Thursday, November 28, 2013

Five SMALL Thanksgivings

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Jungle Red to all of you! We hope you are all eating a bit too much, and that someone other than you gets to do the washing up!

But if you have a minute to celebrate with us, we have a Thanksgiving Challenge for you.

Once again, there are exclusions: We are all (we hope) thankful for our families and our friends, our pets, food on the table, our health, our homes, and BOOKS. So tell us FIVE other little things that make this day, or any other day, a little brighter.

I'll go first:

DEBS: 1) I'm thankful that my daughter convinced me to try Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. It sounded really weird, but it turned out to be delicious.
2)I just discovered that I like persimmons.  That proves that there are always interesting new things to look forward to.
3)And speaking of interesting new things, I came home from a week's writing retreat to find that my husband had grown a beard. This is the first time in the forty years I've known him that I've ever seen him with a beard. I think I like it.
4)I just have to get in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.
With this week's frigid North Texas temps, I am more thankful than ever that we installed a gas jet in our fireplace when we had to rebuild the chimney a few years ago. No more Girl Scout fire-building skills needed.  Just put in some logs and turn on the gas.  Bliss.  Just add hot chocolate and a boo--opps, sorry. I almost threw in the B word.

Now, your turn, REDS. No cheating.

RHYS BOWEN:I have an awful lot to be thankful for this week with my whole family assembled around me as we celebrate a milestone birthday for my husband. But I'll try to come up with little things
1. I'm thankful that I've never grown up, that I can still enjoy silly play and being a kid with my grandkids. I was told I was the only grandmother someone had ever seen chasing her granddaughters over the play structure and up the rock wall.2.I'm thankful I love to sing. When I'm with a choir singing great music I get chills
3.I'm thankful we import tea from England for our daily cuppe and that we still have that civilized four o'clock ritual.
4. I'm thankful for PBS. Otherwise the TV would never get turned on.
5. I'm thankful we have a Fresh and Easy store near us in Phoenix that stocks Crunchie bars. Absolutely my favorite candy.

HALLIE EPHRON: First off, I'm grateful to Debs that I don't have to come up with a seee-rious list of things I"m grateful for. I'm thankful for:
1.Hot smoked paprika, a spice which I only recently discovered and which I now use in my rub for chicken before roasting (or barbecuing). So delicious!
2. My immersion blender, which makes all kinds of wintery soups easy and no blender to clean up after.
3. My UGGS. I bought a pair 4 years ago and live in them through the winter. I cannot function if my feet are cold.
4. My daily newspaper. Hard copy. So grateful it's still being printed so I can have comics and the bridge column with my morning coffee.
5. And echoing Rhys on this, public television. Scott & Bailey. George Gently. Doc Martin. Downton. Antiques Roadshow. And so much more.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, little things. Let's see...

1. Wine. What can I say. My mom died a few years ago, and one of her legacies to me was part of her wine cellar. We have been having DELICIOUS wine, and we toast to her every time. (I'm embarrassed to put this first, but I did think of it first..)
2. Yeah, the things my mother left me. Including gorgeous scarves, which I wear all the time. You'd think it might make me sad, but it doesn't.
3. My iphone. I LOVE it. When I can't find it, I begin to freak out, which is scary. But it's a fabulous invention. And ON Demand TV. (This is the technology choice. So I can choose both things.)
4. Yes, Daily newspaper, at the breakfast table, with coffee. Starbucks Christmas blend! 
5.  Our ducks that come every spring. And our garden.

LUCY BURDETTE: Okay I'm thinking...
1. thankful for my morning walk with John and Tonka, which ends up with a cafe con leche at The Cuban Coffee Queen
2. thankful for the TV show Nashville on NBC. I'm crazy for this show--the music, the stars, the soap opera plot!
3. thankful for cheese, especially sharp cheddar--for toasted cheese

sandwiches, mac and cheese, and cheese on anything
4. Eyesight. What in the world would I do if I couldn't read??
5. fur and the animals who wear it. Nothing more soothing than ruffling the fur of one of my guys. While watching Nashville. and eating cheese (just kidding there:)

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: One of my favorite quotes is: Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.? ? A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

OK, now for five things:

1) I'm grateful that even though we live in the city, our windows face into the middle of a block, so we have a beautiful view of trees and can hear the birds sing.
2) I'm grateful for Frank's Hot Sauce, a Buffalo staple and what's used on real wings. I put it on almost everything. My husband jokes I'd put it on ice cream?
3) I'm thankful for our "nurse cat" Xander ? he's a bit of a grumpy old man-cat, but if anyone's sick or sad, he's right there, snuggling and purring.
4) I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but thankful for the new CW show, Reign. Even though it's historically inaccurate, it's jolly good fun ? and has distracted me through a lot of dark moments this fall.
5) Sick today and thankful to work from home, in my PJs, with tea and cats.

DEBS: Rhys, congrats to John!  Your celebration sounds fabulous.  And you are indeed the "games mistress" :-) If I ever want to organize a big bash, I'm calling you.

Susan, writing in PJs with tea and cats is always the best, but here's hoping you're feeling more festive on the day.

Hank, if I'd inherited anyone's wine, it would be first on my list!

Hallie, how does anyone live without an immersion blender?

And Lucy, I haven't seen Nashville. Nor Reign, Susan.  But I do have On-Demand TV...

What about you, readers?  What five SMALL things are you thankful for today?

(And we here at Jungle Red are very thankful for YOU, which is no small thing at all!)


  1. I am grateful for all the Jungle Red writers who keep my bookshelves overflowing . . . .
    I am grateful that, in our little town, I get to hear the church bells ring every day . . . .
    I am grateful for the Internet and computers and all that technology stuff that lets us connect even if we live far apart. In another time, most of us would never have had the pleasure of meeting . . . .
    I am grateful for flower gardens and sunshine days and grandchildren . . . .
    I am thankful for having survived Tuesday’s marathon twenty-six hour [well, Tuesday spilled over into Wednesday] trip that took me from Philadelphia to Charlotte to New Orleans to Pensacola to Dallas to Philadelphia because, after sitting in airports waiting far too long and having every single flight in this trip delayed, I actually made it home again and now the Princess and her brother are here to share the holiday with us . . . .
    Sometimes the small things don’t really seem to be so small, after all . . . Thanksgiving blessings to everyone.

  2. 1. My local library. Although I spend all my spare money on books, sometimes that's just not enough so I'm thankful for libraries to increase the stack by my bedside.
    2. The wonderful writing community in Minneapolis. After living here a few years I've finally found my "peeps" and feel at home.
    3. Along those same lines, the awesome people I've met online as I begin this writing journey. I'm continually humbled and amazed by how supportive successful authors are toward newbies starting out.
    4. Cheesy, a bit, but the ability of social media like FB and Twitter to do what I mentioned in #3, but also to reconnect me with dear friends across the world and through the ages.
    5. Netflix. I'm a film junkie and now that I live in Minneapolis, not much is better than picking a new movie to watch in my pajamas!

    PS So happy to see Hank and Hallie mention newspapers! Long live journalism, my friends!

  3. 1. Rescued 12-year-old pup just had his 6-month check-up and got a clean bill of health.

    2. Local grocery has locked in cans of garbanzo beans at 77 cents till the end of the year. LOTS of hummus.

    3. The end of the world, which has threatened to appear every week for the past two or three years, is still in abeyance (knock wood).

    4. Glad I seized opportunities in my twenties and thirties that I could not afford (healthwise and moneywise) to do now.

    5. SOME markets still pay for writing.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!!

    Five small things I'm thankful for:

    1. My camera. It goes everywhere I go.

    2. My cowboy boots. The love I feel for my cowboy boots is unnatural and obsessive. I don't care.

    3. The view of Elk Knob I see out our bedroom window every morning when I wake up.

    4. That I got to meet and chat with Pat Conroy a couple days ago.

    5. The cup of coffee that is always on my nightstand waiting for me when I wake up in the mornings.

    I hope you all have a perfect day!

  5. 1 -- still blooming red snapdragons
    2 -- ducks in the backyard
    3 -- Mrs. Renfro's Hot Green Salsa
    4 -- burning log in the fireplace
    5 -- soft new shoes (Sketchers)

  6. I think Kaye's list is amazing — a cup of hot coffee on the nightstand every morning? Wow!

    Gotta go, the kiddo just set an oven mitt on fire….

  7. Happy belated birthday to Kaye Barley!!! And can you have Don Barley teach husband seminars?? I'd settle for Rick putting a hot cup of tea on my bedside table every morning...

    So many fun things to be reminded I am grateful for from you all. Kaye loves her camera--I have a very good camera but instead use my phone camera constantly. It's away of capturing and appreciating life that I would never have imagined.

    Newspapers. I did without print newspapers for almost a year. Now I can tell you that online is just not the same.

    Joan's churchbells. How lovely. Here in my town I can hear the train whistles at night. Love that.

    Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

  8. 1) Peet's Assam Fancy tea, which I drink every single morning with milk.
    2) Hot baths with bubbles
    3) The fire trail a block from my house to I can walk up the hill and look at the stunning view of the bay whenever I want
    4) Knee replacement surgery. Without it I'd be unable to do #3 above. With it, I can do anything.
    5) The amazing opportunity to live out my biggest dream--and have it be better than I ever imagined.

  9. Such great lists! And of course we are all thankful for the camaraderie we have here.

    1. Good genes that let me continue to feel good enough in my 60's to take advantage of the time and resources to travel. And a husband who is willing and able to share such adventures.
    2. A continued sense of curiosity about the wider world that I feel a lot of people, including family members, don't have. Makes me sad for them because they are missing so much.
    3. The bounty from our farm and garden that has filled our freezer and cupboards with blackberries, venison, herbs, veggies, and jams. Some of what I've harvested was not planted by me, including the blackberries, fifteen acres of same. Thank you, Mother Nature.
    4. The Internet, WWW, and a myriad of electronic devices and gadgets, all of which allow for so much more communication and ease of daily life (including JRW). We just installed a very cool Nest thermostat that we will now be able to control remotely via smartphone or other device, and will save energy and money. Wow.
    5. Being a grandma. It's the single most amazing adventure of my life.

  10. It's incredibly inspirational to read all these..thank you..

  11. I love reading other people's "little" media, the well puppy, cowboy boots, hot green salsa, church bells and train whistles and good health....

  12. Hank, this one is cordless, which I think would be a better option than the one I have which has a cord and the little chopper attachment. (I don't think I've ever used the mine-food chopper. I can mince things perfectly well with a knife, thank you.)

  13. I agree, Hank and Terry. Maybe we should do this more often.

    And I meant "mini" on the food chopper attachment, by the way. My typing may be fast but it's not exactly accurate.

  14. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Learning to take breaks on Thanksgiving Day, and keeping it simple.
    2. The voices of Daughters #1 & #2 laughing together in the kitchen.
    3. The sunshine.
    4. Books, writing, and talking about books and writing.
    5. My grandsons are old enough.

  15. 1. A patient & supportive partner who did not run off screaming into the woods when I wanted to open a bookstore.
    2. Fabulous authors whose hard work helps me stock my shelves.
    3. Books! Without reading I would probably sit in a corner and sulk.
    4. My crazy pets. Though there are times I rant & rave about them they do bring many smiles.
    5. Blood pressure medication. Especially when some of those bookstore customers make ME want to run off screaming into the woods.

  16. Every new one of these is making me cry. I am not exaggerating. Love you.

    Charlie M and Denise Ann...awww.

    And oh--the blender goes into the stuff, not the stuff into the blender. Gotcha.

  17. Well...
    1. PBS, of course, & CASTLE & NCIS & soap operas.
    2. My camera & the one in my phone. I love taking pics. :)
    3. That my new to me van DOES NOT seem to have a cracked head. (Phew!!)
    4. All the Internet stuff. I get to see pics &/or video of my California gson almost every day. And I get to see my two others almost every day in person. And all my "imaginary" Internet friends. :)
    5. That I am NOT a Colonial or Regency or Pioneer woman. No mod cons. Uncomfy clothes (though Regency was gorgeous). Colonial & Pioneer women moving off into the unknown, knowing they'd never see friends and family again...not even reliable mail service!! Scary!! But I DO like to read about them.
    Adding a
    6. Reliable mail service!! Even with Internet, I still love mail. And I love to send funny cards to gson & other people.
    Didn't think I could do it!!! :)

    Pen M

  18. 1. Being able to read and enjoy books just for the fun of it.
    2. Kendall, my assistance dog.
    3. iMac Dictation which makes writing work for me—like finishing NaNoWriMo this year.
    4. Taking pictures.
    5. Hank's ducks and the ducks of The Public Garden, Boston.

  19. 1. The thoughtful nurse at the nursing home where my youngest sister lives, for insisting on ordering a food platter for me when I visited at noon "so you can eat Thanksgiving dinner with your sister". (When I visit on Sundays I arrive after she has finished lunch, and I bring my lunch from home and eat while I visit with her in her room.)
    2. Having (a planned)Thanksgiving dinner much later today with my nephew's family and most of the rest of my relatives, and being grateful that he and his family are back on the East coast so we can all enjoy their 20 month old daughter.
    3. Free long distance minutes so I could have a phone conversation with the relatives who were unable to get to CT.
    4. Easy driving today: good weather and only moderately heavy traffic.
    5. The Internet, which allows me to stay in touch daily with my best friend who lives halfway across the country.

  20. (1) I am thankful I live close enough to New Orleans to get Tabasco sauce and Crystal hot sauce at a reasonable price and
    (2) that one of my favorite sandwich shops makes shrimp poboys as wonderful as any in New Orleans & survived & thrived under a wonderful new owner.
    (3) I am thankful we were walking through a dark parking lot very late one evening 11 or so nights ago and encountered a certain darling starving young cat who needed saving. And we rescued her.
    (4) I am thankful that I found the tiny wart on our dear Oscar which turned out to be a marble sized cancer and the perfect vet got it all, no chemo. (That would be #1!)
    (5) I am thankful I am getting to try my hand at writing full time!
    Since some of mine were pet related I'll add more:
    (6) I'm thankful I tried Twitter and met some great people and found interesting news and book tips that way!
    (7) I'm thankful we and our favorite restaurants survived a certain tornado that came very close to us all!

    So much more but this is some of it!

    Hope your holidays are going great!

  21. I am thankful to have Jungle Red to read on my smart phone by the light of the Christmas tree while up nursing my 2 week old baby in the middle of the night. (That's four things) Five is the ice and water dispenser in the fridge which makes it easy to get ca drink when I'm half asleep.