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Thursday, January 12, 2006


Blogging sort of got lost there amidst the other stuff I was doing -- apologies to the several of you who are still checking. But I think I'll pick it up again here.

The big news for me is that my dad, after being in the hospital pretty much since Thanksgiving (with medical twists and turns galore) is doing better now. He's in a rehabilitation hospital, getting intensive physical therapy for the effects of a stroke and a still-nebulous neurological condition. As of a few days ago he can walk (tentatively) without someone supporting him and is feeling a bit better in general. His doctors wanted him there for another couple weeks, but he's coming home this Saturday on the orders of the caring folks at Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Regardless, it's so good to finally see him make some sustained improvement.

As idiotic as it is for the insurance company to send him home before he's really better, it will be nice to see him come home while I'm visiting -- I drove up from Baltimore today. (I made it in just under five hours, which is pretty darn good.) My brother is still on break from school, too, which is nice.

Let's see...to recap what I've been up to since I last posted without getting too long-winded:

I successfully completed my first semester at IPS. It was intense to the end, but I did manage to get all my work done and not fail the stats and econ exams. From what everyone tells me, the first semester is the hardest by far, so things should be a bit less stressful for the remainder. I've scheduled myself for seven classes this coming semester, but they should still add up to less work than the fall (a couple aren't full courses).

After spending Christmas in Connecticut, I went to Minneapolis for New Year's. Amanda was kind enough to let me stay on her futon and constantly check my email on her computer for an entire week, and it almost felt like I was still living in Minneapolis. I got one wish when it snowed the night after I got there, and we went sledding in Kenwood Park the following afternoon. And of course there was plenty of hanging out, game playing (esp. Apples to Apples), eating, etc. in the course of the week. John and Becky held a nice New Year's party where I earned some pictures of myself that will surely be used to blackmail me at a late date. It was great to see everybody.

I stopped by the union office while I was in town, and everybody seemed pretty wrung out, as you might expect. It was good to see them, though; while the strike formally continues, everyone is making other plans out of necessity. I went out to lunch with Ted, who's been having some trouble getting a job due to his rep as a union rabble-rouser. I suspect he'll do fine in the long run, though, since he's actually developed a lot of managerial and people skills during his time as a union officer.

I returned to Baltimore to find that the our rat had reasserted himself with a vengeance, even having the gall to crack open my new canister of oatmeal. I bought a big Rubbermaid container for all my food. I've had the misfortune of seeing him a couple times in the last week; he is rather large, which makes sense since he has plenty to eat. We have ceded the pantry to him (or more likely, several of them), and are in the process of negotiating limited local autonomy in exchange for a non-agression pact. Failing that, we're going to get some better poison.

While I was in Baltimore I also secured a 12-hour per week position at the Maryland State Highway Administration starting at the end of the month, with no firm end date. This is a bit odd considering my ambivalent (at best) feelings toward automobile infrastructure, but it's good experience and the folks in the policy office there are friendly and will let me spend part of my time on relevant projects I select/make up. I do have to wear a shirt and tie, though, which probably means I'm going to have to expand on my two-shirt repetoire.

I was supposed to commute to Frederick, MD to work on HOPE VI housing stuff full time for the last week and a half of break, but that just fell through today because of a hangup at the Housing Authority. I'll probably be in Baltimore from next week onward anyway, doing some related work, but not full time.

So much for not being long-winded...

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