A good break.

The days around Thanksgiving have got to be some of the nicest in Madison. The city is quiet, campus is deserted, and the first real winter chill is in the air. You can walk around town like it belongs to you: no undergrads buzzing around on their scooters, no traffic, and the people who have remained largely holed up indoors, getting ready to receive relatives or cooking an elaborate meal. Walking back from Medical Sciences on Wednesday afternoon, I saw maybe three other people the whole length of Bascom Hill. Not three hours before, a horde of undergrads had been lined up in front of the Union with their suitcases, waiting to board buses for O’Hare. I had been meeting the remaining members of my 720 class for lunch; once we had all assembled at the Lakefront, Mike informed us that his preference would be to head up State Street to Nick’s for their Wednesday liver-and-onions special. We were willing, and made the trek in the developing wind and chill to the ’50s-era greasy spoon, where I had a delicious reuben, a beer, some pecan pie, and a cup of coffee. I got to try a bite of the liver and onions: pretty darn good. I can see how it would hit the spot at this time of year.
Even on Thanksgiving Day, the Jenifer Street Market was hardly busy: Paul, Kellen, and I walked in two hours before they closed, and had no trouble pushing a cart down the already narrow aisles. We picked up everything but the beef tenderloin for our meal; Kellen went home, and Paul and I headed to the East Side Copp’s for meat and ice cream. It was a wickedly cold day, to be sure, which may have explained the relative dearth of holiday grocery-shoppers — I myself can remember no holiday meal that has not involved last-minute trips to the market — but pretty soon we were back at our respective abodes, doing what work we thought we might accomplish before heading over to Kellen’s at six to start cooking.
So Thanksgiving Day was brutally cold and windy; the day after, it warmed up enough to snow softly all day. I woke up to a white landscape, and spent most of the day curled up indoors doing reading for class. In the last light of afternoon, Paul and I walked over to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving leftovers; it was still just barely spitting snow when we headed back across the tracks. We spent much of the weekend enjoying the quiet of his otherwise empty apartment — Maddy and Miller were off visiting family, and the street was almost devoid of parked cars. I read two books and maybe a dozen articles, we cooked green curry and ate ice cream sundaes, watched a film and went for walks in the snow. For such a thoroughly relaxing weekend, I’m actually surprised I did as much work as I did, despite the fact that I’d aimed to do more. I guess that’s the way it always is.
Today I’ve arisen early, and already I’ve knocked several things off my to-do list. I’ve finished my laundry, emailed two professors about spring classes I hope to take, finished and printed a copy of a writing assignment, and — as soon as I’ve finished this entry — blogged for the first time in days. I’m trying to be better about it in general, but these last few weeks of term are nothing short of insane, so if I am remiss, I hope it will be forgiven.
Yesterday, I caught up with Laura and her Mom at a coffeeshop on the West Side, before heading back home to meet up with Scott, Julia, and Leslie Johnston, who were driving through on their way back from Minneapolis. We headed out to the Great Dane for a late lunch; then they had to get back on the road, as they were already looking at an early-a.m. arrival in the ‘Nati, via Indianapolis. It was a lovely, unexpected surprise to see them.
Today marks the beginning of the work week, though I don’t have class. I have a couple of short writing assignments to take care of, and some library time will probably be in order. It’s a lot of work, but it’s seeming at least doable, especially after the respite of these past few days. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving breaks as much as I did mine. I look forward even more to Christmas and New Year’s.

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3 thoughts on “A good break.

  1. SWMBO and I have been eating the traditional after-hunt venison liver, onions & bacon meal for several days now and finaly axed it all last night. Beyond yummy, which it would have to be to string itself out without complaint over SEVEN days running, doncha think?! and I’m onlky sorry you weren’t here for some of it. [For one thing, that would have shortened the run down to about three days, I suppose, which I think is more interesting on the guller, as a general rule, but you won’t hear me complaining about how good it was — truly good.] Sausage – breakfast & Italian – packed and frozen, so that is on the menu soon enough, although we did take out the frying pan and give it a taste while mixing the seasonings into it, just to be sure it was “on target” terrific!
    Last minute shopping trips: I cannot recall many…but then, I MAY have been scouting hillsides when all that was going on, eh.
    Remiss? Take a looksee at The Good Doctor and you’ll see someone who is remiss: BOD mtgs, keeping up with my newspaper articles, church responsibilities attempting to hire to people, getting the cabin ready and cutting out both fallen trees across wood roads and a new trail … blogging has taken a way-back seat to adventure.
    No one looks forward to the Christmas holy days starting on Dec. 21 more than the folks in this home. Quiet, laughter, cooking, reading, snuggling up with a good person or two over a bowl of R-Brand popcorn — I’m ready/

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