What I Did on Thanksgiving Vacation

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. “Food, family, and football,” I used to say. “What’s not to love?”

I’m less about the football these days — I don’t think we had a game on at all, and we definitely didn’t watch the Steelers at 8:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night. But I’m still about food and family (and drink!). I am fortunate that I don’t have to interact with people whose political opinions they feel like airing. We’ve all agreed to disagree, and not even the deep divisiveness of this year was going to change that.

Overall, it was a fantastic break, but Thanksgiving Day itself was rough. It was my FIL’s favorite holiday, and his absence was huge. In writerly terms, it loomed large. For the most part, we stayed focused on positive things, but there was a collective meltdown right before the meal was served that highlighted our dark cloud. Then, Dan and I received some heartbreaking news about the man who married us.

Life is short people. Love the people you love. Tell them about it.

However, the food was delicious (links to the recipes I contributed are below; both were 10/10, would make again), I taught people how to play Euchre, I learned a new cocktail, and… and we made it through the day.

1. I worked on the second draft of my novel. A lot. Devoted many hours to it Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. I still have more editing to do. But I am feeling very happy with this work. I’d like to finish this draft by Christmas, and start getting into the hands of beta readers by the new year. I have some agents and small presses to start emailing too.

2. I drove to Moio’s to pick up Italian pastries for my husband to give to someone else. To put that in context, this Italian bakery is a 40-50 minute drive from my house. It was busy, but the workers are efficient and cheerful — you’d be cheerful too if you worked in an Italian bakery, I suppose — and in addition to the pastries my husband had ordered (a cannoli kit, three pasticciotti, and three sfogliatelle) for his friend, I picked up three nutrolls.

Those nutrolls made the drive worth it. They were incredible.

As a plus, Dan and Kate spent some time filling the cannoli on Thanksgiving morning, just the two of them. It was a special little moment, and a pocket of sweetness that Dan sorely needed.

3. We went roller skating. As many parents know, between the break in routine and the crummy weather, holidays can make children fractious and give parents cabin fever. (Or maybe the other way around.) So I built some physical activity into the long weekend. We went roller skating Saturday afternoon, and it was great. Mostly great. Michael spent the first thirty minutes refusing to skate; he couldn’t seem to figure it out, and even with a skate mate, he just wouldn’t do it. Around 2 p.m., we stopped for snacks — always stop for snacks — and after a soft pretzel and a fruit punch, he rallied. I had to help him, which gave me a nice thigh workout.

The girls had a ball; they always enjoy skating. They used roller blades for the first time, and they preferred them to standard skates. So, there’s a Christmas list idea for people: roller blades.

4. And, yes, I started Christmas shopping. As per, I waited until Cyber Monday. I don’t shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, and believe me, that is a judgement-free statement. If Black Friday shopping is your thing, go for it. I don’t like crowds. Full stop. (I am also lazy.) Black Friday demands a degree of hustle that I lack when it comes to buying stuff. So I wait until Cyber Monday, go through my email for deals and coupons, use Ebates, and buy a few things.

All-in-all, it was a very relaxing, fairly productive break. I probably won’t get that kind of time off again until March.

What did you do on your Thanksgiving vacation? Food? Family, friends? Football?

Recipe links:

My contribution to the appetizer course; light, flavorful, good with crackers and cheese: Lebanese Lemon-Parsely Bean Salad
My main protein dish, and a nice side with turkey: Broccoli, Cheddar, and Quinoa Bake
A light drink that is the perfect foil to Thanksgiving dinner: The Americano cocktail (h/t to @thejqs)

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