Boston, TSA pat-downs and missing Thanksgiving, oh my

I’m getting ready to fly to the US for a work conference to take place all of next week, plus bunches of additional meetings as long as I’m in the general area of “America”. Something about this feels wrong. I’m completely not focussed on Thanksgiving (tomorrow). I’m being all British and ignoring its existence. I’m worrying about the US’s invasive screening procedures, a subject in which I have taken a great deal of interest because of the fact that I’m actually skilled in the area of calculations of radiation dose in x-rays and things. See, for a period of time, I thought that I would become a hospital physicist, and I did courses in medical imaging and radiation therapy. Some days I think I made a mistake by not following that route, but regardless it does provide me with some unique insight on the questions of what people should be worried about regarding radiation doses in backscattered scanners in airports. (Most people should be more worried about the naked pictures than the radiation. A few people should be worried about both but it’s a big statistical mess and not clear yet.) I’m not a fan of the pat-down procedures as this is not necessarily anything but a defensive move and a PR objective. I’ve been all involved in this discussion on Twitter in the few minutes I’ve had to be anywhere but in my office working my tail off in anticipation of my trip–for the last two weeks. Work has been all-consuming lately… It’s been nutso.

So let’s check the current state of NFAH as concerns life in the UK. Laundry? Largely un-done. Shall be traveling to the US with laundry that will be sent out for cleaning in the hotel system. Preparation for the conference I’m attending? 0%. There’s some work to do there. Getting things done here before I go? No more than 50%. Many things will be left until after the week’s trip abroad (where “abroad” means “home but not home” as in “the US but not my part of the US.”) Holidays i.e. Christmas? Not even thought about except for the part where I’ve scheduled my annual group/team party for my return. (For the record, I’m getting all geeky and setting up who-will-bring-what details via http://www.punchbowl.com and they are not paying me to sell them, I just think this website is great and we are using it to organize the party!) OK Where was I? Things are not done. There are things to do. I will be struggling to keep up with them in the next week – to – ten days. Such is life.

I’m excited to go to Boston in the Christmas season. I find this meeting to be really fun in that the decorations, the weather, the whole thing feels like Christmas to me. Once upon a time, I really loved Christmas and these days I’ve been trying to recapture the magic. I love having a breakfast sandwich of Bagel-Egg-Cheese + Coffee at Au Bon Pain in Boston. I’m heading home without really being home, in that I’ve never lived in Boston so it’s a home-away-from-home at best. But I’m happy to go. Too bad about that Thanksgiving thing. It just fell in the wrong week for my work schedule (sad). But maybe I’ll capture some Christmas spirit on this trip, and be able to return to work in early December with a spring in my step and a carol in my heart.

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3 responses to “Boston, TSA pat-downs and missing Thanksgiving, oh my

  1. I love the link for the party planning! I too have brought laundry with me back to the States! I hope you have a great time in Boston and that you capture some of that Christmas spirit. For the first time since I’ve been in London, I feel really excited about Christmas here and not so homesick. I feel like I am getting into it. I did miss Thanksgiving, but it’s one of those things that I don’t try to recreate here. I am so craving pumpkin pie as I type this 🙂

  2. Now isn’t too bad a time to be enjoying Boston: the Frog Pond is open for skating, the holiday lights are up, and the Christmas tree is supposed to be lit this week. Hope you are enjoying your time in my adopted hometown! (Although I am a HUGE fan of ABP, you gotta go to Dunkins if you are going to be in Boston!) 😀

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