Thursday, November 22, 2007

Full of Thanks ... and just plain full.

As Thanksgiving comes around this year, it has been an interesting time. For the last 5 years, I spent this day dining with and enjoying the company of many of my colleagues. It was a good day, and I miss the conviviality in general and the people specifically. This year, I decided to hang by myself. The idea of driving over to spend the holiday with family and the idea of dining with one of my new colleagues here were both a little to stressful. Besides, I just want to rest and travelling was out of the question, since Smelly has a check-up tomorrow.

My casual boycott of this uniquely American holiday, however, does not mean I'm not thankful. In my three months here in Cleveland, I've been overjoyed with the richness of the cultural institutions and communities. I'm finally in a place where my desires for urban atmosphere, culinary sophistication and variety, an active literary community, and excellent indie bookstores are satisfied fully. I'm also particularly grateful for the friendships I've made and for those it feels as if I'm on the cusp of making.

Last night, I went to my friend Mike's place for an impromptu Thanksgiving potluck. Mike, his roommate , his cousin, his neighbor, and a few of his other friends all had a fine, enjoyable, peaceful time. His roommate provided an excellent pork loin stuffed with Italian sausage and a beautiful fruit cheesecake. I contributed that Midwestern standard, green bean/crunch onion casserole. It was a lot of fun, and I went home later with a full belly and heart.

The evening left me a little regretful that I wasn't doing anything official for the day. So, after snagging a cup of coffee at Talkie's, I stopped by Dave's to rustle up what I needed for a quick and dirty Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to the leftover green bean fantasia from last night and the leftover lamb dirty rice from earlier in the week, I picked up some spicy mashed potatoes, a lean turkey breast to roast, and some mushrooms and carrots to roast along with the turkey. Add to that some sourdough bread and herb butter I had around, and I think I'm on the verge of a nice feast. Another thing for which I'm thankful.

After that, who knows. Assuming it isn't raining, maybe I'll take Ellie on a leisurely walk. There's also a show at Pat's in the Flats tonight featuring Coffinberry, which I've been looking forward to for quite some time. Or maybe I'll hop the train to Tower City and check out the recently released Hitman, or maybe American Gangster before it leaves the theater.

And somewhere in there I'll have to squeeze in the anxiety-laden phone call home to the p's and siblings. But for now, I'm enjoying my Leinie's Apple Spice beer, basking in the roasting aroma, listening to Wilco's second-to-last album, and finding myself pretty content as fall pushes into my first Midwestern winter in a half-decade.

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