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Still here


Dear Journal,

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you lately.

(Note added later: somewhere around here is where I lost track of the conceit that this was a letter to my journal. So, um, never mind.)

I've spent the last week and a half in almost nonstop socializing. Which has been great, but kind of exhausting, especially since I also haven't had enough sleep most nights.

Here's an update on what I've been up to:

On the night of Friday the 29th, Naomi kept me company (and mocked me) while I went to buy an iPhone. I called around to various local Apple Stores that night after the lines had died down, found that the one at Valley Fair still had the 8GB model, and went over and bought it. It was quick and easy, although the Apple employees raucously cheering for (and videotaping) everyone who came in the door was a bit much. I proceeded to stay up 'til nearly 4 a.m. setting it up and playing with it.

That Saturday, Kam and Naomi and I went to part of Westercon. Kam and Simran and I attended a panel featuring Jay L. and Tad W. and someone whose name I'm blanking on, about galactic empires and such; I figured with Jay and Tad on the panel, it couldn't help but be entertaining. And so it was; also interesting. We ran into various people in the halls, and I got a couple of stuffed animals in the dealer's room. Later, K and N and Diana and Simran and I went out to eat. Good to see everyone.

Most of the rest of the weekend involved preparing for my trip, especially packing and finishing the transfer of everything (including phone service) from my Treo to my iPhone. (I have many notes about what I do and don't like about the iPhone, but those'll have to wait for another entry.) Sadly, between the packing and my general exhaustion and the driving that would've been involved, I missed two parties on Saturday evening, a birthday party and a housewarming party.

Monday morning, Kam took me to the airport; I had an uneventful plane flight and an awful cab ride, as mentioned last week, but eventually made it to Michael & Lisa's.

Hung out there on Tuesday; M & L were out and about for much of the day, so it should've been a perfect time for me to catch up on the magazine stuff I'd failed to do over the weekend (I did SWAPA stuff on the flight instead of magazine stuff), but the day somehow just vanished. Not quite sure what I did.

Wednesday the 4th, I had lunch with Kendra in Hahvahd Square; later, we and J7y went to Deb & Charles's Fourth of July party. Fun, and good to see a bunch of people there, including assorted kidlets. (And M & L kindly brought me my stuff (which I'd left with them so I wouldn't have to carry it around Harvard Square all afternoon)--I had been thinking I could leave my stuff with them most of the time and just take a subset of it with me to other people's houses, but it turned out due to logistics that that didn't make sense.) Sadly, most of us hadn't realized that Boston's main fireworks display wasn't starting 'til 10:30 p.m., and anyway there was quite a bit of rain and most of us didn't really want to stand in the rain to watch the fireworks, so K & J and I headed back to their nifty new apartment without seeing fireworks.

On Thursday, I hung out with Kendra all day. We went to an afternoon farmer's market, stopped in a bookstore, picked up a set of iPhone earbuds (I had accidentally left mine at home), talked about all kinds of stuff, and walked over to her new place of employment. The campus is mostly very nice, with some really lovely old stone buildings; one library in particular looked like a cross between a cathedral and any of several Swarthmore buildings on the outside, and had stained-glass windows portraying various great philosophers, writers, and literary characters.

In the evening, K & J and I had dinner at a new Burmese place in Allston, YoMa; pretty good food. Interestingly, the three Burmese restaurants I've been to have had almost entirely non-overlapping menus.

After dinner, K and I watched the Prairie Home Companion movie, which I thought was okay but kinda disappointing. Great cast, and I like what I've seen of Altman's movies, but I was expecting more humor (at least, more humor that I found funny) and more plot.

Friday the 6th, Otavia came and picked me up; we had a tasty lunch at Vicki Lee's Cafe in Belmont (which had some interesting-sounding Armenian food as well as the sandwiches we got). Then we went to Fit Werx, a bike store specializing in triathlons, to get some adjustments made to her bike; I was so out of it that I ended up napping in the car in the parking lot for about 20 minutes. Back at her and David's lovely new home, we picked up David and then went to Ruth & Gavin's for an evening of games. There was a big Name Game in which I wrote down a bunch of memorable quotes, including some that I unintentionally generated. (Example: I was guessing a name, and got as far as "Catherine of Sienna," and the person cluing said something like "And she's got a title that would be bestowed by the Catholic Church," and I said, "Pope Catherine of Sienna?" And everyone laughed, but I honestly couldn't think what other title might've been bestowed by the Church (Bishop Catherine of Sienna?) until about two minutes later, when I kicked myself for missing the obvious.) R & G demonstrated their mad Dance Dance Revolution skillz as we all sang along to "Video Killed the Radio Star." (I'm tempted once again to get a DDR set; good exercise, and good training to loosen up about body motion.) Shortly before the evening ended, I got to play Falling for the first time in probably seven or eight years--I really like that game, but I can almost never get anyone to play it with me. Oh, and then that night I got to see O & D's wedding photos.

Saturday, O & D and I headed over to the park where people were gathered for pre-wedding hanging-out. Lots of cool folks, but I somehow didn't manage to really talk with anyone very much. Nao showed photos of Theo, who is still adorable, and Cat B showed photos of her and Rob's current kid (whose name I'm totally blanking on) and soon-to-be kid (whose English name will become Susannah, iIrc), who were also very cute. Oh, and I finally got to meet Max B (yay!)--he's coming up on five months old! I spent much of the afternoon teaching people juggling and poi stuff, and attempting to learn some hula-hoop stuff that Otavia tried to teach me. For me, it's way harder than juggling-type things, because it primarily involves moving the whole body rather than just the arms and hands. Though I didn't quite figure out how to do the neat behind-the-back hand-only hoop manipulation either.

And then, of course, it was time to go back to O & D's and change for the wedding.

The wedding was lovely. It was in the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham, which was chock-full of way cool old machinery and stuff; I totally have to go back at some point, though it looks like that won't happen this trip. Josh & Amy were both resplendent in white. One of the readings consisted of excerpts from the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the case that resulted in legal recognition of same-sex marriage in MA; I thought that was a great touch. And then came the vows, which J & A wrote themselves and which were really excellent--I really liked all the specific things they promised each other, and the format worked brilliantly. Josh would say one of the promises, then Amy would repeat it back to him; then she would say the next one, and he would repeat it back to her. It had a wonderful flowy rhythm to it that built on itself as they went on; I was in tears by the end.

Afterward, more hanging out. There were a whole bunch of Swarthmore people there--Josh noted later that he and Amy combined overlapped with everyone from the classes of '89 through '03, except for '96--and we had a huge group photo of all the trico alums. Somehow, I spent most of the reception period in kind of a daze--I think I only talked with two or three people, even though there were bunches of people there who I would've wanted to catch up with if I'd been thinking clearly. I may also have been a little socially overwhelmed.

That night, went and stayed with Bhadrika, and with Wolf, who had decided to come along to the wedding at the last minute. Got some uninterrupted time to talk with Bhadrika for the first time in years, and also got to chat with Wolf a little more than I'd managed the past couple of visits. She's 11 now, and she was very impressed with the iPhone. On Sunday, I taught her some poi stuff--she's a remarkably quick study, perhaps partly due to gymnastics training. I ended up giving her the lightweight fuzzy purple poi; I'd have given her the plastic glow poi instead (they're a little easier to control due to more weight and thus more momentum, and she seemed to do fine with them) but I may want them in Chicago next week.

Sunday I also got a little time with Diana and Stella (who recently turned 3). Then there was a bunch of driving around and stuff, and eventually we ended up back at Michael & Lisa's, where apparently 22 people had shown up over the course of the day. More playing with kids and chatting with grownups ensued. (Emma and Hannah and Brynnen and Stella and possibly a couple of other kids I'm forgetting opened a hair salon in M & L's living room, where they did things like putting little plastic pigs in customers' hair, and covering their customers' faces with paper towels, and putting slinkies on their customers' heads. Most of the customers fled, swearing never to return. I was going to recommend the place as a good salon for outre hairstyles until the part where Emma told me to open my mouth and close my eyes and I would get a big surprise, and I asked her if it was a good surprise, and she said yes, but it was actually a plastic animal. I'm afraid I'll have to report the salon to the local health board; plastic animals just aren't very nutritious.)

Got a little, though never enough, time with Fran & Ed before they left on Monday morning. And although I don't have much sense of Max's personality yet, I very much enjoyed Brynnen's company as usual.

Monday I hung out at M & L's, mostly recuperating. Did a little magazine work (mostly finally finalizing some of the CC licenses, as posted in the previous entry), helped clean up some. Josh came over for dinner, much to M's and my surprise; we had assumed J & A would be unavailable for socializing for a while yet. Sadly, A had to work late, so we didn't get to see her, but it was the longest and nicest conversation I've had with J in years.

I had been expecting that I wouldn't get to see Kir this trip, because she lives in Vermont, and even though all these wacky little New England states are jammed together, it's still a 3- to 4-hour drive from M & L's place to Kir & Rick's. But some other plans suddenly rearranged, and Tuesday morning Michael took me to a nearby car rental place and I drove up to Vermont. Got here well before the huge rainstorm hit; Kir and Morgan (whom I hadn't yet met in all of his two and a half years, and who's charming and remarkably articulate) and I went for a walk down the road to the two nearby ponds. We saw and heard all sorts of animals and plants, and Morgan and Kir went wading. Kir's dog Orca and cat Bug are still here, almost exactly ten years after the first time I visited this place, and about seven years after the last time (which was just after K & R's wedding).

Didn't get to see any lightning bugs last night, but did see lots of lightning. Boom!

I didn't expect to get much sleep, 'cause I haven't been sleeping well and the guest sleeping space is surrounded by windows so there was lots of light, but I went to bed early-for-me (after the power went out a couple times) and ended up getting nearly 8 hours' sleep for the first time in a week or so.

Kir and Morgan headed off to get stuff done a couple hours ago, and I figured I might as well sit here surrounded by greenery, with a view of the woods and the woodpile, to type up a journal entry before I get in the car for the trip back to MA.

Tonight: dinner with DH. Tomorrow: lunch with Kate, dinner with DVS. Friday morning, I get on a plane to Chicago, where I'll attend Think GalactiCon. It occurred to me that if I had managed to find time to stop by Readercon this past weekend, I could have been almost certainly the only person to attend WesterCon (CA), Readercon (MA), and Think GalactiCon (Chicago) on these three consecutive weekends. But there wasn't really any way I could've made it to Readercon without missing out on seeing old friends. I'm sure I would've seen old friends at Readercon, too, but most of those probably would've been people I see regularly at other cons.

I'm almost certainly forgetting to mention various people I've talked with in the past week-plus; socializing takes its toll. I'm also neglecting to mention all the Boston-area people who I'm not seeing at all, including a bunch of sf folks. And the other day I got a very nice note from a Hungarian couple who rented a room in our house when I was a kid; it turns out they're in Boston these days, and I was hoping to get a chance to go see them (it's been something like 30 years) but I don't think it's going to happen this trip.

As I was driving up 89 North yesterday, it struck me that most of the people I'm visiting are friends I've known for just over twenty years now. I met most of them in the fall of 1986 (if I had my calendar from that year handy, I could give the exact date of meeting Kir, since it was my first day at Swarthmore and I was wearing a SWIL T-shirt that she had designed (and that DVS had given me), so I walked into the college post office and a woman I'd never seen before said "You're wearing my shirt!"), and many of the others over the next couple years. Most of the rest I met in spring of 1987, when my Wanderjahr took me to Swarthmore and I met a bunch of cool people from classes of '88 and '00; that was just over ten years ago now.

Which led me to realize that I completely failed to note that last Wednesday, July 4, marked ten years since the day I met both Mary Anne and Cat F, at Westercon in Seattle in 1997. Ten years. Time flies.

Okay, I think I'm about out of things to say, and if I don't get moving soon then I won't make it back to Boston before rush hour. So I'll sign off for now. Don't know when I'll get a chance to post again; may not happen 'til next week. Hope all's well with y'all.


yay think galacticon! i will also be there.

Well, dang. Next time you're driving up I-89 in Vermont, stop in Montpelier and say hello. I don't think I've seen you since I graduated from Swarthmore in 1987. Eep!

Hi, Betsy!

Matthew: eep!--I somehow completely missed or forgot that you live in Montpelier. Would've been good to see you.

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