I am realizing that I am utterly obsessed with Venetian masks. This is probably due to my childhood experience with painting and decorating small versions of them as a craft. But these days I just find them mesmerizing to stare at…maybe because they stare back? What ever it is, I think I could easily become a collector and have a whole room wall covered with them. I know – creepiness!

“Mask” by Kim Vandapool


Just Feeling Thankful

And, coincidentally, it happens to be that time of year to remember gratitude! Truth be told, I’m not really one who counts down the days to Thanksgiving by marking each one with a declaration of all I’m grateful for. Maybe I should do that, but I don’t. There’s a lot of trendy Facebook things I don’t do.

But upon reflecting on recent time spent with loved ones and BFFs and siblings from out of town, I realize what I’ve always known, what makes life beautiful. I’ve gotten to sit and laugh hysterically with my husband and close friends over amazing cuisine in our favorite restaurants. I’ve gotten to catch up with siblings and their spouses, while recounting the never-dull family history through the wit of my dad. I’ve gotten to relish lovingly home-cooked meals and quiet conversation with my mom and stepdad. I’ve gotten to indulge in pumpkin crepes and colorful tree-lined walks while chatting with the dearest of friends. Be it for birthday celebrations (they all seem to fall in October and November!!) or just the regular get together, it’s been nice. No, it’s been wonderful. And in every gathering I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to have so many great people in my life. For my wonderful husband, my parents, my step-parents, my brother and sisters, my step-siblings, my nieces and nephews, my extended family, and my amazing friends: I. Am. Grateful.

And, I realize more than ever that these joyful times that seem so abundant are actually terribly finite. I learned this most acutely with my grandma’s passing, but still sometimes forget in the day-to-day mundanity how fleeting it all is. What I’ve also learned is to look for the good in people, and truly appreciate it. Even though there will always be some who mostly only elicit cynicism from me, over all I’m amazed by the people in my life and their unique gifts. I feel like I look at each person and see such a starkly different set of characteristics from my own, and I marvel at them. And I think finding and nurturing this appreciation for life and all the remarkable people in it is what makes it worth living.

So…happy November to you, and happy Thanksgiving!