I still miss watching TV with my mom, but I’m not gonna lie: I am so, so happy to be sleeping in my own bed again.
- This past Saturday was my yearly Big Bourré Game Night, and all the usual suspects (read: mostly my old university coworkers) showed up. I had a fantastic time despite coming down with a head cold Friday that made me snotty all evening, and that fantastic time wasn’t just because I had what I’m pretty sure was my biggest night in bourré ever, nearly doubling my stake. (Yes, we play for money. No, the amounts aren’t significant.) Mostly it was a fantastic evening of hanging out with old friends, lots of trash talk, and even a little boardgaming earlier in the day.
- Speaking of boardgaming, I managed to fit in even more before I left on Tuesday. There was a final game night at my neighbors’ house; I had the new-to-me experience of watching other people set up a complicated board game–in this case, Concordia–and it was grand. I learned on Saturday that four-player Evil High Priest is much, much harsher than the two-player experience. And just today I got to play games back here in North Carolina, including one I had never played before, Grifters. I expect to be sad for the next eleven months or so about how much less tabletop gaming I’m experiencing after the glut of the last few weeks.
- Tuesday was my big travel day, and it suuuuuuucked. But I made it. I listened to a bunch more episodes of The Dollop, so that was nice, at least?
- My mother and I did some last-minute TV cramming, watching all of Homecoming on Monday. It was good but not great, but it has the benefits of being short and having both an amazing cast and gorgeous cinematography. Back home, I’ve watched a few episodes of Castle Rock and am not yet sold on the show. The fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place are both back makes my heart warm, though.
- The diet starts again tomorrow, promise.
I’m still settling into being back home again, and I don’t expect for it to really feel “normal” until early next week But I am glad to be back, and am looking forward to what the next few weeks and months will bring, as my one-year anniversary of Not Doing That Work Thing Any More approaches.
And thus ends my last full week back in Louisiana. Barring catastrophe, I’ll be back in Lenoir next Friday… and already missing the delicious food I’ll be leaving behind.
And friends and family too, of course. Mustn’t forget them.
- The rate of boardgame play slowed down dramatically this past week, but I’ve still managed to fit in some more games of Dominion and even a round of Antike II. Tomorrow’s the yearly game night where we play bourré until the wee hours of the morning, a high point of every holiday trip back home.
- The massive amounts of TV consumption, on the other hand, continued unabated. Watching the last season of The Americans was almost as good the second time around as it was the first; we then pivoted to two other shows which we’ve also finished. The first, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, was extraordinarily good. It’s an Amy Sherman-Palladino joint, and hoo boy is it basically everything I ever wanted in a TV show: non-stop Amy S-P comic hijinks, tons of gorgeous period detail, and copious use of the F word. Strong recommend. The other show is The Last Kingdom, one of the drops in the sea of under-advertised Netflix shows. I only learned about it thanks to a random Reddit thread, in fact. It’s basically a “real life” Game of Thrones-lite, set in the 9th Century in a pre-unification England. It’s good but not great, but the visuals are fantastic, the soundtrack is solid, and the action is engaging. Perfect holiday watching, in other words.
- I’ve made a concerted effort on this trip to eat out less than I tend to when I’m back home, but I still have to hit up some of my favorite restaurants while I’m back in town. Honorable mention goes to the Central arm of Cafe Phoenicia, which has stepped up their game considerably over the last couple of years; it was good enough that I didn’t feel the need to go all the way across town for my usual Albasha fix. But the true winner of this past week was Fleur de Lis, my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the world. I was compelled to write a snarky 5-star review for the place on Google Maps, but can’t find a good way to link it here; I trust your ability to find it. Also, order your pizza “well done” there. Your belly will thank you.
- Even though I’ve been sleeping late most days, I’ve also been fitting in a bunch of naps in the early afternoons. And: naps are amazing. We should all nap more.
- Not so much on the videogame or puzzle front; it turns out that sitting at my mother’s table doing puzzles is a rapid recipe for major back pain for me now, which… sucks. And I’ve just got better things to do (or, at least, more social things) than play solo on my PS4 while I’m here. That said, what little I’ve done continues to be effectively joint: an old puzzle game or two on my DS, or Picross 3D Round 2 on my 3DS.
- After nearly twenty years of having essentially the same webhosting solution, I’ve moved my sites (including this blog, of course). It’s with the same ISP, Pair Networks, but I’ve switched to their modern shared hosting solution, as the plan I was on hasn’t actually been offered for years. The net result is that I’m going to save ~$100 a year and am actually on newer hardware besides. Other than a short service interruption early Friday afternoon, the transition’s been smooth, and as always their customer support has been nothing but highly responsive to the minor issues I’ve had. I had never changed over before due to time-value of money arguments, but with retirement my time’s become quite a bit cheaper, and my worry about the longevity of the old platform was steadily increasing. All good now! If you see any issues with this blog, please let me know.
I’ll likely be heading out early morning Tuesday or Wednesday; one of the nice things about being retired and driving here is that I don’t really have to decide just yet. I’ll post a quick update when I make it home.
Being back home has been very nice.
Part of it is that my obligations here are pretty low-key, bordering on nonexistent. I’ve had several meals with friends and family, played some board games with my neighbors, and watched some movies with my mother. But I’ve also played quite a bit of Let It Die, solved a ton of puzzles, continued reading the Culture series (I’m up to the last one, The Hydrogen Sonata), and watched plenty of Twitch. These last are, essentially, the same things I fill my days with back at my house in Lenoir.
In earlier years, I would have felt a little guilty about that. I used to cram as many different restaurants as possible into every visit, coordinate visits with the maximum number of old friends and acquaintances, spend as much time as possible with family. But now? I know I’ll be back for the holidays, and then again sometime later next year. And when I visit I know I won’t be time constrained. So why force it?
Because of that, I’ve been enjoying it a lot more. It was always nice to visit, but there was always an undercurrent of maximizing the efficiency of my visit–even of some of that was “spending as much time as possible watching the new season of Black Mirror with Mom”–that made it all more exhausting than it should’ve been. Not so much this time.
I’ll be leaving Baton Rouge to visit a friend (and fellow early retiree) in Arkansas early next week. I expect that trip to be a little more packed, a little more stressful… and that’s fine, because it’s not home. Home should be easy.
And, for the first time in a long time, it really is.
Sorry for the lack of updates. I made it back to Baton Rouge safe and sound after a very, very long day of driving Saturday, and I’ve been choosing to spend my time elsewhere rather than staying at the computer so much.
Normally, when I come back home–and while I do think of Louisiana as “back home”, I think of my house in Lenoir as home, which is an interesting distinction I hadn’t really realized I made until recently–I try to pack in as many restaurants and as many visits with old friends as possible. Not so much this time around. I haven’t even made it to my favorite restaurant in the world; quelle horreur! Normally it’s the first stop when my mother picks me up from the airport, before we even go home to drop off the luggage.
Part of it is that I really want to take it easier than I usually do. Now that I’m retired, I suspect I’ll be coming back home twice a year rather than just once, and those stays are likely to be longer. So there’s less of a need to pack it all in, to make the experience the most time-efficient thing possible, to ensure maximum value.
Part of it is that I’ve also decided to take a more passive role this time; normally I do a lot of coordination to make visits and meals and all that jazz happen. I’m not doing that this year. I’ve let everyone know that I’m in town and available for meals; if they choose not to follow up on that, well, I’m just as content eating at home and solving some puzzles or watching a movie with Mom. I hung out with one of my old friends all day Monday, and will be doing so again this coming Saturday, interspersed with the usual family visits. If people really want to see me, they can put in some minimal effort to make it happen. I’m not going to force the issue.
So far it’s been an extremely pleasant trip. My timing was always meant to make sure I caught the tail end of the cool season, when it’s not too wet yet but the days aren’t face-meltingly hot either. It worked perfectly. I spent most of yesterday reading on a swing on the porch, a cool breeze sweeping through the whole time, and today is genuinely chilly. A month from now and Louisiana is going to be hot and sticky. No thanks.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read.