Leaf Mountain

When I bought the house there were a lot of things left behind. A desk, a garage full of random things, a shed with at least two mowers in it, and a small fenced in area full of leaves.


The leaf pile had a four-foot fence on two sides. It was about the size of a parking lot space. Tendrils of ivy consumed the walls of the rotted fence. Among the piles of decaying leaves, there was a bright orange traffic cone, a small rusty barrel, and the remnants of a wheelbarrow. Next to it was a mound of Blair Witch-esque branches and sticks.


The junk pile sat beneath two tall trees. One a tall evergreen holly tree, and the other a sweet gum tree. The latter meant the whole pile was covered with prickly balls, the former meant the pile was shaded all year. So, it was always wet and always covered with pokey things.


I was happy to let that pile sit there for two years. I was afraid of what I might find. A big mystery pile of dead leaves, junk, and who knows what else? No thanks. It was blocked by a rusty shed, also full of junk, so I didn’t even really look at it much. I just dubbed it Leaf Mountain and went about my business.


But like all things I try to avoid, Leaf Mountain came for me eventually. I had been working on cleaning out the garage, which is a perpetual task itself. Anyway, the junk pickup guys arrived to pick up yet another load of random items I couldn’t sell or giveaway. It was a nice day, and I asked them to look at Leaf Mountain. “How much do you think it would cost for you guys to clean this up and haul it away?” I asked.

Silence. Owning an old, quirky, house, I’ve grown accustomed to the wry looks of aversion of a workman who doesn’t want to deal with a complicated mess. After the initial look of dread, the nice man said the price would start at $1,000. That’s when I decided, I can bag a bunch of leaves. All I must do is clean up one bag of leaves at a time. Repeat that process until complete. Anything in this world that has been done, can be undone.

Luckily by that time Jaymes and I were living together. He’s very physically strong, which turns out to be something necessary for home improvement projects. A couple months prior, he had removed the rusty old shed, further exposing Leaf Mountain. We were left with a nice clean concrete slab, perfect for sitting in chairs, but with the view of a slimy leaf heap.

So, I assembled the team: Jaymes, the muscle, Julianne the brains, and Johnny Cash, the moral support. I collected the supplies: a box of clear leaf bags, paper leaf bags, rakes, utility gloves, insect repellent, a hat that made me feel a little protected from slugs and bugs, long pants, long sleeves, and tall socks.


I bought two tools that were especially helpful. First were these big leaf scoops. And second was a leaf chute. If you’ve ever used the compostable paper bags from home improvement stores you know they collapse on themselves like a dying star unless they’re about halfway filled. The leaf scoops are much easier to wrangle than using rakes or your hands. Plus, you can pretend you’re a monster or a James Bond villain named Leafy McScoop Hands.


Every day after work, I told myself, I’d work for one hour. If I got tired or slugged, I could stop. But most of the time once I got into it I kept working until it got dark. The tools helped make things go along a little faster. Yard work, while tiresome, is also very rewarding. It’s got a very clear beginning middle and end. It also makes me appreciate my sedentary desk job.


We filled bag after bag of leaves. We broke down all the sticks and branches to firepit-able lengths. Large tree trunk pieces revealed themselves, along with a medley of junk. I’m not sure if I was happy there were less leaves, or mad because there was more junk, but I know I was glad to see the pile shrinking.


Eventually, all the junk was sorted and hauled away. Jaymes ripped out the fence. The leaves were picked up by the county to make into mulch. We were left with a nice, clean patch of yard.


Now writing this blog, I went back to look at the photos of the process. It looks kind of nice. The sun shining through the trees, Jaymes and Cash are working very hard at their tasks. Leaf Mountain doesn’t look so big now, nor so scary.


I spent a lot of time avoiding Leaf Mountain. Years, in fact. And once it was done with, I didn’t think about it much. It was a pain to do, a ton of work, and at the end of it, the clean patch of land wasn’t very exciting. But now I see that just letting something sit there and avoiding it takes up not only physical space, but mental space. Rather than feeling dread looking at my yard, I just see trees, and feel a sense of peace.


Helpful leaf clean-up tools:

Luster Leaf Chute: https://www.amazon.com/Luster-Leaf-A650-Lawn-Chute/dp/B01B7OUN9A?ref_=bl_dp_s_web_3034248011

Releaf Leaf Scoops: https://www.amazon.com/ReLeaf-Leaf-Scoops-Ergonomic-Removal/dp/B00GPVZA58/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_196_bs_tr_t_1/130-8946238-8277003?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BX5TYDDND2MX433EK26K

Leaf cleanup in your county: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/recycling-trash/leaf-collection-dates

Hard in the paint

One day, I was like Jaymes, guess what, let’s paint 75% of the house.  Jaymes, who hates to paint, but loves me deeply, was like “sure.”


According to Urban Dictionary, to go “hard in the paint” means “To approach a problem, obstacle, or challenge with supreme confidence of success through a commitment to use all facilities available to one’s self to achieve a goal.” And that’s how I try to approach painting.  Be meticulous, take your time, and drop everything else in life to complete your objective.  Not dramatic at all.


When I moved into my house the paint on the walls was in good condition.  I am not one of those unreasonable people on HGTV House Hunters who thinks they shouldn’t buy a house due to paint colors.




There were much other pressing issues to attend to, so I accepted the pinkish beige for the time being.




After accidentally painting my shutters and garage doors varying shades of purple, I decided to proceed with extreme caution. I like my garage and shutters, but this paint definitely looked brown/grey on the swatch in the store.




I spent weeks looking online to find these four shades. I purchased the little pots, and painted large squares on my living room and kitchen walls. Light is different everywhere in your house, so it’s important to factor in lighting too. I was going to do everything right this time around. That was February 17, 2017.



See how different the same shades read on a different wall in different light?!


In July (yes, five months later), and I’m still squinting at the squares. You know, I have always found, that if it is hard to decide, you probably do not the right options. It took me five months to figure out that blue just wasn’t it.


Our home is about 1000 square feet, so I really wanted to have every room be similar shades.  Since the bedroom and the office were already grey, I went with grey instead.  I choose Behr Spun Wool for the walls, and Behr Polar Bear for the trim. Yes, the pun in the color name contributed to its selection.




Pinky beige and grey-beige might not seem like a radical change.  However, paint colors are tricky, and even the slightest change in hue or brightness can make a world of difference.  Paint colors also read much more intense on a 10’x10’ wall than on a 1”x1” swatch.  So just to be sure, I painted the whole wall to confirm that this was it.  Better one wall than the whole house.




Painting doesn’t take that long.  It is the preparation to paint which crushes your morale. This was especially true in my laundry room, which had god awful brown wood things… everywhere.  I don’t have a hatred of wood, but my floors are brown, my cabinets are brown, and my house is tiny.  There was more than enough brown.



I painted over the rainbow striped tile. And the outside of the sink.


After waiting months to paint, I was impatient to get everything done. It took a few days to clean, prime, and caulk everything.  There were a lot of weird gaps in places too that need spray foam insulation, another few days for that to cure.


The I love you but “This shit is taking forever!” face.


In addition to painting the walls, I also wanted to do all the trim and all the ceilings.  Multiple coats and touch ups meant more days. In the end, it only meant our house was a disaster for two weeks. But we got through it, and when it was done, it was really done. I still need to take photos of it all put together, but you can see here how fresh and clean it looks.






Despite some paint drops that still are on the floor today, it turned out well.  I like the calm color, and the cohesion the house has.  Anyway, at the end of the process, I LOVED it.  And Jaymes was determined never to paint again.


“This grey paint looks great! Also, I’m colorblind.”

The End.

Crap, it’s 2019?

Someone once told me that old people aren’t really slow, they just experience time at a faster rate than the young. Thus, they just seem slow to the young. Actually the perception of time is a really interesting subject, but that’s a tangent for a different time. Anyway, the older I get, time seems to go by faster and faster. That’s a roundabout way to make an excuse to why I haven’t blogged in over a year. Sorry bout that.

Does anyone else feel like 1999 was 10 years ago… not 20?

I just finished my master’s degree from University of Maryland University College. My degree is a Master of Science in Strategic Management with a specialization in Public Relations. MiCroGemint was not available. Click the link, there’s always time for The Office.

I foolishly thought that starting a new job, and going to graduate school full time wouldn’t keep my soul-crushingly busy. But it did! Did you know the master’s degree commencement cap was different than undergrad? It is. Now that I’m done and commenced, (with honors, Phi Kappa Phi). I’m back here, ready to share.


Though I did not blog about it, we did quite a few house projects in 2018! I tried lots of new recipes, and we went on a long vacation to the Caribbean. So, the content’s all there, I’ve just got to get my butt in gear.



Overall, my goal for 2019 is to spend time taking pleasure out of life, slow down a bit. In direct opposition of that statement I also want to read 119 books this year, take a storytelling workshop, and spend more time writing and blogging.


But really, I usually try to keep myself busy to the point of exhaustion (see Parks and Rec gif above), but my literary goals are less about being busy and more about pleasure. So I think it’ll all work out in the end (and at least it won’t be boring).

My goal for this January is to catch the blog up on all the major projects we’ve done in the house. Trust me, my bestie Marissa will be an ardent cheerleader of this goal (I bet she’s reading this… right now. Hi Swan! Love you!).

So, thanks for sticking around and reading. I hope 2018 was a happy year for you, and well if it sucked, it’s over now. Here’s to happier things in the year to come. Hopefully we can see a lot more of each other in the coming year.




48 Hours in Richmond: Part 1

Have you heard? Richmond is cool. Cool meaning it’s got murals, art, culture, and a crap ton of delicious food.

My last few years, post-Navy, I’ve been quite content to travel as little as possible. Coincidentally, most of my disposable income has gone to fixing up my little house. However, this year my old yen to see the world has reared its head. I want to go to places, especially now that I’ve got Jaymes in my life. Even seeing places I’ve been to lots of times seems new.


In addition to not having a huge travel fund at the moment, I just started a new job so I don’t have vacation either. But I don’t let little things like being broke and having no time get in the way of having a good time. My mission now is to visit lots of cool places in Virginia.

So our first trip a few weekends ago was to Richmond. Cash didn’t get to go, but he got a really thorough soccer ball play time.

It’s called football, lady -Cash, probably

I used Priceline to get the cheapest price on a 4-star hotel. Priceline’s express deals claim to save you up to 60%, and mask the hotel giving you a deal. However, if you compare the amenities offered by the mystery hotels on Priceline vs. their regular listings, it’s fairly easy to figure out what you’re paying for.

Richmond VA Hotel

I ended up paying about $25 less than the hotel listing price for a standard room with a king-sized bed at the Omni in downtown Richmond. I ended up paying $130 for the room.

We left out of Alexandria around 9:00 am, with empty bellies. Fredericksburg is the best halfway point, so we pulled off to route one around old town. Rather than venture all the way into old town, we stopped along route 1 to check out Renee’s Crepes & Cakes.

From the outside the little strip mall looked a little sketchy, but the inside of Renee’s is very cute and clean. Silver and chrome tables and chairs adorned each with their own bloom greet you when you enter the restaurant.


The waitress, who I suspect was Renee but never confirmed, greeted us right away. The coffee was lovely, and the food even lovelier. I always enjoy those skinny tiny pancakes, but Renee’s had a great crepe-to-topping/stuffing ratio. Altogether, it was more than I planned on spending for our coffee stop, but totally worth it. I had the classic Nutella Berry Bonanza, and Jaymes got a breakfast special. With tax and tip the meal was ~$30.


Back on the road, we reached our hotel within the hour. Omni’s parking was $17 for the night, plus a charge for each time you left; but valet was $25 so we just did that.

The Omni isn’t the trendiest or even the fanciest hotel in Richmond, those titles go to Quirk and the Jefferson. Not the coolest or richest kid in class did not stop our hotel from being impressive. The crystal chandelier, the wide expanse of marble floors, and a friendly concierge impressed us. We felt fancy AF.


Our room was clean and nice, if a only a little boring. A large comfy bed is always a nice sight to see though.

Love the luggage carrier guy… who also happened to be my BF.


I had a few ideas for non-hotel sights to see. Yelp recommended the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, so I knew we’d definitely go there. During our drive into town, we spotted a billboard advertising the VMFA’s special exhibition: Terracotta Army, Legacy of the First Emperor of China.

VMFA was far from our hotel in the Shockoe neighborhood. Our hotel offered a shuttle, but I really wanted to drive so we could enjoy the many murals that decorate Richmond’s low houses and buildings.


The Richmond Mural Project is a yearly event that has created over 100 murals by well know artists in the last five years. The goal of the project is to increase tourism to the area (mission complete y’all!). On a ten minute drive we saw no less than 20 pieces of art. The scary, bright, surreal, and everything in between painted on older historic looking buildings creates an interesting juxtaposition between old and new, that makes Richmond feel distinctly creative and hip.

VMFA parking was $5 and there was a bit of a line going in. We did take the opportunity to mess around with the Google Arts and Culture app. Forgive me, but I’m only going to share the attractive results.

IMG_0772 (1)

The VMFA is free, but they charge for the special exhibitions. The Terracotta Army exhibition had timed entries, but on a busy Saturday we were able to get an entry time within an hour. The tickets are $20, but were free for military and their guests. Cost: $0.

The VMFA is AMAZING. Seriously the best museum I’ve ever been to. I think what really impressed me was the wide range of art on display in one location. It was almost like travelling all over the world, through every period of time in the span of two hours. Eastern art, African, Indian, Native American, Russian, Egyptian, Renaissance, Colonial… it was all the arts y’all. All of em. I’m going to wrap this part of the Richmond blog with lots of gratuitous art shots.


Meal Kit Review: Hello Fresh

Meal delivery kits are the perfect solution for a couple who loves to cook, but can’t afford to eat out every night. The company mails a chilled box your requested recipes in your specific number of portions, along with a step by step recipe. This week, we tried out Hello Fresh.


Full price, the meals end up being $9.99 per serving, and you can get up to four meals a week ($79.92). Hello Fresh has a 50% coupon for new users, so my first box was only $39.96. They track the discount by address and not by email, so it’s difficult to try to re-use the new user offer. Most meals take less than 45 minutes to prepare. You have a selection of recipes, and can specify any dietary restrictions you might have.

Considering we still buy groceries for other meals and snacks, these kits may be too expensive long term. However, I waste far less food with these kits. Quite often I am too tired to cook a full recipe. Or, I make a recipe for Jaymes and I that has 10 servings. I only want to do leftovers once or twice, so the leftovers are wasted. Additionally, the meal kit comes with a nutritional fact card, so it’s very easy to estimate how many calories each serving is, or track your macros. Lastly, most meals are approximately 600 calories, and usually enough for me to have two servings.

Last night was one of my, I’m too tired from sitting at my desk job to cook a meal night. Jaymes was on duty so I was on my own, so I had even less motivation to cook. Driving home I debated the various qualities of my favorite Chinese delivery food restaurant’s tempura shrimp (some of these places have no bidness calling their shrimp tempura, but that’s a whole different thing).

Anyway, I came home to find a Hello Fresh box on my doorstep. I received an email earlier that day about them sending too much pasta (like there is such a thing), but Shrimp fantasies had eclipsed any memory I had of this box arriving. Considering my usual Chinese food order is about $35 with tip, and I planned on writing a blog expounding the benefits of meal delivery kits, I forced myself to crack the box open and get to work.


Since it’s cold out I wasn’t too concerned about the temperature of the box. The website has tracking so you can schedule the box to come at a time when you can put it away immediately if you’re concerned about the temperature. The food is packed away in a space blanket with a lot of cold packs, so it stays pretty chilly in there.


The nutritional cards and recipes are on top. Let’s see… which one has the most calories? I’ll take that.


Another benefit of this service is that you have perfectly portioned recipes you can keep on file, and work into your normal cooking routines, even if you cancel later on.


What’s nice about Hello Fresh is they group the ingredients in nice neat brown bags, so even pulling everything out of the fridge is easy. You don’t have to scrounge around, trying to figure out what goes with what.


The meats are the only things packed separately, so they can stay closest to the cold pack.


The only things these kits usually expect you to have on hand is salt, pepper, and oil or butter. Everything else is included and measured.


Some meal kits wash your produce for you, but Hello Fresh recommended washing all the produce. Now if I wanted to make this with grocery store ingredients, I would have wasted 3/4 a head of cauliflower. Or, much more likely, skipped it all together.


You little albino trees are about to get roasted AF.


The more you cook, the more efficient you’ll be. Since I had the cutting board out, I decided to go ahead and cut my green onions at the same time too.  I love green onions because they are the least tear inducing of the onion family.


Opening my camera in front facing trying to take pictures of the cute milk. Never a good angle, but luckily I didn’t capture my chins.


Browning the pancetta (fancy bacon) and green onions together. Smells pretty heavenly, fried shrimp is a distant memory.


Johnny Cash is always on hand for some very sad puppy eyes, always when meat smells are in the air.

I too enjoy fancy bacon. -Cash (probably)

I got 50% extra pasta,  so there’s a plus.


Samsonite! I was way off.  Appropriate pasta amount amassed.


You curly guys are going to take a hot, salty bath.


After removing the pancetta, I melted some butter and added the provided flour to create a lovely roux.


Lol I love a good Montell Jordan reference….


You know, it’s terribly difficult to take photos in one hand and pour milk in another, but someone has to make mac and cheese.


One thing I will recommend you have on hand that the card doesn’t list is a pair of scissors. Many of these boxes come with ingredients in teeny packs, and it’s just much easier to snip the top off rather than tear it.


Adding all the cheese. Another example of a hard to open bag (use scissors!)


Ok, maybe the roasted cauliflower is not such a bad idea after all!


Adding the pancetta, onions to the mix.


After I gave this a mix, it was still a bit watery. So I just let it chill off the heat for a moment. I strongly encourage you to clean up the kitchen as much as possible before you serve your food. Less for you to do after, and let’s face it- a belly full of carbs never makes you super motivated to do anything but take a nap.

These portions are HUGE. Enough to top a regular size ramen bowl.  My kitchen has kitchen-y lighting, but still, it looks like the picture and smells amazing! The sauce was rich, salty (from the pancetta), and the green onions were the perfect pop of freshness. Again, I felt really great that I didn’t have 9 green onions hanging around. making me feel guilty. after making this recipe.


Finally, the kitchen is clean, and it’s time to eat. This meal was totally worth the 25 minutes it took me to make it, and well worth $9.99 a serving. It was so rich that I couldn’t finish all of it, so I had leftovers for lunch.  I could also make the extra pasta to go with the leftovers, so that’s a plus!


I enjoy these meal boxes, and it takes a lot of the mental energy out of cooking. You don’t have to clean or figure out how much to buy, or what to make. All the planning and shopping is the most tiring for me, so I find it well worth it.

Hello Fresh’s ingredients were fresh (aptly named), the recipes were easy to read, and the recipe selection is probably the most generally popular/not weird amongst the meal kits I’ve been looking at (Blue Apron has like chocolate roasted duck… eww).  The recipes also have tips and cooking education on there, so this is a great way to expand your cooking skills.


If you’ve never tried a meal delivery kit, Hello Fresh is a great way to start.

This post is not sponsored!

Happy cooking,


1 Minute Money Saver: Powder Laundry Detergent

Switch the provided laundry scoop out with a measuring cup. And, switch to powder laundry detergent if you think your teen is dumb enough to try to eat a laundry pod for attention on the internet.

I love laundry. Living on the ship deepened my love of fresh laundry. Laundry in the Navy has two options, Ship Laundry and Self-Serve.

Ship laundry consists of shoving as many different people’s uniforms as possible into an industrial size washer, half drying it, and then stuffing the damp contents to sit around for a day or so. Your things usually came back wrinkled, and covered in wayward Chapstick or pen ink.

Self-serve laundry was basically a laundromat in the bowels of the ship. It took forever, four hours at most to get to a washer (and this was before smart phones). Uniforms weren’t allowed because we had Ship Laundry, so you had to sneak your uniforms in with your PT gear and civilian clothing. It was all very time consuming, all for the comfort of fresh socks.

But I digress. I love laundry, and I love fresh laundry. I spend a lot of money on detergent, bleach, fabric softener, not mention the water, gas, electricity that goes along with doing loads of loads every week.

I was using Kirkland Pods, but one pod was not effective and two pods seemed like too much. Plus, apparently teenagers and kids love to eat laundry soap pods, so who needs that trouble. #FirstWorldProblems.

So I switched over to dry detergent because I could control the amount per load a little more.

One month into a my ginormous bucket of dry laundry detergent from Costco, I started to run low.

All month long I had fallen into the oldest trick in the book- thinking the scoop they provide is the per load requirement for detergent! I has been using twice the amount necessary all month! In the picture below, the green line is the recommended amount. There’s also an extremely hard to read line and number. It’s almost like they want you to use twice as much as you need.

So, I threw away that disingenuous scoop provided and found an old measuring cup that was similar to the “recommended” amount.

For my detergent it ended up being about ¼ of a cup, rather than the 1/2 I had been using. I had an extra measuring cup around (you can never have too many sets).

My happy little yellow scoop is the perfect portion and  now I can go back to mindlessly scooping and get on with my life, detergent worries behind me.

Laundry: it’s loads of fun.


Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

One year I made every dish from scratch, including cranberry sauce and rolls.  It was awesome to wield ultimate culinary power for a control freak like me.  However, the entire day I was far too busy and stressed out to spend time with my family.  By the time dinner rolled around I was too exhausted to enjoy the food I made.

Since I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year, I’m striving to strike a balance between homemade food and relaxation.

The key to cooking a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner is planning, preparation, practice, and people.



First step of planning a Thanksgiving dinner is thinking about how many people will be attending your meal.  Now, if there’s one thing I’m bad at its math.  Add the fact that most home recipes use volume for measurement while most grocers sell food by weight, it’s hard to accurately calculate exactly how much you’ll need or how much you make will feed.

Since Thanksgiving is all about bountiful amounts of food, it’s not likely you’ll run out.  Just keep in mind that most recipes are written for about four people, most grocery store ingredients (cans, meat sold by the pound), support this four-person recipe setup.  In my mind, since there are so many options, most people will eat half of a normal serving. So if you’re hosting eight people, you can probably get away with making one of each average recipe.

Most people end their planning after setting the menu and writing a shopping list. But if you’re going to cook all the Thanksgiving hits, at least 10 different dishes and desserts, that is hours of prep, cooking, and cleanup.  I’d recommend planning out exactly how long it takes to make each of these items from start to finish.




Equipment.  Prepping for Thanksgiving means more than shopping, you’ve got to make sure you have all the equipment you need. When I make a recipe, I get out everything I’ll need ahead of time, because it saves time searching for gadgets in the cooking process.  I’d also suggest having more than one set of common items, such as measuring spoons, measuring cups, sheet pans. Make sure you’ve got a roasting pan that will fit the 40 lb monster turkey you’ve been eyeing at Costco. (A roasting rack really does make a difference, so invest in one!)

Buy a double supply of tin foil.  I’d also get some aluminum foil pans for most dishes too, so stacking the pre-made things is easier in your refrigerator.

Even if you have extra stuff, make sure you clean up as you go along.  Make sure you’ve got lots of clean microfiber and kitchen towels, disinfectant spray, clean sponges, trash bags.  I’d suggest having an extra trashcan without a lid near your prep area too.  Get a set of nice rubber gloves too- makes cleaning up all the better, and your hands won’t be dried out at the end of the week.




I’d also go so far as to practice your dishes the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Think of Thanksgiving like the Super Bowl. If you’re the quarterback you wouldn’t try out new things the day of the game, so don’t try to fry a Turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving. If it’s me, I’m going to make most dishes in the days before anyway.

At the very least, do a mentally rehearsal of your Thanksgiving schedule. It’s my military experience, or the fact I’m a worry wart, but I like to mentally walk through everything I’m going to make before I make it. Mentally walking through the recipe allows you to double check your ingredients- that way, if you forget something, you have time to go get it.


Like Frozen, you should just let it go- you’re not going to be able to do everything yourself.  Nor should you try, Thanksgiving is about gatherings of loved ones and friends just as much as its about food.  Let people help you.  Let people bring things.  Most of your friends and family don’t want to watch you run around busy and stressed out. No one likes a martyr.

Figure out what’s most important for you to make yourself. If none of your friends can cook, there’s always commercial options out there. Most grocery stores offer a pre-cooked thanksgiving box. Boston Market, Bob Evans are just two restaurants that also have entire meals available for purchase. They’ll bring it to your house and everything!




However you plan to make your Thanksgiving dinner, just remember that it’s your holiday too.  Whether you want to meticulously plan and cook a perfect meal, or eat Boston Market in your sweatpants, whether you want to be alone or with everyone you’ve ever met, do what you want! This is America, you’re free to do what you think is best, and for that I’m thankful.

P.S. If you’ve never read The Oatmeal’s Thanksgiving comic, do so now: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/thanksgiving