Always expect the unexpected

Friday Faves: I Carried A Watermelon

I’ve never been a fan of Thanksgiving.

I’m referring to the enormous ‘traditional Thanksgiving meal,’ of course, but we all know that the story behind the day itself is a bit dicey as well.

Side note: Most Americans I’ve met over the years love the Thanksgiving meal. Which begs the question: Do they not realize they can make these foods anytime they want to?!? If you love roast turkey and stuffing - or Aunt Sadie’s spiked sweet potato recipe - why not have it on October 14th? Or January 12th? Or even… July 1st!

I’m an only child - which Nancy says explains a lot but I choose to ignore what she’s usually implying - and most of my parents’ siblings and extended family lived in Iowa when I was growing up. Since we were the ‘outliers’ it was always assumed we would be the ones to travel for the holidays.

Yeah, so... what's the problem?

Back before the government started denying climate change, driving to Iowa anytime between November and February was like playing a game of Russian roulette - except that you might have two or three bullets in the gun instead of just one. So in an effort to avoid spending Thanksgiving in the middle of a 47-car pileup on I-35 - or perhaps so we wouldn’t have to eat my grandma’s cooking - we decided to stay put.

Which meant that on Thanksgiving day it was just the three of us plus all our friends who were trying to avoid their own families. That is, until someone on my mom’s side of the family realized that no one was getting out of this alive and we should get together once a year so we didn’t regret not spending more time together.

In the beginning our ‘family reunions’ maxed out at eight people if all were in attendance, but thanks to several lapses in judgement when it came to relationships that number would fluctuate from time to time. Overall we’re about 90% happy with the current makeup so it’s safe to say that most of our choices have improved over the years.

Up until this started we would usually make Chicken Kiev for Thanksgiving. This is still one of my favorite dishes ever because you can’t go wrong when you deep fry meat that’s wrapped around butter. Actually you can, but I’ve managed to block out that memory.

For our family get-togethers, though, we thought it would be fun to try something ‘new’ or ‘different’ each Thanksgiving.

911... what's your emergency?

Sometimes this would turn out amazing - like the year we went to my Uncle Charles’ house in San Diego. His girlfriend at the time was Vietnamese, and Mai had spent three full days (and nights) making every type of traditional Vietnamese dish you can imagine… from scratch. To this day I can’t look at spring rolls without shedding a tear of joy.

And then there were the other years. Like the ‘Mexican Fiesta’ where Charles made huevos rancheros and insisted on frying every. single. individual. tortilla. one. at. a. time. in a pool of boiling oil and almost set my parents’ house on fire.

Or when Mai thought it would be fun to teach everyone how to eat with chopsticks so she hid all the silverware. This was also the year that someone had the brilliant idea to make spaghetti, so most of the family starved to death.

Eventually we stopped getting together on Thanksgiving and instead began scheduling our reunions during more family-friendly events, such as National Gin & Tonic Day or American Craft Beer Week. This has also helped to increase attendance.

Only YOU can prevent forest fires.

This year my cousin Michele (on my dad’s side) decided to host Thanksgiving. Since I’m now a certified expert in how to avoid family holiday-related fires I volunteered to supervise Dustin while he deep-fried the turkey in the backyard.

I’m happy to announce that both the house and the forest successfully remained unburned despite my having to juggle supervising and bartending at the same time.

Winner: Me.
Loser: Also me because I somehow ended up at the kids’ table this year.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well, so pop on over to our Facebook group and share some with us. Or share your favorite cocktail recipe if you prefer - those are always appreciated.

Friday Faves



Sadly, not a method for infusing vodka with pineapple. Strangely, an actual term used for sleeping with your hair pulled into a loose, high ponytail on top of your head.

While it’s meant to extend the life of your hair without daily shampooing, I’d like to point out that I was way ahead of the trend on this one. Except that I called it my “Why the fuck did I schedule a 7am class 3 days a week?!?” college hairstyle.


The Autocomplete Interviews
WIRED’s video series featuring various celebrities answering the most googled questions about them on the web. Or at least several of them.


Make My Notebook
Make My Notebook works with a variety of designers to bring creative concepts to life, using 100% US sourced environmentally responsible materials. Which makes me beam with patriotic pride.

Netflix Binge

Explore what happens when the American Dream goes dark in rural, redneck Missouri.

Also, Jason Bateman’s ability to calmly handle every situation imaginable involving money laundering, heroin, and murder as if he simply forgot to pick up paper towels on his way home from work is deserving of an Emmy.

Make My Notebook

Dinner Party

My American Experience
Join Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Garner, Rob Riggle, Regina King, Dan Savage and Mary McCormack as they discuss their roots, patriotism, religion, and Modern America’s complexities; ‘Chelsea-style.’ Read: Goes better with a drink in hand.

Gift You Missed Out On

Cards Against Humanity Saves America
Cards Against Humanity wins Christmas.

But in the age old battle of ‘you snooze, you lose,’ unless you grabbed one of the 150,000 spots in the first 9 hours of their holiday promotion last year you were SOL. But check it out anyway - it’s worth the click just to skim through the FAQs.

Gift For Those Who Truly Have Everything

The Ridiculous But Awesome Gift Guide
I’m eyeballing the at-home float tank. It’s a steal for just over $16,000.

That is, unless I can get the Stranger Things gang to come make me one - their DIY version in the school gym looks like it’d do the trick.

Gift For Everyone Else

Onesies For Adults
A nicer way of saying "I hope you get trapped inside a blanket" this Christmas.


Sangre de Cristo
Best sipped at your family Thanksgiving get-together. Start early and sip often for optimal results.

Shower Thoughts

  • Having a dog can’t prepare you for having a baby, but having a cat can prepare you for having a teenager.
  • Trying to fall asleep is basically ‘fake it til you make it.’
  • Birthday gifts are simply rewards for not dying.
  • This year has probably given Cards Against Humanity enough material for a standalone ‘2018 Edition.’
  • “Go to bed, you’ll feel better tomorrow” is the human version of “Did you try turning it off and back on again?”
  • Who looked at a bowl of rice and said “I’ll bet the most efficient way of eating this is with two sticks?”
  • By definition, it’s impossible to skip breakfast.
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