We took a short trip down to Chicago to see Liz, now in her sophomore year at Northwestern University. It is that November time of year -- on the way down, on Sunday morning, the trees still sported many colors of leaves. On the way home, Tuesday night, it was snowing and the trees were bare.
Liz looks well. Last spring she had a an episode of Bell's Palsy that hit during her final exams. She woke up one morning feeling like her mouth was Novacained and during the course of the day her face became paralyzed. She went to the emergency room that night. picked up some medications, and then wrote her physics final the next day with her left eye swollen shut. Everyone automatically attributed the disease to "stress" because it came during finals, but she doesn't think that the exams were all that stressful, as she was prepared for the exams and was already doing well in her courses. We picked her up in Chicago after her exams, as planned, and brought her home with her half-sagged face. The paralysis made her look perpetually sardonic, which was kind of funny since she had been practsing that look through her teenage years. It brought to mind those wild threats of "If you keep making that face, you're going to freeze that way!"
She recovered quickly and stood as a bridesmaid at her sister's wedding three weeks later, looking fine in person but still a bit odd in photos. Now I find myself searching her face for signs of health, so it means something when I say she looks well. She shrank her meal plan this year and used the savings to afford herself a single room at the quiet end of the hall. She has always been an "early to bed and early to rise" sort and is enjoying the peace and privacy. She is taking five classes, working a work study job and also tutoring in the calculus lab. She is busy but she likes helping other students and with the calculus money she feels flush.
We hung out with Liz on Sunday, taking her grocery shopping at Target and then heading downtown on the train and showing Anna the large sculptures at Millennium Park. We were left to our own devices for most of Monday. Anna wanted to see the Shedd Aquarium, and we took advantage of the Monday discount day, when admission to the main building is free. Then we stopped by the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free all the time, if you can avoid the $14 parking fee. We parked a ways off and hiked in, heading for the Large Cat house, always Anna's favorite. It was cold and there were very few people, but the animals seemed invigorated.
Liz's environmental science course this quarter is focused on transportation issues. She thinks about transportation a good deal anyway, since she likes to come home, go visit Shelagh in Ann Arbor, and is taking advantage of Chicago's mass transit options. She is planning to take a Scottish bus service, the Megabus, to Ann Arbor for Thanksgiving, and then ride home with Shelagh and Jordan. Students often run out of time to keep up with current events, I will send her this column about the US Senate's recent decision to fund Amtrak for the next while.
In the county, we are working to fund public transportation, as well. We made it home in time to continue on to Leland and vote in the election for which our only decision was whether to continue funding the Bay Area Transit Authority. The election workers were all talking about the awful weather. Now that I'm home, I'm reading the Thistledown Yarn' Shoppe's new blog and find out that two of Kathy's coworkers were stuck in their car half the morning with a live wires draped over their car.