1) Mom swung by for a visit, to see the new apartment and--more importantly--to give me back my digital camera so that I could download her pictures from her trip to Ireland and put them on disc for her and for her travel partner, my aunt Pat. But she doesn't make it over here often--usually I go over to Madison to visit her--so that was something of a treat. We kids gave her the trip as a birthday present and so it was great fun to see where she'd gone exploring and particularly when she got to meet her aunt and cousins and descendents for the first time. One card of a cousin asked Mom and Pat if they were looking to will someone anything in an estate. I'd never seen pictures of the family or of where my grandfather was from either, in the Cloonacool and Tubbercurry area of County Sligo, so I was looking at those pictures with great interest. Both times I've been over, I was with groups that didn't make it to the northwest, so I've never met the family myself. Someday. So, too soon she had to head for home, but it was a productive, if quick, visit. She starts her new job tomorrow.
1a) She brought me a perfect gift from Ireland in a small clock set in green Connemara marble (which, to my dismay, she says is playing out in the quarries). I fell in love with this stone (which I gather is properly called "Serpentine") particularly in how I saw it gloriously decorating the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Galway City. (I just wasted an absurd amount of time trying to find a relatively decent photo of the place on the net.) Since I've gone decorating-happy since moving into the new apartment, and am thorougly enjoying making my idea digs, this is just the kind of thing I'm really taken with right now. In fact, I had noticed the need for a clock in both the bathroom and the living room, and I think that this little gem is perfect for my bathroom space, which is the only part of the apartment that is rather too small. So that was tres cool of her.
2) Because visiting Ireland is all the rage with the Sweeney clan (the Irish side of my family) I got a postcard from my cousin Becca who lives here in town, but who with my cousin Ben and my Uncle Bill and Aunt Helen, went over for the first time herself. They went up to Sligo themselves and then met the family there (Bill had visited before), so the Irish side must be wondering when the flood of semi-known relatives will end. (The families general exchange one big all-encompassing "news" letter a year--I suppose they're online now, though: I should have had Mom ask if any of them blog.) Anyway, Becca's card was cute and enthusiastic, like herself.
3) Started doing a bit of Assistantship stuff, putting books on reserve and emailing with Prof. Mickey Mattox, who I mentioned earlier is the professor I'll be working with this year. Not a big deal, I suppose, but I enjoy feeling like I justify my existence, and reading on my own all summer for exams doesn't quite achieve that. Ran into Michael Fahey while I was headed over to the library after Mom had left, and he's up and around after his foot surgery earlier in the summer, so that's good in the fellow you intend to write your dissertation under. In fact, he was looking as hale as I've ever seen him, so I was particularly encouraged. He was checking in with me about my own recovery from everything last year--we bonded originally over our intestinal disorders--which was another sign of him being a straight-up guy. I'll be mentioning him more next week when I shift over to reading for my ecclesiology doctoral exam question on "magisterium"--the teaching authority of the church.