I Couldn't Help But Be Faklempt

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I reflect on gratitude a lot in general, and I'm also obsessed with yummy food and have a strong distaste for the insane materialism that can ensue in December. Yesterday subsequently was a big deal. First, Jon and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever. For the last decade we've either been relocating or far away or in a tiny apartment or whatever. This year we were in town and now - gratefully - live in a space that can accommodate 14 adults and 2 children. Not with formal sit down and fine china but we weren't much concerned about those factors (and it's a stretch to refer to our chipped up, inexpensive wedding dishes anywhere in the realm of fine china...). Mostly it was pretty amazing to have almost my entire immediate family present + Jon's parents and very cool aunt and uncle. All of these people have not been in the same space since Jon and I got married almost 10 years ago.

And with the way my family rolls, the food spread was ridiculous and diverse (rice! dumplings!) and spectacular. I made the turkey (smothered with roasted garlic, butter, and herbs), cranberry sauce with figs, apple and chestnut stuffing, and mushroom gravy and assigned the rest for potluck. It looked something like this:

And this:

...with the exception that I couldn't get all of the dishes in one frame and I regretfully forgot to take pictures of the four spectacular pies Jon's aunt and uncle brought, and the tres leches cake I made to celebrate my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary.

There also was plenty of general silliness and celebration, with the fleet of turkey paper bag puppets that Laurel made for everyone playing a role. Apologies for the blurry photos; those turkeys move fast...and again, like the food, I couldn't fit everyone and their puppets in the frame:

The other notable thing about Thanksgiving 2009 was that I ran my first race ever -- the Gobble Gobble Gobble run in Davis Square. As some of you may know, a few months ago I started to experiment with running after a lifetime of saying that I couldn't run; that I wasn't built for it. And despite having some wonky hip issues, I ran the 4-miler without stopping and finished it, feeling totally elated and energized by the end. I forgot to bring my stopwatch and my listed finish time was 44:17. I was totally happy with that time, then thanks to my friend Sheri, who was running her stopwatch, I learned that the sensor chip only recorded the finish time (i.e., not when we crossed the start line) and we crossed the start line 2 minutes after the official start. So, my time was about 42 minutes. So, so cool!

Beyond hitting this personal and physical milestone, however, I must admit that I was a tad overwhelmed with emotion at the race. I've always been a people person; someone who loves being amidst family and friends, and yesterday's turkey trot was particularly symbolic of that. Not only did I have the virtual love and support of the Shredheads and my friends commenting in via Facebook, but I started the race with my sisters Sharon and Jenn, middle/high school classmates Paige and Mark (plus Mark's lovely wife Lisa and their adorable son Hunter, who rode in the jogger), and friends from my blogging/social media life, Sheri & Eli. It was so utterly cool to experience this milestone with people from different factions of my life.

Here at the start line, with Sharon, Paige, Eli, and Sheri:

And we found my sister Steph (far right) and her husband Bill (snapping the photo) at the finish line (those go getters started the race right at the beginning of the pack):

I ran about 2 miles with Sharon (which was so, so awesome, even though we didn't really chat...I'm incapable of chatting and running at this point) and then we separated. I approached the finish line alone but then it was so amazing to see and hear Eli calling my name and waving as I crossed the finish. (Thank you Eli! Sniff!) It then was similarly awesome to wait at the finish and scream my brains out to welcome Sharon, Steph, Bill, Paige, and Jenn across the finish line. About 10 minutes later, we found Jon and Laurel in Davis Square, bearing trail mix and water and clementines. I felt incredibly grateful for that experience.

In short, I couldn't help but be faklempt yesterday. So many in this world have so little, and yesterday I was fully aware of how abundant my life is with amazing friends, family, food, and good health.