I was terribly ill last night, but at least it has granted me an extra day of relative freedom. I was in Chicago and other bits of northern Illinois and some of Wisconsin for about a week, which was nice at parts. My paternal grandparents live in what one might call a pigsty; most of the dishes are filthy, people drink directly from milk cartons, and so forth. They are also generally clueless about the concept of privacy: almost none of the doors are fully capable of staying shut, but they don't bother to fix it. They'll just waltz on in without knocking, or in some cases, they'll knock and then barge through without waiting for a reply. But my maternal grandmother is a lot more sensible when it comes to these things. Her husband died when I was three or so, so I only have her as a maternal grandparent, but she's pretty great for the most part. This post is not meant to say I don't love my paternal family. I just don't like staying with them, which I am forced to do year after year after year - sometimes twice a year - by my father, who seems to know something's wrong but appears to be unwilling to admit it. Which brings me to another point:
I sometimes get loads of reading and writing done over the winter, but this time (although it was partly my own negligence), my dad had us do stuff pretty much every day in order to "enjoy" ourselves. I will admit that the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry both had some interesting stuff...but there was never much time to relax. And in the past he's had a tendency to verbally put down anyone who doesn't want to run all over the place with him. Perhaps it was nice to get some air away from that filthy household, but to me holidays are, at least in part, a chance to rest a bit, which is hard with people barging in every three seconds and dragging you around the big loud city. I appreciate what the guy tried to do, but I don't think that enjoyment ought to be forced. Kind of sucks the whole purpose out of it, just like education.
On another note, I'm reading a really amazing novel by Rachel Neumeier, titled The City in the Lake. The prose is just beautiful and the story fascinates me. I'd recommend it to friends, definitely.