I’m quite often reminded what an awesome family I have. I traveled quite a lot in the last month to visit people, partly in reaction to the tragedy on Patriot’s Day (I live and work very close to the Boston Marathon finish line) and partly because I hadn’t gotten to see some of my favorite Colorado people at Christmas because I had spent the latter half of my trip suffering from the flu. Visiting my 92 year old grandmother and 95 year old grandfather while contagious seemed like a particularly awful idea, so I did not see them in December.
Hugs and getting to talk freely about how things are really going is healing. So is laughter, and I got to do a lot of that as well. Mom helping me train my new (and first) smartphone to recognize curse words was especially amusing. We went to a lot of my favorite places in their town, and a couple places I had not been before.
My grandfather (who turns 96 next month) was more energetic and present than he’d been the last time I saw him, which was at Thanksgiving. My grandparents moved into an assisted living facility a few months ago, and they seem happier there. Grandma seems to have made a few friends already.
I had the opportunity to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a couple years, which was wonderful. They’re all just as awesome as ever, and the changes in their lives during the last two years seem like they were largely for the best.
As always, I came back with more in my suitcase than I had started out with. I’ve been getting more into cooking, and I found a pretty bento box at one of my favorite independent stores in Fort Collins. My Japanese is getting much better. The store didn’t have any English literature on the boxes offered, but I managed to recognize an unfamiliar term for “dishwasher” (apparently the one I knew is less common) as being a word for dishwasher. I dislike washing things by hand, and I was quite pleased to find one that’s dishwasher and microwave safe. Once I had the dishwasher bit figured out, I was able to puzzle out the rest of the directions without using the dictionary much at all.
Two weeks ago, I went down to NYC to visit my brother and sister-in-law. That also was fun, I hadn’t seen either of them in almost a year. I got quite a few opportunities for long conversations with both of them, despite the fact that our opposing work schedules meant I had to visit on days they were both at work. Spending time wandering through the Met was lovely, as was getting to browse a new favorite and an old favorite bookstore. I came home with a thick stack of books and manga from Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore, which was a place I’d never had the opportunity to visit before. I’m enjoying improving my Japanese reading ability. As I’ve said before, working on something that allows me to see measurable progress makes me happy and keeps me from going nuts. I’m still underemployed, and still searching for something good in my field.
I haven’t written publicly about my feelings and reactions to the recent bombing, and it’s unlikely I will. I scrapped several drafts, and in the end I feel that other people have already said what I want to say with more grace than I can muster. I was home that afternoon with a headache, so I was spared the worst.