Squanto, eat your heart out.

So I spent the weekend in Phoenix at my uncle’s house with my immediate family, and a smattering of cousins and other family friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Here’s some of the highlights, in a cheesy “Reasons to be Thankful” format:

1. Manly Men- This is twofold: first of all, there was a bitchin’ Man vs. Wild marathon on TV the day after Thanksgiving, and I’d be nuts if I wasn’t thankful for that, but the epitome of manly men resides in my own family.  Bear Grylls, or whatever his name is from Man vs. Wild, may know what bear poo looks like, and may even be able to use it as an alternative food source, but my uncle could use bear poo to track down the grizzly bear that made it, and then give it Indian burns until the bear sacrificed himself into little strips of bear jerky to be dried in the industrial size meat dehydrator my uncle has in his garage.  My uncle is the ultimate man.  He hunts, fishes, makes his own jerky, has a house that features a “projection room,” where he projects ESPN in high def onto a wall bigger than any TV I’ve ever seen, and he’s competed in numerous poker tournaments with minimum bets of up to $3,000.  Friday night he called me into his office where he was playing Limit Omaha Hi-Lo online, a form of poker I didn’t even know existed, and over the course of our thirty minute conversation, had turned eighty dollars into a hundred ninety.  By the time I left on Sunday morning, he was up to $3,000, and also won a trip to play in a tournament in Sydney, Australia, which he was probably going to give to a friend because he “didn’t have the time to go.”

2. Girly Soaps- sharing a shower with my mom, my sister, and other female relatives allowed me to experiment with a number of girly soap products without the embarrassment of actually owning them myself.  With the risk of acquiring a gay point or two, I can say that over this weekend, I apricot-scrubbed my face, deep conditioned my hair, and used white tea and hibiscus body wash with little “vitamin E pearls” floating in it for extra skin softness, which I can only assume came from a rare vitamin E clam somewhere (and yes, Matt, I saw the Vitamin E Clams open for Slayer once).  I can say without hesitation, it was heavenly.

3.  Old Friends and Battle of the Sexes- On Saturday night, I went to my friends Eddie and Jessica’s new home for a barbecue with some of Eddie’s old friends from high school, and my other friend Amelia from APU, who now goes to ASU for grad school.  We talked about how since graduating, life has become a series of landmarks, or things to look forward to, and all agreed that this evening was one of those landmarks.  We played three rounds of Battle of the Sexes, which was great because (and hopefully this doesn’t sound too cocky) playing Battle of the Sexes with me is kind of like playing 18 holes with Phil Mickelson (I was going to say Tiger Woods, but Phil’s a lefty…).  I’m just damn good at it, and I couldn’t tell you why.  I’m a firm believer that the good Lord blesses each one of us with something we can do better than 98% of the human population, and it just so happens that for me, that talent is a board game.  Anyway, there’s really nothing better than playing games with friends, especially when Eddie’s at, to his own determination, “about a 7.286” (and those of you who know Eddie know what that means).

4.  The (Official) Start of Christmas Music Season- At last count, I have 28 versions of “The Christmas Song” on my iPod, and could play Christmas music continually for 1.7 days without repeating a song.  Regardless of my previous post describing my premature entry into Christmas music season, the day after Thanksgiving is a pretty good day for me.

5. Family Connections- Finally, there’s just a level of comfort around those you consider family, whether they are or not.  From the second I walked in the door of my uncle’s house, I felt at home, and I didn’t have to do anything to feel that way.  Over the weekend, I discovered that family members I hadn’t seen in a few years felt more comfortable than some people I’ve known through four years of college, and some other people I’ve known through four years of college can feel just as familiar as family.  It’s good to feel known.


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