Thanksgiving with the Gorzelanczyks

My married name is a doozy.

Few people can say it, which means I’m usually referred to as “Melissa G” or “Melissa Gorzzzeh…” *trail off sheepishly.

That’s the life I’ve gotten used to since making Gorzelanczyk my married name more than 4 years ago. (For the record – it’s gore-zah-lon-check. Pretty much how it’s spelled, except for the “czyk.”)

My maiden name was Melissa Jones.



People still laugh over that one.

I took ¬†Gorzelanczyk because I realized that no matter how unsexy or complicated it was – I wasn’t Melissa Jones anymore.

I was a step mom.




In the same way, my life has experienced a name change of sorts. Most of it has to do with ditching my desire to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Just like I gave up Jones as my last name, I also gave up the common path to happiness. I decided to embrace a new American dream – one where I pursue the things that matter to me, and not more stuff. By quitting consumerism, we were able to get out of debt so I could pursue my career as a freelancer.

There are still times I wish we could afford a hot tub or go out to the amazing upscale restuarant every weekend.

Those desires fade fast as I look forward to another day of writing from home, instead of running out the door to fight traffic.

If I want 10 more minutes of sleeping, I take it.

If I want to take the day off and spend it with my family, I do. I can work anytime from anywhere. It makes vacation days a lot more convenient.

Hot tubs lost their appeal. My daily routine can’t be replaced by pork tenderloin. Ever.

Keeping up the Joneses, redefined

A couple days from now, I get to spend Thanksgiving with all of my favorite people - The Gorzelanczyks.

And my side of the family – the Joneses.

For the first time in my adult life, keeping up with the Joneses only means one thing.

It means I’ll be chasing my niece and nephews around the house while they laugh like wild things.

It means I’ll still be awake at 2 a.m., talking to my sisters, making the most of our time together.

It means we’ll somehow find the space to sleep in my parent’s house, where all 6 of us grew up with just one bathroom.

I can’t wait.

Happy Thanksgiving




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1 Tasha Ulrich November 22, 2010 at 10:49 am

love it! can’t wait to see you on thursday. hope the roads will be ok.

2 Melissa November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

We’re coming, good roads or bad!

3 Morgan Moran November 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

Love this. As someone who recently gave up Bloohm for Moran (“How do you pronounce it? Mor-on?”), I can relate to some degree.

More so, though, I admire and share your love of simple joys.

Things are nice. Things are great, even. But at the end of the day, we’re not thinking about handbags, cars, or hot tubs as we fall asleep smiling. We’re thinking about the people that love us, the passions that define us, and the limitless potential that surrounds us.

Rock on, Gore-zah-lon-check.

4 Melissa November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hi Mor-an,
It feels so good just to be around the people that make me happy. I hope you and yours have a fantastic holiday. It was great to finally meet Mark. Let’s do it again soon!
Rock on, yourself,

5 stef November 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

there are 3 excited nephews at this house looking forward to seeing you! and a sister-in-law looking forward to catching up! see you in a few days :)

6 Melissa November 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I can’t wait! I am bringing Gav’s birthday present … hopefully more exciting than mittens this year. LOL

7 Katie November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Your thanksgiving sounds like it’s going to wonderful, heartfelt and genuine, just like you. I have a confession to make. Although, I am on the road to living just as you are – with less stuff, I do have a hot tub. Gasp! Yes, I share warm, cozy, Canadian winter evenings with my family in our little hot tub and I love it. It’s one of our little luxuries and it really does bring us together while taking the chill off. Happy American Thanksgiving, Melissa.

8 Melissa November 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Oh my, I have to come for a visit! I loooove hot tubs – I just can’t afford one right now. But I definitely haven’t ruled out getting one in the future.
Be well and stay warm.

9 Angela Artemis November 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

Hi Melissa,
Your Thanksgiving sounds like a day of family and warm and loving chaos – just what we all love about it. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family. Your new simpler lifestyle seems to be the gift you needed to give yourself – rather than more stuff too!

10 Melissa November 24, 2010 at 9:36 am

Hi Angela,
Loving chaos – that’s the perfect way to describe it!
Much peace and love to you.

11 Sara Z November 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Melissa! :) I remember the summer that we were planning our weddings and going from our nice, simple names (Fenlon and Jones) to Zelewske and Gorzelanczyk! EEEK! Wouldn’t trade it for anything though. :)

Take care and lots of love to you and yours! Sara

12 Melissa November 24, 2010 at 9:37 am

I remember it clearly. Gotta love our hot Polish men!
Happy Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for.

13 Jason Burnett November 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

This was wonderful; you gave me a lot to think about as I head into the holiday tomorrow. At this very minute I’m thankful that the latest repair to our 10-year-old car was only $36, and that my commute is only down to the basement, keeping me in out of the snow (and near the kitchen tomorrow even though I have to work).

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