Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Love, Life & Bubblebath

By A.J. Llewellyn

I have so much to be thankful for this year and I am kinda excited it's my turn at the wheel here at The Many Shades of Life and Love on this special day because it is my favorite holiday.
I never celebrated it until I moved here in 1984. I was a student then and living with a family who fell on severely hard times almost as soon as my dad organized for me to stay with them.
The mom, who was a district rep, lost her job at Avon and in short order, she lost her car and a bunch of other stuff.
It was the first time I realized how many people here live "one paycheck away from disaster."
I could have called my dad back in Australia and said, "Get me out of here" but I felt a sense of loyalty when she was trying so hard to make things good and fun for her family and for me. I remember that Thanksgiving looked kinda lean. She bought turkey parts because they were cheaper than the whole bird and a ton of vegetables.
Since I am a vegetarian I got to enjoy tasty sides and confess that candied yams became one of my many food obsessions.
Dessert was - and we still make jokes about this - a packet of M and Ms which we all shared. I think I got three.
The best surprise was that the next day we went out and bought a Christmas tree. I'd never had a live, fresh tree in my life since Christmas in Australia is summer and at that time, they didn't exist.
In hindsight, it was an extravagance, but it was one I will never forget.
I buried my face in that tree and I think my enthusiasm transmitted itself to everyone in the family.
I love Christmas because it was the last time I saw my mom laughing and happy and able to sit up before colon cancer claimed her.
But Thanksgiving is the time I also love because her dear friend who has also since succumbed to the Big C wanted so badly to give me a chance at having a mom and a loving family here in the US.
And she did. I am still close to her kids and I still make egg salad sandwiches the way she taught me. I think of her often and I cannot smell any kind of bubble bath without thinking of all the bottles of it she had in her massive bathroom.
She was a generous soul who gave everybody samples of Avon and who was a fantastic saleswoman but this current economic climate isn't the only time people have lost jobs.
I learned from her that there are valuable, treasured moments each and every day and to gather them, much like you would shells on the sand. And I do.
I am grateful to have good health (in spite of my sweet tooth and a tendency toward high stress) and I am thankful my animals are in good health.
I am grateful for my friends and family - scattered all over the world.
I am most especially grateful to my lovely friend CR Moss who approached me to be a contributing member of this blog. She is an awesome lady and an incredible writer. I will never forget that she once emailed me, a total stranger then with articles on Hawaii that she thought would inspire a book or two.
They did.
I am grateful to know all the other authors I also share this blog with. Lynn Crain is another awesome author and a sweet woman who really is one of the first I got to know through our publisher at eXtasy Books and of course my writing partner Stephani Hecht, the lovely, lavish Erin Sinclair and I often chat and Jambrea Jo Jones I've seen emerge from M/M fan to full-fledged author. Patti Shenberger, Celia Jade, Courtney Breazile and the adorable Annie Alvarez are also terrific, talented people.
We have some newbies on board I don't know yet but I look forward to doing so.
Most of all, I wish all our readers a wonderful day, whether you eat turkey or you don't, think fondly of your loved ones whether you always get along with them - or you don't.
I wish you a happy, peaceful, beautiful day.

Aloha oe,



Serena Yates said...

Well said, AJ. I wish you an especially great day as well, one you can spend with friends and get to enjoy.


CynStorm said...

We all have a story about who we are. That story always changes based on our actions, thoughts, and feelings. We have moments which define our lives and sometime in those moments one can feel alone or feel surrounded by family, friends..etc. Thank you AJ, for sharing some of your moments with us and allowing us to see and experience part of your journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gros Bisou,

AJ Llewellyn said...

Thank you Serena and Cyn, I send you both big hugs and 'gros bisou!'

xo AJ

Susilien said...

AJ My Dear Heart,

Thank you for so generously sharing another snapshot of your life and your heart. I love every picture you describe and give to me/us. I have been blessed this Thanksgiving with wonderful family and friends. I hope that you and everyone else here are similairly blessed today.

Erin Sinclair said...


Lovely and lavish, what a beautiful compliment, Sunshine, thank you!


PS This year for Thanksgiving I made a rice pilaf with cranberries, toasted almonds, peas, and carrots...that would be perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, don't ya think? ;-D

AJ Llewellyn said...

Susie, I adore you and thank you for all the beautiful emails you sent me this year.
Erin, I meant what I said and mmmm....your pilaf sounds amazing!

Lynn Crain said...

Ah, damn it A.J., you made me cry!

Thank you, thank you kind man for your wonderful words! They mean so much to me this holiday weekend.

I hope you're having a wonderful holiday too!


C.R. Moss said...

what a wonderful post AJ! & i'm thankful to know you as well and appreciate your friendship. glad the articles gave you inspiration.

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