Edmonton and the weather

On a cold day like this one, one might expect me to be complaining about the weather, but I'm not. I might have small complaints now and again about being cold (for example if/when the doors are broken at work letting in too much cold air, or if I've somehow planned poorly for the weather by not wearing the appropriate clothing because of inaccurately reading the forecast, or because dress codes make it difficult for me to stay warm or something), or hot or something but generally I don't find the weather the best thing to complain about. Why? Because I can't honestly change it. It's something I live with whether there's snow drifts higher than the height of my boots or shoes or whether it's a hot summer day.

Some folks think that purely because I live in the North, or in Canada (and Edmonton very far north for its population in Canada… we're really far north when compared to most large cities in Canada) that it is always cold. But by virtue of our location we actually get a lot of sunlight, and while yes we can get rather cold in the winters, we're often really warm in the summers too. My favourite seasons weather-wise tend to be spring and fall because they're often either the most beautiful or easiest to dress for, but that isn't entirely true either. I adore winter because of winter sports, because of holiday activities, because of how clean the snow makes everything look, because I can curl up with a book indoors and just enjoy my central heating. I adore summer because I often don't need a jacket, because I can enjoy the festival season and have some really long periods of daylight and fun outdoors, because there's simply so much to do and enjoy in Edmonton when the weather is good.

Edmonton doesn't tend to get much severe weather: unlike places with more moisture we don't tend to get the ice storms, the crazy blizzards, the floods etc. And we're pretty fortunate in that respect! My least favourite part of winter is ice because falling on a slippery patch is no fun (skating rinks are different of course, I'm referring to the ice that crops up in places that are not where it is wanted!).

Anyway, on a cold day like this one, I try to remember just how awesome Edmonton weather really truly is, how thankful I am that I don't live in a place where heat waves necessitate crazy amounts of air conditioning and staying indoors in the summer, and that we have insulation and central heating to be thankful for. I'm also pretty darn happy that I can stay inside sometimes too.

A full but wonderful day…

There's a lot I could type about here (and I'm oh so tempted to just type about hanging with Cats at Parties), because sometimes it is just awesome to spend time with pets when you don't actually have any of your own (good gosh, cuddles with pets are sometimes so awesome!)… but really I'd like to talk about how fully awesome my day was, because there's so much negativity out there that it's worth focusing on the positive sometimes!

Today I started my day with a visit to the Buy Nothing Day Free Market to get things started. On the way I had to answer the phone twice on the walk (I probably should have been wearing my conductive touchscreen gloves rather than my non-touchscreen sensitive gloves beneath my mittens, to make it quicker to answer the phone, but I suppose that would be for another day). Other than my fingers getting really cold on those moments, I did have a good couple hours at the market before I took Sarah to the Yelp Shops Local event (complete with a visit with SANTA!) as my guest! She and I enjoyed some yummy waffles and orange juice (there were mimosas too, but whatever) and tried some of this rum horchata which was a bit strong for me but delicious! There were some pretty cute kids there and Santa had a great sense of humor. We did visit David's Tea on the Yelp Shops Local route, and then to Spasation where we each donated money to the Ronald McDonald House and received paraffin wax hand treatments and chair massages (which were wonderful!).

And then we visited the Royal Bison! Craft sale. It was pretty nifty, though insanely crowded as per the usual. We found this awesome crafting booth where we decorated postcards to be sent to random other people (mine is going to a person named Jennifer, for example), which was super fun and unexpected! For the first time I finally bought some Moonshine Donuts, but they had already sold out of the almond earl grey ones, so my 4-packs were lacking in one flavour. Still it was a good dessert later on! I spent the evening hanging with cats and dogs plus Sarah and Tim and it was wonderful (we had salad, pasta, tea, and the donuts, all of which was delicious) and it was just great to relax with friends and have a good time. I ought to relax with just a friend or two (and sometimes a pet or more) more often. It's pretty awesome. It was a really full day, of course but a wonderful Saturday including some shopping (I didn't really find much that I absolutely needed/wanted for myself or others, but it wasn't overwhelming or anything), arts and crafts, yummy food, holiday fun, and friends, all of which was wonderful! Sure there was a little bit of stress from the volunteering end of things (as is par for the course) but nothing unsurmountable or out of the ordinary really. And you know what? It was a good balance to do some good for others (free market, donating money etc.), and spoiling ourselves with good food/experiences etc.

On the topic of Black Friday Sales and Buy Nothing Day

Yesterday I decluttered my home. I also did my seemingly annual bookshelf reorganization (yes my books multiply semi-frequently, yes I did also weed my collection). This meant that 5 bags of stuff left my home for the free market event today, and that two more will leave my home tomorrow. And while decluttering COULD mean more space for new items to replace these now departed ones, I'm happy to say that I have been continuing my trend of definitely coming home from the free market with far less than what I brought there (I picked up 5 items: mostly stationery items and one book that I've been meaning to read these last few years [and an item that I'll likely use for part of a regift exchange]).

And I haven't actually spent any money. Sure some of the Black Friday sales tantalized me somewhat, but none really did what they needed to do to get me to actually spend my money. Either the sales weren't good enough, or the items weren't things I actually needed or needed to gift to anyone. It is crazy just how many retailers have been sending the message to BUY, BUY, BUY this time of year, when really I usually find far better sales in January, when most folks are busily paying off credit card bills from the holidays (yes I do also have bills to pay, but if I shop in January it's often cheaper, and less crowded in the actual stores). And Black Friday is more of a USA thing and the whole online shopping thing is more of a Cyber Monday trick generally, so it is not something I generally partake in too much as it is.

Tomorrow is day two of a very snowy Buy Nothing Day Free Market event (our 7th annual) and I look forward to dropping off the remaining items I would like to rid myself of, to hopefully see some familiar faces and maybe check out some of the Whyte avenue events happening tomorrow (okay I'm sad that the weather has made them cancel the sleigh rides because I was really looking forward to those). I would be surprised if I spent much money tomorrow either. But we shall see. Regardless, I'm hoping that the Free Market is busier… the snow having kept many away.

On seeing the Flashdance musical

So on this snowy day when things that I had planned to do have been cancelled due to weather (and when I'm pretty happy to still be on vacation and not at work), I figure I had best type a bit about last night when I saw the Flashdance musical (with my parents although they had far better seats than I did). I think I'll type about three separate things: the experience itself, the plot (note that I had never actually seen the film although I've seen the occasional clip), and the actual production quality itself.

It was nice to meet up with my parents before the show… to talk a bit and well, people watch a bit. The crowd in attendance was predominantly female and most folks were in pretty gorgeous clothing. My seat was up in the second balcony (front center and it was great to not have anyone in front of me though I do prefer being a little bit closer on occasion… if I have to be far away this was the perfect place to sit). And there was no one in the row behind me nor in the seats on either side of me. This show was definitely not sold out. But there was a group of women three rows up to my right who were talking through the performance on occasion which was truly frustrating. They stopped after I glared at them but I had to do that during both halves of the performance. Gah. Do people actually not understand theatre etiquette? I mean sure there was an issue with one person to my far left whose cell phone light went off at least once, which was also slightly annoying but oh well. The actual performance was mostly without a hitch though the second half didn't start for quite some time after I expected it to (I wonder if there was a technical glitch)… and the snow didn't start falling until I was home and likely asleep later in the evening.

As for the plot and characters… I was quite honestly surprised at how much I HATED the heavily done, very patriarchal, very frustrating battles that the female characters had to deal with in the first half. I had such a viseral reaction to some of the power imbalances (and how they were taken advantage of) that existed in the first half. I mean, it makes sense in the musical form in the 1980s, given the base narrative in question. I'm not sure that the behaviour in the first half would be excuseable in reality in the second half even given what folks do to repair the wrongs that they've committed, but some of the situations in the first half do strike me as abusive/lacking consent/etc. There are a lot of male gaze situations that I could talk about at length (but I'm also not about to spoiler the musical for you), and there are a number of other inappropriate things that happen here — but you know what these things do and did happen in the 1980s (and still now). I like to hope watching theatre like this will cause people to discuss some of these issues/behaviours. And you know what I'm glad that I'm aware of this. There are of course many things that made me feel uncomfortable about the plot but you know what, that's kind of the point. And so while I'm torn about my appreciation of the first half of the performance because of the plot, the second half mostly makes me a bit happier on a whole. I don't think that solutions are THAT easy in real life, but of course this is theatre, based on a film, sure, but it's theatre.

Finally talking about the performance itself. The costumes were beautifully well done. I adored those. The dance numbers were fabulous — ballet, break dancing, good choreography, fun burlesque-esque numbers, strip-tease, etc. The sets were well constructed to evoke the different scenes and the lighting was really well done. I thought that this was really worth watching. And then there's the music. At times (particularly in the first half) there were some sound level issues, and there were some lyrics that I couldn't understand. But the second half included some amazing numbers. The 1980s music that is incorporated into this performance is outstanding. Sure there are the more iconic songs from the movie, but there are some good surprises. I really liked the second half's music a lot. And the closing number was super fun. On a whole the plot might be a little underdeveloped, but the performance was worth the price tag.

The Buy Nothing Day Free Market is coming

And I can't say that I'm ready with my bags of things to donate just yet, though I haven't acquired so much junk over the course of this year as to need to rid myself of just as much as I donated last year to the event. I haven't quite figured out exactly what shifts I'll have to be present for the event at, but I know I'll be there at the beginning of both days (and a fair bit of time on Friday during the day), but will leave fairly early on during Saturday because of other things to work on. I mean, it is the holiday season coming up and I do have things to do to prepare for it myself. My to-do list remains very long.

I'm doing better at not acquiring junk to begin with as time goes on, and thus needing to replace less and less which is a lot of why we host such events: to help encourage not acquiring too much unnecessary stuff to begin with, I guess. But really it's a great opportunity both to declutter and to obtain things that one might want or need. The event page is available here. Please spread the word. Last year over a hundred people came through our doors but the weather this year might mean sparser crowds? It is uncertain. Regardless the event is a good one person's trash is another one's treasure type of thing. And I've found great items here in the past from clothing to books, kitchen tools to stationery and much more besides.

As an avid contest entrant, I always have a bit of stuff sitting around that I don't need or have use for, but so too to most folks. And the most bizarre things might be popular on any given year. It being our 7th free market event (open from 9am-8pm Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturday) we've had a number of different and unusual items that have been really popular in the past:
– ugly mugs (one year people just adored coffee mugs that happened to not have anything to do with their personal experiences, had different people's names on it etc.)
– old magazines (one year a bunch of teachers stopped by and grabbed these for art projects)
– toiletry items (last year sample sized toiletries and other lotions etc. were especially popular)
– outdated technology (some years these items are really unpopular, whereas other years odd items like beta tapes, VHS tapes, cassettes, LPs, players for said technology and whatnot are really popular).

What we don't want: CRT TVs (no huge heavy appliances, really), large furniture or items better served by bringing them to the ECO station, broken items or items with no known use. There are certain types of items that are not safe for use by other people and so we'd rather that they not show up at all. Plus, our volunteers responsible for clean up don't want to hurt themselves lugging dirty, awkward, large items back out of the room (all remaining items will be donated to local area charities after the event).

What we do want are: clothing, footwear, toys, media items (like books, CDs, DVDs, etc.), games, Christmas decor items, kitchen appliances and other kitchenware, stationery, small electronics, small furniture (one year we had a great child's desk and chairs that went to a happy home), small decor items, lighting, functional flatscreen tvs (these are really popular even if they're really small), computer stuff etc. I'm always surprised by what shows up (and by the items that fly out of the door!). I've found some good antique items that I've really enjoyed using in my home for example.

Anyway, I figured I'd spend some time typing about this because I'm pretty happy to be going through my home to declutter and bring some fun finds here… and think that some other folks might want to do the same. Plus I often find a good book or two to read here or otherwise. I've even found gift items (it being the holiday season) here in the past. Start your shopping with the free market — maybe it'll mean spending less money in the end? Regardless I like to think it helps! If you want to volunteer, we would still appreciate some help on both days. There is a sign up form listed on the FB event too.

A month before Christmas…

And as usual I'm not at all ready. But I quite honestly don't mind: I don't usually start much of the Holiday shopping etc. until December (or at least late November) anyway. That said, it is time for me to start thinking about Christmas/Holiday cards. If you would like me to send you a physical Christmas card in the mail please do message me (either on Facebook, Twitter, email, or here etc.) with a current address and you'll be updated/added to my card list. I do of course have a standard list of people to send to but I know that some folks don't appreciate the physical cards any longer and my list changes every year as a result of lost addresses etc. I do know that many of you love to receive actual mail however.

As for my own Christmas shopping, I have I think at least 4 or 5 exchanges (secret santa or White Elephant) to prepare for along with the regular family gifts. And I've at least SOME ideas for two or three of these. I'm waiting on at least one person's wishlist before shopping for him and look forward to at least a couple special holiday shopping events (one's a craft show, one's just a shopping event with sleighs etc.) to get me more in the mood. Since I have this week off from work (I decided to take the rest of my vacation time) I haven't really been exposed to that many Christmas carols, though I suppose that many other retail establishments have likely been playing holiday songs for quite some time now. I've only now added my holiday collection to my music rotation but as I have so little of it digitally I don't hear it all that often either.

As for holiday gatherings and parties I have a rather sparse list of events to make it to this year. Which is a bit refreshing, I guess. I know that much of December will fill up with gatherings and other events as time goes on, for which I'm thankful, as I really do love the holiday season! And then there's the surprises that I look forward to receiving in the mail and otherwise. But a lot of the fun of the season is in volunteering, in spoiling others with experiences and kindness, gifts and time. And really I do look forward to some of the great aspects of this season. It's crazy how quickly time has flown by this year… to think there's just a month until Christmas!

On Identity and Ambiguous Ethnicity

I don't often link to videos in my blog postings, but maybe I ought to do this more? I often watch the videos that I see in my various social media feeds, and do spend quite a bit of time watching the videos from my various YouTube subscriptions. Usually I just share/comment/retweet etc. to these postings on the various social media networks, limiting the extent of my discussion to a few sentences at most (or maybe as little as 140 characters). And sometimes the video might come up in casual conversation and get shared in person. But this video is different for me in that it resonated on a completely different level.

There aren't many depictions of people of mixed racial/ethnic identity in media and popular culture these days. Even so there are more of these nowadays than there were when I was a teenager and trying to develop for myself my own identity (okay identity building is a continual process, but I think that in one's adolescence one often devotes the most time/thought etc. to this potentially traumatic process of trying to figure out how to fit in to the outside world and how to think about one's self). Such a video wouldn't have been made even a few years ago, and I'm happy about that aspect. Most public personalities that are of ambiguous ethnicity find a way to fit into one or more cultural niches or to identify more strongly with one or more aspects of ethnic origin, downplaying the others at least in the public sphere. And I don't fault anyone for this: the whole process of fitting into categories is something that is particularly human about our behaviour patterns. But I really appreciate seeing videos like this one (even with all the flaws of such a video… I could spend ages picking apart these flaws but that's for another day or person to do, I'm sure).

In North America I'm often perceived as being some sort of Asian. On my first trip to Asia (Taiwan) and even on my more recent trip to Japan (though to a MUCH MUCH smaller extent actually) I felt incredibly white. I don't particularly fit in with White culture (which can I guess be exemplified by some of the [positive AND negative] interactions I have with the public at work, or some of my online dating adventures, because I'm 'exotic or something') or Asian culture here (I've noticed this most strongly at University when I didn't feel like I had all that much in common with the more predominantly Asian groups of friends)… and you know what? Usually I'm okay with that though it is occasionally really truly frustrating.

I don't mind people asking POLITELY about my race or ethnic origins, provided that it's in an appropriate setting. I don't easily fit into a category: at work I wear my first name as a nametag and so people try to reconcile my commonly Arabic/Islamic/Muslim male first name with the fact that I'm definitely female and not overtly from that area of the world (though people often wonder); my Polish last name sometimes confuses people (and not just because people can't seem to spell it properly on a regular basis, because two consonants obviously can't follow each other) but hey that's less of an issue because I'm female and it could be a married name, right? (it isn't, and I'm not married, thanks. I'm actually part Polish though no one guesses that, though they might try to assume that I would speak Polish and get disappointed when it turns out that I don't); my features are such that I've been mistaken for being from literally any non-traditionally Western country I can think of (some examples include: Egypt, the Philippines, Lebanon, Korea, etc.).

And you know what? some of the racial slurs that have hurt the worst were those where the speaker got the racist epithet wrong. I am far less insulted when accurate insults were thrown my way (because in a strange way it shows that they put at least that much thought into it) instead of them just lumping me together with any other marginalized race/ethnic identity/subculture etc.

The misplaced anger of people when they realize that I don't speak Chinese, Korean, Polish, etc., or that I'm unable to become whatever race or ethnic identity that they suddenly want me to be is sometimes the strangest and most off-putting. And for me, it's wrapped up with all sorts of aspects of identity from my name to my appearance to my language abilities to my skill sets and hobbies. I actually really like whom I am, and find that on occasion it becomes tiring responding to all of these questions/insults/pigeon-holing comments/etc. Sometimes it is the entitled attitudes of strangers that they would know better than I would what my ethnicity might be that frustrates me the most. And really, if someone asks me where I'm from, it's not inaccurate to say Canada. And no, unlike what at least one person has said angrily, I can't go back to whatever country I'm from (what am I supposed to do, split myself in pieces and return each portion to the country where my ancestors once lived? And how far back would that kind of thing have to go, really, to get it right? Because if you go far enough, we're all just residents of planet Earth).

There's a lot more I could say about my reaction to this video. And I've already participated in a few social media conversations about it this morning. But I'm glad that media such as this one are being made. And I'm glad that this video has started some interesting discussions. I don't often applaud BuzzFeed, but this one really deserves some kudos, as much as I do realize there are flaws and always will be in such a short video.

Comic books and Doctor Who

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the launch of my favourite TV show at the moment. And while I'm FAR FAR FAR from caught up on the classic Who TV episodes, or on the comic books, I really do want to keep up with the new Doctor Who comics and TV episodes. I'm on top of the TV episodes, of course and am enjoying rewatching them on Blu-ray. So there's that. Season 8 made me alternatively really frustrated and really happy, so there's that.

And I owned a few of the comic books. Essentially this meant that I owned a few trade paperbacks but wanted to own and to have read all of them from the 'new who' era. And I eventually endeavored to do this… and last night/today I finally figured out precisely what I am still missing (of the stuff that I haven't already ordered/acquired/owned. And so I'm essentially missing one set of comics that I don't already have on hold for me or on order or that I've acquired. And I want those four trade paperback issues before they too become hard to acquire (yes I might be a bit of a completionist when it comes to certain comics) [it's easiest when my local comic book store of choice has what I want or can get it from the distributor, but sometimes I resort to other stores in town or to amazon or other options, which I had to do today as I rather wanted to find more of the awesome comics. And then I'll have all the IDW Doctor Who comics that I would need to complete my personal collection and that will make me a pretty happy woman with respect to that.

I'm really excited about reading all my Doctor Who comics. I've really enjoyed some of the storylines as of yet (and yes, just like the TV show, some stories do fall flat). I'm really excited about the new Titan comic books too… I've read single issue 1 of both the Eleventh and the Tenth doctor and look forward to reading these issues in trades (because I much prefer trades to single issues for re-reading, sitting on my shelf and collecting). But it's really frustrating the amount of effort I have to go to to FIND the IDW comics that I need to complete my collection, even when I'm ALMOST there (with the work I did today to this end I literally just need those four trade paperbacks which are now on my amazon wishlist in the hopes that I won't have to do all the work to get them. I know that they all came out about a year ago now but yeah. The Titan comics are so appealing to me too, especially now that two protagonists have made it into the Doctor Who Legacy iOs game that I love to play so much!

It strikes me that I'm going to have to reorganize my bookshelves again (perhaps this week?) to make my books fit better after having read so many great comics etc. this year. I've gifted and donated some of them away over the course of the past year too and will probably go through some others in my collection and do the same at the upcoming Free Market this Friday/Saturday if I find more books that I'm not 100% convinced are going to be ones I'll want to keep, but my Doctor Who ones (with the exception of stuff I've now got duplicates of) are staying on my bookshelves. I do rather enjoy reading them!

Social media and following people you admire

I spend a lot of time on social media on any given day. Whether that's just because I keep Tweetdeck open on my second monitor when I don't need it for some other more valuable purpose, or because I like to read Facebook on my breaks at work, or because G+ is someplace to browse when I run out of other things to do on my phone when procrastinating or something.

And like many people I have a mix of people I know in person and people I don't on my social media profiles. I also follow/like the occasional brand or organization, of course and have my own reasons for following each of those profiles (for example: to enter a contest, to get extreme weather notifications, to find out what is happening, to hear about sales, to find out why something is or isn't working, because I genuinely like a product or business etc.).

But the people who are not people I know in real life, who might be actors that I admire, comic artists/writers I enjoy, who are writers, who are local celebrities, who are musicians I enjoy etc. are not necessarily followed for the same reasons I might follow a friend I once met through CKI, or a co-worker, or a classmate, or a family member etc.

And you know what I find? Following these people often humanizes them: makes them more than just their work. You can learn of their family lives sure, but you can also find out about senses of humor, engage in debates, find out about the causes and issues that interest them, and realize that you might have something in common. There is of course a certain danger of the celebrity that you might be a fan of might lose some of their lustre, but was that adulation really deserved if that is the case? I think that I like a lot of my favourite musical artists, writers, artists, etc. more because I now know more about their beliefs in so far as they want to share them.

And this is key, social media is not for prying into another person's affairs without permission: it is instead for communicating what one wants to communicate. Rallying folks around a cause one cares deeply about is something that happens online, but it's unlikely that such rallying will happen if that cause is so private that it is hidden from the fans/followers/likers etc. of a certain individual. We interact or watch what is put up by people (or at times by people's people — a reference to those who have their staff or friends update things when they can't or won't do so themselves) on purpose.

But human-ness doesn't excuse completely inappropriate behaviour. Sometimes an someone will fall from a pedestal and crash to the ground completely unable to be repaired on social media. There are celebrities etc. of whom I will never be fond simply because of what social media has revealed of themselves.

Yes social media is a part of many of our every day lives now. Yes it is problematic. But at the same time, I think I'm fond of following the more celebrity type folks I do because they challenge me to think of things in new ways, they challenge me to be a better person and to learn about the issues that surround me and my interactions with others in different lights. That's not likely to be the case for every well-known person one might follow, but I don't just follow for no reason online: they must contribute something worthwhile to my experience.

On cooking, cookbooks, the internet and food memories from my youth

I will never be the same cook as my mother. This is partially true because she likes to eat different things than I do, and partially because she had to satisfy different tastes than I do when I'm cooking. But it's also because the availability of food in grocery stores has changed, I own different kitchen appliances/tools, recipes are more available online than they were in the pre-internet days, and well because my relationship with food is a different one than hers is/was.

And this isn't a bad thing: I live in the core of a large city with many food options available to me, I work at a supermarket and have many farmer's markets at easy distance to my home (on foot even) [I ought to visit them more frequently too but as I live alone sometimes it's hard to remember to use up all the fresh/perishable ingredients I have on hand anyway], restaurant options abound in this city within walking/transit distance, and I can actually find many more obscure ingredients with relative ease (and have had redditgifts people gift me others from afar). I can be lazy and still make healthy simple meals; I can choose to eat out when time is at a premium and find delicious options with ease.

But when it comes to the task of actually cooking, I do things differently than one might imagine at times. Most of the time I don't use a recipe, instead using recommendations/recipes as a guideline if I'm less familiar with a dish, knowing how to throw simple ingredients together for an experimental soup or stirfry or crockpot creation. I have been endeavoring to slowly read Cooking for Geeks cover-to-cover because the articles in this cookbook are amazingly educational. I have a ton of cookbooks which I rarely use (though when I do, the results are hit or miss, depending in part on my success in replicating the item in question and my actual liking of the ingredient combinations… darn being a supertaster sometimes!). I don't seek out cookbooks though the LooneySpoons one, the Cooking for Geeks one, the Joy of Cooking, the Klutz, and the Jean Pare ones are all useful to have around for various reasons (yes I have others, but they get even less use). The internet is a HUGE help when I'm trying to come up with ideas of how to use certain ingredients that I've picked up (or have remaining from another dish or purpose) and even if I'm not cooking, I'm quite capable of throwing together snacks in the form of fresh fruits and veggies.

Lately I've started actually asking my mother more often what ingredients she put in various of my more favourite dishes from my youth. And it turns out they were often really simple dishes to make (perhaps some of the ingredients were a bit more difficult to come by then, and perhaps I've learned to make substitutions or to try to keep some of items that I like on hand if non-perishable). So while I might not have the same tools at my disposal as my mother did when I was a kid, I'm apparently perfectly capable of finding ways of approximating certain aspects of my favourite dishes.

Now if only I could get her to make/teach me the secrets of the lasagna that I loved so very much when I was a kid. I don't think she's made the variety that I've had such fond memories of having as a kid since I was a young teen and I really wish I knew exactly everything she put into it such that I could make it my own someday.

In other words, I'm thankful for all that my mom's taught me regarding food.