Happy Thanksgiving! Well... almost. I fully intend to take it easy and keep my belly satisfied for the rest of this week. I deep cleaned my place, knocked out every last work email and went for a run yesterday afternoon, and that's probably the most action my body will get through the end of the month. My kitchen, however, will be getting all the action tomorrow, since the Thanksgiving feast is going down on my turf for the first time ever. Granted, it will only be myself and Moms, but still. Meal for two, please!

In the spirit of the holiday, I'm compiling a list of all the things I'm thankful for. It's always been a tradition to gather around the table and have each individual state the things they're grateful for [as most families probably do], and every year, I'd get stumped when my turn rolled around. Yes, I have countless reasons to give thanks, and I know it, but the cliche answers like "family, life, job, shelter, health" just seemed so run-of-the-mill and generic. They still do. Plus, once it was finally time for me to speak, everyone else had already used up those answers. There was always this understated pressure to say something simple yet unique and maybe even a bit profound. I'd always think, "Can we just get to the food?" but I could never say that. I even felt bad for thinking it. Of course I'm outrageously thankful for many many things, but I constantly do my best to express that gratitude year-round.

For example, I haven't had to take my car to an actual mechanic for a repair in years. Sure, Blu Belle has her issues; she's over 10 years old, but whenever something goes wrong, I have at least three different numbers I can call for help. When my windshield needed replacing, a friend of a friend met me in a Wal-Mart parking lot and did the replacement in under 30 minutes - for cheap. I recently needed my brake pads changed, and another friend of a friend took care of everything for one flat [read:cheap] rate. A couple weeks later, I realized my rotors also needed replacing, and yet another friend knew someone who would do it for free. And then, the regulator in my passenger side power-window decided to fail... it has since been repaired, and all I had to do was purchase the part from Amazon. Seriously, I'm so very thankful for everyone in my life who has ever helped me out with my car. I can't even remember the last time I paid for an oil change.

Next, I appreciate my network of friends who like to eat as much as I do and who I can always count on for some good mealtime conversation. I'm that friend who calls you out the blue, says I'm in the area and asks if you want to get something to eat. The crazy thing is, I have about a 90% success rate with this approach. That's how I best connect with the people in my life: over some bread and wine [literally and figuratively]. I guess there's a reason Jesus emphasized the importance of "breaking bread" with the people we care about, and I don't sit down to eat with just anybody, so.

Other things I'm thankful for include but are not limited to: holiday scented candles and oils - my living room smells like a mix of pine and roasting marshmallows, the snooze option on all alarm clocks, the curse that comes every month and reminds me that everything is working properly within my reproductive system [tmi?], everyone who regularly updates the blogs I follow and gives me a little peek into their lives, and the fact that I no longer work in retail and don't have to deal with this Black Friday madness.

Now... pass me the pumpkin pie.