Other notes: I've had a couple of fun dinners the last few weeks. I ran into Diane at Collector's Edge on Thursday and we hung out there like old days, talking with each other and with Matt until it closed at seven, and then ended up grabbing dinner at the Twisted Fork and talking until they turned out the lights on us. She'd gotten back from her work/vacation trip to Hawaii a few days earlier and was as brown as a nut, in good spirits from the trip, if a little tired, and with lots of stories to tell. The next night I was over at Uncle Bill's and Aunt Helen's for a welcome-back party for my cousin Becca, who had flown in that morning from visiting her brother in Argentina. Ben's a junior at Ripon College and Becca's a freshman at Madison, and the party had morphed from just me to three friends of Bill and Helen's – including one guy I've met before who grew up with Bill and my Mom and all, and thus who always has the most interesting stories to tell – and some half-dozen of Becca's friends from high school who were still around. That was all lively, with Becca's manic story-telling style and her vast digital picture file on her laptop. Helen talked about how much more she seemed to have grown in experience from these two weeks compared to the whole first semester of going to university.
For my new Intro classes, I've been assigned the ugliest room in the University, complete with disgusting gray carpet, now worn and disturbingly-stained, in the ugliest building on campus, which looks like it was from the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey. At least the slightly-curved floor-to-ceiling window shapes are a bit more interesting-looking from the inside than the are from the outside. I scared away a few students with my anti-slacker hard-work warnings from the first day, but an equal number of students added the course, so I'm still hovering around fifty students, which will be easier grading than the 75 from last semester, I suppose.
I have sixty pages left of Kristin Lavransdatter, and I'll be sad to be done with her. My friend and colleague Matthew Sutton has read it closely in the past – basing a course on marriage off of it, in fact – and referred to it as an epic the other day, which really is so true, if in such a non-epic, quotidian way. I'll have to write up a real review of it, I think.