On Monday, we went to Chip's. Chip was one of my lab students, one of my "little brothers" in the physics department, and he and Timprov had been friends from junior high on. So it was good to get to see the Chipster again. Even if I didn't make him turn blue. (Chip laughs in the prettiest colors. But I was nice to him this time. He probably barely recognized me.)

This is Chip. He's going to work for Fermilabs on their accelerator. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Okay, maybe not quite so afraid.

We decided to take the opportunity, at Chip's (parents') house, to take a picture of the fall colors we got to see all week. Oooh. They were lovely. I woke up the first morning we were in Minnesota, walked out into the living room, and looked across the street to see two perfectly golden trees. And I thought, "I will never take this for granted again." And then I thought, "No, I hope I do." I hope to live there for long enough that the colors of fall still delight me but no longer tear at my heart so much.

I think it was a bad idea to title that journal entry as I did. The song in question never fails to make me cry, and now I have it in my head, so I'm a little weepy around the edges. I don't mean to be. I don't mean to be negative about the Bay Area, either. It's a good place to live for awhile, and it has many fine features. And I do enjoy it here.

I just miss home.

After we left Chip's place (in rural Eden Prairie), we had some time before we were supposed to meet Aaron for dinner in the Dinkytown/U of M area. So we wandered around the U of M campus and went down by the river.

This looks really unfamiliar to me, actually, because I never see the Minneapolis skyline from the East Bank. I always see it from 35W or somewhere suitably Minneapolitan like that. We'll see what becomes more familiar in the future. (Looking at the Realty listings was a mistake.)

So we met Aaron for dinner, and I didn't take a picture of him, either, because he looked like he did at Lars' wedding in August. I ordered walleye. At a Chinese restaurant. Because I hadn't had walleye yet, and we were in Minnesota, so...yeah. Walleye. In Chinese lemon sauce. The jury is still kind of out on that one. And Aaron was Aaron was Aaron, except that he now grows begonias, which startled me a bit.

We made our pilgrimage to Uncle Hugo's and Dreamhaven on Tuesday, with Curt -- he was on his way to a job interview in St. Paul, and he had time to eat with us in Uptown and buy some books. So that was nice, very good of him to make the time, very sweet that he would bother when he had just seen us the previous Thursday. Very Curtis. Uncle Hugo's has all the books you knew you were looking for -- the question is how many of them you can afford. Dreamhaven has all the books you didn't know you were looking for because you just found them there for the first time. So we picked up, well, a few things. Within our budget and suitcase size.

We went back to the Coopers', and Timprov watched baseball while Mark and I went on our vital errands: to Barnes and Noble, in search of Finnish Stuff, and to Cub Foods, in search of cheese curds. Both were moderately successful -- I only got a guidebook to Finland, but I can order some more stuff on Amazon, and all will be well, or at least sort of well-ish. The cheese curds are good and make my teeth squeak, as they ought to.

Had Frankie's again for dinner...mmm...Frankie's...and played Royalty with Cal and Bobbie. (Royalty is a word game. It's fun. Cal whumped us all, though.)

Here they are, playing the endgame of Royalty.

Then C.J. stopped up, and I kidnapped him for coffee. So, so, so good. Not just the turtle mocha, the time. It's so rare these days that Ceej and I can just sit down and talk -- although if he and Gloria come out to visit us in early November, as they say they will.... Anyway, it was unexpected goodness, a happy surprise. I knew I still considered C.J. the kind of friend I can tell things. Mutuality is good to know.

It was a really good day to end the trip with: a little extra time with both Curt and Ceej, a little extra Frankie's, some more word games with the Coopers...all was well. And it will be again.