So you can imagine when my sister told me that she was going to spend this holiday season 'diligently practicing thankfulness' my eyes involuntarily rolled. But then whilst trying to sleep a few days later I realized how productive that could actually be. I have so much to be thankful for in this life I have carved out, there is no reason not to spend some time dwelling on these things. I never really understood why people saw the holidays as stressful, as they were always full of joy and good things for me, but I can certainly take some time to put energy into the act of being thankful. It is humbling, it is positive, and I am going to do it. So here in no particular order are the things I am thankful for today:
Security - This is not an easy time for a lot of people, be it the world economy, the place they were born, disruptions in relationships, whatever it is. I am fortunate to be in a place where I feel secure in my job, secure in my relationship, safe in my neighborhood. Today I will remind myself that these are not things to take lately. I am thankful that I go to sleep each night with very few necessary worries.
Friends - Lets face it, work is not always fun, keeping a house is not always easy, even putting energy into friendships can be frustrating. But that investment in others proves to come back tenfold. To have people in your life that know what you are up to, and care, is really incredible. It is those moments with good friends that really make all of the other 'stuff' we have to do worth it. I am thankful today for so many good people in my life.
Family - I know, I know, this list is entirely predictable. But my thankfulness for my family is not just in the fact that they are wonderful. It is in the idea that they have decided that we will be a supporting unit no matter what twists and turns life brings. While the 'problems' my family may face could seem mundane and insignificant to some, for us they have been real. And through everything there has been this commitment to relationship that has prevailed, even flourished. I am thankful to have been born into a group of people that value each other that much.
Finally, with an eye towards ending this diary-like ramble - I am thankful for the sure pleasure that writing this blog has added to my life. It really has enhanced my days in ways I didn't imagine when I started. So I will be toasting these things with the following carefully selected wines this Thursday (well Wednesday night actually for me, but lets pretend) I know there are a million articles and posts out there on how and what to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner. I've avoided it in the past just for that reason. But in case you are interested, or want to try these wines at a later date, here they are. My rules (self-imposed but carefully crafted) are 1) I choose to drink American wine with what feels to me a uniquely American feast 2) Needs to be festive 3) Needs to be reasonably priced 4) Needs to have good acidity to stand up to all the food.
With appetizers - Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Blanc de Blancs While not the most complex domestic sparkler, I go back to this wine for parties time and time again. It is refreshing, it is crisp, it sparkles.... If it is a bit too boring for you make a Classic Champagne Cocktail by dropping a sugar cube in your flute, adding 2-3 drops of bitters, and then topping with the sparkling wine - delicious.
With the smorgasboard - Vergari 2007 Marin County Pinot Noir I've written about David Vergari's wines before, but because I truly love them I've saved this one for the Thanksgiving table. It has some pretty real earthy, minerally aromas and tastes going on, but enough ruby fruit to balance it out. I can't wait to drink this with turkey.
Chronicle Wines 2006 Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel Zinfandel is a quintessential American grape (well, we made it what it is anyway) but I want one that is not too bomby, appropriately structured, but not overwhelming. This bottle accomplishes such a wish with finesse, but maintains enough fruit to not be overly nuanced for the setting.
With the pies - I had a bottle of Ridge Old School Zinfandel 2007 from Dry Creek Valley a few months back and was shocked as I did not expect the residual sugar and almost port-like characteristics it presented. Opened in the wrong setting I did not enjoy it. But I think it will go beautifully with after dinner desserts and enjoying the fire, as it has great acidity and thick sweet fruit and spice. This wine was made for American Thanksgiving cheese, dessert, or conversation. I can't wait.
That's it, a bit of California, a bit of Washington, good food, good friends, and a thankful heart. Here is hoping your holiday is delightful, and remember to remember what is good in your life!!