Commentary: Giving thanks before Thanksgiving

After reading my colleague Jim Kennedy's column on time just speeding through the rest of the year after Halloween has come and gone, I found myself actually agreeing with him for once (sorry, Jim).

Admitting this makes me feel much older than my 27 years, but it's true.

I put up my Halloween decorations. The next week I took them down and ever since I've been thinking about what to bring to the family Thanksgiving dinner and what I should buy for Christmas.

Not so secretly, I'm also waiting for the day after Thanksgiving, the dreaded Black Friday, to put up my Christmas tree — possibly the earliest I've ever done so.

Why do I feel the need to rush through all this holiday goodness?

Like Jim said (he'll never get this kind of mention from me in a column ever again), there's all the planning and the decorating and the buying and the yada yada yada that comes along with it.

Since I'm reflecting and since this column will be published the day before Thanksgiving (happy, Turkey Day!), I'm going to go the corny route and say what I'm thankful for because, well, how is that a bad thing?

It's nice to think about all the amazing things that have happened this past year, especially after the last few weeks of election nonsense and hurricane tragedy.

By the way, have you donated to Sandy victims or the American Red Cross yet?

Bear with me, folks, while I get a little mushy on you all. And, as always, I would love to hear what you're thankful for.

No, really. I love getting your e-mails. Give me something to read after I've eaten one too many pieces of pumpkin pie.

• Trips with family

Going to England and France in September with my mom, brother and aunt was an adventure. It was one that involved a lack of sleep, sometimes-weird food, tired feet and lot of laughing.

I don't know how I'll ever be able to pay back my mom for taking me to London, where I've always wanted to go, and Paris, where I've always wanted to go back.

I loved spending quality time with my brother, especially now that we're both married and basically adults (at least, he is).

I'm also thankful that I brought back Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers, the most delicious snacks England ever produced.

• Storms that are more inconvenient than damaging

The derecho storm in the summer left our house without power for almost three days. It sucked.

Water poured in under our back door, which sucked even more.

But, it wasn't anything that some buckets, a bunch of towels and a whole lot of patience couldn't handle.

With Sandy, we lost the tree in our backyard, which, oddly enough, was a blessing in disguise.

One of the limbs came crashing down in the wind and, because of this, exposed all the rot and carpenter ants that were eating away our precious tree. Would have never known.

While our backyard is much more bare now, I'm glad we could avoid having a bigger disaster.

• Ridiculous co-workers

It shouldn't come as a surprise when I tell you that the newspaper can be stressful. Try to wash the shock from your face.

It's much more bearable, though, when you have fellow reporters and editors who make you laugh every day and help you out.

Special shout out to Bryna Zumer, Nicole Munchel and former Aegis reporter Kayla Bawroski who is gone, but not forgotten. Seriously, I don't think I could get rid of her even if I tried.

• Hot apple cider

Delicious and saves my sanity at least once a week. What better reason is there than that?

• Friends, new and old

This year I reconnected with an old teacher and gained one new friend.

I'm watching my good friends grow up and do grown up things, like become a mom, get married and one, much to my chagrin, will be moving soon.

But I feel closer to them than ever.

Then there are those who live far away and one single text message or e-mail will put us right back where we left off.

• Having a home, not just a house, to decorate

When I put up my tree and hang decorations that I've collected over the years, or when I bake sugar cookies and decorate them, or even when I'm wandering around the mall trying to find my husband one last stocking stuffer because I have a hard time not buying every little thing he wants for Christmas, I truly never lose sight of how lucky I am.

I am thankful I have a home to put a tree in. I am thankful I have cookies to bake and people to feed them to. I am thankful I have a husband who is genuinely happy with every gift I give him, even if it's something small that I got with a coupon.

All that stuff is awesome.

One more thing: I'm thankful that my mom is making the turkey this year because she always gives me plenty of leftovers for turkey sandwiches. Love you, mom.

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