Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving with a Twist

The tippy top of my thankfulness blogroll is FAMILY.  And here's wishing all of you the coming holiday week filled with gratitude. 

I need to enumerate the blessings of retirement, mostly because I think the church's Single Adults program is going to (SERIOUSLY), so I'm going back to what I notably appreciated before that involvement took over my life:  

• The nuances of the weather (no more spending all day indoors with one view of the outdoors).

• Being able to work on my yard when it needs it (rather than when I have time).
• I really am a PGer (rather than a Provoer).
• No alarm clock (which is a gift to my own circadian rhythm version).
     (Once my doctor said I could alter my sleep pattern with sleeping pills.  He lied.)
• I can drink the recommended amount of water in a day (closer to a bathroom)!
• Two checks a month (instead of one).
• More scripture study time (admittedly not ingrained daily, but doing much better).
• More time to map out my future (filed my taxes the earliest ever!).
• Available for the neighborhood FHE dinner and bookclub (dripping with friendship).
• Dressing more comfortably (*wink*).
• More available awareness time (picked up on a beautiful bargain table when friends moved)!
• Learning a ton about FamilySearch (with a ton+ more to go).
• Serving my two-year part-time mission
     (in Orem, alongside local as well as missionaries from other states).
• More time besides that to serve (pre SA takeover!).
• Walking at the rec center (no pollution, wind/sun on my dry eyes, no objects to trip over).

Speaking of the rec center, here's a recent view of Timp, when leaving:

(Lois and I also witnessed the same strip of glow off of autumn leaves across the bottom the first valley beneath Timp one day, from the upstairs window but I'd left my phone in the car.)

And speaking of singles, here's the view of the lake Friday night, coming home at 1 a.m. from the county dance in Provo.  Oh my aching legs! (I'm sure you know without my mentioning it wasn't from dancing, it was from keeping the food room stocked and then cleaning up after 300 attendees!)

The food they provide is amazing, and I am quite certain from the amounts many of them take, they could survive on it alone from one SA event to the next!  They had mac n' cheese with jalapeƱo peppers, salsa and chips, a spinach salad with many toppings, cheeses and crackers, cookies, sweet breads, cream puffs, oranges, grapes and pineapple with fruit dip, apple slices with caramel dip.  One of the ladies on the activities committee (biweekly, sometimes more often) has served for 8 years, and she confided that it's time to get off so she can attend instead, and actually find a mate!

And speaking of legs, the same ones were put to the test at the Saturday Singles Thanksgiving dinner (cluster) with all the trimmings - 160 came.  Our stake was in charge of set-up, decorations, clean-up.  Wish I'd taken pictures, but here's the visual you can draw in your mind:  It took three hours to ready the cultural hall, and we even had lucked out not setting up tables and chairs since nothing was scheduled after the HP dinner the night before (which was also fun and delicious - pulled pork sandwiches). We rolled out painter's butcher paper on the long tables, spanning the "short" sides of the room - five rows of them.  Borrowed decorations from three sources - the prettiest was ocean-green glass rocks in the bottom of wide mouth mason jars, with a burnt orange mum resting on a cluster of a few twigs in each.  Sprinkled fake fall leaves down the line in-between jars, and then sprinkled 10 pounds of varied flavor/color candy corn!  All that, plus delivering food from kitchen to serving tables, undecorating, returning the jars from the tables to the boxes to my car to the person who loaned them, resulted in another late night on ice.

For those of you who may not but care to know, the county ranges from Payson to Alpine, the cluster is from Lindon to North Field (most of Manila), and then there are stake singles events. As well as the responsibility to serve ward singles.  We now have a stake missionary couple.  I made them a calling card:

And before the dance, the Thanksgiving FHE dinner was at my place, and I did take pictures of that set-up:

 (Last of the tomatoes from my garden.)

I love using Mom's old dishes.
(This one w/o the tangerines in it.)

As to SA killing me off, next up is tonight (county), a fireside at the church north of the temple.  It's a goodie, however, and at least I'll be sitting for most of it: Al Swizzler, 4-time NY Times bestselling author.  His topic will be "Living life at the level of Covenant; the important choices we make every day."

And then I'm going to take a long (almost) winter's nap.  Exhaustion should do the trick!

[Followed by two county singles events in December. (I hope! More are scheduled but that's all I've committed to so far - Jennie Oaks Baker, violin soloist, and the Big Band New Year's Eve full afternoon of decorating - have to drum up additional set-up helpers and host dancing couples from the cluster.  Tried to get out of that one due to having family here, but no dice.  We all have "family" you know, and apparently "Houston" isn't far enough away to count.  Next year I'll be the holiday visitor so it will be a blessed added omission feature to my then vacation!) Then followed by a quarterly seminar (cluster) and fireside (stake) in January (hoping to pass on the rest that month).  I know I'm griping (on a thankfulness blog no less), but it's just because I'm old and worn out, not bewitched, but I am bothered and bewildered.  It is impressive, all that is done just trying to help singles feel like regular people.  Last Saturday was at a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting to discuss the stake theme for the coming year.  I wasn't the source of it, but numerous people worried about including the word "family" in it from singles' reactions.  Okay to imply it but not "say" it.  So as representing them, I was asked my opinion. I said I was not speaking for myself, but yes, many derive a lot of throbbing pain from it, and I could promise it's numbers are not going to get better in the coming years.  To which the stake president totally agreed. We have over 200 of them just in our stake, close to 80 in my very own ward.]