This is a good time of year. We are reminded to be thankful. Then we get to shower our loved ones with gifts (and often get showered ourselves). We decorate our homes. We have parties with friends, families, and coworkers. Then we think about the events of the past year and begin planning for the next. It's a good time of year.
This year Thanksgiving was pretty chill for me and Chris. We were both struggling with illness - Chris has a cough that just won't go away and I had a 24-hour stomach bug followed up with a cold. Personally, I spent a lot of the week of Thanksgiving in bed. Even while I was working, I was often working from bed. Then I napped a lot.
Thanksgiving day, we went to Ryan's house for a Thanksgiving feast. Ryan had his brother, Ben, and their grandmother visiting for the holiday and invited a few other friends for the meal. The guys cooked up an amazing meal and grandma's pie was delicious. I was especially appreciative that they moved up the meal time so that Chris could attend before he had to go to work. Yep, Chris had to work on Thanksgiving. That's one of the downsides to not having any seniority. But the work was light that evening and he got to come home early. It was just one more thing to be thankful for.
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is when my family shares what they are thankful for at the dinner table. We put out a few kernels of corn next to each person's dinner plate and for each kernel they share one thing they are thankful for. I missed the tradition this year since I wasn't hosting the dinner. Then Chris and I missed it because he headed off to work.
I'm writing this while I'm on a plane back to Phoenix. Even though it's a week after Thanksgiving and I don't have any corn kernels, I'm going to share what I'm thankful for. In my mind's eye, I'm picking up each corn kernel and sharing with the family in my parents' dining room. (With the entire Internet hanging out in the wings, looking on.)
Now that it is December, we're moving into the Christmas season. I'm looking forward to going to Chris' company's holiday party tomorrow night then going to my company's party the following weekend. We're also keeping up a holiday tradition and going to the Desert Botanical Gardens for Las Noches de las Luminarias. It's always a romantic evening in a beautiful place that reminds me that I live in a really special place.
For Christmas, we're staying in Phoenix and keeping things low key. We will have friends over to share a big holiday meal, but otherwise do little else. I look forward to some quiet time with Chris to be thankful for the past year and think about the upcoming year.
I hope your holiday season is exactly what you need it to be.
I'll take both of these compliments, thanks!
"Girl, you got it going on!"
- a coworker about my writing
"I walked in and saw you dancing like you were 21!"
- Terrance, about my dancing last night
Big news that I've been meaning to share - Chris got a job! About six weeks ago, he began working at an airline in their reservations department. Yep, he is the friendly voice on the end of the phone handling your travel reservations. The airline will remain nameless on my blog but its not a secret. They're based in Phoenix so it probably isn't too hard to figure out. I just don't want my site to pop up on Google for my husband's employer.
As many of you know, Chris went to school for the past three years and earned his degree in Housing and Community Development. His ideal job is in real estate development but unfortunately an opportunity in that industry hasn't developed into full-time work. He's still looking and actively applying for other positions. He's connected to a lot of wonderful people in Phoenix who think very highly of him. They just don't have enough work to hire him. We are sure it is just a matter of time. You and I both know that the economy needs a lot of time to improve.
So in the meantime, Chris is working for the airline and we plan to take advantage of the flight benefits. Yep, we can fly for free (when there is space available)! Not like I really want to be flying a whole lot more than I currently do, but it sure was nice going back to Texas this past weekend completely free.
I'm really proud of Chris for doing what is best for us and taking this job. Even though its a slog. Chris is underemployed with this job - he's so talented and smart and so, so good with people. He's doing great with the job and getting plenty of compliments from customers in his first few weeks. But he could be doing so much more if given the opportunity. I know it's frustrating to Chris to be in this place, especially after working so hard in school the past three years. Neither of us ever thought he'd have a hard time getting a job once he had a degree. Our economy is truly horrible right now.
So at this moment, we are both thankful that he is employed. I'm so thankful that this airline brought these reservation jobs back to the United States from the Philippines. Though from what Chris tells me, I really should thank the labor union who negotiated with the airline to get the jobs back to the States. Either way, I'm so glad Chris got one of the positions. It's good and I'm so proud of Chris.
Chris and I went back to Texas this past weekend for a short visit with our families. We are staying in Phoenix for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays so it was nice to see them now. We didn't do much - just hung out at our parents' houses and ate and talked. Chris' parents took us out to a nice dinner. Mostly we just enjoyed being together and talking. I'm thankful we can hop on a plane and see family so easily! I was especially thankful that Karen and Madeline were able to drive from Oklahoma to Texas to see us. My niece is so much fun to be with!
It seems that everyone I've talked to the past few days is under a lot of pressure at work and is stressed out. Luckily, I'm having a pretty good week and feel grounded. It helps a lot that I'm at home this week instead of on the road. Somehow being at home puts everything into perspective.
For everyone that is feeling stressed, here are some happy hot air balloons!
Just a couple pictures from the 2011 Albuquerque Balloon Festival, which Chris and I attended with my parents in September. It was an absolutely fabulous experience!
This is the house I was born in. It's in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I got to see if with Chris and my parents in September.
I just finished leaving a comment on a friend's site telling her that I love reading what is going on with her life. I suppose it's time I share a bit about mine.
I've been in a funk the past few weeks. I've been feeling sorry for myself. I've been saying in my head (and sometimes to my husband who is so, so patient), "Woe is me, I have to travel all the time and am away from my husband, house, dogs, friends... Woe is me, I've given up so much of my personal life the past year and a half with all this travel. Woe is me, woe is me." Sometimes these things come out whiny and sometimes angry, other times sad.
But it is time to move on. Chris pointed out the other day that we've had unrealistic expectations around timing. Around how long it would take for him to find a job and how long I would keep this job. I've realized that it's time to reset expectations. So Monday night I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I've got to embrace the travel, quit complaining, and start feeling thankful rather than sorry for myself. Right now, I am so lucky to have a job. Period. I'm especially lucky that I am good at this job and I enjoy it.
So in the spirit of embracing travel, I did some sightseeing in Minneapolis this week. Tuesday night I went to the Mall of America. Impression - wow, really big mall (!) but just like every mall everywhere else in America. Wednesday night, I went to Matt's Bar with a group of coworkers and enjoyed an original Juicy Lucy. Impression - Juicy Lucys are delicious and its great to laugh with friends.
Now its Friday and I'm glad to be home. Plus, I don't have to travel for the next 3 weeks. Whoot, party!*
*And when I say party, I really mean lounging around the house, reveling in sleeping in my own bed, cuddling with the dogs, and chilling out with Chris. I think November's theme is going to be CHILL. Tonight I've already embraced the chill with a nap after work followed with a quiet night at home just me and the dogs.
"Don't look back, you're not going that way."
- from Ang's wall on Facebook
Sundays are for laying around the house with your loved ones. Or in some cases, being laid on. Stewie is such a weird dog in that he likes to cuddle. But I love it!