Tagged: thanksgiving

Nov 25

The Getaway

Fall was short, as usual around these parts, and we’ve quietly nestled ourselves into winter. I’m in full footie pajama & fires in the fireplace mode. Behold my color fire!!

Color Fire

It’s been a while since I posted anything, so here’s just a random catch up of what’s been happening, and some recent artwork. I’ve gotten into oil pastels lately, and it’s been fun to play around with them. They’re such an interesting medium – they require practice but once you figure them out they just blend together so beautifully. I really enjoy putting down layers of color and watching them melt into one another. Plus oil pastels produce a texture like nothing else.

 Oil Pastel Circles  Oil Pastel

 

I don’t think it’s a secret that I have a love affair with watercolors. I’m drawn (see what I did there?? HAHAHAH) to all types of water soluble media, but watercolors are the ultimate for me. I’ve been using the same palette for a few years now. It’s a really cheap kid’s palette and it has a plastic lid that was broken in several places and repaired with duct tape. Some of the tiny paint pans were falling out and my favorite colors were nearly all used up. I decided it was time to get a decent quality palette. I bought a palette about 2 years ago from Sakura – the field sketch box. It was about $25 and I was pretty disappointed. I actually preferred my kid’s palette because the Sakura paints dried to a very chalky finish, and I didn’t like it at all. This time I chose the Daler Rowney Aquafine Watercolor Palette. It was about the same price as the Sakura – $25. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this palette! First off, it’s small and portable with a metal case – so no more duct tape repairs! These colors are just so beautiful and vibrant, and they dry to an almost glossy finish compared to the bone dry Sakura paints. Here’s a quick little sketch I did when I was trying this new palette out.

 

 Girl

 

I recently stumbled upon an art sale, and I found this crazy mixed media piece that I fell in love with. I finally ended up buying it because I just couldn’t leave without it. It’s an amazing mixed media piece made from found objects. The backing is an old piece of countertop, and there’s chicken wire and bits of metal and scrap wood. It just really makes me happy when I look at it. Here’s a drawing I did of the piece, and this is also done with my new watercolors. The piece is called The Getaway. 🙂

The Getaway

I think that’s it for now. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and I sincerely hope that you have an amazing time, no matter how you decide to spend it. I’m looking forward to a long weekend! XOXO

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Dec 02

Musings on Friendship, Love & Family

I’m having one of those days where I feel like I should just crawl into my bed and pull the blankets over my head and just stay there and be all by myself. I’m safer there. Protected. If I don’t let anyone in, nobody will be able to hurt me.

I’ve had lots of time to think lately while I’ve been recuperating. It was interesting for me to be in a position where I suddenly needed other people. Asking for help is not one of my greatest strengths, but I never even needed to. I was completely blown away by the love, support and friendship that surrounded me. There are some truly amazing people in my life and I am so grateful and appreciative for all of them.

This was also a very enlightening experience. I came to some pretty profound realizations about a few of my relationships. Needing other people can shine a very bright light on how much they value you. In some cases I was shocked to find that I had always been in the dark, in others the light showed me exactly what I had always known was there. Some of these epiphanies hurt me more than I can express, but others were wonderful surprises.

Thanksgiving this year was really fun for me. My cousin and her family came from Texas. She’s never lived here, she grew up in Texas and doesn’t really know much of the expansive family here in Michigan. We celebrated Thanksgiving at another cousin’s place, and most of the family was there – around 75 aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, children, grandchildren and more. I had a really great time. I chatted with family members that I rarely see unless there’s a funeral, and I realized that my cousin from Texas and I aren’t that different. She was separated by distance, but I don’t even have that excuse.

My mom loves to talk about how when she was a kid, all of her aunts and uncles and cousins were so close and they all spent tons of time together. Things are just different now. I hardly know these people. One of my cousins died a couple of years ago. He was very close to my age and he died very suddenly. I knew him when we were kids, but as adults, I hadn’t seen him in years. He only lived 30 minutes away, but I barely knew him. When he died I was wracked with guilt because I hadn’t made an effort to know him and see him and spend time with him. But the truth is, he hadn’t reached out to me either. That doesn’t make it right or make me feel better about it, but it’s the truth.

I guess I don’t even know what my point here is, or if I ever had one to begin with. I’ve just had these things on my mind lately. From this surgery and forced downtime I’ve certainly learned that no matter how much I care about someone else, they may or may not reciprocate. Relationships are so complicated and exhausting and you may never get what you want or expect from them. And even blood doesn’t guarantee anything. You have to work hard and fight to keep those relationships strong and healthy. At the same time, no matter how hard you try and how much you want it, the other person has to do their part, too.

Maybe it IS just easier to hide under the covers.

One of my cousins had copies of this photo printed for the entire family at Thanksgiving. This is my great grandparents, Jack & Sarah (seated), surrounded by all 9 of their children.

Family

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Nov 21

Thankful & Blessed

Hello lovelies! Happy Friday! I’m particularly stoked today because I get to start WALKING tomorrow!! 4 more days on crutches or so and I’ll be actually walking on both feet again. Surreal. I actually managed to scoot down the stairs on my butt last night and I went into my lair for the first time since surgery. It was really really nice to have a change of scenery.

I’m so thankful for all of the visits, home cooked meals, well wishes, and everything else. My friends are pretty flipping amazing and I’m a lucky girl. I feel incredibly blessed and I sincerely appreciate every single one of you.

It’s Friday Five time, too! Here are my answers to this week’s holiday themed questions. Enjoy!

1. Do you make for special arrangements for Thanksgiving, aside from the usual shopping and decorating? I’m going to say no. I don’t decorate for Thanksgiving at all, and my involvement in the meal is usually just bringing a side dish or an appetizer, so that’s not a big deal. This year, my cousin Kassie will be coming to stay with me along with her husband and 2 kids, which I’m really excited about. They’re driving here all the way from Texas! But even still, we’re having Thanksgiving at another cousins house, and it’ll be huge – probably around 75 people or so. I’m supposed to bring a dish to pass, but since I can barely walk, I’m hoping I can get my cuz to cover for me.

2. What is the one food that says the holidays to you? My mother in law makes this incredible cranberry salad that I love. I could literally eat buckets of it. It’s just the right amount of tart and sweet. She only ever makes it at Thanksgiving, so the holiday isn’t complete for me without it. Sadly, she will be out of town for the holiday this year, but hopefully we can have a mini Thanksgiving makeup. 🙂

3. Is there something that is always served that no one eats, but it always still there? I guess you haven’t met my family. We’re kind of super professional eaters, so there’s no way we’d waste precious table space on something nobody likes.

4. What is your favorite after holiday dinner tradition? Dessert. Duh. But I hate pie, so it has to be cake or cheesecake or something. I love the day after Thanksgiving because that’s when I get to put my Christmas up. I’m 85% sure we’ll be doing the chintzy tree this year which is my favorite.

5. Have you ever gone out to a restaurant for your holiday dinner? I remember going out to a restaurant once with my mom and my grandma and my uncle, but I was just a kid, and I don’t remember the circumstances as to why we were out.  I do remember the food being a disappointment, though. Even as a child I had a very discerning palate.

I hope that your Thanksgiving is spectacular, and filled with love and happiness. And let’s not forget great food. 🙂

XOXO

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Nov 28

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had an amazing day. Mike & I hosted nearly 30 of our closest family & friends today, and even though I was really nervous, everything went off without a hitch and turned out great. Clovis made an exceptional turkey that everyone raved about, I made a couple of hams, and everyone brought some incredible side dishes and desserts. It was a great day, and now I’m exhausted!

It’s been a long week! On Monday I gave notice at work, and I’m very excited to say that I start a new job in January. It’s a local company, so for the first time in a decade I’ll be GOING TO WORK. I’ll be working at the office 2 days per week and from home 3 days. That’s a huge change that I’m looking forward to, but also extremely nervous about! I think it’s going to be great for me, though.

Also on Monday, I went to pick up my mom so we could go to Meijer, and she fell in the parking lot of her apartment complex and hit her head on the cement. There was so much blood…it was terrifying. We spent the rest of the afternoon & evening in the ER, and after CT scans and xrays they determined that she was ok, just had a mild concussion.  They stitched up the giant head wound and sent us home. Since she couldn’t be left alone for the first 24 hours and has been dealing with bouts of dizziness from the concussion, she has needed extra help this week. Between that and all the Thanksgiving prep, I haven’t had a chance to get any kind of workout in this week. Plus, I’m exhausted. Tomorrow I have NOTHING going on all day, and I’m really looking forward to it. Tomorrow evening, Mike & I have tickets to see Straight No Chaser at Devos Hall, so that will be amazing I’m sure.

Anyway, I hope your holiday was as great as mine was or better. Xoxo

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Nov 18

“Heeeeerrree’s Johnny!!”

Another crazy busy weekend, so buckle up, kiddies.

Friday: Work, quick run around the neighborhood before it got too dark. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve run. I decided to take a short break because I was having pain in my knees pretty consistently. When I ran on Friday, I had no pain, and it felt really easy. My pace was fast as well. So I think the break was exactly what I needed. I think I’ll keep the running to once or twice a week going forward and supplement with some other types of cardio. Tonight, I made portabello mushroom risotto and my mom came over for dinner. I spent the rest of the evening at my art table working in my Yearbook Journal. Behold:

 Meow

Saturday: Mike & I got up and spent most of the day running a million errands. We got an oil change for his car, then did all the random shopping we needed to do. I bought a new winter coat that I really like, so I’m excited about that. We also finally picked out pillows for the new couch! We got some really nice bright colors, and they look great. Saturday night, we hit the brand spanking new Alamo Drafthouse downtown to see The Shining. The movie was not my bag, but the theater is pretty cool. They have so many great beers, and the menu is really fun. Mike & I shared an endless popcorn and some cheese fries, and I also got the New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout Milkshake. It was pretty incredible. 🙂 This was the theater’s staff training days weekend, so everything was half price (except alcohol). The service was pretty bad, but the staff was super nice, and I know they will get it together with a bit more time. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Sunday: I slept in, did some drawing in my daily journal book, and then in the afternoon we headed back to the Alamo Drafthouse. The journey was perilous as there was a thunderstorm with heavy rains and high winds. There was even a lightpost that had fallen into the street downtown!! We made it though, this time to see Singin’ in the Rain. It was my first time seeing it, and it was really great. I enjoyed it. We ordered real food this time – I got a Royale with Cheese and a Beets & Oranges salad. I enjoyed both. Mike got a pizza and chips with queso dip and he liked both as well. As an added bonus, the service was PERFECT. They definitely turned things around and we were impressed. Oh! I also tried the Atwater Vanilla Java Porter Gingerbread Cake. It was tasty! After the movie, we went to Bell’s for trivia. We didn’t win, but we had a blast, as always. 🙂 When we got home, we discovered that our patio umbrella was snapped in half from the wind. Luckily, that was all the damage we had and we didn’t even lose power, so we were very lucky.

 Sad Umbrella

Sometime during the weekend, we also decided that we will host both Mike’s AND my family here at our house for Thanksgiving this year, which is both exciting and terrifying. Hopefully I will get some help with all the cooking since I don’t have that much experience cooking for 20+ people. Either way, it will be an experience!

I hope your weekend was as fun & exciting as mine was! Have a great week!

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Nov 28

Turkey and So Much More

It’s been forever – I know, I know, I’m a rotten blogger. I’ve seriously been so busy I haven’t even had the time to breathe, let alone chronicle my adventures. So this is sort of catch up and it might get long-winded.

Ok, we’ve been working on getting the loft area redecorated for what feels like a decade, but it is finally DONE. There are a few tiny little things I still want to add, but they are just filler stuff. My art table is back in the loft, the flooring is fancy and new, and I got a new stool for my art table, as well as new bookshelves and a new chair for a little reading nook. It’s pretty freaking sweet. Sadly, we got it all finished last week and I have only had time to go up there once for about an hour since then! I am loving the new brown and orange tree chair. It’s very comfy, plus it’s a recliner!!! Very nice for relaxing with a book. Maybe someday soon I’ll actually be able to spend some time up there. 🙂

Loft 332Reading Nook

My friend Rachel & I decided to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 on Wednesday last week. Neither of us had to cook anything that night, so we figured it was a good opportunity to finally catch it. I was pretty excited! Eclipse was quite a good movie, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, it was pretty terrible. I was really disappointed. I though Twilight was a better movie than this one, and that is saying something, dude. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it yet, save yourself a couple of bucks and wait for the DVD. Before the movie, though, we went to Gallagher’s to grab a bite and get a beer. It’s been so long since we went there! We had the whole gang (well, the whole gang that still lives in Michigan anyway) there, and it was awesome to hang out with everyone for a couple of hours. Plus, I had beer! It feels like I never drink beer anymore.

The next day was Thanksgiving, so Mike & I hit the road early for his sister’s house in Grand Rapids. It was a great time, crowded with tons of friends and family, great food & music. I even got to spend some time with the wee little boys coloring, which we all enjoyed a great deal. Plus, Jesse made us an adorable foam turkey to bring home, and some pictures for our fridge too. We left there in the afternoon and headed to Galesburg for dinner with my family. It was really fun! After dinner, my nephew and I watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which I loved. Plus my sister made a fantastical spread. Great food and fun times! After all that travelling (and eating) we were beat! As soon as I got home I hit the sack. 

Friday’s goal was to get the tree up. As is quickly becoming the norm around here, putting up the tree turned into a major undertaking. It was a huge ordeal because we decided to remove all of the lights from the pre-lit tree we have because most of them don’t work. It sounded brilliant, but ended up taking us all day to get done, culminating with a 2 AM trip to Meijer to buy new lights. We decided to spring for the LED’s since they last longer and are more eco-friendly. The next morning, we got up and started back on the tree – we strung up the new lights. I’ve got to say, the LEDs are weird. They are SUPER bright for one thing, it’s actually kind of hard to look at them for too long. Also, they are a strange white blue color, not the warm orangey glow you get from traditional lights. They will take some getting used to. Anyway, by Saturday afternoon, the holiday decorating was finally done! And not a moment too soon, because the Peaches were in town and heading over to our place in the late afternoon!

The Peaches arrived, and we drank some beers and caught up on the haps here and over there in Wisconsin as well. Pit & Fuzz seem to be doing really well, and I’m so happy for them. I wish they could have found super cool jobs and been happy here, but at least they are within driving distance and have stayed in touch. They haven’t changed much – Pit is still kind of an arrogant jerk (in the best possible way, of course) and Fuzz is still quiet and sweet. Man, I miss those kids. They left for a couple of hours to catch up with some other peeps, but then we met them later at Gallagher’s (I know – twice in the same week!! Crazy!!) and had more beers and chatted with them some more before they finally had to hit the road. I miss them already.

So that brings us to Sunday – I got up bright and early to make guacamole because I had a bridal shower to go to in Grand Rapids for my neice, Alexis. It turned out very nice, and she got some great gifts. After the shower, Alexis came back to Kalamazoo with me and her hubby to be, Joshua, met us at my house so that Mike & I could take them to dinner. Alexis told me she wanted to eat at Mike & I’s favorite place, so we took them to Shawarma King. We had a very nice dinner, and it was so nice to be able to get to know Joshua a little better. We don;t get to spend too much time with Alexis either, so it was pretty awesome all around. The only bummer was that we didn’t have a ton of time since the shower was longer than we thought, and they had a marriage counseling appointment after. But it was still nice, and I’m so glad we got to do it.

So now you are all caught up. I promise to try to not be such a crappy blogger going forward. I hope that your Thanksgiving was awesome and that you spent time with your loved ones. Peace out.

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Nov 28

Thank Goodness

So there’s a slideshow of our holiday fun. I wanted to post photos, but there were WAY too many that i liked to just choose a few to post here. Our Thanksgiving was totally great. Poor Mikey had to work on Thanksgiving day from 3 AM to 12 PM, so he had a sort of rough start to the holiday. But he bucked up and pulled through awesomely. ( Read more )

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Nov 23

Becky & Me

Becky’s in town for hunting & the holiday! We spent the evening having dinner and a few beers at Big Deal’s Sports Bar. It was SO great to see her and catch up. She just left & I miss her already. 🙁
Mike & Becky

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Dec 01

Call Me Ralph

Our Thanksgiving was really fun! We had a great time with Mike’s family, even though we weren’t able to stay very long because poor Mikey had to work at 3 AM on Friday. But we had a nice dinner, and then we all played a really fun game. It was a great time!

On Friday, we decided to do some shopping. Not the crazy 4 AM shopping, we went out on Friday night around 6 and hit a few places. We went to Target, Best Buy, and Gamestop. We managed to weasel a few of the super cheap deals that were still available, and the lines weren’t too long, so it was nice. I also went to the Dollar Tree and snagged a few holiday decorations – pine garland for the railings, and also these really pretty snowflakes that I hung in the living room windows. I was really excited because the next day Mike’s mom & dad were coming over to loan us their 12 foot Christmas tree and help us put it up! So I got as much of the holiday decor put out before I went to bed.

This is where the best laid plans started to fall apart. I woke up around 3:30 in the morning and was throwing up until about 5. Hmmm, maybe not the best day to put the tree up after all. I felt awful. I had awful chills and nausea. We had to cancel the tree plans, and I was in bed all day long. The only time I got up at all was once in the morning and again at night to go feed my mom’s cat, Tigger, while she was gone for the weekend. Thankfully, Mike drove me both times and I rode in the passenger seat clutching a wastebasket in case of emergency. I finally ate some dry toast in the afternoon, and then a tiny bit of chicken broth and some saltines in the evening. On Sunday, I was still a little queasy, but feeling quite a bit better. I was even able to take care of Tigger on my own! Mike’s parents came and we got the tree up, which was really cool. Damn, a 12 foot tree is a ton of work! It sure is pretty though! Here’s a daytime pic, keep in mind it looks so much prettier at night. And here’s a really cute pic of Buffy chilling under the tree, too. She LOVES it! She has been sleeping under there at night since we put it up. I sort of miss her because she used to sleep with me, but she sure looks cute under there.

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