Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving with Statman

This year, we enjoyed a two-part Thanksgiving holiday that began with a quick visit to see the kids and grandkids. The little ones are at the age where they’re really, really happy to see us--almost as happy as we are to see them; they do a lot of jumping up and down when we’re around.

After that, we traveled to Houston for a visit with DH's oldest brother, Statman, and his wonderful wife, ESL. We made a couple of Christmas shopping excursions into The Village, a very cool area near Rice University.

We loved visiting the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum adjacent to the University of St. Thomas and learning about how the 13th-century fresco had been stolen from a Cyprus chapel in the 1980’s. The thieves cut the work into 38 pieces, preparing to sell the fragments on the black market, but the Menil Foundation purchased the fresco and directed its reassembly and restoration.

Then we walked to the Rothko Chapel, a block away, to contemplate the work of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. After about three minutes of quiet meditation, DH announced, "That's enough contemplation," and away we went.

On a less artistic note, I had some fabulous Huevos Rancheros at Ninfa's and got some Goode’s Original BBQ Sauce to take home with me!

On turkey day, DH and I were surrounded by mathematicians. Actually, DH was a math major, too, but for a word geek like myself, this was an interesting crowd. I can only hope that some of that intelligence is contagious. After dinner, we fought off the turkey coma with a spirited game of croquet.

A few years ago, Statman had sent us a copy of a textbook he’d authored, and we’re still trying to decipher it.

I also enjoyed taking a brief look at Hilzabeth’s thesis, which caused me to wonder if there was a complete “other” English vocabulary that I'd somehow missed.

The day before we left, I went upstairs to print out our boarding passes and found a paper in the HP called "Local-Moment Nonparametric Density Estimation of Pre-Binned Data." (Wish I'd had time to read it, but I was too busy playing with the Wii game downstairs.)

Many thanks to Statman and ESL for the great visit. It was a terrific place to pause and count all of our blessings.

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