We went camping last weekend at Lynches River County Park, over my Thanksgiving break. It got really cold (down to freezing both nights!) but we stayed warm and had fun. I think the dogs did, too. Ginger discovered two tiny kittens sequestered in a large woodpile as soon as we arrived. We enjoyed watching a wild mama cat sneak in and out, caring for them, all weekend. Thanks to the efforts of the park rangers, there was plenty of free firewood cut and stacked for any campers to use. We were able to keep a big fire going the whole time we were there. We saw four shooting stars. We had lots of delicious camp meals.
This is the first Thanksgiving in 17 years that I've had a real holiday with time off work. I spent today shopping and running errands in a leisurely way, and it was such a luxury! Tomorrow I'm making a roast turkey breast with a few easy side items for our holiday meal. It will be just the two of us, enjoying the day off together, and then Friday morning we're going camping for two days. I'm so excited! I love building fires, sleeping under the stars, and spending time in the fresh air. It's going to be a perfect holiday weekend for us!
Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. And to all my friends here, no matter where you live, please know that I'm thankful for each and every one of you!
Ten years ago today (on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving) I came home from work and found a stranger hiding under a chair on our back porch.
Thanksgiving Day, 2007
At the time, I was less than thrilled. We had lost our beloved spaniel, Nicky, the prior December, and I was still devastated by the loss. I wasn't even close to ready for a new dog. The previous spring we had moved to a house in the country on a large piece of land (14 acres) and we only had a couple of close neighbors. It was pretty obvious that someone had dumped an unwanted puppy from a car and left her to fend for herself. (We heard later that that's a pretty common practice out in the country). It's a terrible thing to do to a dog.
The young dog was friendly and determined to make her home with us. The original plan was to try to find someone to take her, someone who was ready for and wanted a dog. Of course, that never panned out.....
....and thank all that's good or right in the Universe that it didn't! Ginger has been a blessing to us. She is the best dog I've ever known.....fiercely loyal and protective of her people, intelligent, loving. She's never done bad-dog things like chewing things up or barking excessively or getting into trouble.
Ginger is country girl at heart. Her first three years with us she lived a wild and free outside life on the property we were renting. When we finally moved back to the city she adjusted beautifully to life in a neighborhood, much to our surprise. She still prefers being outside almost all the time, especially as the sun comes up in the morning or when it sets in the evening. She likes watching the birds and squirrels and people waking up and moving about. She loves her daily long walks, and still requires a good deal of exercise. She has a certain dignity now at ten years old.
She's helping us raise George (we need all the help we can get with that wild boy) and has no problem putting him right in his place. He shows her ultimate respect and understands she's on par with us in the family hierarchy. It's funny to watch him defer to her now that he's so much bigger than she is! He loves her devotedly, though. It's really sweet.
Happy anniversary/homecoming to our beloved girl! We had no idea on that Thanksgiving eve 10 years ago how much joy and love this abandoned puppy would bring to our lives.
I'm off today to visit my parents. They live about a 40 minute drive from here, and since I won't see them on Thanksgiving next week (Gregg and I are going camping) they want to go out to eat. Which is fine, except we're driving another hour after I get to their house to go to a seafood restaurant that they like. Don't get me wrong, I love seafood, but I'll end up spending almost 4 hours in the car on my day off for.....a nice lunch. And I have a million things to do at home today. Sigh.
At least I'll have the parental visit for Thanksgiving over with and I won't have to feel guilty about not going to see the family next week. We're looking forward to camping with the dogs instead!
I love my new job. I know I've gone on and on about it here on the blog, but I'm just so thankful for it and how much better my life is now that I'm done with retail work. I remember how fortunate I am every single day.
With all that being said, I do have one teeny-tiny little complaint. It's the only thing about the job that bothers me at all, and it's kind of silly: I get really tired of talking to people nonstop all day long. It's draining.
The phone lines ring dozens and dozens of times a day, and I probably answer 75% of the time. Parents are constantly signing their kids out and in, and each time a student is signed out I have to check the adult's ID, then check the child's "permission card" to make sure they're an approved person to release them to, then look up which class the child is in and call in there to get him/her.
Teachers come through on their planning periods needing this or that, along with social workers, psychologists, therapists, volunteers, substitutes....it's never ending. I'm at the big desk right there in the midst of it all, the first point of contact for everyone. The school has almost 1000 students, and probably 150 total staff members, so you can imagine what that entails. I talk to people all. Day. Long. It gets to be mentally exhausting sometimes.
When I leave work in the afternoon, I don't feel like having a conversation with anyone. For any reason.
I want to sit quietly somewhere and read, or watch tv, preferably with a glass of wine or a mixed drink. And a good brisk walk with the dogs before supper helps, too. After spending all day in an office I need the exercise as much as they do, and they don't care if I don't say much.
It's my dear husband's birthday today, and I wanted to take a moment to mention it here on the blog. I'm not sure how I got so lucky in the love department. He's a good man and a great husband and my best friend, too. Tonight after work there will be cake (pineapple upside down) and presents and a nice dinner.
A typical photo...the "Fish guy" setting up a new aquarium!
It was so nice seeing my two friends last night. Not a single one of us had read the book, even though Martina and I both read other books last week, and Marla spent her free time bingewatching Stranger Things. We were all glad that we were slackers together! It didn't matter at all. We always have plenty to talk about and plenty of good food and drinks when we see each other. I took a quick snapshot of the table mid way through the evening to try to capture the feeling of comfortable friendship we had.
I served three kinds of cheese along with crackers and grapes, and a platter of raw vegetables with sour cream dip. Marla brought jalapeño poppers and chocolate chip pecan cookies, and Martina made a beautiful blackberry custard.
We had a selection of hard ciders to drink along with non alcoholic options, like ginger ale and diet Coke and tea. The ciders were really tasty, though. The amber apple draft is my favorite.
Besides eating and drinking, we talk, talk, talk. There's nothing like regular friendly chats with other women. They're good for the soul. Gregg usually stays off in another room, messing around on the Internet and watching YouTube videos when my girlfriends come over. Of course he comes out once or twice to say hi and to grab some food, but otherwise he leaves us to it. We're planning a movie night soon, which will be a first for us, and I'm beginning to think of having a small holiday get together next month that the husbands will be invited to.
And Marco loves Marla and Martina. He goes from one to another, sitting on their shoulders, preening their hair, saying some of his best phrases ("Hey baby" and "Watcha doin'? are his favs) and laughing whenever we laugh. It's pretty cute! The dogs adore the girls, too, especially Marla--she's been around since before we even had Ginger. The whole family is happy when friends come over--even the furred and feathered members!
It's a bright, beautiful Saturday in northeastern South Carolina. The autumn color peaks in early November in my part of the world, and I woke up to an intensely blue sky and a tree with golden leaves outside my bedroom window.
A block from my house. Look how blue that sky is!
I decided it would be a good weekend to start getting caught up on some housework. One of the tasks I had been putting off was cleaning out the garage where the dogs live. I had some new bedding I had bought for them at the Goodwill store. We have to (cheaply) replace the dogs' blankets and cushions regularly, because George will chew them up and destroy them. Here he is with his new soft bed--hopefully it will last until Christmas. I doubt it, though.
I also cleaned and mopped the kitchen, put away the Halloween decorations, and cleaned the main bathroom and shower. It was all badly needed.
Tonight my friends Martina and Marla are coming over. I still have to go shopping for groceries and snacks to serve them, and I think I'll pick up some hard apple cider to drink. I'm looking forward to seeing those two and catching up with them.