Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

It's hard to believe that it has been a week since my dad picked me up from my house on campus to drive me to Dayton for a family-filled week. My dad comes to retrieve me from OU every year after Fall Quarter finals, which end right before Thanksgiving. I think this is the only long car ride that I ever look forward to. There is just something so nice about recapping the quarter and catching up with my pops for a solid 2.5 hours.

This Thanksgiving was a little different for my family. Instead of traveling to my mom's cousin's house for a big Thanksgiving dinner with both immediate family and distant relatives, we stayed at home and had a Thanksgiving celebration at our house. Both sides of my family attended our holiday get-together. A total of 24 people (my brother counted) came to eat turkey and watch football ... and I guess to spend time enjoying family. 

My mom did an amazing job transforming our house into a Thanksgiving paradise. She also showcased her cooking skills by making some of the most wonderful food I have ever tasted. She even prepared the turkey -- and she is a vegetarian!

I feel compelled to share some tidbits from my holiday. As I have said before, I like lists. Therefore, this Thanksgiving post will be filled with them.

The first and most obvious list is what I am thankful for. I find new things to be thankful for every single day. This list includes a combination of things that I am constantly thankful for and things that I like a lot that just happen to be on my mind right now.

Things I am thankful for:

1. Family
Sibling love
The parental units
2. Friends, the old and the new
3. My health (minus the sinus headaches I get whenever I go to Dayton)
4. Coffee
5. American Horror Story -- I am unashamedly obsessed with this show.

6. My education and especially my grammatical knowledge -- This girl rarely misplaces commas or uses "your" instead of "you're."
7. Twitter -- Without it, how would I know what my best friends and my favorite celebrities are doing, thinking, eating, feeling, or wearing at all times of the day?
8. Animals that wear clothes
How could you not be thankful for this?
9. Blogs and Bloglovin' for helping me keep my favorite reads organized
10. Pandora -- Sometimes it's just too hard to pick music for myself.

The next list is also somewhat obvious. My only hope is that tofurkey will be on this list one day. Hey, a vegetarian can dream!

Things I ate on Thanksgiving:

1. Mashed potatoes
2. Broccoli casserole
3. Corn casserole
4. Green bean casserole
5. Sweet potatoes
6. Roll with butter and homemade jam
7. Pumpkin pie with tons of whipped cream
8. Cranberry fluff

Whew, I feel a food coma coming on after just making that list! I also ate the above foods in leftover form for the two days following Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition. After all, the Thanksgiving holiday traces its origin to a 1621 celebration in present-day Massachusetts. (I Googled that.) But the great thing about traditions is that new ones can be created at any time. This list is filled with things that happened this year that I'm sure will become tradition.

New Thanksgiving traditions:

1. Northmont High School Class of 2009 partook (it's a real word, I swear) in Thanksgiving Eve festivities with the rest of the alumni.
*Note: My pre-Thanksgiving activities did not at all hinder me from waking up in time for the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2. A turkey nugget joined the celebration.
Baby's 1st Thanksgiving
That is my niece, Ceci a.k.a. the world's cutest child.
She looks just like her aunt
3. The main event was at my parents' house.
4. My family didn't bicker on the way to a Thanksgiving gathering. No car ride means no car ride arguments.
5. I lost my voice from gabbing too much with family.
6. My dad went Black Friday shopping at midnight. He got this:
"I could be clothes and shoes"

Thanksgiving is always a special day for me. My life is overflowing with things to appreciate, and Thanksgiving makes me extra aware of how much I have to be grateful for. On Thanksgiving, I am reminded that the fullness of my life can only be matched by my post-pumpkin pie stomach.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Halloween in Athens

I feel compelled to relive my Halloween experience. I know this is a bit late, and Halloween is so last month. But I am still munching away on a bag of candy corn I bought amidst the festivities, so I consider it timely. Plus, I got the recap out before Thanksgiving. I consider that a success.

Halloween on Court Street: If you haven't heard about it, then look it up. It's a legend, a tradition and yet another reason Ohio University tops all other places of higher education. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

Halloween is especially fun for me because it is my birthday. Yes, I was born on All Hallow's Eve. Feel free to call me Elvira. I used to think everyone dressed up on that day to celebrate my birthday. I'm still not entirely certain that's not the case.

This year was my 21st birthday -- Let the festivities begin.

The costume:
Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein

I dressed as Frankenstein, and my manfriend (I should blog about him sometime) dressed as Bride of Frankenstein. I promise, he is very handsome when he doesn't look like, uh, that.

Special guests:
BFFs (for real)

Two of my best friends came to visit and celebrate with me. I have been friends with these ladies since I was 6 years old. Our friendship first sparked at Northwood Elementary, and the flame has lived on ever since. Cortney (left) and Alyson (right) dressed up as Sims. I don't play computer games. I thought they were just wearing neat hats.

Surprise visitors:
The Snyder women

My mom and my sister made a special, surprise trip to Athens to wish me a very happy birthday. I was shocked and delighted when they showed up at my house. My mom wore a terrifying mask when she came to greet me. I was afraid to hug her for the first 20 minutes of her visit.

The crew:
"We love HallOUween!"

You probably see some familiar faces in this crowd. Can you spot Rachel Zoe?

More memorable moments and creative costumes:

Soul Sistas

Dalmation - Frank - Speedy Gonzales

Creepiest costume of the night

Out on the town

We bring out the best in each other

Wrapping up the night on Court Street

OK, now who's ready for Christmas?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Deep Breaths

I feel compelled to take a step back.
I feel compelled to take a few deep breaths.
I feel compelled to reflect.

Sometimes, I forget to appreciate all of the wonderful things that fill my world.

I confuse my dreams with my duties and mistake minor setbacks for life-altering dilemmas. Even worse, I let this confusion and mistake blind me from recognizing that the best parts of my world remain intact.

The stresses of daily life make it far too easy to not feel thankful and to not show appreciation for the amazing opportunities and people I have encountered on my journey. Some of these opportunities have led to destinations I never imagined reaching, and some of these people have held my hand and cheered me on as I traveled to get to those places.

Even on the worst days, I must remember to be grateful for this.

Now, take some deep breaths and and think about your beautiful life.

Take time to appreciate the people and things that make your world so glorious.

Isn't reflection refreshing?
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