Dec 6, 2009

season's greetings

Posted by Mary |

Dear Mother: This is the closest I will get to Christmas decorations.

The new range has been ordered. And thus the kitchen renovations will begin. When I bought the house, I knew it would need some functional improvements, but also a few aesthetic improvements. And the first major aesthetic project I want to tackle is the kitchen. Step one is the new range, since the old one is a bit haunted and unclear on how to maintain a consistent temperature. Fun fact: It is almost impossible to get an electric coil range. People are all about the smooth surface these days. I can't repair a broken burner on a smooth surface, so I had to get the range I wanted special ordered. It will be here in 6-8 weeks.

Now for the catch-up: I went to Portland for the Supercomputing Conference. Got there a few days early to visit with Joanna, John and Sofia. They have a lovely new house in the northeast part of the city. I transitioned to my downtown hotel after a few days and got a-conferencing. Although SC may not sound like fun to the layperson, I had a great time! I'm somewhat isolated in Alaska, so it was a chance to meet a lot of people I'd only dealt with over the phone or by e-mail as well as visit with a lot of different companies and learn a hell of a lot more about the world of supercomputing. Of course, there were parties and such to attend, which made the trip even more fun. By the end of the week, I was far more versed about our systems at ARSC and able to answer more questions in the booth.

After SC came the big surprise trip to Connecticut. My parents weren't expecting me, but rearranged their schedules when I showed up. I managed to hit up two Indian grocery stores and buy some new clothes. My family has always switched Thanksgiving hosting with an aunt and uncle in New York, so this year we were off to Long Island for the holiday. That gave me a chance to see my cousin Abbie. The last time I saw her was October 2003 at her wedding, and now she has two sons. After much visiting and quality time with the family, it was back in the air. I had a long layover and a change of airlines in Portland, so I stored my luggage and hopped a train downtown to buy gin and doughnuts, as one will. Back at the airport, I repacked everything to fit the booze and pastries in my bags, then checked the luggage through to Fairbanks and got back on some planes.

My parents have two somewhat antisocial cats. You can look at them, and maybe touch one of them, but they don't really cuddle. Therefore, it was with great relief that I returned to Nibbles. She was somewhat frantic after my absence and promptly laid down on my head to sleep. On Friday I managed to book some time with Tom, so we got pizza and went to the theater to see 2012. Lots of stuff blew up - yay! He is leaving for a quick trip to see his family and then is off to Central America with his girlfriend for a bit, so I wanted to hang out before he left. This afternoon, I had brunch with Gary, who had gone to Texas for the holiday. Seeing him is always a bit of relief - like everything is back to normal. We hatched plans for some New Year's Eve debauchery and are debating a trip to Anchorage in the spring as well.