Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Home Leave 2014

Tom and I returned to the US three times between May and September  - you could say we had three home leaves. Well, not quite since the company only paid for one of my tickets. Oh well. It's worth it to buy the tickets ourselves and be present at the special occasions stateside. This was the first time we were back in Westport in the Spring and got to see that what we chose to plant has survived and is pretty in bloom.

Our first trip focused on Alicia's graduation from Northeastern University. Because of Tom's work schedule, we couldn't fly together. I arrived in Massachusetts earlier and was able to attend the Psychology Department ceremony. Tom joined me in MA for the big ceremony. Sarah and Anthony also arrived, driving up from NJ. It was great to be together and celebrate Alicia's accomplishment.


Alicia with friend, roommate and fellow psych grad, Nicole

Tom's folks came up from Florida

The ceremony was held in Boston's TD Garden, home of the Bruins and the Celtics. The night before graduation, the Bruins were involved in a tough playoff game that went into overtime. By the time the Garden was vacated, it was after midnight. Students and faculty started arriving at 8:30 am! Kudos to the staff of the Garden - an impressive turn around indeed. We only had five tickets and were unsure if we would all be able to get inside. Tom went up first and asked where he could get an extra ticket. When he told them his father had come up from Florida for the event, they let Poppa in too! Considering the capacity of the Garden, letting him in was the reasonable thing to do, but wondering what would happen was a bit nerve-wracking.

Graduates seated on the floor and on part of two sides! NU is a big school!
look up, Alicia!

Poppa with his new toy
Of course, there was a photo shoot afterwards.

lei courtesy of Hawaiian roommate's mother

sisters - both beauties
Alicia received her real diploma not a piece of paper saying the real one would be mailed. All the diplomas were sorted to make sure each graduate got the right one. Wow. Another amazing feat.

graduate and the 'rents

I love the expressions here.

thanks for taking the picture, Anthony

Sarah and Anthony
While I am in the US, I always try to see as many people as possible. The day after Alicia's graduation with the grandparents still in town, we invited the Turner cousins down to Westport.

three generations of each family
I was also able to make a road trip to see my parents. While I was in PA, I did get a chance to see both of my sisters, but sadly didn't get the camera out then. At least I got to see my mom shortly before mothers' day.

Our second trip was in June. The main purpose of this trip was a wedding of one of Tom's colleagues from the NYC office. Again, we flew separately. I went to Boston to collect the car needed for my road trip to PA and NJ. Tom flew to Florida where he visited his parents before heading to a conference in Miami. While visiting his folks, Tom also saw our nephew Geoff, a grad student at the University of Florida. As far as I know, there were no pictures taken.

I spent one night at our MA cottage, picked up our van and immediately headed towards PA the next morning. The schedule worked out nicely for me to spend fathers' day with my dad which also happened to be mom and dad's 63rd wedding anniversary! Tom spent fathers' day with his dad.

Happy Fathers' Day!
Happy Anniversary!

she's always been photogenic

After spending two days in PA, I headed to NJ and actually stayed in my own house. Our tenant had moved out so why not? I borrowed some things from MA to use in NJ. I visited many friends, played some tennis and had an "all clear" visit to Memorial Sloan Kettering. My last day in NJ I did get to spend some time with Sarah.

Tom and I met in New York City near where the wedding would take place. We were there a night early intentionally for dinner and a show in the big apple. We went to see Idina Menzel (the original green witch from Wicked) in If/Then. As long as there wasn't an understudy for the lead, I was certain I would like it and I was not disappointed. We did have an understudy for one of the other parts, but he was very good. No complaints. 


Before the wedding, we spent some time being tourists and went down to see the 9/11 Memorial. (first time for me) All the names of the lost are engraved around the two square fountains - sorted by building, flight or fire department. The museum was open, but for now, I don't want to see it.

Freedom Tower

Since Tom was in NYC on 9/11/2011 the memorial hits  too close to home. Seeing the water falling into the abyss and knowing numbers of people jumped many stories to escape the towers is painful. The memories will always be there.
flower gracing the memorial

of flight 93 and infamous for "let's roll"

The wedding was a very nice event although the three photographers were incredibly intrusive and distracting. Sammy is Swiss, Lorna is American and they now reside in Australia. After the ceremony we were bussed on a NYC sightseeing bus (complete with tour guide) to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for the reception. Along the way, we saw some tourist sites.

the little church around the corner

flat iron building

crossing the Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

the newlyweds: Lorna and Sammy

married 32 years and still look good together

The morning after the wedding, I drove back to NJ to collect the car and drive to MA. Tom and I met back in Zurich a day later.

Please don't leave me, Mommy!

The third part of home leave came in August and I would be gone for one month. Pets sense things. I think the message here is clear. Take me with you! Way to lay on the guilt, Denali!

We flew to Boston together (Yay!) and spent a week relaxing at our place in Westport, MA.


hanging out on the pier

Tom needs a pedicure

While there, we saw Tom's folks and cousins again, Alicia, and my sister, Karen and her husband David. We got in three days of tennis and took the kayaks our three times too. Pictures? Nope, sorry. Our week together went very quickly. After Tom headed back to Zurich, I had some time with my "buds", Lynn and Pam, in MA. We took a trip out to Martha's Vineyard to visit the Dietterichs, spent a day "stamping" at the Adams National Historical Park and of course, had a beach day. Another friend, Sherilyn, also joined us in Westport. 

Pam, Jane and Phil Dietterich, Lynn

lobster rolls for lunch at the Dietterich's = yum!

matching shirts purchased 5 years ago!

Pam, Sherilyn, Lynn, me

I usually see the neighboring cows at least once while I'm in Westport, but they never come up to the stone wall when we have guests. Why so shy? We'll be nice.

After my girlfriends left, I spent Labor Day weekend in a labor of love. I spent most of the weekend helping Alicia move from one apartment to another in Boston. It seemed like everyone under 25 in the city of was moving that weekend. Of course, that is an exaggeration, but the city was crawling with U-hauls, parents and friends helping young people move. Many streets were labeled "one way" for that day only. Of course, the navigators didn't know that. By evening on September 1, Alicia was in her new place and I was on my way to return the rental U-haul. Oh, I left out that it was over 90 degrees! We survived!

After the move, it was time for another road trip to PA. I collected my sister, Karen, in CT and she accompanied me to visit our parents. It's so much nicer for me to have company and another driver in the car. I didn't forget to use the camera this time!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

My next stop was in NJ to rendezvous with Tom! Yes, that's right. He was beginning his two weeks of around the world travel with meetings in NYC. He flew to Newark Friday so we could spend the weekend together staying in our own house. One of the highlights of our time together was being able to have a belated birthday celebration for Sarah at her favorite local sushi restaurant.


entrance to the park
We also connected with my cousin and her husband (Ruthann and Dan) and spent the day at Grounds for Sculpture together. If you've never visited this sculpture garden museum, I highly recommend it. There was a temporary exhibit in honor of their 25th anniversary with many of the founder's sculptures from other parts of the country on display. It was a perfect day and we had a lot of fun.

Recognize the girl below? Both are pictures of the sculpture. Seward Johnson made several sculptures that were displayed so the visitors could enter the picture themselves.

hanging with Mona

trees and corn provide scale - this is really big!

Tom always finds a chess game

I'm short, but not that short, really!

Here Abe has come back to point out to a modern visitor where he wrote the Gettysburg Address - he gestures towards the window of the building.  I feel small again.

Ruthann and Dan

I'm not going to put all the pictures I took here in the blog. I'll just say you should take a trip there yourself if you haven't already. There are plenty of abstract sculptures there as well, I just prefer the ones with people. It's a fun place to share with family or friends of all ages.

so cute

a big kiss!

not everything is by Seward Johnson
Tom and I in a former life?

Eventually, I made my way back north to Westport, MA for some quiet time. I also had one more day to spend with Alicia without moving being involved. We went to an outdoor market and did some clothes shopping for her new internship. 

looking down river - toward the ocean
I made time for one more walk on the beach.

I always love watching the sandpipers.



The entire time I was in Westport, the weather was magnificent. Couldn't have been better. That's what makes it tough to leave, but when you're leaving one postcard to go to another, one really shouldn't complain. I know there will be a time in the future when we get to use our cottage more than a few weeks a year. Until next time Westport... we will be back!