1. I find that I am always cold these days. I don’t know why, as I have always liked cold weather and it has not been especially cold of late anyway. It does give me an excuse for more tea, though, so that is okay.
2. There are a lot of similarities between birth and death – ask any poet, or get people to start singing from The Lion King if you doubt me – but the one that has struck me most this week is that both create a kind of null space in the world that puts you on one side and pretty much everything else on the other. I remember having this feeling when Tabitha and Lauren were born like, “Why is the rest of the world proceeding on as usual? What on earth could they be doing that is that important?” It’s been like that here for the last week. And if it has been like that for me, an old friend 4000 miles away, I cannot even imagine what it has been like for Julia’s family.
3. Unfortunately the rest of the world continues to roll on and make demands. The semester starts up on Monday and I still have syllabi to complete. At least I figured out the trick to making setting up online discussion areas a whole lot simpler. So there was far less obligatory profanity and whiskey consumption than usual during the set-up process, and in context this is probably a good thing.
4. I got my car back today. It was icy a while back and Kim ended up sliding into the back of a minivan while stopping for a red light. Fortunately the main injuries were to the vehicles involved and the city rescinded the ticket for unsafe driving, admitting that the conditions really did not allow safe driving at any speed, but it is astonishing how much damage one can do to a car at 4mph. I finally took it in to get fixed this week. It spent a few days in the shop while I drove the loaner they gave me. The loaner was essentially a stripped down version of my car, which was nice since all of the things were in the same place and I didn’t have to figure out how to turn on the wiper blades from scratch. It was entirely manual, though – windows, door locks, side mirrors, everything. This fascinated my children and their friends. “Oh!” said one friend, looking at the window cranks. “So energy efficient!”
5. Lauren insisted the loaner car smelled like a bowling alley. I kept telling her it just smelled like a clean car and not seven years’ worth of accumulated cracker crumbs.
6. I am thinking that I will completely revise my World History to 1500 class this fall to match the wonderful framework I found in a book Kim gave me for Christmas. I even emailed the author about it, and he graciously responded with more information. So now I have another project, because I clearly don’t have enough projects.
7. Lauren spent last weekend at a bonspiel. Tabitha spent last weekend studying for midterm exams and Skyping with friends. We never saw either of them. It’s such a different thing, having older kids.
8. Applejack sours: the universe’s way of letting you know that it sympathizes.
9. For all those who are still sending out Christmas cards, we give thanks and rejoice that we are not the only ones.
10. I have discovered Welcome to Night Vale. HP Lovecraft writes A Prairie Home Companion – why did I not know about this sooner? “Look to the north. Keep looking. There is nothing coming from the south.”