My first Thanksgiving

So, technically, this was not the first Thanksgiving away from home for me. That honor belongs to the dinner in Bath in 2005 which was great except, I mean, what do the English know about Thanksgiving? The stuffing came out in little balls. They tried and I was grateful. But my first Thanksgiving that I was in control of was going to go perfectly.

Oh come now. I’m not that naive. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if there were not scares and hiccups and moments when you think the whole thing might blow up in your face. It started out early, before the parade even came on, one of my roommates started the turkey. We couldn’t find the packet of giblets but we carried on, thinking perhaps they’d forgotten them. Seanna put all sorts of stuff in the bird, rubbed it down with miracle whip and successfully had it into the oven before 9 AM. Ahead of schedule. I liked this. However, the parade never started. Apparently, Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade is more important than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Michigan. I was confused and found some sort of coverage on CBS. My parents later helped me figure out the problem and I flipped out. One tradition shot to dust. Luckily, my paper arrived on time and I plotted out my attack for the next morning. Yes, I am one of those nutters who leaves the house at the crack of dawn on Black Friday.

Anyhoo, we’re swimming along just fine and then Julie appears. Our turkey is probably done. Three hours before planned. Me, the person who checks, double checks and triple checks anything to do with cooking hadn’t looked up cooking times again after we decided to cook the turkey unstuffed…House thrown into frenzy, people running around, stuffing being thrown into oven, potatoes boiling. In the grand scheme of things, of course it worked out. In fact, the turkey ended up only being done an hour earlier than planned (our oven takes forever to do anything).

So, Thanksgiving was delightful in the end. We ate ourselves into food comas, recovered to have pumpkin pie and whipped cream and generally enjoyed a day with friends and less guilt for not working on papers.

And in the end, we found our packet of giblets. The take home message of the day? A turkey has two holes. Check both before cooking.

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The bus

So, yesterday I sacrificed my lunch hour to attend a talk on tagging, blogging and RSS feeds (I’m in a school of information – this is what we do) and I’ve decided to tackle a blog again. To be quite frank, I’m not in such a cool place anymore (i.e. England) so my life isn’t all that recordable so don’t plan on a post every day.

Anyhoo, to get to the topic of my post, I take the bus to school every day. I have never taken public buses really until I moved here sans a car. I’ve also never met some of the people who ride public buses. I’m beginning to think this was a good thing. Oh, I’ve met some great people, old ladies who want to know my life story, the stressed-out students who look like they may go through the roof of the bus if you move too quickly but love a fresh ear for their latest project, the adorable little kids talking to anyone about anything. Then there are the fun ones.

While waiting for the bus, I’ve met my fair share and I’ve only been riding for a little over a month. Let’s start with Hugo. I have no idea of his real name, I’ve never wanted to ask. He will always be Hugo to me. He’s a nice guy, a little creepy but a lot of guys you meet waiting at the bus stop are. His accent is awful – I can hardly understand half the things he says (again, a good thing I believe) but he always has to ask me a million questions about my life, what I’m doing here, how I like it so far, how much my rent is. Never mind that I’ve answered the questions the same way every time he’s asked them. Hugo though always has to hug me when the bus comes. Like I’m his new best friend and he’s never going to see me again. Forget that I see him at least once a week. One of these days I’ll have to ask his name… Then there was Patrick who introduced himself like this “I’m Patrick and I believe in the good Lord Almighty Jesus Christ.” I like to think I kept a straight face. I also like to think I didn’t worry him too much when I had to think about his next question and explanation, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ? I always ask that first because if they say no, I won’t talk to them.” You have to love the guy for his honesty. However, I wasn’t really looking to be converted at 10:30 in the morning on a Friday.

However, while waiting for the bus is fun, riding it is even better. Take this morning for example. I was on my way to school and we stop and this kid gets on. Young kid, probably an undergrad student at the university. He sits down next to this woman who is reading and clinging to her bag for dear life, as if someone is going to get on the bus, rip her bag from her and then race out the back door. Well, this kid sits down and starts picking his nose. Doesn’t even try to hide it and the woman’s face is priceless. She starts to move away until you’d think she was about to melt into the wall. After a few minutes of hugging the wall and sending pointed, disgusted looks his way, she starts to dig frantically in her bag. She pulls out a tissue and hits the kid on the shoulder. He, coming out of what I term ‘bus stupor,’ looks all confused at her. Why would he want that? The woman, becoming increasingly irritated, starts to make gestures with the tissue, pointing at his nose. All of the sudden the kid gets it and kudos for his acting skills. He takes the tissue nonchalantly, wipes his hand and thanks the lady who looks so relieved to have finally gotten though to him that she stops hugging the wall long enough to plow into the kid when the bus goes around a sharp corner. The kid meanwhile has the good graces to have turned an unbecoming red and I’m trying to not laugh hysterically and make him feel that much worse.

Riding the bus is a fabulous people watching experience. It takes groups of people that would never normally interact and forces them into a small space for predetermined amount of time. It’s been an education in itself.