Thanksgiving 2020

Normally, I write these posts the night before Thanksgiving… after all, Thanksgiving remains my absolute favorite holiday. A time to gather with family (remember…. friends are the family you choose), express gratitude, and eat great food.

The gather part this year didn’t happen thanks to the pandemic. Losing the bakery and not seeing family/friends since February made it hard to focus on what we have to be thankful for… not as hard as when Ricardo was murdered, but honestly it’s been a shit year.

I do have so much to be thankful for… losing the bakery hurts, but it won’t kill us. I am grateful that Palner celebrated 20 years in business last month… 20 years is absolutely something deserving gratitude.

I cannot come close to express the gratitude I have for a healthy, happy daughter… who will be celebrating another birthday tomorrow. I’m also grateful for my family’s health.

I have amazing friends and family that did so much for my family this year. What the open source community did for my wife is something that I will be forever grateful (and huge thanks to people like Dave Horton, Lorenzo Emilitri, Mike White, Tony Lewis, and a few others who kept the bakery open for a couple months longer).

A horrendous, horrible hurricane season and I’m very grateful to report we didn’t even lose power, let alone anything worse.

Physically distanced, but thanks to amazing software from the open source community as well as the community itself, I’m grateful to not be alone. With matrix, I chat with friends daily… with Kamailio I keep a roof over my head and talk to people throughout the world… and with webrtc, I see my parents almost every day.

It’s been a tough year, and the road ahead still looks a little rough. I’m incredibly grateful to share this journey with you.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving Message (2013)

For the last 16 years, I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving at my parent’s house in beautiful South Florida. Surrounded by family, the festive meal places family on the porch of the house, seated around an incredibly long table, with more food than one should eat in a single sitting.

For a few of those years, when I lived in South Florida, it was a quick drive from my place to the dinner table. Most of the years, it involves a drive down from Gainesville. Some years included a trek down from Michigan (snow and all).


2012 Thanksgiving Message

Each year, I make a Thanksgiving pilgrimage to my parent’s home in South Florida. Since I can remember, Thanksgiving has been the Holiday for my family — and when I say family, I mean the entire family. Cousins, friends, aunts, everything. My family.

I’ve been very lucky in life and have a lot to be grateful for; one of which is the continuing of this amazing tradition.

Some years, the trip seems too short. It rarely feels too long. This year, Yeni and I were able to take a few days off from the bakery and head down to South Florida for a few extra days.

I start thinking about my thanksgiving message around October… mostly just a mental outline of what I want to say. Pointless really. Every year when I sit to write the message, my mental outlines are thrown away. 


Writing the Thanksgiving Message

Thanksgiving message
Typing out the Thanksgiving Message


2011 Thanksgiving Message

I’ve been writing these Thanksgiving messages every year for more than 10 years. I’ve written them when I was thin and in shape, fat and out of shape, married, single, living with Forrest, mourning his loss, and well– a lot of things have changed in the last 10+ years.

I’ve written about the history of Thanksgiving, about losing friends, losing family, gaining family, gaining friends, and more. 


Fresh Turkey.

We know I love me some Thanksgiving. These turkeys surrounded the shop today… making me think it’s time to get ready for the fourth Thursday of November. =) =)

Turkey, Thanksgiving
Gobble Gobble


Happy Thanksgiving (2010)

For me, each year revolves around the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving remains my New Year’s Eve, my Christmas, my Hallmark moment. From the four corners of the earth, members of my family gather at my parent’s home in Fort Lauderdale for the festive meal– but it’s more than just a plate full of turkey and a side of dressing.

For my family, Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity for a homecoming. In my childhood, the majority of us lived in just one state– generally at most a few hundred miles from each other. In today’s world, we find ourselves spread over the many continents. Each November, we gather in Fort Lauderdale with no plans whatsoever. There’s no agenda, no itinerary, no master plan. In fact, only a Thursday dinner remains certain.


Next stop: Thanksgiving 2010

Curb Appeal? Not so much.
Curb Appeal? Not so much.

Thanksgiving 2009 involved family, a road trip, and lots of yard work. Although Yeni and I made yet another trip to Florida, we sadly did not get the opportunity to visit all our friends and family “on the list.”

While traveling to sunny Fort Lauderdale, we took a pit-stop in Gainesville and checked out the house. The condition shocked us. It looked absolutely horrible and had what could only be described as negative curb appeal. We headed down to SoFla and knew we had to return and get down to business on some serious yardwork.

Borrowing a chainsaw from the old man, we quickly got to work on the thickest of foliage decorating the house.


Thanksgiving Message 2009

Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, families across the United States gather to give thanks. Some years, the “thanks” flow easily. Other years, families struggle to find the a reason for celebration.

Like so many before, this year brought us joy, sadness, and everything in-between. Life often gets compared to a roller coaster ride. A metaphor I’ve used, but truly don’t like.

esposa Family

Different Month, Different Design

My girl (with my grandmas rolling pin)
My girl (with my grandmas rolling pin)

It’s that time of the year again… the time where Fred decides to:

  1. Talk about himself in the third person
  2. Change the website design
  3. Look forward to Thanksgiving
  4. Digress

Well, we all know that #3 and #4 happen all year long. Man I love some Thanksgiving. (uh oh, looks like I’m talking in the first person again)

So what’s been happening?

We recently purchased a Kitchen-Aid mixer; sadly, something Yeni and I always wanted. Well, maybe not so sad I guess. I mean we both love to cook and she’s been cooking up a storm. We’re talking homemade cannoli, homemade cakes with fondant, and did I mention everything is 100% homemade from scratch? I’ve only used the mixer a couple of times to make bread, but it really does keep with our theme: Dreams come true. Even the small dream of owning a Kitchen Aid mixer can come true. (pictures)

Of course, all of these homemade amazing yummies isn’t helping me lose weight, but did I mention homemade cannoli? I mean Yeni is my dream girl already, but who knew she could make homemade cannoli??