Anyway. Yesterday was much more noteworthy. I had a long phone conversation with Jen Staff née Sushinsky for the first time in a good while. I had been wondering whether after her wedding she felt comfortable staying in touch. I wasn't going to push it, since I know that sometimes friendships just cannot survive new structures or forms, so I was quite pleased when I got an email from her Thursday giving me a heads-up that she was going to be trying to get a hold of me. We'd gotten in the "tradition" the last few years of having a particularly long catch-up conversation when she was traveling for work (recruiting graduating seniors for a post-graduate service project) in Texas: driving the hours and hours between universities was always a good time for extended phone calls. She had some specific thoughts at one point about the acoustic versus the electronic versions of "Springtime of Tomorrow," and razzed me by very matter-of-factly telling me that she got to have her say in any of "her" songs.
Hearing the details of the wedding was fun, along with its inevitable attendant disasters. Folkheads: you remember Kim Hess? One of Steve's apprentices? She did the music for Jen, and apparently did what she has done a number of times before: changed the program on the spot without asking. So imagine Jen's anger/dismay to find that Kim had decided she had a better idea for the bride's processional than the one Jen wanted! (Fortunately for her, she'd been paid in advance.) Bizarre. Other than that, the hitches seemed minor.
Lots of other catch-up stuff was discussed. For a few of you Domers who knew her I guess the only other major "news" item that might be of interest as to what she's doing is that she'll be leaving her position so as to return to school full-time during the next school year. She's been working on a Master's in Social Work at the University of Chicago part-time and she and TJ decided that it would be better to get it done than to be as over-extended for a few more years as she is nowadays.
Markus Wriedt's party took up the rest of the night. It turns out he had rented out something of a pub/banquet room at the County Clare (open bar, with its unlimited Guinness and cocktails) for the to-do. Jeff Wilcox was there, which was a pleasant surprise: I hadn't seen him back in town to check in with his dissertation director since early last fall, I think. He's teaching some classes at Calvin, so that was an opportunity to compare notes about teaching undergrads while writing the dissertation. After about 20 minutes or half an hour of people arriving, Markus thanked everyone for coming out to see him off, but also quickly threw attention and public acclaim over to Aaron Smith, who had passed his Doctoral Qualifying Exams with that morning's Oral. So there were toasts for Aaron as further excuses to set to.
I got some good feedback during the evening from Mike and Dan about my presentation the night before and a few further ideas about how to run with The Odes of Solomon essay, particularly in some debate with the guys about how I was incorporating the material from the songs of the book of Revelation. Donna made a point of harrying us a bit teasingly when we three ended up talking away amongst ourselves, and I did want to actually spend a little time with Markus himself, so we took her point with a laugh and shuffled ourselves out into the group again. When I ended up talking with Aaron, it was interesting comparing notes with him from my own DQE. It sounds like he got a bit more hassled about a few messy minor details (French place names collapsing into each other and the like) which would be a hard way to have to begin. Del Colle was leafing through a book while others questioned him, as he did with me, which Aaron likewise found incredibly distracting and intimidating. I doubt Del Colle had any idea: I might mention it to him sometime. Still, now that I think about, it is a really clever "interrogation" technique: maybe he knows exactly what he's doing at that! I talked with him and Dawn about a number of things through the evening, with Dawn and I getting particularly lost in film and writing talk as the night drew to a close after about five hours of drinks. I, of course, had thought we were going to be in the restaurant proper, so I'd not eaten dinner: I tried not to do anything conspicuous, like eat 20 hors d'oeuvres, and just grabbed a late meal at George Webb's on the way back to the apartment.