It’s the mother of all gratitude posts, or it should be, right? Thanksgiving is the holiday for sharing our blessings. Appreciation on all fronts, right?

With all the anger and meanness, intolerance and violence in the world right now, we sort of need Thanksgiving more than ever. Not the Thanksgiving of awkward dinners that devolve into cliques. Not the Thanksgiving of Uncle Sonny having too much to drink and saying that awful thing to cousin Binnie. Not the Thanksgiving of introducing new partners to the family that goes horribly awry. Not the Thanksgiving where half the table is blue and the other half red and everyone wants to sit with the kids.

This year my Exhibits ™ will be with their father. I already miss them like crazy. But it’s just a day, right? A Thursday, like many other Thursdays, but with a Tryptophan chaser. (By the way, I just looked it up and though we always think of turkey making us sleepy, it turns out that cheddar cheese has more tryptophan than turkey. Maybe we get tired for other reasons… Hmmm?)


Anyway, I’m grateful that my kids will be together with one another, and I appreciate that I will be with my significant other and my mother and other Birnbachs only a car ride away.

!. Henry, Exhibit D.

Henry this week, in the hospital.

Henry this week, in the hospital.

Our wonderful dog Henry, who we adopted only in December, 2014, is not just a game-changer; he’s a life-changer. He is a lovely chap who has brought joy and calm into our lives. He’s a fantastic companion for me. (Writing is solitary and sometimes lonely-making.) and now Henry is quite sick. The vets are doing their best to improve his prognosis and make him comfortable and so are we. We are grateful to have him back home with us this Thanksgiving.


2. Newsletters like Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources and The Hive from Vanity Fair. These arrive in my emailbox daily and are great reads when you are looking for digests of bigger stories. (Apologies to Mary Underwood.) Stelter’s focuses on the media and how different news sources are breaking and treating the news. I OBJECT TO THE TERM FAKE NEWS, by the way. There are newsletters about dressing, about shopping, about skincare, about relationships, about cooking, about gender, but these two are enough for me.


3. Plain yogurt. Not vanilla. Not French vanilla. Not plain with fruit at the bottom. PLAIN. For me the point of yogurt is its tartness. I find there is too much fruit in fruit yogurt, making the yogurt taste sweet, which again, is not the point for me. Then again, we live in a world in which people mix bits of Oreos in their frozen yogurt dessert, so what do I know?

I will try any and all yogurt brands. I love Liberté yogurt, but they seem to have stopped manufacturing their unflavored version. Years ago, when you traveled abroad, if you ordered yogurt at your hotel for breakfast, you’d get a big bowl of plain slightly sour yogurt with fresh fruits on the side. (I approve.) Now too often the yogurt on offer is Dannon (or Danone, depending on where you are), and utterly unexciting. Try plain next time you’re at the grocery. Tell me what you think.


4. 2018 has been a year in which several of my friends had serious health challenges. I’m sure many of you have dealt with the same thing yourselves. Fortunately, many of them have not just survived but have cleared great surprising hurdles of health. For that, I could not be more grateful.


5. What would this blog and pod be without Special Counsel Robert Mueller? I suspect that many Thanksgiving dinners included him in their inventory of appreciations.

Blessings to you all.

Stay safe and warm, and act natural!


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