I forgot to be especially grateful on Thanksgiving. For one, the lessons learned in CR’s Native American studies class stuck and so the “celebration” always tastes slightly off to me despite attempts to make it a simple moment of food, family and gratitude. For another, I worried more about who was going to be where and how to make it a lovely fun time with such a small portion of my people.

Love it.

However, as these things do, it all worked out. Bobby drove 50 miles round-trip in the morning to collect the girls while I put together a giant salad, veggie pot pie and crust for Nick’s mocha pecan filling. Nick helped clean the house. Sunshine streamed in through our many windows. Everyone returned to the smells of baking bread, carmelizing onions and wafting rosemary. Bobby put together butternut squash soup and the mocha pecan pie turned out to be the best one yet. K’s boyfriend and friend joined us later in the day for several rounds of Bananagrams interrupted only by texts from far away friends and family wishing us a happy day. After Chelsea and the teens left for other celebrations, Bobby, Nick and I left the warmth of the house for King Salmon, where we clambered around the rocks and watched waves smash through the harbor entrance, 12-foot high explosions barreling into the bay. We returned to home, then to the neighbor’s house for more pie – ours plus pumpkin and apple, coffee and tea. The night wrapped up next to the fire, mug of tea in hand, with several episodes of Trailer Park Boys, eliciting guffaws from the guys and giggles from me, and then I finally dove into 1Q84, a birthday gift I’ve been anxious to start reading. Not only did the prose pull me into the story from the start, but the book is amazingly pleasing to the touch, like high-end bedsheets or soft, warm skin.

Clearly, I have much to be especially grateful for.

The boy

This continued into “Beach” (not “Black”) Friday, when yet more sunshine demanded a walk over the dunes to the ocean. I plucked end-of-season huckleberries along the way. Sandy, our 13-year-old yellow lab mix, who has aged notably over the past year, grown wobbly, deaf and occasionally incontinent, nonetheless cavorts so happily along the shoreline that from far away, people still take her for a puppy.

True, a fair amount of argument over curfews and other rules took place between the teenage boy and those of us responsible for his safety, but at some point, we moved on to better conversation – and to a “leftovers” party, where music and champagne ushered in the evening. (One bottle of champagne was from 1970 and no, that doesn’t mean it was nicely aged. It tasted like sherry and I thought I might die from some sort of alcohol poisoning, even texted a few people goodbyes in case, but I awoke alive and without a hangover, and wow, am I thankful for that.)

This morning, my appreciation of life decreased slightly when Nick’s glucometer popped up 398. That’s a lousy way to start the day. However, his blood sugar check since confirms the insulin is working, he’s dropping to a more appropriate level and thank goodness we have all this technology and access to medical advice that allows us to keep the greatest diabetic threats at bay.

Also, the fog lingers around the house this morning, making for a perfect atmosphere in which to cozy up with my book in a nest of pillows, Earl Grey at hand, nothing but quiet for a while yet.

Thank you.