Another American holiday spent in Europe. I’m used to it by now – this is my fourth Thanksgiving as an expat – but I still really, really miss my family. There’s no getting around that, ever, no matter how accustomed I get to living over here, and it’s always the worst on holidays like this.

But I’m determined to make the most of it because I am so fortunate in every way and have much to be thankful for, and for that reason I shall celebrate by making my super-special chicken and spinach enchiladas tomorrow. Don’t ask why no turkey. I could maybe get some processed turkey parts at the grocery store, but whole? HA! I can’t even get a whole chicken that weighs more than 2 pounds. Maybe I could go to a butcher but the thing is, there is no cranberry sauce, and there is no pumpkin pah, I’m not even sure I could find canned pumpkin to make my own pah. Which is all fine, because I decided four years ago on my first Thanksgiving as an expat that I’m never going to try replicating Thanksgiving (or Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day) in Europe. It’d be like trying to replicate Mardi Gras in Finland. The spirit is absent.

And the point of it, fundamentally, is to enjoy and be grateful for what you do have. I have my wonderful Rupert and our awesome new dog, my health, my family’s health, and no real pain except for how much I miss Mom and Dad. I’m so immensely lucky that it stuns me sometimes.

I know – hope – that most of you will be busy tomorrow and even the next day and all weekend, enjoying the time with your family and friends, gorging yourselves on unholy amounts of meats, sauces, pah, and other delicious treats, watching football, and just being happy.

Anyway, today I just want to say thanks to all of you for reading my blog, and especially to those of you who leave comments and posts in the forums, and even more especially those who’ve become my personal friends over the years or even the last few months (you know who you are, I hope). I appreciate all of you more than I can fully express.

The feeling of belonging and community and sanity that I get from you goes a very, very long way towards helping me cope with being away from America for much longer than I expected, and I can’t overstate how much it means to me, what a rock it is when I feel like I’m drowning in the unrelenting foreign-ness and homesickness.

Thank you for that. You’re my friends and my “tribe”, and I really appreciate you.


I can’t make a Thanksgiving post with references to pah! without specifically thanking Amelia in Texas, who has become a wonderful friend over the years even though we haven’t met in person yet. She left a comment 3 or 4 years ago about her little boy calling pie “pah!” and at that moment, I forgot the word “pie” forever. It’s pah.


You know who else I appreciate? This little dog who came into my life 10 days ago and demanded that I stop holing myself up in the apartment for days on end in my pajamas like I’ve been doing for too long because it’s hot or cold outside and I’m homesick and seasonally depressed and unemployable in this country and too busy here inside with obsessive reading and writing and cooking anyway; he’s forced me to get up in the morning and put on regular clothes and stay in regular clothes all day – even shoes! – because we go for a walk every few hours; because of him I have to speak Italian several times a day to people walking their dogs and because of that I’ve already made several new friends. Primo has turned out to be a furry, cuddly little ball of Prozac for me and I’ll be grateful to him forever for that.

He does many weird things and here’s one of them: no matter how big or small his bed is, he wants to hang his head outside of it. When we first got him last week, I went to the closest pet shop and bought the only bed they had, which was a little small, and also not very cushioned so I also got a nice soft cushion and shoved that inside the bed, which made the space even smaller and so this is how he slept:

The folded-up green thing is the little pillow I made him out of my old sweater because I was worried he’d break his neck with it hanging over the edge like that. The next day, still not having found a larger dog bed (and aching from the 40 euro that one cost – that’s about 55 bucks I SHIT YOU NOT ITALY IS EXPENSIVE) – I figured he’d survive with less cushioning in the bed and also needed more space so I took the cushion out so that he’d stop hanging his head over the side. I put about 10 of Rupert’s old discarded white t-shirts all around so he could snuggle with them for some softness, and…

Well all right then. So I folded up another external pillow for him and sometimes he’d use it, sometimes not. Then yesterday I left his bed in the bedroom and just put the red plaid cushion, which is mostly flush with the floor, in my office for him to sleep on to see what would happen, aaaannnndddd…

Primo really, really wants his head on the floor.

Discovering a dog’s quirks and personality is one of life’s great pleasures, if you ask me.


Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s been a rough couple of weeks in America but still, for now, it’s pretty great compared to everywhere else. I wish I was there.

If you have downtime, it might be therapeutic to share with us your recipes, or your tales of frantic and/or joyful cooking and subsequent distressing overconsumption of pah!, your traveling adventures (TSA groping is always good times), and of course your accounts of heavy drinking necessary to cope with Certain Relatives.

And it is always lovely to hear what other people are grateful for in their lives. Tell.

59 comments on “Thankful

  1. Sekimori

    The finest Cranberry Compote I’ve ever had, and I usually despise cranberries:

    Fresh Cranberry Compote

    6 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
    1 tablespoon orange zest
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    Pinch of salt
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 cup fresh orange juice

    In a non reactive, non-stick saucepan, over medium, combine the cranberries, zest, 1/2 cup sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in the orange juice. Add the mixture to the cranberries and stir to blend. Simmer another 15 minutes until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

  2. pdwalker

    One of the reasons I married my wife was because when we were dating, I discovered that not only could she cook, she enjoyed cooking.

    After 14 years of being together, we moved into a place that had a real oven. That year, she decided she was going to cook turkey, something she had never done before. She did, and it was good. Then a week later she did it again, and it was much better. The third time? Pure Heaven. Since then, I get turkey at Thanksgiving and at Christmas made by her hand. How great is that?

    The waistline though, I’m not so thankful for that. Sure was fun getting it though.

    (No, where I live right now, ovens at home are a rarity – only the very rich, or very lucky have them. I’m the latter and no, my wife is not from a culture that uses ovens)

  3. Liz

    1) Primo is SMILING in the first picture. My heart leapt in my chest with pure joy.
    2) Happy Thanksgiving to you Rachel and to your Rupert and to your friends and family. I can’t imagine being so far from home and family. Being so during a holiday or a birthday or any “special day” is unfathomable.
    3) I made a cranberry sauce last night to take to my Dad’s tomorrow. I’ll pass on the recipe if it’s decent. Are cranberries available in Italy? I’m guessing not but wouldn’t have a clue. Cranberry wine maybe? :-)
    4) Hug Primo for me!!
    5) I’m thankfull for so many, many things but especially for my husband who puts up with me and loves me. I can’t imagine my life without him.
    6) Hug Primo again for me!
    7) Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

  4. Amanda

    I love how little Primo always sleeps on his left side. Animals are more like us than we sometimes realized.

  5. physics geek


    I likely won’t be checking in for a few days as we’re traveling to NC for a get together with another part of the family. Also, I’ll probably eat nonstop for the next few days, including some more pumpkin cheesecake. Hopefully someone else will make the pah; I’m cooked out. Speaking of pah, I remember that old “Dessert Physics: there’s always room for pah” poster that someone created for me here a few years back. Truly awesome effort.

    I’m thankful for a wife that I in no way deserve, children who teach me daily that there are no limits to how much you can love, my extended family and of course my friends. Because my family didn’t get to choose me; they’re stuck with me. People who get to know me and come back for more? Words fail me.

    I’m thankful for my one remaining four-legged family member. She is definitely a daddy’s girl and I treasure each day that I have with her; her kidneys are failing.

    I’m thankful to have a job that lets me provide for my family.

    Gotta cut this short and run because I’ve got some driving to do. Take care of yourself and enjoy life. It is worth living.

  6. SwampWoman

    I just had my first solid food in 48 hours, chicken and rice. I picked up one of those nasty viruses that travel throughout schools this time of year. I wanted to do a Thanksgiving Day Feast Extravaganza for my mom, who will be going in for surgery next week, but now I daren’t because the very last thing she needs would be to contract a norovirus.

  7. Anwyn

    Thankful that I can get my work done and take care of my son; thankful for my sister who helps me get the latter done; thankful that I can buy a pah and not have to stress myself baking one. Rolls too! and a second pie shell for chocolate cream pah! Commercial delegation can be a blessing.

    Thinking of you and Rupert and Primo and wishing you a very happy, cozy, warm Thanksgiving.

  8. Paul T

    My fiance and I will be flying to Chicago bright and early tomorrow morning to spend the weekend with her family, so the TSA groping will be in full effect. Her family is a large rambunctious group, so once we’re there it should be a nonstop bacchanalia of food, football, and strong drinks. I am thankful for all of it.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

  9. Pamela

    Rachel, going to a Mexican place with other Americans for Thanksgiving in Helsinki. This is my 5th one away. This and the 4th of July are the hardest to take. Thanksgiving is harder since it is so dark and cold in November. Over the weekend will make a turkey breast, carrot rice casserole, with salad. I was too late in getting in my order for pumpkin and cranberry, so will make something with sweet potatoes and maple syrup.

  10. Scott

    Rachel, one thing I’m thankful for is you. Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom with all of us on this side of the computer monitor! Your writting is like a marvelous, magical glass; sometimes it is a window that allows us to view a world we’d never have a glimpse of if not for your observations, other times it is a mirror encouraging us to look at ourselves and think about things.

    Here’s hoping that you, Rupert, and Primo all have a great not-Thanksgiving tomorrow. I’ll have an extra helping of Thanksgiving goodies in your honor!

  11. gatorgirl4325

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Rachel and your Primo and Mr. Rupert (NHRN)! I am so thankful for you writing on your blog once again and sharing your european adventures and now NEW dog pictures!

    No recipies from me, but rest assured – there will be a Drunkle incident at our gathering tomorrow. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. :)

  12. doubletrouble

    Thanks Rachel; we’re proud to have you as a member or OUR tribe as well!
    Made the family pork stuffing last night; pah on this evening’s schedule.
    This will be the first T-day I’ve had without my Dad’s presence; he’s still with us, but in a nursing home & can’t leave. That’ll be strange.
    Very happy that you found Primo (or, more correctly, he was put there for you)!
    Best to you guys,

  13. Jenn

    Turkey is a very North American animal. I’m sure there are pockets of them elsewhere, and probably farms here and there, too. But it doesn’t surprise me that they would be hard to come by outside the U.S. and Canada.

    Rachel, your enchiladas sound great–enjoy them! I know I’m very thankful that you’re back to blogging and sharing all of your fun anecdotes and insights with us.

    I hope all of the rest of you have a wonderful holiday as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Mrs. Hill

    You had me all misty-eyed, and then you made me laugh like a loon – the bed sequence is hysterical, not least because I know exactly what you mean. Oz does the same thing, not all the time, but enough that it confuses me. And when Quinn was a baby pup, he sometimes slept with his head dangling out the open door of his crate – I was afraid he was going to give himself brain damage. Why do they do this? Why? And I know what you mean about the walks. Having a pack that needs their alpha to get out and move has saved me – body, mind, and soul – more than once. We are truly blessed!

    I have so many things to be thankful for – my family, our health, this farm – but I’m especially thankful at this moment to be back with this tribe of smart, funny, thoughtful people. Your company is better than I deserve and always a treat. Thank you, Rachel, our gracious, generous hostess, for bringing us together again and again!

    Now then, time for PAH! This year, I wanted to add one of @physics geek‘s cheesecakes, and so I am. But when I told the kids I might skip the chocolate pecan, Son-in-law (who, I am beyond relieved to say, did not vote for Obama after all) was very sad. And when I floated the possibility of skipping the traditional pumpkin – thereby precipitating a morning-after breakfast without pumpkin PAH! – there was near mutiny. So, three desserts it shall be. Which leads me to add one more item to my list of thanks – Cuisinart!

    Blessings to All,
    Felicity (a.k.a. “Mrs. Hill”)

  15. Lissa

    I am so phenomenally grateful for my beautiful son (five weeks old). And for my wonderful husband, who both helped make him and doesn’t complain when he gets peed on. :)

  16. d smith kaich jones

    I swear to God this is the best, happiest thing I’ve seen all day. I am grateful for the friend who texted me last week and said “Rachel’s back!” & sent me this link, grateful for 2 Thanksgiving meals, tonight and tomorrow, grateful that I don’t have to cook anything for either of them, grateful for the little ginkgo tree across the street that’s gone all pale pale gold. Grateful for the NE Texas warmth that lets me still wear flipflops. Grateful for all the small things that make all the difference.

    Have wonderful Thanksgivings – all of you.

  17. Hammy

    I’m not sure if this is the first time I posted a comment here. Old age is taking its toll.

    I love LOVE Thanksgiving. It was my dad’s favorite holiday and we always spent great father son time together when it rolled around. He’s since passed and those Thanksgiving memories still fill me with great happiness. Now I’m a father and my delightful son is my source of joy and for him I am truly thankful. Can’t wait till he’s older and we can do some of the same things my dad and I did while my mom was busy preparing a feast of biblical proportions for our large family. Reminds me…I have to call my sisters and brother.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.


  18. Ith

    I feel so out of synch and feel bad I haven’t kept in touch better. I’m so glad you have a dog in your life again! He’s adorable.

    Happy Thanksgiving! And I promise I’ll try and do better at the staying in touch thing. I think I need to bookmark you on my phone, for lunch time reading. I see your face nearly every morning when we pull out the ‘Imagine No Liberals’ mug with your shining face upon it :D

  19. Tracy S

    My youngest son has always slept with his head cocked at this ridiculous angle that made my neck hurt just looking at it. When he was a baby and he’d fall asleep on my chest, I’d straighten his little neck out and 10 seconds later he’d shift it back. lol He’s 10 years old and he still sleeps that way. I’m betting he’ll stop that by the time he’s 40–ouch!! ;o)

    I’m also thankful for family and friends and all the love that surrounds me because of them.

  20. mockmook

    Happy T-day Rachel!!!

    I’m so happy you have your new friend (and some humans) to hang with.

    Please remember to stalk the family with the USA flag; I know you can make this happen :)

    And, there really must be a tribe meeting when you return for good.

  21. Kort

    Fort the last 10 years, I’ve spent more time in the car than anywhere else. We had to make 3 separate stops every year and, of course, nobody lives *close* to anybody else. This year, my grandmother has moved into assisted living in another state and my grandfather has passed away. My cousins are visiting but we can’t afford it. My parents have just gotten back from helping her move and are thinking they may not do Thanksgiving this year because they’re so exhausted. My husbands grandmother has decided that she hates turkey and will instead be taking us out for Chinese food.

    So, I get to make a turkey this year! Woo! I’ve actually done it before but my usual contribution to dinner is desserts and salads. I’ll be doing the whole thing this year and I’ll take some over to my folks if they decide they don’t want to come by.

    What I’m grateful for is this blog! I missed it when you were gone. You always make me laugh and you getting Primo is making me consider adopting a dog. Thanks for being here, Rachel!

  22. thales

    Maybe Primo likes to get his nose near the floor because that gives him the coolest air available. But who knows? He reminds me of my first dog, who already lived with my family when I was born. Small in stature, great in spirit. Unusually wise, considerate, responsible, mature, and nurturing. He looks and smiles like he has lived through Hell and gone to Heaven. May you have a beautiful Thanksgiving together. It’s pretty clear that you all are giving thanks now.

  23. maya

    Happy Thanksgiving Rachel, Rupe (NHRN) and The Esteemed Mr Primo!

    I did a turkey and gravy for Hubby’s work’s picnic a couple weeks ago (got up at frickin 4am to do it!) and also made PAH for myself because I couldn’t pass up the apple pie selection of apples at the store. All those colorful apples just perfectly lined up throughout the produce section, you just HAVE to buy them all and make PAH! I can’t make and roll out pie crust in warm Hawaii ocean air, so I was sad to have to buy the frozen crusts (the Pilsbury ones you thaw and unroll and press into your own pie pan). And I’ll be damned if that crust wasn’t maybe 1000 times better than whatever chewy crap I would normally call a crust. [also, I was *thisclose* to tweeting you a picture of my PAH, Rachel]

    Anyway, we’re (I’m) not cooking anything tomorrow, but Hubby was kind enough to inform me just a few minutes ago that we’ll be going to the chow hall on base for turkey, the fixins, and PAH. The last time we did the on base thing was when we moved to Maryland, and that food was actually pretty good.

  24. og

    I am thankful for a great number of things, today and every day, and one of the things I’m extremely thankful for is your return to blogging. Even when things are in the shit you find a way to smile, and your dog pics are of course legendary on the internet.

    Even though you cannot have a pumpkin pah you can have a sweet potato pah, which personally I consider superior to the pumpkin (Don’t get me wrong, if I see a pumpkin pah I will eat it all, but if I see a sweet potato pah I will eat it all and the plate it’s sitting on). This is very similar to the recipe we use. Just don’t eat it after being out unrefrigerated for two weeks.

  25. Janie Jones

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner every year for the last 15 years. Usually it’s a very small gathering. I’m not on the best terms with my blood relations, and that used to put a lot of stress on me at holiday time. But now that it’s just me, Leif and my daughter my holidays are perfect. And even just for the three of us I still make all the traditional foods. There is something peaceful and satisfying just knowing you have one day to do nothing but eat and think how lucky we are even in the midst of all the craziness around us.

    There is one thing though that does make me sad on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that is that I’ve met some awesome bloggers that have brought much cheer to my life and I want to give something back. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to send home leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches or Christmas fudge to blog friends.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Rupert and Primo and may your chicken and spinach enchiladas be delish!

  26. Roark Wolfe

    Happy Thanksgiving, Rachel, Rupert, and everyone. I’ve been reading your stuff for a long, long time (10 years?) as you have come and gone. I know this is the first time I’ve commented here and its a little weird, but believe me, I’ve been out there, silently lurking. Today I felt the urge to say something. I intend this to be the first of many.

    I am going to have a good Thanksgiving with my family and try not to think of all the crap that’s happened this month that I think will probably make my life a LOT harder in the next 5 to 10 years. My wife and I have been talking about what to do to make any possible shitstorm more bearable.

    Aside from all those misgivings, yes, this will be a nice, long weekend to catch up on things, think about the “big picture” and be happy about what I’ve got. Then it’s back down to bidness!

    Until then, have a a great weekend everyone?

  27. T Rich

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Rachel brings us so much good cheer throughout the year, but what she brings that I am especially thankful for is the connection to all of the commenters here. Whether we agree perfectly or fuss at each other, it doesn’t matter. Like Rach says, we are all part of a tribe (which by the way, our tribe needs a name) that believe in mostly the same things – pah, the awesomeness of family, the awesomeness of pets, and the beauty of the American ideals. I am trying to keep true to all of those (and my dog also sleeps with his head hanging out of the bed when he is not using the square wooden leg of the kitchen table as a pillow) while remembering everyday how lucky I really am. Love ya, meant! T Rich

  28. WonderingWoman

    My dog sleeps the same way, no matter how big the bed her head is on the floor. What she really likes is to cram herself into the cat’s bed, that seems to be the best. I’m thankful for family, friends, pets and health but I’m especially thankful that I believe in God. He says His sheep hear His voice and maybe the people that don’t believe can’t, it’s all too mysterious for me, but I’m very thankful to be one of his sheep. Happy Thanksgiving!

  29. Razi

    “it is always lovely to hear what other people are grateful for in their lives. Tell.”

    My main concern at present involves just how far to go in cutting carbohydrates. Modern first-world problems. Long may they last.

    Re Primo:

    You mean this bed also has a floor right next to it? How great is this apartment?! I am the luckiest dog evar!!!

  30. Tully


    My main concern at present involves just how far to go in cutting carbohydrates.

    Carb restriction was key in me taking off and keeping off twenty pounds. The really hard part was beer deprivation. I really like beer, and I do not mean “lite” beer.

  31. Razi

    Tully: Briefly, I started reading up on this and said, hey, sounds good. No more bread, pasta, and sugary stuff. Instead of eating so much pasta, I’ll replace much of it with rice. Whole brown rice, no less. Bzzt! Verboten! Alrighty then, I’ll be eating significantly more beans! Bzzt! That too? Oh well, thank heavens for various root vege… Bzzt! Not to mention that I would also be supposed to cut back on my consumption of dairy products. Now I am certainly willing to participate in an experiment testing how long I would be willing to eat nothing but steak, but I’d need some funding for that. A diet based on meat, fish, and leafy greens would stretch my budget a bit too far. And so, after slapping myself out of a “To heck with it all” reaction, I’m back to my initial initiative: drastically curtailing grains and sweetened stuff. I’ll see how it goes.

    And to bring this back on topic: I am obsessing over which of the many foods available to me I should avoid eating, lest my body store them as fat for future exigencies which are unlikely to materialize. This is a good day to step back and give thanks that this is my problem.

  32. gd

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

    This year I’m thankful that both daughters made it home and we had the whole family together for the first time in three years … a warm and cosy Thanksgiving with those I love. (And that includes our blog mistress and the wonderful people who drop by here.)

    @Mrs. Hill: I’m so with you on the Cuisinart. This year I’m also thankful for the convection oven. Roasted the turkey by convection for the first time after completely barding it in organic bacon (the maple kind). Zero basting, and the 17-pound bird was done to succulent, tasty perfection in a mere 2-1/2 hours!

  33. Morris

    Happy Thanksgiving, Rachel & ‘Rupert’ and to all who frequent our hostess’ place – commenters and lurkers alike..

  34. Mrs. Hill

    @gd: The maple kind? Yeah? (Similar cooking time here after spatchcocking. The presentation after spatchcocking leaves a little to be desired – splat! – but every bit stays tender and juicy. However, I am filing this bacon notion of yours away for the next bird! Mmmmmm… Baconnnnn…)

    @maya: Werkin onnit.

    @physics geek: Thank you! Your pumpkin cheesecake was an instant favorite! I almost didn’t follow the direction for the hot water bath – my springform isn’t water tight – but I improvised a ‘dry suit’ for it with aluminum foil. I should take a picture of a slice on a plate and tweak the old poster. Heh.

  35. Dougman

    I’m grateful to the manufacturers of my medications,
    The doctors & professionals that helped diagnose my disease.
    And I thank G_D for science :)

  36. Rachel Lucas Post author

    Goddammit I love you people.

    I know it sounds cheesy but there is something about reading all these comments that just makes my heart happy. I’ve “known” some of you for years and years, and seeing these little snippets of your lives as we all move along and get older and go through hell and back – it makes me feel connected back to everything in a way I can’t describe.

    To everyone who said something specifically about being thankful for me and my blog because it makes you smile, I hope you’re happy that YOU MADE ME CRY. Thanks a “lot” for that. :) Really though, I am more grateful for all of you than you are for me. I get far, far more out of this exchange than you do, believe me.

    @SwampWoman: Oh dear, I am glad you’re better but very sorry you were that sick in the first place. Keep feeling better, and my sincere best wishes for your mom. I hope to hear good news about her next week. Take care.

    @Lissa: Congratulations on your new baby, Lissa!!! That makes all our hearts smile. Give him a snuggle for me.

    @Roark Wolfe: I want to specifically say to you that I really, really like it and appreciate it when long-time readers decide to comment for the first time. It’s the interaction that makes the whole thing worth it, so thank you.

    @Razi: Just wanted to say, the low-carb thing, oy! We’ll be talking about that more in the coming weeks. I’m verrrry interested in this whole thing.

    Thanks again, everybody. I can’t say it enough.

    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are slowly waking up from your food comas, and have been bailed out of jail for any drunken domestic “incidents” triggered by your sister-in-law saying something completely fuckin’ stupid that you could not abide.

  37. Dougman

    The spirit is absent


    Now that is a depressing thought.
    No matter how hard I try to put my heart & mind into something.If the “spirit” ain’t there, it’s a waste of time.

    But how to convey to, say, a scientist, that the spirit exists?

  38. Razi

    Rachel: I give thanks that I’m not trying to go low-carb in the land of pizza and pasta. :-)

  39. Chris

    I am thankful there is a place named Rachel Lucas now I live in Italy where I can escape to and read hilarious snippets of real life, see photographs of real places and animals and read real uplifting comments ftom total strangers who don’t try to one-up the other with sarcasm and “wit”. Thank you all for ‘keepin” it real’. That goes out to everyone and thank you for letting me in the clubhouse.

    Wait, where’s the pah?

  40. Chris

    Also I am thankful for bill whittle who directed me this way years ago …… Oh good God thank you!

  41. Rachel Lucas Post author

    @Chris: ” read real uplifting comments from total strangers who don’t try to one-up the other with sarcasm and “wit”. BAM! You said it perfectly; that’s exactly what I love about these comment threads. I can’t even stand to wade through comment threads on other blogs – even blogs I absolutely LOVE – because so many of the comments are just stupid bullshit like “First!”, and sarcasm about everything, and constant competition with each other, etc. It’s boring and tedious to read that kind of crap and I am always amazed at how different you guys are. Amazed and profoundly glad. Thanks for joining us :)

  42. Razi

    Well then, I’m thankful to Rachel and Steven Den Beste for the first appearances of Bill Whittle. And I’m thankful that SDB is doing better.

  43. Chris

    You know, Rachel, when you shut down blogging some years ago I was sad and yet I understood . Then when BW wrote that you were back it was a real joyous time.

    All those demotivators were cracking me up and who couldn’t love Sunny and Maggie! But when you went expat I worried the life would take up your time and yeah I grok it IS YOUR LIFE after all but I really love to read how stuff strikes you. So now it’s as though the halcyon days are returning, Primo is a gorgeous little model and there just has to be some outrageous stories to tell about eating and traveling through Italy. I can’t wait for the next posts!

  44. Eric Rosenberg

    I’m a very long time reader but only occasional commenter. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your blog and was overjoyed when you picked it up again! I came across this picture of a growing dog continuing to attempt to fit himself inside his original sleeping place (as a puppy) and immediately thought of you and your readers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


  45. Tully

    @Razi: I said carb restriction, not carb abandonment! ;)

    I set a daily calorie limit, got most of the calorie reduction through avoiding empty carbs and high-fat stuff, and allowed myself one “cheat” meal a week to prevent insanity and collapse. But I didn’t ban any foods, just avoided the ones higher in calories with the least nutritional content. Which meant that french fries and potato chips and cheese and beer just about vanished, as did most fast food. And my salad intake went up, but with low-fat low-calorie dressings. Eating a salad ten or more minutes before your main meal really helps slow down the starving-wolf syndrome. I have avoided desserts and non-diet sodas for years anyway, so at least there was no pain there. I drank a lot of water and tea. It’s amazing how many calories you drink daily if you don’t pay attention.

    Also, when you use portion-controlled “food” like cheap TV dinners (average about 280-300 calories) as easy fixes for a lo-cal meal it reduces your appetite anyway. There are a few that are reasonably tasty, but the emphasis there is on “few.” They shut your stomach up, but the urge to cram down a second one to gett “full” is greatly reduced.

    What I missed most: Tacos, pizza, beer, and milk. If I had the calorie allowance “left over” in the evening, I’d have a diet soda and rum or two. :)

  46. Razi

    Tully: “I said carb restriction, not carb abandonment!”

    Indeed :-)

    Though some of the more doctrinaire advocates get awful close to the second. (Fruits are poison!)

    Anyhow, that’s it from me until our host decides to bring it up.

  47. Emily Wellman

    “Discovering a dog’s quirks and personality is one of life’s great pleasures, if you ask me.”

    Agreed! Thanks for pointing this out – I’d never conciously considered it before.
    Thank you for your wonderful site. You’re doing more good than you can possibly know.


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