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Notes from a Trip Back Home In General

* I realized that my entire notion of my hometown is tilted significantly toward the southeast. There are still whole swaths of town that I've more or less never set foot in, which is weird considering how small a town it really is and how long I lived there. But boy am I intimately acquainted with campus!

* The Children's Garden at MSU is really neat. The alphabet of flowers, the bronze statues, the play structures, and OMG the giant woven willow dragon that you can, if you are short enough, pass through from head to tail. "I pooped out!" yelled Simone on her first trip through.

* Although there is also the undeniable influence of technology here, the class shift in my parents' household is marked by shredded cheese. My mother was always much too frugal during my childhood to purchase shredded cheese, and it is a bias I have carried with me into adulthood. Nowadays her refrigerator drawer is filled with the stuff.

* Wow, the humidity did a number on my kids' hair. I had to make an emergency run to the beauty section of Meijer (pronounced "Meijer's," of course) and buy a small bottle of hair oil, which fortunately did the trick.

* Feeding the giraffes at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek was amazing. Simone also got to watch the cheetahs pal around in their enclosure. They have such an awkwardly stiff walk compared to other big cats.

* The kids had a lovely playdate with the child of one of my Clarion classmates, who, handily, lives a block and a half from my parents.

* The MSU Museum has hardly changed. It's a little eerie.

* The university library has. But there's still tape on the floors, so I introduced my children and family as to one of my favorite childhood pastimes: I would randomly choose a floor of the library. When you get off the elevators, there are colored tapes on the floor leading you to specific sections in the stacks, identified by call number. I did not know Library of Congress well enough to predict what lay at the end, so I'd randomly choose a color of tape and follow it to see what I discovered. This game is more fun if you can read what you find at the end, but I could occupy myself doing this for hours.

* (Also, this anecdote is way more illuminating and concrete than that Gaiman blather, eh?)

* How I can tell my children have grown up in California: they are terrified of mosquitos. April especially -- she totally regressed on her fear of bugs this week and started screaming at Daddy Long Legs and other things, too. And, of course, we arrived during the peak of mosquito weather. Of course.

* Baby ducks nibbled my toes. My kids freaked out at that, too.

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