This has been a ridiculously unproductive few weeks. With the lame exception of a few spurts of pseudo-brilliance, I've let my mind turn to mush and fill with the silly little things that fill days if we let them. It's been great to sample Americana life again. The ease of life here is highly underrated.
I visited my university last week (photo above) and it felt good to be back. I hadn't seen the town in a decade, and charming little Lawrence, KS has now joined the world of corporate stores and restaurants - though some stubborn characters have kept the best places open. The university was as majestic as I remembered - the limestone buildings of the KU campus are stunning, especially with the ice-covered trees gleaming in the light. My first stop was to Allen Fieldhouse, of course, and the new basketball museum is a powerful tribute to the deep history of KU and the game. It was finals week, and the bleary-eyed students were mainly clad in baggy sweats - it took me back to the chaos. Sigh.
How cute is this dog? Nessie is a rock star. I am in love with her. I miss having a dog. It's been so good to be around my family this month.
And the frantic crossing off of the list begins. Mad rushes to the supermarket, Target, the outdoors shop, gadget places, etc. etc. - everything is just so much cheaper here. As I meander the well-stocked shelves of the local SuperTarget, which is nearly three times the size of the center of Lerwick, Shetland, I can understand why and how the culture of consumerism is allowed to fester. Everything is cheap and designed to make life easier, better, or happier. It's sad that the American dream is now intertwined with ownership, along with the more noble ideals. I was listening to a discussion on the radio the other day that posed questions to American callers, asking if they were willing to give up their lifestyles to help curb the environmental damage of creating all these 'things'. While all said they recycled and tried to save energy, few were willing to stop buying cheaply made goods, or stop driving their cars, or stop buying toys made in China. It seems the impact of this consumer lifestyle has yet to hit parts of these shores.
Perhaps it is down to mere size. Everything is bigger here. We can store our stuff. In other parts of the world, and in some places in America, your space is limited, so you buy what you use and don't bother with anything else.
Safe travels to everyone travelling in the next couple of weeks. Dream of sugarplums and red-nosed reindeer and dreidels and white Christmasses.