of some of my snowmen and snow-women:

Figurine - not a fine piece of art, but great detail.

Figurine – not a fine piece of art, but great detail.

One of my favorites ~ hand crafted and just so sweet I keep it out all year round

One of my favorites ~ hand crafted and just so sweet I keep it out all year round

Sitting around the house in an abandoned bird's nest

Sitting around the house in an abandoned bird’s nest

The classic sale & pepper shakers

The classic sale & pepper shakers

Sweet little guy with a seasonal sentiment

Sweet little guy with a seasonal sentiment

My muse - he keeps me company in the office

My muse – he keeps me company in the office

Small wooden character

Small wooden character

A book? Who knew? But yes, even snowmen (and women) have a history

A book? Who knew? But yes, even snowmen (and women) have a history

The catchall

The catchall

A true collectible

A true collectible

A darling homemade gift from a long lost colleague. Isn't he sweet?

A darling homemade gift from a long lost colleague. Isn’t he sweet?

Those are just a few of the dozens of snow people I have. Someday I will count them. As winter approaches I love digging them out of their boxes, and like old friends back for a visit, I find a warm spot for them.

Tis’ the season, so as the man says ~ Think Snow!

in the bucket

Gratitude #36

Today I am thankful – OH SO THANKFUL – for dance.

Dance and music.

Once upon a time I wanted to be a dancer on one of those television variety shows that were so popular back in my younger days.
Or maybe a dancer on a cruise ship.

That didn’t work out, but it hasn’t made me any less of a lover of dance – particularly tap dance.

The video I am sharing today is such a wonderful celebration of dance and dancers and music that my heart burst watching it.

I hope it bursts your heart too. Or at least causes your lips to turn up at the corners and maybe a little shimmy in the hips.

Enjoy and be grateful!