Wednesday, December 03, 2003

...And I'm Back!

Yep, that's right, I've arrived safe and sound back in Socorro, and am once again sitting in front of my own dear, familiar PC. It's good to be back!

Honestly, I didn't intend to completely neglect you all while I was gone. I actually tried to stop by and blog a couple of times, but was thwarted at every turn. The first time, Blogger appeared to be down completely. Then, when I tried it again a couple of days ago, it appeared to accept my password just fine, but wouldn't show me my blogs. Although that problem may have been on my end, not Blogger's, I don't know. I gather they've had some major problems in the past week or so, anyway. According to Greta, apparently at one point my blog was showing up in Spanish. That must have been interesting.

Anyway, the trip went very well. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but by sheer coincidence, it happened that my sister and I were on the same connecting flight from Cincinnati (she having flown in from Portland, I from Albuquerque), and I was able to get us seats together when I booked. So we both got in together on Thursday evening, about the same time as my mother arrived from California.

Thursday night, we spent at my aunt's house. (That's my mother's older sister. Pay attention, here, because you're going to need a scorecard to keep all the relatives straight!) On Friday, we went to my other aunt's house -- that's my mother's younger sister -- for the big turkey dinner, as cooked by my grandmother. Which was, to say the least, an interesting experience... My aunt was still in the process of moving in and hadn't even moved all the cookware over when we arrived. Add in the fact that the house was so full of people (many of whom hadn't seen each other in months or years) that no fire marshal on Earth would have approved it as safe, and, honestly, the only possible word to describe it is "pandemonium." A fairly pleasant pandemonium, and one with lots of great food, but utter chaos all the same.

The next couple of nights, we spent at my mother's younger brother's house. (Well, actually she's got two younger brothers, but we only crashed with one of them. Confused yet?) And it was pandemonium there, too, between the two-year-old (aka my utterly adorable, but very noisy and active nephew), the teenager with the friend sleeping over, the small yappy dog, and god only knows what else I'm forgetting. It was great to see everybody again, and in a way I really wish I'd gotten to spend more time... But the whole experience definitely has me thinking that I've gotten far too used to living on my own. And that I'm quite happy to continue to do so, if only because there's nobody in my house trying to communicate by just calling people's names at the top of their voice, and figuring that wherever they are, they're bound to answer if you yell long enough.

Anyway, after that my sister and I went to my dad's place for a few days, which was much quieter, even if we did bring the two-year-old with us. Did I mention that he's adorable? Because he's adorable. But he also never stops being two, which becomes rather exhausting. I have much, much respect for my sister just for being able to keep up with him day after day!

And all of that sounds incredibly boring, I know, but mostly I went back to visit people, not places. So we did a lot of what I can only refer to as "hanging out," which was a lot more fun to do that it would be to write about. Well, we did make a trip to the New Jersey State Aquarium, which, while not very big, really had some pretty high-quality exhibits. The nephew loved it, but then he's had a thing about fish ever since he saw Finding Nemo, apparently. And I can now say I've petted a shark.

So, yeah. That's my exciting and fascinating trip to New Jersey! How've you been? (I ask here because it's probably going to take me ages just to get caught up on my e-mail.)

And, oh, yeah, just because I forgot to mention before I left, as has apparently become traditional... Books read on this trip were: the last 150 pages or so of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, Metaphors We Live By by by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, and the first 100 pages or so of Ursula K. LeGuin's Changing Planes. For the record.

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