Category Archives: holidays

Black Friday / Tree Friday

While America now knows the Friday after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, for the last couple of decades at our house it’s been Tree Friday. For many years this was the day that Child and I headed out to chop down a tree for the holidays.  These days I head down to Bachmans (they have a 25% off fresh trees on Black Friday and they are really close by).

In fact, it was 7 years ago on Tree Friday that I got my nickname from Jacque. Dale had written that day a great bit about Black Friday and used some Shakespearean language to get us going.  My bit was:

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the north and Hansen Tree Farm is the sun.

Open up, fair Tree Farm and await the crowds
Who, already stuffed and sleepy from yesterday
Swing saws and other implements of destruction.

Jacque came up with Verily Sherrilee that day.

So what about you? Taking part in Black Friday shopping?  Online purchasing?  Just taking it easy?


It seems to me that Thanksgiving has more expectations attached to it than any other day of the year. I like to read advice columns in the morning (makes me feel like I have a good handle on things); for a couple of weeks the columns have been filled with angst about Thanksgiving.

Grandma doesn’t want to host dinner and two of the daughters are throwing a fit because it will spoil the day. Uncle Joey always drinks too much and everyone is worried about whether he will spoil the day.  Cousin Mary has a new boyfriend who is a vegetarian and everyone is worried his dietary needs will spoil the day.  Grandpa won’t come because he has a new puppy that isn’t welcome and it will spoil the day.  For so many people Thanksgiving seems to be encased in amber; it must be exactly as it’s always been and it can’t be spoiled.

As a person who moved away from home at an early age, got divorced and then became a single parent, I have never had a chance to cement a list of requirements to make Thanksgiving Day overly static. There is however, one thing that I have been in charge of for many years – the thankful project. I’ve done a paper Mayflower w/ little scrolls that people wrote on, I’ve done a large cut out turkey whose feathers became lists of what we’ve thankful for, I’ve done a large tree with leaves for the thankful thoughts.  This year I’m doing a big poster board covered with square of different papers and have a handful of markers for everybody to write with.  I love doing the thankful project as it really brings it home to me where my focus should be, rather than on whether the potatoes are the way I like them.

One of the things that I’ve written down for the last couple of years on the thankful project is “baboons” (which I then have to explain).  I am beyond grateful that I’ve found a community of folks who are thoughtful, caring, sincere, well-read, funny… all these things and more.  I’m thankful for this past year with you all on the Trail and looking forward to the year coming up.

No question today – just heartfelt thanks for all of you!

Thirty Percent

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

In class the other day, the teacher said, “Thirty percent of your life is doing things you don’t want to do. If you’re lucky.”

What do you think? I think it’s probably high for me in general. I know I am very fortunate to do what I love and have my own schedule. I’ve managed to cut a lot of the stuff I don’t like out of my life.

You may recall I’ve talked about the week of Christmas concerts in December and it all just makes me grumpy. That would be a time where 80% of my life is not what I want. But wait! There are changes afoot! New (temp) music teacher. Concert completely revamped! Not exactly sure what’s going on yet… the secretary compares it to herding chickens. But at least it will be different! (We keep reminding ourselves Change is Good!)

Is 30% high or low in your life?


I am an only child.  When I was younger, I cringed when I said that to people, as I invariably would hear the same phrase “Oh, you must be spoiled”.  It always made me want to apologize.

Spoiled, to me, brings up images of the nasty girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I think that people can be spoiled in good and not so good ways, and I have tried to spoil my children and the people I love in good ways.

Our daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving. We haven’t seen her for six months.  Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, and she has great expectations for her trip home.   Every year we “spoil” her by letting her plan the Thanksgiving meal.  She has old favorites, and likes to try new things as well. She doesn’t help prepare the food, but leaves it to us.  This year she has requested French bread, an apple crisp for desert,  cranberry salsa, a basic turkey dressing, butternut squash casserole,  mashed potatoes, a simple turkey that is covered in cheese cloth and basted with herb butter, and, of course, green bean casserole.  She also wants cranberry mimosas.

Daughter has also asked that she gets a down comforter on her bed, and has other favorite food requests for the 10 days she is home.  I think this is a very good way to spoil her.

How do you spoil the people you love?


Trick or Treaters?

I love Halloween. Not the original All Hallow’s Eve, but what it has morphed into: the costumes, the candy, the jack-o-lanterns. Even as an adult, I love to dress up (today I dressed as the Crocodile Hunter, complete with a large upholstery foam crocodile that draped over my shoulders).  I have a lovely decorative flag of a full moon with bats, a wonderful huge ceramic jack-o-lantern with the letters of our last name as the mouth and a whole bunch of Halloween luminaries that YA and I made when she was younger. (I’m not crazy about all the gory horror films that get trotted out at this time of year, but that’s another story.)

Unfortunately the reality of the trick-or-treat experience these days is not as much fun as I would have it be. I live on a busy street with a lot of folks who don’t leave their lights on; this keeps the foot traffic down. This year has a couple more strikes against it: it’s a school night and it’s REALLY REALLY cold.  I normally only get about 25 trick or treaters.  This year I only got 15 before I finally closed up shop.  The last 5 kids got a huge handful of candy each!

When has a holiday disappointed you?