Today I finished my last article for the week and I’m sorry to say that I did not go out on a high note, as my topic was Ashton freaking Kutcher, but whatever, the deadlines have been met and my vacation begins now. Woo!

Of course by “vacation” I mean “packing.” Packing is not nearly as much of a logistical nightmare as when we had acres of diapers and bouncy seats and bibs and swingamajigs and whatnot to cram in the truck, but man, it’s still a giant pain in the ass, especially when I’m trailed to and fro by a helpful preschooler who waits until my back is turned then quickly fills my suitcase with a cowboy hat, a stuffed donkey, and seventeen Curious George books.

I’m glad I’m not in charge of the Thanksgiving meal this year, although I’m not crazy about the fact that we’ll be in Oregon for this week and Christmas—that’s a lot of driving, for one thing, and I also feel bad that our house is so rarely a family holiday destination, but it just isn’t, even when it is, if that makes any kind of sense. Our house is too small to host more than two extra people and the truth is, no one really ever wants to come here. They do, of course, because they want to see us (well, let’s be honest: they want to see the kids), but small town Oregon does not love traveling to big sprawl Seattle, and I get that. I’m kind of tired of the traffic, expense, and unhappy local news, myself.

That’s just how it is and always will be, until some sort of job/economy miracle happens and we’re able to move to Oregon. Lately it feels like time is passing us by on this front—JB’s father has worsening health issues, his brother has a baby that I’ve only seen once—and it’s a difficult thing, us being so far away. I can’t complain, we’re doing well here and we are content for the most part … but I wonder if we’ll ever end up in that place we keep dreaming about. The one in a quiet town, the one that’s a shorter drive to so many of the things that are important to us.

Oh, but anyway, here we are coming up on Thanksgiving and I really do have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my healthy, joyous, slightly deranged boys; I’m thankful for my happy marriage; I’m thankful for my awesome job that lets me write about zombies every week; I’m thankful for the chance to see JB’s family this week and my family in mid-December. I’m even sort of thankful for all the drives up and down I-5 we’ve done over the years, because our kids are used to it now and traveling together is actually sort of fun these days.

Tell me, where are you going to be this Thanksgiving? And what are you feeling thankful for, right now?


43 Responses to “Full of thanks”

  1. Shana on November 22nd, 2011 8:09 pm

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think if you want to move to Oregon bad enough, you could do it. Of course, certain sacrifices would have to be made for awhile, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. You could rent out that house, if you can’t sell it in this market. Anyway, it would be a good thing to try to find a way.

    I’m thankful we got out of the SF Bay Area and moved to the country (even if this small town economy and culture took getting used to). I’m even thankful for our POS tiny house. ;)

  2. Linda on November 22nd, 2011 8:12 pm

    Shana, it’s not about finding a house, it’s about finding a job. It’s pretty lame to say that if we only wanted it bad enough we’d make it happen.

  3. Aubrey on November 22nd, 2011 8:15 pm

    I’m thankful for healthy and happy daughters, a crazy loud and huge family that just keeps getting bigger (2011 saw 3 more babies and an engagement), a job that remembers I’m Mommy first and the school secretary second, and so many more things that I’d run out of space before I finished. And your fantastic blog posts, really, is one of those things. Keep up your heartfelt and funny posts.

  4. Lydia on November 22nd, 2011 8:22 pm

    I’ve spent the entire day all pissy because of the upcoming holiday. We are spending it with my husband’s family because he figures he should since he hasn’t seen them since last Christmas. He hasn’t seen them because he doesn’t make the time or take the opportunity to. I want to go back to spending holidays with my family! It’s one of the suckiest parts of being married!

    They also only cook turkey breasts and serve them cold. Weird.

    However, I am really trying to get out of this little pity party funk I’m in. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for – jobs, health, freedom to do what I damn well want, etc.

  5. Operation Pink Herring on November 22nd, 2011 8:22 pm

    I’m thankful you decided to write here more often! Seeing new entries in my reader has made breastfeeding more bearable lately.

    My husband and I have also been trying to move to Oregon for several years. Unsuccessfully, obviously. Someday maybe we can be neighbors.

  6. Rachel on November 22nd, 2011 8:30 pm

    I thought, like Shana, that the house was the thing too, because I thought you and JB both had jobs you could do from anywhere. Oops! Here’s hoping that things work out and you can take the plunge. I think grabbing your dreams is like having kids… you’re never ever Ready, you just have to jump in and find that hey, it’s pretty soft down here really.

    I am going to my in-laws’ for Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that this is much more pleasant and restful than it was eighteen years ago. Everyone’s mellower. :) (I think people learned that nobody loves angry political debate served with the turkey.) Of course, they live fifteen minutes from my house. As do my parents, in the other direction.

    I have a hard time with ‘what are you thankful for’ memes just because… there’s so much. So I guess I could say that I’m thankful for a life so full of awesome that I can’t pick just one thing to be thankful for.

  7. Megsie on November 22nd, 2011 8:33 pm

    I am thankful that EVERYONE in my house is asleep right now. Quiet: Pure Bliss. I am hosting Thanksgiving again this year, and every year…and I guess I am thankful that we get to be in our house and our kids will be happy, and I have control over what, when, why… But, it is SO much work, on top of finishing out my semester at work. I am swamped. So, hey! I am thankful that the end of the semester is in sight, and that a break is too! Yay!

  8. Linda on November 22nd, 2011 8:39 pm

    I’m the only one with a mobile job, Rachel, and my income on its own certainly isn’t enough. I do agree that sometimes big decisions simply involve a leap of faith — except where much-needed health insurance and potential catastrophic long-term financial damage are concerned. Some dreams take more than just *wanting* them to come true, you know?

    I think we’ll get there eventually. It’s just taking longer than either of us had hoped.

  9. Becky on November 22nd, 2011 8:44 pm

    Thankful for my boys (feral monkeys I SWEAR) and my hubby..and all the other blood/non-blood relatives that make me nuts but also who I am

    Thankful for our health

    Thankful for my giving friends who have been so willing to help while hubby is 500 miles away at his job…

    Thankful for our careers

    Thankful for an awesome boss who “gets” the stresses of a family being in two places and the toll that can take. (And he is even a man!)

    Thankful for our military and their families.

    Essentially just thankful…for everything…..

  10. Jess on November 22nd, 2011 8:58 pm

    Linda, I completely understand that you just can’t jump into moving, even if you want it more than anything. I’m in a stage in my life where I’m graduating from college (albeit much later than I had originally hoped)and am trying to figure out how to find a graduate school that doesn’t suck when the school I really want to attend is on the east coast (I live in good ole Wisconsin). I have a four year old daughter and a husband to think of, and I can’t just rip them up and move them wherever. We need his job for health insurance more than we need me to go to school. Long story short, I completely understand how frustrating it is.

  11. Penny on November 22nd, 2011 9:11 pm

    I’m thankful for my husband who has stood by me through two major back surgeries (since last Dec.) and has taken on the role of sole provider. I lost my job in Oct. 2010 over this wore out back. I am thankful to be able to write this today as a year and a half ago I almost didn’t have the strength to deal with the pain. I am thankful for your wonderful sense of humor that makes me laugh on days when I could cry. Thank you….and have a wonderful holiday.

  12. Belle on November 22nd, 2011 9:46 pm

    We’re staying home for the 1st time in almost 40 years of married life. Yep, can’t believe it! We’ll have our adult kids and their significant others over and then we’ll take a plate to my dear old mama who just would rather hunker down in her warm toasty house than deal with loud and raucous people and rainy cold weather. Enjoy your trip! We made many of those long travels when our kids were small and I remember it fondly, actually. “Mom, he’s touching me! Make him stay on his own side!” “Mom, the Big Baby started it!” ha, good times!

  13. KateMac on November 22nd, 2011 9:55 pm

    We’re going to be home, the three of us, my sister, and her boyfriend. We’re going to stuff ourselves on non-typical holiday fare, and then maybe go see a movie.

    I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family. For my husband and my daughter and my parents and my sisters. For my three bad dogs. For my friends. For the roof over our heads and our good, good life.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Linda.

  14. Jennifer on November 22nd, 2011 11:21 pm

    I hear you on the hellacious driving, as I hate driving passionately more than anything else I can think of. But being a long drive away is better than being a plane flight away, at least. I moved back to the NW from Colorado because I need to be closer to my aging mom. Which is where we’ll be going on Thanksgiving… a 3-hour drive down to “the Thanksgiving buffet at the Retirement Home.” Uhhhh… should be an adventure in blandness, but it will be fun to see all the feisty seniors.

  15. Linda on November 22nd, 2011 11:25 pm

    Jennifer: we did that one Thanksgiving, years ago when JB’s grandmother was still alive. It was different, for sure, but also sort of lovely? So many people there with visiting family members, it was nice to see.

  16. Frannie on November 22nd, 2011 11:33 pm

    I’m going to Spring Hill, FL. IMHO, it’s an oddly placed suburb town, but my husband’s family is there. Speaking of work, some people (said family) drive two hours and spend way too much on gas to work in my city. So as far as your moving dream, I get it. The saving, planning, well paying/available jobs, family sickness, are all factors. I live in a rented house, in a great neighborhood but it’s close to a busy area (more people/crime). So moving, buying a house is always on the horizon. I can only wish I had a job where I wrote about zombies since I have doubts about my career path and it’s been the hardest thing for me lately. But unlike sitting idly by or being complacent, my family is still working to get to where we want to be. Things have been tough, but this year, I’m thankful for it, and what we do have. I’m thankful my family is still intact, healthy and for Ryan Gosling. Amen.

  17. Jennifer on November 22nd, 2011 11:34 pm

    Linda: yes, it’s pretty cool to join “the big family” of seniors with guests on a holiday. They all still have a lot to say, a lot to contribute.

  18. Stacy on November 23rd, 2011 2:06 am

    I’m spending Thanksgiving at my husband’s step-sister’s dad’s house, which I’m actually more excited for than you would think because I like them. I still miss spending it with my family but his doesn’t celebrate Christmas, so it’s only fair.

    I’m thankful that I’m finally past my wedding, lol, which was two weeks ago, because I’m much less stressed.

    And I really do wish you luck in being able to move sooner than you think, it sounds like it would be wonderful to be somewhere not like Seattle, which is close to where I live, and to be closer to family, which is also a problem I have, but especially for you boys, I know it would be nice for them.

  19. jess on November 23rd, 2011 3:19 am

    I feel ya – we live 4.5 hours away from my family. I rarely get to see my sisters, my dad, my grandparents and my beautiful nephew & niece. But this town is good to us, and we have to stay where the money is.

    Hope you have a great thanksgiving!

  20. Andrea on November 23rd, 2011 4:22 am

    Linda, we too, travel almost every holiday to NJ from the Boston area. Same thing- we’re the only ones here and most everyone is there- where I would love to be. But we both have jobs here, a house that we paid too much for… So our family of four will head there on Thursday. ( at the crack of dawn to avoid traffic).Our boys are almost three and almost five so you can think of us as kindred spirits on the east coast:)
    Also I am thankful for said jobs, homes, our families and the great friends I have made in my town. That certainly
    softens the blow of living so far away from my family.

  21. JudithNYC on November 23rd, 2011 5:28 am

    I am thankful that for the first time in years both my sons will be with me at Thanksgiving. The only problem is that I want to cook every dish ever invented. Happens every time.

    Linda, I dream about Eugene, OR too. That’s where I raised my boys and I love it. But while living in Eugene I was always under-employed, living paycheck to paycheck with no health insurance, etc. The stress erodes your spirit in ways than even now 20 years later and the boys VERY gainfully employed and secure, I still get cold sweats and wonder how we managed. So, yes, I understand why you have not made the move yet.

  22. jonniker on November 23rd, 2011 5:48 am

    We’re staying home this year, not even making the short drive up the highway to my sister’s house. I know, lame. But frankly, I just don’t feel good enough to want to be in a house full of people other than my immediate family with . . . a lot of food. Gross.

    I’m making something here, of course, but with foods/ingredients I can handle right now. Plus, I need my afternoon nap, and Sam doesn’t sleep when we go to her house for the day AND AND AND. You know. Next year, maybe. But I’m honestly really looking forward to a super-quiet day with just us, some parades, some football and all the naps we want.

    At the moment, I feel pretty thankful for most everything. My healthy family, my husband, my daughter, and the lemon-size person I’m still, somehow, playing host to for six more months.

  23. NancyJ on November 23rd, 2011 5:56 am

    We did the 5 hour one way rides for the holidays when we lived in California. They weren’t much fun but we all got used to it and now any long ride within New England is met with “remember when we used to drive 5 hours to go to TwainHarte for the weekend!”
    I’m thankful for a (fairly) healthy family this year; a son who’s now 21 and heading into his last semester in college with one job interview already under his belt; a husband who loves me unconditionally; a remodel business we run together with out killing each other and for having weathered the storm of little work early in the year.
    I wish a healthy, happy, safe Thanksgiving for you and your adorable family (JB included).

  24. Kim on November 23rd, 2011 6:44 am

    I’m also thankful for a lot of things, one of the biggest ones being I think I’ve finally (for the most part) made peace with the fact my husband & I will probably never be parents. It’s taken a few hard years (& shit-ton of money) but if being healthy, happy and married to someone I not only love but like a whole lot is my lot in life, I know I could being doing a heck of a lot worse.
    I’m also thankful for Breaking Bad podcasts.

  25. Nolita on November 23rd, 2011 7:59 am

    I pray that you guys get to move closer to the things you love! I know you want it bad enough and that you are researching every option possible. Maybe on this trip something big will happen to facilitate this dream coming true (I hope!).

    I am thankful for too freaking much so I won’t list it here…well maybe a couple of things: thankful for my job (15+ years), home, kids’ health, patient hubby, clean water, heat…

    We’ll be visting Scott’s family for one meal and then my family this weekend.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Linda!

  26. Maureen on November 23rd, 2011 9:24 am

    I’m thankful that we live so far from both our families, no one expects us to show for holidays. We have lovely relaxing holidays, no stress-pure bliss. I am thankful for my wonderful daughter, loving husband, house full of dogs and cats, the new Flavia De Luce mystery. Happy Thanksgiving Linda!

  27. Redbecca on November 23rd, 2011 9:38 am

    Our beautiful son. My amazing husband. My family. My MOM who has spent more time driving me back and forth to doctor appointments in the last 4 years than she did for after school activities during my 4 years of high school.
    I’m thankful we got to visit with my grandmother last month just a few weeks before she passed away. I think she even knew who I was for a few minutes during our visit and I’ll always treasure her squeezing my hand and staring intently into my eyes as if to convey all the loving words she wanted to say but couldn’t.
    We’re spending our Thanksgiving locally with family. A small gathering this year but it will contain the chaos.
    Slogging up to Syracuse from DC area for Xmas will be fun with the bonkers 4yo in the back seat. Oy!
    Have a great Thanksgiving, Linda!

  28. Jessica on November 23rd, 2011 10:15 am

    I grew up in a town close to Coos Bay and go back to visit a couple times of year. I always day dream about moving my family there – what an incredible place to be a child. Lots and lots of outdoor space and the schools are actually really good, too. But like Linda, the sticking point is getting a job. I see some comments where a handful of people are saying that Linda should just “man-up” and “make it happen” but I don’t think these folks truly understand how dire the economy is in these small coastal towns. There is almost no business core to these communities. Poverty levels are extreme, so thinking you can start a business and make a living that way is probably a pipe dream. Tourism and retirement communities are the primary business and neither pay much of a living wage, much less provide medical insurance. There was a time when logging and commercial fishing were the economic engines of coastal Oregon but all the trees have been cut down (don’t believe me? get a window seat and fly into the North Bend airport) and the fish are dead. Linda is WISE not to dump her family and the future of her children into this economic reality without a bullet-proof plan in hand (and she’ll probably need a bullet-proof plan B as well.) My 2 cents.

  29. Mary on November 23rd, 2011 10:17 am

    For the first time ever, we have our own house and our little one is big enough to semi-understand holidays. We’re staying home for the whole season this year, and I’m thankful for that. No traveling with a baby, just snuggling up next to our very own fireplace and starting our own traditions.

    I’m thankful in a million ways–so much has happened this past year, all of which were a question marks a year ago. New job for hubs, new city, new house, and emotionally in a better place too.

    Safe travels, Linda and family. And everyone else, while I’m at it. :)

  30. Alison on November 23rd, 2011 10:20 am

    I’m currently crammed into a truck with a husband, a baby, two dogs who REALLY needed baths before this trip but didn’t get them, and what feels like half the contents of our household. Right now, I am thankful we only have 4 HOURS left in this vehicle.

    Wishing you lots of luck in following your dream of moving to Oregon. I know it’s cliche, but I do believe everything comes around when it’s supposed to.

  31. MRW on November 23rd, 2011 10:29 am

    We live a 3 hour drive from my in-laws. My husband would love to live near them in Central Oregon where he grew up but there are simply no jobs for he or I there. So for him it has been a process of learning to love where we are because the reality is that we cannot make it there. That said I’m glad we are having TG at my parents house in town this year only because taking a car trip that should be three hours over TG actually becomes 5 hours and my toddler is just a wreck by the end of it. Local holiday = sanity saver.

  32. Christie on November 23rd, 2011 10:58 am

    I’m in Canada, so I was thankful last month…lol. Actually, I am thankful for more good things in my life than I can count. The world’s most amazing husband (no really!), two fabulous kids, all of us healthy (knock on wood!), a job I love, and a house to live in (even if we are desperate to sell and it’s been on the market for a month and I’m so SICK of trying to keep it clean!). I recognize that my complaints are all trivial, and all very much of the first world variety. And for that, more than anything else, I am thankful.

  33. Kristen on November 23rd, 2011 1:23 pm

    My parents are attemping to sell their house in Grants Pass trying to move closer to Seattle to be near us – you guys should trade!! :) I’m thankful I found a new job this year that is sucking much less of my soul than my previous job, that my health has been good, that my daughter is currently in a stage where she loves me more than my husband, and that there are cool blogs to read when I need a break at work. Enjoy your holiday!

  34. Jessica on November 23rd, 2011 2:19 pm

    We live just down the road from one side of the family and less than 10 minutes from the other side, so we don’t have to travel far, which I am thankful for as road trips are expensive for us! I’m thankful that we both have jobs we enjoy and that our kid is awesome and we have another on the way, even if that one is making me terribly nauseated on a regular basis.

  35. MotherGooseAmy on November 24th, 2011 9:17 am

    First of all, let me say that I am thankful for all life’s blessings both big and small. My kids, my husband, my warm home, food on the table, etc. etc.

    Let me shed some light on greener grass on the other side if you will:

    We live “local.” Meaning my parents and my husband’s parents live in the same metro area. All of our siblings live out of town. So we are “here,” and the visiting comes to us. We must be at the ready to work around everyone elses schedules.

    Parents have their own agendas which means this year I won’t be spending Thanksgiving at all with my side of the family, at all because it’s my husband’s sides turn to have us. This makes me really sad.

    My sister decided not to come home this year, so that sucks too.

    But my husband’s siblings are in and while we will see them for dinner tonight, if we want to see them other times this weekend we have to work around them visiting their in-laws and childhood friends and etc.

    I feel like when you live locally you get jacked around because all the out of towners are only around for a few days.

  36. Page on November 24th, 2011 11:56 am

    We end up taking a trip to see our families (in Chicago and Iowa) every few years at Thanksgiving, though most years I go solo for Christmas. I don’t envy you: any kind of travel at the holidays is often sheer hell.

    On a side note- we’ll be happy to have you in Oregon whenever you guys can make it work. If you ever need help with anything in Portland, just give a shout this way!

  37. sooboo on November 24th, 2011 3:16 pm

    Thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving at home chillin with my bro (who lives in Europe and I haven’t seen in a year) and awesome husband. Thankful that I got thrown a nice, well paid gig right before the holiday that I managed to wrap up before today. So many other things, I live in a great place, have good friends, good health, lots of interesting things to look forward to… Also grateful you’ve been writing more. I hope the stars align for your family and you get to make your move soon.

  38. sooboo on November 24th, 2011 4:16 pm

    Also, thought you might get a kick out of this.

  39. Rachel P on November 25th, 2011 12:14 pm

    So beautiful to see your gratitude about the little things in this post. As for the longing to move to Oregon, I can relate. It’s taken me several moves to learn that everything is happening exactly in the timing that it should. I’m later aware that there was some reason the universe kept me in one place until the timing was right. More will be revealed… And when it finally works out it will do so perfectly. When I try to force things ahead of time they end up being really ugly and painful. So Trust. You are a phenomenal writer and right now you are touching so many hearts with your posts. Maybe in a new house/city/place finding a space for writing would be harder. So I guess what I’m saying is that we your readers, it’s all about us…screw your dreams.
    Hang in ther and keep this good stuff coming.

  40. Kelly on November 27th, 2011 6:48 pm

    Grateful for an awful lot here…my amazing friends and family in particular. Especially thankful that we’re becoming parents and that, 7.5 months in, all seems to be going well with this pregnancy we weren’t really sure would be able to happen.

    Thanksgiving was very different from our usual, but wonderful. We spent it with my brother-in=law and sister-in-law, just the four of us with great food, games and lots of relaxing. Perfect!

  41. Emily on November 28th, 2011 7:01 am

    Us too. We are 8 hours away from ALL of our family who live about 5 minutes from each other. It sucks. We would give anything to be close to them. But as you said we are ok where we are. It’s not ideal but we both have good jobs, a house, aren’t up to our nose in debt. It works. It isn’t always great but it works.

  42. LizP on November 28th, 2011 1:00 pm

    Linda, I live in Eugene and the economy here still sort of sucks. So while others may say “take the leap of faith” my advice (and remember it’s worth what you paid for it ;-) is for your husband to have a job here BEFORE you move! It SUCKS trying to find a job here. There are jobs but the job market is tight so they can ask for the moon in experience and qualifications and usually get it. Oh, and for the most part people get paid MUCH less than in the rest of the country. If I were working in Portland I’d get paid 50-100% more. But then again I’d have to live in the Portland area and there is a reason I left the SF Bay Area!

    For some positive – as you know it’s gorgeous here at the south end of the Willamette Valley. We have the arts, education, and two awesome rivers.

    Good Luck!

  43. Shana on November 28th, 2011 9:31 pm

    Yes, I thought your husband had his own business and could move anywhere, and I thought you did, too. At least I was right about one of you. Sorry for being lame. :(
    *sigh* I’ll just shut up now.

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