1. It occurs to me that most of what I’ve written in the last month has concerned our vacation, which makes perfect sense to me since that’s mostly what I want to write about, but which I can understand being perhaps less than fascinating for others. But you know. It’s my blog. I’m allowed to be self-indulgent. We did eventually come home and thus the posts will have to end at some point, so if reading about someone else’s travels isn’t your thing just know there is a light at the end of that particular tunnel. But in the meantime, I write what I want to write.
2. One of the really nice things about being away for a while is that I was mostly out of the range of American news. There were no constant updates about the latest illegal, unconstitutional, eye-wateringly immoral, catastrophically short-sighted, freakishly misogynistic, financially irresponsible, blatantly racist, or criminally stupid antics of der Sturmtrumper or his minions, lackeys, sycophants, cronies, enablers, cultists, or brownshirts. And you know? It felt really good. It’s been rather dispiriting coming back and realizing that all of that only got worse while I was gone and has continued exponentially on that trajectory since I returned. Seriously – if the GOP-led Congress had any respect for law, human decency, morality, or the Constitution, der Sturmtrumper would have been removed months ago, run out of town on a rail, and held up as a shining example of what happens when Corrupt and Stupid is entrusted with Power. As it is he’s still there, indelibly staining the American republic with his foul presence, and the cheerleading GOP is very much part of the problem.
3. Just for the record, I spent 17 days in five different countries, all of which are strong American allies, and never once did I hear or even overhear anybody say anything remotely positive about der Sturmtrumper. Not once. I did hear a lot of negative things from a truly wide array of people, though, and sometimes people even came up to me at random to tell me some of them. But nothing good. Yeah, folks – we got us a real problem here in the US of A, and everyone knows it but us, apparently.
4. It’s been hot here. Last weekend it was over 90F here in southern Wisconsin – in mid-September, mind you. It should be 20 to 30 degrees cooler. Good thing the climate isn’t shifting because otherwise? I’d be worried.
6. Naturally this weekend was the time that the blower motor on our AC decided to die. There was the AC unit, pumping out nice refreshingly cool air like a champ, and it wasn’t going anywhere useful. So now that’s fixed, to the tune of A Serious Chunk of Change, though not as serious as if it had been the AC unit itself so we have that going for us. I swear I’m going to retire to Scotland for the weather.
7. After two years and change, Lauren finally has no metal on her teeth. She has been looking forward to this for months. She was a bit bummed when it became clear that this would happen after our vacation rather than before, and further bummed to discover that “Braces Off Day” was exactly the same as School Picture Day, but she made it through with grace and aplomb and the school photos went fine. Dinner that night, by request, was corn on the cob.
8. The initial rush down at Home Campus is now over – the deadline to add classes has passed, the first payment was due Monday, and except for dropping classes the students have the schedules they’re going to have. Advisors have a different calendar than faculty do – they’re busy the first two weeks of the semester while faculty are just ramping up, then it slacks off toward the 1/3-mark when faculty are in the middle of midterms. Then we get busy again when it’s time to sign up for next semester’s classes, while faculty are in cruise control, then we slow down toward the end of the semester when the faculty are madly running around with end-of-the-semester projects and finals. It’s nice to be past the first big advising rush, but since I was fortunate enough to get a couple of classes this semester that just means I have moved on to the first big faculty rush.
9. Not that I am complaining, really. I like both of my jobs, and I have a kid in college. More work, more paycheck, more better.
10. When the halftime score is 56-0, it’s time to call off the dogs.
11. The American football season has begun again and I’m still on something of a honeymoon after the Eagles’ championship last year, so I’ve been keeping an eye on things that way. But you know? Part of me really doesn’t care if they win a game this year. They won it all last year. I’m good. I can go back to my years-long slide into apathy about a game I once devoted a lot of attention to but which has definite moral aspects of cockfighting these days. On the other hand, the NFL players have, willingly or no, found themselves in the forefront of some important social justice issues and that’s enough to keep me supporting them. Folks, if you are forced to participate in patriotic rituals, it isn’t patriotism anymore. That's not that hard a thing to grasp. So we’ll see how it goes with the NFL this year. I have no doubt I’ll be watching a few games here and there, and cheering for my Birds.
12. The Premier League is in full swing. The NHL is right around the corner. We’re getting back to the point where they put curling on television on weekend nights to catch all the people who are too old or uncool to be out partying (and boy, do they know me!). I’m not hard up for choices in my sportsball viewing, really.
13. Also, the new Doctor Who will be out any day now. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jodie Whittaker will do with the character, though it has been a very long time since the last new episode. Life is liquid, and if you take something out of it there is no something-shaped hole left to plug it back into when that something returns. It will be interesting to see how that works out.
14. I have so many unattended projects. I need a month just to do all of the things that I should have done by now, and another to try to get ahead on them a bit. And this isn’t going to happen. So much of adulthood is just saying “I’ll catch up on that next week” every week until you die.
15. So far my US1 class has asked me questions about the Magna Carta and how that related to royal authority over the colonies in the 17th century, Spain’s relations with Portugal during the early phases of European expansion, and whether the age of the victim mattered as far as taste was concerned when it came to cannibalism (a question prompted by a discussion of the starvation conditions of early English colonies, where evidence of cannibalism does exist, and which prompted further discussion in which the word "veal" figured prominently). I think I’m going to like this class.