December was a lot. I finished my last semester of graduate school by completing a formal research proposal studying how libraries can be better designed to support formerly incarcerated people, wrote an essay on scholarly communication ethics and the necessity of civil disobedience in regards to copy right law and the current publishing industry, designed a library program implementing emerging technology and also created a Python program coding from scratch.
Immediately after all of this was turned in I jumped in my car and drove down to Oxford, Mississippi where I attended MUMI: the Making and Unmaking of Mass Incarceration and the Future of Prison Abolition. I have been meaning to get a blog post up about this conference, and it is coming next. Thank you so much to MUMI for sponsoring my trip!
After getting back from Mississippi we ran hard for about a week while my current work location focused on moving to a temporary smaller building while renovations are being done. And then we hit the road east for the holidays.
First stop on our trip was Cinncinnati, which is about half way between KC and Rochester. We stayed with our friend Joe, who I met working in libraries in Syracuse. The next day we packed up and drove to Rochester, stopping over in Fredonia on the way for our classic bowl of soup. Upon entering New York state, everything begins to model a fairy tale. Houses become “cottages” and everyone is bundled up in a way that it seems only upstate New Yorkers know how. We landed in Rochester that night, and caught up with Ben’s family that week.
Since it was our first time back east since we had moved, we wanted to make the most of it so we made every hour of every day count. I definitely took a good two hour nap every day, but other than that we were running from house to house, bar to bar, cafe to cafe. We got tipsy in the middle of the day with his cousin Colin, went bar hopping another night with his cousin Ryan, drank way too much coffee at his mom’s, and then his dad’s, and then his grandparent’s, ate amazing garbage plates (volcano plates) at our new favorite Rochester bar and found amazing Puerto Rican food on the westside which no one in his family had ventured near before. We had a few nights of catching up with his siblings, emptied a bottle of wine with his Mom’s English neighbor, and we also tried to reach out to a few other people who didn’t work out.
Then we drove to Syracuse, where we had dinner at our favorite mexican food place, and then stopped by our old bars and said hello to the old regulars. We caught up with Julie, then we caught up with Jimmy and Laura and Chloe before they left for Asia for a month. The next morning we got breakfast at Mom’s diner, and ran into a few people we didn’t want to run into in Syracuse. So goes a small city, and I for one am happy to be away from it even if I miss my friends there.
Later that day we left for Cinncinnati again, and arrived there around dinner time and met Joe and his boyfriend at Skyline Chili, which is a Cin-City staple apparently. I had what amounted to two burritos with rice and beans, spaghetti noodles, sour cream, cheese and onions all wrapped inside them. I absolutely loved them until later that night when I started thinking about what I had put in my body…
But also maybe I was feeling sick because I actually was sick, too. The next day I developed a really bad cough, and felt completely horrible as we finished the last leg of our trip home to Kansas City. While stopping at St. Louis Bread Company (Panera) for lunch as is our routine on these trips, I almost broke down. Later that night when we arrived home I was in the worst mood, only to find out that we had given away both of our keys to our cat/ rabbit sitters! Thankfully our friend Diana had anticipated us making this move, and was over very soon after to let us into our apartment.
The next day was New Years Eve, and I was working at the new smaller location of my work. I had the worst cough still, and had to keep my mouth full of cough drops to keep from gagging on my own cough. Right after work I bought some cactus salad, and we drove to my parents house to meet up with my brother, his partner Kate, their dog Nala and my parents for our belated Christmas/ real New Years Eve. I did not feel well, but pushed through and it turned out to be a good night. Diana even joined us later on!
However, because I pushed myself so hard that day, the next day was hell and I had to cancel on the party at my grandparents. And I am so happy I did, because after getting tested at the doctor that day, I find out I have full blown influenza!
So that’s the month of December as a wrap up. It’s been a wild ride, and it’s landed me in a place where I am currently free of booze, coffee, or other vices. I am eating garlic cloves, sauerkraut, orange juice, brewing echinacea tea and dousing everything in honey. I am finally starting to feel better, and think that catching this flu of fevers and coughing at the end of a crazy month is just what I needed to remind me what to focus on in 2020. This week I start the new chapter of my job as an outreach librarian assistant, as opposed to working the front desk regularly. I am graduated now, so I need to be looking for a full time librarian position, but all of that can wait until my immune system bounces back a little.