Michaeline: Thanks Given

Kana and Yuta, my housecats, form a ball of snuggle on the sofa. (E.M. Duskova)

It’s been a good week for me. We’ve had unseasonably sunny days, lots of visits from kitties and plenty of snuggles from the domesticated pets. And there was NaNo, which brought me a good story and some nice story seeds this week.

Before I talk about National Novel Writing Month, I do want to say a word or two about Thanksgiving dinner. It’s almost always on a workday in Japan, so I often do my best with some roast chicken and wait for the community Thanksgiving that we do in a huge kitchen with loads of people. (Loads being about 60 or 70 people eating, in our case.)

I miss seeing those people, but it was relaxing not to have to get up early and drive 45 minutes each way for a day of cooking and cleaning (and the very, very nice meal). And since I’m not working for anyone but myself these days, I decided to make a modified Thanksgiving feast. Roasted chicken thighs with sage. My mom’s dressing, cut in half, and mutated with my mom’s scalloped chicken recipe. It’s onions and celery in way too much

butter, turned into a white sauce, which I mix in boiled chicken gizzards, mashed potatoes, toasted bread cubes and a little broth to finish it off. And gravy. Too much gravy – I still have half a pint of gravy in the fridge, and am wondering if I should make more dressing to finish it off.

I love dressing . . . .

To lighten the load, I made pears in a lemon agar-agar (it’s like gelatin, but a bit more fragile, and MUCH quicker to jell – I put it in the fridge one hour before dinner, and it was perfect by the time the meal was on the table). I also opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce – very, very traditional! And, I made a Waldorf salad. Jilly may know how to make a Waldorf salad from Fawlty Towers. Mine is apples with a squeeze of lemon, toasted walnuts and little chunks of celery.


Two small pies in aluminum cases, with one slice on the plate, and enough whipped cream to fill a ping pong ball.

Hooray for the pumpkin pie! Er, kabocha pie. Perfect whipped cream to pie ratio, IMO. (E.M. Duskova)

There was also kabocha pie with homemade whipped cream, but my family weren’t willing to go into a food coma for a foreign holiday. So, I had pumpkin custard with whipped cream later that night, then pumpkin pie for breakfast, for lunch, and for supper with everyone else. And breakfast again the next day since my husband doesn’t like pumpkin pie. Oh, my friends, I am truly blessed to have a husband who willingly gives me his pumpkin pie!

It took three hours in all to cook, but so worth it. And, since I had lots of dressing, I could just recuperate from the cooking marathon with leftovers and gravy on Friday.

Thursday was the one day this month when I didn’t add a single word to my NaNo word count, but I figure I get one day off.

It’s Saturday now, and I’m very grateful for NaNo this year. It’s given me at least four good stories so far (I shared one in the comments of Elizabeth’s writing sprint exercise from last week), and it’s taught me that even if I write garbage on half of the days, it still keeps the writing wheels lubricated. I thought at least one of my stories was going nowhere when I started out, but surprised myself with a good finish. I think I have established a good pattern this month for writing every day, and I hope this continues into the new year.

I will say, my word count has not been great. I only broke the 20,000 word mark (out of 50,000) last week. But . . . one of the wonderful things about NaNo is that you are given a lot of freedom to decide for yourself if you are a winner. When you fill in your wordcount at the end of a writing session on the NaNoWriMo.org website, you are given the option to fill in your feelings. Super-smiley, smiley, neutral, sad, miserable. I’ve had some sad days, but I’ve also had some delighted days.

I’ll chalk it up as a win that I am thankful for. Keep writing, guys! The world can use the thoughts you are putting out there.   

Old person in a garret with a leaky roof, and empty stove, writing poetry and surrounded by books.
Ah, the writing life! Full of whimsy and imagination! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

4 thoughts on “Michaeline: Thanks Given

  1. It sounds like you had a great week, Michaeline, what with all the pumpkin pie/custard you could eat, and leftover gravy with maybe more dressing to come. And words to NaNo, as well! I hope the forces continue to be with you through the rest of the holiday season. 🙂

  2. If you formed a persistent habit of writing every day, I’d call that a win regardless of how many words you wound up with.

    I Facetimed with my daughter Thanksgiving morning while we worked on our separate dinners and that was lovely. It felt like ordinary hanging out time, with my grandkids and daughter-in-law wandering into the frame at odd moments.

    One more major distanced holiday to get through and, one hopes, the vaccine will allow us to be back together again by Memorial Day or 4th of July.

    • It really is a matter of getting through it. And I think learning how to Zoom has been such a benefit of the year of Covid. It’s a fun way to get in contact with people. I’ve done LINE for years, but you have to sign up for it and there are a few hoops to jump — like you need a cell phone to attach it to. Zoom may have problems, but it’s easy to get into.

      Fingers crossed that we’ll all be celebrating the Fourth of July (well, Americans anyway) with joy and lots of friends and family in the same area!

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