I have been away all week. Drove to Houston Sunday and drove back on Friday. The trip out there was relatively uneventful, if you don't count the hour-long traffic standstill in Lake Charles Louisiana. Lake Charles is home to the steepest bridge that isn't a drawbridge I have ever been over. Sunday the third, some fool in an SUV (perhaps an oxymoronic phrase) thought the quick way around an 18 wheeler was under it. They completely blocked one lane. I don't know why the police decided there should be no traffic in the other lane either. The only reason traffic moved at all was because people were leaving the highway, driving across the grassy verge, and up onto either the exit ramp or the frontage road, depending on exactly where they were. That option wasn't open to us, because we had to get across the river. On the way back, durned if the same bridge wasn't closed again, but this time to the eastbound traffic! This time the problem was roadwork. Funny thing was, even though it was around the middle of the day on Friday, no one was actually working on the road. At least they only had one lane closed. This meant that the remaining lane, instead of being at a complete standstill, was moving at a generous 5% of its normal speed. Then there was Baton Rouge. Two major traffic jams, perhaps caused by accidents. Heavy downpours, which at least were the fault of an irrational deity as opposed to irrational mortals. We didn't get home till about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
In between, I was learning about microbial carbonates, which are limestones and related rocks whose formation was heavily influenced or even caused by the actions of microbes. This happens more often than you might think, to the point that the American Association of Petroleum Geologists thought it was a good idea to get 70 experts (plus me) together to think about it for a week. I found it enjoyable, tiring, and definitely instructive. I met a couple of my scientific heroes (one of them for the third time), met some other people I've known in the past, and made quite a few new acquaintances. No intent was made to fill up our evenings in anyway, which I'm sure many people appreciated. For a shy person like me there wasn't a whole lot to do in the evening, but the novels I brought with me lasted until I got back home. Where I found four new ones waiting. I did get some really good ideas about how to improve my project, the preliminary results of which I presented at the meeting. I also discovered, somewhat to my dismay, that it is not in fact too late to submit a manuscript for the book that is supposed to result from the meeting. Dismay, because I've only done (at most) half the work that manuscript would require.
Fortunately, in other aspects of my existence very little changed during the week. A couple of my submissions were rejected and I need to send them out again.
[Spouse] didn't get as much work done in the garden or on artwork as she had hoped to, but isn't that how life always is? The dragon that she has been working on and off on for at least a year is now painted. A week ago he wasn't. He is extremely cute! She did a lot of weeding, and it's never obvious how much of that has been accomplished. New things are blooming, a result of work she did earlier in the year. And much of the house is a lot cleaner than it was. Plus, she has been keeping up with her new exercise program!
I did not see the transit of Venus. I was in an urban megalopolis and did not have a computer with me. Oh, and the lift on my van quit working Thursday night. (Manual operation requires elbow grease!) So I am pretty much stuck at home until I can get it fixed. It is possible that can happen Monday. It will definitely require a trip to Birmingham, because the gentleman who used to fix things like that in Tuscaloosa no longer is able to do so. He has not been replaced.