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2:51 a.m. // 11 September 2007

I haven't written anything here since April. Just fell out of it. My grandma died in May and as much as I was consumed by missing her and how much I was thinking about it, I didn't want to set those words to print. I haven't yet but that ache has dulled.

I still wear the jade necklace she gave me, taking it off only to shower. One of the two diamonds fell out, though.

My dad is currently doing Cycle Oregon, which is I don't-know-how-many miles on rural roads around the state.

Dwayne's mom is recovering from neuro surgery to fix an eye twitch she's had for three decades.

My mom and my Aunt L. went down to visit my uncle (their brother-in-law) who has heart failure. Uncle N. is maybe my favorite uncle. I think I have a lot of favorite aunts and uncles, but Uncle N. is the best storyteller of them all.

I didn't visit my relatives in Houston as often as I should have while I lived there.

Now Chaucer House, where I lived in summer 2000, is being torn down: "Rice University's child care center could have a familiar look with 'deconstruction' effort."

That was a pivotal summer for me. I probably shouldn't have tried to live in a house with my then-boyfriend. We had grown distant over long distance. Also, I had a weird job in the university fundraising office where they thought I could create a macro that would, without human intervention, pen bios of donors.

But living with everyone else in the house was fun: Kyle, Brian, Liz, Jeff, Sam. Squirrels climbed up the yellow-tan bricks of that crazy house, which was filled with the detritus of years of college students.

Notably, I started learning to cook from the Moosewood cookbooks I found in the breakfast nook. The stove was gas and I set a dishcloth on fire. Sam introduced me to TVP. (I don't do that anymore.) There was a watermelon seed spitting contest for July Fourth, which was also one of several times I made it to the top of a building to watch fireworks downtown. Once you've seen fireworks from skyscraper level, there's no comparing.

The summer was bookended by my trips to Germany and the rest of Europe, and then to Poland/Bulgaria/Israel. My first rent check ever bounced while I was abroad.


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