Trip to Stillwater and Chicago.

Cathy’s brother Tom had accepted an opportunity to go teach English in Thailand (Phuket) for a while, and when he announced a send-off soiree (in the form of an old-fashioned minor league baseball game), we immediately put it on the schedule and drove out to see the Saint Paul Saints. A marvelous experience, replete with doting host, family and friends, and old-fashioned mini-donuts!

Cathy’s sister Theresa also took charge, while we were there, of an impromptu baby shower for us. The theme, since everyone knew at this point that we would be moving, was your favorite children’s book, plus an explanation of why it was your favorite children’s book. Theresa also took on the task of keeping these books for us until after the move, and then shipping them up once we had an address–so we wouldn’t have the bulk and weight to worry about. Cathy’s family is so good with cool ideas like that…

From Stillwater, the timing worked out well enough that we just headed on into Chicago, for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ international conference. Now you might say that I am “not a fan” of Chicago, but that simple phrasing doesn’t really capture the quantity of contemptuous disdain I have for the famous political machine and itscontemptuous and conspicuous disdain for the concept of individual sovereignty. It might be more accurate to say that there is no way I would set foot in the place by my own choice. (From that point, I actually start to get nasty, so I’ll stop.) This gives you some idea of how much I love my wife, and enjoy these GFWC events. And as a real added bonus, we got to see friends Nathan and Maria and I even got the treasured chance to play guitar with Nathan for a short while.

This trip was also the maiden voyage of the new Jeep Cherokee, which was acquired primarily to be a better riding vehicle for Cathy during the pregnancy. (The Subaru was so low to the ground that she got very uncomfortable on long trips in the seats.) I named her Pearl, after a woman I worked with remotely at IBM, and quickly remembered how delightfully right that vehicle is for me. It’s just a joy to drive, capable of anything my stomach is capable of off-road, and makes a viable family vehicle as well, while being quite efficient for its size and power (there’s a reason that engine did not change materially for over fifteen years). Cathy, too, remembered how much she enjoyed having a Cherokee in the stable, and we were set for the summer.