Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I have not abandoned the blog; its just been a while since I took the time to write. Bad luck from breaking the mirror doesn’t seem to be following me: Rob got home safely after having a great trip to California, and I have continued marathon training and pursuing the PhD.

We’re currently knee-deep in family Thanksgiving fun time, which is taking us to 3 different states and lasting more than a week. We started out the odyssey last Saturday with a brunch at Rob’s parents’ house (actually for numerous family birthdays rather than Thanksgiving) and then on Sunday Rob and I went up to Chicago, where Rob did his first ever cyclo-cross race. Rob’s most recent bike purchase (that I know of) is a cyclo-cross bike—which is a bike that is pretty much a road bike with knobby tires. Its designed for use on rugged conditions, like trails, etc. The cyclo-cross race we went to on Sunday was on a trail that had various obstacles set up, including barriers to jump over (as in, get off the bike, pick it up, and run) and a sand pit. Cousin Scott (a cycling aficionado himself) drove down to meet us and watch the race. Despite the seemingly arctic temperatures (I had on about 10 layers of clothing and was still shivering), it was a lot of fun. Once the race started, Scott and I were running around the course to cheer on Rob and take pictures. Rob was doing really great until maybe his second or third loop when he had some trouble traversing the sand pit. I won’t get into the gory details here; let it suffice to say, he suffered a minor injury and ended up not finishing the race, but everything is a-ok now. After a bit of recovery, we went with Scott to the world’s only vegan fast-food restaurant to refuel. Then it was on to the Rockford-area, where we stayed with my sister!

Pre-race practice ride

And they're off!

The first barrier: check out that vertical leap.

The dreaded quick-sand

I was really happy to see my sister, her husband, and of course my little nephew—10 months old. Little Logan is so busy now. He is crawling around all over the place now and he also enjoys standing and wobbling bipedally. He grins and giggles at everything, and he just loves to play and play. I spent most of the day Monday playing with Logan, but I did get a little bit of work done while he was napping.

On Tuesday I became the Visiting Lecturer, and I went up to give a talk at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. At some point during the year that I was on Ometepe, I met a UWSP professor who was visiting the island, and he had asked if I would ever be interested in coming up to give a lecture in Wisconsin. Of course I said yes and then kind of forgot about it until he contacted me again this fall to work out a time that I could come up. Luckily, my sister lives about halfway between Urbana and Stevens Point, so I could combine the trip with some family fun time as well. The week of Thanksgiving was about the only time it worked out for me—the U of I students are on break, so I don’t have to be on campus, but the UWSP students still have class.

So I got up very early on Tuesday morning, put on my Lecture Pants (long story, former Anth 102 TA’s will know), and set off for Stevens Point. The lecture itself was not so worrisome to me: I could talk about howler monkeys in my sleep (and I probably do). The only thing I was a little bit worried about was driving up there. To let the truth be known, I absolutely hate driving and I always have. I especially hate driving because I have absolutely no sense of direction and it is very easy for me to get completely turned around and have no idea where I am. But it all ended up just fine. The only thing even remotely scary was driving through Madison during rush hour, and even that was a piece of cake. I arrived in Stevens Point with plenty of time and I gave my talk to a decently-packed lecture hall of about 50 people. It ended up being a great experience because it forced me to sit down and work with my data, coming up with something definitive to say about my year on Ometepe. And presenting it during a talk at Stevens Point was much more non-threatening than presenting these findings to my committee—which I’ll have to do anyway—but at least this gave me a practice run.

When I was done being the Visiting Lecturer, I headed back to my sister’s place. My parents had also come up to Michelle’s during the day on Tuesday so that we could have a bit of a family reunion there. It was really nice to have some time with the fam; in fact, Rob and I stayed around for most of the day on Wednesday too. Auntie M always gets a little bit weepy when it is time to leave little Logan, but this time wasn’t nearly as bad as last April when we were going back to Nicaragua and I knew it would be months and months before I saw him again.

Catch him if you can

The flamily

Now its on to the next phase of our Thanksgiving Odyssey: the actual Thanksgiving Dinner today at Nana and Grampy’s. I’d better get going; have got to run 5 miles this morning and then make some hors d’oeuvres to take over this afternoon. I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading!


Logan's Mama said...

Logan misses his Auntie M and his Uncle Rob and so do we! We enjoyed having you here very much and we are glad to have represented one leg of your Thanksgiving Odyssey. Rest up for the remainder of your journey!!

Anonymous said...

Checked your 'page' but didn't expect you'd have any time to write -- so was really surprised and very thrilled to find the wonderful Thanksgiving story of your travels and the fantastic pictures!!! Rest up -- Christmas is coming!!
hugs, auntie

foxymomma said...

It was GREAT being with ALL OUR KIDS!!!!!!!!! Glad all worked out and the FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER, was able to MAKE our" CREAM" family look DEVINE!!!!!!!! ( inside joke) -- May your TRAVELING PEWS ( motion sickness) dissapate so you're ready for the road again, soon!!! We're counting the days til we'll all be together again at CHRISTMAS--- til then, stay well, and be careful on your BIKES!!! luv and hugs