Happy end-of-November! This has been a strange year, to put it mildly, and though it’ll probably be harder this year than any other in recent memory to find something to be grateful for, I hope we can all come up with something.
I am thankful that we’ve reached month 11 of the COVID pandemic and none of my loved ones have been seriously impacted. My husband has relatives in a different part of the US who caught the virus, but got over it without lasting effects. My own family has been spared, a fact for which I’m so grateful – especially in the case of my 102-year-old grandmother, who lives in a nursing home where things almost got bad, and my father, who suffers from chronic bronchitis and asthma. I’m thankful that I’m still employed, and that my gig-working husband has been allowed to collect unemployment for the last 8+ months (and that our marriage has survived 8+ months of constant togetherness). I’m thankful for the doctors and nurses who work so hard and put their lives in danger every second of the day to help those who need it, and for the scientists who have done what everyone thought was impossible – creating the potential for us to put this all behind us sooner than anyone could have expected.
Finally, I’m thankful that we’ve been given the opportunity to remember that despite what we’ve seen over the last few years, human decency still exists. I hope that we can take this opportunity to remember that no matter our belief system, as human beings we’re much more alike than we are different. This might be better saved for next month and the official end of the year, but it seems like as good a time as any to say that I hope that 2021 is a year of healing – on all fronts.
Read on to see how I spent November!
I’m about to get personal. Really personal.
Like a lot of people in modern society, I suffer from anxiety. It manifests in different ways, and I tend not to talk about it much – not only because it is a little more personal than I typically like to get, but because I’ve learned the hard way that talking about it with people who don’t understand it is typically an exercise in futility. In my experience, people who can’t imagine what it’s like to live with anxiety tend to get annoyed or angry when it comes up, which makes it harder to discuss even normal human worries because you start to fear being accused of worrying for nothing. But 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, and even more so for those of us with anxiety disorders. Rather than let it continue to control me and make these stressful times even worse, I ordered The Worry Cure. By the end of the first chapter, I was convinced the author had moved, unnoticed, into my head, lived there for a month, and then wrote down everything he saw. I can’t begin to explain how comforting it was to know that there are enough people like me out there that our experience could be written down with such pinpoint accuracy. And the exercises in the book have already helped me gain perspective and I hope that with continued practice, I can begin to approach everyday life with a less fearful mentality.
With colder weather comes soup, and what goes better with soup than bread? I do like making yeast bread – I love the kneading process, I love watching the dough rise, I love the smell that fills my house as it bakes. But sometimes you don’t want to do all that kneading or wait for all that rising, and you want bread to go with the soup you just decided to make. And sometimes you find beer someone left in your fridge after a summer cookout and because you’re not a beer drinker, and because you want to clear some room for incoming Thanksgiving leftovers, you decide to make beer bread. This recipe is touted as the #1 Beer Bread Recipe in the world, and while I can’t claim to have tried every single beer bread recipe in existence, I can say it’s the recipe I always turn to when I want beer bread. Follow the directions closely – make sure to sift – and try not to eat half the loaf in one sitting.
Did you really have to ask?
That’s all for November! How did you spend the month?