At the very least, I hope I'm being helpful elsewhere: Amy called tonight, saying that Dan was out and that Owen was shaping up to having a spectacularly awful night going down. So she asked me if I would be willing to talk to Owen in his crib and get him to cash in, which I've had bizarre success in doing, even this way, once before, over the phone. So she called about 20 minutes later and we proceeded to do that. Owen sounded iffy at first, and then Anna wanted to talk to me about having gotten marshmallows today (although not being allowed to eat them before bed), and then inviting me to come over whenever I wanted, to eat marshmallows with her. I then heard Owen making a bit of a ruckus in the background, with Amy commenting that things weren't looking good, but I had her hold the phone back up to his ear, and this time got him to agree that he was tired, it was time to go to sleep, and that he would lie down and go to sleep quietly. That more specific line of questioning sounded like it might do the trick.
An idle thought occurred the other day: picturing my travels in just the raw dimensions of the world as I've explored it: North, South, East, and West. I've enjoyed the traveling that I've done, particularly the eyes-on/hands-on aspects of being an historian and getting to see things or places in context. But when I do something like this, I'm somewhat surprised at what suddenly seems to me like the limited scope to what I've seen of the world. As is usually the case, to some I'm far more well-traveled than they are, and the litany of places I've gone seems astonishing to them. To others, who are more traveled than I (like Julie, casually describing a situation the other night with, "right after I had gotten back from the Galapagos"), maybe it seems like a good start.
I think that, to me, I surprise myself because I have always watched film, television, travel documentaries, or read National Geographic and the like so closely that I have many places so well-sketched in my memories that it can seem like I've been there. (Now the ability to look around the world through Google Earth adds to that: I have to talk to my Geography major brother Joe and see if he's become an enthusiast of that program yet....) That may sound idiotic to have memory act like that, but when it's so strewn with imagery and data, that's the way mine works. Sometimes I have to consciously remind myself I've not been to Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel or Iraq – places rich in the historical and archaeological sites I've studied over the years: even to this day my memory is saturated with some of the images of hours-long slideshows Marvin Powell would give in sessions on the history of the ancient Near East, or Greece, or Rome.
But as far as the dimensions go, this is the world as I've explored it thus far:
Or, more specifically...