At Thanksgiving this year, I met my cousin Michelle for the first time. She's my second cousin, if I recall correctly – think we have the same great-grandparents – and has been working in the United States this last year, and so is the first of the Irish family that I've met, since I never was able to go up to County Sligo when I was in Ireland. She's doing a spontaneous weekend getaway this weekend with her boyfriend, and they're flying into New Orleans tonight. So I'll be getting together with them sometime over the next few days, trying to keep them from spending all their time in the touristy French Quarter and maybe getting them to some good food and music. Depending on when they find themselves free and summon me, I'm thinking of The Panorama Jazz Band at The Spotted Cat, dinner at either Jacques-Imo's or La Crêpe Nanou, and of course at some point, drinks at The Columns. We don't know one another all that much, but we got on well at Thanksgiving, so this'll be a chance to expand on that a little bit, and to put what little native knowledge I've acquired to good use.
I had a great time talking with Joe the other night. He had called as I was beginning to teach my last Catholicism session on Wednesday, and I briefly interrupted my class in case it was a family emergency, and then called him back once I'd gotten to my office with some dinner. He used Nate's iPod Touch to FaceTime with me from where he was sitting in an easy chair in the basement library so that he wouldn't disturb Daniele or Nathan, and there was something of the old feeling of just being brothers alone again and talking about whatever we wanted to. It had been a bit too long since we had talked: I'd communicated briefly in confirming that they were alright after the terrible tornadoes in their area at the beginning of the month, but then I'd been all caught up in everything happening here and not thought to call except at times when I knew they'd be unavailable. The video tech revolution has resulted in me seeing more of myself speaking directly to a camera than I would have ever thought, and it's brought home how similar mine and Joe's delivery and facial expressions can be: something I had never come close to noticing as we grew up together. But seeing the bits of expression that (I think) are uniquely his, whether a certain tilt of the head, or a kind of knowing smirk of amusement at something – these were all refreshing for me in getting some face-time together to talk in the midst of our too-frequently conflicting schedules. So maybe this tech will let us make up some for not living near one another for too long.
Sophie gave me this gem on Wednesday, as I FaceTimed with her briefly between classes (and as students giggled, listening in), explaining to me that she hadn't gone to preschool that day because she and Grace had both had been sick: "I had a fever, so I'm eating carrots so I don't get a cavity." Awesome connections!