November 2020 – Gifts to be Grateful for, a Less Stressful Holiday Season

Nov 29 2020
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We managed to complete most of the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020. No one is going to believe it but I am actually not a huge fan of renovation. I love the finished product. I love improving this home. But this last spring, summer and fall reminded me how I do enjoy smaller projects a lot more. (Projects that don’t have us barely able to get out of bed in the morning and working 14 hours straight because its snowing and there’s a giant hole in the side of the house…)

November 2020 for me was finish work and smaller projects which is basically my favorite thing!

This time of the year I become cozy.

I want to go to my kitchen, cook lots of wholesome things and never leave the house.

This time of the year I am more at peace than any other time usually… (last year that was not the case as it was in November 2019 my mom was diagnosed with cancer…)

I get the most days off from my day job in December and November which gives me a false feeling of “don’t worry there’s enough time” which is a nice change to how I normally feel which is always behind!

Its definitely a culmination of making it through the summer, the weather changing and just getting to winter with all preparations complete. And winter here is SO LONG I feel like I can relax for a minute before making next year’s plans and, I suppose, there is no better time of year to do it.

Because of Covid there was no big family gatherings for us and no gatherings just with friends, which was terrible but also… not so terrible.

(I had six Thanksgivings one year so I spent the majority of that holiday in the car and it totally sucked even though it was great to see so many of my relatives… and I know a lot of people that do that every year…)

I can’t help but wonder if this holiday season might be better for everyone.

Maybe this year will have us reevaluate the stress bucket of insanity that had become our holidays before this.

November 2020 was especially sweet for us. My Mom was declared cancer free with all of her procedures and treatments finally behind her. She was in the top 20%, the 1 in 5 people, that respond REALLY WELL to the course of treatment.

Her doctors were very proud – she’s just glad its over.

One year after her diagnosis she was beside me again for Thanksgiving but in a totally different way. Last year we were here with a black cloud of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and stress over our heads.

This year (of all years somehow) with Lodi on one side of me and my Mom on the other, the relief was overwhelming.

Grateful doesn’t begin to cover it.

After seeing some very cold weather and lots of snow at the end of October we were given a gift in early November 2020. An entire week of record breaking temps in the high 60s and wow did that feel good! Actually all of November was pretty mild and it was nearly December before we even got snow that stuck!

(We purchased a heated outdoor dog bowl for all of our little critters and birds that we feed all winter. Lodi wasn’t much of a bird feeder until he came here and started getting a real kick out of it like I do.

This fall we had FOUR pileated wood peckers at our feeders! He bought me the blue jay feeder from a local Amish farm and we attached it to the coffee table I made this summer so we could see it easily from the living room.

I know most folks just loathe squirrels but we enjoy their antics and it gives the dog something to get excited about!)

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

Halloween for me was spent at home alone for the first weekend since Lodi and I got together over a year ago.

IT WAS ODD LOL

It was also nostalgic for me as it was the exact kind of weekend I spent nearly every weekend for over two years single before Lodi came into my life. I worked on the house. I slept. I ate pizza. I danced with the dog. I enjoyed the introspective quiet of my own self. I played old PC and Wii games. I finished projects.

I drank a lot of wine.

I would not have seen another human until Monday except that Mom stopped by on Sunday for a couple of minutes.

It felt good to visit my past self like that and it felt healing to take a couple of days devoted to whatever it was I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. (I am a staunch introvert with a day job in customer service – people utterly exhaust me, I need alone time to recharge.)

That first weekend in November 2020 gave me the gift of appreciating Lodi more too.

I missed him.

(Which speaks volumes for an introvert like me!)

I felt better for my weekend alone but I don’t miss my old life even though it was a good life – I was glad to have Lodi back.

For Thanksgiving I feel like we have the same conversation every year about changing up the menu and then start talking about our favorites and end up making the same thing anyway lol

The turkey has been my responsibility for many years and I think I’ve cooked it every possible way that exists (I’ve even spatchcocked it a few times) and the following I’ve found to be my favorite, fool proof, way to make perfect turkey:

I D-bone the turkey the night before and make homemade stock from the carcass and innards. The next morning, I cook the turkey meat forever in a crock pot in half of the stock. I make gravy with heavy cream out of the other half of the stock and mom makes her most spectacular dressing *drools* and her half sweet potatoes half regular potatoes mashed potatoes.

We just can’t NOT make that menu lol.

It makes the turkey spectacular and so easy! I generally go ahead and shred it because it falls a part anyway but it can be sliced more traditionally too.

November was a quiet month for us which feels like the first month of this year that was peaceful at all.

Not just because of all of the insanity of 2020 but because of mom’s illness as well. It was a constant shadow of fear and anxiety on my heart which feels like it is finally beginning to lift.

November 2020, feeling better.

We managed to complete the BIG projects by the end of October which was a gift for me of a much less stressful November 2020.

Comments

  1. Teresa Ann Daley
    November 29, 2020 at 10:48 am

    So VERY GLAD to hear the good news of your Mum.
    Ann UK

  2. Sandy Gullickson
    November 29, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Tarah, I am so happy about your Mom. You really did have a Thankful Thanksgiving. I love reading your posts. Also glad you have Lodi.
    I am in central Wisconsin, so I understand winter. Still, I don’t think there is anywhere else I want to live.

    • November 30, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Sandy and I totally feel the same way. Winters here might be brutal but the rest of the year more than makes up for it, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

  3. November 29, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I’m so happy that your mom has made it through. When my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s it was a long haul. I think it is really the little things to be grateful for! We’re not seeing our family nearly as much either and with two young grandsons right in the area it’s very frustrating. Happy holidays! We definitely enjoy our squirrels as well

  4. Gina
    November 29, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Always look forward to your weekly newsletter. You’re such an inspiration to me as well as I’m sure to many. So exciting to read your Mom is cancer free. Thank you God! You’re now enjoying life and that’s the way it should be. You’re a remarkable young lady.

    • November 30, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Thank you so much Gina, hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  5. MARGARET BRAMER
    November 30, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Love the dogs expression…
    “What do you mean I can’t chase the squirrel??”

    • November 30, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Isn’t that the truth!? Dogs are so funny!

  6. Robin
    November 30, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    I thought the Blue Jay feeder was soposed to attract Blue Jays….. Silly me…

    • December 1, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Right?! Lol I think I’ve seen ONE bluejay at that feeder lol

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