I have returned from visiting my parents. It has sincerely been lovely. Levitas Cat and I armed ourselves with my current novel (Howards End) and his current box (Fig. 1) and drove three hours to visit my parents for four days of delicious food and relaxing fresh air. The relaxing bit was inconveniently delayed because I forgot my phone charger and had to backtrack a bit. Which meant that I hit Friday evening outbound traffic in America's fourth-largest city. Which turned a three-hour drive into a five-hour drive. I was pretty cranky for the two hours I spent crawling out of the city in gridlock traffic. Once the road opened up to a desolate interstate of 75mph, my mood perked up considerably. I have crappy night vision and the wind requires a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel, but I feel peacefully benevolent towards my fellow man when I am speeding along the dark highway with naught but a cat riding shotgun and Der Ring on my headphones.

My parents have a charming place and I love to see them in their natural habitat because they are genuinely happy in it. Mother showed off her gorgeous quilts which can now be properly presented against the backdrop of a new paint job and new couches. Dad has been keeping me in the loop on his electronics project for his boat and now that he's finally completed it he was able to teach me the systems (it's way cool). I helped Dad out with some small boat projects and helped Mother with some killer cooking. Considering that ten years ago my parents and I weren't even on speaking terms, I can say vehemently for all three of us that these are cherished little moments.

The cat slept. Like a toddler and his teddy bear, I brought the cat's stupid Box Of The Week and he clambered in, turned it on its side, and parked himself there. Oh, he sunned himself a bit, but mostly he was that kid that goes to Hawaii and doesn't look up from his Gameboy.

Fig. 1:

We ate fondue. Real fondue, TYVM, with Mother's homemade bread. I am an expert gruyère grater. Fondue is in my heritage. Basically, cheese is in my heritage. Also chocolate. Also wine.

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We watched some bowl games. Ever since my team choked in their final game this season, my heart hasn't really been in the football spirit of things, but I'll be missing the bejesus out of college football in April, so I know I ought to watch it while I can.

I read. I'm on an E.M. Forster kick and I'm loving every page of it. Mostly, however, I read my battered copy of The Silmarillion and reacquainted myself with the Valar and the Eldar. I'm a terribly slow reader, by the way. It's such a grave misassumption that prolific reader = fast reader. Jeez, no. I can spend half an hour on a really great paragraph. Erm, that's reading, not writing.

Did I mention wine? We drank a lot of wine. Heritage, bitches.

I learned about marine electronics systems! I feel accomplished. I also spent a while scraping goo off of fiberglass. Less glamorous, but whatever. Still nice to be outside and breathe sea air.

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I picked out my Christmas present. Mother and I spent half a day establishing that the one I'd seen in the first store was the one I liked best out of All The Stores. Waste of half a day. #firstworldproblems

One thing we did not get to do was go out onto the boat. Boating is therapeutic. I have sea legs. I've always had the uncanny ability to feel utterly stable out on the water. One of my favorite pictures is of me last winter out on the boat. I didn't realize the picture was being taken. I just love being on the open water. Unfortunately, this week it was just too insanely windy to go out. I'm bummed because I wanted to log some helm time with the new chart system, but it is just miserable out on the water when the wind is ripping. Hopefully sometime after the new year I will head back out for another short visit.

Tomorrow my parents are coming into town for a couple of days. Along with seeing my brother and his lovely wife, we'll do the big Christmas gathering with the Whole Clan. More wine, please.