If you are an American, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving spread. If you’re like me (and if you are, I hope you are seeing a therapist) you will carry memories of it in your hips and thighs for months to come.



My holiday spread begins at Thanksgiving and usually ends around Labor Day when I overindulge for the very last time this year (honest!) because I believe in moderation in all things. I also believe that my body’s remembrance of meals past enlarges me and makes me a bigger person, so I’m conflicted.



Of course, not everyone celebrates when you begin spreading, especially if you are sitting next to them on an airplane. These whiners tend to be the same people who object to using “them” with the antecedent “everyone” in that last sentence. I should know because I object as well. But only if I discover the usage in a student’s paper. In my own writing, in order to avoid using the awkward “him or her” or wasting time rewriting the sentence with a plural subject, I pull out my Shakespeare card and say, “I follow my Will.” He did, as you know, write the lines, “There’s not a man I meet but doth salute/As if I were their well-acquainted friend.” If the objector continues to complain, I pull out my failed poet card, put it next to Shakespeare’s, and say, “Bards of a feather flock together.” That rarely convinces anyone, but I take my pleasures where I can.



If you skipped that last paragraph, I congratulate you on your astuteness. It has little relevance to the purported point of this post. If you didn’t skip that last paragraph, well, better luck next time.



Now, where were we? (I hate it when I lose my spread of thought.)



Holiday spread happens, as does secondhand holiday spread (the encroachment of your spread into other people’s space.) This year show your love by giving Spanx.



Happy Spanxgiving!



I borrowed this picture from the official Spanx website ( If you Spanx me, I promise not to do it again.




Uncle Sam wants you to give thanks


In 1941 under the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the federal government mandated that Americans give thanks on the fourth Thursday in November.


Yes, we are required by Uncle Sam to express gratitude today, but we can do so in any way we like. We can give bear hugs and sloppy kisses to family and friends, corner people and tell them how much we love and appreciate them, pray our thanks, call someone to show some love and then cry if we want to, get sappy counting our blessings, and spill gratitude all over the dinner table. And we can do this with impunity. All day. With food. Until both our hearts and bellies are ready to burst.


And pardon. We can do that. I mean if our President can pardon turkeys, why can’t we?


So, today, don’t forget to be a good citizen. Give thanks. It’s the law.



Celebrate the holidays


The English language learners I teach struggle with pronunciation for several reasons. Often it’s because English has sounds, like “th,” not found in their first language.  Other times they cannot hear or distinguish between two similar sounds, such as “b” and “v.” And there are times they simply mishear. For example, after hearing a short speech by a native speaker, one of my students asked me why the young woman was advocating for hippos. In fact, she was talking about pit bulls.



Native English speakers also mispronounce and mishear. Children learn “Silent Night” and then ask you why baby Jesus has to “sleep in heavenly peas.” (This is called a mondegreen.) These language errors can cause English teachers who have to grade papers to howl in horror or howl in laughter.



Language is verbal clay and there’s nothing more fun than grabbing a handful to play with. That’s one reason we read and write, isn’t it? The delight in words.


Yesterday at our Thanksgiving brunch, as one of the students left, she said, “Happy Tanksgiving, teacher.” I thought about that all the way home. What if we had a holiday for that?



Tanksgiving: Day of gifts from the Pentagon to the military


Angstgiving:  Yearlong gift-giving from teenagers to their parents


Spanksgiving: Day to give to the naughty  (You know who you are.)


Banksgiving: Government day to give bailouts.


Franksgiving: National Barbecue Day


Pranksgiving: National Tricksters Day


Shanksgiving: Inmate to inmate prison celebration


Yanksgiving: U.S. Foreign Aid Day


Thanksliving: Lifelong celebration of the good things in life