Not so little is the fact that my brother Joe is finally doing better, after the doctors figured out his mysterious fever. He's home now, resting and working out the kinks of the last two weeks, which is great to hear. Not so great is that my cousin Ben here in town is sick with the flu, when he and his family were planning to take off for a wedding in North Carolina this weekend. I volunteered to watch him if need be, which would sink plans to finally visit my sister's this weekend. I haven't seen the nieces since February, and I missed Sophie's second birthday party in April. I hear her gabbling away in the background of my phone calls now, and I'm dying to be missing so much of this cute talky stage.
Dad finished his second year of volunteering at a local grade school. He helps out with first-graders as part of a statewide "class grandparents" program of some sort, mostly working on their reading with them one-on-one while the classroom teacher manages the lot. He loves the work and I've been thrilled to see him both enjoy it and to make such an impact in his retirement years.
Niyatee was so delighted by an annoyed semi-rant I left in response to a question on her journal that she asked me to marry her. This led to further conversation on the telephone, spinning out from the topic being discussed on her journal to lots of other topics from bioethics to the current state of Grey's Anatomy. No date has yet been set.
I gave Kelly a last-minute hand with her moving out last week, helping her abscond with a dishwasher for which she had unusual affection. I heard more of her and Mark's story and plans for being Los Angeles over the next year while she does her medical dental residency and he does his pastoral internship. I had a hard time imagining that Southern California even had any Lutherans, but I guess I've heard stranger things. It was just kind of cool to hear the enthusiasm of being on the cusp of such big adventures. But she was the last grad student I knew in the building and now the only person I know is an undergrad former student who is enthusiastically stoned half the time I run into him.
Lots of student in the department are taking part in a "dissertation boot camp" program going on for a few weeks here: living together in the doors with a few faculty advising the process and writing each day from 8am to 8pm. My carrel-mate Michael Mattosian is doing that as a last burst of activity before taking up a pastorate in Delaware, and I know that Tony and Pam are doing it as well. I'm kind of on the night-shift version of that, although the library doesn't keep such grad student-friendly hours durinig the summer.
And most startling of all: J.P. returned a note I sent him within a week. Freakishly un-Freekish of him.