Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A November to Remember

I spent my Thanksgiving break traveling to see family and friends in Maryland and Virginia. I was thrilled to be able to enjoy a 4 day holiday (a luxury I now realize I took for granted in college). After work on Wednesday, I drove to Richmond and stayed with Jessica. It was so nice to be able to split my 6 hour drive between two days, and I even managed to avoid a significant amount of traffic.

I continued my trek on Thursday morning and arrived at my aunt's house in Baltimore just shy of 1PM.  I barely had time to put my car in park before I was directed to follow the Milligan Family Caravan to Thanksgiving "dinner". It has been an ongoing joke between the grandchildren that Thanksgiving dinner reservations seem to get earlier and earlier each year. Four years ago we had dinner at 5PM, and two years ago we were seated at 3PM.  Like clockwork (pun intended) "dinner" was served at approximately 1:30PM this year.  Our Thanksgiving crowd consisted of a mere 13 relatives from Mom's side of the family.  Although that is large to some, my mother is the oldest of 6 children and I am one of 9 grandchildren. Our Thanksgiving meal usually involves 29 people offering a smorgasbord of meats, starches, and my personal favorite, pumpkin rolls.

Pumpkin Rolls!

Due to the dwindling crowd this year, my grandparents opted to make reservations at The Manor Tavern, a decision I was very happy with because I knew it meant no cooking for the parents and no clean-up duties for the "kids"!  At brunch/dinner, Mom was also able to entertain the family by ordering a wine flight which my Pop-Pop (baffled by the concept of small pours of white wine variations) aptly named, The Drinking Tree.  Feeling full and happy, I thanked my grandparents for the second breakfast and asked what time we would be eating dinner.

The Drinking Tree

The next day the women of the family headed to Towson Mall for the Black Friday sales. I courageously handed my keys to my 16 year old cousin Claire who was still basking in the glow of her freshly printed Learner's Permit.  I informed her that, although I would be throwing a soccer mom arm stop at the sight of every brake light, I thought she could use my expert driving tips (not entirely true, I don't like driving, especially in parking lots, especially in mall parking lots, ESPECIALLY in mall parking lots on Black Friday).  After finding a parking spot on the seventh floor, we (my car and its passengers) arrived safely. I applauded Claire on a job well done remembering the week I got my permit when I proceeded to run my Mom's car into a pole while attempting to park in a virtually empty parking garage.

On Saturday it was off to my home turf, Hampton, Virginia.  I accompanied Mom to a friend's cocktail party which she and Dad attended together every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  There were quite a few people at the soiree and Dad's best friend treated the guests to a tribute song he had written in honor of my father. It was sad to not have him at the annual shindig, but I was glad to join in the celebration of friends and music with those who were closest to my father.

Making sure to cram as much fun as possible into my short stay, I joined some of my friends at the annual Oyster Roast at James River Country Club. There were about 200 people at the gathering and it was a blast from the past. I saw peers from high school, kids I used to babysit, parents, grandparents, you name it.  It is always so nice to be able to catch up with people who you have not seen in a while and to hear the wonderful things they are doing now that we have grown up, graduated, and joined the working force. Everyone was healthy and happy in their newfound cities and, I hope I get to see more of them this year! 

My fellow HRA Navigator's all grown up!

.....Must Have.....

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.....Must Hear.....

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