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My brother and sister-in-law are in the midst of having an addition put onto their house and the contractors were breaking through into the kitchen this week. So we had decided to hold Thanksgiving at my place. Now, as many of you know, I CAN cook, but I really don't enjoy it in its own right. So my suggestion was to arrange to buy the various T-day goodies from my local co-op and serve that for dinner. My parents and brother were completely ok with this idea, however, my sister-in-law exclaimed that it would not feel like Thanksgiving to her if someone did not provide home cooking. Several of my friends offered to teach me how to make various parts of the meal and [profile] puzzld1 even offered to help me cook it, but I decided that the stakes were too high to try to raise my cooking karma for such a food important day. So my sister-in-law contrived to make the cooked dishes at her place, my parents agreed to bring salad and appetizers, and I was in charge of beverages. Meanwhile, I had spent the week cleaning my place. I bought new dishes (to go with my new cookware that I had recently bought). I had a friend come over and figure out how to change the fluorescent light in the kitchen fixture that had baffled me for the last 2.5 yrs. I had borrowed a carpet cleaner and solution to clean the kitchen floor, when my brother called to say that two of the three kids were recovering from strep throat and that they didn't want to risk traveling under those circumstances. Also, the kitchen breakthrough was far less disruptive than had been feared, so cooking there was not a problem. So they felt it would be easier for all concerned if we had Thanksgiving at their place after all. Since the point of switching was to make things easier in the first place, I quickly agreed.

So I halted my frantic cleaning and drove the hour to Hightstown on T-day. Except that I had the misfortune of getting stuck in traffic and having to reroute at the earliest exit, so it took me over two hours to make it there. When I got there, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the wine with me, so I went to a local wine shop that was still open and bought a nice German Riesling to go with dinner (not that my family noticed the difference in quality, but I did). The kids were delighted to see me and my folks, but were also extremely rambunctious, which lead to a number of time outs throughout the day. My 6 yr old nephew is now into Pokemon cards, so I brought some cards with me and he explained to me how to play. He also arranged some trades so that he could have three powerful cards that I couldn't use yet, while he gave me three weaker cards which would allow me to use other powerful cards that I had. As the indulgent uncle, I was completely ok with this somewhat lopsided trade, and impressed with his logic in arranging it. He then used his newly acquired cards to soundly stomp me in a game, which made him very happy. I'm thrilled to death to be encouraging a young gamer in the family!

Dinner itself was delicious, however, the kids fought during it and were punished with time outs, which lead to the middle one melting down, which set the baby off crying, too. This made the dinner experience much less pleasant, but my family coped well and my brother archly expressed his thanks for the wine to help get him through :-) When it got to my turn to express what I was thankful for, I got a laugh by saying that I was thankful that we weren't at my house after all :-) This lightened the mood and we did our best to polish off the food. After dinner we all watched the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and the new one about the Pilgrims and then it was off to bed. The kids could not believe that my brother and I had watched the same show when we were their age. All in all, it was a good holiday, and maybe we really will have it at my house someday.
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My family and I are in Phoenix this weekend (well, actually Scottsdale) for my cousin's bar mitzvah. We flew out of Philly on 9/11. I briefly wondered whether that was a good idea or not, but decided that because of the commemorative date, people would be extra vigilant - and that was indeed my experience at the airport. I took the same flight that my brother and his family were on. They were seated in First Class and I was back in Coach. My brother and I shared a joke about being in a similar sketch from the Carol Burnett Show. Tim Conway was in Coach and got a rope instead of a seatbelt, an open window on the plane, no carpet, all the turbulence, and was finally pushed out the door at his destination. That sketch was a riot and when the turbulence hit our plane I did ask him whether they had felt any in First Class :-)

We landed, schlepped everything to the rental car van, got the rental car, drove half an hour to the hotel, checked in (the woman at the desk took an awfully long time), went up to our rooms and collapsed. It was 1:30 am by the time I got to my room (which was 4:30am Philly time). The kids were exhausted and the littlest one wasn't feeling well, but we all made it. My cousins had thoughtfully provided a nice little gift basket in the room with some fruit and muffins to tide us over.

Found my parents at breakfast and watched the kids while we arranged to go to my cousin's house for the afternoon. We were all overtired, and no one had really slept well, but that didn't stop the kids from having abundant energy. It did stop us grown ups from coping with it as elegantly as we would have liked though. I managed to get a cheap pair of sunglasses, since I had forgotten to bring mine and it was very bright outside. We spent some time in the pool and playing a skateboarding video game (of which my almost 6 year old nephew soundly defeated everyone else).

It was good to catch up with my cousins and my parents and I went to Shabbat services with them in the evening. My brothers family either went to a ball game or caught up on their sleep. The service at this synagogue was very musical. The Cantor played guitar and piano and sang very well. He led a number of prayers with tunes that I had never heard, that had a very 70's feel to them. This felt a bit odd, as these tunes were vocally challenging. It did make the service more entertaining, but it kind of felt less accessible. The Rabbi cleverly called all the kids in the room up to help open the Torah - an interesting way to foster community involvement and make it clear that everyone was welcome at the service. My cousin led one of the prayers and he will have more to do tomorrow during his actual bar mitzvah. I was amazed at how much of the Hebrew prayers that I still remember! Afterward, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Arrivederchi, which was quite tasty. Now I'm crashing out and getting ready for a busy day tomorrow.

Alexandria

Aug. 2nd, 2008 04:27 pm
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I drove down to Alexandria, VA, yesterday with my parents for my cousin's wedding. We managed to survive the trip - they had me drive their car, and we alternated choosing the music. Thankfully, the directions were good and we did not get lost. We are staying at the Old City Hilton, which is quite nice. My cousin arranged for us to receive a goody bag of munchies upon check in, which was quite nice. We walked around Old City and had a yummy seafood dinner at The Wharf, which looked a lot less touristy than some of the other places and turned out to be pretty good. This morning we had brunch at the hotel with some old friends of my parents, whom I had never met. Then I went for a walk and found a comic shop and a used book store, both of which pleased me greatly. So I'm spending the afternoon relaxing, waiting to get ready for the wedding in the evening. Tomorrow there will be a brunch for the out of town guests and then we pack up and head home.

Vacation!

Jul. 29th, 2008 11:46 am
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Now that my summer course is done, I've decided to take a vacation. Actually, it will be mostly a "staycation," since I plan to spend much of it working on house projects and catching up on reading for fun and watching Dr Who, as well as visiting with family and friends. So far, I've gone to a birthday pool party, helped my brother take the kids to two kid birthday parties, seen Dark Knight (it was wonderful, but it did give me nightmares), played bridge, bought light sconces for the bathroom, mowed the lawn, noodled around on facebook, and played with the cats. I received a clean bill of health at my dental check up, and I got myself a haircut. My major house project will be finishing all the fine detail touch up painting in the upstairs bathroom. I do have a bit of work to do during my time off (final grades, getting pieces of a new grant together, writing some recommendation letters), but I can fit it in at my leisure. After lunch, I plan to do battle with the strangling clematis vine that is clinging to my lilac and butterfly bush. In the meantime, I am trying to remember what relaxing feels like.
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Last weekend was Swarthmore's Alumni weekend. it wasn't my class' year to get together, but since I knew many people across the classes and the sci-fi club that I used to be part of always has a gaming/hang out room, I went up for the day on Saturday. I was delighted to see [profile] dwvanstone and his handsome beau, [personal profile] eclectic_boy, who arranged for a yummy BBQ, my former housemates [profile] grr_plus1 and [personal profile] ruthling, the lovely [profile] metasilk with pictures of her son, [personal profile] mst3kforall who is actually in my class, [profile] nutmegger and his lovely wife, [personal profile] jedediah who is New Jed to my Jed Classic, and [profile] syndicatedebby sans [profile] jhp64 who was home with the kids. In addition, I hung out with a number of folk who don't have blogs such as Jim H., Anne M., David SG, Neil O, Sylvia W., and Jay S. It was good to see everyone and recapture memories and reaffirm the camaraderie we had all shared during our college years and beyond.

In the gaming room, I got to watch two games that I had heard of but had not seen. Transamerica looked like it was easy to learn and kind of fun, but did not seem to require much complex strategy. Order of the Stick looked overly involved with too many rules and modifiers, but definitely captured the spirit of the webcomic. I think it would be more fun if everyone actually knew the basics of how to play (which did not seem to be all that intuitive).

In the midst of the heat, I drove over to see [personal profile] blueflamedfire and [profile] cuddlebunni3 to drop off stuff for June Pride. My brother had invited me up for a family visit on Sunday, so I decided to do that instead. It was fun to see them and I look forward to seeing their new place. Sunday also turned out well with the rambunctious nephews telling me that they wished that I lived with them all the time (melt). Of course, my brother pointed out that he and I had lived together growing up for quite awhile and that we were both much happier to no longer do so. In any event, the weekend was very centering for me with prepared me to face another week at work.
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In honor of my brother's 40th birthday, we went to NYC to see the Broadway production of Young Frankenstein. We both enjoyed it. I thought the performances were good, especially Megan Mullally (Elizabeth), Andrea Martin (Frau Blucher), Fred Applegate (Inspector Kemp/Hermit), and Christopher Fitzgerald (Igor). Roger Bart (Dr. Frankenstein) tried to emulate Gene Wilder from the movie, and as such I felt his performance came off a bit restrained. Sutton Foster (Inga)'s understudy was performing for our Sat Matinee, and she was good, but not great. However, the scenery, lighting, and special effects were amazing and definitely worthy of Tony nominations. Unfortunately, the music was not memorable and the story was not too deep. Basically, they did a pretty faithful adaptation of the movie, and the movie wasn't that deep either. It just didn't work as well on stage. One of the best lines came at the end when the cast sang about wanting to perform Blazing Saddles next year (although I suspect that that show would not translate well either). Overall, I give it a B+ as a show, but as I said, we both had fun and were glad to have seen it.

We had taken the train up and had some time to walk around, so we stopped in Midtown Comics and Toys R Us (formerly FAO Schwartz). We ate lunch at a Subway on our way to the show and dinner at a nice upscale (but not pretentious) restaurant called Thalia on 8th at 50th. One of my friends recommended it and so did Rachel Ray (according to the clip on their website).

http://www.restaurantthalia.com/

I had the prix fixe dinner of porcini encrusted tuna sashimi, roasted salmon, and carrot cake with cinnamon ice cream and a pear flavored cocktail. My less adventuresome brother had the shrimp cocktail and a beef fillet with a glass of red wine (shirrah/red zinfandel blend). Everything was delicious!!! The service was great and the atmosphere was just right. I would definitely eat there again.

On our way back to the train station, we bumped into one of my grad students on his way to see a show (when he should have been working on his prelims). I actually applauded his decision to take such a magnificent break. We got back to my brother's house and were glad to see that my sister-in-law had survived her day with the kids. The real present for my brother was for him to have a day away in order to relax and that worked just the way I had wanted.
logisticslad: (Default)
In a few weeks, my brother and I are going to NYC to see the new musical production of Young Frankenstein on Broadway. This is in honor of his 40th birthday (He liked that I had seen a show for my 40th and wanted to do something similar). We are seeing a Sat matinee and I'd like to take him to a nice restaurant for dinner after the show. He's not too adventuresome when it comes to food, so I suspect that a nice American, Italian, or Chinese style place would be just fine for him. Does anyone have any restaurant recommends for a place we can walk to from the Theatre District?
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Happy Rosh Hashana to those who celebrate it and enjoy the lovely evening to those who don't! Had a nice dinner with my parents, where we dipped apples into honey and had honeydew and honeycake for dessert. Ah, family traditions!
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Thanks to everyone who offered their advice through my very first poll (which I can do now that I have a Permanent Account). I did indeed take it to my family BBQ, where my cousins and nephews devoured it with gusto (sorry [profile] puzzld1, there wasn't any left to save for you). I did feel kind of dirty enabling my young impressionable relatives develop a taste for the evil zucchini (but I suppose it beats buying them cigarettes or alcohol :-) Anyway, we had a lovely time celebrating my Dad's 80th birthday with my brother's family and my visiting cousins from Arizona.

For those who don't know, zucchini has become my Totem Vegetable - that of which I do not eat. This is because back in college, I spent 2.5 years working on The Great Zucchini Project for my undergraduate thesis. This consisted of growing thousands of baby zucchini plants in the dark and then harvesting their stems and mashing them up in a Cuisinart in order to extract proteins out of them to study for my experiments. I helped characterize the function of the growth hormone transport protein, which would allow the world to build bigger and better zucchini (It turns out that zucchini have the biochemical oddity of concentrating this protein in the base of their cells, making it much easier to isolate). This resulted in a successful thesis and my very first paper published in the journal Plant Physiology. After all this slaughter of countless zucchini plants, I completely lost my taste for it (not that I liked it much to begin with). The last time I knowingly ate zucchini was when my supposed "friends" (to those of you reading this, you know who you are) bought me an order of fried zucchini sticks to celebrate my thesis defense (oh the irony!). Since then, I have avoided the stuff in vegetable medleys, Chinese food, stealthily baked into chocolate cakes, and wherever else it may lurk. I have extended this dislike to the creation of a personal policy by which I do not consume anything that I have done experiments upon. In addition to zucchini, this list includes: rats, rabbits, scorpions, sea amenones, and pufferfish. Good thing I don't work on people !-}
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We had a work trip to the Phillies game today and it turned out to be a lot of fun! About 35 people from work came and we all sat together in right field, but the view was pretty good. Fortunately, the threatening rainstorms never materialized and it wasn't too hot out in the cloudy sunshine. The Phillies played the White Sox and actually won 8 to 4. We saw a Philies home run and a grand slam! The starting Phillies pitcher had been brought up from the far minors, but he did a credible job. We stayed through the whole game and enjoyed ourselves. I found my brother at the game with some of his work buddies (one of whom was the guy who created Effexor for Wyeth), so it was extra fun hanging out with him there, too. He and my parents all have season tickets to the baseball games; I go once every other year and don't really follow it too much. But it was nice to spend a day away from work.
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The good news is that despite the surgery being delayed until after 6:00pm (when they told him to be there at 11:00am), Dad came through the procedure okay and is doing well. They replaced his pacemaker and added a defibrillator. The doctor said that everything went smoothly and that he can go home tomorrow!

Whew!

Thanks to everyone for their kind words of support. It helped me get through the day.

PS: There were no unpleasant surprises from Chester when I came home today. We'll see what happens at 3:00 in the morning...

Worried

Apr. 24th, 2007 11:08 am
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Today my Dad goes to the hospital to have his pacemaker replaced and he will be staying overnight. He says that he is approaching it like going to the dentist and Mom says that she is not particularly concerned and does not need me to wait with her. I often overreact to medical concerns, but I am trying to keep calm about this one. Mom has my cell phone number and will call me if she needs me. I decided that I personally didn't need to be there so I am going to work in hopes of distracting myself.

In order to distract me further, my cat Chester has been throwing up for the last three days. He eats and drinks and seems otherwise fine, so I'm treating it as though it's a hairball and giving him Petromalt (which he seems to enjoy). Hopefully he will pass what ails him, one way or another.

Solstice

Dec. 23rd, 2006 10:12 am
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Had a lovely Solstice gathering hosted by my friend J. who had recently lost his partner. He had asked us to all light candles dedicated to Brigid for health, hearth, and healing the night before and I was glad to do so. His place looked magical with dozens of candles all sparkling helping to keep away the darkness and bring back the light. Since it was also the last night of Hannukah and Shabbat we lit even more candles and said prayers, which fit very well with the theme of the evening. Hosting this dinner was part of his own healing and I was very happy to be there for him. We had delicious cheese fondue for dinner, with green apples, bread, and turkey ham for dipping. Then we played a 6 player game of Seafarers of Cattan, which was a lot of fun, but ended early by mutual consent so that we would have time to enjoy the dessert, chocolate fondue. We dipped cheesecake, strawberries, poundcake, bananas, and orange slices and discussed the many other yummy options available for dipping (I was sad that we didn't have double chocolate oreos for the ultimate chocolate buzz :-) S. found the pickle on the tree and received the pickle prize of a lovely moon fairy. The second pickle prize of Lindt chocolate was sent home with me to be given to [profile] puzzld1 and M., who unfortunately could not make it this year. They were both missed by all. Despite the difficulties that he has been facing, J. made this event a celebration with his chosen family and friends and I think it was really good for him to have done.
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Hannukah begins tonight and lasts for eight days in order to commemorate a miracle of lights burning during a siege. It's not the same thing as Christmas at all, despite being a winter lights holiday. Happy Hannukah to those who wish to celebrate it. Happy Holidays to those who don't.

Bat Mitzvah

Dec. 9th, 2006 03:55 pm
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Yesterday, I flew to Scottsdale for a long weekend to attend my cousin's Bat Mitzvah. My parents and my brother's family have also come. We all took separate planes due to our various schedules, and my parents remarked that they preferred it that way so that the whole family wouldn't be lost if there were an accident. Ah, the ways in which my parents can worry still astound me! They wanted me to have dinner with them before they left, in case it were to be the last time. Not wanting to be an enabler, I declined. My trip was uneventful. However, I had less than an hour to settle into my room and change (during which my nephews made their boisterous appearance) before I had to go to the Friday night Shabbat services.

Services turned out to be quite an event. First, the rabbi and cantor were married and conducted a musical service with a band (in order to try to broaden the appeal and get more people interested). Plus there was much food. It was actually very nice. Many of the tunes for the prayers have been updated, but it was easy enough for me to follow along. I was amazed at how much of the service came flooding back to me. When I had gone to hebrew school before my bar mitzvah, I had learned how to conduct an entire service in Hebrew. With the help of the transliteration, I was able to follow along (this was a reform service, so only portions of it were in Hebrew, but more than I expected). I said a Mourner's Kaddish for my friend's partner and while I know it wasn't his tradition, it felt right to do.

The rabbi discussed the torah reading for the week. It was the section describing the flight of Jacob from his estranged brother Esau, and tells of how he spent all night wrestling with a stranger whom he thought was divine and in the morning received the name Yisrael, which literally means, he who struggles with God. The rabbi interpreted this story as a parable about it being healthy to question one's faith and pointed out that one's relationship with God grows and changes over one's lifetime, just like any other relationship. This had great meaning for me since this feature of Judaism is one of the main reasons that I remain Jewish. It's not about blind faith, but about coming to one's own faith when one is ready.

Then the group of us, me, my parents, my brother, sister-in-law, my two nephews, my cousin, her father, her husband, his brother, and their two children (one of whom was the Bat Mitzvah) all went for what turned out to be a very difficult dinner. There was unpleasantness from my cousin's father about being seated outside, then the service was painfully slow to the point that my nephews both fell asleep before the food arrived. All in all, it took two hours to get our food, which turned out to be very good when it finally arrived. We all skipped dessert and returned to the hotel. I was driving with my parents, who could not agree on the directions and kept getting us lost. Oy vey! I was exhausted when we finally got back and crashed, but did not sleep comfortably because the hotel beds are much too soft for me.

This morning was the Bat Mitzvah service and my brother and I had an Aliyah together, as did my parents. It was very moving and I was very glad to have traveled over 2000 miles to be there for it, especially since none of our other cousins chose to come. We are all resting for the afternoon, before we return for the evening reception. Then tomorrow morning we are going to the cemetery for my aunt's and cousin's gravestone unveilings and then to a museum with the kids. In the meantime, the weather is gorgeous here, so I may take a dip in the pool.
logisticslad: (totoro)
Had a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother's with my parents and nephews. My sister-in-law made a wonderful meal and my father did his best to be mindful about their conflicting dining and parenting customs. The high point of the day for me was sharing My Neighbor Totoro with my nephews. This is one of my favorite anime films and they were entranced. My older nephew commented that Totoro spirits could be both scary and nice. He wanted to know what the Catbus did with all of its legs. They were both worried about little Mei getting lost and very happy to know that it turned out well. They asked if I would leave the DVD with them so they could watch it again! Of course, I said yes (melt :-)
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Yesterday, I spent my birthday at the Philly Zoo with my nephews and my brother and sister-in-law! It was a terrific day! My nephews were entranced with the animals - the 4 year old kept asking to see specific creatures that he knew were kept at zoos and the 1 and 3/4 year old kept saying goodbye to each animal after we saw it :-) We saw the new Big Cats exhibit, which was basically the same animals in a guided walk through their habitats in a way that allowed one to get much closer to them. We said goodbye to the elephants - apparently they are going to move to another zoo after having been here for over 30 years due to concerns about their housing. My nephews were convinced that the crocodiles weren't real because they weren't moving for so long...and then one blinked!!! They were disappointed to learn that red panda are not the same as black and white panda. They were entranced by the primate house, but we had the most fun watching the otters at play!!! I was very touched that they loved the otters as much as I always have. We will definitely go back to the zoo.

Then they came over to my house for pizza and cake. Whew! It was a whirlwind of potential destruction. I had thought that my place was mostly childproof, but they proved me wrong by finding all sorts of unexpectedly breakable or potentially toxic things within reach. And they chased the cats, who didn't seem to mind the extra play, but it just added to the chaos. The contrast of quiet after we put on Winnie the Pooh was quite striking (at least until they started messing with each other while watching it). They gave me the X-men III DVD, which I had refrained from buying myself, hoping that it would be a birthday gift (while I didn't love the movie as much as the first two, I thought it was something I would watch again). It was simply adorable to see how my nephews understood the concept of birthday parties and how connecting it was for them to have a party for me (they wanted to know why my friends didn't come to the zoo for my party. My brother was gonna say that I had no friends :-P but then explained that I had wanted to spend the day with just them). This plus [profile] puzzld1's visit on Friday definitely made up for my having spent last year's birthday in the hospital having my appendix removed. I was exhausted by the time they left, but I had an amazingly fun birthday!
logisticslad: (Default)
Woke up this morning to find a cat snuggled on either side of me :-) Good thing I don't move much in my sleep! The kitties seem to be getting along much better, although there are still some tussles. The Feliway is almost done, and I'm hoping that they won't need it any more.

Watched two "inspired by a true story" movies, Kinky Boots and Take the Lead. Kinky Boots is about a family shoe factory in England that has fallen on hard times and must find a niche market in order to survive. The new heir (played by the guy who played young Uncle Owen in the new Star Wars series) meets a drag queen and decides to hire her as his new designer of "footwear for women who are men." The drag queen is played by the actor who was the bad guy in Serenity and he does an amazing job, plus he can sing! A lot of the comedy is about the longtime shoemakers rising to the challenge of making kinky boots. And there is a fairly sweet love story, too. It has a similar tone to The Full Monty and I'd recommend it. Take the Lead stars the sexy Antonio Banderas as a ballroom dance instructor who arranges with tough principal Alfre Woodward to teach a dance class to the longterm detention students of an inner city high school. The kids really respond to him and learn to dance well enough to enter the citywide ballroom competition. Through this experience they learn self respect and dignity and have something to bring them out of their very tough lives. It came off as a bit contrived, but the dancing was good and it certainly worked as a cinderella story. I was quite surprised to discover that it was based on the life of a real person named Pierre Dulaine, who started a similar dance program.

I'm getting ready to go to my nephew's 4th birthday party. His actual birthday is Tuesday, but he has already discovered the family tradition of holding birthday celebrations on days when we can all get together. I have a dinosaur card game called T-Rex Rules for him as well as The Very Hungry Caterpillar card game (bought at the Eric Carle museum during my recent Northampton trip) and some Thomas the Train stickers. I think he'll enjoy them.

Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur. I don't plan on going to services, but I will do something for myself at home. I am taking tomorrow off work and will spend some time with my family. This holiday has spiritual meaning for me, but the traditional observances no longer do. Therefore, I do not plan on fasting for it, but will do some meditiating. It's important to me to feed my spiritual side every now and then.

Today also marks mine and [profile] puzzld1's 15th anniversary! Wow! Thank you, Hon, for all these amazing memories and times together. I look forward to many more!
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Happy Rosh Hashana, everyone! Tonight I had friends over for dinner and games. Several had to cancel at the last minute, so we scrapped plans for D&D, but we managed to have enough for a satisfying game of Lord of the Rings. It is important to defeat the Dark Lord at the start of the year! I lit candles and served the traditional apples and honey. We debated between ordering out for traditional chinese food, but were daring and went for pizza instead. Tomorrow is holiday with my family and here's hoping that we can keep the family drama to a minimum.
logisticslad: (Default)
I drove out to Lebanon, PA for a fun time with a number of my long time friends, including [personal profile] mujetdebois and [personal profile] bruhinb, in vague celebration of our various late summer birthdays. We got to snack on actual Lebanon bologna, which was very tasty. We stayed with my friend M. who lives out there and after a surprisingly early breakfast, we drove to Hershey Park for a day of fun. We we joined by two more friends whom I haven't seen in years, who now have kids the same age as my nephews. We had a blast at the park. It was overcast for most of the day, so we avoided the water rides. We started with riding the old wooden coaster called The Comet. It was fun, but it made me nauseous, so we split up with the adventuresome folks doing more coasters and the rest of us going to the little zoo there. That was very entertaining especially watching the kids' reactions to the animals. We went to Chocolate World to see how it was all made and I loved that! Then we split up and several went back to relax and arrange dinner while a few of us hung on for the Pirate Ship and the Wild Mouse coaster! The coaster was great fun, but messed me up again, so I was glad to depart after seeing the sun set over the park. We all had a lovely dinner and then I departed to sleep in my own bed.

I got a late night call from my friends at Worldcon (L. and [personal profile] drewan) with an announcement of who had just won the Hugos! That was very cool. While I wish I could have afforded the con this year, I am satisfied with hearing all about it and doing other fun things instead.

Today, I met my nephews at the Academy of Natural Sciences so that we could look at DINOSAURS!, which is their latest craze. They could not believe just how big some of those creatures were. There was a cool TV exhibit where you could stand in front of a screen and dinosaurs moved through the background. There was another cool exhibit where you could spend a lot of time trying to chisel faux fossils out of the ground. We had great fun and I found some items in the gift shop that will make it to the oldest's upcoming birthday party.

Now I'm preparing for my first grad school lecture tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to watching the Emmy Awards.

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