Happy Thanksgiving! Today I head back to Pittsburgh after spending 4 lovely days at home, doing absolutely nothing but watching TV, eating, and just lounging. It's been wonderful.
Before Tuesday night, I hadn't been home since June. A lot had changed in that time, let me tell you. Specifically, my mom had adopted a new child into our family.
That would be my new sibling, Kahlua. For real, my mom talks to that thing and holds it like it's her newborn baby. Not that I'm complaining since it's taken a little bit of her crazy attention away from me, but it's a little weird to hear her calling the cat "Kiddo" just like she refers to one of her three human kids. The cat is pretty funny though and I'm pretty thankful that I got to play with an animal for a few days. We were never allowed to have pets in the 18 years that I lived here, but everyone seems to be enjoying the furry addition to the family.
My Wednesday was spent at the dentist's office (excellent teeth but I'm going to need my wisdom teeth out in the near future - my dad and brother never even got wisdom teeth and I was really hoping that gene would get passed along to me, too. No such luck.) and meeting a friend for lunch at Healthy Living, the local healthy grocery store. Their seitan vindaloo and vegan minestrone soup would give Whole Food's hot bar a good run for its money. I left that meal feeling full for hours. We even got to go for a short family hike up Mt. Philo in Charlotte. I was just mad that I forgot my camera. We were up at the summit at dusk and had an incredible view of Lake Champlain and the mountains as the sun went down and the stars came out -- that's the kind of stuff that makes me love Vermont.
Thursday was spent as a collective effort in making our feast for four. My sister is down in Panama for four weeks doing volunteer work, getting tan, and having way more fun that she should be allowed to have, so we made do with those of us left in the country. With different vegan and meat lover options, we had quite the spread.
My brother was craving some rolls, so he was in charge of making those. For a first time effort from a 14-year-old chef, they ended up looking pretty good (sadly, not vegan, but he ate 6 rolls during that dinner alone, so I guess they tasted good, too.).
I was in charge of my main vegan dish. I tried out the Fat Free Vegan's mushroom, lentil, and wild rice timbales. They were a little reminiscent of what my mom throws into Kahlua's food dish, but they were pretty tasty and absolutely amazing when smothered with some vegan mushroom gravy. I think I've eaten one in every meal since Thursday.
The rest of the meal was much of the usual Thanksgiving fare - stuffing with apples and celery, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and some vegan pumpkin pie. Spending the entire day as a family cooking, cleaning, laughing, and just being with each other was actually very nice. You know how sometimes you just want to strangle every member of your family over the holidays? I think that the fact that we hadn't all been together in 5 months worked out for the best and meant that we were all happy and just thankful to be together and didn't kill each other.
Yesterday my brother and I hit up South Burlington's pathetic excuse for a mall at the not crazy hour of 8 am to take advantage of some sales. My family always shops for a needy child at Christmas time, and it had always been a tradition for me and my sister to go and buy snowpants and a few outfits for a kid, but I got to bring my brother into the tradition this year. It's always great when you can spin your shopping addiction into being for a good cause and to spread a little holiday cheer for someone who otherwise wouldn't have a very good holiday and I was pretty thankful I could get my brother to feel that same level of satisfaction.
I've also been drinking copious amounts of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea - it's just as good as so many lovely ladies have claimed. I bought enough so that I can have some here in Vermont and bring enough to school to get me through finals.
Now I have to gather up the items of clothing that exploded out of my suitcase and figure out how to get everything back to Pittsburgh. I managed to come here with just a carry-on, and I'm hoping that my Black Friday finds (a new Vermont sweatshirt and some fabulous studded ankle boots that I'd been eyeing forever - so thankful for sales) fit with everything else. I'm also keeping an eye on the weather. I'm flying through DC tonight on my way back to Pittsburgh, and if either of my flights are delayed then getting home is going to be a problem. The 28X airport bus stops running when it gets too late and no one would be around to save me. I'd much rather save taxi money for a few fabulous holiday gifts for my family. I'll just be thankful once I'm back in my chilly house with a big mug of tea. Scratch that - I'll be thankful in 2 weeks when this semester and finals are over and I can focus on the holidays, my family, and delicious food. Yup, in 2 weeks I can be thankful.
Here's to surviving the next 2 weeks!