Last Tuesday I finished my poster and sent it off to the printer, woohoo! And that left me feeling faintly off-kilter, because the end of November is usually when I'm all bustling to get ready for AGU, but because both Thanksgiving and AGU are super-early this year, here it is bus-time and I'm already done with everything. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
But then the next day we hopped in the car and drove six hours to Middle-of-Nowhere, Nebraska. (A little town called Naponee, just north of the Kansas border.) See, my step-brother and some hunting buddies bought a house there to use when they go hunting, because it was only $15k because it's in Middle-of-Nowhere, Nebraska. And my mom & step-dad have left Alaska and come back down to the lower 48 to go traveling (because if they didn't do it now, they were never going to), and have been staying there because it makes a good home base. So we went out there for Thanksgiving!
The drive was long. Naponee is quiet. We had a lovely and low-key Thanksgiving dinner. Took the dogs for a walk around the overly-optimisically-sized cemetery, went for a little drive around the territory, helped cook, read books, that kind of thing. Jerry and I slept in the fifth-wheel trailer because it had the best bed. It had been winterized, so if you woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom, you had to put clothes on and make the trip inside (well, or just step outside and pee on the lawn). The second night, I woke up not long before dawn in such a state, and outside it was cold and clear and dark and the stars were AMAZING, even with streetlight glare, and I actually saw two meteors in the space of a minute!
We drove back on Friday. I always get a little unsettled by the vastness of the great plains, and can't help but think about what it must have been like to cross them on foot back in the day and it makes me fiercely glad that we have cars and planes now.
On Saturday there was a truly spectacular sunset that Jerry and I went outside to appreciate and take pictures of. And then I went and visited my grandmother, who is now 98, and hear the stories about how my uncle's first wife walked out on him and her son after work one day, and how my abusive bigamous great-grandfather died when a tornado dropped a stove on his head and stuff like that. Gramma will talk your ear off, but I don't mind. Also, I got there after dark and didn't sit right under any light sources, so I don't think she noticed that my hair is purple (I recolored it a week ago) and I didn't have to explain it. Score!
And then Sunday we met Bats & Sarah at Empress for dim sum in the morning and it was fantastic. And that evening I played Small World with Jeff & Tom & Bryan over at Jeff's place and I won, ha-HA!
So all in all, it was a pretty excellent long vacation week.
Last night I made dulce de leche coconut macaroons, and early tomorrow morning we're off to Estes Park and the Stanley Hotel for an overnight stay. Jerry gets to explore, while I will be at a strategic planning retreat. Woo. Still, at least it's someplace nice.