Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Thanksgiving Edition

With the Thanksgiving weekend, the amazing streak of weather has ended, leaving us with mostly bare trees and, well, some snow. I’m not sad, though; I knew the streak would end and I’m just happy, in a We’ll Always Have Paris kind of way.

“You do realize, this is what it’s like in the rest of the world?” a student said to me last week as I marvelled at the fact that we still had leaves on the trees in October. Leaves! On the trees! In October! The rest of the world is lucky, because this is a rare and precious GIFT in Calgary. Normally, we have a hard freeze in early September, followed by a gusting windstorm, which typically means that we have bare trees from September through to May. Wow, writing that down is a bit depressing. Anyway, NOT THIS YEAR.

Finally I understand what all you fall-crazy people are talking about. Usually fall is just a precursor to the long winter ahead, but NOT THIS YEAR. Any year that winter doesn’t start in September, well, that’s one less month of winter. Every day, every single day of this pandemic, I have been spending a lot of time outside, walking and/or running. The past six weeks, with glorious sunshine and warm temperatures, each walk has felt like a beautiful gift and I find myself humming look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now.

Last week I went for an early morning 6 km before dropping the kids at school; I watched the sun come up and brighten the sky. When I started the run it was dark and drizzly, and when I was finishing, I saw a double rainbow.

If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it is to appreciate every little thing that there is to appreciate. As Ma Ingalls always said, usually when the crop failed or they were almost literally starving or freezing to death, there’s no great loss without some small gain. Many things have been lost in this pandemic, but I am determined to keep my eyes open for all gains.

And it was Thanksgiving this weekend! So I think it is appropriate to write…

Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Thanksgiving Edition

The Reno

One year ago, we started our renovation of our vacation place, which was my husband’s grandmother’s house. I am incredibly thankful for it for many reasons – reliably flushing toilet! functional kitchen! – but mostly, it has given us a beautiful place to stay in order to safely visit my mother-in-law. The aforementioned functional kitchen also means that I was able to roast a bunch of vegetables and chickpeas, and make a big salad, and contribute to the Thanksgiving dinner that I otherwise would have had almost nothing to eat at. After eating a plate of peas and carrots last year, and then later sneaking into the kitchen to scarf down peanut butter toast in secret, this is a huge gift.

My contribution!

Also, it has a perfect place for me to drink my coffee and smoothies at, while reading.

Fall Colours

A few weeks ago we visited my parents for my dad’s birthday, and I have never seen such colours at that time of the year. Am I turning into a Fall Person? What’s next? Pumpkin spice lattes? (answer: no).

It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

This never gets old; a friend pointed out it was written ELEVEN years ago and wow, sometimes it seems like life is one of those fast-forward cartoons of pages tearing off of calendars. Anyway, the Co-Op had an assortment of decorative gourds, white pumpkins, and, of course, the regular kind. They were also selling bags of assorted decorative gourds but it turns out I have Real Opinions on decorative gourds and so carefully chose each one carefully from the bin.

There is a competition in the neighbourhood between my husband and a younger guy down the street, when it comes to seasonal decorations. As I was walking the dog, the young upstart asked me where OUR Halloween decorations were, as his have been up for two weeks already. Game on, shit is getting real this weekend. In the meantime, my decorative gourd display is the best motherfucking decorative gourd display on our street, DEAL WITH IT.

My dear friend Taryn (HI TARYN) gave me this sweet thing, so I can celebrate Decorative Gourd Season year-round. IT IS ALWAYS DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON IN THE BOYHOUSE NOW, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Grapes and Apples, Oh My

I know, I know, I just wrote about apples, but the season is full-on and I’m gorging. My mother-in-law saved me this “small amount” of Sheraton grapes from harvest a couple of weeks ago and my younger son and I tried our best to eat them all on the long weekend. We failed.

Typical conversation with my mother-in-law:

Her: Do you want me to save you some grapes?

Me: Sure! Just a small amount, you know, a few bunches would be great.

Her: sets aside ten pounds, thinking that is a small amount appropriate for one to two people to eat in three days

If I had one more day, I could have finished them. Alas.

My New Running Pants

To be honest, now that there is snow on the ground I’m going to be taking my running workouts back to the treadmill, but these funky new pants from Lululemon are my new favourite and have extended my season outside. They have pockets! And lots of support! And sweat vents! And I’m colourful like a speedy peacock!

Seasonal Masks

It all started when my older son mentioned he wanted a Halloween style mask; my friend Liana (HI LIANA) mentioned her friend Maria. She had made some masks that I had bought back in the summer, and it turns out she had just got some seasonal fabric for Halloween and Christmas. Well, and I had to get some adorable llama and birdie ones, just because.

Thank You For Being A Friend

In the spirit of gratitude, I want to extend my thanks to you, dear reader, for indulging me by reading this blog. My goodness, it has been TWELVE YEARS. Thank you for being a friend. xo

Mask courtesy of my friend Michelle (HI MICHELLE)!


  1. So happy that you got an extension of fall. Yippee! Fall is pretty, but I am definitely all about summer and sitting poolside. Still, by the time fall rolls around I am ready to embrace cozy clothes. Winter- yuck. I guess there is a reason I don’t live in Calgary.

    The vacation house sounds wonderful. I relate to your Thanksgiving meal woes, although I can eat meat. My Mom’s Christmas food often have gluten in them. The desserts- the worst. I have offered to make a family fav dessert GF and she turned me down saying she didn’t want it to taste funny.

    My rosary meditation yesterday was all about gratitude. Such an important thought process.

    12 years! Congrats. Glad to have found you. Love your blog.

  2. It has been the prettiest fall here, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m glad you got an extension on fall. Leaves are mostly still green here, with a smattering of yellow and red. Beth made us all Halloween masks. Mine has haunted houses with ghosts flying around them.

  4. Please oh please, for this New Hampshire reader, what are Sheraton grapes. I have googled them and al I get is a Sheraton hotel at Niagara Falls. .

  5. Your attitude is so contagious and I love it!

    My daughter and I went shopping for decorative gourds this weekend, and she and I each have Real Opinions about them as well, to our mutual surprise. And, alas, our Opinions differ quite a bit, so we ended up getting only one (well, plus some pumpkins, which are also gourds but… more specific).

  6. Favorite line – “Pumpkin spice lattes? (answer: no)” I completely agree.

    I don’t think our fall will be extended (as it’s just now really getting started) but due to the VERY slow pace of life this year (thanks COVID) I am able to sit and appreciate the beauty of fall.

    But snow? Already? And it usually starts in September? You are a true pioneer woman!

  7. Thank you for the smiles this morning. I LOVE your gratitude post so much. I SURE wish I could share some of our summer weather, to mix with your early winter because that would equal a beautiful FALL for you.
    You are a lovely running peacock with the best gourd display ever!
    I love your contribution to Thanksgiving and your MIL’s thoughts on grapes made me giggle.

Leave a Reply