I am decidedly better than I was last week when I was a little down. I think it was just stress overload.
I had a marvelous time with my parents. They had some troubles getting from JFK to their hotel when they got in, and my Dad kept going the wrong way on the highways (yes, I told him to take 22 East from the NE extension, and he just couldn't figure out how Allentown was East of Philadelphia, so he went West). They seriously need to get GPS next time they rent a car in a foreign land.
We got to see Liz and we went out to lunch at the Famous 4th Street Deli (if you're in Philly, go there - the prices are high, but when you see how much food you get for the money, you'll understand why). Tim drove separately so we could take a load of stuff back including her bicycle, and Mom and Dad left after lunch. We took the opportunity to discuss next year's living arrangements and I think it all sounds pretty positive. I'm glad that Liz's Erik is practical and responsible, because I think Liz may need better "Life Skills" training to survive on her own. Against Zombies I have no worries. But figuring out finances? That's something entirely different.
Mom and Dad were not impressed with Philadelphia, and I never realized how racist they were. They always raised us not to judge people, but their comments and attitudes seem otherwise. They have visited Philadelphia on a number of occasions, but only to the tourist areas. The neighborhoods we drove through to get to Temple, around Temple, and on the way to the restaurant are slums. They kept making comments about the fact that they didn't see any white people. I was discouraged by the fact that they consider that slums are the result of skin color. I tried to point out that slums are result of poverty, and trash is a result of people who don't care (probably because they feel so disenfranchised that they don't have the energy to care), and that there are trashy, dirty areas of some cities that are populated by white people, too. They're not accustomed to that. They're from Los Angeles. But I'll venture a guess that they haven't been to some of the more poverty stricken areas of L.A., either - except when they deliver day-old bread to some of the shelters their Kiwanis Club supports. They pointed out that the bad areas of Los Angeles are populated by Mexicans, not "blacks". I give up. My parents will never be as color-blind as they profess to be. They did point out that Allentown had a lot of Indians (from India). I asked why they thought that, and they responded that they had met an Indian dentist on one of their cruises. Reality check Mom and Dad: Just because you meet an Indian who lives in Allentown, doesn't mean we have a high population of Indians. Allentown is incredibly diverse with many Puerto Ricans, African Americans, people of Middle Eastern descent, Russians, Indians, South Americans and even Germans. but there's nothing I can do about that.
On Sunday, I took them up to Hawk Mountain. It was warm and humid, but there was a good cloud cover, and it was pretty nice. My mom tried really hard to disguise her fear of birds as we looked at the taxidermied and sculpted raptors in the Visitor's Center. She tried really hard not to flip out when we took photographs under the wire sculpture eagle in the native plant garden. She tried to appreciate the turkey vulture coming straight at us while we were at the South Lookout. I'm proud of her, and thankful that she agreed to come. They both enjoyed the walk otherwise, and the view from the South Lookout, though Mom freaked a little when I climbed up on the lower and easier of my two favorite rocks. As we were leaving, it started to rain a bit. Not really enough to get wet, but enough to hear the sounds of the raindrops through the forest. I love the forest, and my parents loved it too. I could have easily walked another hour (if I had had my gloves), but they were done, so we went home.
With the stress of a parental visit that thankfully avoided religious and political topics over, I feel remarkably happy. I don't even mind that I gained 1-1/2 lbs over the weekend - I think that will come off in a day or two tops.
Now I just have to concentrate on school this week, and then on to the weekend!
Friday Tim and I are going to Emeril's Chop House and the Casino to celebrate Tim's 50th birthday. Saturday morning (depending upon how late we're up the night before) we're planning on going to a farm in Northampton where they have raw milk, grass fed beef and pasture raised chickens and eggs. In the evening, we're going to a baseball game. Sunday, which is Tim's actual birthday, will probably be spent at least partially finishing my final project(s) and studying for the final for my manufacturing class, though we may go to a movie or the ballgame or something else totally spontaneous.
And that's all the news that fits in print!