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When my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I teasingly answered that I wanted the famous family sugar cookies, knowing full well they didn’t have time or space to take on that laborious process.  Lo and behold, we ended up receiving Christmas Cookie assortments from *four* different friends and none of the cookies were repeats!

This has been an excellent holiday season of seeing friends and sharing with family.  I talked to my parents on the phone this morning and they told me all about my grandpa’s status. Grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago.  He doesn’t usually know what day it is, but he’s figured his way out of 4 different assisted living facilities.  Most recently, he figured out that hitting the door’s button a certain number of times triggered the emergency exit release.  On a separate occasion, the staff claimed he must have watched them enter their access codes and memorized the numbers because there was no other way for him to get out of the building.

I maintain my grandpa is brilliant and we just don’t understand where he’s coming from right now.  My favorite example from his Christmas Eve conversations:

My dad:  “You remember we moved, right?”

Grandpa: “Yeah, you moved to Oregon.”

Dad: “No, we moved to Oklahoma.”

Grandpa: “I think you’d be happier in Oregon.”

… to one of my all-time favorite bands: Pink Martini.  This song, especially, makes me feel happy whenever I listen to it and I just found a clip of it from the Letterman Show, so I have to share:

Incidentally, a good ol’ Oregon friend, has delighted me once again with her astute powers of observation:

The aura of the Woodsman Restaurant sign has burnt out:

The Woodsman Rest____nt

A picture will hopefully be posted soon. Unless after months of neglecting the dearly departed neon letters, The Woodsman suddenly lit up their aura again.

… a burnt-out aura. I needed a good smart laugh like that. These classes I’m taking… a couple of them are not making me feel smart… yet.

But this image of the burnt-out aura has me thinking about a great new indy band that shall call themselves “Burnt Out Aura” and the cover art for their very first album will be a photograph of the Woodsman, with the burnt out letters front and center. I would buy that album.

Last Back Door View

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.

Last night we said good-bye to Chris by the light of a burning box of matches. Many sad good-byes this week… but everyone happy for us, too. I want pictures of every last moment we have with each friend, to remember. I’m not fast enough for that, but these won’t be the last times we see them.

Lori and I have been so busy these past few weeks with preparing to move that I don’t think we’re giving ourselves enough time to mentally psych up for the transition.

Big dreamy ideas that I’ve been entertaining:

  • since I’ll have to find a whole new routine in Illinois, I can finally sculpt for myself the routine I really want, complete with daily exercise, reading, and writing
  • once we get settled, I’ll try going completely vegan
  • I’ll finally be far, far away from the really annoying aspects of Corvallis

… but I have to remind myself that:

  • just because our location is changing, doesn’t mean our old habits will change
  • we won’t be able to completely unpack for our first two months because we’ll just be in a sublet
  • Illinois will have unique annoying aspects of its own (uh, Unofficial?)

I’m thinking back on the stages of culture shock that I had to read about before going over to Germany. Since we’ll be changing apartments within just two months of arrival, I think our culture shock stages will either repeat or just get plain screwy. But I hope that as two educated, intelligent women, we’ll be able to recognize our little withdrawal and adjustment phases and find a healthy balance quickly. We’ve already talked about the importance of establishing a sort of daily outline as soon as we get there, and I think that will help a lot.

I’m most worried about our housing, really. That could make or break our first impressions of our new city. I’ve never sublet before so I’m not even sure what to expect from this experience. I hope it’s simple, straightforward, open/close. I hope the place is nice, considering we’ve only seen photos. I hope we find a place for August that will actually let us move in sometime in late July. The sooner we can unpack and spread out, the better. I hope Lori is really, really happy there. I don’t want her to be disappointed by the move.

And friends. We will definitely miss our friends. How do you have a proper housewarming without them? Chris, Sarah, Jessee, Susan, Astrid, Jane, Lisa, Maggie, may we all find ourselves sipping a ‘cello one day in our future kitchen in Illinois.

Walking back from lunch, I entered the quad from a far corner looking out on the music building, women's building, and the library. Classes were in the ten-minute switch so students were everywhere. Beautiful, sunny 60 degrees, a few people sprawled out on the grass, while everyone else was walking to one building or another. A slow trumpet solo sailed out from a window somewhere, an environmental group was asking for donations, and a preacher in a cowboy hat was lecturing in front of the library from his placard of bible verses. I walked past just as he said something about "our imaginations or other people's imaginations"… Times like this remind me why I like working on a college campus.

1…. Gathering Together Farm
2…. First Alternative Coop
3…. being near the coast
4…. being near Portland
5…. being near Eugene
6…. bushy, flowering, green plants everywhere
7…. rain showers on our apartment skylights
8…. OSU's Craft Center
9…. seeing people we know
10…. seeing Pink Martini twice a year, at least
+  …. the mountains

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