Home vs. home

I have been Home (parents’ house) for a whole week now, and am headed home (my house) in two more days.  Things at Home are pretty much as they were when I was a kid, which is to say, rather different from how home is. But also oddly the same.  For starters, here are some things that I have been up to while Home:

1. Eating.  My roommates emailed me (three ways) to tell me that they are having a “sugar party” at their respective homes.  While I do indulge in chocolate a bit more when I’m Home, my family goes in more for the “cholesterol party.” Over the past week, we have had eggs with pork sausage, cheese, and fried potatoes for breakfast; pork tenderloin for dinner; pizza with pork sausage last night; and assorted frozen (fried) appetizer dishes for another dinner. On the docket is a beef stir-fry, beef chili, and leftover pork.  In other words, more meat than I have eaten in a long time.

Granted, we do have veggies too… my mom made a great broccoli- carrot- spinach soup that would have been vegan had I not added some cheddar cheese to the top 🙂

2. Watching Television.  My parents watch a very average amount of television– perhaps even a bit below the amount that the average American watches.  I watch some TV occasionally at home, downloaded from iTunes, but that doesn’t have any commercials, so the commercials are a real novelty for me.  I like to see what is being advertised (and how); that said, after a couple of shows the ads are all pretty redundant.  My stepdad hates (hates, HATES) ads, so he mutes the TV during the commercial breaks.  We all take that opportunity to creatively reinterpret the ads, speaking in place of the characters and making up what product they might be selling before they actually announce it.  Hilarity ensues.

3. Catching up. I met up with the two guys I dated in high school (oy vey) and one of my good friends from middle/high school.  Ex #1 is in his second year of med school at Rush and seems to be doing really well with research and everything. We planned a meeting downtown Chicago, as we hadn’t seen each other in 4 or so years, and had parted on (more or less) amicable terms.

I inadvertently ran into Ex#2 in Starbucks.  Quite honestly, I had hoped that his family had moved out of town and that I would never have to see him again. Alas, no such luck.  As it turns out, he tried to start a theater company in Chicago with no success, and then moved home to study for the LSATs.  His LSAT scores were less than stellar, and he did not get in to law school.  He’s living at home and working at the Starbucks where I ran into him. I’m trying really, really hard not to take so much glee in this. But really, he was a jerk. (As far as I know, he doesn’t know what I’m up to, since he didn’t ask… but it’s a small town and news travels).

My friend is still super cool and is living in Madison.  We just did our yearly catch-up (apart from birthday greetings).

4. Exercise. My mom is an amazingly fit 50-year-old woman. Seriously.  You read what we ate this week– if you saw my mom, you wouldn’t believe it. She looks like she lives on some macrobiotic vegan fare, or something.  In truth, she is super-disciplined (hopefully it comes with age… I’m trying, at least) and gets up at 6 am almost every day to go to this exercise class accross town.  When I’m Home, she drags me (almost literally) with her. Its usually pretty fun, though over T-giving when I went I wanted to kill myself. This time it was great, and I felt really energized afterwards. Woo!

5. [Not] Reading. I brought Home a whole pile of books (mostly ethnographies that my advisor had told me in so many words that I should read over break), but have read only one, a novel by my favorite-author-of-the-moment: Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniéres (that should be an accent grave, but I couldn’t find the right key).  I started it a couple of months ago at a conference, but haven’t had much time to read until now. Unfortunately, I left my glasses at home (stupid! stupid!) and after a little while my vision is too blurry to read very much.

6. Detox. My mom and I decided that we both drink too much caffeine.  Granted, I drink an entire French press before noon (followed by at least a half of another before 4 pm), and she drinks one cup of regular in the morning, followed by half-caf or decaf later on.  In any case, we both quit cold turkey. We’ve been making decaf in the morning (which is maybe cheating a little bit, since there’s a trace amount of caffeine in it still… maybe even a tiny bit more than “trace” amount).  This might also account for my blurry vision, come to think of it. And some random aches and pains. Miraculously, I have not yet had the debilitating “caffeine headache” that I’ve gotten in the past. Maybe that’s because I’ve been getting 10+ hours of sleep a night, too.

That about sums up what I’ve done at Home.  Here’s the plan for when I get home:

1. V.E.G.E.T.A.B.L.E.S. A lot of ’em.  Mmm, kale and collard greens and spinach and broccoli and cabbage and carrots and squash.  I plan to make a veggie pizza for New Year’s Eve (maybe with some chicken sausage too), and there are a variety of veggie soups I want to try.

2. Reading (for real). I need to get those ethnographies read. Or at least skimmed.

3. Bike maintenance. I bought some fenders for my single speed 29’er to commute on, and plan to make some tire chains to help out with the ice/ snow. I want to get my two road bikes tuned, as well, and do a once-over on the 26’er mountain bike.  Ideally, I would get the old parts ripped off of my Schwinn single speed- to- be, but that might be a bit of wishful thinking.

4. Organization. I want to clean out the garage to the point that I can pull my car in (makes for easier shoveling of the driveway).  I also want to organize the part of the basement where I keep all of my tools (yes, I have tools)– I have peg board and the pegs, I just need to, uh, synthesize them.  How great it will be to know exactly where a hammer/ screwdriver/ particular- sized nail is.

5. More oranization. I am about 1/4 of the way through electronically cataloging all of my articles.  I’m through the “G’s. My goal is to get them all entered into EndNote, along with their PDF versions. Makes for much easier biliography-writing.

6. Devise some realistic New Year’s Resolutions. How ’bout some more exercise?


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