Christmas wrap-up

We’re leaving Lakewood in a few hours and driving back to JFK to start our long flight home (fortunately, it’s direct to Seattle. I don’t think I could handle connections with the dogs). My parents and Esta left yesterday for Pennsylvania.

It’s been simultaneously a relaxing and exhausting vacation. Relaxing because it was nice to get away from everything, out of the rain, and to spend time with family and with the dogs. Exhausting primarily because of the dogs. After this week we are finally ready to declare Stage 1 of Jefferson’s housebreaking complete (Stage 2 is getting him to go on command). Unfortunately, we weren’t at Stage 1 at the beginning of the week…

I managed during a Monday trip to Princeton to find time to get to the Princeton bookstore, where in 1990 as an early action admittee I bought a Princeton sweatshirt—and a T-shirt from Moscow University. This time my findings were more modest: remaindered books from Joseph Brodsky and Jerome McGann, and a British Library book about great books of the past 500 years. About which, more in time.

Christmas itself was unexpectedly generous: Esta gifted me with a hardbound Charles Addams collection and the Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics, both freebies from a professor of hers, as well as the Three Colors trilogy on DVD and a copy of “Have You Fed the Fish?” And my long-suffering wife replaced my broken 1st generation iPod with a brand new slim 10GB model.

And Jim Heaney came down from Mahwah for an afternoon yesterday, with pictures and the long awaited explanation of his Appalachian Trail nickname, “Mothman.” Apparently a week or so into the hike, he was holding a small flashlight in his mouth and washing dishes when a moth flew up his nose. There you have it.

The best present, of course, was the company. It’ll be hard to get back to real life.