Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Belated, Yearly Obligatory Family Drama

Time and time again I am plagued by my families stress inducing melodrama. No matter how hard I try to keep myself out of it, they manage to suck me back in.

This year, like every year, my Mother and Grandmother fought over who wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was supposed to be working all day, and my Grandma is too old to be cooking the entire dinner by herself, so this year I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My first mistake. Before leaving for Spain I made plans to host a Test-Turkey Thanksgiving Potluck at our house. The Turkey came out perfect, everyone showed up and ate almost all the food, I got to see my friends and tell them all about Spain. It was tons of fun, which was great since the actual dinner went….not as planned.

The entire week before Thanksgiving my lovely Mother kept reminding me of how my grandparents might not show up because my Grandmother is a hermit and refused to go anywhere for the holidays, except the mall to shop. I had mentally prepared for my grandparents to not show up for dinner since they’re kinda kooky. No big deal. Then I got more reminders from my Mother about how to cook dinner and what to do. I took it all in and tried to stay positive, she’s only trying to be helpful. No big deal. Then I find out my Mother has decided she is going to come over to my house early to help me cook dinner. I didn’t ask for help, but I kept telling myself it’ll be fine. No big deal. Stay positive, my Mom will probably cook everything and I’ll just be watching her make everything. No big deal.

Morning of Thanksgiving my Mom calls me asks if my boyfriend and pick up her husband, then take him to pick up grandparents, then take them to my house for dinner…..why? Her husband broke his ankle and can’t drive to pick up my grandparents, and he’s the only one who can get my crazy grandparents to leave their house for dinner. Problem #1 was that my boyfriend had planned on visiting his family before our dinner, so he was unable to pick any one up. Problem #2 was my Mother then complaining about the situation. Her response to this predicament was, “Great! I knew we shouldn’t have had dinner at your place! You never think about logistics.” Gee, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mom. I asked her to bring her husband with her to my house so he could watch the football game and then go pick up my grandparents once my boyfriend got back, she begrudgingly gave in.

I didn’t know how to deal with this lovely bombshell the morning of Thanksgiving dinner, so I did the girly emotional thing and cried to my boyfriend. How could my Mother say this to me the morning of Thanksgiving? Why couldn’t she just be supportive? Why is my Mother acting crazy? It turns out she and her husband had a fight over the logistics, again, of which I had no knowledge of.

My boyfriend and I clean the entire house, get everything ready, move the table, get more chairs, and waited for my Mom to arrive to “help.” My boyfriend and I just finished eating breakfast when she showed up in a tizzy. She had a cloud hanging over her head the moment she entered to door. Moments later she began barking orders and complaining about how she was thanked for coming over to help, to which I replied, “I never asked you to help. You offered, I didn’t say no, and now you’re acting weird and stressing me out. Please calm down and sit, I’ll get things started.” To which she yelled back, “You don’t even have the oven on! How are you going to help? You haven’t gotten up to do anything.” From there it just got worse. I explained to her she needed to chill out and that I felt she hadn’t been very supportive and I needed her to stop being so rude. She refused, I got more upset, and then I told her she had to leave if she couldn’t calm down and be nice. BOMBSHELL!  She accused me of cussing her out, which didn’t happen, stormed out, and never came back. I was astonished she left, that she acted so bizarre, and most of all that she didn’t think she did anything wrong the entire time. That it was okay for my Mother to miss my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I was devastated and worst of all, my boyfriend couldn’t go to see his family because he was too busy consoling me and making sure I didn’t stay on the couch crying the entire night.

After a few moments of self loathing my boyfriend encouraged me to get off the couch and start cooking to occupy my mind, which helped. I hadn’t put the turkey in the oven yet and I still had an entire dinner to make, by myself. Despite the horrible fight I was still excited to make Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later my Mom decided to text me that my Uncle would be bringing the rest of the family to dinner and that she and her husband were staying home. She had a headache and his foot was bothering him. Awesome. And by awesome I mean WTF!? She apologized via text message and assured me I would still be getting my iPhone 4s for Christmas, because you know, that’s what’s important to me (insert sarcasm).

Que to the crying for another ten minutes, and then back to finishing dinner. Focus on dinner. Focus on cleaning the kitchen. Focus on how good the food will taste. Anything to distract me from being disappointed on Thanksgiving. Que a few hours later and my Uncle, Brother, and family are running late. No big deal, they’re always late. Plus, due to the awesome events of the evening the turkey was running late on being done, so they saved me the trouble of having to worry about it still cooking. The moments turn in to anxious minutes, then an hour, than another.

Finally they arrive!

“Where is grandma and grandpa? Did they come with our other cousin?”

“Yeah…they’re not coming. They decided a few hours ago not to come. Where’s your Mom?”

“Yeah…she’s not coming either.”

Awesome. Luckily for me my Uncle was sympathetic to the “Mom Situation” and proceeded to tell me how dinner would be better without them because they would just stress everyone out and complain the whole time. He said my turkey was the best he’d ever had and they happily ate a bunch of food and took some home with them. It was only the six of us (my boyfriend and I, my Uncle, his Wife, his Daughter and my Brother), but it was the least (at the end of the night) stressful dinner we’ve ever had. I felt better after we had all eaten and had a few drinks with dinner. Even though the day didn’t go as planned I have learned one very important lesson: never volunteer to cook a holiday dinner for my family again. For now.

Every year I tell myself holidays with the family will get better, but some how they just get more complicated. Never again. I’ll just cook a pie next time.

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Here It Comes…Wait For It…


Every year it’s the same argument with my Mom and Grandmother “Who’s making Thanksgiving dinner? I’m busy/lazy and can’t do it, alone.” And every year I end up making all the side dishes, but not the turkey. This year I gave them no choice and told them we are having Thanksgiving dinner at my house! My Mom’s first reaction was, “You’ve never made the turkey before, can you handle it?” Gee, thanks for the support Mom.

Look at all the yummy food I've made before!

It’s bad enough I have to sit through my Mom and  Grandmother have the same argument year after year after year. I’m always caught in the middle and have to sit through my Grandmother pretend I don’t know how to cook anything, then she begins to tell me not to get married or have kids (which is weird because she use to say the opposite a few years ago). This year they’re gonna have to suck it up and deal with what I’m laying down dammit! I’ve taken over cooking Thanksgiving dinner, at my house, and there’s nothing they can do about it!! MAUAHAHAHA!


Sorry for the outburst. Just needed a moment of crazy to level my head.

Moving forward, I’m attempting to make a test turkey the weekend before Thanksgiving to ensure I don’t fuck it up on the actual day. I’ll be making a smaller 12lb turkey in anticipation of the 20-24lb turkey I have to cook on the big day. I’ve mastered all the side dishes, and will make most of them the day before so I don’t panic when it’s time for the real deal. Even with I bake I make the same recipe three times to make sure I’ve got it down before serving it to friends and family. My boyfriend and roommates end up being my taste testers, lucky them.

My Mother is convinced I don’t know what I’m doing, and insists on emailing me the family recipe for the turkey (she’s also been convinced no one will eat the turkey unless it’s exactly the same!) so I can make it they way everyone likes it. Every time I talk to her she says she’s emailing me the recipe and never does. Every day I pretend I’m going to read this pretend email and abide by the recipe. 🙂 Gotta love family time.

Don't Jump!

What also makes this time of year especially hectic is my Mom and Uncle’s birthday always lands close the Thanksgiving. They were born on the same day, and every 3-4 years their birthday lands on Thanksgiving. YAY! And by “YAY” I mean stab me with a blunt fork. Which means I also have to worry about birthday presents for my Mom and Uncle, and probably planning on making a cake for them too. I almost always take upon myself to get the family together for their birthday before/after Thanksgiving so they don’t feel forgotten (They always complain about not being loved on their actual birthday. Passive-Aggressive behavior any one?). Did I mention I’m also the eldest grand-child out of seven (two live in Texas) and my Brother and I are the only ones who show up every year for the holidays. Yeah, fun times.

This year is especially hectic for myself because we have a show opening next weekend AND a wedding to attend. The week after another wedding AND work. Third week WE LEAVE FOR SPAIN! As soon as we get back I have to make my test turkey in preparation for my first Thanksgiving dinner at our home. CRAZY, right? I may be trying too hard, but I think it’s important for my family to realize I can handle it, and to prepare them for the realization that Thanksgiving dinner can be passed on to the next generation…and we won’t fuck it up. Hopefully.

Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and I’ll have a total meltdown on Thanksgiving. That’s normal, right? I have only myself to blame if it that does happen. Either way I’m taking control as best I can and (begrudgingly) pushing my family out of my way so I can give it a try.

I keep telling myself to cherish the time I have with my family while they’re still around. My Grandparents aren’t getting any younger, and they still look at my Brother and I like we’re kids who don’t know how to buy a car, or pay our bills on time (which we both do). They worry about us and try their best to be supportive (by throwing money at us, which we refuse) in their own small way, and it’s nice to know they care. I just hope my first turkey doesn’t disappoint.

Here’s to trying!

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Thanks for what?

Family gatherings. I don’t know whether or not to dread them or look forward to them.

It’s always a mix bag for myself. I spend every holiday season with my mother’s family, and split it with my boyfriend’s family. Running back and forth between the holidays can be exhausting, and I always dread the future me doing this with children (it hurts my brain just thinking about it!). I always make something for every dinner we attend, and hope that it gets eaten so I don’t have to eat it all by myself later on.

This year will be especially interesting since my long-lost cousins are possibly attending Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents home. Possibly. They have a tendency to flake because they haven’t been comfortable around the family since before their father passed away 3 years ago. My Tio (BTW: Tio is Spanish for Uncle) Joaquin, their father, died of a drug induced heart attack while making love to his girlfriend. It was a spectacular way to go out, and the preferred method of an old high school health teacher, minus the drugs of course. He had informed the family he was dying of brain cancer, and even after his death this was never confirmed. What was confirmed was that he was evading child support payments, doing some heavy drugs, and his possessions were in a state of chaos splitting his belongings between our grandparents home and his girlfriends apartment. Tio Joaquin wasn’t the best father, but he wasn’t a horrible person. His marriage was on the rocks for a long time which is why our families were never really close while my cousins were still growing up. Before he died his wife was filling for divorce and his children refused to see him.

His relationship with his children was so strained before his death they didn’t even attend his funeral or the wake with the family. This past Dia de los Muertos was the first time in almost 5 years I had seen my cousins, they’re now in their early twenties. My mother and her youngest brother had spoken to and seen my cousins for a short time during the funeral arrangements, and this was when they made their (none) feelings known to the family. They said they would attend the wake, but never showed.

This year my grandparents are inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. We all realize it will be slightly awkward for everyone. During our last meet up over Halloween it was mostly my brother doing all the talking for us. My Tio Ace, my mom’s youngest brother, stayed home after we visited the cemetery because he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as my cousins due to his own personal grudge against them for not attending their father’s funeral. My Tio Ace spent a lot of time with Joaquin before he died, and they became even closer after bonding about their divorce. As we ate our late lunch/early dinner in Downtown LA my brother went on and on about his work at the Music Institute (MI) in Hollywood and all the work he does for them. My cousin N. (I’d prefer not to use their real names) thought my brother was a student and started asking if he knew any one who was attending MI. When my brother corrected him and said he was an employee of MI not a student my cousin became very embarrassed and shocked. My cousins were the ones who were suppose to grow up and be successful, not us. Growing up our grandparents always blamed my brother and I for anything that was broken or damaged. Regardless of the fact that neither one of us ever did anything destructive. My cousins were the saints who could do not wrong and we just had to grin and bear it. My brother and I don’t look successful, but we are in own small ways now as adults.

I was half excited half terrified when we had dinner the last time. They were very soft-spoken and didn’t ask any questions. Nor did they divulge much about their mother, whom none of us speak to. I managed to not tell them anything about myself, other than I live in Long Beach. Coincidentally my cousin N. lives in North Long Beach with his girlfriend. My cousin C. lives with their mother in Lakewood. They visit my grandparents fairly often, and sometimes they leave with money, whether or not they asked for it. During the dinner I had decided I would wait to mention anything about myself because I wanted to see if they would ask me anything. Half way through the meal I realized they didn’t care to learn anything about us. They were there for my grandparents.

So the same example will be followed during Thanksgiving dinner as well. See if anything is asked. Listen and wait for something to be said. Never divulge information that could be sensitive. Its kind of sad really. To have family, but not a relationship with that family. I’ve always been close to my mother’s family, so it’s hurts to see everyone going through the motions of trying to stay civil and composed when we’re all really just screaming on the inside.

All I hope for this Thanksgiving is to smoke out with my brother and uncle.

The End.


November 23, 2010 · 5:56 pm

Post-Post Thanksgiving Update

Every year we have to haggle what our Thanksgiving Day schedule will be with our families. Last year was a complete disaster and we arrived late to my boyfriend’s family dinner. They were packing up the food as we arrived and they had already distributed the Secret Santa assignments to all the cousins. On top of this, I was left out the gift exchange because they forgot to include me since we were missing during dinner. Disaster!

This year I put a lot of forethought in to our schedule and even switched it up by attending his families Thanksgiving dinner first. We arrived with Pumpkin Pie in hand just in time for the prayer before dinner (they’re all practicing Catholics, so I stood in the back and listened quietly), and we had a small plate of food before waiting the appropriate time to make our exit.

Our perfect plan was suddenly dashed when I texted my family to see what the ETA for dinner was. Dinner was done an hour earlier than expected AND they were all waiting for us to arrive so they could eat. *sigh* We politely asked his cousin who was in charge of this years Secret Santa if we could fill out our forms before we left. We quickly scribbled out our requests and left with hopes of returning in time to pick out our assigned name for the gift exchange.

We drove all the way from Buena Park/Cerritos to Long Beach to pick up the Pumpkin Flan I made for my family, then hoped on the freeway to head to East L.A. for my family’s dinner at my grandparents house. They had just finished eating when we arrived. Bummer. We weren’t too upset about it since we had plenty to eat at his family’s house, especially since his family had spare ribs, roast beef, and three different kinds of sweet potatoes.

My grandmother was still upset with me because I was unable to be a helping hand in the kitchen to make Thanksgiving dinner since we attended another dinner first. My grandmother doesn’t believe in asking for help from any male member of the family who can cook because my mother and I were supposed to be available as assistants. She is also one of the reasons I refused to learn how to cook growing up because she would nag me about not being able to find a husband if I can’t cook and clean properly. I would always lovingly reply, “Well, then I’ll just have to make enough money to hire a maid and cook to do all that for me.” As you probably guessed this did not please her either. My grandmother also refused to eat the Pumpkin Flan I made because it was too sweet and bad for her health. Thanks grandma for keeping me humble.

No one was upset about our late arrival so we all sat around the table chatting and catching up with each other eating Flan. I even made some Hot Toddies for my grandfather, who loved it, and then yelled at by my grandmother for being a lush. My grandmother, keeping the joy of the holidays on its toes.

We left after a few hours with leftovers in hand and headed back to Buena Park/Cerritos just in time to pick a name for our Secret Santa! Joy! Now, I must warn you that my boyfriends family takes their gift exchange very seriously. A few years back one cousin tried to swap names with someone and got in trouble. There was yelling and crying, it was very melodramatic, and hilarious. There are also rules. My first Christmas with his family all of his cousins kept apologizing to me for not being able to be included because of the rules. You can only be included in the Secret Santa, as a cousins significant other, if that is your second year attending the holiday to ensure it’s a lasting relationship.

You can imagine how awkward and difficult it might be to buy a gift for someone you hardly know. I wasn’t to upset because I had made a huge effort that year for us to attend as many family functions as possible. So I patiently waited for the next year…and then found out they forgot to include me. Okay, no problem. Year three is this year, and this time I was included. So was someone else’s boyfriend…who she has only been dating for 6 months…


The icing on this crappy cake is that his Secret Santa list is crap. He put almost NO effort in to making it. There are three spots for gifts around $50 and three more for $100, if the person is feeling generous. For the $50 spots he wrote 1) cool iPhone accessories, 2) sunglasses (crossed out with nothing replacing it), 3) lotto tickets. For the $100 he wrote: 1) William Burke Massage for (corporate lawyer cousin), 2) sunglasses (not crossed out), 3) something crossed out & not replaced with an item. This infuriated me. Not only did he ask for crappy lotto tickets he also tried to ask us to buy something that is meant for someone else!

There’s not much I can do to change any of this. Except bitch.

The end.

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Thanks for what?

Classic Chocolate Cake

Classic Chocolate Cake

I spent my afternoon with a marathon of Dexter Season 3 and baking this lovely chocolate delight. I just hope it’s not going to be the only thing I eat for dinner.

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September 20, 2009 · 6:47 pm