It's Thanksgiving in the States, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.
We have a tradition in our family of going around the table, before digging in, and saying what we're thankful for. We didn't do it this year, because of who was present (two children ages six and two) and who was absent (my sister, in Portland, and my mother, permanently), but I did spend a good deal of time earlier this week thinking seriously about what I am
thankful for. It took more effort to articulate this year, because this year has unquestionably been the most difficult I have had in a long while, perhaps ever, but there is a lot I have for which to be thankful.
So, first of all, I am thankful each and every day to be alive, and glad about the same. I am thankful for my health, and for the fact that, despite my own shaky situation w/r/t income, I have a roof over my head and food on the table every day. I am more thankful than I can say for my dad, my sister, and my bird, and for their unstinting love, and I am grateful beyond measure to have had my mother in my life for as long as I did, though it was of course far too short a time.
I am thankful for my family, and especially for all my friends, around the world and on the internet, and for all the people who share their thoughts on their journals and who entertain my comments, from whom I have learned more than I ever even knew I didn't know, and from whom I continue to learn. I am thankful to be applying to graduate school, and thankful that I have a reasonable expectation of being able to pursue my academic passions and eventually earn a living wage doing it. I am thankful for DreamWidth and all the people I've met there, and thankful especially for the Organization for Transformative Works and the Archive of Our Own, which have challenged me as a translator, as a fan and as a scholar since I became a volunteer in March, and which--along with the people I've met through them--have become far more important to me than I ever imagined. I am thankful too for the opportunity to translate manga and to be able to fill a niche, however small, in fandom, and thankful for the people who read, and comment, and nitpick my translations.
And I'm thankful for cranberry sauce.
Every year at Thanksgiving or Christmas I try out a new recipe. This year it was Ruth Reichl's pomegranate gravy
. Like all recipes related to the now-defunct Gourmet
magazine, it's slightly complicated for complication's sake, but oh, is it tasty. I will say, though, that you have to watch your sugar like a hawk, and stir in the juice as soon as
all the sugar is melted, particularly if you're not using refined sugar (like me--I wound up ditching the first attempt, when I let the sugar go too long and accidentally made hard candy). Since I just bought pomegranate juice rather than juicing six pomegranates, I think next time I may try to concentrate the pomegranate juice beforehand (thus adding another pot to the process), but I think that will make it even better.
My dad and I ran a cross country 5K Turkey Trot this morning, and given that it rained for the past two days, it was easily the wettest, muddiest run I've ever had in my life--my shoes soaked completely through within about ten feet of the starting line, and let me tell you, by the end of the race we looked epic. Despite that, though, I managed to shave a good four minutes off my last 5K time (roughly 35:30, down from 39:40 on the Fourth of July), which just confirms the awesome.
And because I think everyone should read this book, I'm going to finish by quoting Charles Mann's description of the first Thanksgiving in 1491
By fall the settlers' situation was secure enough that they held a feast of thanksgiving. Massasoit showed up with ninety people, most of them young men with weapons. The Pilgrim militia responded by marching around and firing their guns in the air in a manner intended to convey menace. Gratified, both sides sat down, ate a lot of food, and complained about the Narragansett. Ecce Thanksgiving.