Monday, August 18, 2008

By Popular Demand

Or, at least by request of my wife. Noting that this blog is only good for helping us answer questions like, "How long ago did we visit that lava tube in Oregon?" or "Have we ever taken an underground boat before?" Catherine asked me to type up a list of everything vaguely amusing we've done this year.

January: Trip to Nashville for Catherine's 50th birthday. Saw the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman, went to the Bluebird Cafe, Belle Meade Plantation, saw a Nashville Predators' hockey game, visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, several honky-tonks, Studio B, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and the Parthenon. Had a super good time, and a super good dinner at Ellendale's.

February: Went to a taping of Prairie Home Companion at the IU Auditorium, which was nice, but overloaded with classical music. Much better: the Reba and Kelly Clarkson "2 Worlds 2 Voices" concert at the Conseco Fieldhouse. More amazing than amazing can be.

April: Passed my exams, spent the next week in Cincinnati for the Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians. Had a death in the family that week, so I pretty much stayed in the hotel room when I wasn't in a session, but we did have a brilliant evening out at the Cincinnati Observatory.

May: Catherine visits her parents, Susan goes racing. I went up to the Speedway for Pole Day. We both went up for Carb Day, but it was mostly rained out, so not much racing was observed. Memorial Day was spent in front of the TV, watching the race.

June: A week in Washington State, visiting my parents. Highlights previously noted. Really ramped up our goofing off this month. Spent a couple of days at the Write Inn in Oak Park so we could take in the Chicago stop of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour. Catherine finally got to tour the Frank's Oak Park studio. I think that makes our third FLW house tour together (she didn't get to go on the more in-depth tour I took my first semester back in grad school). Even though that jaunt to Chicago wore us out, we managed to road trip to Bloomington, Illinois, for another amazing Reba McEntire concert. Lady Antebellum opened for her, and it was great to hear Hillary Scott sing the Linda Davis role in "Does He Love You." If Reba needed a kidney, I'd totally be there for her.

July: Oh, yeah, an immensely long road trip to Shiloh. Another weekend in Columbus, Ohio. That's notable because while we were at the Columbus zoo, we discovered that not only am I afraid of kangaroos, I'm afraid of lorikeets. Five trips between Bloomington and Rantoul--I finally checked the odometer: 4000+ miles of driving in July. Good thing I like our car A LOT.

August: Finally, the State Fair arrives! I was happy enough just to get to see the chickens, but it was an extra great day because we got to see Carrie Underwood on the grandstand. She is much more awesome than I expected, and although she isn't Reba, I would definitely spend more money to see her. I think that might have been our best grandstand concert to date (and that's no small feat, since we also saw Reba on the grandstand once). That day at the fair was wedged in between three days spent volunteering for the Drum Corps International championships.

Today we FINALLY went to Bluespring Caverns and took the boat tour down the Mystery River (prompting this post: have we, or have we not, ever been on an underground boat ride?). Nice day; it included a side trip to Popcorn, Indiana, that demonstrated you should never believe marketing campaigns. This weekend was a warm-up for next, when we head to Mammoth Caves and the National Corvette Museum for a four-day weekend.

For such a miserable year, filled with anxiety, drama, death and preliminary exams, we sure had a lot of fun.

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