Inbound or outbound?

Last week, I had my spring break trip to Nebraska, for the second time in as many years.

Yep, spring break means family or academic excursions for me. No sun, sex, surf, and sloshedness!

I drove from Kenosha to Omaha last Friday for a cousin’s בר מצווה (bar mitzvah) and then went to Lincoln. The drive included 2 gas stops, a pure washroom stop, and a food-and-relief stop.

Yesterday, I drove from Lincoln to Kenosha in “one fell swoop.” That is, the only stops I made were 2 gas stops and 3 stops at the john. (Obviously, I would be wise to avoid drinking tea on my next long drive!)

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Unfamiliarly familiar

Although I had planned this post for a few days, the prep for my J-Term course took more grief than I thought! And two of the songs that I heard in the last few days just exacerbated the theme. Sometimes, it pays to wait! 🙂

I heard a song this morning that was particularly popular around March, and it reminded me of a NON-pop song that I heard yesterday on Spotify.

In a Facebook post this morning, I cryptically said, “Once I was 7 years old… stuck by this river.”

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[M.A.P.L.E. V-31] The Travellin’ Show

This is the last post of the fifth year of M.A.P.L.E., and it’s hard to believe how fast it has gone by this year (not to mention the last five Mays since I started blogging).

There has been conservation of difficulty for my blog posts. Although I have had a lot of free time due to not having teaching or grading or prep to do (excluding the first week of the month), I have had difficulty with blogging. But not due to writers’ block!

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[O.C.T.O.B.E.R. IV-17] Fried fish link (#FBF: July 29, 2007)

On Fridays, many restaurants in Wisconsin have fish fry as part of their menu year-round. I enjoyed it a lot, and it reminded me of one of my “culinary adventures” for my family’s Boston trip, eight (!!) years ago.

Even more astounding, my parents are now in Boston for my cousin Kendall’s בת מצווה (bat mitzvah). I wish I could have gone, but I would not have been able to commit to it at the time, particularly since I had also planned to be out the following weekend and was not yet secured with my Stout job by the RSVP deadline.

But, I will flash back to one of the days of this Boston trip: July 29, 2007!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I overslept until 715, and Molly chewed me out because she wanted to get up at 700.  I’m sick of her intolerance and ratting on me.  Levi and I walked down to the atrium and there was an omelette bar, bagels, and bacon, among many other items. [We] chatted about omelettes, vacations, and periods before returning upstairs.

I continued journaling when we got back to the room.  I finished yesterday’s journal and then the power went out.  Molly said, “This definitely rates as the worst Embassy Suites ever.”  I, unfortunately, have to agree.  But, it can only get better from here.  Casey was still showering, and we heard the pipes.  This is crazy!

We took the stairs down to the exit and walked over to Hertz.  I stepped on the Severe Tire Damage spikes and didn’t get hurt.  After we checked out the car, we found Space 313… with no van there!  We returned to the office and found Space 114—a six-person goldish-colored van.  Go figure—this is a Weiss vacation!  Since we won’t get lost due to the GPS, something else must go wrong!

We drove the Big Dig and it didn’t collapse on us.  It’s so cool to drive with tunnel vision and that walkway and the doors alongside the road.  It’s much different from Nebraska, but then again, it’s more expensive ($3.00 and then another dollar for the tolls).  We saw Fenway Park, the Prudential Building, the Charles River, and other salient landmarks.

On the Mass Pike, we passed under a hotel and a supermarket.  It’s even neater than the Archway Monument [in Kearney, Nebraska]!  The scenery really started to change as we moved away from the urban area.  We chatted about driving, city sizes, navigation, and all sorts of other things too.

In the Wellesley Woods, we saw all the trees and houses.  It’s not like the neighborhoods in Lincoln—the houses are closer and it’s just…oh, what was it?  I forgot what I was going to say… but we didn’t near the college—we instead turned into a neighborhood and then snaked around blind driveways, eventually reaching Cousin Margot’s house.  I remember this area only fuzzily.

We saw Margot, Lewis, Kendall, Delaney, and Julia.  The latter three have grown a lot since I last saw them almost three years ago (wow; feels like a long time!)  It is so interesting to meet (re-meet) family members from far away.  Of course, there are in-laws, nth cousins, etc.  It’s so confusing!  A little bit later, Heidi and Neil appeared, and (re)introductions ensued.  I have not seen her before, to the best of my knowledge!

Mom and Heidi were trying to help Margot get breakfast ready.  Of course, she was fine.  We had Dunkin’ Bagels for breakfast, with fruit salad, coffee, and pop.  I was adventurous—I tried (and liked) lox with a toasted bagel [yes, maybe I should have counted this as one of the things which improved my status of cultural Judaism]!  More conventionally (snicker), I had root beer and fruit salad.  There was schmoozing all around and I enjoyed listening to everyone.  There was too much going on for me to discuss it too much!

I got to chat with Heidi, Margot, and Neil for a while.  It started by me reading (looking at) the proof copy of the 2007 American Short Stories.  I chatted about my experience with copy editing from my high-school yearbook class.  I found out about Heidi’s education—she went to a local university and majored in political science.  How things can change!  We chatted about music—I should look around for [James] Swearingen or [Bruce] Pearson CDs.  Supposedly Neil played Wind River Overture when he was in school!

Family time is so much fun!  As a Jewish family, some inside jokes abounded.  They had a book called Yiddish with Dick and Jane.  Of course, it’s a parody on the children’s book, and it’s really funny.  I got great news too: WE HAVE RED SOX TICKETS!  Lewis managed somehow to find tickets through StubHub, a scalping site.

We chatted with the family like always.  We played the Name Game, where we guessed each person’s middle name.  I didn’t keep track of it all, but oh well.  We chatted about everything from sports sellout streaks to life in different places, pro versus college, AFV [America’s Funniest Home Videos], and miscellany.  I hate to say it, but it’s sort of a blur—I was oversensing!

We left and returned via Route 30.  In response to the nice greenery, Mom said, “This is New England.”  We got lost trying to find Concord, and took some really dangerous turns, wanting to avoid the Mass Pike.  On Interstate 95, we saw a river, Polaroid’s headquarters, lots of trees, etc.  We turned on the Lincoln exit (how ironic) and turned at a Mobil On The Run (even more ironic! [The gas station at 48/Highway 2 in Lincoln is a Mobil On The Go.])  This route took us to downtown Concord.

We stopped at a kitchen store of which I didn’t catch the name.  There were many interesting items, and an old smell of stone permeated the store.  A sign said, “Free ride in police car if you shoplift from this store,” which made me laugh.  A conversation about logic ensued and how I could logically get a free ride in a police car without shoplifting.

We walked out of the downtown, and ogled all the old houses.  They had plaques that told the age of the house and the famous face(s) that had lived there.  One of them was John Adams’s house!  We saw the Wright Tavern, which is where the Provincial Congress met prior to the Revolution.  I was amazed and excited with the walk, but others were complaining, especially Molly.

We turned into a graveyard, and it had several hills.  I joked, “Does this park close at dusk because the dead walk at night?”  The others were not amused–come on, lighten up!  It took a while, but we found Author’s Ridge, where the graves of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others were buried.  Transcendental blasphemy! [I just had to say that.]

After exiting the graveyard, we continued walking about.  We stopped at the Colonial Inn to look for ice cream, and instead were instructed to keep going to Bedford Farms, about 15 minutes away on foot.  We first stopped downtown to get a smoothie in order to use that establishment’s restroom.

Before going to Bedford Farms, we looked around downtown more.  Perceptions, a jewelry/clothing store, caught our attention.  Interestingly, the cashier’s great grandfather was the first Homesteader, so we found ANOTHER connection to Nebraska [a la the Grand Island person in Tijuana two years ago]!  We headed to the corner for the Toy Shop to look around, but we were forced out five minutes before they were supposed to close.  That’s not a smart business tactic!

We decided to drive to Bedford instead, and saw a commuter train pass by.  The ice cream here is homemade, and I had Mud Pie and Green Monster mixed.  Each had fudge and Oreo mixed in, but the former was coffee and the latter was mint.  It was very filling, but I enjoyed it.  Dad said it even beat the old Harold’s (sic)!

On to Walden Pond!  We went through a forested area, and saw parking on the left and the pond and cabin on the right.  We didn’t stop at all, because we couldn’t find parking.  Anyway, the others implied that all they wanted to do was to merely see it.  That blows a great photo opportunity!  Further ahead, we found where Uncle Joey’s old house was: a tree-lined rural neighborhood.  The street reminded me of the route past the Fort Dodge Apple Orchard!

We got lost!  Despite having a GPS, we were essentially wandering about aimlessly.  Since I’m writing this the day after, I’ll give the bullets of the car ride:

*Saw the capture site of Paul Revere

*Natick was all over the place

*Casey’s period kicked in but good!

*What else can I say?

We found a strip mall with the sushi bar Minado, but we pressed on to gain hunger.  We got lost (Yay!) trying to find Shaw’s, a grocery store.  There was a Brazilian section of the town that we drove by, and it was interesting—each culture has such different areas!  We found Shaw’s without too much trouble.

We found interesting items (rib chips, bubblegum pop, wasabi nuts) and Dad found the Moxie cola that he was after.  It was nearing 2000 and I was starting to get first signs of hunger-induced anorexia.  We got a set of Massachusetts Lottery tickets to scratch at dinner.  The car ride returned us to Minado, but since it was a buffet, we decided to cancel after all (it would close in 30 minutes or less).

We drove back looking for restaurants.  We all joked about the omnipresent Dunkin’ Donuts, but nothing else in these areas appealed for dinner.  Fast forward to downtown, and we saw the giant CITGO sign and searchlights at Fenway Park.  It certainly WAS something—it was The Police’s concert!  I couldn’t hear what they were singing, but I know that was it.  We struggled to find parking, but Mom found a spot that she successfully squeezed into.

Along the strip, we found a few restaurants that had no wait or some appeal.  Dad told me about the wind and the John Hancock Center—it had a Tacoma Narrows-like problem.  Along the street, there were many people, porches, and some beggars.  We turned around after one of the restaurants had a 45-minute wait for us, and we ended up at Globe for dinner.  I split Dad’s fish-and-chips, and enjoyed them—I’m now 2/2 on adventures this trip!  The rest of the night, we chatted and such, but I faded by 2245.  I crashed upon arrival at the hotel, needless to say!

>TO BE CONTINUED…

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Today is the seventeenth day of the fourth round of O.C.T.O.B.E.R. That makes two weeks and three days.

Memorial Stadium: 7 days.

Thanksgiving Day: 40 days.

Joint Mathematics Meetings: 81 days.

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