Day for Giving Thanks…

… or more likely… the day for watching football (the American kind) and eating too much!

The first time I moved to the US with my parents we did not really celebrate Thanksgiving. It was more just a week when I did not have to school all week, which was always a good thing at that point… I did not enjoy the transition from the years in Paris, to settling in to a new school in Texas. That trip only lasted two years before I headed to London for University. When at Uni, there was no time off for Thanksgiving (well duh, not like the Brits would celebrate it!), but we would always go up to Tutu’s for lunch. On Thanksgiving day itself we often sat in the corner eating lunch only to see the Americans (inly a couple mind you) come in and do a little celebration. Nothing big or loud, but we knew what it was. We respected them by not interfering, but I do think there were a lot of shared smiles for the silly custom.

Now I am back. Someone in the family always cooks, and we enjoy it, but still it is not a huge deal for me except to have a couple of days off from work, but in the spirit of the day, I have been thinking about what I am thankful for.

  • Mum mum – We have been together for over five years now, three of which we have been married. We have our ups and downs, but I am extremely thankful to have a beautiful and intelligent wife, who has gone through pregnancy once, and is doing so again, to give us our daughters. Thank you
  • The pies… Pickle Pie, Pixie, and Cat Pie… I am really looking forward to meeting and bonding with Pixie, although the loss of sleep will be trying. I love Pickle Pie and love to see how she is growing and changing, and becoming such a little person. Cat Pie is very cuddly when it is cold, and otherwise does a great job at patrolling the house, letting me know if anything is wrong (at all times of the day or night), and I don’t need an alarm with her in the house… The morning HUNGRY yaks do a perfectly good job of that… although her timing is sometimes off as I really don’t need to get up a 5am on some weekend days!
  • Family – My parents, Angel’s parents, the brothers, and our extended family overseas. The support we have had over the years has made my life a lot easier, and I cannot thank everyone enough for that.
  • My job. Working where I do can be stressful at times. Long hours, some travel, and lots and lots of issues to deal with, but I have grown from a project manager running small Client Automation projects, to a PM lead, running a team of PM’s which helping mentor them, and guide them. I still have my project load which will hopefully dip over the coming months, but the new job (official as of just under two weeks ago – another post may be on the way for that) will offer challenges and opportunities I have not faced before, and I am looking forward to it.
  • Friends. I have a great network of friends, both near and far. You know who you are, and I am thankful for the time you have given me, the time we have shared (or at least most of it!) and the friendship we have shared.

There is a lot that is not quite as I may like it to be in my life, but today, to me, is not a day to dwell on what may not be right, but to reflect on what is right, and to take strength and energy from that, which on most days can be hard given how life just beats down at you. For those of you in the US, or celebrating overseas, enjoy the day. Eat too much, and if you are completely crazy go to bed early in anticipation of the busiest shopping day of the year, getting up at silly hours to stand outside (and hopefully it will be a lot cooler by then) and fight everyone for the deals available. For the rest of you… well, enjoy the work day if you are working. Study hard if you are school, and then have a beer (or a non alcoholic drink if you must) and spend a sec thinking about what is good in your life… It is a good exercise for us all to do I think.

Happy Turkey Day Y’all!

Three Years!

Yikes. Three years. Wow.

The past three years have had their ups and down. Our family has grown, and is continuing to grow. I have been in the same position work wise, but that is changing… which is the topic of a future post. Mum mum is no longer working outside of the house, but is busier than ever. Pickle Pie is here and growing, and looking forward to Baby Sister. Pixie Pie is stretching and making Mum mums inside squished.

And yes, I am a day late with this post, but I was busy last night taking Mum mum to dinner and then working (sigh). but anyhoo… Happy (belated) Anniversary babe!

One of a kind.

I have been thinking a fair bit this week about how to write this post, and I have done what I seem to be good at, and that is distract myself so that I can avoid actually sitting down and writing this.

As many will know, my grandfather on my dad’s side passed away in January. I was able to fly with my dad back to Belfast and be with him and the family throughout the week to help them grieve and in the process was able to reconnect with a lot of family members. It was also the first time in a number of years that my brother (codename Kiwi) was able to make it back home and it was great to see him reconnect with people he had not seen since he was a kid for the most part. I have been able, both while living in London, and while back in Houston, to make it over once or twice, but not so for him. Things have now been reversed. For my one trip this year he has been able to make three. Granted he can get basically free flights and has a schedule that at times can accommodate the trips, where mine is more a 9-5 (or 8-6) with little vacation (with some limitations on the days I can even take, but that is a post for another day).

Well, to the point. My Grandpa Jack, known to me since I was a kid simply as Jack, has been through a lot physically over the years. The tales of what he managed to survive are incredible. Well, it caught up to him finally over the weekend. Last week my mum got the call that they did not expect him to last the day. He had been in hospital for a while due to reoccuring problems, and either while there or before entering, he caught and infection, and he was unable to fight it off as he had in the past. He made the day, and the night. And another day and night. My mum booked her flights and was on her way as quickly as she could, and Kiwi and his wife were able to follow her, behind by a day. They all made it in time to see him, but on Sunday night I finally got the call. Jack had moved on.

Jack had always been religious. So in keeping with his faith, I have to believe he is in heaven and looking down upon us all, smiling, dancing, and generally joking around with the Angels and anyone else he can find, especially if they are female. Man, what a guy. I have always been in awe of how he could, as a physically diminutive guy, walk into a room and within minutes know everyone by name and have them all consider him as their long lost buddy. It was incredible, and I could only wish to have a sliver of his charisma and joy for life.

He had fun everwhere he went, and brought joy to pretty much everyone he met. I will always remember, as a kid, when they visited us in Paris. My grandparents would come over on what seemed like a regular basis, and so I was able to bond with them, and to get to know them, better than I did with a lot of the rest of my family. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to do so with a lot of others, but my grandparents always stick out as a constant presence in my childhood, and not in a bad way. Anyway, we would all go into central Paris to walk around and one day, while walking on Montmartre, Jack sat down on a bollard, removed his cap (he was warm) and put his head down between his legs with his cap out in front of him. Sure enough, within almost seconds, someone walked passed and flicked a coin into his cap. He was thrilled and wanted to sit there to see how much he could earn.

We then walked on. We were walking in the Latin quarter (this was likely a different day but whatever), and Jack and I were lagging behind the rest of the family. We were walking down a side street when we suddenly got dumped on. Someone had thrown their dirty water out the window. To this day I hope it was just from cleaning the dishes, as it did not smell too bad, but we both laughed it off and moved on.

Laughing it off and moving on was something Jack was a master at, and is really someone I wish I modeled a little better.

80 years old, and 60 years married. What a record. Here is a man I both loved and respected, but yet was unable to see before he passed. I hope he is looking over me and mine, and hope that he is healthy and relaxing, enjoying every minute of his afterlife. He deserves every second of it. I am also so grateful that he was able to meet and interact with our eldest, little Pickle Pie, and know he will have a close eye on both her and little incoming Pixie Pie, regardless of what life may have in store for me.

The funeral is tomorrow morning (or looking at the time, later this morning).

Goodnight and goodbye Jack. I for one mourn your passing, even if life and work has meant that I could not be there in person. I know you understand, and for that I love you even more.

Nesting = chaos

Pixie pie is moving around in my belly, and all kinds of objects are getting moved around in the house. Lots of stuff is even >gasp< LEAVING. We have meant to get the house in proper order, one room at a time, for, umm, 17 or so years -- nothing fully decorated, just ordered and functional enough that we feel good about it -- but I have never had the spaces assigned to months before. Now that I do, it all seems possible. We shall see. Please send any extra luck and energy my way. And stop by so I can try to give you stuff!