Thanksgiving break falls at the perfect time to save any hard-working student and full-time jobber from burn-out. However, it is decidedly too short. Nevertheless, B and I somehow managed to squeeze enough time out of last weekend to visit both our families, spending half of Thanksgiving break in Chicago and the other half in Westfield, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis. What follows is a brief — well, as brief as I could make it, anyway — synopsis of our packed weekend.


Chicago, Illinois

Who we saw

Karen and Erik – my sis and bro-in-law who B and I visit ALL THE TIME

Ira and Lauren – my new brother and his significant other – two Stanford scholars who joined the party from California

Jan and Pat – two savvy Northern Minnesotans who raised me from a babe and who I never quite get to see as often as I would like

What we did

1. Enjoyed our first Karen-prepared supreme all-vegetarian Thanksgiving feast (all but the big bird – c’mon, folks, baby steps)

3. Ate a bounty of California farmer’s market produce fresh from fertile California and drank some special California wine – brought to us by Ira and Lauren

4. Played a couple of decisively competitive games – males against females, of course – for an approximate total of 10 hours:

A sloppy game of Celebrity — the males won this round

An ultra-sophisticated game of Taboo –– the females won this round

5. Perused the Christkindlemarket, Chicago — we drank spiced wine out of boots and got yelled at by the security guards for stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk

6. Visited a giant, frozen bean in Millennium Park

7. Participated in Black Friday at Macy’s downtown Chicago – the epitome of extravagant Christmas-time consumerism

8. Ate humongous burritos — bursting at the seams with the ooey-gooey goodness of fresh queso fresco and guacamole – from La Pasadita in Wicker Park

9. Realized that it’s a real drag to leave an awesome family after only a short 24 hours

What we brought back

1. A bag of yarn and knitting supplies from my mom and a beautiful, bright green and gold sweater she recently made just for me — so perfect!



Westfield, Indiana

Who we saw

Fred and Linda – two esteemed Indianans and B’s fantastic parents

Eric — B’s brother, King of Witticism

Kody and Kita – two hounds that supposedly protect the household from rabbits and other small rodents

What we did

1. Bargained with the pros at the Indianapolis Flea Market

2. Stuffed ourselves at Shalimar’s yummy Indian buffet in Broad Ripple

3. Paid a visit to Nostalgia at Brandon and Eric’s childhood haunt – The Board Room in Broad Ripple — and picked up a couple of games for the after-hours

4. Conquered the exhibition – Roman Art from the Louvre – at the Indiana Museum of Art

5. Ate a fantastic meal of Grilled Tofu and Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Sauce – prepared by Chef Linda

5. Learned two new games – Blockus and Kill Dr. Lucky – of which the latter Eric reigns supreme champion

7. Walked Kody and Kita and met the neighborhood Llamas – Ruffles, Sweatband and Friends

8. Said another goodbye to another super family and headed back to resume our neglected duties in East Lansing

What we brought back

1. Pre-Christmas Christmas gifts from B’s wonderfully thoughtful parents

For B – the Canon Power Shot A560 camera — a boon for our Guatemala trip

For me – A beautiful hand-made travel jewelry pouch and estate jewelry clip-on earrings

For B and me — a care package of Ghirardelli chocolate and a pre-packed carry-on travel kit stuffed with pharms and toiletries – everything we’ll need for our upcoming trip

2. A set of metal swan-shaped wall hooks that remind me of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales – fresh from the flea market – which are destined to live in my closet for several months until I find some use for them

3. Two dozen fresh cage-free and cruelty-free eggs from The Chicken People next door


It was certainly a Thanksgiving to remember – perhaps next year we will try to get those in charge of designating official holidays to extend it a bit.