I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend that started on Wednesday, and regrettably is ending today. I should have taken pictures of the wonderful Thanksgiving meal we had on Thursday. To my delight, my brother Jack enjoyed it and complimented us several times.

Hubby and I had decided to have ham instead of turkey this year, and that proved to be a good choice. We went to Costco the weekend before and got our ham, rolls, and pumpkin pie there. We got the rest at the grocery store later. This resulted in a relatively stress-free Thanksgiving day, because we had almost everything prepared beforehand. I did do a tiny bit of last-minute shopping Thanksgiving morning, but just to pick up chips and dip and a couple of movies. I figured comedy would be the way to go, so I rented Get Smart and Kung Fu Panda. Thank God for Movie Cube, lol. We had invited a neighbor to dinner, but he came by and told us that he would not be able to attend.

Our list of Thanksgiving dishes: Ham (already pre-sliced), mashed potatoes and gravy, yams (with marshmallow on top), cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, rolls and butter, pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream, chips and dip, mint Hershey’s kisses, and sparkling apple juice. Yum! And the movies were a hit, too. Everyone laughed themselves silly. Afterwards, the guys played video games while I knitted.

The next day, we all went to visit the Huntington Library and their fabulous grounds. I took Jack to see the Chinese Gardens, and he was immediately critical of it. “The pagoda pillars should be red, because that’s the festive Chinese color,” he said. Nevertheless, he took tons of pictures, and so did we. Over tea, I brought up the subject with him about how Asians tend to be so critical of the things we produce, especially Asian-American television and cinema. He thought that a comedic Asian-American TV show probably wouldn’t work, that a drama would be more successful.

We also enjoyed the green house, which contained three sections. The first one contained a warm, moist, tropical climate with orchids that smelled great (but not as great as the ones in Taiwan, of course). The second one, which we all loved, contained the cool mountain tropical forest, so the air was moist but cool. The familiar smell of a fragrant white flower from Taiwan wafted through the foliage, but we couldn’t find the flower. I never did find out the source of the smell. We went to the third section of the green house, which had a dry, earthy smell. It was the swampy marshland smell. Inside were several carniverous plants. Hubby got a perfect shot down one of them that I will have to share. But the best part of the gardens for our son were the Children’s Garden, which contained several fountains, shrubbery that was shaped like animals, and fun places to play.

I told Jack that I could only imagine what the Huntington Library looked like at night, and that the estate would be perfect for lavish parties and wedding receptions. He agreed. I can’t quite describe the feeling that comes over me when I picture it in my mind. It’s like seeing a beautiful English estate in a movie.

Yesterday could only be summed up in one word—shopping. We went to IKEA, then to the mall. Both seemed to have smaller than usual crowds. One photography salesman was really pushy, which turned my hubby off. We did contribute to the Black Friday sales surge this weekend, ha.

Today we went to the coast, and noticed that it was chilly and cloudy (in contrast to where we came from, which was warm and sunny). The north side was still sunny at first, but the south side was cloudy. Soon the fog traveled north and engulfed the marina. I had never seen so many boats come in to dock all at once. But we had a nice time there, giving thanks to God for his creation, and playing. I felt gratitude, for my family, and all the wonderful fresh air that surrounded us, and for the cafe that was still open, and for my son’s squeals of happiness as he ran free around trees.

I don’t hate the idea of going back to work tomorrow; but I do wish I had more days like this to spend with my family, and I’m grateful for what I have.