Friday, December 18, 2009

Going the Distance

Happy Holidays, everyone! I'm not sure about your city, but here in Boston winter has officially arrived with snow and subzero temperatures and blistering wind. Not looking forward to another New England winter...

Lots has happened, so I'll try to keep it short. Halloween came and went with gross weather and the usual lack of real fun. Our kickball team made it to the semi-finals of the division tournament before being defeated. Yuval and I got to attend a magnificent concert at the Boston Symphony Orchestra featuring Beethoven's 3rd and 4th symphonies. Election Day passed without much fervor since there were no "important" races up for grabs (but I did vote). We finally had our housewarming party, and for the occasion I made turkey chili in the crockpot my parents gave us (it was delicious). I got to attend my little cousin's 2nd birthday party in Lincoln. I attended a lecture about circus elephant cruelty at the MSPCA and meet the owner/caretaker of The Elephant Sanctuary, which is where Tarra the elephant & Bella the dog live. Margaret and I went to a reading by Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling and Fire, and I squealed (on the inside) like the fangirl I am. There was also a lovely handbell concert that I went to with Adrienne at the Old South Church in Copley Square--handbells are a favorite of mine. Massachusetts had its Special Primary Election Day to decide who would be in the running for Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate (I'm glad Martha Coakley won, but I would have preferred Alan Khazei).

A few things of larger importance happened that deserve a little more detail. First up, I became a foster parent for kitties through the organization I volunteer with, FARS. We brought home our first foster, Rosie, on November 14th. She could be described as the quintessential cat: can be very affectionate, does not like her tummy touched, nips at you when she's had too much stimulation, loves to be brushed, can be aloof for hours at a time, easily scared of loud noises, and a very loud purr machine. She's 8, which makes her a senior cat, and very set in her ways. We learned a lot about cats in our weeks with Rosie, and though there were days when she annoyed the crap out of us we came to care for her very much. However, we had to hand Rosie back over to FARS on 12/3 because we fell in love with and adopted 2 kittens that came into the shelter. Rosie does NOT get a long with other pets, so she unfortunately had to go back to the shelter since there are no other foster homes available right now. Every time I see her sitting in her cage, miserable and sad, I nearly start crying for doing this to her. I did the best I could for Rosie, but the kittens couldn't wait in the shelter when other cats needed the space.

However, we love our new additions. Cody (tiger) is 4 months and Miles (gray) is 3 months and they are nuts in the way that all kittens are. Cody is calmer and more chill than Miles, who likes to tear around the apartment and prefers sitting on the back of the couch behind your head to sitting in your lap. They are both very affectionate, though, and purr very loudly for such small creatures. It's been great to see Yuval, who is very much a dog person and not at all inclined towards cats, become so attached to these guys and willingly take up the chores involved in keeping them. And thanks to the pine litter we use, our apartment does not smell like cat at all. We've realized that adopting kittens is like bringing home a baby: they wake you up in the middle of the night, go from 0 to 60 and back again in 5 seconds, demand attention, communicate their love without words, and generally make your life harder and happier at the same time.

I didn't go home to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving because there was not a single airfare available for less than $600 (and I started looking a month before). So instead I had Thanksgiving with the Shavits and their family friends, which turned out to be a wonderful time. There were 2 turkeys (one grilled and one traditional), about 14 people, and lots to be thankful for. I really missed my family, though, especially because this was the first Thanksgiving in all my 24 years that I didn't celebrate with family. However, Yuval is coming home with me for Christmas next week, so that's given me a lot to look forward to!

And last weekend, Yuval and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary by heading up to Bretton Woods, NH (which is, apparently, where 45 countries came together to form the World Bank and the IMF in 1944). We stayed at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in their bed & breakfast, the Bretton Arms Inn. Our special rate was only good for 1 night, but we enjoyed it to the max. We had dinner in the main dining room of the hotel, which was a 4-star restaurant (although we felt that rating was a little much considering our medium-rare steak came to us medium/medium-well). But the highlight of the trip was definitely the dog sledding. Who knew there was such a big mushing culture in the Northeast? We went to Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel for a 2-hour session, which included about 30 minutes in a sled being pulled by 12 dogs (Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, and mixes of the two). It was an adventure (our lead dog, One Ton, decided to turn around before it was time and got us stuck across a wooden bridge) and super fun experience. Both of us got to mush a little bit, and there was much dog petting and slobbery faces. Totally worth the money, and something we may do again. Plus, it fueled Yuval's dream of retiring to a house in the middle of some frozen place and living with about 12 huskies.

The days have been flying by and I can't believe Christmas is next week. Yuval and I have been celebrating Hanukkah by lighting the candles on the menorah his mom got us and singing the blessings that go with it (I'm still reading from a paper copy). I'm almost done reviewing algebra so that I can place into the pre-calculus class at Harvard Extension School. I'm registering for that and Intro to Biostatistics for the Spring semester (should be a total blast, right?). I was also accepted into the HES's Health Careers Program, which means I'm eligible for financial aid for classes and that I will get the full support of the faculty when I apply to vet school in a few years. So my winter and spring will keep me very busy and, most likely, very sleepy. But it will all be worth it when I get into vet school!

If I don't post again beforehand, have a very Happy Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 3 edited by Lee Gutkind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

A Serious Man
Sense and Sensibility
The Scarlet Pimpernel