The preparation has begun for Thursday night's feast, and we are counting down to food, football, friends, and many things to be thankful for as Thanksgiving is coming.

I was thinking about this and realized that I'm pretty damn lucky to have what I have.  Sometimes we all take things for granted, but that may change this year after seeing what has happened along the Jersey Shore from the damage courtesy of "Sandy".

We all have people and things that we should be thankful for.  Obviously we all have family and loved ones that we recognize during the holidays.  So before the turkey is bought, cooked, and devoured, here is my 5 that sometimes don't get enough credit in my life:

1) My Girlfriend and her daughter

When someone puts up with your idiosyncrasies and does not kill you, that is someone who deserves to be a saint.  Don't get me wrong we'll fight, disagree, maybe not always be on the same page, but when things are right there is no better feeling.  I am always thinking about her throughout my day, and it's hard being apart because we work on opposite schedules.  I savor whatever time we have together!  The best parts of any day is with her (and I hope she truly knows this).

Her daughter Kate is the kid I will never have, and many days I wish she were of my blood.  Now a teenager, she is in her zone - no time for the older folks, but a joy to watch grow up.

2) The roof over my head

You appreciate having a home after "Sandy" even more than ever before.  I do not own the house I live in, so even more appreciation for being able to live with my girlfriend in her place.  2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 2 electric fireplaces, one fat cat name Larry (who has Cattitude - SoJO Word of The Week), in a 100+ year old house that is home.

3) My family in Monmouth County

We have had a rough year losing my brother-in-law to Cancer (only 51), and it has changed us.  Death has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people - all part of the 5 stages of grieving.  I live about 1:45 from where they are.  I may not see them enough, but that does not mean they are not important to me.  I have a brother who is a Harley man (working for the HD dealership in Long Branch), 2 sisters who are a little crazy, a niece and nephew who are teens and social butterflies, and a mother who would give her the shirt off her back for all of us.

4) My car with over 165,000 miles

I cannot afford a new car (this is a hint to the company I work for), so I need my Chevy Cobolt to last a little while longer.  The goal is 250,000 miles - with the new transmission in the car, new struts coming, and lost of praying this 2005 car will make it (well it has to!)

5) Moments to laugh

I see things a great deal differently with each passing day - how can you not with all that is going on locally and in the world.  There may not seem to be much to laugh about in life, but we must never forget that this is a gift, and it will not last as long as you may want it to, so you have to make the most of what you can.  Laughter is something that I don't think we can live without.  I'm not naturally a funny person, but I always want to have at least one good laugh a day.  Those moments sometimes get you through the tough times.