My Holiday Absence

With the Holiday crush of activity, I found myself overwhelmed with work and Christmas preparations. Add a trip back home to the Midwest and there were few opportunities to actually sit down collect any thoughts, not to mention posting them. It was as if the last three weeks happened in one.

The schedule for my students rendered the week before Christmas as the middle of the quarter. This meant that I needed to produce the dreaded progress report for the second quarter. It is not exactly a nice Christmas present for any of them. Understanding this, I tried to give everyone an opportunity to submit any outstanding work and resubmit anything with which they were unhappy. Unlike most teachers, I generally have a fairly liberal redo policy. In my prior teaching stints it was never a problem. I generally issue a warning that I do not want people waiting until the last minute to resubmit their work. However, this time I got deluged with all kinds of redone assignments. It was so problematic I nixed the policy altogether in one class. Nevertheless, I was grading a mountain of work in preparation for the reports.

No sooner had I found the bottom of the stack when I needed get my things together for the weeklong trip to Chicago. Aside from the general travel items, I had a boat load of gifts to be distributed to friends and family. The combined loads from Ali, Keri, and me nearly left us without room to sit in the rental car. That’s right we drove the 1000 miles from Boston to Chicago. Three of us and the dog, Zerbert, headed West on a non-stop nineteen hour road trip. Since I had to work the 23rd, we did not arrive until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. From that point it was a full Holiday fervor.

Before I could catch my breath, we were back at work in Boston as though we had never left. The exception to this is that I am exhausted and sick. It seems my allergies to dust and cats were more aggravated then I thought in my vacation accommodations. All this has lead to one of my seasonal sinus infections. I can’t seem to get through a year without getting at east two. I guess this is number one for 2005.

Hopefully, I’ll have the stamina to touch on the Holidays in greater depth in future. Plus, Ali is requesting a kind of year in pictures, full of photographic highlights that were not previously posted. We shall see.

Week Four Round-upand Back in Real Time

Birthday presents and mojitos!

Finally, I have caught up to real time with the tale of my beginnings in New England. Week four got off to a grand start, Ali and I zipped down to her family’s cabin in New Jersey to join her family for a belated birthday celebration of sorts. Both her Dad and her sister Keri had recently ticked off another annum a while back and it was high time there were some festivities taking place. The weather was fantastic and we had a grand time. Since the cabin is governed by fairly strict rules, like no television (although this has been slightly relaxed over the years, apparently), our main entertainment was the ancient art of conversation. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time reading, myself. Quick, catch your breath from the shock of that statement! There also is a lake down the road, where we spent some time. We played games and Ali’s brothers Willie and Nik-Nik can be a bit of a handful, as well as quite entertaining in and of themselves.

Ali and I headed back Boston way late Sunday afternoon, since she had to work on Labor Day. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to work like a fiend on holidays, so she didn’t have to race in first thing. That was nice, because we had a kind of half-holiday. From that point, the week seemed to fly by, especially with the NFL kicking it off. Being that the Patriots were in the first game things were all abuzz ‘round here.

Keri getting a birthday smooch!

I talked with my main man Dave, in Indianapolis, that day. Now that the world-champion Patriots are my local club, he proudly proclaimed, “We are going to kick you ass, tonight!” To which I replied, “Not likely.” This proved to be more truth than fiction. Of course, the beauty of this exchange is that Dave pays almost no attention to football. Hell, he doesn’t even own a television. Yet, we delighted in the growing rivalry of our representative teams. It was pretty good game, strangely reminiscent of last season’s AFC Championship tilt. I have to say, being a huge sports fan, it is kind of fun to know I’ll be watching a team that is more likely to win every week. After a decade of Bears teams that suck and do not look like they will be getting better anytime soon (losing to the Lions at home, when they haven’t won on the road in three years!), it is a definite change of pace. Think Chicago in the late ‘80’s when there was an expectation that we would win the division every year and have chance at the whole thing.

Red tongues from Italian ices.

Although, what I am hoping for is a Red Sox and Cubs World Series, again. It looks like my new team is going to have a shot. The Cubs are having some troubles. I must have jinxed them. I said to Ali before I got out here, when the Cubs had just got Nomar and were clearly on track to win the Wild Card, “You do realize that this could be a short lived stay in Boston. I am going to leave, the Cubs are going to win the World Series, and the Apocalypse will be upon us.” I should have known better, but a boy can dream.

On a side note, I just found out that my friend Angela had a little baby boy! Aidan was born on August 31. He is quite cute as the photo will attest. So, congratulations are definitely in order for her and Joe. Good work you two.