cold and cool, my trip out and back


So I got home after being on the road on some fashion since March 7th. I had a good set of trips. I realized it’s been a really long time since I was away from home on a “do a lot of stuff” trip as opposed to a “go to a place and give a talk/have a vacation and come back” trip. So this is the reporting of that. Also I got home to Vermont and it’s totally chilly here which is GREAT. It snowed last night, not a lot of snow but a dusting and it’s pretty. I was unnerved by the early flowering of all the plants in various southern locations. Actually, since I started writing this I left to give one more talk in MA and then came back but the details are the same. Snowing when I got back. Yay.

So the loose outline of the trip was: go to SXSW and then come back to Westport before flying down to Missouri to talk to some library school students and then give the closing keynote speech at the Tennessee Library Association conference. All the ways to make this work by flying were suboptimal and I don’t love flying that much anyhow, so I decided to rent a car to get between MO and TN. The trip wound up looking like this

– Drove down to Westport on Wednesday the 7th, missing the “We won!” celebratory party because the guys my friends and I had supported for selectboard had all won.
– Flew out of Providence to Austin TX on the 8th. Providence is a nice small airport like Burlington but unlike Burlington is only 35 minutes away from where I was staying. On the way out I stopped at the Jefferson Diner where they had recently gotten written up for their grape nut pudding and the place was a madhouse. Also the pudding was great.
– SXSW was a blur made more exciting by the fact that there were a ton of librarians there doing neat stuff. My panel on Saturday morning went well. I saw some great stuff. I stayed with a friend and colleague and we played hooky one day to go hiking out by Barton Springs which was a really good choice for battery recharging activities.
– Flew to Providence and had a few days of R&R where I tried to get out and do some serious walking every day. I’ve been using MapMyWalk for this and you can see a few of the places I went. Did some hanging out with Jim and then flew out to Missouri on Sunday morning.
– Through an odd happenstance it turns out a friend of a friend lived in Columbia, MO and so instead of staying in a faceless hotel (sometimes what I enjoy, other times not so much) I got to stay in a real guestroom with real people. I enjoyed meeting Hilary Niles and her husband who are new transplants to the area from New England.
– I forgot to mention that when I arrived at the St. Louis airport to pick up my rental car and they said “Pick any car on the lot in the compact section” there was a Fiat 500 sitting there! It was a small fun car that was a little tough to learn to drive–it had two “drive” settings and one of them is more like a standard shift car but has a paddle shifter and I couldn’t figure it out–but fun once I figured it out. Also got great mileage which was perfect for my 850 mile road trip.
– Gave a talk and hung out with library students for pizza. Very good time and also felt like a “get back on that horse” marker after a webinar that went bad [according to me, people were fine with it] thanks to technical problems [not mine] and made me frazzled.
– Drove to Nashville. Had plans to see a friend in St. Louis which fell through so I stopped at Brad’s Bench and then remembered New England pals who had moved down South and who, luck would have it, were free with a guestroom! Got Mexican food in Nashville and saw the gorgeous public library downtown then scooted off to Knoxville.
– In Knoxville I got to actually go to programs at TLA, visit with Tennessee librarians and also hang out with a MeFite I hadn’t previously known who lives up in the hills near the Great Smoky Mountains. We had a good time catching the sunset in the mountains and also walking around Marysville TN and looking at birds.
– I flew home, saw the nose doctor, and was here for two days before heading down for a short trip to MA where I got to see my mom, sister & her boyfriend, my boyfriend and go to a MetaFilter meetup before scooting back home last night.

Now I am home playing zombie-in-pajamas and catching up on mail and taxes and correspondence and bird feeder repair and bill paying. I have a short trip to Indiana in a few weeks and then that’s it until May. While there’s no snow on the ground, it’s still pretty nice here. I’m glad that I’ll be around for the budding of the plants, again. Here are a few more photos of the longer trip.