No one Invited us to Thanksgiving Dinner

Becca, Rey and Dave all arrived safely last night. Rey and Becca arrived first, making good time, having drove straight through from Chattanooga. I made Saint Louis style veggie pizzas for dinner, also-know-as Imo’s. Dave’s flight from Boston was early too. Lambert was a zoo, what with it being its busiest day of the year and all. It was almost like old times, like back in the day, when Saint Louis was still a hub. While Rey and I were scanning the arrivals for Dave, Dan, who elected not to travel on this holiday was chiming in on our group text chat chain. Later, Kennard, Dave’s high school buddy, swung by and they went out, while the rest of us went to bed.

This morning, everyone broke fast with Trader Joe’s croissants, both chocolate and almond. These little beauties started the night before looking like a dog’s chew toy, but came out of the oven all flakey and brown. Rey and Becca went to the zoo, while Anne and I worked in the kitchen. We got the bird in the oven on the first stroke of noon. Is this hubris that I’m feeling or are we really that good?

Joanie joined us for supper. We all tripped out on tryptophan, excepting Becca. Sides included, Auntie Anne’s homemade cranberry sauce, Harry’s stuffing that was updated with some really good veggie chorizo, roasted potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato soup, a pear-pomegranate-walnut-cheese salad and Rey and Becca’s roasted Brussel sprouts with chipotle sauce. Joanie bookended the meal with horderves and a Tippin’s pumpkin pie, plus rolls.

After dinner and dessert, we played games, Scrabble first and then a new one, where you try to corner the gem market. I tried hoarding diamonds, which seemed to work, until it didn’t. Anne won the Scrabble came, even with me dishing to Rey. Rey won the gem game, but I guess I can claim second.

4 Days with the Fam… send Booze

Roll to Save

In preparation for Thanksgiving, the media is full of advice on how to get along with the family. Number one on the list is don’t talk politics and number two is respect people’s privacy. The first one shouldn’t be too much trouble, we’re all pretty homogenized in the political sense, but I’ll have to guard against violating the second one, because I do like to pry.

This post’s title was first spied several Thanksgiving holidays ago. We were on the road that year and in a driving rain, we were passed by a battered old Volvo station wagon. On its back window, written in white shoe polish, was “4 Days with the Fam… Send Booze”. Anne always wondered if the driver planned on erasing that message, when they got home, but I always figured that the message was written for the whole family. Hopefully, we can do better than that or at the very least, not run out of booze.

The Big (Pumpkin Spiced) Apple

Liberty Island and the Jersey Shore

It is still hot here in the Lou. Yesterday, we tied a record, but tomorrow it should cool down and be more autumnal. It is about time that Fall fell. I’ve certainly swilled enough pumpkin spice to make it so. I even saw in the store, but did not buy, Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latté Beer. It is a nitrogen charged coffee stout.

Today was the first day of Anne’s newest long-term substitute position. She will be busy with this job for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, me the retired guy will be left to his own devices. Fortunately for me I now have a co-conspirator. This last summer, back at the cabin, my friend Chris and I hatched a plan for a road trip next month. I think that the epic road trip into the desert southwest that Anne and I had enjoyed last summer might had been his inspiration.

The plan that we had hatched would be for me to fly to Rochester, NY and then for Chris and I to drive from there to NYC. Not an epic drive, but certainly long enough to begin wondering, “Are we there yet?” We would share a hotel room in Brooklyn, Chris would get to see his sister and niece and I would get to see Dan. Later, since he is in Beantown now I invited Dave to visit too. Some time passed, Anne and I enjoyed our visit to Monterey, later I got a text from Chris in Croatia and today I got a text from Dave asking if he could bring a “plus one” with him. I figured that my invitation to Dave would have been fine, but a plus one would have been two too many for one room. Luckily, Dan is in-between roommates now, so they can stay with him. If we can ever manage to herd all of these cats together in one place, then it will make for some party.

Earwigs, Earworms and Ear Bending

Cleaner Shrimp on Moray Eel

Eel: Could you clean behind my right ear?
Shrimp: You don’t have an ear.
Eel: Yeah-yeah-yeah, right there!

We’re back in the Lou again and the place is a riot! We’ve actually been back since Saturday and this blog is only now catching up. As you might have heard, on Friday, another Saint Louis area policeman was acquitted of killing another black man. There have been protests ever since. Most are peaceful, but some have been violent. It feels like Ferguson all over again. Déjà vu! We had hoped to have an out-of-town visitor, but her schedule changed and it never occurred. It would have been interesting if she had arrived, because many of the places that we would have shown her are also areas where the protests are happening. The local TV news is in a feeding frenzy about these events, which isn’t helpful. Their coverage centers on the violent confrontations and ignores the peaceful protests. This type of coverage only serves to harden people’s opinions and does nothing to solve any of the underlying problems.

In other news, Anne went to school today. She is gearing up for her long-term sub position that will occupy her for the rest of the year. She is transitioning today and tomorrow and then it’s wait until the baby drops. She has really been looking forward to this opportunity all summer long. Sunday, she made the phone rounds, reaching out and touching family. Her folks are back in Ann Arbor and are readjusting well to their regular life there. Dan is working hard. He has two new jobs, replacing the two previous ones that he had. One is at a furniture maker, but the one that is really keeping him busy is with Macy’s. He is setting up their store window displays for Christmas. He finds the work interesting, especially their use of CNC technology for the intricate parts. Dave is learning how to implant cochlear devices in rabbits, so that he can then study their spatial auditory acuity or lack there of. He likes working with rabbits better than chinchillas. They are more docile and don’t always try to run away. I hope to see both boys next month, when I head east.