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1) We’re home on the couch with the cat curled up between us. Geraldine was two parts grateful we were back and one part super-pissed we left. My left index finger is bandaged, making typing difficult. On th agenda: trim cat’s claws.

2) New York state goes on forever. The sixteen-hour drive we did yesterday (5am to 9pm) took us from Holland (Mich.) to Brattleboro (Vt.) via I-90. Thank the star whale for audio books and National Public Radio.

2a) One thing I really miss about regular driving is NPR-time. Between couple-time and work in a library I simply don’t listen to the radio as much as I used to, and it’s a delight to have the luxury once in a while.

3) On my observations III post in which I wrote about how comparatively simple the logistics of life back in Holland feel, FluffyCat observed that “anywhere I travel seems less hectic than my regular life does.” Fluffy’s right, of course … there are the responsibilities in daily life I no longer have when I visit my parents. At the same time, I did live in Holland as an adult with a job, a household, other responsibilities. And it still seemed less endless than life here in Boston does. Hanna suspects it’s something to do with the plethora of options (which way/how to travel home from work, where to do the shopping, etc.). Sometimes just deciding can feel overwhelming.

3a) When we drove into Brattleboro (Vt.) yesterday, along Route 9, I thought — as I always do — how much that part of the country reminds me of Southern Oregon and my time at the O.E. I like to imagine part of my instinctive connection with Hanna comes from the fact she went to a college (Marlboro) that sounds so like the Oregon Extension, and is located in a similar geographical setting. I thought how lovely it would be if driving along route nine was arriving home. I like so much of our lives in Boston (our apartment, our work, the walkable city), but nearly five years in part of my soul remains irreconcilable to urban life. Hanna and I remain unsure what to do about that — but any big changes for the future.

4) Having read Hanna Rosin’s opinion piece and this Guardian article about E.L. James’s fan-fiction novel turned published erotica, Fifty Shades of Grey, I feel like I should write something about the reaction to the reaction of this book … if you get what I mean. But I’m kinda overwhelmed by the way the coverage betrays peoples’ preconceptions about fan-created fiction (written poorly, written well), about BDSM (written poorly, written well), about erotica generally, and about women who read erotica specifically that … well. I feel rather tongue-tied. Three things I do know:

a) Rosin’s discussion of the dom/sub relationship suggests she didn’t bother to do any kind of background research in BDSM culture before reviewing a porn novel with BDSM themes … which seems like irresponsible reporting;

b) the origins of this novel in fan-fiction intrigue me; and

c) I’m really really irritated by the implicit suggestion in both pieces that women reading erotica = women unhappy with their actual sex lives, and/or is some new “trend” … hello? When are we going to get over the fact that women are sexual beings who enjoy sexually-explicit material throughout their lives?

5) There are over 100 emails in my Outlook inbox (work email); I am steadfastly ignoring them until 8:45am tomorrow morning, but am really hoping the majority of them are staff circulars that will have become irrelevant or scan-able by the time I’m back on the job. Tomorrow will be a catch-up day for sure. Ah, adult responsibility: I did long for thee.

6) Hanna said to me last night as we were falling asleep at the Super 8, “I think next year we should plan to stay for two weeks, so that we have more time to relax and to see the people we care about.” Which seems like a pretty strong vote for the in-laws to me! I’m so lucky to have a partner who gets along with my family, and likes the place where I grew up (while sharing my dislike for the area’s conservative politics).

6a) Having previously exchanged an engagement cookie (fig) and engagement mustard (cheddar ale), we found ourselves discussing the possibility of engagement tattoos while driving along Route 2 this afternoon. Something symbolic that could then be worked into slightly larger wedding tattoos when we finally get around to eloping (my mother says we should head for Ireland). If anyone out there has working knowledge of Gallifreyan and would be willing to help us work up designs using our initials let me know!