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From the Convention Center to the Unconventional - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
From the Convention Center to the Unconventional
I began Thanksgiving, as I have four of the last five, surrounded by about 14,000 crazy people.

There were three of us from the dog park, minus dogs-

(I took that one. Ann, on Ellen's left, took the one above of me and hundreds of more, the ones used here I will credit below).  We carpooled to the end and then start of the nation's oldest continually run race- done here mostly as a lark, with strange creatures running about-

(another of Ann's)

- a couple of turkeys who escaped the oven-

- and plenty of creativity thrown into the, um, pot-

We ambled to the starting chute, and quickly separated into our paces- Ellen, running more than me, finished a few minutes ahead, Ann a bit behind- but throughout there were things to see.  Like the first beer stop near the halfway mark-

(I held out until the end)

- and the traditional sort-of milemarkers of the Allen Street flag near mile 4 and the you're-almost-there comfort of Niagara Square- to the sight of the Convention Center at the end-

(Ann again)

My goal was to get done with the five miles in an hour or less, and missed it by THAT much-

(unofficial but within a few seconds of the posted chip time)

Inside were the essentials: music (a Toronto cover band named Dwayne Gretzky), warmth, beer, and costumed characters enjoying all of the above-

Did I mention beer?

Six sore feet then began their journeys home from the Convention Center, which is when the Unconventional of the holiday took over for me.


We did not have the kids or any other family with us this year. By mid-afternoon, it was pretty clear Eleanor was missing our daughter, who was no doubt busy with the All The Trimmings traditions that Cameron's sets of relatives put on. It was a little rough experiencing it, but in the end I think we both realized and accepted that conventionality, so much a part of these big holidays, is what we don't get to experience with Emily- but that the other 300-plus-almost-all days of the year make up for it.  Mother and daughter have a bond that transcends place settings and Christmas cookies- when Eleanor discovered that the snail in her aquarium had laid eggs and thus established a previously unknown gender identity, that was cause for an immediate call and celebration. And I'd rather spend an hour with the kid at a funky retro record shop than sitting with her (stuffed) on a Thanksgiving sofa (also stuffed) watching Lions and Cowboys and Bears, oh my.

We mostly turned the weekend into something of a film festival. Before the turkey for two on Thursday night, Eleanor and I went and saw Coco, the new Pixar feature about Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico- preceded by an extended Frozen short which explored how to go about making your own holiday traditions. We then finished a film we already had- The Visitor, starring Six Feet Under's Richard Jenkins as an almost-as-dead-as-Late-Nate college professor who comes back to life before our eyes through randomness and even sadness.  Yesterday, we checked out Twentieth Century Women, starring Annette Bening but seen mainly for the amazing young actress Greta Gerwig- a year in time around 1979 in which her character comes of age. And today, we topped it all off with Lady Bird, Gerwig's first solo effort as a writer/director, where another young actress, Saoirse Ronan, takes us through a year of coming-of-age in 2002-03 Sacramento, based largely on Gerwig's own life at the time. It was a little close to the bone at times concerning our own mother-daughter dynamic, but the humor in the script (plus an unscripted moment of our own in the seats) and the quality of the acting made it more than a good choice.


We now return to an almost ordinary Sunday.  Ebony should be good to go for the parp! tomorrow; her fur's not all grown back but it's healed up nicely.  My laptop arrived for repair and I got the "being diagnosed" email mid-day Wednesday, giving me hope I'll have it back (from a place in PA) by the end of next week. The backup has been out of commission since Wednesday night, as well, but this time all but one one-page document was backed up. (Unfortunately, no other backup here could access those files in the Microsoft cloud, but I've repurposed a functional but immobile Windows 8 machine that has retrieved them.  Now to remember how to kill the swipes and charms again.)  The worst of the past few days was when we did hear from Emily, yesterday morning, but even that seems okay: her bank notified her of suspicious activity on her debit card at two nearby Walmarts at virtually the same moment, and they think they've traced it to a card skimmer at a gas station around the corner from them.  All money has been restored, and the store and police have been notified.  The only shopping I did yesterday (or today, for that matter) was at Wegmans, traditionally dead on Black Friday; I got in and out easily and even got my flu shot.

Conventional or not, we still give thanks for all the good we have, and all the good we do.

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