There have been complaints (or at least hints) that I've been remiss in my blogging. 19 days! That's almost three times my normal time between posting. Okay, okay, people. What have I been doing all that time? Sometimes I was sick. Sometimes I was at work or checking papers or lesson planning. Sometimes I was doing housework or resting or sleeping. Sometimes I was working on Grad school applications (I won't make the ones with Jan. 3 deadlines, but I will make the ones with Feb. 3 deadlines). Sometimes I was Christmas shopping.
One night (was it the 15th?) Tom and I helped his friend Danno (Dan-O?) celebrate his birthday. He's quite the character and the place was like a hybrid between a bar and a Chuck E. Cheese. My favorite was playing Skeeball. Tom and I proved surprisingly good at this military game where you have to hold big fake guns and kill people. His friend Dom crooned, "Aw. The couple that kills together..." Um, I don't think that's how the saying is supposed to go. I'm not sure how I feel about violent video games. I definitely don't support children playing them. Generally I think adults should find better ways to spend their time, but for one night it was okay. We pooled all our tickets for Danno to buy prizes with. In the end he had more than 4800 points, which allowed him to buy several things. He didn't get the blender, as Becker suggested, or the basketball hoop I suggested, but he seemed happy with his remote control cars and other goodies.
Another night (the 16th?) Tom took me for Medditeranean food. I had the most delicious lamb kebabs. On the way there, we heard a lot of honking and saw police lights flashing in the distance. Suddenly, I saw something strange. A COW! A calf? I don't know. It wasn't a baby, but it wasn't full-grown, either. Anyway, this cow was running down the sidewalk, full-tilt, its hooves slipping and sliding a bit. It was obviously terrified.
"Tom, A COW!" I exclaimed.
"What? Oh, it is a cow," he replied, surprised as six cop cars with their lights blazing and sirens screaming came tearing around the corner.
"Should we stop?" I wondered, "I know how to catch a cow, and they obviously don't."
"No, Erin, you are not going to catch the cow," he said.
"Why not? I can do it!"
"Because they are the NYPD, and they might not understand who you are or what you're doing or that you know how to catch the cow. So no, we are not stopping." Okay, good point. There've been some problems lately with them shooting first and asking questions later. Anyway, it was a bizarre moment.
On the 17th, I went to my church's fake Christmas Eve candlelight service. You see, so many of the church members have families far away. This way, we could celebrate with our church family. Monday was the work holiday party. Tuesday Tom took me to an amazing bakery for cupcakes (the person who runs it helped create the famous Magnolia bakery). Wednesday my girlfriends and I had a gift exchange at Blue Angel, home of the cutest salt and pepper shakers. (See photo at left where we posed them with umbrellas from our drinks.)
Thursday, I was supposed to fly out. Well, for this part I'll just quote the complaint letter I sent United Airlines: "Before leaving for the airport Dec. 21, I checked online, and my flight was supposed to depart on time. I arrived at 5:45. My flight that day was delayed from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I wasn't allowed to use online check-in, supposedly because I wouldn't make my connecting flight. (I would have made my connecting flight, but if I missed it I could have found alternate transportation from Chicago to Des Moines.)
"Your agents at LaGuardia made anyone flying through Chicago stay in line for hours (pulling other travelers out of the line, but telling us to stay), which caused us to miss our flights. I assume people flying standby or the many people whose flights had been delayed or canceled took our seats. At 8:45, the agents told us to go home. I stayed to make new flight arrangements. The agents couldn't get me a flight to Des Moines (or any nearby airports like Minneapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc.) until December 25. They informed me that the flights were oversold."