Stores? I Think You Mean Outdoors

I was looking back at my Black Friday post from last year and I’m sorry to say it looks like Black Friday once again buckled to the peer pressure. This year, a lot of stores opened early on Thanksgiving Day or just stayed open all day. Ew.

While Tony and I do enjoy having and buying nice things, we are not terribly materialistic. You’re far more likely to find us driving down some back road than racing down the store aisles. So, as you can imagine, Black Friday is not really an exciting day for us. In fact, the raging consumerism really turns us off. We will make the occasional Black Friday purchase if something on our wait-list comes up for sale, but generally it’s just another day at work doing the normal thing.

This year, however, we played things a little differently. To celebrate Black Friday I decided to take a page out of REI’s book and #OptOutside. We skipped the stores (and the office) and took to the great outdoors. Thankfully our area was experiencing some  unseasonably warm weather so it didn’t take too much convincing to get Tony to come along too.

We didn’t come home with any hard fought “spoils of war” from the store shelves. Nothing to play with, wear, or set down in our home. Instead we enjoyed the fresh air, sounds of wildlife, a pale autumn sun, and a few good laughs. Oh, we did come home with a couple of photos though. They can be seen here and here.

I’m so glad there are companies like REI. I hope their employees spent the day finding their zen, whatever that may mean for them. I know I did.

With Love, Mia

Nov 27: Today I am thankful for companies who value something other than profit (even if it is just for one day).



Autumn leaves

I was writing an e-mail to my grandmother this evening. I live far away from my grandmother and don’t get back to visit very often so I always try to include stories and pictures of various things I do in my life. Even though we are far a part I still want her to feel included and involved in my life.

One of the topics we talked about this week was the changing seasons. The weather in both of our areas has now firmly dialed in to “fall”. After hitting send on my e-mail I paused and stared at the e-mail for a very long time. We talk about fall every year but for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes away from the message.

What was it that caught my attention this time?

While I was browsing through writing prompts I figured out what it was. There was a line in my grandmother’s e-mail that I couldn’t shake from my head.

We have to do things slower, and be careful.  Getting older isn’t easy and can be frustrating.  I’m thankful and count our blessings.

I see it now. It’s fall. It’s fall for us, and it’s fall for her as well. The seemingly never-ending days of summer youth have come to an end and life for my grandmother has moved into an autumnal state. Everything must run its course, just as the seasons do. A deep and disturbing realization but one my grandmother is so gracefully able to summarize with a few strokes of her keyboard.

One day fall will turn to winter, as it always does. There will be cold, dark nights that seem unending. A profound sadness. Emptiness. Finality. After the winter will come the spring, a new beginning and memory of all that has come before it, and all that will follow.

I’m not ready for winter yet. Neither is my grandmother. So for now, we will both play in the autumn leaves and count our blessings.

With love, Mia

Nov 4: Today I am thankful all the beautiful memories my grandmother has helped to make.

What happened to being Thankful?

Today I stopped into Starbucks with a  few co-workers. I don’t drink coffee but always enjoy a midday walk to break up the day and re-focus myself. Trips to this particular Starbucks are great people watching opportunities too. Unfortunately my desire to chat and people watch was overruled. Starbucks, you see, took Halloween as a sign that it was already the Christmas season. Complete with advent calendars and Merry Christmas signs. I wish I was kidding.

If you’ve read my blog before you probably know that being thankful is an important part of my daily practice. For me, being thankful for all that we have been given, earned, or fought hard for in this world is essential. While I do my best to always be thankful I take November as my month to highlight this feeling and share it with as many people as I can.

For the past few years I have kept a physical list during the month of November. I find the act of writing commits the item to memory much faster. Each day a new item is added to the list and on Thanksgiving a part of our dinner tradition is to revisit the list. It’s a warm and wonderful way to truly embrace thankfulness.

I wasn’t going to start my list here until next weekend but seeing those Christmas decorations today made me realize I may not be the only one feeling sad about the silence of Thanksgiving. So, without further ado, my first two items for the month:

Nov 1: Today I am thankful for a husband who is teaching me to be more fiscally responsible.

Nov 2: Today I am thankful I have food security. I can fuss about what to eat instead of worrying about when or if I can eat.

What are you thankful for today?

With Love, Mia

Friday Foodlets: Family Feast

Holy cow it’s Friday already? This week flew by. Time for another Friday food post. Yay food!

I actually took a little holiday leave this week (a rare occurrence for me) so I only had to prepare two lunches for work. Well, okay, so I prepared three lunches but totally didn’t manage to eat the third one. oops! All three lunches were the same exact thing but I did spice it up for breakfast. Haha, literally!

Monday and Tuesday: Breakfast: cinnamon banana pancakes. Mmmm! (I followed this super simple recipe) Lunch: Turkey and cheese roll-ups with spicy brown mustard, applesauce, black beans, cucumber slices, raisins

Wednesday: Breakfast: red apple and peanut butter. Lunch: Same as Monday and Tuesday but the combination of a busy morning and being released early from work meant I only ate the applesauce and half of the cucumbers.

Time at home makes for fairly fluid and flexible eating so I don’t usually bother to do a meal by meal breakdown. I do have a few holiday highlights though.

Thursday Thanksgiving dinner: An antipasto appetizer tray, shredded pork, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and meatballs. Tony had spaghetti and meatballs but it was regular spaghetti so I passed on the noodles and sauce.

Friday: Chili! We went out for a date night dinner and I had a very tasty bowl of prime beef chili. Very very tasty.

I hope that y’all found some healthy and tasty items to nom on this Thanksgiving.

Today I am thankful for: Paper towels. Seriously, my life would be significantly ickier without them.

Calor Amor

Tony and I had lunch at the mall today. On our way to the food court we saw the inklings of Christmas; racks of sweaters rolled near the aisles, Uggs and Ugg knock-offs lining the shoe displays, store employees preparing decorations… the “Santa HQ” had even been set up downstairs already. I sighed and we continued to walk on. I’ve already mentioned how the Christmas creep bothers me so I won’t hop up on that soap box again. We’ll just leave it at a sigh.

Actually, forget the sigh. This story has a happy ending! We sat down to enjoy our lunch and listened to the mall tv show “Calor” between bites. The mall show always makes me laugh and seems to give us something to talk about (usually it just gets us talking about how old we feel, haha). Today Calor was doing holiday segments on different ways to prepare pumpkin, and on different things one of the anchors was thankful for. Wait, what?! That’s right, a segment on giving thanks. Since it’s mall tv they were a mix of purposefully funny items and the occasional genuine item.

So, in the name of Calor, I give you a handful of things I’m thankful for:

  1. Good health
  2. A climate controlled home
  3. An amazing auto insurance company
  4. A warm bed to sleep in
    and last but not least,
  5. A husband who keeps me laughing all day and keeps me feeling warm and safe at night

Perhaps it is just my upbringing, but taking time to reflect is very important to me. The act of feeling thankful should be repeated on a regular basis. With that I’m going to do my best to end each post with a little note of gratitude or thanks. Sometimes it will be something small and silly, sometimes it will be something more serious. It will always be genuine.

Today I am thankful for: a mother-in-law who loves and cares for me as though I am her own child. When we first moved out here she knitted me a scarf. I wore it today and thought of her. It always keeps me that much warmer. ❤

What are you thankful for? (remember, there’s nothing too small!)

Why there’s no Christmas music at our house

Halloween has come and gone and November is officially in full swing. Leaf piles are growing and hot drinks are starting to take center stage. Chimneys start to puff out smoke and squirrels start to collect their winter cache. In quiet moments, the world is perfect and beautiful.

Unfortunately this is also the same time of year that a great darkness begins to creep out of restaurants, gas stations, and seemingly every store under the sun. What am I talking about? Christmas advertising, of course.

Before I go on, let me say that my distaste has nothing to do with the religious, spiritual, or traditional aspects of the holiday. Both my husband and I grew up with Christmas in our homes and I have always been fond of decorating and celebrating with loved ones. The problem I have is two-fold…

1) I have a generally foul view of advertising. Don’t get me wrong, advertisers are very sly folks and I am intrigued by how well they poke at our collective psyches. I just think that’s kinda mean. I think many times we lose focus of what truly matters to us because we are focused on the images presented in ads.

2) Stop ignoring the November holidays, gosh darnit! In the US, November has two prominent holidays already – Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. These two holidays have heart warming themes that encourage us both as individuals and as a society to; reflect on the greatness in our lives, share that greatness with others, and celebrate those who have made possible the greatness we enjoy. For me, those themes are what we should be supporting and promoting.

Again, I have no hatred towards Halloween or Christmas. In fact, I enjoy them both quite a bit. I just wish the advertising world and the media gave equal focus to other holidays. I cannot change the world but I can change the way I interact with it. That is why, in our house, November is given its space to be what it is – a month of reflection and thanks-giving. After we reflect, share, and give thanks, then we can comfortably move on to the next celebration… but not a moment sooner. November 28th will be here before you know it and then our house will be one big singing Christmas carol. >.<

I dedicate this November, as I do every year, to saying “No” to a hyper-advertised and sensationalized consumer Christmas. I dedicate this month to reflection and thanksgiving. A November worth remembering because it will be one lived with feeling.

Like what you’re reading? Share the feeling with your family, friends, and heck, the whole world by using #givingthanks or #thankful