many ways to spend thanksgiving

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“an optimist is a person who starts a new diet on thanksgiving day.” irv kupcinet

it’s a busy time with everyone around the country and other places who celebrate thanksgiving this week. when i was a child i think there was more a singular version of what the perfect thanksgiving was. the classic turkey dinner with family, the idyllic norman rockwell style get together. today it’s incredible the way the holiday has expanded to include and embrace many different ways to give thanks.

whether it’s a grand formal event, or enjoying takeout for one, they can all be enjoyed in the same way. by the way my secret fantasy thanksgiving for one is, early in the day doing some exercise outdoors to assuage the guilt for all the food i’ll be eating later in the day. ordering takeout and also stopping at a bakery and picking up a freshly baked pie, all the while giggling inside that i’m not cooking a thing. enjoy a glass of wine while i change into my pajamas, and start a good movie. then i eat in reverse order starting with the pie first and work my way back if i have room! perfect.

~ this looks like a delicious menu for a quick and easy dinner for one or two.

~ this new york times article shows how 15 families from across the US celebrate their beautiful and diverse thanksgiving food traditions.

~20 great thanksgiving movies to watch with your family.

~how to set a basic, casual, and formal table setting.

~ Want a low-alcohol Thanksgiving cocktail that drinks like a wine?

~ having thanksgiving dinner at daniel in nyc sounds devine.

happy thanksgiving. kai

experiences not things

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it’s the beginning of the holiday season and it seems that the buying season starts earlier and earlier in the year and many sites are already ramping up the “what to buy” lists, sales, and reviews. let the games begin. i’m not immune. last week i went down a black hole on my laptop trying to convince myself why i needed this pair of jeans that was on sale. almost every fashion or lifestyle site i subscribe to were talking about this sale, it’s the first time they went on sale, they were only on sale for another 24 hours, they were fantastic, entire posts on reviews of them, i was hooked. i went to the site and read through the details and as gorgeous as they were, saw that the rise of the jean was too high for me because i’m 5’2”. i even already own a pair of jeans with a rise that was lower than these and they were still too high for me so i definitely knew they wouldn’t work.

that didn’t deter me. there were were tons of reviews on the site so i patiently read through them looking for reviews from petite woman saying how fabulous they were. i went to other bloggers who i know had reviewed them in the past and read their reviews again. i was literally trying to convince myself that i needed these jeans! half an hour later i finally snapped out of my trance, thankfully before i purchased them.

i do love the holidays and want to enjoy all the wonderful things that go with them but i will try and take a breath and move slowly through the consumption part of it, and try to focus on the people and experiences that are the important part. i’ll try to keep the idea of hygge close and be mindful. i’ll try to create an atmosphere that works for me, at this time of my life, without trying to adhere to the pretend perfection that we see in marketing and sometimes on social media. and if you see me in public with jeans that are too high waisted for me, know that i am still trying…….. :-)

~kai

can illness bring you joy?

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having parkinson’s can be difficult. there is not a day that goes by that it doesn’t stay top of mind. you have an invisible chain to your clock because you need to see if it’s time to take your medication. some days it’s difficult to get the energy to do the tasks for the day and to be your own best cheerleader.

but in spite of all the challenges, can illness bring joy to our lives? i say yes. it can bring into focus at laser speed the things and people that are most important in our lives. it can provide gratitude because we understand loss. it can teach us greater empathy to others when they are having a difficult day. it can bring us joy by learning to live and enjoy the present moment.

so when i’m having a down moment, i try to remember not only what parkinson’s has taken away, but what it has given me.

trading in my to do list

photo courtesy of  justin ornellas

photo courtesy of justin ornellas

most mornings as part of my morning routine, i make a to do list for the day. i have a been a big list maker for years and they run the gamut on how they were organized. it’s so fun for me to cross off those items after they are completed.

but i’d like to add a new list called my “joy & meaning” list. it comes from a book i’ve really enjoyed called the gifts of imperfection by brene brown. in it she describes how her lists in the past many times included things that were linked to mostly professional accomplishment, acquisition of more things, monetary goals, and so forth. i have had those same lists and they can be important things to focus on, but most of them required making and spending more money.

the joy & meaning list are the ingredients of how we would like our lives to look like when it’s at its best. it will of course change over time and incorporating all of them is a lesson in progress and perfection but it’s a wonderful exercise and once you start thinking about it, you cant take it in all sorts of creative directions if you’d like. here is my list:

-sleeping well

-cooking delicious & healthy meals

-doing exercise that i enjoy

-gardening

-spending time with family & friends

-being present with the people in my life

-volunteering or doing something for others

-finding time to play, ponder, and putter

-having control over our finances

-doing meaningful work that doesn’t overly consume me

tell me what’s on your joy & meaning list. enjoy your week!

the only royal palace in the US

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yesterday we took a tour of iolani palace. the modern hawaiian monarchy was formed in 1810, when king kamehameha I consolidated rule of the hawaiian islands, until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown and queen liliuokalani was deposed. the palace was built by her brother king david kalakaua, during his reign in 1879. it's a beautiful little palace in the center of town and it's been such a joy to drive by and see most of my life.

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it's a lovely mixture of hawaiiana and western culture. the native koa wood furniture and staircase just glow with a patina. the dining room table is set with original tiffany silverware gifted from napoleon III from france and crystal from what was called bohemia (now the czech republic).

each room features a different color filled with artifacts and period furniture, many of which were repatriated over time.

in 1893 the monarchy was overthrown and sadly queen liliuokalani was forced to abdicate and eventually imprisoned in one of the bedrooms in the palace for eight months. after her release she lived her remaining years in a residence called washington place, which was until recently the residence of the governor of hawaii. 

eventually hawaii was annexed by the united states government and became the 50th state in 1959. the palace was used for many years as various government offices and had come under disrepair. the group the friends of iolani palace was created to lead the effort of its restoration.

it's a wonderful tour and i'd recommend it to both visitors and residents. bravo to the docents and other guides who were wonderful!