This Thanksgiving will have come and gone by the time you've read this column.
I'm thankful for many things this past year; many of which have happened this month. The beginning of this month was my return to the stage as an actor. My previous stint was in high school when I participated in the school play, that wasn't a great performance except for my death scene; I spent 20 minutes gasping and dying.
On Nov. 1 through 4, I was Kaarlo Niskavuori in the play "What Now, Niskavuori." Kaarlo was a government official and also a complete jerk; I played it up providing the best Napoleon complex performance I could muster. Looking back at it now I can say that it was a fun experience but mostly it gave me a newfound respect for my daughter Briana, who has been in many plays and recently landed a speaking and singing role in "Grease," this year's all school musical.
I'm thankful that my children have activities outside of school and I know full well from my 18 years of working with children and families that unstructured and unsupervised time is often when trouble happens. Plays, sports, club, and such are ways to provide structure and supervision often with very little cost to the families involved.
I'm thankful for my wife's patience as I continue my education; I have two more courses toward my Ph.D. and then a year of dissertation. Without her support, I doubt that I would have hung on so long.
On Dec. 1 and 8, we'll be hosting auctions at our place; I'm thankful for friends that can see uses for our building. Some are a lot of work, but the extra income is always a plus. This past year has been tough physically as I'm still unable to play basketball due to my knee injury, but I am thankful that it only hurts when I climb stairs so I'm able to work and continue to provide for my family.
Christmas is around the corner and seems to get more and more competitive each year for how much a family can spend each year. I heard an ad that said that the most requested item from 6 to 12 year olds is an iPad. Seriously, a $500 item is the most requested item? I'm thankful that my family is low maintenance when it comes to gifts. Our big Christmas thing is to try to decorate our building to have the spirit of the holiday - more than high-end electronics dominating our lives.
Lastly, I'm thankful that I gave the National Novel Writing Month competition a shot; I doubt I'll hit the 50,000 words (as of this writing I'm at 22,000), but it did show me that if I take the time, I can write 1,000 words a day with some regularity.
It's a little early for resolutions but I do have one I'd like to announce; in 2013, I will complete my "Family Matters" book. It will be part autobiography and greatest hits from my life and this column from the past seven years. So if you see me on the streets, feel free to ask me how far I am in writing it, a push I'm sure that I will be thankful for this time next year.
Brian Foreman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.