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The Accidental Podcaster: Blessings
As I type this, I'm curled up in the reading chair in my office, surrounded by three walls papered in post-it notes for story bits and RCM to-do's. Baron's joyous tones are booming through the house as he battles through the Darkest Dungeon; in my headset, Killer and Varyar are waging a battle of their own. In the room next to mine, a fourteen-pound turkey is thawing in my utility sink for Thursday's dinner; its 21-pound big brother is already in my kitchen fridge, waiting to be roasted in the morning. Provisions are laid in for the next several days so I don't have to deal with stupid people. I have a little bit of cleaning to do in preparation for hosting the Thanksgiving celebration, but most of my time this week is split between catching up on some RCM odds and ends and catching up on my reading (I've already finished two books and am about to end a third). Oh, and by the time this posts Wednesday morning, we'll be just a few hours off of the autumn Steam sale - an excellent bit of timing, considering earlier this evening the web ninja and I finished the pre-sequel for Borderlands and are ready for something new.1

In short, life is good.

It wasn't always this way. Thanksgivings of my childhood rarely ended with the warm and fuzzy Norman Rockwell images of chubby children curled up lovingly with their equally chubby dogs in front of a fire, Father puffing at a pipe over his newspaper while Mother in her Donna Reed-esque getup finished putting the dishes away. Our Thanksgivings of yore, like most holidays I had between the ages of eight and nineteen, were mainly spent waiting anxiously for our mother to get home from her shift at the nursing home (she almost always worked holidays for the extra pay), trying to make things nice in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, her deadbeat husband would be in a better mood by the time she returned. It wasn't likely, but hey, holidays are the time for goodness and miracles, right? We had to believe that not all holiday spirits came in a cheap brown bottle.


Given these early experiences, I can easily understand why holidays cause so much stress for some people. My first few Thanksgivings after my mother's (sweet, blessed) divorce were spent hiding out with my boyfriend's family on the edge of the distance my beat-up little college car could safely drive at a single stretch. As embarrassed as his mother would get over Aunt So-and-So's overindulgence in wine at dinner and obnoxious cooing over her now-grown nieces and nephews, it was nothing compared to what I was used to, and I soaked up as much of that feeling as I could. To this day, I couldn't tell you exactly who was there or what was served, but I can tell you about the mottled brown of the carpet in the living room, the scent of ham and turkey mingling with sugar-cookie candles, the missing glass on the chandelier from where one of the grandsons hand knocked into it the day she moved into the tiny house. Most importantly, I can tell you about the noisy laughter of a family come together, and how I would sit very quietly in a corner of the living room just taking it all in. The contrast was striking.


It was there, on the mottled brown carpet among the family of someone destined to be a part of my past, that Thanksgiving became something more than a holiday for me. I've always strongly believed that in life it's not a matter of where you came from, but rather where you're going, and to that end if you're willing to work your ass off and keep moving forward, you can do anything. A lot of people don't have the tenacity or perseverance to reach their dreams, and end up living lives less than what they want because they become too mired in circumstance to see a way out. This could very easily have been my story as well - become mired in the memories of Thanksgivings past, nothing changes, everything's hopeless, pass the bottle. Instead, as I sat there watching the alternate story playing out before me, I saw the way things could be. It took a lot of work, but as I sit here in my chair looking out at the emblems of our continued progress, I'm overjoyed. I've already beaten the odds, and with a group of friends I've come to love as family, we're continuing to beat those odds. Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday to feast and make merry; Thanksgiving is a celebration of everything we've done and have yet to do.
*****


WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING: Elizabeth Greenwood, Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud
THREE THINGS I'M LISTENING TO ON REPEAT: Escala, Requiem For A Tower; Dave Brubeck, Softly, William, Softly; Delain, Virtue and Vice

1 I am, however, most definitely doing the DLC where you have battle around in Claptrap's mind. Poor robot.
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