Happy Thanksgiving!

Work piled up and kept me from blogging. Here’s what some of it was:

I’ve been working a lot with the three projects we’re doing this semester in Press. The first one is arranged and sent off to the printer: Gawain ng Diyos (God’s Work), a collection of photography from the Philippines by Lawrence Sumulong, a student here and a superb photographer. The book looks very handsome and we’ve all been pleased with it, and we’re getting proofs back on Wednesday. Another one is Amenities by Molly McArdle, a collection of short stories revolving around the Clifton Terrace projects in Washington, DC. Those are three buildings of public housing, one of which has now been gentrified and fenced off; the stories are wonderful. That one is going to go to the printer sometime this week. And the other one is a stationery collection designed by Rachel Walberg, meant to revive the lost art of paper correspondence; it’s called I Remain,. And I’ll bring copies home of all of them, so you can see the fruits of our labors.

Other than that, I’ve been doing basically nonstop schoolwork. The plus side is that the week before Thanksgiving break seems to have basically been my Hell Week, and now the last two weeks of my semester (plus finals week) look to be pretty calm as far as schoolwork goes. So I’ll be able to actually do things that I want to do, as opposed to things I’m required to do.

So, I came home for Thanksgiving, and it was just wonderful. Heck, even the actual coming home was pretty nice, because I drove home three girls and we had a fun time the whole way. Before we even got out of town, we had had the epiphany that “A bald giraffe can give itself a hickey”. I believe we also sang a lot. When we finally got to Cincinnati (less one girl, who left in Indianapolis), we met up with the remaining girls’ ride in Graeter’s, which was excellent because it’s been probably way too long since I had Graeter’s ice cream. And then I came home and played Mom at Scrabble – it’s what we do.

On Thanksgiving we went to Grandma & Grandpa’s. So, I got to see the new Sierra. Dave, who has a daughter named Sierra, is getting married to a woman who has a daughter named Sierra. At first they used “Sierra 1” and “Sierra 2”, but now they’re making it more fair by using their middle names… which both start with G: Sierra Gwyneth and Sierra Grace. It’s going to be confusing for a while, I’m pretty sure. I played in leaves with Sierra Grace (the new one). What? You’re saying you don’t still love to play in leaves? Liar. They had to leave partway through the day for a variety of other Thanksgiving celebrations. So then it was Dan & Tracy and Grandma & Grandpa and Mom and Micah and me. (Dad was off hunting deer in West Virginia. Wish I could’ve gone, but not enough time.) Dan and I played an unending game of War, which we called the Hundred Years’ War. And then we sped it up by playing lines of cards against each other instead of single cards, so we called it Nuclear War. And Tracy said she could just imagine my blog post where I said: “Dan and I played War, and he was goofy.” Well, he was. And then we had the Annual Thanksgiving Pool Tournament, which I lost resoundingly because Micah managed to win on a random chance (using what Dan called the John Neeb system of pool, after a friend of his – hitting everything real hard and hoping something good happened), and then in the losers’ bracket I hooked the 9 ball into the wrong pocket and lost against Mom. It was the worst pool tournament ever, but I still have the Annual Christmas Pool Tournament to look forward to. We had lots and lots of food, all of it delicious. I stand by my statement that Grandma & Grandpa’s house is my very favorite place to eat in the world. After dinner we all sat and talked a lot, and I ate some pumpkin pie. And a black cow. I ate too much as judged by how much I’d eat on a normal day, but for Thanksgiving I ate just enough. Ah, I love Thanksgiving.

We went home. The next day, I hooked up with two of my high school friends, Aaron and Keith, and we went out on an excursion together. We went to Borders, because it’s chess night on Fridays, but there were no boards free and we decided it was kinda boring, so instead we went to a pool hall that Keith knew of. And that was fun. Keith was on point with his random stuff.

Keith: Gimme five! (Aaron does) Down low. (Aaron does) In the creek.
Aaron: No, I’m not gonna do it… it’s gonna end up with me getting hurt.
Keith: “You’re a geek.”

Shortly after that:

Keith: Gimme five! (Aaron does) Down low. (Aaron does) In the ditch. (Aaron does) Pick up sticks.
Aaron: That doesn’t make any sense, nor does it rhyme!
Keith: That’s what your mom said after she gave birth to you!
(We all laugh hysterically)
Aaron: You’ve got me there.

A little later, he said of all the crazy stuff: “I guess that’s what you get for smoking poison sumac.” We played pool, but mainly we traded stories and quips and stuff. It was beautiful. And it was also profitable, because Keith knows lots of employers: “I can find anyone a job. I can get this economy back on track.” Aaron has been out of work, so Friday was great for him, and Keith has promised to help me find a job for summer break too. No more bein’ poor and lazin’ around!

So all in all I had a superb break. Then I drove back yesterday. Two inches of snow were forecast for Iowa. Well, when I got within a dozen miles or so of college, the snow had gotten the better of the traffic. I shifted down to fourth… then third… then second… and then spent about a half hour in first gear, creeping up a hill for a lot of the time. I was right behind a heavy equipment carrier truck, with nothing on it, but I worried from time to time that it might start backsliding. While I was still in second, I was following it just a tad too close, and then it braked, and I had to brake too, and I damn near skidded off the road, and all my passengers were in a panic, but I recovered and gave the truck a much wider berth from then on. That road was slick. Before the traffic jam, we were on track to make it before dinner closed at 7:00; after we got through all that, we arrived at around 8:30. “I’m really glad I didn’t kill us all!” I said to the girls as they got out. I feel like I’ve matured a lot as a driver because of that drive. And maybe taken a few months off my lifespan due to nerves.

File under: family, making stuff, college, friends


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Anonymous

History

We are so glad that you are back at Grinnell safe and sound. We hope you are really learning to drive safely in Iowa winter weather. It’s not fun. So please be careful and always take it slow when in doubt.

We are also glad you enjoy eating here. Do you have a special Christmas meal request?

Also, don’t forget that deadline for Junior Year Abroad. I’ll be interested in hearing where you finally choose to go. I could suggest Finland if it’s available. I like to think of it as a European Canada. They’re a lot alike. Bet you’d get some good cold weather there, even with the jet stream. Grandma

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Anonymous

History

It sounds like you almost skidded off the road at exactly the spot Uncle Chuck really did skid off the road in December 2000. That was a scary event too. We went in the ditch, but there was so much snow it softened the blow as we slowed, out of control, and ended up practically 180º from our original direction. We weren’t hurt, and neither was the car, thank goodness. I-80 is very slippery in that area.

We’re glad you learned from your experience.

Aunt E.

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Anonymous

History

PS I’d also like to get Aaron working and hopefully at Hillman. They are accepting apps but I don’t know how much hiring they’re doing; I do know that knowing someone there is a good thing, though.

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Chuck

History

Wow, that sounds pretty entertaining, Aunt Ellen. A lot of people talked about the road conditions after they got back. I heard one person say they just barely stayed on the road after hitting a patch of black ice, and then they looked to the side and there were two cars in the ditch on one side and another on the other side. Maybe that’s the spot where you guys skidded off… sounded pretty lethal.

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Oxtrox

History

Well, I guess I was right. You should have gone to Miami, I could have gotten you a job at the ice rink driving the Zamboni and then since you would be experienced at driving on ice, you wouldn’t have had any problem with the roads. Well, maybe not.

Oh, and you forgot to mention that after a tough battle in that game of war, I was victorious. Interesting how you left out that little fact. Additionally, you conveniently forgot to mention that I was the pool tournament champion too. I’d say you’ll make a good reporter some day. Just kidding!

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