November 19: Since retiring, I’ve been able to practice yoga almost daily. My teachers have encouraged me to find my edge and then step back from it. I’m learning that I don’t have to reach for every brass ring or do something just because (maybe) I can. Take my lunges. Sure, I can hold a crescent lunge, but my knees have started rapping on the door of my hubris. Today, the teacher tucked a chair under my glute. I perched there: right knee bent (and happy); left leg extended behind me stretched and strong; both hips working hard; and arms flung high rejoicing. I like the view one step back from the edge.
November 20: T-5 and counting. Literally, “T” for Thanksgiving and the enormous cooking and eating joys of a vegetarian Thanksgiving. A turkey will manifest on the table, but really, isn’t the meal all about the sides and the pies? I pulled out my composition book full of menus, recipes, and timelines. I made notes, lists, and plans. “Quiet, everyone,” Kevin said. “Thanksgiving Engineer at work.”
November 21: I awoke the other day to the sound of typing. I could hear the sharp report of metal keys on crisp paper and the whirr of the carriage pushed leftward after each line. Jeremiah has a 1930s Underwood typewriter. Growing up, Dad’s old typewriter inspired us to write poems and plays and even a one-issue newspaper. What does Jeremiah’s typewriter inspire in him?
During my walk today, I passed through the playground along the old boundary between the District of Columbia and Virginia. I was delighted to see this infusion of history around the corner from the real thing.
November 22: A line of rainbow-coated children wove through the park near our town’s pre-school. Led by a teacher with a guitar, they settled in the tiny outdoor amphitheater. As I slipped past them through the trees, I heard the teacher chant, “Bread and butter, marmalade jam. Let’s say hello as loud as we can.” Loud noises. And then she sang, “Bread and butter, marmalade jam. Let’s run around as fast as we can.” Somehow, the whoops from running were even louder than the hellos.
November 23: With my back to the wind and my face to the sun, I rocked gently on a swinging seat kindly placed at the marina of Old Town Alexandria. An old cannon (no Chincoteague fire engine here) pointed out to the river, in whimsical and — during the War of 1812 — unsuccessful defense of the historic port. The day bloomed sunny, if chilly, and I was reading a good book. So I took the bus to Old Town for a stroll down its 18th century streets. True, it’s an 80-minute bus ride (once you find the right bus stop) and just a 20-minute drive. But this day called for slow cooking, and I was happy to oblige.
November 24: T-1. Oh yes, I love the candlelight, the good cheer, and the quiet moments of gratitude of Thanksgiving. But today, the day before, is actually my favorite day. Energized by the duets of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, I flung myself into preparations for the feast. As a woman who doesn’t bake, I bake. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, bourbon pumpkin cheesecake. As a woman who doesn’t cook, I cook. As a woman who can deftly organize and execute a project, I am wild with joy. To my family’s astonishment, I even cooked dinner. Why stop?
November 25: Astronaut Snoopy?! Each Thanksgiving morning, as I assemble stuffing and chop vegetables, I avidly watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I don’t need the sound — unless they’re presenting a Broadway scene from “Chicago” — but I do need to see the balloons, especially Snoopy. To my joyous delight, I glanced up in time to see Astronaut Snoopy, in his puffy red suit, moon-walk boots, helmet, and a long transparent shield over his very long snout (to be sure he had plenty of oxygen up there in space). He proudly wore a NASA patch and a big smile, perhaps because he knew we had a lovely day ahead of us.
Bonus: After turkey, a dozen sides, four pies and quite a few bottles of wine, we had choices on this Thanksgiving night: a nap, a football game, or many rousing games of “Sushi Go” and the card game “Golf.” Why choose? Thank you, Jini and Sarah, for enlivening our holiday with your conversation and kindness. We all counted our blessings today.
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