Home at last!
I've been mostly disconnected since Thanksgiving break started, with little fits of communication access, and then darkness again.
But first, a clarification about the hat my Canadian colleague so generously donated to me in my time of need in arctic Nova Scotia. My dad, a born-and-raised southern Louisiana boy, informed me that the hat is called a Toque. How he would know this, as he's never lived for more than 1 year anywhere colder than Texas, I can't underatand, except to fall back on the usual explanation that my dad actually knows everything.
So, through brilliant deduction, I have determined that my hat is in fact Provencal, and not Canadian as I had previously reported. The way I figure, if the hat is a toque, then surely it was named for Alexis de Tocqueville, which would make perfect sense as the Canadians, like Americans, are fans of democracy. And what a fine homage, indeed! And if a toque a hat, then I can only conclude that de Tocqueville translates to from Hat Town. Well, if there's a Hat Town in France, then it must be Avignon, where the critically acclaimed Chapeauneuf-des-Papes comes from. So de Tocqueville's ancestors must have come from Avignon, and the Toque, while it may have been dreamed up by Canadians, clearly has Provencal roots. And now you know!
By the way, the hat has saved my toque-us on 2 more trips since then, and it has special status as my 3rd-favorite-winter-hat now.
The Austin trip was terrific! We got to spend lots of time with my mom and dad, my brother and my sister-in-close-enough-to-law, which alone would make the trip worth going, but we also got to spend some time with my niece, who is the coolest little chickie I know. She's not very tall for her age, so even better, she isn't taller then I am yet. By about 10-12 years old, all my little cousins have passed me in height. What do they feed these kids in the public schools??? I know that within another 2 years or so, my neice will be doing the thing where she rests an elbow on my shoulder, all causally, so that it's even more obvious that she's as tall as an amazon. I'm resigned to my destiny of bolstering the self-esteem of the pre-teens in my family. Everybody's got their something. *sigh.
We did some pilates with mom, went ice skating with my neice, saw T&E and their little dude (a.k.a. Big Al). SNG went home on Tuesday, and I flew from AUS to Ann Arbor on Wednesday to teach at UofM. It was a good time, but Ann Arbor is SERIOUSLY cold. It snowed and I didn't have a car, so I walked everywhere. But I had my fabulous new knee-length down-filled coat, so it wasn't all that bad.
And there's only 1 trip left for the year! Yay! Week after next SNG and I will go up to NYC (I've got a 3-day class, SNG's got a lot of sightseeing to do) and hopefully will be able to see my cousin Cosmopolitan (who thinks her name refers to her social drinking habits, but it really refers to the fact that she's lived in some major urban-hip places, so she's the most cosmopolitan person in our family). We'll also grab dinner with a friend from work and his partner while we're there, and we always like seeing them. In the meantime, though, it's overtime in the woods for me! I missed most of the fall colors, but I'll be darned if I miss the last of the not-too-cold-to-hike weather.