Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

Thankful for Holidays… they’re just beginning


Halloween is over (thank goodness).

We’ve had 1 Friendsgiving. Two more to go.

(Friendsgiving: a Thanksgiving dinner with friends, usually celebrated a week or two before real Thanksgiving… which is usually celebrated with blood relatives. This allows for a different experience, some creative food ideas, and more excuses to eat a ton and have fun… wait, did we need an excuse? Also- I like thinking that How I Met Your Mother is a great show to get ideas from, and they start this tradition because of Lily.)

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry, thanksgiving

Some of our best friends sitting around our table… does life get any better?

Christmas is almost here.

The only music we play in our home is the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. Honestly- it’s the number one played thing on our iPods. Give it a try!(oh, and Taylor Swift’s Red, because I haven’t overplayed it quite enough to be sick of it yet… and I’m addicted to three of the songs)

Is it too soon to listen to Christmas music? I want everyone to chant with me… a big resounding NO. NEVER. I know. I, too, HATE when the Christmas decorations are all over the stores so far in advance, but the music is a different story. I’ve been known to put on Nat King Cole’s I’m The Happiest Christmas Tree in the summer. It’s just so damn fun, that song. (I’m the happiest Christmas tree, ho ho ho, he he he, someone came and they found me and took me home with them. SO cute.)

The reason why we get so into the holidays is because of the festivities that come along with it. I know we are not alone in this. And since it’s just so dang appropriate, I’m going to make a short list of things I’m thankful for. Not just because Thanksgiving is the closest holiday… but because life is that good.

1. Smoked Turkey 

writer, new writer, thanksgiving turkey, poetry, short stories

Smoked Turk

Each year Greg spends a huge amount of time to make this smoked turkey. It’s always worth the wait. Come over some time. You have to try it!!

2. Friends

I’m not trying to brag- but I’m really proud of all my friends. They are all amazing… nice, kind, funny, adventurous and talented. Also, this is on the list because, well, a few years ago I felt very differently. I was turning OLD, I think, and I was sad because I was pretty much lacking in the friend department. Then all of a sudden- life got FUN. We started calling up friends and doing dinner (Courtney and Drew, I think this started with you two!). I realized that life wasn’t over at 8 PM… that sometimes you can join your friends on their back porch to drink wine starting at 10 PM. What a concept! I realized that I’m younger than ever… I feel younger than ever. It’s mostly because of the friends I’ve made.

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry

Outside by the warm (and cracked…) chiminea <3

3. Hosting

I never thought I’d be much of a host. In fact, I still don’t do the best job (I often forget that anyone needs to be offered a drink, or introduced to others, or that people might not know where the spoons are…) but I try my hardest. We finally have a house, which has made hosting much easier. It’s nice to look back on the week and realize that our house is filled with new memories… friends sitting around eating, playing music, laughing and enjoying life. I think I’m addicted. I just might invite you over soon.

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry, friends

Eating on our living room floor after pumpkin carving.

4. Wine

I’ve never been much of a wine drinker and then all of a sudden… I can’t get enough wine. Is there a better time to drink than the holidays? No, probably not. I think I started my alcohol drinking at a great time (ahem… whiskey…) because I just started to freeze whenever I step outside…

5. Music

Mostly thanks to Alex “fingersmith” McMahon of Wildewood, our home is now filled with some of the best music this world has to offer. Jeffrey Foucault, John Prine, The Everybody Fields, Joe Pug, Whiskeytown, Justin Townes Earle {my favorite} and more. And because of many local musicians here in Albuquerque, my holidays have been filled with shows, jams at different homes, and even my own first week playing the guitar (which I never thought would happen! But I am working on those three famous chords… G, D and C…)

6. Family

I’ve always been close to my family, but this year has been the best one yet. I run and go get wine with my older sister Emily. (She’s like a motivational fitness coach… she doesn’t let me slack off on a run!!)

writer, new writer, short stories, novels, girls night

Becca, Me, Emily, and Jayme (the photographer!!) Girls night out <3

I spend tons of time with my twin, Meredith.

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry

Just one of the fun things Meredith and I have done this year!! The concert was awesome.

I chat with Jessica, who lives in Minnesota, and we share thoughts and ideas all the time.

writer, new writer, short stories, sisters, poems

throwback… Jessica and me way back when!! I think I’m 14 in this pic!!

My parents are just so cool, too. They make the holidays for me- every tradition I try to keep is something they did (like leaves on the Thanksgiving table… toasting to the moment… ahhh)

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry, parents

I know- I have the coolest parents in the world. I love them!

7. Books 

Along with cold weather, I also read a whole lot more when it’s chilly out. I love making tea and sitting down with a book. I am currently reading The Great Gatsby (for book club!), The Marriage Plot, The Hour I First Believed and Cannary Row (I could read Steinbeck all day long). I have never been such a spaz about reading, but lately I am shifting from my “one book at a time” way of life and diving into many. I like this.

8. Strawberry Green Chili Jam from the Grower’s Market

writer, new writer, short stories, poems, jam

YUM YUM YUM and so sad, I’m almost out.

This had to go on this list because I’ve been eating it all week. I got it from a super cute lady who does her own jams and spreads and man… is it good!!!! I am the kind of person who loves green chile in anything. Greg is skeptical sometimes, like with this strawberry jam- but that’s okay. More for me.

9. Making Mistakes {aka Not Everything Is As Easy As Black and White}

I didn’t think I’d be adding this to a “thankful for” list, but I am. Life has been made extra interesting lately by the mistakes I’ve made. A good mistake can make you feel alive, did you know that? Even if it’s guilt surging through you… that’s a real live emotion that gets blood pumping. The mistakes can be small or big. Some mistakes I’ve made lately include:

-playing guitar for my friends and being so nervous that I fumble through the song that I practiced all day long

-drinking too much wine and having a headache the next day

-letting certain things stress me out and taking it out on Greg (poor guy!)

-other things that I won’t mention on a blog (ha)

-not writing enough (at the end of the week I think… I could have so much more written by now if only I’d put in a few more hours…)

10. Colorful Eggs from the Farmer’s Market 

new writer, writing, short stories, poetry, eggs

So pretty!! and yummy!!!

It’s the small things in life. I saw these sitting on a table at the market and I went, “They’re so pretty! I have to have these!!” It’s amazing. I am currently obsessed with eggs, and these hit the spot. The shell is tougher than any conventional egg you can find. The taste is better… they even cook differently.

11. Being an Aunt to THESE TWO!!! 

new writer, short stories, writer, nephews, poems

Carson and Landon <3

Emily’s two little boys, Carson and Landon, are amazing. They’ve showed me so much about life, from how to laugh at the little things in life, how to care about what is truly important, and realizing that family is number one. I was there for both births and have known them their entire lives… which (being the youngest sister)  is the first time I’ve been able to say that about anyone. From the day their were born they’ve had their own little personalities (did I say little? try BIG personalities) and they are so different, yet are the best brothers ever. They care for one another, give each other kisses, give me AUNTIE KISSES and hug and say I love you. What more could I hope for? I love these boys forever.

12. The Tone It Up Girls

I feel healthier than I ever have before, and it’s due almost entirely to the inspiring Karina and Katrina of Tone It Up. They’re hot, funny, cute, and very motivating. I love their (free!!) workout videos on YouTube. I love Booty Calls, too. ha ha

13. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

writer, new writer, the fantastic mr. fox, short stories

Doesn’t get much more inspiring than this…

Yes, this movie gets its own number. It’s so good. The entire movie just screams Thanksgiving to me… the warm colors and the theme of family and friends. The theme of mistakes, and then turning them around. The way we can conquer our fears and accept the wolves in our lives… just watch it. It might change your life. The movie inspires something in me. It makes me feel good about being different.


There are so many things to be thankful for, it’s almost overwhelming. Mostly, it’s the smiles and laughter of people I love.

What makes the holidays for you? What’s your favorite thing about them? What are you thankful for? I’d love to know!! <3

Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

9 thoughts on “Thankful for Holidays… they’re just beginning

  1. Wow, Mel – another awesome post! Your life is so cozy. :) Great pics – especially of Mom & Dad. Love you!!

  2. Thankful for a running partner, someone I can talk over the big & little things with and a new grown up part of our sisterhood where we drink wine together. :) You inspire me so much! Thankful my beautiful boys have an awesome auntie who is pursuing her dreams. I love #9… I make mistakes daily and am (for the most part) grateful for the lessons they teach me about myself, others, the world, my response to all of that. As for the holidays, I can’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving… our house that’s the day the Christmas tree goes up and the music goes on. xoxo

    • Emily- you said it all better than I could!!! I’m so glad that there is constantly something coming up where I’ll be hanging out with you.. family events… book club… random nights… Twilight movies… haha I love it so much and I love you!! Seriously- thanks for being such an inspiration to me!!! :) I think #9 is my favorite, too….

  3. Great post! I’m super jealous of your friends that live close enough to attend your Friendsgiving. It looks wonderful!

  4. Oh! And, I’ve only been lucky enough to be at a Wilder New Years and it was awesome!! I can only imagine what the other ones are like;) Blessings on your family this season!!

    • Thank you Cindy!! If you lived closer, you’d have been there. Meredith and I were just talking about you yesterday as we walked through Anthropology and Meredith said, “I imagine that everything Cindy wears is from here. Or looks like it is.” which means… you are just the cutest in our eyes. Happy Holidays to you, as well!!!

      • Oh wow. You are both so kind! And I WISH I had all their clothes:) $$$ Thanks for thinking I even come close! You both always look so beautiful and I wish I could pull off all the draped sweaters and ankle boots. I’m way too short and it’s too hot most of the time. Speaking of, did you find your boots?!

  5. I think I found a pair to order!!! haha thanks for asking! I’ll let you know if they show up in a picture on facebook ;)

Tell Lou What YOU Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s