This is my parents' cat, Link. Six years ago, he followed my brother Andy and his wife home one day and they adopted him. Shortly after, Andy needed to move to a different apartment that did not allow pets; my parents "temporarily" took him in, and since then Andy and his wife have bought a house and adopted two dogs without demanding Link return to them. This is because it was pretty clear that Link found his forever home with my mom and dad, who now have an empty nest and are both retired, but love to dote on Link. That said, Link was named after legendary Nintendo character - a complement to my aunt's cat [Princess] Zelda - so my parents regularly adjust this name to the more affectionate "Mr. Binky".
My dad likes to think that Mr. Binky is our deceased basset hound Dewey reincarnated. Dewey died in June 2011. Binky was found in June 2012. When asked his rough birth date, the vet estimated June 2011. He also sometimes races us down the stairs the same way Dewey did (albeit a bit more gracefully).
Binky likes many things. The auto-feeder that dispenses his meals at specific times (he doesn't know that this was incorporated due to weight gain), the indoor water fountain, the birds in my parents' [multiple] cuckoo clocks, the cushy back of the couch, and the view from the window while my mom fills the bird feeder in the backyard.
Binky does not like the cat that my parents' feed once or twice a day with Binky's personal stock of canned wet food. They call him "neighbor kitty" even though a good neighbor kitty would not taunt an indoor kitty like Binky with his outdoor access.
Here is Mr. Binky/Link waiting for me to turn the faucet on in the bathroom so he can paw at the drain and get his head all wet.
This is the first time I've been home for Thanksgiving since 2011, when I was still in college. From 2012-2015, I was working retail and the holiday shopping season made it impossible to grab three days to make the trip home, eat, and come back (especially without a car and the limitations of a multistep bus trip). In 2016 I spent Thanksgiving week in Florida and visited with my grandfather one last time before he passed away a week later. And last year I stuck around Boston and celebrated with Chris's family.
This year, I decided to make the trip because it's my ten-year high school reunion. There was some confusion with planning so it ended up falling through almost entirely, but I still got to see some of my classmates who I haven't spoken with since graduation. So many people are married, expecting, parents, and/or live out of state; some of our classmates have even passed away. It's weird how things move forward so quickly.
I left at first light Thanksgiving morning, and because there was zero traffic, I made the five-hour trip in only 4 hours and 15 minutes, including a stop for gas. It was also a beautiful sunny day (albeit 10 degrees out) and I split my listening between Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on audiobook and assorted music from my iPod when I got antsy.
It has been such a relief to have a few days at home with my parents. My mom is an excellent cook, and nothing says home like her potato and cheese casserole (lovingly referred to as "cheesy taters"). She also prepared apple and pumpkin pie and in my biased opinion, pies made by my mom and my aunt Mary are the absolute best out there.
It's back to work tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to having an almost two-week break to return home in December. I've been working holidays so I can save up vacation days and can't wait to cash those in. Work has really been running me ragged and I can't wait to just be at home where all I need to think about is what book to read and which baked good to eat. My brain desperately needs a rest.
As some bonus material, I've also included a photo of my varsity letter. Apparently we got a pin for everything.
The company I work for recently added another building to our Kendall Square campus; we now have five floors in the former Microsoft building. My parents and I toured it recently (read: I walked them around without knowing where I was going) and it is pretty swanky! I also enjoyed the gender neutral bathroom options and the very clear signage about this choice.
Also including a couple photos of buildings downtown, back when it was still light when I got out of work. And a photo of me as Han Solo during our office trick or treating event. Some of my friends call me Han, but I don't think many people got why I chose it because Star Wars is once again a big sensation these days. One of my roommates was also Han Solo this year and it was totally unplanned.
We celebrated a (rainy) election day by hitting the polls before dinner and then grabbing a pizza to munch on while anxiously watching the news coverage. Could've been better, but could've been much worse! Flashing back to November 8, 2016 and am glad we didn't have a repeat of that night.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Mansfield, MA.