gratitude-a-thon day 2079: gratitude doggy bag, please

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I mean, of course, take leftovers home from that fabulous meal, but if you want something that will change your actual life–take the gratitude–to go.

This is our major holiday here at the gratitudeathon, (like you didn’t know that). But here’s what’s exciting  about it, you know, besides the turkey and mashed potatoes. MASHED. POTATOES (please sing those words in the tune of the Hallelujah chorus), is that there are people that might actually recognize the good juju of starting a gratitude practice today. Yeah, they might see the light, in between the infernal green bean casserole and those tasteless turnips. They might feel the total awesomeness of being in the moment long enough to latch onto all they have. Gives me chills, or is that just the gross weather today.

I will be spending the day with my best people, my family. I will be cooking and there will be football and maybe a game and maybe a movie and we’ll all remember who isn’t with us anymore and tell some funny stories about them and we’ll all be on the same side of politics, so the only thing we’ll be fighting over is who has to take the dog for a walk in the rain and amen for that.

The older I get, the more I recognize that simply being with the people I love is it. It’s as it as it gets. And I feel gratitude for that finally dawning on me. Things change, people move, get sick, pass on and all you can do is love them the very best you know how while they are here. Sounds very simple, and maybe a little boring, but I have found it’s actually all of it.

I hope your Thanksgiving is chock full of the people and the foods you love. And I hope, I really hope that maybe this year you find gratitude is something you can take with you from the table in a doggy bag. And if you have any leftover mashed potatoes, send ’em my way, wouldja.

gratitude-a-thon day 2042: the good stuff

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My daughter took a bus home Sunday night at 9:15 pm from the middle of an area of Hartford that is sketchy at best, missing four classes because a boy she grew up with overdosed on opioids and she couldn’t stop crying. A freezing cold vigil and a funeral and girls gathered in our den trying to make sense of it ensued. There’s no town that’s immune from this kind of horror, anymore. I have not been able to stop thinking of this boy’s family. Of the kind of Thanksgiving it would be for them this year, and for that matter, every year going forward. Their boy will always be missing. Time will lessen the profound sadness, but it will never go away, like the sun popping up every morning, or the waves perpetually kissing the shore.

Yesterday I was with my family for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. I felt a deep gratitude to have all of us healthy and doing well. Life seems precarious these days. In the last two months, there have been some horrible losses in my vicinity. Which doesn’t include the bigger picture of watching California experience the largest fire in the state’s history and all that comes with and several senseless mass shootings (a common and seemingly acceptable occurrence by our government), and more insane and ugly things coming out of our president’s mouth on the daily.

It has become more and more clear to me that perseverating on any good that comes your way is essential to maintaining a sense of balance in the face of all the difficult. Be on high alert for the good stuff. There’s plenty of it. Begin with all that leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for starters (did someone say mashed potatoes).

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gratitude-a-thon day 962: the mashed potato challenge

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You can only imagine how much we here at the gratitude-a-thon (meaning ME here at the gratitude-a-thon) LOVE us some Thanksgiving. It’s a whole day of freaking gratitude, for crying out loud–what could be better? I’ll tell you what, and that would be WAIT FOR IT, mashed potatoes.

I have a thing for the potato in general. Mash ’em, sauté ’em, home fried, deep fried, baked, borrowed or stolen, this versatile veggie is one of the true loves of my culinary life. Did I mention my obsession with the potato chip? Hold on while I moan…..

Anywho, I am putting on the gratitude feast at my house this year. And I will be making a VAT of mashies. I never follow a recipe, preferring to wing it, but this year, I am looking for the ultimate mashed potato recipe –a little experiment. So, if you have a foolproof, can’t lose, you’re-going-to-want-to-bathe-in-these mashed potatoes recipe, please share. I’ll let you know if I make it, that is if I can climb out of the pot long enough to post.

gratitude-a-thon day 744: gratitude topped with mashed potatoes

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Happy official day of gratitude! Damn, I love this day. Course number one reason is because of its thankfulness slant, but number two, practically almost edging out number one is: MASHED POTATOES.

Not really, but sort of. Really, it’s the gratitude. (But the mashed potatoes…..). I am way too invested in the potato situation this year. I need to reboot this day and get back to the gratitude before I gain 10 cyber pounds.

Anyway, I hope that you are with  people you love, or at least like (or just don’t hate), and that you have too much food, or enough food, or at least some mashed potatoes, and that you really think about all that you have that is good, and none of the stuff that is bad. Just for today.

I mean, why do you think this is the favorite holiday of millions of people, including me? It’s because feeling gratitude makes you feel good. (It could also be the mashed potatoes, but not completely, could it?).

Happy thanksgiving to all, and to all some love, friendship, gratitude and of course, mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 472: it’s not just the turkey, it’s the gratitude

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no gift buying insanity. There is no tree and associated needles from tree in your house involved. It’s a holiday devoted to being thankful. A nation-wide call for gratitude. You can only imagine how we here at the Gratitude-a-thon (meaning me here at the Gratitude-a-thon) feel about that. AND in order to gather your grateful thoughts, you get to fortify yourself by eating with friends and family. Sweet Jesus, What’s not to love?

Yesterday, after making three, count them, three lasagnas for Thanksgiving (a little side dish a la my Italian heritage), I on-demanded an Oprah Super Soul Sunday show with Paul Williams (remember him–he was a famous singer songwriter–think Kermit the Frog and the Rainbow Connection, plus about a billion other songs, and even won an Grammy last year for Album of the Year with Daft Punk). Anyway, the interview was about a book he recently wrote with his friend and colleague, Tracey Jackson. about Gratitude and Trust, Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life. Williams discusses his recovery from drugs and alcohol. And Jackson discusses her recovery from her shopping addiction (she wrote Confessions of a Shopoholic). It’s interesting stuff, because they are clear about the fact that we’re all sort of in recovery from something and that gratitude is always right in it with you. Jackson said a really great thing at the end of the interview, when O. asked her what she hoped people would get from the book, and she answered, “It’s better to love than be right.” Boom. That’s some profound pre-turkey day fat to ponder. Kindling up that book today.

My life is 10 million miles from perfect, but I swear to you that it’s better with gratitude. The more I stop myself and notice what I do have, versus what I don’t have, the better I sleep, and more importantly live, when I’m awake. As you’re in prep mode for the turkey and fixin’s, to see relatives you love (and could live without), consider all the stuff you have to be grateful for. I’m telling you, it’s not just that wildly delish turkey and pie that makes you feel good on Thanksgiving, it’s the gratitude.