I haven't had a chance yet to download photos from the trip, but some will be forthcoming. Although too brief by far, I had a very nice visit in North Carolina. The only hitch(es) in the entire trip were with Laguardia airport - a 1.5 hour delay leaving there on the way down and a one hour delay getting there (the flight had originated at Laguardia and was delayed coming from there to Raleigh) on the way home that caused me to miss my connection. I was, fortunately, able to get a seat on the very next flight and got home only an hour later than scheduled.
I don't think I really wrote much about this trip in advance. The nominal reason for my going was to represent LGVMA at a reception for lgbt veterinary students attending an annual student symposium that is held at a different veterinary school each year (this year at NC State). I didn't really have to do a whole lot for that aside from paying for the refreshments - the student organizers really did a phenomenal job. It was a far cry from the last Symposium I attended, which was in '92 at Auburn University. At that one, I put a little pink triangle on my nametag and had a few people surreptitiously say hello, and that was pretty much the extent of that.
Of course, the bigger reason for going was to visit family, which became a more urgent need over the past couple months because of two things - my great-uncle Bill, my paternal grandfather's baby brother, was diagnosed with a recurrence of his lung cancer and is now being cared for at home by Hospice; and my cousin Brian, whom I first introduced in this post, is shipping out to Afghanistan at the end of the month as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team at Mehtar Lam and was on leave this weekend and in Wilmington, where our Aunt Kathe, her sons Rocky & Kevin, and Brian's brother, Spencer, all live.
I was able to visit Bill twice - once Friday before the reception and then for about an hour before I had to leave for the airport. Despite requiring oxygen to breathe reasonably well and some mobility problems that sound like they're related to his last round of radiation therapy, he is still the garrulous man I've always known. Just shifting himself around on his hospital bed takes his breath away, but his spirits are good and he isn't in any significant pain. Amy, the eldest of his three daughters - whom I hadn't seen in over 25 years, since the summer before my sister was born - was visiting from Atlanta with her husband Richard, so I also got to see them for a bit before they had to leave (shortly before my own leaving) and sister Sydney got to meet one of her cousins for the first time.
Brian was very happy about the cabled rib beanie. He remarked that he could probably wear it under his helmet, which something I had taken into consideration with the design. And then he wore it when we all went out for pizza. I felt good that I had pretty much nailed the styling on that one - it's so very him. He also loved the four pairs of RedMaple alpaca socks I took him. Hopefully they'll help keep him warm, and maybe serve as good luck talismans to bring him home safely.
Travel Knitting, Travel Reading
I finished the sweater just a couple hours before I left to catch the bus to the airport and it served me well, particularly since they dropped the forecasted temperatures by several degrees after I got there (which also prompted a trip to the clearance rack at the REI store). For the trip, I took along the socks which have languished since our holiday trip to the Midwest.
On the return, though, I paid a visit to the secondhand bookstore in the Raleigh-Durham airport, where I've made some good finds in the past, and found a copy of friend & knitsib Melissa Scott's book A Choice of Destinies - a "what if" look at what might have happened if Alexander the Great had turned his attentions back to the West instead of pressing on into India. It's a really well-done book and just the right length for me on this trip. I finished it in about 7 hours - just a few minutes before the bus arrived back in Portsmouth - but for pleasure reading I've figured that I average somewhere around 500 words per minute. If you can find it (check with your local library), I highly recommend it.