I can sum up my Thanksgiving in eighteen million photos.

Give or take a few million.

Thanksgiving, for the Husband and me, started Wednesday afternoon with a mad scramble to get packed, feed the cats, grab a pillow for the road, get the booze in the car, get the car washed, the gas tank filled and get on the highway before traffic got bad.

We still sat in traffic for the rest of our lives. At least, that’s what it felt like. In real time? Eight hours.

But at least it was pretty. I stayed somewhat nauseous for most of it.

We arrived in southern Utah sometime after ten. We got checked in and pretty much crashed. The Husband, who made the smart decision to save his marriage and spend Thanksgiving with me, was coming down with a bad cold. I, of course, picked a fight with him. But it was totally his fault.

He stayed in bed for most of the morning on Thursday while the rest of us (my mom, J, my two younger brothers, and myself) packed up and headed to my sister’s house to start feasting.

I’ve never enjoyed the strict planning that some people strive for in a Thanksgiving meal. I’m not all about getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning to get a turkey in the oven and “we’ll be eating at two pm sharp.”

I think the turkey went in sometime around nine or ten. Everyone helped with the stuffing and by “helped” I mean we stood around my mother while she made it and sampled and sampled some more until we finally told her it was perfect. Well, I told her it was still too dry, but did anybody listen? Of course not. And what was the one complaint about the stuffing as we inhaled our dinner? It was dry.

The Husband eventually dragged his sorry, sniffling butt over to join us for dinner. He was feeling pretty good after a big meal and several screwdrivers.

And this? This is my brother, Travis, who just recently turned twenty-one. This is what happens after a big meal, many beers, and many glasses of your older sister’s toxic powerful Sangria. Which was fabulous if I do say so myself.

We, of course, took merciless advantage of the fact that he passed out on the sofa in a room full of incredibly loud half-drunk Charade-playing fools family members.

I know. Man feet. Hairy man feet. Gross.

On Friday morning, it was Bailey’s and coffee for breakfast. And many Almond Rocas.

I have no idea when a gigantic tin of Almond Roca became a tradition, but I don’t ask questions. I just enjoy. And it’s okay! Calories don’t count on holidays. Or on days after holidays.

We went shopping in the early afternoon. My favorite clothing store is located near my sister and I try to make it a point to go whenever I visit.

We also stopped at Target where I bought the first three seasons of House. I’m sorry, I love that man show.

When we got home, our feet sore and our backs aching, us womenfolk gathered around the table for the traditional game of Let’s Start a Fight.

And there was pie involved. Glorious pie.

This is the Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie I found in my old Better Homes cookbook. It was fantastic. And beautiful. And, yes, I piled on a mountain of homemade whip cream, because homemade whip cream is the best thing ever.

And this is my older sister, T. She’s amazing. And she hosted the entire Thanksgiving event. Which means that, in addition to cooking the turkey, she simultaneously secured her place in Heaven.

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People are supposed to be depressed on the holidays, right?

There was always a big family gathering for the holidays while I was growing up. The fact that most of the family didn’t exactly like each other (long story) made said holidays interesting. To say the least.

I remember escaping to my room a lot, not necessarily because I wasn’t having fun, but because, at fourteen, that’s what teenagers do. Especially teenagers who experience anxiety around large groups of people they’re not familiar with. (I still don’t like large groups of people I’m not familiar with.) And my bedroom was amazing. Seriously. I wish I had a picture to show you.

But I digress. Loud family gatherings were the norm for us. Then I turned eighteen. Alcoholism, my parent’s divorce, a lot of anger and not talking to my parents for two years, and those family holidays kind of fell to the wayside.

I also moved up north with my then boyfriend and since we both worked in the hospitality industry, it wasn’t easy to get away for the holidays. We stayed home for most of them and I tried to cook. (“Try” being the operative word. Thankfully, I’ve gotten much better with practice. My stuffing? Really good.)

Eventually, I started talking to my parents again. Jon and I moved back to the area, and, in the last two years, we were each given the opportunity to work normal people hours.

Suddenly we had holidays off. We were able to make plans. I didn’t have to worry that I might be scheduled to work on Christmas morning and how would I survive if I didn’t get to wake up and open presents and start eating chocolate at seven in the morning?! (Yes, I realize Christmas is more important than presents and chocolate.)

Our first order of business was Thanksgiving in Utah, where my older sister and her family had begun hosting Thanksgiving dinner years earlier. Last year was the first that the Husband and I were able to attend.

And let me just say this wasn’t like the family holidays from my childhood. This was fun. Everyone got along and drank and ate to their heart’s content. We played games and fought over scrabble. It was awesome.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to going back since we drove away last year. And, in the past few days, my excitement has grown and grown and grown. I’m likely to burst by the time Wednesday rolls around.

But, of course, last night, the other shoe dropped. Turns out that my father-in-law and his brother have planned a last minute party for their mother’s (Jon’s Grandmother’s) 85th birthday. In Minnesota. For the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING.

I said, “You can’t be serious.” Oh, but they were, Internet, and now I don’t know who to be mad at, which may be the most frustrating part. Maybe Jon? For considering going. Or his Dad for planning this at the last possible moment after everyone has already made plans. Or how about his Grandmother for turning eight-five on the wrong day? I know! It’s all completely unreasonable. I get that.

Jon said, “I’ll fly out of Las Vegas Friday morning, so at least I’ll be there for Thanksgiving.”

But it’s not the same. It’s not about Thanksgiving, it’s about the two of us spending time with my family, celebrating, being together. It’s a three-day event. Eating, eating, eating on Thursday, shopping and more eating on Friday, spending as much time together (eating) as we can on Saturday before we drive back home that night.

The thought of being there on my own while he flies off to Minnesota makes me want to cry. I don’t want to be the “supportive wife” here. I want to stomp my foot and demand that he do as I say. It’s too last minute. We can’t afford it. WE ALREADY HAVE PLANS.

But I’ve encouraged him to go. Because I don’t want him to resent me. And now I’m depressed.

Besides, this means I’ll have to partner with my Grandmother for charades and I don’t have nearly enough wine.

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I realize this makes me insane.

On Wednesday, the Husband and I will lose our minds and decide to leave town along with thousands of other people who have also made that same decision.

Together, with our new found thousands of friends, we’ll sit on the 91 freeway for eight hours to drive a total of six miles. Sometime Friday, we’ll all reach our destination. Tired, crabby, and hungry.

Okay, I exaggerate. But not by much.

We’re heading north-ish to my sister’s for Thanksgiving and it will take us nearly double the normal amount of time.

My responsibilities this year include booze and desserts. My two favorite things.

The booze was easy. Say hello to our good friend Two Buck Chuck.

The desserts on the other hand… well, I think I went a little insane. Unless you think six pies and a chocolate mousse are not enough for fourteen people? If each pie cuts eight slices and everyone eats an equal amount, that’s 3.42 slices per person. Hmm. Should I make it eight? I kid!

On the menu? Two pumpkin pies (necessary), two apple pies (a must), a pecan pie (does anyone even eat pecan?) and a caramel pecan pumpkin pie that sounded too interesting to pass up.

And I’m afraid this is the moment you’ll realize how insane I actually am because I decided to prepare the dry ingredients ahead of time. See, I’m working today, on a Sunday of all days, and we’re leaving from my office on Wednesday. I want to be prepared, damn it.

(Can we just pause for a moment to appreciate the beauty of all these different spices?)

I was seriously debating whether or not to share the following photos. Please don’t mock me.

After all the dry ingredients were mixed, I bagged them up into very specifically labeled Ziploc bags. Those above are for the two apple pies alone. Two small bags contain the cinnamon/sugar mixture that will do a dance with the apples, two more contain the flour and brown sugar for the crumb topping, and three bags contain the ingredients to make six pie crusts.

Then all the ingredients for each pie went into a larger Ziploc bag, minus the perishables which will remain in the fridge until we leave and pack them in a cooler. All I’ll have to do when I get there is mix the dry with the wet and bake. Oh, and roll out pie crusts, which is something I detest, so I’ll have to talk one of the many persons younger than me into doing it instead.

Maybe this level of organization would send some people running for the hills, but I just saved myself a good two hours that can be spent doing better things. Like, hello!! Eating? It’s Thanksgiving for crying out loud!

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I have migraines on the brain. Ha. Get it?

Yes, it’s true. I suffer from migraines. And, before you ask, yes, I know the difference between headaches and migraines thank you very much.

Luckily I don’t get them often, but when I do, I’m out for the count. Just after the Husband and I moved in together, I came down with a migraine and he wanted to rush me to the emergency room. I said, “shut the fuck up and turn off the fucking lights!” Ahh. Memories.

Now, he understands them better. Take last night for example. I went to bed with my dear, old friend (a migraine, in case you missed the sarcasm) and he went to sleep on the sofa to avoid disturbing me. I woke up as I always do, after a couple hours of sleeping it off, to go wake him up and bring him to bed.

The thing about migraines is… I fear them. Whenever a special event or occasion comes up, I can’t stop thinking I hope I don’t get a migraine, I hope I don’t get a migraine, I hope I… well, you get it.

This happened during the weeks leading up to our anniversary. I made the Husband promise we’d stay in Vegas for two nights if I got one.

Now, Thanksgiving’s coming up and I’m looking forward to visiting my sister and her family in Utah so much that I still can’t stop obsessing.

I’m hoping that the one I had last night, which was pretty ugly, will be it for a while. So, maybe I’m in the clear and don’t need to worry about it. Or maybe I need to bring plenty of booze and start drinking early. I know they say some alcohol can trigger migraines, but has anyone heard if being drunk can prevent them?

I mean, isn’t alcohol supposed to dull the pain?

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And now I have no readers.

Last week, I finally convinced the Husband that we could not go on living without a new bed. We need a new bed. It’s crucial to our marriage that we have a new bed. Like yesterday.

Because if I have to wake up throughout the night to feel him moving all about, I’m going to kill one of us and it’s not going to be me.

The Husband tosses and turns throughout the night. I feel every single toss and turn. If he so much as lifts his arm to increase the volume on the television, I feel it.

So, not only has he disturbed me by moving, the jerk, but now I can clearly hear Kelly and Brenda snapping at each other on reruns of Beverly Hills 90210.

Yes, my husband watches reruns on Beverly Hills 90210. I didn’t know this when I married him, I swear.

Once I convinced him of our need for a new bed, then began the search for a new bed. And maybe it’s the economy, but those sales people? They’ve become real vultures. Two nearly collided in their rush to be the first to greet us. One woman thought “we’re not going to buy until after the holidays” meant “we’ll take it” and had a bill ready in 30 seconds flat. As soon as she turned away to answer the phone, we bolted.

I dragged J to one store with me on Monday. The lady who helped us was very nice. She gave us some information and then left us alone to bounce around from one bed to the next. Since I’m looking for a rock bed that doesn’t move AT ALL, there was a lot of lying down, closing my eyes, and telling her, “Okay, now get on and let me see if I can feel you.”

I felt her 98% of the time, but a lot less than what I’d feel if we were on my old piece of shit at home, which is now how I refer to my bed. The bed that I loved once upon a time. Because it was so pretty. Piece of shit.

I’ve narrowed it down to two. Only one of which the Husband has tried. Both are out of our price range.

Despite my terrible spending habits (I can make small, meaningless purchases with my eyes closed) large purchases (such as this) take me a year. Which means that this is what I’ll be talking about for the next year. Sounds like good fun, right?

Right??

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I needed something pretty.

I just left a meeting so boring

…I had to refrain myself from slitting my wrists with my wide-ruled notebook paper.

It wouldn’t do to spill blood all over my notes.

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Scone. Singular.

I made a scone last night.

That’s right. Just one.

I knew if I made the whole batch, well… I’d eat the whole batch.

Unfortunately, in my attempt to divide the recipe, I ran into tough mathematical equations like five divided by eight. Which, by the way, equals .625 and that would be how many tablespoons of butter?!

And I was too lazy to reach for a measuring spoon, so I kind of guestimated how many Craisins were in a ½ tablespoon. I probably should have used more. I wish I would have used more. They were delicious little bursts of flavor.

This is my one scone, pre-425 degrees. It went into the oven as a lump…

And came out as a lump.

(But prettier, right?)

Did I ever tell you that my mother used to call me “Stephalump” as a kid? No? There was probably good reason for that.

I love scones. I used to get them often from Starbucks (despite always tasting of blueberry muffins and in the same semi-stale state) until all my jiggly parts got together and formed an intervention. It was for the best. I love Starbucks, but I will never understand why they can’t figure out a better way to preserve freshness in their pastries.

After making and tasting my own, warm and fresh from the oven, I’m not sure I could eat another half-stale scone again. It was delicious and left me wanting to go back, do it right and make the entire batch.

The recipe (complete with much better photos) can be found here.

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