Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free From Obligation

For the next five weeks, I am free from obligation. I have the luxury of deciding how to spend my time.

I shall assume all household burdens during this period in order that Andrew and I may enjoy our evenings together.

However, household tasks will not take up much of my time—our apartment is very small, and we have no backlog of household tasks awaiting attention—and I will have an amount of time at my disposal that I may not have again for years and years.

If Andrew did not have to work, he and I could use this time to travel. However, Andrew DOES have to work—and, in any case, he and I shall be traveling from early July until the middle of August.

I think I shall undertake a reading program—something as far afield from the law as possible—and presently I am mulling over a few possibilities.

Edward Gibbon is on the table, but I am not confident that I am in the mood to attempt unabridged Gibbon.

I have given some thought to reading all six volumes of “The Pallisers”, but I have no especial love for Anthony Trollope and I am not confident that “The Pallisers” would hold my interest.

Leon Edel’s multi-volume study of Henry James is under consideration, but the prospect of reading the complete Edel does not excite me.

I am leaning, ever-so-slightly, toward Fernand Braudel’s three-volume study of civilization and capitalism. Andrew says that the Braudel is stunning. I think I shall make the Braudel my project—unless and until I come upon a better idea.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Early tomorrow afternoon, Andrew and I will fly to Oklahoma City. We will spend Memorial Day Weekend with my family. On Saturday morning, we will attend my brother’s high school graduation.

This year will be the first time my high school will conduct commencement exercises on a Saturday morning. In the past, all graduation ceremonies at my high school were conducted in the evening, generally on a Friday night (like last year, when Andrew and I attended my sister’s high school graduation). I do not know the reason for the change, but my parents tell me that scheduling commencements for Saturday morning has become a growing practice in and around Oklahoma City.

Aside from the graduation, we have nothing planned for the weekend. On Saturday, after the ceremony, my parents will host relatives for a gathering dedicated to my brother’s graduation. I’m sure it will be very low-key. My brother is very blasé about the whole thing.

There are no nonstop flights between Boston and Oklahoma City, but Andrew and I were able to obtain a good set of flights, with only one stop each way. We will fly through Cincinnati on the way to Oklahoma and through Atlanta on the way home. Our travel time is scheduled to be only five hours and twenty-seven minutes on the outbound leg of our journey, and only five hours and forty-nine minutes on the return leg. I thought those times were pretty favorable. We could have done far worse.

If our flights are on time, we will be back in Boston five minutes past midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer Vacation Planned

The outline of our summer vacation is planned.

We will depart on Thursday afternoon, July 30. We are scheduled to arrive in Munich on Friday, morning, July 31.

We will spend Friday, July 31, Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2, in Munich.

On Monday, August 3, we will head for Salzburg via Lake Chiemsee.

On Tuesday, August 4, we will head for Vienna via Melk.

We will spend Wednesday, August 5, in Vienna.

On Thursday, August 6, we will head for Graz via the Semmering Pass.

On Friday, August 7, we will head for Innsbruck via Klagenfurt, Lake Worth, Grossglockner Pass, Zell Am See and Kitzbuhel.

On Saturday, August 8, we will head back to Munich.

We will spend Sunday, August 9, in Munich.

On Monday, August 10, we will fly home.

It will not be a long vacation, but twelve days constitute the longest possible time my parents may be away from their work at present.

The purpose of the trip is to see as much spectacular Alpine scenery as possible, and we intend to see a lot of it, making one Northerly swing and one Southerly swing through Austria.

We shall visit a couple of museums in Munich and attend an opera performance in Vienna, but otherwise this trip is not built around historic and cultural attractions. We shall devote five days to experiencing the essence of Munich and Vienna, and five days to witnessing nature’s wonders in the provinces.

My parents are already worried about the flight arrangements.

On the trip over, we shall all meet in Chicago and fly to Munich nonstop on the same flight. My parents are already concerned about summer storms—they fear that summer storms will delay their flight from Oklahoma City to Chicago or delay Andrew’s and my flight from Minneapolis to Chicago—and the possibility that summer storms will cause them or us to miss the flight to Munich.

Andrew and I keep telling my parents that, in the event of unavoidable delays, the airline will be obligated to make other arrangements to get everyone to Munich, but my parents are worried anyway.

They also are worried that their luggage will not make the flight to Munich!

On the return journey, we will not all be on the same flight across the Atlantic. Andrew and I will return to Minneapolis via Chicago, but my parents and my brother and sister will return to Oklahoma City via Washington Dulles. Happily, our respective return flights are scheduled to depart within 55 minutes of each other.

Our upcoming trip will be my brother’s first trip outside the United States. He still has not received his passport, but it should arrive literally any day.

Since he selected our destination, he had better not change his mind now that all arrangements have been made!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Halfway Through

I am halfway through the exam period, and I will be glad when it is over.

Andrew has not been helpful.

He has been force-feeding me all sorts of weird Norwegian eel dishes, playing Schoenberg’s “Moses And Aaron” at full volume 24 hours a day, and continuously reading aloud from “Santa Anna’s Mexican Army 1821-1848”.

I think I am going to scream.