And so, last weekend I started a healthy eating kick.  For me, this meant leaving the lettuce and onions and one or two peppers on Saturday’s burger, and not having sour sweets while watching Tin Tin at the cinema.  I took fruit-bars to work and came home to rice-cakes and grapes.  I may have asked Sarge to boil spinach pasta and then left the tomato chucks in the sauce.  I was doing pretty well.

And then Thursday happened.  I’ve told my mother several times that Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Scotland.  There are no turkeys ‘til Christmas, and you must hunt The Great Canned Pumpkin in specialty shops and then come home to your Actually American Girlfriend with Empty Scottish Hands.  Just ask Sarge.  I wanted him to make pumpkin pie, and then pumpkin pancakes, but there was no canned pumpkin.  I couldn’t even console myself with a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  But the Chinese duck on Thursday night was pretty good.  So much for the healthy eating, then.  But I can always pretend the holiday season has already started.

See, this time of year, nostalgia is a physical ache that I live with and indulge.  The tears start in early November and don’t dry up until January.  I don’t miss America, I miss what my America was.  Around the holidays it was the smell of Nana’s cooking and baking and the scent of the tree and the wreaths and incense at my Grandma’s house.  A few years ago, Dad got me a candle that was basically my Grandma’s holiday house in a jar.  After I broke down and sucked it up again, I decided that was damn-near the best present there was.

November is a lucky month, I feel my good ghosts every day, but they are louder in November.  I got some good news on Thursday, and I might have had a celebratory white chocolate chip cookie.  I then sat on Facebook and shared in virtual Thanksgiving.  I’ve always known that real thanksgiving isn’t only one day in one country.  And that spirit I’m going to share what I’m thankful for, every day:

My family and friends, wherever you are and whether I am 40 miles away or 4000, thanks for remembering who I am and reminding me every so often.

Sarge, again, for everything.  And your face.  And for only giving me half a strange look when I slip and call you Sarge in our living room.

My independence.  I’m grateful for every day I get to get up and rock the chrome and wheels.

My writing, both truth and fiction.  The sentences that narrate my life.  And the proof that you don’t need to be depressed to write good stuff.  Because I did wonder for a while.

The New York trip that Sarge and I took, and the love we felt while there.  I still need to write about that.

Good coffee, but not as good as New York coffee.

Good books, and bad ones, because I need them sometimes.

Good films and bad movies.  Because I need them, too.  But not as much as bad books.

The clarity that comes with writing in a journal.  Especially when you look up and see mountains out your window.

Stone cottages with no phone reception.

Streets that are not cobbled.

Tools and tire pumps.

Open fires and stars to wish on.

Judy Garland songs that aren’t sad, but I love the sad ones, too.

Everyone who reads my rambles and these lists that make sense only to me.

What are you thankful for today?

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