A week before Thanksgiving I went to Seattle. It was for my nephew’s first birthday, and despite the fact that he will not remember a moment of it, I’m glad I went. The trip also served to give me a pass on going home for Thanksgiving. I love my family, and I love spending time with them, but Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I would rather spend with friends. I invited myself to Rory and Mojdeh‘s place in Boulder, and then brought my friend Ileana – a paralympic swimmer from Cuba who couldn’t make it to Miami to see her family for the holiday. This was my second Thanksgiving with Rory, and, much like the first one, it was really fun.

I drove up early with Ileana on Thursday morning because I wanted to help make food. Rory, however, had some pretty specific ideas of what Thanksgiving dinner would look like, so I was only allowed to make biscuits and cranberry sauce (the key to my cranberry sauce is a healthy amount of Grand Marnier). Mojdeh and Martin (their landlord who lives upstairs) made the 20lb turkey, Ileana kept the dogs in check and Rory ensured that the stuffing and the potatoes were free of non-Irish  contamination (a suggestion to add garlic received a reaction fit for someone pissing in his herb garden). Dinner was great. We prepared well beyond our needs and feasted like royalty with excess food, excess wine, excess beer, excess electricity and internet service and water and everything else that makes the “new world” unsustainable.(Meanwhile Chet “the jet” Blanton was in Hawaii working on an excess of swimming biking and running during his 2nd Double Deca Ironman, which he’s hoping to finish December 12th at the Honolulu Marathon.)

All that was wonderful, and it’s what makes Thanksgiving what it is, but what I get the most joy from is observing the interactions between people. For instance, I was just 10 days into a gluten-free diet. I do it because it makes a difference (for me) with regard to inflammation and it’s my job to push my body to whatever limits it can take, but Boulder is full of new-age hippies who think gluten-free is some kind of religion. They look at people eating a sandwich as though they believe that whole-wheat bread will send the person straight to hell. Rory lives around those people, and so he treated my offer to make gluten free biscuits and to bring gluten free bread for the stuffing as if I were inviting him into a cult and asking him to drink the punch. Martin, however, invited a woman to dinner who makes a living by teaching yoga and lecturing about gluten-free living and writing about…this. She was exactly the type of person who makes Rory cringe at the thought of a gluten-free diet. I must admit, it bugs the hell out of me when people try to push their own choices on other people. It’s one thing if you don’t eat certain foods or choose to keep your lawn manicured like David Duchovny’s beard – just don’t try to force me to do the same. And don’t blur the lines between science and religion in order to “prove” that your choice is better than mine – it’s like an anorexic triathlete calling swimmers fat. Okay, end of rant. I’m gonna go drive my SUV around to hand out healthy eating pamphlets to people leaving the Taco Bell drive through.


After Dinner we (the basement dwellers) played Risk while Martin and his guests went to see the new Harry Potter movie (I’m saving that for when I can see it with my mommy in December). I discovered that a) I’m no good at Risk, and b) I am way too competitive to play a board game where you know you’re going to lose hours before the defeat occurs. I still had fun, but I’m pretty sure everyone around me was glad when I left the table (and consequently the yelling stopped).

It wouldn’t be a cliche thanksgiving post without a list of things I’m thankful for, but I just did that so instead I’ll post pictures of all the fun we had over the long weekend. (My friends are awesome.)

DinnerFood is EXCITING!Ileana pissed because Cuba does not exist on this mapIleana and RoryMojdeh Rory Ileana and BenIleana and Ben at Winter Park

To summarize:

the food was good, Mojdeh is a great cook!

Ileana realized that Cuba doesn’t exist in Risk, then she beat Rory.I’m still bitter that I lost.

On Black Friday we all went to see the Nutcracker put on by Boulder Ballet Company. The last time I saw the nutcracker was with my Grandfather who fell asleep and started snoring when Clare and the prince started dancing through the Sugar Plum Fairy’s palace. I enjoyed this much more.

Saturday I went to Winter Park with Ileana where she saw her first ski resort and took a full day sit ski lesson (she was the best they’d ever seen, and the instructors told me we had to come back).

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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