Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving For One

So I thought I was hosting Thanksgiving this year. I wrote about it, planned for it, maybe even stressed a little over it. Well, it turned out that my plans were all in vain. My brother and his family were supposed to come and they were not able to make the trip. And my mom decided to stay home as well since she was on vacation for 2 weeks in November. It actually may have worked out better because western Pennsylvania was supposed to get a bad snow storm that turned out to be less climactic than was predicted.

Last weekend, we went to my mom's house instead. I thought we were going to have Thanksgiving dinner there. Wrong again. We did go out to dinner, but it wasn't Thanksgiving. I wanted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  I love Thanksgiving food!

Since everything changed, I decided that just because I wasn't going to be with my immediate family didn't mean that I couldn't have Thanksgiving. I could have gone to another family member's house, but to be honest, I just didn't want to. So being my independent self, I made Thanksgiving just for me!

I obviously wasn't going to making some 12 pound turkey, so I bought a turkey breast roast. Something I could easily manage and I found a crock pot recipe!

My mom bought me brussel sprouts, since I have had a little bit of a craving for them since eating them in NYC. I was also given a  butternut squash by my mom's neighbor. 

My stuffing didn't turn out and my potatoes were barely on the right side of eating, so they weren't that great, either. I didn't have a pie crust and my lazy self was not about to go out and buy one. I had all the stuff to make my own but I don't have a pie pan. I made a crustless pumpkin pie. I am not a huge crust lover, but there is something about an actual pumpkin pie that would have made it taste better. 

All in all, it was a pretty good day even though I was by myself. The one bad thing is that the cook has to clean up her own kitchen!

Monday, November 18, 2013

2 Years

In August, I wrote about days that at one time had no meaning and then one event changed that date. November 18 is one of those days for me. Two years ago, November 18 became a day that would change my perspective on everything. On Friday, November18, 2011, my dad passed away.

We knew that my dad's death was imminent, but that didn't make it any easier. There are particular moments of that day that I will always hold very close to my heart, ones that I can remember like it was yesterday.

Only a few hours earlier, my brother and I had gone to the cemetery to pick out the place where my dad would be laid rest. It felt like we were picking out land to build a house. I remember exchanging looks with my brother when we saw a plat map of the cemetery and all the graves. He is buried with tens of thousands of other people and only half the cemetery has been developed.

While the days that followed were very difficult, it was months later when I was deep in a really dark place. All motivation was gone. I didn't care about anything. I could have sat at my desk at work for 8 hours just staring at my computer screen and then come home and laid on the couch the rest of the night. I was so unhappy.  That is the only way I can describe it, just unhappy.

Thankfully, the time has past.

My dad has missed so many things where he would have played a big role. My brother re-married in a place my dad would have loved to visit. He would have become a grandfather. And my niece will never know him. He would have met my pride and joy - my dog, Luna.

But it is the everyday things that I think I miss the most. When I ever had a cooking or baking question, my dad was the first one I would have called. He made cookies a lot and every time I make some, I think about him. We would recipe swap. It was something that only I shared with him.

He took beautiful pictures. He even was recognized for this picture he took of swans. My mom has this picture hanging in her house. My sister-in-law surprised my brother and had this picture matted and framed for their wedding. I already have pictures that he took that I want to put up in my own house someday. There is something comforting about knowing these pictures were something he saw as beautiful.

Even though the emotions of losing my dad are close to the surface, I also know how absolutely blessed I am to have the father that I did. So many people have unavailable fathers - physically and emotionally. My dad was available and wanted to be available. I have good things to remember, cherish and share with those who loved him too. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thankful for What?

The last couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy. I was so proud of myself for finishing and completely 31 posts during the month of October. I planned and prepared so I could post. They were not all my best work, but I was really happy that I finished. Then November hit.

Besides working on all my posts for October, my work life was tossed up into the air and I was waiting to see where all the pieces fell. A division of the company I worked for was acquired by a competitor. Because the majority of my responsibilities revolved around this division, my position was also acquired. As with any merger or acquisition, there is a real fear that I could lose my job. There was a lot of uncertainty, including where, as in location, was I going to work. The division is headquartered in Chicago. The new company is headquartered in New York. I am in Pittsburgh. Was this now going to be an issue?

In the month since the acquisition was announced, I am feeling much, much better about my position with the new company. Earlier this week, I traveled in New York to meet my new boss. I had talked with her several times on the phone and already liked her. Meeting her face to face reinforced how great she is. Not only that, but the offices are in New York City!

I have been to New York a handful of times. Never have I gone as a 100% tourist. I have always been there for other things. I have done a little sightseeing, but not a lot. However, the views from the office provided some pretty spectacular views. The office is in the Financial District in lower Manhattan. Their conference room has a view of the Statue of Liberty. And HR has a view of Freedom Tower. It was pretty cool since I don't have a view at all.

Why is that? Because I am not a remote worker, which means I work from home. And even better….I can work from any where, so I can freely move back to Ohio without worrying about finding a job. And will still be able to go back to New York to see their fantastic views.

This acquisition has been a blessing in disguise. Through some conversations earlier this week, I have been presented with some pretty great opportunities and I can't wait to start them. Who knew that I would be thankful for an acquisition?!?! Well, God did. He knew this would be happening in my life. This is a complete blessing that He has bestowed upon me. But even more than that, I need to show my thankfulness by doing my job well. In this day in age, job security cannot be taken for granted. And I definitely don't want to forget that.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One of the Best Days Ever

At the end of September, I had one of the best days of my life. I met my niece, Brynley, for the first time. I had been waiting for that day for almost a month and it had finally arrived. I had seen pictures of her sweet face, but I was able to see her and hold her myself.

Right before I got to my brother and sister-in-law's house, Brynley had a melt down. I can only imagine how my sister-in-law must be feeling with a crying baby when she herself is sleep deprived and maybe doesn't know why Brynley is crying. 

I was only able to stay for a couple of days, but I really enjoyed my time just hanging out and not worrying about going here and there. It was really relaxed.

Brynley and I were able to spend some quality aunt/niece time together. Even with my limited baby experience, I loved holding her even when she was crying. I was even dubbed the Baby Whisperer, something I am quiet proud of.

My excitement of being an aunt is just beginning. I wish I lived closer so I could be a part of Brynley's life everyday, but that just isn't my reality. But I am able to be a part of her life in different ways. For instance, I just sent her a really adorable Halloween card.

While I never want her to think that I am buying her love, I will spoil her! But when we are together, I want to spoil her with my time and attention, not gifts.

I can't wait to watch her grow up to see the kind of little girl and young lady she will become. One thing she be completely confident in is that she has people in her life who love her, pray for her and only want the best for her.