On Thursday of last week, we drove to Kansas City, where we stayed with one of Leonore's sisters (of whom no fewer than 52 live in Kansas City; the remaining 35 live elsewhere). (No, none of them is from KC originally. They all just ended up there.) A fine time was had by all, and we ate vast quantities of food.
On Saturday, we drove up to Minneapolis. It's a very attractive city and the freeway system sucks. I got lost numerous times during our stay there. Fortunately, thanks to the Norwegian/Swedish/other Scandinavian influence, even when you are lost and are driving around wondering why the street layout doesn't resemble the street map, you get many opportunities to remark on how clean the streets are. "Gosh, darling, look how clean these streets are!" "They certainly are, sweetheart, and, by the way, where the fuck are we?"
But we did like it. And we also liked the many restaurants we went to with Daniel and Becca, his fianceeeee (how many es in that word?). The food was excellent, and we ate vast quantities of it. The good news is that I think we each gained less than 50 lbs. on the trip.
Monday was the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, it was also a hot, muggy day (the only one of our visit, though), which made things unpleasant, especially for Daniel, who was wearing a cap and gown. (For some details about the ceremony, see Daniel's Live Journal.)
Here's the freshly minted Master of Biostatistics:
On our last full day in Minneapolis, we spent a delightful time walking around Lake Calhoun, part of a string of beautiful lakes inside the city. 10,000 lakes, indeed!
We drove back on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Instead of going back through Kansas City, we took a right turn at Des Moines (which we managed to hit at rush hour, but fortunately it's a fairly wimpy rush hour) and then on through Nebraska. It's not widely known that Nebraska is 5,300 miles in diameter. Fortunately, the speed limit on the interstates there is 75 mph, which does help. We stopped for the night at Lincoln, Nebraska, and if you find yourself in that area and needing a place to stop, I highly, highly recommend the Countryside Suites motel (not the chain with a similar name; this one's independent) at exit 403 on Interstate 80.
Nebraska is greener and prettier than I remembered. Northeast Colorado is just as dreary as I remembered.
The route made for two days with a reasonable amount of driving in each. We got home last night (Thursday) at a reasonable hour. A notification that I had received a MacArthur grant was not waiting for me. This keeps happening, and I'm getting annoyed and impatient.
But it was not all fun and games and vast quantities of food! No, forsooth! I had my laptop with me, and I wrote. Yes, I did. I'm not making this up. I really did write.
I'm in the editing/whipping-the-monster-into-shape phase with the book, now. I have a file full of notes regarding plot problems, so I'm scrolling through the text, wondering where I can stick a particular item in without it looking as though it was stuck in after the fact. I have these notes stored in the notes file in the form of bullet points. For example:
- Farmhouse nice touch, but how and why is it there? You can't just have it in place because it's cool, dummy. Make something up to justify it!
- So when and how did Delia figure out her relationship to the mysterious young blonde woman? Damn.
- How to handle Pedro? When and how does he discover that he's actually the heir to the family fortune but was sent off while still an infant to live with a peasant family in Brownsville? How will this discovery affect his plans to destroy the family mansion on the secret island off the coast of Florida? What about his rivalry with Rock, and his passionate desire for Blaze (the woman, not the horse)?