November and December 2004

Wednesday Night Trivia at Devlin's in Somerville

Not every Wednesday (like Chris) but enough times since August that the Trivia Guy (his official title) knows us, we've participated in semi-competitive trivia at Devlin's Bar. Four fun trivia facts? The waitresses are friendly and down to earth; the opposing teams range from amusing to annoying; the ATHF episode "Super Trivia" is a pretty accurate reflection of the evening; and we always have a good time. Below, different combinations of our team show off their spirit, from left to right: hopeful (Bob), menacing (Chris), and approachable (Ben).

Thanksgiving at Home

We were having Thanksgiving at our apartment this year, as we hadn't since 2002 in Worcester Square. So, Wednesday night, after skipping pre-Thanksgiving trivia in favor of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and pizza at Ben's house, we returned home to brine our organic free-range well-proportioned turkey. Below you see me putting the turkey and its brine in its bag, then putting the bagged turkey in a cooler with ice. At right, on Thanksgiving itself, I'm about to put the turkey in the oven. We had Robert's father, his friend, Robert's grandmother, and three of our friends (Annie, Jef, and Basil) over for the dinner; Basil's allergies, including turkey, provided food for conversation. Grandma Helena arrived at our apartment in an armchair carried up the four flights of stairs by Robert and one of our helpful basement neighbors. She had never seen our place before, and we were really happy to have her join us for the day.

Jef's Congratulatory Dinner at Cornwall's in Kenmore Square

When Jef passed his Ph.D. oral defense on Wednesday, December 1, Robert and I took him out for an impromptu sushi dinner that night. New Frontier took Jef out for a sushi lunch on Thursday to celebrate. On Friday, Jef's fellow CS grad students, Robert, me, and at least one philosophy student took Jef out again for dinner and drinks at the new version of the classic Kenmore Square bar. Jef actually had a drink--possibly the first we'd ever seen him with--and in the picture below at left, he looks pretty far gone in his cups. At right, he lunges for his wallet and attempts to turn the tables on us and treat for the meal. It was fairly chaotic, but I think we succeeded in preventing him.

David's Art Show in Brookline

Our friend David, financier by day and artist by night, was having his first art show, a joint show at an art school in Brookline one Saturday night. The invitation said it was semi-formal, so we got all dressed up for the occasion (except for Robert, who remained home dressed mentally as a gnome, playing World of Warcraft) and headed out. There were 200 people at the show (we actually ran into Valentina there), lots of wine, and appetizers. There was even a coat check, with a cute, dressed-up coat check boy (below, left, Chris retrieves our coats at the end of the evening). We arrived and departed in a hired car (below, second from left, Sarah and Sarah in Chris's green Subaru stretch station wagon).

After the show, we reconvened at a Chinese restaurant a couple blocks away, where Robert joined us. The restaurant had the craziest menu I've seen outside of Berkeley, and the hardest-to-communicate-with waiter I've seen outside of--oh, maybe anywhere. We ordered drinks (Sarah's frozen lemonade was particularly nice, and my raspberry daquiri was satisfyingly, for me, weak), but Kim's frosty navel turned into a fuzzy navel due to the waiter's misunderstanding. Wanting the darn ice cream in her drink, she insisted, and finally prevailed. The menu included instructions for ordering ("Sit back. . . Relax. . . Take a deep breath. . . ") as well as an explicit statement that they would prepare any dish without sugar, salt, soy sauce, etc. if asked. We asked, however, and my faith in the written word proved unjustified when the waiter stonily refused. In any case, we had a wonderful time talking and laughing (okay, shrieking) over our soups, noodles, and savory custards (how could I not order that dish??). Above right you see one side of our table (Sarah, me, and Sarah), and above left, with Robert and Chris trying to out-do each other in poses and faces, you see the other side of the table (Sue, Kim, Robert, and Chris). It was a great evening.

Park Street Small Group Cookie-Decorating for the Homeless

On Tuesday, Sarah and I each brought way too many cookies to our small group. Armed with various frostings (some homemade, some in a tub, some in a tube), decorating gels, FooDoodler markers (cool thin-line markers that are food coloring, for writing on cookies), and lots of sprinkles and colored sugar, we decorated 5-6 dozen Christmas cookies and discovered many of our group members' hidden artistic talents. Below, top row, Ben, Karen, Kim, David, and Sarah sit around the table, up to their elbows in decorations and cookies. Middle row: Sean, the creator of such exciting cookies as Snickers Stomach Sandwich Cookie Sam and others, for some reason hides from the camera; Ben and Ben, creators of airplanes, hippos, and very prettily decorated trees, attack the few remaining cookies. By the end, we were all running out of steam, and my constant cry of, "Hey, let's write, 'For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given' on the cookies!" was grating on people's nerves ("Christina, can't you choose a shorter verse?" asked Sarah, but I managed to get it on a shooting star, and I was satisfied. I mean, they're Christmas cookies!). But David made his sumo wrestler cookie, and Kim and Karen made many perfect trees and stars, and Sarah and I expressed our cookie creativity as best we could. Sadly, Kim H., Debbie, Erik, and Chris weren't there to participate in the cookie fun (pictures of our cookies follow). On Wednesday, Karen and I helped Sarah prepare dinner for Starlight Ministry to the Homeless, and then another group of volunteers delivered dinner and the cookies to people gathered on the Boston Common.

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Created: 12/08/04. Last Modified: 12/08/04.