Not being with family for Thanksgiving (a first for me) is turning out to be a much stranger (and sadder) experience than I expected. However, despite missing the cooking and bustling and all sitting down at a table for a multiple-hour meal, it’s been quite an enjoyable day. Robinson, our chef, used to be the bread sculpture champion when he cooked for the US army, so in addition to the turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes (with marshmallows), and gravy and Mac n’ cheese (?), but no mashed potatoes, we also had a huge bread sculpture in the shape of a cornucopia, stuffed with fresh fruit and candy! Bert Leigh, the only senior scientist who is regularly on BCI, gave a spirited blessing, and a somewhat puzzled mixture of Panamanians, Germans, British, Belgian, Columbians, and French joined us Americans in a Thanksgiving lunch.
Although Robinson cooked most of the meals, island residents made the deserts. We had a massive pie baking party last night (the one night a year we get access to the big industrial kitchen–so many fun cooking tools!), and made about a dozen pies. Apple, pumpkin, and pecan. Mom–your pecan pie recipe got *rave* reviews!! Mary-Jane played the fiddle while a crowd of people drank, peeled apples, made crusts, pureed pumpkin and generally made a huge mess in the kitchen. The whole thing was a blast.
So, now that I’m slipping into a food coma, I thought I’d take the time to put some photos from my recent trip to the US up for you all to see. I was home for most of the month of October, running around from one part of the northeast to another, and finally ending up in Texas. First, I was in Cambridge seeing friends, meeting with advisors, rowing outriggers on the Charles, and first crying, and then celebrating as the Red Sox got trounced and then made the most exciting come back ever (and I don’t even particularly like baseball). Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Boston when they won the series against the Yankees–I was in a bar in Albany, NY where a very bizarre karaoke contest was taking place (Frank Sinatra, followed by Billy Ray Cyrus, and then a little Eric Clapton).
After a data analysis seminar in Albany, I headed to Portland, Maine for my high-school friend Missy’s bachelorette party. After dinner and a few margaritas (at Margaritas–where all my memories of getting carded in high-school occurred) with the mother, and mother-in-law to be of the bride
we headed out into Portland.
The next morning (a little later than originally planned), Bree Candland and I headed to Bethel, a little town in western Maine to fulfill our bridesmaids’ duties. The wedding was at the Bethel Inn, which we pretty much had all to ourselves, so it was like a gigantic house party. Missy, Katie, Bree and I all went to high school together, and Andrea, a college friend of Missy’s, is just simply a lot of fun, so there was a lot of silliness in the bride’s maids suite. (Including water ballet in the hotel pool after the rehearsal dinner, instigated by the mother of the groom! Even Ritchie, Missy’s brother, came and played!
Katie and Bree in their Sass Master’s uniform.
(I wish you could see, but they were wearing matching shoes at the wedding rehearsal!)
The wedding was beautiful, Bree sang, I cried, the party was fun (bridesmaids don’t end up getting to eat or drink anything–dresses always fit too tight!), and the Sox won the first game of the world series (which the bride and groom stayed up to see the end of!)
After the wedding, I went home to Maine and tried my best to do absolutely nothing for a week. Unfortunately, my plans were somewhat thwarted by evil IBM–I’ve been trying to buy a new laptop for over a month now. It got it, it didn’t work, they couldn’t fix it, they sent me a new one, to the wrong address. . .the saga continues. But other than spending far too much time on hold, I had a lot of fun walking the dog, sleeping, walking the dog, eating, walking the dog, watching a movie, and walking the dog. The full lunar eclipse was amazing from my parents’ house. It was a perfectly clear night:
We were all watching the baseball game at a friend’s house (cable hasn’t made it to Bayside yet, and thus no Fox–a mixed blessing really), and we all ran outside to see the eclipse.
I also helped out at a flu clinic, and despite my hopes of seeing the elderly behaving badly (the last flu clinic had been a mob scene, apparently), everything was orderly, and everyone was polite and well-behaved.
After a peaceful week in Maine, I headed to Texas for my friend Paola’s wedding, with an election night over-night in Cambridge on the way. Suffice to say that the Houston airport was a psychologically scarring place to hear Kerry concede.
Paola had promised me a good Mexican wedding, and that it certainly what I got! I arrived in Brownsville a couple of days early and got to help Paola ferry guests across the border, although the plan of also transporting liquor for the party was jinxed in favor of a less complicated plan. It was fun getting to meet her family again, as I now speak better Spanish than I did when they were at Stanford for graduation, so I could actually talk to them more. I also got to meet her fianc