A return to normalcy?

April 2, 2007

With Spring Break now two weeks past, things have returned to normal at work. The smell that accompanied the new carpet in my library has disappeared… not that it was too bad in the first place. It certainly didn’t have the same noxious properties as the carpet put down at the public library where I used to work years ago, as in I didn’t develop nauseous or fainting feelings this time around.

For some good news, Diane celebrated her birthday last week. She turned 32, though people think she’s much younger. She has grown weary of people saying, “You look so young to have a Ph.D.” I even heard a story snippet from her about someone mistakening her for an undergraduate at the university where she teaches. To celebrate, we met her parents in Plano Saturday before last to have dinner at a steakhouse called The Keg. Like other steakhouses I have visited, it has a venerable dimly-lit atmosphere, but with a number of contemporary touches to make it look like a slightly more hip counterpart to the English stylings of Steak and Ale. The food is excellent as well. We repeated the steakhouse theme on Diane’s actual birthday last Wednesday by visiting Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth. With valet parking right outside, brass plates with names like “Harrison Ford” embossed on them over coat hooks, a la carte menus where a side dish costs as much as a meal at Chili’s, and cigars as dessert items, it’s the kind of place a LIS professor and a librarian have no business being at… not even at professional conferences, where one rationalizes eating at the best places in town. But then, it was a special occasion. With all this steak of late, I feel compelled to go vegetarian for balance next time we go to Austin. At least there, vegetarian fare transcends the veggie plates or veggie delights one usually finds elsewhere. Of course, if we go to Katz’s Deli, all bets are off.

On Diane’s birthday, my father in Ohio had to go to the hospital for gall bladder problems. I didn’t find out until Thursday, while checking my personal e-mail. This indicates that it’s nothing serious, though he has had two surgeries, and he is still in hospital. Hopefully, he will go home tomorrow. My sister-in-law flew up from Oklahoma to will help him out this week. After that, my oldest brother will go up for approximately another week. I don’t know if Diane and I will go, especially with some upcoming commitments (especially on Diane’s part), but we’ll have to see what various people figure out, as well as how Dad feels.

Despite the situation, Diane and I have found time to do some normal things this weekend. I introduced Diane to the groundbreaking film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Friday, which reflected mid-1960s angst and helped demolish the stranglehold of the Hays Code in favor of the current ratings system (for better or worse). Certainly a movie of the Lonely Crowd, who deserve much more credit for what happened during “the ’60s” than Boomers. Quite a conversation starter, too, as Diane mentioned with regard to gender issues over lunch the following day. If you haven’t seen the film, I recommend that you do. It might not seem “shocking” now, but it’s a lot more raw if you watch it while thinking of the film’s historical context. Despite the strangeness of that film, Diane thinks that Sunset Boulevard has been the strangest of all the movies I’ve picked for us to watch for “movie night.”

That’s pretty much all the important non-work stuff from this week. I do hope to address some remotely professional issues next time around, and maybe avoid mentioning food as well.

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