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So, I have spent most Thanksgiving holidays at my mom’s house.  I may have missed two over the last 40 years of my life.  So, it is a bit unusual to be home for Thanksgiving.  The real unusual part is that my mom is here now.  She is having Thanksgiving with us this year.  Am I nervous?  Of course I am.

Basically, if you live anywhere near my mom’s house and know my mom, you are expecting to have dinner with my mom.  The fact that she is here as thrown off a lot of people’s lives and stomachs.  She is a very good cook, and people from all around the country can think of a dish right now that would make them drool a little.  Thanksgiving at my mom’s house is pretty basic: It includes, turkey, ham, duck,sometimes ribs, stuffing, mashed potatoes, collared greens, sweet potatoes, homemade mac n cheese, green bean casserole, rolls, and of course can-shaped cranberry sauce.  For dessert, lemon merengue pie, sweet potato pie, sometimes pound cake, and my favorite, apple pie.  Sound like a lot of food?  Well it usually is and it doesn’t matter if five or 50 people show up, she would cook the same amount regardless.

As I put the turkey in the oven this morning, my mom was there.  When I made the stuffing last might, my mom was there.  Going through my mind the whole time was, “Do no harm.”  So, hopefully everything will go OK.  Our meal will be about the same, turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, and my wife has added a mushroom wild rice dish, which might only be eaten by her.  That might sound harsh, but it is not meant to be a commentary on the quality of the dish, it is just outside my Thanksgiving box.  I will of course eat some and take one for the team.  Again, I think it is a good dish, just not a huge fan of wild rice, it makes me feel like I should be a rabbit rather than a human when I eat it.  What animal eats wild rice?

My mom did make the sweet potato pie and apple pie yesterday, which is good, because to not have her apple pie would be wrong.  So, I am looking forward to the day.  I have two friends coming over later.  We should have a lot of food.  And of course some good football games (for a change).  Hopefully my mom will not have any major problems with my cooking.  If she does say something bad about my turkey, I will just have to lower the thermostat tonight and misplace her extra blankets.  Because is it my house and I pay the bills up in here.  Am I leaving the door open?  Yes, and as a matter of fact, I do live in a barn.  Payback is a bitch.

To all of my family and friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw a mother shopping in Walmart wearing fish net stockings.  Despite the mental image of a mother wearing fish net stocking in Walmart, does anyone look good in fish net stockings?  Have you ever looked at someone wearing fish net stockings and thought, “Classy”.  It is one of the few items of clothing that I am surprised people still wear, outside of Halloween.  Here’s a tip:  Unless you are a prostitute, or make bank deposits in the form of a thousand one-dollar bills, burn the fish net stockings.  You do not look as good or as hot as you think you do.  Trust me.  Burn them now and thank me later, unless you are trying to send the message that your daddy failed.  I’m just sayin …

The only acceptable leg with fish net stockings. Christmas Story, Classic!

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So, I am at home visiting the family for Thanksgiving.  My wife, and three kids braved the crazy airport scene to arrive in California where most of my family resides.  If you can avoid LAX, I highly recommend it.  We landed at 8:45 pm and did not get out of the airport until 10:15.  Here is the thing, we got all of our bags at 9:20.  It took us almost an hour just to get out of the airport, CRAZY!  The bizarre thing is that I was born and raised in LA, but now this place feels like a foreign country to me.

If you are from the Midwest, which now I must say I am a Midwesterner (You have no idea how sad it is to write that.  I am even looking at it now and thinking if I should erase it, but sadly, I can’t, the Midwest is my home now. Sad clown), you should consider a trip to LA for the experience.  I promise you, the city will not let you down.  It starts with the flight into the airport, where you will see more lights on the ground then possibly anywhere else on the planet (and I have been to a lot of the planet).  When you arrive, you will see every walk of life; black, white, hispanic, asian, muslim, greek, jews, gentiles, you name it, they will be there.  Also, foreign languages will be spoken all around you.  When I go to the grocery store near my mom’s house, the dominant language by far is Spanish.  You might find that odd, I find it very cool.  The bottom line is, despite having way too many people, too many cars, traffic at 3am, and times of smog that could kill a canary, I love LA.  However, I now must say, great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.

Alright, now that was a huge digression.  I want to talk about family, my family, all of my family.  On Thanksgiving we ate at my Dad’s house. 

This picture is nothing like dinner at our house. First of all there are no ribs in the picture. Secondly, there is no can-shaped cranberry sauce (A must have. Don't eat, but must have). And who eats fresh green beans? Where is the green bean crap?

At the house were my father, stepmother, stepsisters and their families, my stepbrother and his family, my sister and her kids, my cousins, my family, some random people I didn’t know and my mom.  There was like 35 of us.  The dinner was planned and hosted by my stepmom and it was a great time.  There were babies everywhere and multiple generations.  We shared stories, laughed, and ate; we ate a lot.  Looking around the gathering I couldn’t help but think to myself, this is who I am, this is me.  All of this is what has made me who I am and if you are like me, I would encourage you to embrace that fact.  Your family and my family has made us who we are today.

My sister who tells a story of my father’s arrogance.  She says, “Am I right? He is arrogant!”  My father notices that no one is disagreeing with her.  Everyone in the room doesn’t say a word as everyone looks at each other and bust out laughing because we all know it’s true.  Even my mom chimes in on how my father has the ability to smooth talk his way through any situation, fully expecting to get his way. – this is me.

We share how my mother used to make all of us stand in line at the grocery store as she headed back into the store to find more items.  If she came back and we did not hold our position, or if the checker made us move, she would get mad at us for not standing our ground.  Always stand your ground. – this is me.

My father talked of not knowing his father and being raised by his mother.  It is very clear that despite not being raised by his father that he did not take that path.  He broke his cycle, and became a father to his kids, all of his kids.  You see, my sister’s dad is not my dad, nor my older brother’s, and obviously not my stepbrother’s and stepsisters’, but you wouldn’t know it in that room.  He may not be the father by blood, but he is father by action. – this too is me.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I hope you spent the time with your family.  Maybe it was stressful, maybe it was joyous, maybe your drunk uncle got out of control again, but remember this:  Your family has made you who you are, some for the good, and some for the bad, but all you, and if you take a moment, you will see the little origins of you in the faces and actions of your family members.

I could go on and on with family stories from this weekend, but what I will remember most is that we may not be the Brady Bunch, the Cleaver’s or even the Cosby’s, but we are truly the Modern Family.  They made me who I am.  And remember this, if your family is the best at pushing your buttons, you shouldn’t be surprised because they are the ones that installed them.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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I went golfing with my father, brother and stepbrother yesterday.  It was awesome.  So awesome we are going to try to do it every year.  The funny thing is we all complained of the cold.  I live in Wisconsin, so it made me laugh because the temperature was about 60.  I now know why I hate Wisconsin winters so much, I clearly have a California weather gene.  I’m just sayin …

I’m Just sayin … (Part II)

Is it just me or when you go home you walk through a time warp and the family dynamics become that of when you were a kid?  I’m a grown-ass man with kids, but when I am home I can’t help but wonder why it’s Thanksgiving and my mom has not made my apple pie yet.  I may throw a tantrum soon.  Wrong? Yes, but true.  I’m just sayin …

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