From New Jersey to New England, this was a wonderful Thanksgiving / Birthday Weekend that I'll never forget. I'm so beyond blessed to have such amazing family and friends. This Weekend In Pictures will be more about pictures than words. Pictures can say so many words anyway, right? I'll be able to write more next week for sure. I'll sum up everything over the last 5 days as quickly as I can.
Wednesday night I threw myself my annual Thanksgiving Eve Birthday party at Kite's. I requested management to schedule my bartender friends Sam and Kimberly. They're terrific friends, and also fantastic bartenders. On the side, Kimberly is also a fantastic baker. Sam and Kimberly did an amazing job even decorating Kite's with birthday decorations galore. Before I even got there at 6:00pm, everyone there knew it was my birthday. So sweet of them. I had such a fantastic time with my friends. I truly appreciate them taking the time to hang out with and wish me a Happy Birthday. When you're born on November 25th, your birthday is on Thanksgiving Day once every 6 years. Last year I turned 40 on Thanksgiving Day. This year my I turned 41 on Black Friday. Many of my friends bust on me because I spread out my birthday over a week plus or so every year. When your birthday is Thanksgiving Week, it will never be a case of everyone being around at the same time. It's the biggest travel week all year. I totally understand it. My family threw me a wonderful surprise birthday party last year and kept apologizing that it wasn't a larger turnout, only 30-40 people instead of the 80-100 they were hoping to see. I kept telling them "guys, my birthday has been Thanksgiving week my whole life. I'm used to friends possibly not being around and available. All good!
9 years ago when I first started here in Jersey (my first ever day here was my 32nd birthday,) I went up to Mansfield, Ma on Thanksgiving Eve. It took 6 plus hours as opposed to the 4 it would be without traffic. The next year, we had a snowstorm on Thanksgiving Eve so traveling up wasn't possible. I'll never forget calling my parents worried that I would have to try to make the trek up on Thanksgiving morning! That Thanksgiving morning, I was on the road by 6am preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. I made it door to door in 4 hours flat, and said to my parents "this is definitely what I'm doing from now on!" I throw myself a birthday party Thanksgiving Eve, and then the next morning drive up to see my family.
If you were to ask me what would I want for my birthday? I said to Steve Andrews on the radio before I left, "the ultimate birthday wish for me would be to just be with my family, watch football with them and have an ice cold adult beverage." I'm very lucky, because that's what gets to happen. Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year.
Thanksgiving Thursday with my family was wonderful. It was a tough weekend because of all the colds going around these days. Both Padre and Zannie had colds. The poor things were both troopers. They kept offering to do whatever I wanted for my birthday, then they would usually have a coughing fit right after. This was probably the most low key birthday I've had in recent memory. My family felt so bad they had colds, I kept stressing to them it wasn't their fault. With the things we can control we had a great time, with the things we can't control we can't worry about them. We can be more active, get back to having my friends over next year like we used to before the pandemic. All good!
Friday morning we were still debating having friends over. My amazing family, even though they were subpar, were still willing to entertain my friends. By Noon I made the executive decision for us to just go to Bog Iron Brewery in Norton later, and then have a quiet Friday pizza night in from Stefano's in Mansfield. Nice, low key Friday night. I think my family is happy we ended up with that plan.
Saturday afternoon my sister Zannie let me join her and two of her great friends from college, Mike and Troy. They were planning to meet up at Trillium Brewery in Canton, Ma. I had been wanting to go there for awhile, but always ran out of time to do it. My sister and her buddies were so sweet to let me hitch along with join them there. That brewery was fantastic. The decor and service was absolutely wonderful. They were so nice and proactive too. The Congress IPA beer I had was good. My one con? I intentionally picked that beer to bring back to Jersey for some of my friends. While buying beer to go, that's when I learned the beer I had just drank inside their restaurant wasn't available to go and their beers to go weren't overly similar to that. I wasn't thrilled with that. Other than that detail, highly recommend the place and can't wait to go back.
Saturday night Padre offered for us to go to dinner without him and just bring him something back to go. I told him immediately BLEEP NO! I said to my family I know we're subpar and low key, and that's fine but I came up here to see YOU! I didn't come up here to not see you guys. I reminded them while even though the weekend circumstances, at least this isn't like two years ago when I had to test negative for Covid to legally travel from New Jersey to Massachusetts. If they had these colds two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to see them on my birthday which would have been devastating for me. My sister and I picked up dinner to go from Geno's in Mansfield, and it was great.
I was able to say hi to my friend Luke. He came out to say hi and tell me all about how he would be marching and drumming in the Mansfield holiday parade the following day. I know he did great. I'm so proud of him. You can see his Disney World surprise that happened last year by clicking here.
Sunday morning I was on the road by 7:55am. When you're traveling through multiple states on Sunday Thanksgiving Day Weekend, timing is EVERYTHING. If you're on the road before 9 you're fine, if you're on the road after 9 it can be tricky. My first year here I left Mansfield at 10am, it took me over 6 hours to get back home to Jersey. Sunday I was on the road at 7:55am, when made it to Vernon at 11:45am, perfect!
I was able to enjoy football Sunday over with Christine and Chris at their place, great time.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Epic Weekend In Pictures. Time to start planning next weekend!