August 18, 2008

We now return to our regularly-scheduled panic

Last week I was in California helping to surprise my mother for her 75th birthday, and despite fears of her finding out in advance (mothers tend to suss out these things), she swears up and down she had no clue. It's been about 14 years since we all got together in the redwoods and pines of the Sierras. It was wonderful to see almost all of my nephews and nieces, my maternal uncles and aunts, all my siblings, and a bunch of cousins, including one I hadn't seen for several decades (as well as her husband and daughter). Great place, especially as the early-morning temperatures in the 50s beat out Tampa's 76 F. lows. And I was the only relative who thought to buy my mom a brand new car. Sheesh. Unfortunately, the main customers of Matchbox and Hot Wheels are still into gas guzzlers these days, but I did find a Volvo C30 in the midst of 1960s muscle cars, and you know how mothers value safety along with frugality. My children gave her Octavia Butler's Kindred and a Louis Armstrong album.

Along the way, my teens and I took a few side trips. They had their first trip to Yosemite Valley, miraculously getting to Bridleveil Falls early enough so that only a handful of other people were with us. The amount of water mirrored the crowds, but this is late summer in a low-snowfall year. We also trekked into and around San Francisco our last evening, eating dinner at a hole-in-the-wall pizza parlor, browsing at City Lights, and eating desserts at Caffi Puccini. They're at school today (but not tomorrow: thanks, Fay!), and I'm on campus.

For the trip, I took along a bunch of things to read and got some of that done. (I've decided that the Sony Reader is an excellent investment for journal editors). We returned at the end of the week, and I spent a few days polishing syllabi and other course material. I had plans to spend today on the journal, but Tropical Storm (soon Hurricane) Fay is short-circuiting that plan; I am finishing as much of course prep as I could before I leave campus. That way, I can focus on other things if the power is out tomorrow or for several days. I have a few things this week, and they'll get shifted around. The local public schools are closed tomorrow, my university almost inevitably will as well, and we'll see if the same is true Wednesday. Did I mention that the Sony Reader was a good investment? The battery will last through several days of power-free living, if that's necessary.

I have a bunch of work I owe people, from manuscript authors to editors who want me to write to a coauthor and... oh, yeah, other stuff. To paraphrase Berke Breathed, my summer has been an idyllic set of good intentions savaged by a brutal pack of life. On the good side, I'm not going to be bored for the foreseeable future (or the rest of my life). But there are some consequences. I'm back from my blog vacation, but probably not back to regular blogging for another week or two. I have several half-formed ideas for longer entries, and they'll sit on the shelf for a while.

If you're a fellow Floridian, stay safe and dry. If you're not in Florida, go ahead and be smug. We'll have our revenge in the winter.

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Posted in The academic life on August 18, 2008 2:43 PM |