Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving Eve in the USA, I hope we can all take a moment to remember what others have done for us without asking and without realizing how powerful and selfless their actions have been. I hope we remember to thank the bravery of those who have stood up for that which we hold dear and I hope, do hope, we can somehow come together, united in voice and vision for a future without arrogance, abuse of power or disregard for others.

The quest for freedom shall never be squashed. Hope and determination has coursed through our veins from the beginning of time, and it will until the end. Bullets and pepper spray be damned.

Giving Thanks

Another Thanksgiving Day has come and once again it’s time to stand back and take a long look at our lives. We have so much to be grateful for, so much to take pleasure in, and yet many of us, myself included, fail to see it and instead look for more.

I suppose it’s a sense of comfort that overtakes us. A sense of familiarity. And when, perhaps, some of our luxuries are taken away – maybe the dryer doesn’t work, there’s a long line at the grocer and the self-checkout machines are out of order, or maybe we run out of flour when we feel like baking some brownies – we forget what life would be like if we never had those luxuries in the first place. Like so many people in the world.

This Thanksgiving, like all, I am grateful for all I have that makes my life complete – family, friends, health, shelter, food… and a wonderful country, faults and all. I am grateful I’ve been able to travel back and forth from home to Colorado – again this fall – to be there with my mom while she battled yet another illness. I’m grateful for the doctors and for my sister – also a doctor – who helped my mom recover from a month-long hospital stay. I’m grateful for the craft of writing, that takes me away from life’s upheaval and helps me turn it into something more manageable.

In writing, I create hell for my characters. I deal them one adversity after another, make them suffer and decide whether to give up or fight. And in the end, I give them something for which they are grateful – a happily ever after where they’ve learned to bend, adjust and overcome.

To all of you, I wish the same on this Thanksgiving Day – a happily ever after you appreciate and never, ever take for granted.

On this day of Thanksgiving

With all the chaos and horror in the world, we who are safe and healthy have much to be grateful for. I complain at times, often about limited time and the inability to write my stories. How petty that is despite how paramount it seems at times.

On this day I want to think about the simple things that make me feel whole and happy. Besides the obvious – a loving family and a roof over our heads – simple things like a beautiful sunrise, the sound of songbirds first thing in the morning, and even muffins baking in the oven make me smile and appreciate a given moment.

As a way to stand back and appreciate life more, we often take day trips. Our favorite haunt is any place upstate NY. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a trip to the Bronx Zoo or the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Because it was so beautiful and so recent, I’d like to share some images from our last trip to the Gardens.

We went there to see the Japanese Chrysanthemum exhibit. They were stunning. The tribute paid to these magnificent flowers is inspiring. The dedication in labor and time is hard to fathom, but the beauty of the effort is impossible to ignore.

 Kiku - purple chrysanthemum Kiku - Yellow Chrysanthemum

      Kiku - Botanical Gardens Kiku - Cascades


Botanical Gardens stroll




After we viewed those awe-inspiring arrangments, we strolled the paths of the Gardens. Drying leaves crunched under our feet…




Footbridge reflection - Botanical Gardens 

as water trickled over rocks in the river,

  Fall colors on the Bronx River









Bronx River mallards



and ducks and geese cackled amongst themselves.   







At times, we’d stand in place, not moving, just listening. The heavy sound of winter-quiet filled the space around us.  

 Bronx River Trail and Steps    Serenity in the Bronx - Botanical Gardens

The air, so still, so crisp, teased us, made us think of crackling fireplaces and cedar scented candles. I thought of cozy evenings and pumpkin pie. I imagined happiness and peace for everyone everywhere.

Botanical Gardens - Christmas Balls

I wish for that happiness. I hope for that peace. For me, for you. For everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you have much to be thankful for now and always.

The most wonderful time…

Christmas Tree

The holidays are coming. There is no holiday more exciting for me than Christmas. I become a kid again at the very thought of it. I romanticize it. There’s a ton of work involved and while I’m in the thick of it, I do grumble. But that passes quickly and I get back to being a happy Santa’s helper.

Since Christmas is so special for me, I like to make it last. Instead of waiting until Christmas week, it’s been a tradition in my home to put up our tree right after Thanksgiving dinner. (Don’t worry – my tree isn’t up yet. The photo above is from last year) That entire weekend is spent decorating the house and setting up the Christmas village. (the rest of the month is spent trying to keep the cats away from said village rolleyes ) The transition from plain to warm and festive always gives me pause. We play, we tease, we exhaust ourselves but it’s all worth it. By the end of Thanksgiving weekend, gifts I’ve already purchased are wrapped and set under the tree and we’ve taken our holiday photo.

Now THAT is an adventure in itself. Cats. Remember – we now have four of them. They’re fine on their own – investigating to their hearts are happy – so happy, in fact, they practically glow. 🙂

Cats' eyes












But, a camera on a tripod scares the willies out of them and so gathering them for a photo op is not the easiest thing to do. In fact, if ever you’ve heard the expression ‘the fur was flying’, well, that certainly applies to those couple of hours in my home when we round them up and try to take that perfect shot. We’re always laughing in the Christmas photo and when we send it as our Christmas card, I’m told those who receive it see the fun – and stress – we had while posing.

Sharing smiles. Sharing warmth. Sharing good food and best wishes. It’s what the season is about. I’ve loved the holidays for as long as I can recall and hope to always feel that hot-toddy warmth deep inside of me each year as it comes around again.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?