Friday, March 27, 2009

Families are Complicated

As the family reunion and memorial weekend opens and most people are by now en route, the question that keeps coming to my mind is an frivolous one: if hoards descend upon you, when they leave, do they ascend? I asked this of a friend this week, and got the response that ascension is reserved for saints. So what is it called when everyone leaves? As might be inferred from this line of thought, I’m a little scattered. Most of the arrangements are complete. One side-effect of my recent adventures is that advance planning and work must be done, as it’s not possible to count on the stamina to pull off a last-minute endeavor. Like most things, this has its good points and its bad ones.

I’m almost done with all my grading, and have the biggest parts of the task (mid-term papers) behind me. Waking up early (4:30) meant that I could get more done this morning and then get my blood drawn as soon as the lab opened, making it a very efficient process. The phlebotomist only needed one stick and a short digging around period, which is as good as these things go; my veins are elusive and then apparently have a tendency to “roll” after location, which always makes for an unpleasant time. At one point in all the testing before surgery, they simply inserted a port I could keep for a while because it was such an ordeal to keep seeking the vein each time blood was needed. I got some monster bruises in the process, but I'm hoping not this time.

Today is for testing equipment, cleaning out the refrigerator, cooking, setting the table and last-minute errands. It looks like the weekend will be mostly rain free, if not sunny. It’s been chilly enough that the crocuses are all still in bloom (hurray) and other blossoms are emerging. There’s no greenery yet, but the flowering trees are coming along nicely. It won't be full-blown, glorious Central Illinois spring, but it will have plenty of hints and it's all better than left-over winter grey.

My technology excursions are also coming righg along: I like Numbers and Pages, though they have some odd quirks. In Numbers (Apple’s Excel competitor), you can do all kinds of cool things easily that are a complete pain in Excel--except that you cannot force a page break at will. This is an odd and irritating omission. Pages has a lot of spectacular features, but using the dictionary and thesaurus take enough keystrokes and effort to be clunky and obtrusive. The iPhone app for calorie tracking is a stunning success (so far) and is providing incentives and visual feedback that are incredibly helpful to me in governing myself. So far, so good.

The responses of Kearney and some friends this week to some of my crabbing yielded smiles and re-centering, as only humor can do. I was blowing off steam (rudely) about a suggestion I received for late enhancements to the event. Being flip, I wrote “piece of cake, since all I’m doing this week is buffing my nails, eating peeled grapes and dropping by the spa.” Kearney wrote “I hear you’re really serious about your spa work, and even went so far as to have some work done on your brain this year.” So true. Thinking about it, it occured to me that this is surely the midwestern version of the modify-your-looks movement so prevalent elsewhere, so I shared that thought. Doug admonished me for this, pointing out how unbecoming it is for me to brag about my spa work, given that it rubs it in for those who do not have the perfect hair, as I do, for brain surgery. So, I apologize if I’ve been smug about all my natural-born advantages. For those who don’t have good brain surgery hair, I’ll find some way to make things right with you. I know I have penance to do.


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