November, December, and all through the winter

Thanksgiving and the end of a very busy semester.

Lydia did my family birthday cake this year. It was a tiramisu cake. Basically, it was delicious.

Lydia did my family birthday cake this year. It was a tiramisu cake. Basically, it was delicious.

I returned to Columbus on a Wednesday evening, in time for a late dinner. As part of the attraction (there are many to spending time with the family), in addition to seeing Baby Ruthy for the first time since she started college, was promises of a delicious birthday cake, a nice, light cake that was oh-so-delicious!

The women of the family.

The women of the family.

The next day, obviously, was Thanksgiving. It was, not surprisingly, spectacular.

Sydney, Ruth, and Mr. Lindsey, my cousin Isaac peeking through.

Sydney, Ruth, and Mr. Lindsey, my cousin Isaac peeking through.

This was my first Thanksgiving in Columbus, and we rounded up quite the crowd. Six (Columbus) Whittingtons (no Daniel or Lila), plus my grandmother; my aunt, uncle and cousin drove down from the Detroit area for the day; and the Lindsey family — mother, father, and daughter Sydney, joined us for quite the feast.

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And for those who doubt the merits of a vegetarian Thanksgiving, I present:

The portabella mushroom kind of stole the show, but the rest was all good too.

The portabella mushroom kind of stole the show, but the rest was all good too.

As we returned to Ann Arbor (Maki was in DC for the holidays), it was time for a tree. Enter Russian/post-Soviet tacky:

The tinsel: straight from the motherland (Ukraine, in this case). The rest was acquired here.

The tinsel: straight from the motherland (Ukraine, in this case). The rest was acquired here.

Even St. Nikolas made an appearance!

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December brought great meals, too, though also lots of writing.

Mmm, polenta. Maki even did most of the meal to the right!

Mmm, polenta. Maki even did most of the meal to the right, though I admittedly steopped in for the final presentation!

And December also brought a trip to Kansas City to celebrate the wedding of Eric and Ashley Runyon. Oh hey, Nelson-Atkins!

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The giant shuttlecocks of the art museum.

Rachel was the perfect host for the weekend. She got us from the airport, took us for cocktails at the Nelson-Atkins museum happy hour, where we ran into all sorts of people, including one from my sophomore year English class — ahh, old haunts! — and then out to the plaza. Hello, Plaza!

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And then, a delicious meal at Jack Stack — Maki, obviously, needed to try Kansas City barbecue first hand.

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Saturday was, not surprisingly, mostly dedicated to the wedding, which was lovely.

Reception venue.

Reception venue.

First dance:

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I didn’t get many pictures, but a few shots from the reception:

Top: Hava Nagila, increasingly a just plain American tradition, too. Below: the Bride and Groom make their entrance; Rachel and I at the reception -- sadly the only picture I have of us.

Top: Hava Nagila, increasingly a just plain American tradition, too. Below: the Bride and Groom make their entrance; Rachel and I at the reception — sadly the only picture I have of us.

Sunday was a relaxing day of a late brunch and a spin through the old haunts. Quite a few looked quite different. Our old church is ever expanding, the high school got a new entrance, and even our old house got a face lift:

2012-12-16 kc 02

It was light gray when we lived there.

A lovely weekend it was, but over all too soon. I returned to Ann Arbor to administer and grade final exams (not to mention, write a 20 page paper!). Maki headed to Maryland to spend the week with his family. I finished my semester (HOORAY!) and turned up a few days later, and Maki picked me up at the airport with a special surprise: he brought Nazar! It was nice to catch up with him for an hour as we ran errands before returning him to the metro and getting back to his parents’ house. His mother put out a wonderful dinner. A 75% Dobczansky family portrait. Mmm crab cakes! They were delicious!

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We headed out to hang out around the monuments the night I got in. Including the new WWII one, described by some as rather… fascist looking.

All the WWII memorial, save the bottom right corner.

All the WWII memorial, save the bottom right corner.

Hello, Mr. Lincoln!

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We hung out with his friends that night, before eventually returning late — I was pretty exhausted after grading 56 exams that week, and having turned in grades at 2 am that morning. We had just a day and a half in Maryland before we headed onwards to New Haven, where we celebrated Christmas Eve and went to Mass on Christmas day. I don’t actually have any pictures except of Denys, perhaps one of the cutest babies I have ever met — son of Maki’s cousin. He was pretty fantastic.

He got his kutia (a wheatberry and poppyseed porridge that is a staple of Ukrainian Christmas Eve), let there be no doubt!

He got his kutia (a wheatberry and poppyseed porridge that is a staple of Ukrainian Christmas Eve), let there be no doubt!

We took off for the airport on Christmas afternoon, and after about 9 hours in transit (including getting to JFK from Connecticut and arriving very, very early for our direct, 4-hour flight), we found ourselves at my Grandfather’s house outside San Juan, Puerto Rico. A strange Christmas indeed. But I’ll leave this one here with Denys, and talk about Puerto Rico another time.

 

 

 

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