So much has happened this last week, and yet so little that I'm not sure what to say, really. I was invited by my brother's fiance to be one of her bridesmaids, which I'm really excited about. Not only have I never gotten to do that before, but it kind of makes the wedding seem more real. Now it's not just something that I have to get to, it's something that I get to plan for and be a part of. It's going to be really fun, I can tell.
It was also the first time I've ever spoken to said fiance, so that was cool too. She said she wanted to ask me in person, but that's kind of tough since we live so far apart. We'll meet each other at Christmas but she didn't want to wait that long to ask me.
It's been snowing here the last couple of days, but it's not really sticking. I'm not really a fan of this in-between weather because it just makes everything wet. I don't like wet. I'd rather get the first real snowfall of the year out of the way. It's much easier to dress for because then I'll know I can definitely pull out my boots. I'd feel a little silly doing it now when there's no snow.
I started catching the bus this last week in preparation for snow, too. It was sleeting last Tuesday, and when I was going home I discovered that the brakes on my bike don't work so well when they're frozen. They moved just fine, but couldn't grip the metal. That's kind of scary to discover when going downhill at a fast clip with a car behind. Especially when there's a roundabout at the bottom. I had to make a really sharp turn, and luckily didn't crash. But I decided to put the bike away for the winter. And the bus is really nice. I was so nervous the first day (I've never caught a bus in Fairbanks before), but it stops two blocks away from my apartment and drops me off right across the street from my building. Even better: the University got a grant that makes the buses free for anyone affiliated with the U. All I have to do is show my University card and I don't have to pay. Yay! I hope the grant holds out at least as long as I'm working here.
I've also been trying to figure out car stuff, too, though. I don't want a car so that I can start driving to work, but it's nice to have reliable transportation for the winter around here. Especially for those days when I'll have appointments away from campus, like for the dentist and the eye doctor. (BTW, saw the eye doctor on Friday, which was really nice. Yay, insurance!) Plus, when it's -50, will I really want to hang around for the bus? Even with a full set of longjohns on, it's cold to stand in weather like that. I could do what Brad does and just take vacation time and stay home when it's that cold, but I don't really want to have that as my main plan. I think, though, I'll probably just try to get my car running and use that through this winter so that I can build up some savings before buying a car, which would be another used one, anyway, but one that's, you know, newer than 16 years old.
On the other hand, if I bought one before Thanksgiving, we wouldn't have to rent another vehicle to get down to Shane's parents' house....
Last night was Starvation Gulch. So much fun, but it felt colder this year. Maybe the fires weren't as big? Groups of people go around town for weeks before this event begging or stealing pallets from businesses, gathering the giant cable spools if they can find them, and just generally getting wood that is great for a bonfire. Then, the day of, they build structures with them and at 10:00 that night, they get doused in gasoline and lit on fire. The fire department's bonfire this year was just a tower of pallets, but with a wooden replica of a fire truck and ladder that also caught on fire. The engineering department's had a tree on top that was supposed to be part of a catapult. I didn't hear if it was successful or not. I thought I saw something, but I was in the crowd and not able to see the fire very well. The one fraternity on campus made one in the shape of a boat that said "Tradition", which is kind of lame because of what they did. Years and years ago, the campus went dry. (Was this in the sixties or seventies?) Anyway, someone encased a beer can in concrete and wrote on it, "Here lies tradition." So it's the tradition stone, which traditionally makes an appearance at Starvation Gulch (it's hidden the rest of the year) and there's a big chase with people trying to steal it. Very fun, especially since the thing weighs hundreds of pounds and you need a truck just to cart it around. Well, the frat has it now and they only brought it to the fire for about ten minutes before the fires were even lit. People were pissed about this, because that's going against the tradition of trying to lure people into stealing it. The girl they stole it from is a friend of mine who graduated in May, as well, so she was fine passing the stone along to someone else. But, she said, she was tempted to go steal it back from them since they weren't doing it properly.
Yeah. Really it's just a big chance to celebrate, see friends you haven't seen all summer, and enjoy the beginning of the winter. Because it always snows for Starvation Gulch. I enjoyed it.
The other big thing that happened this past week feels kind of funny to just say. My dad had heart surgery to correct a collapsed artery. They put a stent in, and he says he's feeling much better. Which is the point. It's just weird because my parents, while they are definitely Old People in some ways, I really don't think of them as being old or having old people health problems. I told my dad that he at least has to live to be as old as my grandfather (who is nearing 90, despite what doctors have said in the past about how long he has to live) and my dad said, "Don't worry, your mom and I have plans for our hundredth wedding anniversary. We're going dancing." That would put them both at 121. I approve, as long as they can still dance. If my dad ever gets to be more machine than man (as he jokingly assured us he isn't yet), I'm pulling the plug. = )