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Sunday, November 29, 2015


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we were all very thankful.  Thursday was a day that really brought home to me how very blessed I am, on that day, and every day!

Shopping on Monday for the main event was not the most exciting adventure I have ever had.  Dana left the house shortly after four thirty in the morning, dog in tow, airport bound, and collected two very weary passengers.  Samantha and Edward had gone to Vegas, to rendezvous with her father, and as is their usual plan, had wanted to spend every last minute they could in their 'vacation' home!  The idea that they should take a midnight flight back to Austin, sleep on the plane, and go into work upon their arrival, was in my opinion, ludicrous.  As usual, mother knew best, and they both needed to go home and crash for a couple of hours before they were ready to even consider heading into their respective offices!  I was on my own mission on Monday, and rose early to head out to the supermarket to collect the Turkey and various other items so that my daughter, who had offered to prepare the whole feast, would have one less thing to worry about after a long weekend away from town!

The roads were not particularly busy.  I mapped my route and headed towards the interstate, congratulating myself on the smart move I had made by shopping before the crowds, and rush hour traffic.  However, in my delirium, my internal compass was malfunctioning, and as I reached the crossroads for the motorway, I took the northbound exit, rather than the south, and headed merrily upon my way.  About six miles into my journey, I realised that perhaps I was heading in the wrong direction, and when I saw the name of the road that was at the next exit, and saw the heavy traffic on the other side of the road, I lost all momentum and started to get agitated.  I was certainly full of anything but 'thanksgiving'!  

Heading back was not quite the ordeal I had anticipated, despite feeling that the exit at which I found to 'loop' around, appeared to have been moved back several miles!  Adding about twenty minutes to my journey was not really problematic, but the inconvenience caused my focus to be wildly disrupted.  I arrived at the store, a little after seven and planned to spend no more than thirty minutes gathering supplies!  I buy the turkey from this particular store for two reasons. Firstly, it is a very delicious and plump turkey; secondly, it is the cheapest option per pound than any of the other stores, and as we require anywhere between a ten to sixteen pound turkey, apparently, for four of us, a special offer is most appealing!  The offer is only good providing you spend a minimum of $25 in store!  Normally this minimum is not a problem, as I stock up on my 'English' goods whilst there. However, the items that I required along the International aisle were not available, and this again disrupted the small amount of focus that remained.  

I am not sure how many times I circled the aisles, but by the time I had finished filling, emptying and refilling my trolley, the staff were almost treating me as one of 'their own'.  Eventually, I settled on some groceries, and a box full of pastries to take to the office, and made my way to the check out.  It was when I was packing the car that my faculties started to return, and I began to think straight. I could have bought the apple juice, or coke, or apples and oranges for brining.  Instead I had bought a dozen sugary covered, stodgy desserts that were going to pass for 'breakfast'.  The thirty minutes I had allocated to make the purchases had long since passed and my arrival at the office was going to be after opening hours! 

Samantha arrived at work shortly after ten, and did not join me for my daily constitutional, as she was suffering from vertigo, and exhaustion!  She did not take the turkey home, but struggled with the vast amount of vegetables that she had not requested and left around three thirty. Although I had my own transport, and left early, I had failed to take anything out of the freezer for dinner, and had also failed to purchase anything that could be prepared, whilst in the supermarket, so Dana took me to Marie Callendars, where Monday night is Pie night, and I ate chicken tacos followed by a very scrumptious piece of rhubarb pie!  

The shopping trip on Tuesday was to pick up the few items that were needed to top off the feast that my daughter was going to prepare for us on Thanksgiving Thursday.  Walking to the supermarket was routine, as it is on our regular path.  However, we had not intended to purchase the quantity that we did, and although we had a backpack and a drawstring bag, the weight was over and above what we had imagined.  This coupled with the fact that we had to carry the excess in our hands, made the walk back to the office less than pleasant!  

We ended the work week on Wednesday evening, and I drove home extremely thankful that we had been very busy and the workload for the three days was what we usually experience over five.  I had prepared dinner in the morning, and it was cooked and ready to eat by the time Dana finally arrived home, after clearing his desk completely, so that he did not have to 'pop' in to the office on Thursday morning.  

Not having to wake to an alarm on Thanksgiving Day was definitely a blessing, although our body clocks awoke us early as usual.  I had thought it would be pleasant to go to a cafe for coffee, but I was not sure that time would allow.  Despite Samantha preparing the whole Thanksgiving feast, she had asked mum to bring a few things to help with the offering!  Cauliflower cheese, macaroni cheese, cornbread, stuffing (not 'dressing' y'all, but turkey and cranberry stuffing!) and Brussels, apparently are made so well by moi that she did not want to attempt to compete!  I accepted this as a compliment and did not further attempt to question her reasoning!  We arrived at her house at 1:30pm and after a slight panic as to how she was going to fit everything into the oven as she had one too few shelves, we reorganised the contents of the appliance and managed to cook everything to perfection. Sometimes it just boils down to mum's experience, rather than expertise in cases of kitchen dilemmas!  Dinner was spectacular! I was thankful beyond measure for my daughter's ability to not only cook a wonderful dinner, but to have a home in which to prepare it, and a husband to comment "Not bad, not bad", which, for anyone who knows Edward, will understand that this is praise indeed!

Our constitutional on Thursday afternoon was a three mile walk, and the rain stayed away for the time we were away from the house. I felt much better upon my return, having eaten a large portion of everything that was on the table, (except the Brussels,) and indulging in a very yummy pecan pie!  Dana and I left after dark, with Frank in tow, to allow the annual tradition of a twelve hour shopping trip to take place, by the kids.  Armed with a food parcel, so that we would have supper (like we needed it!) later that evening, we drove home and spent the evening watching a movie and eating more than we should, again!

The alarm was set for Friday, as although we had no work, we were heading north, to Dallas, to visit Dana's brother.  His mum, sister and brother-in-law had arrived in north Texas for Thanksgiving Day, and as they were, in comparison to Arkansas, a stone's throw away, we embarked on the journey.  After depositing the dog back with his parents en-route, we entered the slip road to the Interstate and drove to West, where we stopped to pick up some supplies for Rick, Dana's brother.  The journey was not too tiresome, despite the constant rain, as we had coffee and soft drinks to keep us company! We arrived in Duncanville a little after nine, and were greeted by all. It was rather colder than Austin, and the wind was more fierce. The short period between getting out of the car, and entering the house, seemed like an eternity, but as soon as we were indoors, I started to warm through!  Coffee helped!  Dana's mum, despite having suffered a fall the previous week, looked well, and I was very pleased that we had come to visit.  I spent most of the day in the kitchen with Cindy, my sister-in-law, chatting, making lunch, chatting, clearing away, chatting, and chatting.  We were oblivious to the football scores, America's (supposedly) funniest videos, and anything else that the box in the other room was broadcasting.  I had planned to go for a walk after lunch, but the rain picked up again, and I did not feel like going home in wet clothes!  Instead, I stayed in the kitchen, and chatted!  Never at a loss for topics of conversation, as we are now both grandmothers to beautiful baby boys, we have one more item on the agenda to discuss!  

All too soon, our visit came to an end, as we had a three hour journey home, and the weather was becoming more inclement! We had noticed that the Interstate was undergoing a similar improvement to my 'perfect road' in Austin, and the new 'toll lanes' were being constructed, leaving the remaining lanes the same in number but considerably narrower.  I am sure that someone, somewhere is profiting from these improvements, but it is definitely not those driving!  We hugged the family, and waved farewell as we headed south along the ever thinning road, making a stop near West, to pick up refreshments, and then again to fill the car with petrol.  Arriving home at around fifteen minutes past six, I made some sandwiches and we enjoyed the evening, dog free, and I finally succumbed to watching the television, and the football game that was being televised.  We watched as the rain invaded the pitch, and knew how cold it was, as we had been a few miles from the stadium where the game was taking place!  

I did offer to fore go the Saturday super shop, as Samantha and Edward had been bargain hunting for the equivalent of about fourteen hours over the past couple of days, but they insisted that a tradition was a tradition, and the year could not go by without at least one day where they take me around the stores, and I behave like a child that is thoroughly bored, and cries that it wants to go home!  As there were a few sales of which I wished to take advantage, I agreed that I would be ready at 9:30 am, to walk out of the door, and that I would keep my 'happy face' on at all times. Edward instructed me not to 'moan', and to 'behave' during the course of our outing, and I obliged.  The outlet mall was not well populated when we arrived at ten, probably due to the near freezing temperatures.  Many of the stores had been open non-stop from five on Thursday evening and a lot of the shopping had already been done!  As a reward to those whom had dared to brave the cold, and continue to take advantage of the sales, the management had decided to set up a table in the food court, with complimentary hot chocolate.  I thought it was a splendid idea, and whilst I only partook of a couple of sips, Samantha enjoyed hers to the full, as did many others.  

As we had different ideas as to what was a priority, I left the kids and went on my own search.  I found little to interest my roving eye, and spent more in the baby clothes shops than in others.  I did find a jacket that I did not need, but the price was low enough  for something that I had wanted for a long time, but did not feel was worth the usual exorbitant sales tag!  I also purchased a blouse that was too good to leave on the shelf for the sale price.  We left with very few bags. Our next stop was a mall proper and I headed speedily to the center, where I bought a cup of tea, which brought the obligatory smile back to my face!  I have never been one to 'shop till I drop', but I was with a couple that would win should this be an Olympic event, so I played along!  After being somewhat revived with a little caffeine, I joined the athletes in Macy's, and walked along to the ladies section.  Ladies the section may dress, but ladies certainly were not among those shopping!  If my mother had seen the mess that was created within the floor space, she would have forbade anyone to leave until they had cleared up their area!  Clothes were strewn over racks, models, carpet and even, I should not wonder, a few innocent bystanders whom stood still for a second too long!  It was bedlam!  I chose not to fight the crowds, and instead retreated to the kitchen section, where my son-in-law was looking at knives!  "Do we need", was abruptly interrupted with a "We have enough", and then a "What are you doing?" directed at me.  My back had started to ache, and I found that squatting down next to a stand, gave a modicum of relief.  "I don't want any moaning or misbehaving", said Edward, trying not to smile.  I retorted that if they stopped having a 'domestic', I would stop pouting!  They assured me that a discussion on what they did and did not need in their home, was hardly grounds to describe the conversation as a 'domestic', and we left the kitchen area, leaving the 'too good to miss' opportunity behind us!

I bought Edward a slice of pizza in Sam's Club, as a 'thank you' for ferrying me around (even though it was Samantha that was driving) and we walked around aimlessly for about thirty minutes.  I ate two pieces of cheese that were offered to me, and declined the mocha latte salted caramel, cappuccino style, energy boost beverage that would have apparently revived me moreso than my raspberry tea could ever do!  I responded that thankfully I did not feel the need to partake, but hoped the saleslady enjoyed the rest of her day.  I did not remark that she seemed more in need of the product than me!  

After revealing my identity to one of my neighbours, whom did not recognise me out of my swimwear attire, and chatting for a few minutes on what to buy the grandkids, (amazing how grandmotherhood keeps a conversation going!) we left Target, and headed towards Walmart, where I bought more than the average weeks groceries, and spent more than I had at any of the malls or places with 'can't miss' sales!   I declined the offer to go to Costco, as it was purely for groceries, and we made our way to the Domain, so that we could visit another Macy's store, and the Apple store where Samantha could give her phone to the doctor and he could diagnose why it was feeling unwell!  Macy's was very busy.  The clothes, although not quite as jumbled as the previous shop, were spread messily over a large area, and the ladies still warranted at least a heavy sigh from my mother, if not a reprimand for their unseemly behaviour!  I did not have the energy to look for anything, surmising that the sales on the items I wished to peruse would probably be running from now until next year!  My choice is not perhaps the most sought after!  The Apple shop was busy, as always.  Edward and Samantha were looking to possibly buy a new phone, and wondered where they could find the price tags.  They attempted to attract the attention of the salespersons, to no avail. They asked the young man at the front of the shop for help, and he tapped on his i-pad, to connect them with a genius.  As they stood at the desk, I showed them it was very simple, and showed them the app that would give them the prices and details of the phone.  They did not believe that I knew how to do this without help, but had not seen me walk in the path of another genius to ask how to.  It was after they admitted that they were impressed, did I admit that I did have help!

We met Dana at the Outback restaurant at six fifteen!  He arrived looking very relaxed and was rather surprised to see me still smiling.  The smile was mainly because the day was almost over and I knew I was going home after dinner!  Edward told him that I had behaved well for most of the day, but there were a few times when he thought he was going to have to pull rank and scold me for my scowling.  I told Dana that it was all nonsense and I had been very good, all day; all the very, very long day!

I slept well on Saturday night, and my husband and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast on Sunday morning. I was thankful for Thanksgiving and the trip to Dallas.  I was thankful for the shopping trip and for the (mostly) fun day I had with my daughter and her husband.  I am thankful for my own family, in England, my wonderful son, his lovely wife, and their beautiful boy.  Also my mum, my sister, my nieces and nephews, and of course, my great friends, worldwide.  Mostly, today, I think I was thankful for everything getting back to normal, or at least as normal as can be, four weeks before Christmas!  According to the television commercials, I am running out of time to buy a car for my graduate, a watch for my garbage men, a gift (amazingly leaving the choice to me) for my employees and jewellery charms so that anyone who looks at my wrist will be able to tell what has happened in my life! (I think two placentas hanging from a bracelet would be a little unbecoming!)  In case I do not get all of the above, apparently there is a medication to help! By all accounts, I appear to be suffering from moderate to severe apathy!  However, as we go into the Christmas season, that certainly becomes ..... another story

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