Happy Naked Thanksgiving

Today is my favorite holiday, apart from hawk trapping. Non Birding Bill and I celebrate Naked Thanksgiving. It started when we first moved to Minnesota. Coming from a family of five sisters and two brothers I was used to a large gathering of family craziness and not a quiet holiday for two. When we moved up here and I worked at a bird retail store, leaving for Indiana during the busiest shopping week was just not a good idea. So, NBB and I developed our own tradition of not dressing up (or dressing at all), having our pie for breakfast (because you are always too full to eat dessert after the turkey dinner), and have only the bare essentials (NBB only wants turkey and stuffing, I like a fancy salad with my turkey and the jell-o like canned cranberry sauce). We watch whatever tv the two of us want which usually includes James Bond movies (I'm sucker for Octopussy, that was my first career choice--to be a woman who runs an island of beautiful acrobatic women who put on a circus as a front for jewelry smuggling, instead I turned to birding for a career). Anyway, this quiet Thanksgiving without the craziness of holiday travel is just so nice. I highly recommend it, however if you stick to Naked Thanksgiving literally, at least wear an apron when basting the turkey.

I have so much to be grateful for this year apart from the usual (NBB, my hilarious mother, my supportive siblings, my disapproving rabbits, a cantankerous cockatiel, do educational programs for The Raptor Center) but I have the coolest job on the planet and the fact that I work for Eagle Optics (a company that I actually used and recommended to customers before I worked there) is so surprising. The great friends that I made this year (has it really been less than a year since I met my convention birding and karaoke posse of Amy, Jeff and BT3), the ivory-billed woodpecker was rediscovered (which is reason enough to be grateful) and I'm going to live a childhood dream of not only having the opportunity to look for it, but to do it through Cornell University (I haven't been this excited since I got realize another childhood dream of riding in a cherry picker when I went osprey banding), getting to see a California condor up close and personal, Katie showing me a crested caracara, the list could go on and on.

So, I leave you with my favorite piece of advice that I found years ago on the inside label of Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin (now known as Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin):

"Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin is thoroughly cooked during the canningprocess so it is perfectly safe and acceptable to enjoy straight from the can."

Safe - I'm sure it is. Acceptable - I guess only you can be the judge of that.