Labor Day Weekend

It's amazing what a three-day weekend can allow, and I was definitely in need of one at this point in the summer. It was perfect, because it allowed me to segment my time as I have found is most effective for me, and I got to do everything I could have hoped for on a single weekend. Glorious.

Saturday was my sister's feis, which was lots of fun. She did wonderfully, and got a first place and a third place medal. The dancing was great, as was the music. I also got a glimpse into the eccentricities of the competitive Irish dance world--bucket seats and sock glue and bun wigs and the like. Always very interesting... It feels a bit like a curly hair convention, which is fun, although at times it gets a bit overboard. And if I had my choice, I would institute a sequin ban in the solo dresses, which are INTENSE. But it was neat to see how the steps for the dances differ from school to school, and such.

After that I returned to my mom's house for a car washing extravaganza, using all sorts of products I never even knew existed, and I found myself to have temporarily run out of interest in meticulous attention to detail, which people who have lived with me, especially, may find as shocking as I did. Maybe I get a bit much of it at work? That's the hypothesis, anyway. I don't think I'm cured for good of compulsiveness, certainly, so don't worry. We also watched Miracle, which was a pretty good movie.

Quite excitingly, I was able to spend most of Sunday in bona fide Sabbath, which I have wanted to do for some time, and the three day weekend finally gave me the chance. I'm hoping to make it a more regular habit even on weekends of the paltry two-day variety. I spent most of the day up on a hilltop overlooking the city, reading and writing and praying. It was very good, very peaceful, and towards the end I met a Vietnam veteran named Larry who sat down and talked to me for a little while about his life and beliefs and such. He was a very nice man, and some of what he spoke about actually related to some things I had been puzzling over earlier in the day. As I was walking back home I got a call from my dad, who picked me up on his way out to go see The Illusionist, which I very much enjoyed. I also won our contest to guess the movie's post-preview start time--quite exciting. :-)

I set aside most of Monday for cleaning out and organizing the last pesky hiding places in my room--drawers and closet and under the bed and the like--hoping to finish them up before I head back up North. But first, I was excited to discover that the cross country team was meeting, and since work has kept me not only from attending camp this summer (tragedy of tragedies!) but also generally from getting to run with the team or meet the new freshmen or hang out with all the wonderfull people I've had the chance to get to know in previous years, I decided to seize the opportunity to get in at least one day with the team.

It was great to see everyone, and it seems like it will be a really good year. I was encouraged by the positive, dedicated attitudes of the freshmen I met. We ran along the ocean, which was lovely, and I got to hear all the stories of crazy camp adventures, which sounded hearteningly like the good old days, but better! I swear, Running Camp really does just get better every year. I have vowed to return for next year's camp even if wild horses attempt to prevent me--although I'm not sure why exactly they would try. But they better not even bother, is all I'm saying! I also did the circuit course with the freshmen when they had all returned, which was pretty intense especially after a four-mile run for this girl who hasn't been doing any training aside from Irish dance the whole summer. It was painful, but that didn't keep me from going around again when the returning runners came back and took their turn. So now I am paying for my foolhardy exuberance with aches and soreness in about every muscle imaginable--but it was worth it!

After practice I decided to stop by the Juice Kaboose for a smoothie, and as I was waiting in line I picked up the mixed-up rubik's cube on the counter (always a temptation) and started to solve it. When I got to the front of the line, the guy behind the counter asked me if I was going to finish it. I said I would, and he said he had always promised to give a free smoothie to anyone who could solve the thing. "Ok," I said. "But," he added, "you have to place your order now, and you have to finish it before I finish your smoothie." Well, it wasn't really fair for him, because I was already halfway through by then, but still my heart was racing when I set the solved rubik's cube down on the counter. "Are you sure?" I asked, as he slid the smoothie across to me, still willing to pay. But he insisted, so I now owe Brent Ferguson, my trusty RC-tutor, one smoothie. Brent, if you're reading this, you may collect at any time.

The rest of the day was spent organizing, and I did manage to get it pretty much done, so now I just need to start the process of packing my stuff, since the plan is to head out the morning after my last day of work, which doesn't leave me much free time to get everything together. But I am definitely eager to get up there and start writing, an eagerness of which this entry may be some indication.

One other note of interest (to me, at least)--today was my second-to-last Irish dance lesson in San Diego (sadness!), but instead of our usual teacher (whose 21st birthday is tomorrow--Happy Birthday, John!), we had Mr. Bracken, the founder and head of the school. He is a wonderful Irish man, and I just love the lilt, so it was very fun to hear him speak. He also has a lot of mannerisms and facial expressions very similar to those of Toby, a very fabulous friend of my flatmates from my time abroad who has earned one of the many special places set aside in my heart on that journey, so it was almost like getting to see him again, as well. It is both heartening, and sad, to have so many dear friends and wonderful people so scattered across the globe that I can't possibly keep in touch with them all; and yet, just knowing they're out there is often enough. Thanks to all of you who fit in that category--even if I'm not the best at keeping in touch, I very much value and appreciate you, and I promise I think of you often. You keep me going: thank you!


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