Okay, I've been seriously lax, for which I apologize. My excuse is that about three million things have happened since my last post and I've been running around like a mad thing. My computer is beginning to make sad, forlorn noises at me, probably from the sheer neglect. I'll give the overview here, and then try to make more specific posts on each topic over the next few days - it should provide enough material for some time.
In roughly chronological order:
Nicky is not doing very well. He took a turn for the worse just before I left for my trip, and had slid even more by the time I got home. At this point he has no use of his hind legs, and frequently doesn't even twitch them when walking with his hind end supported. He's got some bad sores from scraping skin off dragging himself around the house (They're healing since I got home, and I'm not terribly pleased with my cadre of doggie watchers for letting them get so bad.) A lot of his fate is going to depend on if and how much he recovers, especially since is front end is so deformed (puppy-ricketts) that I doubt it will hold up for very long under the extra strain.
The World Tournament, on the other hand, went very well indeed. I brought home one very large trophy (3rd place kumite), and am generally pleased with how things went both for me, and for our dojo. Sensei appears to concur.
Visits went quite well, despite (and occasionally because of) their whirlwind nature. We got to spend another overnight in the Boston Museum of Science, which is all kind of cool, and was much more comfortable for Mommy this time, with a sleeping bag and a mat - bare floors with no pillow or covers was not a winner the previous time. I got to see my friend Beth preach, which I had not gotten to see before (she was ordained last spring). That woman can preach! I can safely say she's gotten over her fear of public speaking.
Our church organist's father died while I was gone. This was not unexpected. The timing was absolutely horrible for him, but actually pretty good for me (which makes me feel rather guilty). Because I wasn't there, I didn't have to do an emergency service - which I am not ready for - and because he is moving right now, he is in town more than he was intending to be in the aftermath, and therefore I'm not having to half-ass my way through any services, but will just be playing some individual pieces, which is not a problem. I expect it will be another six months to a year before I really feel comfortable taking over a series of services - I.e. able to play all relevant service music, and learn a service's worth of hymns in one week, plus enough of a repertoire of pre- and postludes to last several weeks.
The family reunion starts a week from tomorrow, and Rob did no laundry while I was gone, so I'm in a mad scramble to catch up from the trip and then get us ready to go again. I'll get to see both brothers, which is awesome, and I should get to go over my katas with my cousin Jim (a black belt in two different disciplines), which I'm much looking forward to.
And last, but definitely not least THE BOOK IS OUT!!!!!! Alien Hand Syndrome and Other Too-Weird-Not-To-Be-True Stories has hit the bookshelves. My mother reports that Borders (at least in her area) has it in stock. I have two articles, my first ever paid & published articles, in it. It's fun stuff so you should all run out and buy yourselves copies!
And that's the current rundown. I'll give each of these the full post it deserves over the next few days, but at least now you know what's going on.