Despite the looks of this picture, after a day of “wintry mix” weather, today the sun is shining and it is a clear, cool and beautiful, if a bit muddy, day here in central Merlin, USA.  Today our country celebrates Thanksgiving – a time to reflect upon our many blessings. I was meant to sing in the choir in church this morning, but a turkey I thought was defrosted was not, resulting in an hour delay in getting the thing into the oven, ensuing apologies to Nancy, our intrepid Organist/Choirmaster, and indulging in more secular pursuits. 
The turkey is in the oven and will come out in time, barring any unforeseen emergencies, on time. The stuffings (yes, I meant to use the plural – we have two types, each from a different side of the family – we never managed to come to a compromise on that, LOL) are in their respective slow cookers. This is  because (1) I find that stuffing the bird creates more anxiety than I am willing to endure, and (2) we have enough vegetarians in the family who would not appreciate their stuffing being inundated with the blood of a dead bird, and (3) any turkey large enough to hold the amount of stuffing I make for my family would be big enough to wrestle the axe from the executioner;)! In another hour or so I will be peeling potatoes and heading for the home stretch of preparing our Thanksgiving meal.  We are sixteen for dinner this afternoon; Eleven adults and five children (the grand-angels). My ever-optimistic DH, John, believes we can fit the adults and maybe even a child or two at our dining table. Yikes. I am pushing for a “kid’s table.” We’ll see. Thankfully (see, I am thankful!) John will take over the strategic arrangements  and table setting when he wakes up – yes he worked last nght, but he’s off tonight.  It pays to have a hotelman in the family:)!
A LOT has happened since last I really wrote.  My birthday was lovely, as the pictures illustrated. I am still working, representing the best clients in the world – kids. The husband still works at the hotel after a long time of not feeling well last year into this.  There have been changes.  There has been a separation and probably a divorce among the gang.  Children are involved.  It is my fervent hope that the people involved will keep the welfare of their kids first.  I believe they will; they are both good people. Our oldest is close to finishing her degree and licensing and will hopefully begin her practice in the mental health profession.  Our second in line continues to work for the public as a 911 operator (forgive me, D, I don’t know the official title – I know you do a lot more!), B and R celebrated their first anniversary this summer. R is in grad school for art in Philly while B continues to manage a Safeway store in Bawlmer, so we see them a lot between gigs.  Danny is still an actor and is now giving L.A. a shot, coming back to Merlin to work as a member of the Everyman Theatre’s company. This holiday season, he plays in Ira Levin’s Deathtrap  – I am looking forward to a trip to the theater:)! Our penultimate child, S, is in Argentina, doing the necessary fieldwork for her dissertation. We will be missing her during this year’s holidays.  She likely won’t be back in the country until next summer. Because Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, she has two summers this year. But Skype and Whatsapp to the rescue! It’s like she’s right here in the room with us! I never would have believed you if you’d told me when I was a kid that this would be possible.Our youngest, J, is finishing up her next to last semester of law school and will be spending her Thanksgiving this year with her girlfriend’s family in Michigan. So four of the six progeny will be here. And, in the words of the immortal Stuart Smalley, that’s Oh Kay….
Knitting has been happening and so has music. And some family milestones.
Some music highlights of the past 9 months:

The Ordination of Melinda Artman:)

Concert Artists of Baltimore, of which my good friend, Diane L. is a member (soprano) presented an outstanding concert upon the 125th anniversary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Cathedral downtown.

Oh, and a couple of Sundays ago, I had the distinct pleasure of playing triangle for Ron Mutchnik and Nancy as they played Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending – three “dings” and a lot of counting, LOL:) but what a thrill to be in the choir loft as they played!
Knitting highlights:

So, yeah, I’ve been knitting. Mostly for sanity:)

Our family has celebrated some milestones:
A wedding this summer – our nephew Sean and his wife Christine.

Betsy and Robyn’s first anniversary

John’s and my 38th anniversary as Patticakes turned 2:)

 And numerous side trips and travels together and alone while on the road for work.

 So for what am I thankful? For music, for the means of expressing my limited creative abilities through music and fiber crafts, for employment in a meaningful capacity, for good health, for a reasonably healthy mind:), for my children’s health  – mental, physical and spiritual, for a roof over my head and food on the table. For the freedom of expression, of religion, of the press,  for the technology that saves lives and brings people together, for open discourse, for my colleagues, for my church community, for my dear dear friends, for my wonderful family, nuclear and extended, for friends who are like family, for being alive long enough to meet my grandchildren – or at least the first five of them:), for the good fortune of having been born to parents who were poor but hardworking and who saw the American dream come to life; for sun sparkling through colorful leaves in autumn, for new life in spring, for sunshine in summer and for Christmas in winter. Most of all, I am thankful for the love of God. (Ok you can stop gagging now, I’m done).

Happy Thanksgiving and God be with you ’til we meet again:)+

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