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Like a sitting duck, I knew that I’d have to cash in my chips after hosting Thanksgiving for 10+ years straight.

Is it really fair to expect that your relatives will drop everything to fly during the busiest travel weekend of the year?

Though, in all honesty, it was decadent to spend almost no time in the kitchen over Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, I made sure that our bird was glossy and brown; I prepped an appetizer; but other than a few menial activities, I didn’t set foot near a chopping block except to mix myself a cocktail. Perhaps we should indulge in this “hosted not hosting” thing more often…

Traveling to LA with three kids isn’t easy, but the Shake Shack at JFK airport was a welcome sight. On principle, Rodney and I got ourselves burgers, fries and beers at 9:30AM. Because that’s what you do when you see a Shake Shack. When you win the lottery, you turn your ticket in, no exceptions.

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The flight was relatively easy, and my kids, despite all of my nervousness, had nary a fatigue-induced meltdown, leaving me with 6 hours to watch 3 full-length movies. Did it matter that I kept having to pour apple juice over ice to my Disney-watching companions? Nope.

At last, we arrived! We had family rendez-vous at the Venice Pier, and so began our Thanksgiving weekend.

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I have the same affliction as my Mum – whenever a camera emerges, and I’m on the wrong (e.g. lens-facing) side, I freeze like a TV dinner. That’s a 2015 resolution – smile like I mean it. Like someone just told a dirty joke, those always make me laugh.

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Sandy bottoms = after parties.

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My sister-in-law showed off her magician skills by transforming her recently-purchased house into a fully-furnished, ready-for-guests masterpiece and…doing all of the Thanksgiving prep work. I thought that I was a Thanksgiving black belt, but I’ve learned that I still have much to achieve. I bow to you Kelly-san.

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That niece of mine couldn’t be cuter. I have one niece, and one on the way; I love this kiddo like she’s one of my own. Departure day was tough…Lauren cried all the way through security, hoping for a quick reunion with her little cousin…

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Tiiiiimberrrrr….or so sounded the crash from standing position –> knocked out. Thanksgiving will do that to you. Three kids down, one protruding tongue. For the record, Sam not only sleeps like Gene Simmons, but is completely obsessed with him. His list to Santa goes something like this: Trash Pack toy, Toy Sandman, Gene Simmons hat, Gene Simmons toy, Rescue Bots, Captain Underpants.

PS, that was lifted directly from his letter to Santa, marked CHRISTMAS at the top, and signed at the bottom with a rickety SAM.

The next day, armed with breakfast pie and a coffee, I snuck off to a quiet spot in the sunlight and prepared for a day of activities.

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Unlike my family, whose idea of Thanksgiving weekend is to take a half hour walk and then park it on the sofa for the day, my husband’s family likes activities. As in a 4-day planner emailed pre-Thanksgiving with breakouts that included “Dawn Patrol surf session”. All of this made me nervous, yet somehow, by the skin of my teeth, I was able to hang out around the house and nest while the family did their activities all around me.

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The last day was another sunny day in glorious LA, big surprise. While our East Coast friends shivered and drank copious amounts of brandy to stay warm, we did this kind of thing…

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Then, of course, bubble baths.

Not a bad way to spend a few days over Thanksgiving. Hopefully we behaved ourselves well enough to get a repeat invite. Although I did miss our usual Thanksgiving activities back in NYC. And to leave all of our regular Thanksgiving dining companions stranded like that! I’m sure they survived; and probably enjoyed not having to worry about plagues and such things. So off to our next holiday…Christmas, you’re next big guy. May you bring us as many laughs and beautiful family moments as we had last week. Over ‘n out.

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