Erin Virginia

Name:
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

Chris and I spent Thanksgiving Day with Joe and Jen again this year. Chris and Joe used to work together at Eastern Bank and remained friends even after Chris took a new job with Citizens Bank. Henry and Kaia and Jen's mother were also present for the big meal--it's always fun to have little kids around during the holidays. Henry spent quite a bit of the night trying to convince everyone to play his new game, "Barrel of Monkeys" and Kaia directed all of us girls how to do our hair. The food was wonderful - Joe is a former chef.
I had Friday off from work, but Chris did not and took the bus and train downtown Boston. When he got to work, firefighters were surrounding the entrance. Apparently, early that morning, one of the generators burst into flames and subsequently shot smoke throughout the building. So Chris, in the end, got his four-day weekend. The firefighters told Chris that everyone was telling them to take their time getting everything checked out. We had a relaxing weekend, otherwise--a little shopping and a lot of homework.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Routine

Do I have any updates? We did not take any trips this past weekend and actually have none planned until we drive to Minnesota and Indiana for Christmas. Maybe we'll go somewhere spontaneously between now and then, but who knows? We watched Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond film this weekend, and both of us liked the movie - it's very gritty and tense. Here's a link to a great review of the film, published in The New Yorker: "Soul Surviver."

In other news, the date is set for my thesis defense: December 11. I'm stunned at how quickly this semester has passed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

NYC

Chris and I took a quick overnight trip to New York City this weekend. We booked a pet-friendly hotel in New Jersey and took the train back and forth. We intended to visit the Modern Art Museum but couldn't find parking since none of the lots would store our car with Greta in the backseat. Hopefully, we can get back again sometime soon--the drive only takes a little over three hours. Saturday was a rainy day, and even though Chris and I spent a few hours with soaked shoes and pants, it was fun to see the city hazy with fog.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pooja's Shower

Last Saturday I drove to Westborough for my friend Pooja's baby shower. Pooja, who is due in January, is originally from India, and her friends threw her a traditional shower. During the ceremony part of the shower, at least five married women are to sprinkle rice in the pregnant woman's lap, dab her forehead, and circle a candle in front of her face while she holds fruit and rice in her lap to symbolize fertility and abundance. I don't know all the terms for the ceremony portion (I know I'm messsing it up, Pooja), but I had a great time attending, meeting all her friends who were dressed so beautifully and eating awesome (spicy!) food. Pooja gave me a tunic to wear to the shower so I wouldn't feel out of place. I love it!

Pooja and her husband, Guarev
Ceremony
I wish I had an excuse to wear a sari

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Salem

Click together your fake ruby slippers and chant, "There's no place like Salem. There's no place like Salem." For the experience of it, Chris and I decided to, what the heck, go to Salem for Halloween. We left work early, pulled together really terrible 1980's costumes (Chris as Don Johnson Miami Vice and me as generic 80's) and caught the commuter rail from North Station in downtown Boston. Halloween in Salem, as you can probably guess, places a heavy emphasizes on witchcraft. No matter where you turn, you can see black-hatted witches, tents for tarot readings, carts strung with magical stones and, of course, the annual Psychic Fair and Witch Expo.
After exiting the train and walking to the main strip, we almost immediately came across a crowd surrounding three men holding signs and reading from the Bible. As their voices rang through a microphone, people in the crowd booed and jeered at them and even hoisted someone wearing a Jesus costume into the air, saying, "Here's Jesus. I found him." Now, I know not everyone who reads my blog carries religious beliefs, that street corner preachers can sometimes appear hokey and that these men were asking for a reaction by doing this in Salem on Halloween. But still I stood with Chris in the back of the crowd, mouth open, a chill running up my spine and feeling an urgent need to run fast in case lightning would be striking soon.

We stayed in town for a couple more hours. I have to admit that some of the costumes were spectacular. I saw genuine tree people (or as close as you can get), a man wearing high heels and a Valentine's Day balloon, Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, lots of French maids and schoolgirls, Mozart, Louis XIV and below, my favorite: a woman getting eaten by crows.