Family II

by zenquaker

So I went down to Charlottesville for Thanksgiving. Normally I leave early Thursday morning. There’s usually not a lot of traffic early in the morning, although it can get nasty later on. Then I stay overnight and head back Friday, which is also pretty leisurely.

This year my sister decided to have a pizza night to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday party. It sounded like it would be cool, and the only chance I would have to see my brother this holiday, so I decided to change my plans. At work we got a half day Wednesday. Since work is south of me and Charlottesville is too it would have been stupid to take the train in to work, and then back home to get my car. So I drove in to work, and really early so that I could get on the road as soon as possible. I thought I could stop for lunch in Manasas or Gainesville and have a reasonable drive home.

That’s what I get for thinking.

Traffic was horrible. It took me a half hour just to cross the Cabin John Bridge. At one point during that half hour, I got cut off by two cars at the same time. One cut me off from the right and then another cut me off from the left. It was very odd traffic, too, with lots of standing waves. You’d be stuck forever, then zip along for a while, and then get stuck again. By the time I got to Gainesville (where I nearly got hit by an SUV with Duke plates changing lanes), I was so far behind schedule that I skipped lunch. Besides, getting to the places I wanted to eat lunch at would have involved mad dashes across multiple lanes of traffic, and I didn’t feel like emulating the idiot in the SUV from Duke.

Once I got to my sister’s it was much better. I got to hang out with my niece and nephew. I got to see my brother and my aunt and uncle on my mother’s side. It was a nice, reasonably sized gathering where you got to talk to people. It was almost two big, as there were often two or three conversations running over each other, but it was much easier to talk to people than at the large gathering at my Mom’s the next day (with all of my stepfather’s family). Afterwards my niece did a little guitar recital, and we gave my Mom a large card on core board with 75 things about her for her 75th birthday (mostly made by my niece). Then there was some basketball late into the night. My brother in law went to Duke and has infected his son with Duke fandom, but I was rooting for Oklahoma. It was only partially to be the contrarian, it was more so the way they controlled the paint on defense early in the game. It was really well done and I figured if Duke couldn’t penetrate they would lose the game. The got enough penetration in the second half to stay in the game. It looked for a second like Oklahoma had the game, but Duke took it with two (admittedly beautiful) three pointers from the corner by a bench player.

As I said, the actually Thanksgiving get together was a bit chaotic and hard to talk to people, but it was still nice to see the other side of the family. I cut out a little early so I could get back to my insane cat and a huge load of dishes in time for a not too late dinner. I had a nice time, but I ate more red meat than I would have liked. Of course, the plan was never to be strict about that, especially at family gatherings where people are working hard enough on food without people like me being overly picky. But now I’m back home and can get back on the chicken and turkey thang. It’s weird. Now that I’ve cut out almost all my red meat, I have started thinking about adding some totally vegetarian meals. I had some pasta salad at a statistics conference a while back that wasn’t half bad. Now whenever I make past I keep thinking about ways to do it without meat. I just worry about getting enough protein to maintain my weight. We’ll see how it goes. I’m happy with my progress, and not worried about pushing hard on the food.