A little less irritation, a little more gratitude

IMG_4565It’s lonely to be social-distancing, to be unable to live like we’re all used to. We’ve put our house renovations on hold for the time being, feeling that tearing off the walls was ill-advised at the moment, and I’m glad we did. However, I was already moved in here at our Cape house before the pandemic, and now I find myself kind of stuck here, away from my family, who has told me to stay put. They’re all home, and they can’t be positive they’re not carriers yet, so I’ve been banished, as it were. I don’t even have my doggies with me, and now there’s a travel ban in my state, so I don’t see getting them any time soon.

IMG_9976So I’m lonely. I miss my kids. I miss McIrish. We Facetime at least once a day, usually twice, and I get glimpses of home and the pets. I’ve talked more on the phone in the past three weeks than I have in the entire year.

But really, how lucky we are, aren’t we? We have so many ways to be in touch: phone, email, social media, Facetime and Skype and Zoom. I send my family picture, they send pictures to me. As far as isolation goes, I’m very, very lucky.

A lot of us can get caught up in feeling blue, or sorry for ourselves or irritable with these restrictions. But when you think about what others are facing, it’s hard not to be grateful. On my Facebook page, I’ve been posting daily about the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know about the scientists, doctors and nurses who are fighting this virus with everything they’ve got, but there are others in the fight as well, folks we might not think of immediately. For example…

Veterinarians and vet techs and all who work to take care of our pets.

Farmers and farm workers who work endlessly, growing our food, keeping us in stock, getting up before dawn to care for the land and the animals so the rest of us can eat.

Lab techs. They handle all those samples, blood draws, sputum cultures and God knows what else, and I’m sure they’re under pressure to work extra fast and accurately.

Working parents who are now juggling work, child-rearing, care arrangements and everything else while still trying to make a living.

Stay at home parents. I absolutely loved being a stay-at-home mom. Best, most rewarding and hardest job I ever had. Can’t imagine how hard it is these days, not being able to go to the library or trying to keep the proper social distance at a park or playground.

Pharmacists and pharmacy workers. Whether they’re in the hospital or in a drugstore, they’re the ones doling out medicine to the sick, giving advice, calming down fears.

The cleaners at the hospitals, clinics and offices who decontaminate before, during and after the sick are treated. They protect the patients, doctors, nurses, paramedics, other medical professionals…and the rest of us in the herd.

The CNAs and other nursing assistants who do so much of the nitty-gritty work of healthcare, often at minimum wage, risking their own health and that of their families to care for the sickest among us.

Teachers! All of you who’ve had to scramble to get those lessons online, who are answering questions via your computer, putting in countless extra hours to keep educating our kids.

Truck drivers, warehouse workers and grocery store clerks who make sure our food gets to us. It would be the apocalypse without you, and we know it.

Thank you, everyone who has no choice but to work out in the world these days. We’ll stay home so you can do your jobs and be safer. God bless.

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Things to do while self-isolating

 

Which is scarier: the zombie, or Brad Pitt's Little Dutch Boy haircut?

Which is scarier: the zombie, or Brad Pitt’s Little Dutch Boy haircut? 

For us writers, self-isolation is a way of life. I’m also the wife of a firefighter and an empty-nester, which means I know how to have a wicked good time all by my lonesome.

But maybe the coronavirus is forcing you to stay home, and it feels unnatural and weird. Netflix only takes you so far, and you shouldn’t have chosen World War Z for your movie last night.

Here are a few tips for how to pass the time.

Play Twister alone. No chance of germ swapping, plus a workout.

Who's to say self-isolation has to be dreary?

Who’s to say self-isolation has to be dreary?

Become a mixologist! You’re home, you’re not going anywhere…now’s the time to put that ancient bottle of tequila to the test. It may well kill some germs (but not the coronavirus, just to be clear).

Bake! If the world is going to hell, don’t you want to be eating dessert when it happens?

That person on the couch over there? That may be your spouse! Don’t go crazy, though…keep a six foot distance and reignite the romance the old-fashioned way: flirtatious eye contact, the flash of ankle, the dropping of a latex glove (which you should pick up yourself, obvs).

Scour. There’s nothing like the smell of Clorox Clean-Up in the morning.

Nap. It’s the game of kings, I hear. Or at least, it’s my game. Also, it sparks creativity and, if you’re very, very good, brings dreams of Robert Downey, Jr.

You've got this.

You’ve got this.

It’s time to learn all the moves to Thriller. You meant to do this thirty years ago and now you have time, minus the harsh judgment of others who may be jealous of your talent or victims of your flying elbows.

Try a new recipe with that stuff you just brought home from the supermarket. It’ll be fun! Beef, chocolate, bottled water, toilet paper, kidney beans…run with it.

Look at that tickle face! She wants to cuddle!

Look at that sweet face!

Force your cat to snuggle. They love that.

These are serious times, gang. Stay home. Wash your hands. Be careful. Read books. Be well.

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Home yoga

I’ve been doing home yoga these past few days, using a YouTube tutorial on our TV. It hasn’t been pretty.

I can hear my cartilage tearing.

I can hear my cartilage tearing.

There’s a huge difference between taking a yoga class and doing yoga in your living room. I have to move furniture. There is no statue of the Buddha. No gentle music. I’m not used to the teachers on YouTube…I’ve been with John, my beloved yoga teacher, for years now, so I don’t even have to open my eyes to know what to do. I don’t wear my glasses with John, but I have to with home yoga. On the TV, the lithe young teachers press their foreheads to their locked knees. In my living room, my glasses fall the floor as I bend and grunt.

Lady, go home and stop shaming the rest of us.

Lady, go home and stop shaming the rest of us.

That’s another thing. The noises, which I’m capable of suppressing in class due to shame, come out of me at full volume. I groan. I gasp. I growl. I wonder if I’m in the final stages of life. Agonist breathing, they call it. It sounds about right. I hop to keep my balance, then clutch the armchair for balance. Am I just really bad at yoga, and John is too nice to point it out? After all, I was asked to leave the very first session of a class called Salsa for Beginners. “But…this is a beginner’s class,” I said after the warm-up period, where we were to learn the one-two-three-snap, five-six-seven-pause.

“Yeah,” the teacher said, not bothering to make eye contact. “Just…practice at home, and maybe you can come back someday.” We both knew that wasn’t going to happen. I gave him a disapproving look and went out for a cheeseburger.

Is anyone else thinking about mosquitoes?

Is anyone else thinking about mosquitoes?

Every time I’ve taken a yoga class out in the world, I’ve been the worst one in the room. The teachers come to correct me. I silently resent them. Leave me alone with my humiliation, I think. Go help that other person levitate, okay?

John knows I have balance issues, so we don’t do a lot of stuff that makes me fall. The YouTube people have no such empathy. “Put your left foot on your right thigh, raise yourself to your tiptoes and bend your knee till you’re at the floor.”

Sure. Once I master that, I think, I’ll cure cancer. I attempt eagle pose, which is where you stand on one foot and wrap your extremities around each other in a complicated pretzel pattern. I fall into the coffee table.

I notice later in the day that I have scrapes on my knuckles. Rug burns, I think. It makes me look like I’ve been bare-fisted brawling. “Were in a fight?” I imagine someone asking, gazing at my bloody hands. “No,” I’d say. “Yoga.”

Beware the cats.

Beware the cats.

My dogs love when I do home yoga. Hooray! they think. Mommy’s on the floor to play with us! As I hold plank position, Luther licks my ears. Willow barks and sometimes jumps on my back, as McIrish has tried to teach her how to give me a massage if I’m lying on the floor. Huck the Cat molests my arm, and if I try to free it, he starts biting and scratching me, so I have to stay still and let him gnaw on my fingers. Follow your breath, I’ll think as he wrestles me, as Luther moves onto licking my chin, as Willow’s sharp barking makes me wince. Empty your mind. I spit out dog hair and try.

Sorry if I let you down, Buddha.

Sorry if I let you down, Buddha.

Something is better than nothing, John tells me when I describe my home yoga attempts. Good for you. Is it, though? I almost set my hair on fire yesterday because I tried to recreate the peaceful atmosphere of the studio. Igniting myself would be bad for McIrish’s career. “Your wife did what?” I picture his fellow firefighters saying, guffawing. They have little mercy for idiot moves. “Poor Mommy,” the Princess would say in that lovely yet condescending way graceful people have toward those of us who lumber. “Do you have a video of it?” Dearest Son would ask. I get it. I’d watch that, too.

It’s all about the journey, the literature says. Do the best you can. You’ll keep getting better. I have to take that last one on faith.

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Dear Brides~

bouquetSweethearts! We are so happy for you, because you are taking this big, important step, and really, we adore him/her and think it’s all wonderful. You bet we’re coming to your wedding! We can’t wait!

But here’s the thing. We don’t want you to stress. We don’t want or need you to give a year of your life to planning this one short day (half-day, really, or evening). We’re there to see you start your marriage, which hopefully will last for decades. We want you to enjoy this time, not bleed over it.

We don’t care about your save-the-dates except to say “Aw!” at your picture and then write down the date on our calendars. We don’t care which font you use in your invitations. You don’t need to hire a designer to create a website dedicated to your coupledom (honestly, we’re only using it to see where you’re registered).

dressYou don’t need to try on a hundred wedding dresses in front of a judgmental posse. Wear something comfy so you don’t faint or break a rib if you laugh. We want you laughing. We want your ribs intact. Oh, your engagement and wedding rings? Very pretty. We don’t care how big or small the sparklies are, or if there are any sparklies, really. It’s not about jewelry.

We don’t care about your wedding aesthetic. We actually don’t even know what that means. If your bridesmaids’ dresses are ugly, well, that’s actually kind of fun for us. We don’t care what flowers are in your bouquet, because all flowers are pretty. We don’t need flowersyou to get your makeup done by a professional—look like you, honey. We love you. We love your face. We don’t want you looking like a Kardashian. Ditto, your hair. It’s gonna look gorgeous no matter what, up, down, half up, curled, straight, doesn’t matter. You don’t need eyelash extensions, and even if you get them, we probably won’t notice. We won’t care about your manicure.

We don’t care how many bridesmaids you do or don’t have. Be surrounded by people who love you…not people who compete with you, or people you feel obligated to include. Go easy on those bridesmaids and be understanding if they don’t have the time and money for all the festivities you may want thrown in your honor. Getting married is great! But it’s not the social event of the century, and you are not the future queen of a nation (probably). You’re just a woman marrying the person she loves, and that is truly lovely. Don’t exhaust your friends with demands and events and duties. It’s supposed to be fun…for everyone.

Please don’t lose weight just to be a small size that day. If you’re trying to eat healthier or whatever, great, but don’t do it to look thinner on that one day. We love you just as you are, and honestly, we probably won’t notice if you’ve lost 20 pounds. You are beautiful right this minute, especially to us.

cakeListen, honey. We’re not going to remember your decorations, the shade of the petals your flower girl drops, the dress your future mother-in-law wears. We don’t care about how tall the candelabras are. We don’t care what flavor your cake is, or your groom’s cake, or the cupcakes. We’re sure they’ll be yummy.

We want to see your happiness. Your smile matters so much more than all those details you worry over. We want to feel you made a great choice, and so did your honey, and that when you say your vows, you’ll mean them.

As guests, here’s what we’re hoping for: some tasty food (but our hopes aren’t high, so don’t fret). A few cute little kids dancing. Maybe we’ll see some old friends, or those cousins we haven’t seen since we can’t remember when. We’d probably like to dance ourselves, since we don’t do that enough. We definitely want the chance to hug you and wish you the best.

cutest coupleSome brides think the day is all about them. It’s not. It’s about your people, watching you and your betrothed become legally wed. It’s about two families. It’s about a community who wants the best for you. We hope that 25 years from now, we’ll look back on your wedding with some vague and blurry memories and say, “They were so in love. How wonderful that they still are!”

My darlings, I give you this wedding wish: may your wedding day not be the happiest day of your life. May those be the simple days, the ordinary days when the sky looks so pretty, or your baby smiles at you, or your spouse laughs at your joke, and your heart is filled with simple and pure contentment. And may those days number in the thousands.

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So bad it’s great

missed opportunity

What might have been

I really, really wanted to see Cats as a family this past Christmas break. Not for the singing or the makeup, but for the sheer horror of what was called the worst movie of all time. So bad it’s good, you know? Dearest Son was immoveable, alas—the lad has a will of iron, so we missed our chance to bond over laughter. We have already planned to tie Dearest to a chair when he comes home next and boot this movie up on Netflix.

matthew from downton abbey

He crazy.

Now that the little ones are back in college and grad school, McIrish and I have been watching some real crap. The other night, it was Apostle, starring Matthew from Downton Abbey. He’s a drug-addicted former missionary rich guy from historical England who must save his kidnapped sister and her bad hair from a religious cult where there’s a freaky old woman who is also a goddess and she’s tied to a tree in a barn and is force-fed human blood so the harvest will be plentiful. Just sit with that a minute. It must be noted that I admitted to McIrish that I’d been picking a bunch of losers lately. He picked Apostle.

sorry, sissy

To my sister: I’m sorry.

I quite enjoyed 47 Meters Down, starring the mom from This Is Us. It delivered on all elements I love in a movie: sisters, pretty summer dresses, great white sharks eating people, being stuck underwater. The big black moment comes when the mom from This Is Us must drag a fresh air tank toward her. She is trapped at the bottom of the ocean, running out of air, you see, and her sister is bleeding to death because of a shark bite. Our heroine must snag the fresh tank, drag it toward her and reattach her scuba hose to the tank, then find her sister, despite the shark cage pinning her leg. This is where my believability stopped. She can hold her breath AND figure out hoses and valves? I clearly would’ve died. I have trouble putting a battery in the remote. I’d like to think that, were my sister counting on me to save her, I’d come through, but I think Hilary and I both know it wouldn’t have ended well.

I fell asleep on In the Tall Grass, in which people wander around in a field and can’t find each other but stumble upon corpses. It was too much like real life, in which McIrish is working outside and I call him and call him because the cat has killed something, but he’s too engrossed in soil filtering or plant relocation and doesn’t hear me.

action hero supreme

Quality entertainment.

Any action movie with Gerard Butler will entertain me. I like his bad American accent and rugged face. Whether or not he’s saving various heads of state or their kids or killing bad guys from a prison cell or running around with a spear whilst scantily clad…I’m in. Did I watch Gods of Egypt? Yes, I did, and I’m only a little ashamed. (Note: I just found a movie of his I haven’t seen called Machine Gun Preacher, so we know what I’ll be doing this weekend.) It’s Gerard Butler, people! What’s not to love?

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This mortal coil

 

I’ve been reading a lot of books about death lately. I don’t know why. I’ve always been a bit maudlin, which I think is part of my Hungarian-Catholic upbringing. We’re wary of being too happy, always waiting for God to notice and strike us down (see Book of Job).

orleansMost on my mind these days is burial. I’m kind of against it for myself…it takes up too much land and feels so unnatural: embalmed in a casket with a cement-lined vault. I do like cemeteries, though, and especially old cemeteries. My good dog Luther and I recently took a walk through a really pretty one on the Cape and happened upon cluster of gravestones for a Higgins family. My people, maybe, from generations ago. Luther was super excited in the cemetery; he has a bloodhound’s nose, and I had to stop him from digging more than once. I imagined being caught by the cemetery guard: “Oh, it’s nothing! My dog is just digging up one of my ancestors…it’s fine! Thanks!”

arrowsAfter listening to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, cremation holds a lot of appeal. I just don’t like the industrial part of that…if a crematory was prettier—like a Japanese Zen garden, for example—I’d be all in. But going to what looks like a Costco warehouse for my body’s final moments…nah. I’d rather go out on a pyre on a lake, you know? One of my future grandkids shooting a flaming arrow…wicked. I wonder if that’s legal.

jae rhim leeThere are other options I quite like—a black cat suit imbued with mushroom spores. You get buried looking super chic, and mushrooms break down your body, filtering out all the bad stuff. Eventually, you’re high-grade compost. McIrish could use me on the dahlias we both love. (Such a suit was invented by Jae Rhim Lee; I watched her TED talk and was enthralled. Enthralled, I tell you.) Luke Perry, one of my fiercest celebrity crushes, was buried in such a suit, so if it was good enough for Luke…I told my mom about these mushroom suits, and she screamed, then gagged. Not for everyone, I guess.

lutherI’ve also heard that the human body can decompose in just six weeks if you bury it in woodchips. Again, so simple, so close to nature. But then I picture the Luther trotting in from the field, something suspicious in his mouth. My survivors would be horrified, sitting there on the porch. “Luther!” Dearest Son would say as the Princess wept. “Drop Mommy’s leg! Drop it! Drop!” Luther would obey, but Willow would grab the extremity and race joyfully around the field, her barking muffled by my rotting leg. Hey. They’re dogs. They’re disgusting and will eat anything, maybe especially a loved one.

I’m an organ donor, so best case scenario is that I go out a hero, saving numerous lives via transplant. In case that doesn’t happen, the next best
thing would be to leave my body to science. I like thinking that I’d finally go barbieto medical school, fulfilling that dream. But then I learned that I could just as easily be used in experiments, such as “Let’s see what will happen if we drop this cadaver off a cliff.” No, thanks. Even in a med school, I could be akin to the Barbie Styling Head for some plastic surgeon wannabe who used me to perfect an eye-lift. No, thanks. If I can be used to, say, educate the one who will cure cancer, I’m all in. I draw the line at my mortal remains being used to help make women feel insecure about aging.

Well, hopefully I won’t die any time soon. But it never hurts to have a plan, just in case.

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Bittersweet memories

house in the snow

Little house in the big woods.

We’re taking down our Christmas decorations today. It’s especially bittersweet this year. McIrish and I are renovating our house this spring.

When we built our house 23 years ago, we living in a 600 square foot apartment with a baby and a cat. We slept on a futon couch with the Princess in a crib four feet away in a little alcove. Our table sat two; three with the high chair pulled up. A laundry basket held the Princess’s toys. There was one tiny closet. We didn’t mind.

view from the porch

Our porch will remain the same. Why tamper with perfection?

We had very little money, so McIrish acted as the general contractor on the new house and did much of the work himself. My dream had always been to live in a house with a front porch—my childhood home had a deck, but not a porch one could sit on. I wanted us to err on the side of too small, rather than too big. Three bedrooms, the master downstairs so we could grow old there and not have to worry about stairs. Two big bedrooms upstairs for the four children we hoped to have.

manger

Our manger. Please note that one of the Wise Men brought Baby Jesus a Golden retriever.

Everything was done as inexpensively as possible. McIrish and his brother put in the tin ceiling and hardwood floors. We sunk footers for a deck we never built. Our 700-foot driveway was gravel and dirt (my first book advance paid for its paving…so glamorous!). We ran out of money before finishing the second bedroom upstairs; the floor was plywood covered by paper, and it would remain that way for six more years. The kids loved drawing on that paper while I sewed a lot of little dresses, vests and pajamas up there. Wrote my first book on an old Mac there, too.

When we moved in, the house, all of its 1800 square feet, seemed cavernous. We had closets! Lots of them! A pantry! A mudroom! A washer in that mudroom (the dryer would have to wait till we could afford it, so I mastered the art of hanging clothes out to dry, a chore I still love).

Fast forward twenty-plus years, and the house is cheerfully worn. The wood floors are scraped from kitchen chairs, and the walls still look a little dull from being scrubbed (sticky hands were the bane of my maternal existence). The cellar door never got around to being stained. The black-and-white tile floor in the kitchen and bathrooms is veined with cracks from when the house settled.

So…a renovation. McIrish deserves a nice kitchen. We love having people over, so a bit more room will be lovely. I’ll have a tiny study with lots of windows…a psychic once told me my father wanted me in a room full of windows. The house will be mostly the same, but shinier, you know? Much needed new paint and trim. Better windows, screens that aren’t punctuated by cat claws. A two-car garage so McIrish won’t have to scrape his truck every time it snows. All good.

villageAnd yet, this Christmas, our little house glowed with candles and colored lights. The little village over the cupboards looks so cozy. If it was crowded, well, no one ever complained. It was, and has always been, and will always be, a house full of love.

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Merry Merry and see you soon!

Happy Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa a little early, my friends!

christmas treeStarting December 12thand going through New Year’s Day, I’ll be taking a social media break for the first time ever.

I’m not one of those people whose phone is glued to her hand, but I’m on it often. I try to be really positive and entertaining—that’s my job, after all— and not use social media as a platform to complain, prosthelytize or gossip. Over the years, I’ve muted a few people who are too negative or upsetting, or who just post so much that they’re like that annoying relative who doesn’t let anyone else talk. But 99% of the time, I really enjoy it.

Interacting with readers, fellow writers and the world at large is something that brings me a lot of joy. But, as is the case with ice cream, sometimes you need to take a break. For the next three weeks, I’ll be focusing on my family, writing, baking, cooking, wrapping presents, snow-blowing, all that good stuff. And I’ll be thinking of you, dear readers and friends, and very grateful for you all.

If you want to reach me, my email is k.higgins@snet.net , and I will be checking that. Otherwise, see you in 2020! The very, very best to all of you. I hope the season will be filled with good friends, loving family members, good food, happy pets and memories that will last a lifetime.

xox

Kristan

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Being and doing

As has been well documented, I’m not a crafty person. I can bake really pretty things, but give me a pair of scissors, and injuries ensue. I can’t count the number of times I’ve glued my fingers together or burned myself with a glue gun. I’m still vacuuming up from two years ago, when I thought, “How hard can this be?” and tried to spray greenpainting! glitter on a styrofoam cone.

However…I’ve discovered that I like to paint. By “paint,” I mean move paint around on a surface, not actually create something that looks like something else. Stick figures are about as accurate as I ever got (very cute stick figures, mind you).

But paint is very forgiving. You can do abstracts…smears and globs, swishes and dots. Just about anything blue can be passed off as sky or ocean. Shades of red, orange and pink? It’s a sunset. The joy is really in colors. Recently, I smeared some purples and blues on a piece of paper. The Princess, being a faithful, kind and lovely person, gasped and said, “That’s beautiful! Can I have it?” She framed it and hung it in her apartment. (Dearest Son has not yet requested one of my pieces, which I’m chalking up to the fact that he lives in a dorm room. His day will come.)

smears
The Princess’s joy gave me the idea of making paintings for Christmas presents. When I told this to my mother, she said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? Everyone’s tastes are so different. You’d feel bad if you saw them in the trash.” (This is the same woman who told me I was too much of a klutz to take ballet lessons when I was five. But I digress.) Hey. I could be an artistic genius. They laughed at Van Gogh, too.

Undeterred by a lack of maternal enthusiasm, I’ve been painting. Since I know nothing about art, I don’t have a style, so I’ve been experimenting. Does that look like a boat, or an elephant? A lighthouse, or a phallus? Would a smear of red improve it? (Not unless I was painting a bris.)

heartThe best part of this painting-their-gift thing is this. The whole time I’m doing it, I’m happy. It’s fun to do something different. I think about the intended recipient and how much they mean to me. I’m not binge-eating Christmas cookies (yet), and I’m not on a device or watching TV. I’m just…being. Being and doing, with a heart full of love.

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Prayer for Thanksgiving

pieDear God, thank you for my family.

Guideth my hand, Lord, as I roll out the dough to make some sexy-ass pies, and forgiveth me for using the term sexy-ass in this prayer.

Please, dear Lord, use thy divine powers to keep the kids from bickering in the car. Granteth me deafness so that I do not leap from my seat onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Maketh my husband remember that he driveth his entire family in the car, and letteth him not tailgate or speed.

Help me remember, Father God, to wear stretchy pants and a bulky sweater so that I may partake of all the stuffing.

juice cleanseHeavenly Father, I implore you keep relatives from detailing their health deficits, procedures and bowel habits while we eat. Let my father-in-law refrain from lecturing my children about any subject but most especially about healthcare and cleanses. Indeed, sweet, blessed Lord, let the word cleanse falleth from no one’s lips. Ever.

Grant us strength, oh God, to not discuss politics, since rage and frustration is antithetical to all that Charlie Brown hath taught me about Thanksgiving.

Lord my God, giveth me self-control to say no to a fourth slice of pie. Alloweth my sister-in-law to accept my offer to clean up after dinner so I am not a lazy, four-slices-of-pie kind of person and guilty of the sin of gluttony (and then cut me some slack when I am).

hedgiePlease, Lord, let there be babies at this dinner, wherein I can commandeer them and snuggleth with them, giving their parents a chance to eat and me a chance to sniffeth their little heads. If thou canst giveth me a baby, Lord, please granteth me a hedgehog instead (as long as I’m here, dear Lord, I figured I’d ask).

Grant me happy conversation with elders, pleasantries with strangers and the fortitude not to eat all the stuffing myself.

And Lord, please accept my sincerest gratitude at the bounty thee hath granteth me.

 

 

 

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