Okay…I’m still at work, but I’m done with my work for the day. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, too, so I’m content to stay late writing in my blog!
My visit home was nice. My original plan was to get home on time for a convention in downtown Urbana, or at least on time to hang out with some friends and get something to eat, but I got in so late that I just grabbed a sub from Jimmy John’s, some green iced tea from Espresso, and went home to crash out (after watching Howl’s Moving Castle–great movie).
I woke up Saturday morning and checked my phone to find a text message informing me that I was slated to help lead a workshop in fifteen minutes. I headed straight over and found some coffee and the room where I was supposed to share. Within ten minutes of arriving, I began to experience hints of awkwardness about my recent job change. My anxiety spiked as I began to think that these hints were only the beginning of what would become tension or outright hostility. Thankfully I was able to release the anxiety quickly, and it didn’t take long to see that what I feared would not come to pass. I went out for a nice lunch (Dos Reales) with some friends and the rest of my day was quite enjoyable, with plenty of other workshops and visiting with friends from all over Illinois and from at least one other state, as well.
On Sunday night, I got together with some of my family for my little brother’s 17th birthday. It’s a trip because I remember when he was born. Now he’s taller than I am! We had some nice steaks at the Ribeye.
I spent my day Monday at Espresso, (writing that long-ass description of my trip home, I believe), and then got together that evening with a couple of friends for the Chinese buffet, Four Seasons House. Afterward, Yuka and I met up with my two of my brothers, a sister, and my little bro’s girlfriend for some family bowling at the Illini Union. It was a nice time, and I had the high score on our second game! Score wasn’t as important to us as the speed of the bowling ball though, because the computer displayed that after each roll. I had one of the higher speeds on that, too.
Tuesday I had lunch with a couple of good friends that work at Espresso. We went to the Office, where I got the good old patty melt. It wasn’t until after lunch that I realized that they hadn’t put any onions on it! I had requested raw onions instead of grilled, but I think they misunderstood. Oh well. That night I went to Paxton. We picked up some Just Hamburgers to eat at Mom’s house before driving up to Chicago to pick up Rosie. Those blurry pictures with Jesus on the dashboard are all from that little joy-ride. It was a precise operation: we drove in, got Rose, and drove out. Next time I want to actually stop the car and take some decent pictures of the skyline. Hopefully my next visit will be at a warmer time!
On Wednesday, we joined a Japanese couple who are Espresso regulars for lunch at the Courier. Among other things, we discussed how restaurants quality generally seems to decline once they’ve become really popular. The fries at Courier used to be phenomenal; now they’re just okay. We ran into the same problem that evening at dinner with my dad, at Dos Reales. It wasn’t as busy as usual, so the food was a bit cold and the service was marginal. Dad and I went and shot a couple games of pool together before he dropped me off at a friend’s house for some Halo and Family Guy.
Thursday was Thanskgiving, but we didn’t make it to Paxton until late afternoon. The little lady had some important cloning responsibilities in the lab, and dinner in Paxton wasn’t going to be ready until a bit later anyway. As soon as I got to Paxton, I turned around and rode with my little bro to pick up my bigger little bro in Urbana (I should’ve called before we left to see if he needed a ride). By the time we returned, it was time for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sushi (an emerging family tradition). Once we were all full, we chilled out in the living room watching season one Arrested Development.
On Friday, I went shopping with the little lady, and then we went out to the Great Impasta for a nice dinner with friends. Later we went out and watched Stranger than Fiction, which was rather enjoyable.
The following day, I joined my extended family for a second-round Thanksgiving dinner in my aunt’s new home in Mahomet. We stayed there long enough to see the basketball team from my alma mater defeat the team from the school where I began my college career, then we joined a couple of friends to watch Casino Royale. It was my first time seeing a James Bond movie, and I think it was worth it. Not life-changing or anything, but worth the $6.50 and however much time it lasted.
The next morning I woke up a full two hours after my flight left. I went to the airport and waited on standby, but managed to get a seat on the first flight to Chicago. There I caught the second flight to LA (John Favreau was on the first flight, and there wasn’t room for both of us, even though he’s lost all kinds of weight somehow), and I rode the FlyAway back to the valley, and got on a metro bus to go back home. At the bus stop where I waited for the last ride of the evening, my phone rang. It was someone I met through mutual friends here in LA. “Are you at a bus stop?” Yes… “Do you want a ride?” Sure…
I made it home safe and sound by ten at night. It was a nice trip home.