Handel’s harp concerto in B-flat gently nudges the house awake on this Thanksgiving morning, and I am peering out into a day that will be shared entirely in the company of my pups, and I am grateful.
Nelle has decided she would check in on Norman who lays deeply in sleep, placing her right paw on his shoulder, he laying stretched out on his right. She nuzzles his ear, sniffs his eye, all her ‘subtle’ inquiry of whether he is ready to get up as she and begin the day. Norman remains stoic . . . for a few more moments, but then is up remembering breakfast follows a long night’s slumber.
When I welcomed Nelle into our family this autumn, I gladly chose to anchor my Thanksgiving at Le Papillon, keeping it simple and cozy. Not having all of her shots just yet, and knowing an extended day of travel (and then back home) would be a bit much with a young pup, I began to quite look forward to sharing our first Thanksgiving together in Bend, just us three. And if I am being honest, both while legitimate reasons for staying home, it gave me even more reason for doing exactly what I longed to do.
Thanksgiving 2022, the first Thanksgiving at Le Papillon with no construction nor half-completed projects in vital rooms (i.e. bathrooms), and the freedom to choose, or should I say, now exercise the courage to choose how we truly want to spend the holiday.
I have learned that it is far healthier to determine a decision that differentiates itself from past choices when motivated by what we long to do rather than by what we dread. First, the former motivating factor shifts our energy into one of excitement even if with a drop of fear which is actually uplifting and creates even more energy to more deeply enjoy our choice rather than a decision grounded in pain or negativity which drains our well-being.
And so it is with great giddiness that I am spending my Thanksgiving at home accompanied by my two pups. The seasonally lavish menu is planned and with half of my day off (the This & That post will be created and ready to be posted for Friday on the blog full of sales not to miss), having reveled in the bustling at the grocery markets earlier this week picking up the many items that are not found year-round and selecting other ingredients less often purchased unless the winter holidays have arrived, I am eagerly awaiting time in my kitchen (with of course, the help of my two sous chefs ☺️??). Such an occasion as shopping for food, signals the beginning of the holiday season, and I was all too many smiles – grateful to be able to do as I was, for the first time, restriction-free, in my hometown, bringing the loot of the feast home to Le Papillon.
Gratitude abounded yesterday as unexpectedly one of my burners refused to ignite this past weekend, and with the technician able to arrive before the big cooking day, he informed me how to solve (and prevent) the problem, which was . . . I simply needed to clean my burners better (tough love I needed to hear ?), and thankfully suggested some scratch-free cleaners which I picked up tout de suite later in the afternoon and went to work. I am happy to inform those who are curious, each burner not only now works, but looks nearly new (and my fingers have now temporarily been scoured as well ☺️, but it was ohhhhh so worth it).
Occurring this Thanksgiving week, I connected deeply, honestly and lovingly with old friends and new, personal and business, taking me out on the town for aperitifs at two different locations, one new in Bend and one a trusted and beloved favorite locale while also serendipitously connecting with a kindred spirit whose calm presence and living of life as they do inspired and soothed.
After enjoying a breakfast with the special addition of bacon and a slice of toast from a favorite artisan loaf slather in French salted butter that will soon become stuffing, the pups and I will be heading up to the mountain to find some snow to either snowshoe in or just walk about if the snow is yet to come. The sky shares its brilliant blue magnificence in Bend today and I am grateful to be able to be myself, letting go of any false embodiments to go through the motions on a holiday I greatly love for its theme of gratitude and gathering around food.
It takes time to realize you have worn a mask of survival, whether not having the courage to say no, not having the knowledge of why you want to say no or not knowing exactly what brings you joy and contentment (find out how to unearth this for your unique self here on the blog and TSLL’s books), but when you begin to assemble the puzzle of knowing, the joy in the savoring of what you begin to welcome into your life becomes a magnet attracting similar and loving beings into your days and experiences. And while I have chosen to be in my own company this year, there are people I will no doubt savor this festive meal with in coming years including some I have with in the past. However, today, I am in this moment and I am oh so grateful to have a space of calm, a place full of love and play, delicious fare and celebration to simply be in good health.
Sometimes our holidays want to be atypical, and when we choose to let go and let them be as they desire, they usually have their magical way of offering us something more delicious than we could have imagined or even planned.
Maybe it is the introvert in me that is drawn to such a day to savor on a day when most are gathered with others, but I actually liken it to my life finally finding its true foundational footing having found the courage to be brave and honoring what arises and piques my curiosity.
To all TSLL readers, thank you for your interest and time shared when you stop by the blog. A special thank you to readers Anne and Jim and to David Jimenez (mark your calendars for December 7th when David will be a guest on the podcast discussing his new book) for their Thanksgiving wishes sent this week, and to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving today, wishing you an abundance for which to be grateful and a scrumptious day of savoring food, company, new traditions and old.
A glimpse at my day. First, Nelle, helping me with this post. ?
While aspects of my day will hint at tradition – a turkey will be involved ? , the rest will be a treat to experience as it unfolds (a peek at my menu below). Bonne journée and thank you for stopping by.
Le Menu à Le Papillon
- Turkey Thigh with homemade stuffing with mushrooms
- Chou Farci (a classic French dish, translated as whole roasted stuffed Savoy cabbage)
- Sweet Potato Gratin (as I heard sweet potatoes were far less expensive than potatoes at the moment; although, I must confess, sweet potatoes are a treat, and I would have chosen them anyway☺️)
- A platter of a couple of French cheeses
- Pear Tart au Tain
- and because it’s Thanksgiving, a Bourbon Pumpkin Tart (see below)
- Sparkling wine and Beaujolais