I made it back to Kansas via a very circuitous route. The initial setup when I left back in November was that I could drive up to Minnesota and see my mom and brother for a few days before I left; I was definitely running short on days-in-a-row this fall, and I sandwiched that visit between a book signing at Other Skies Books in St. Paul and the flight out. This was pretty perfect in November, but January ended up being much more complicated. No direct flights from Icelandair (who I love) to MSP in January, and (said I) I hated the NYC and DC airport arrangements so much I would rather fly to…oh, anywhere. Say Seattle. (Chicago: also no direct Icelandair flights.) And the timing n flights was sort of sticky, and I wasn’t sure whether the overseas flight would be on time, not to say Passport Control, so I spent a night in Seattle (I didn’t tell anyone because I knew I would be jetlagged) and planned on going out — to MSP because, my car was still up there — the next day. And that flight got delayed and delayed. But I made it at last to my brother’s place at 1am. At 6:30 I was too restless to sleep, so I started the seven hour drive to Kansas, and made it here after what was essentially four days of transit. On the bright side, I seem to have gone so slowly that I didn’t have jetlag. But perhaps another year I would consider the NYC airports?
At no time while I was in Scotland and Iceland did I long to be back, not even in the “Wouldn’t it be nice to wear a sweater that isn’t one of the two sweaters I brought?” way. (Though I definitely loved having a choice when I did make it here.) I thought of friends and the cat and occasionally Taco Zone, and that was it. I suppose it’s nice to be back? It’s clear that I am ready to be done with Lawrence, except for summer workshops. This is where I live, in a charming house with lots of squirrels out back and a nice little downtown — but it’s not home anymore.
I have some goals for the next year:
- Research where I want to move next. Wisconsin, Minnesota. Montana? Oregon or Washington is back on the menu, if there’s any way to afford it. Potentially this could be as soon as June 2025.
- See if I can sort out leaving my phased retirement early. Technically it ends 5/25; but the 25% pay is so paltry that I could walk away, provided I make up that small amount and can leave early. Anyone who wants to contribute to that noble endeavor, you can always paypal me. 🙂
- Twelve short stories this year. Sure, why not? Currently working on #3.
- Sort out the River Bank and American Tour problem. I have been talking to lots of people, collecting information. I know what my next steps are.
- More freelance work! I am working on a RPG edit right now, and I had forgotten how much fun these things are.
- Workshops. I love them so.
Classes start tomorrow for me, and well, that’s a thing. The department has been raising caps (number of students per course) because evidently no one noticed that we were drastically short of offerings for majors and minors, and now we need hundreds of student credit hours we didn’t plan for? Or maybe they did notice but didn’t care? Or cared but thought it would be fine to overload faculty yet again (this is the second or third cap raise since registration opened)? Technically the change in hours this will require from me breaks my contract, and yet, here we are. Anyway, there’s little more to say. Just…wish me well.
All that said, hi ho! I’m starting work on what will be an epic year-long blanket fort for what is likely to be a sticky 2024.
By the way, WP? Your AI will never be as good at writing my sentences as I am. Please stop offering to improve my posts.