Scott Hardie | December 20, 2001
This is the first time I've been at the computer for more than ten minutes since getting here. It actually feels strange to be typing again. The connection on my mom's computer is only 56K, but that still feels so much faster than the connection in Macomb.

The drive was long but fine. It was dry in Illinois and Florida, but very heavy rain throughout all of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, so bad I could barely see. Some advice: Don't ever drive through Atlanta during rush hour. It took me two hours to get from one end of the city to the other, and I even rear-ended a guy in the stop-and-go traffic (no damage). Finally got to Sarasota at 2am Monday night.

Saw "Spy Game" with mom (another entry is coming on that).

Saw Kathie and Harry, two old family friends who it felt so good to see, and made plans to see "Ali" with Kathie after Christmas, without Harry or my mom, who couldn't care less. Kathie wants to see it because she happened to see Ali train once and has admired him since, and I want to see it because Michael Mann rules. They were very curious about DVD technology, and I offered to show them a demonstration of one on my mom's player, but they left before I had a chance to follow up on that. They're going to return from their own family Christmas on the 29th, and I hope to see them. They're the only people I know in Florida besides my mom and that creepy pharmacist. ("How's the diarrhea?!" he once loudly yelled at me as I approached his window in the grocery, with customers all around.)

Went shopping for my mom, and spent too much of course. Some families only give one present per each member, and I do admire that, but I was raised on multiple gifts each year, anywhere from ten to twenty, all counted. I got Kelly five gifts and my mom five gifts, and a few for select friends. I am way past broke now. Survivor prizes are still coming, just ever later. :-( If Jesse ever starts sending me the money he owes me, I'll be better off.

Wanted Olive Garden, it was closed, wound up at Chili's instead. It's funny how you can travel a thousand miles and still wind up eating in the same restaurants. (We usually eat local restaurants, actually, but we were trying to find something that we thought, mistakenly in Olive Garden's case, was still open.) So fajitas last night at Chili's, and a chimichanga tonight at a local joint. My belly needs a siesta.

Saw my mom's new cat Sweetie for the first time. She looks like Kitty but with white paws and a white chest. (My mom did not name these cats.) Sweetie is named appropriately, a very friendly cat. She kept rubbing my hands and bare feet the first morning, trying to get her scent on my before Kitty saw me. Kitty, who has always been a paranoid cat (don't dare come within five feet of her), seems even more hostile with Sweetie around. She growls and hisses if the other cat's in the same room. I heard them squawking and making a lot of noise in the next room an hour ago, and went out there to break up the fight, but they had actually seen a stray cat in the window. I encouraged them to continue being pissy. :-)

The secretary at the bank was named Cheryl Blankenship. Matt, if you're reading this, you probably just got the same shivers that I did when she said it.

Light, restive vacation so far, but that's the way I like 'em. We're going to Disneyworld for two days sometime next week, decorating my mom's lanai, and probably seeing quite a few movies. (On the radio during my drive was a funny comedian who talked about seeing her family for the holidays. She went off on a tangent about how they go to the movies so that they don't have to talk to each other that evening. Tommy Lee Jones does the talking for them.) I didn't bring any books to read, since I'll probably get some on Christmas morning, but I brought an empty notebook, and I hope to do some writing. I don't want to return to Illinois with an empty notebook.

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