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I like Notre Dame.  I don’t think I’m going to get my doctorate there (an idea I was toying with all weekend), but it’s fun to visit.  I had a good weekend there.  It was a little wearying, but that was mostly from the travelling part of it.  I took the train up, which involved a long layover in Chicago (oh, darn!  Stuck in downtown Chicago for a whole afternoon!), and flew back, which involved an even longer layover in Detroit (weather related cancellations this time).  There are many worse places in the world to be stranded than the Detroit Airport.  In fact, I rather like the Detroit Airport.  There’s lots of comfy seating, the whole place is open, airy and non-claustrophobic, there are lots of great shops and restaurants, and an abundance of escalators and walking conveyor belts, which always thrill my inner five year old.  And then, because of these layovers, I actually got almost all the homework I brought with me done.  It was rather amazing.

The weekend was really good.  I stayed with Palmette, the Young Queen’s older sister, in the beautiful home she shares with two other Architecture grad students.  She picked me up from the train station Thursday night, and the rest of the girls arrived Friday afternoon.  The first speaker for the conference was Wendy Shalit, who wrote A Return to Modesty, one of the major sources I’m drawing on for my Modesty & Beauty paper (as opposed to my Contemporary Theologians paper).  The very, very cool part is that Palmette had found out what I was working on and spoke to the conference organizers about it, who arranged for me to talk to Wendy after her presentation.  She had me go back to her hotel with her (as an observant Jew she needed to be wherever she was going to spend the weekend before sundown hit), and we talked a little while.  It was great, and very useful.  I was able to ask some questions, and share some of the things I’ve been discovering.  She wants me to send her a copy of my paper when I’m done. 

One of the best features of the weekend, however, were our Gentlemen Escorts.  These were Paco Jr., whom the Young Queen brought with her from Marquette, and the Southern Gentleman, who is an Archie grad student with Palmette.  Between the two of them they just kinda looked after us.  I think I barely opened a door for myself all weekend.  Paco Jr. was especially impressive, fetching coats when it was time to leave, getting lunch for the group when we couldn’t detach the Young Queen from her discussion, procuring chips and salsa for us.  I can’t say the Southern Gentleman got us any chips and salsa, but he did promise to design a dancing studio for me one day.  It was so nice to have someone taking care of me even a little.  Having two guys looking out for us was wonderful.

In other news, I’ve barely seen 14 since he got home.  Sigh.  But I will get to see MDoS tonight.  That will be good.  And my prof says that I’m ready to start writing my Big Huge Beauty & Modesty Paper (which I think I will nickname Edmund.  And the Contemporary Theologians paper can be George).  So all that hard work is already paying off.  Now I just need to do, um, some more hard work.

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…