Yes, we’re a week away from Thanksgiving. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner tonight anyway. Long story, having much to do with the fact that last year Thanksgiving fell on what would have been my mom’s 68th birthday. And my sister’s best friend died the night before. I told this story once in a setting where my point was how reality actually does have worse coincidences than fiction and it was received with awkward, frozen smiles which reminded me, oh, yes, this is truly awful, but mostly we’ve come to accept it as just, like, you know, life. (And yes, my best friend also died last year. Unrelated. It was a rough year.)

So yeah, last year’s Thanksgiving sucked. Big time. In the kind of way that leaves you shell-shocked and unwilling to celebrate the holiday forever after. Except I really like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of my favorite holidays, because, hey, food, what’s not to love? Except last year dinner conversation consisted of things like one dinner guest talking about how grateful he was for his wonderful wife (dude? Your semi-host’s wife is DEAD and today is her BIRTHDAY, so shut up now) and another talking about how her mom cried all night long because Sharon was dead and we would never see her again, which we have to forgive because the guest in question was eight years old but wow, if you want to have an uncomfortable giving-of-thanks, just ask an eight-year-old to talk about death. That’ll do it.

And yet…I like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. So on actual Thanksgiving we will have a seafood buffet — I’m hoping for sushi, personally — but today we had the traditional foods. And yum!

Turkey, obviously. Stuffing and potatoes, c’est la vie. But our sweet potatoes were these and wow, it was so good. I could eat that celery topping all day long. And for cranberry sauce, I made two different kinds. The first was straightforward and yet yummy; a bag of cranberries, plus a cup of orange juice, plus 3/4 of a cup of sugar, plus a teaspoon or so of cinnamon, plus a handful of chopped pecans, all simmered for a while. It’s the most traditional cranberry sauce I’ve ever made (I tend to go weird on cranberry sauce) but it might have been one of the best. Then the second cranberry sauce was hardcore weird: a bag of cranberries, plus half a cup of sugar, plus a cup of cranberry grape juice, plus a tablespoon or so of sriracha sauce plus two teaspoons or so of unsweetened chocolate powder. And it was also yum, although yum with a serious kick.

We had pumpkin cheesecake (Sara Lee) for dessert, which is not typical for me — dessert is definitely the area I most tend to go crazy and creative in but my mom made excellent pumpkin pies and last year I tried and failed to make her pie and so this year…yeah. It just fell into the Do-Not-Touch category so pumpkin cheesecake seemed like a good option and, in fact, it was quite yum. Good crust and tasty filling. It’s a good thing I liked it because I’ve got half the cheesecake left.

Plus, best news, I’ve got my dad’s dog visiting for the next few days. Gizmo is some wacky mix — half Pekeginese, half poodle, I think? But soft and fluffy and just as willing to snuggle as Zelda. Rory was mopey this morning and I told him that he’d have Giz to console him for the whole weekend and he grunted and said bitterly, “No, that just means you’ll have two dogs to adore you.” Which, okay, sort of annoying when you’re trying to cheer someone up and yet, so true. I adore my dog and she fully reciprocates so for two days, I get to experience double adoration and double snuggles and double demands for attention and love and walks and food and that is all double-good by me.