A little too much chaos lately!  I’ve been out of town every weekend for the past month, and evidently I’m just not bothering with this sleep thing lately.

Last weekend I went to Kentucky with my parents for my uncle Scott’s funeral.  It was a grueling trip, sandwiched between two rough weeks at work, but I was glad I went and was able to be with the family.  We’ve all agreed that we need to get together for something other than funerals.  Even though we were in that part of the country for a sad reason, we did enjoy being back.  My uncle owned a massive Thoroughbred farm in the middle of horse country, and the farms in that area are just astounding.  Having worked on small farms for many years, I know how much work is involved with even a few acres; it boggles the mind to think about the amount of labor poured into these sprawling horse farms.  After the funeral, we had lunch at my uncle’s neighbor’s house, which was built in 1860.  It’s massive, and has all of the original woodwork (constructed from trees cut on the farm) and stonework (quarried from the farm).  The amount of history on that piece of land is incredible.  Whenever they plow in the spring, they turn up arrowheads and other artifacts from an old Indian camp, and they still have the old slave quarter buildings next to the house.  If the occasion hadn’t been so entirely unsuitable for it, I would have grilled them more about the place.

Aside from trying to get caught up at work, the rest of the week has been great.  I had a lovely visit to the farm with friends and got to meet their new sheep on Wednesday, and on Thursday we got together at Sunni Sky’s for ice cream and a reunion with a friend who has been deployed overseas.

This weekend I’m heading to Minneapolis for work.  It’ll be a whirlwind trip, getting in past midnight on Saturday and working all day Sunday and Monday before leaving Tuesday morning, so I’m not sure how much site-seeing I’ll get to do, but I have a list of places I may try to visit if I can squeeze them in.  I’ve been to Minnesota before only briefly, so I’d like to see as much as possible, but oh, I would just love to get some sleep too.

For some reason I’m absurdly excited about the 4th of July this year.  I’m going with some friends to the Garner fireworks, which I highly recommend.  Last year was blissful, in spite of being rained out.  Then I’m going camping at Uwharrie National Forest, which I anticipate will be a blast.

Beautiful:

Intriguing:

Music:

Books: Firstly, check out the article: Barnes and Noble: the final chapter?  *weeps*  I admit, though, that I’m part of the problem: I buy my books almost exclusively from secondhand shops or online, and I mainly go to B&N just to browse or camp out with some coffee.  But it’s the principle of the thing, dangit!

I am (and will be, for months) working through the ludicrous number of books I bought at the library sale.  I breezed through Tucker by Louis L’Amour, which was solidly enjoyable but nothing I haven’t said about L’Amour before.  I find the occasional piece of genre fiction very therapeutic, and everyone loves a good Western.

In a vast departure from the aforementioned, I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce on the way to the funeral.  I would like to state for the record that en route to a funeral is possibly the very worst time to read this book, particularly the long sermon on hell in the middle.  I keep trying to appreciate Joyce…and I keep despising him.  He’s talented, I grant that, but he’s also insufferable.  His main character is moody, obnoxious, and—I have a sneaking suspicion—just like Joyce.  Joyce smells like Proust, and I can’t handle more than a whiff of that navel-gazing, temperamental gloom.  If that makes me a shallow reader, so be it.  While writing this post, I discovered that Joyce and Proust met in real life, and whatever actually happened, the encounter sounds hilarious.

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