Q: Where the heck have you been?
A: Ummm, I had a busy semester. I know that sounds lame, but I didn't feel like blogging much over the past four months since I talked about Susan getting into a car accident. As always, I over loaded on courses, and this semester I had an especially enjoyable heavy load. Plus, I took two summer classes, which ended last week, and have been working full time since Memorial Day.
Q. OK, so you had a busy semester. Did you want to tell us about any classes that you took?
A. Perhaps my favorite class was one in which I worked on a redevelopment project of the City of Ypsilanti. For those of you who don't know, Ypsilanti is a town 10 minutes away from Ann Arbor, and is home of Eastern Michigan University and a host of urban ills. I was in an great group that created a plan to revitalize the commercial district near Eastern Michigan University. To see the plan, check it out here (if the link does not work, please let me know, and I'll email a copy of the report to you.
I also took classes in Urban Poverty, Governmental Finance, Geographic Information Systems, and an independent study in Planning History. Good times, but I was glad when everything finished on April 27.
Q. So if you finished school in late April, why didn't you start blogging again then?
A. I started two summer classes after a week of vacation. I took a Microeconomics class (to meet a program requirement) and a class in advanced statistics. Both of these classes, while somewhat enjoyable, had a heavy work load. Plus, I worked for a week on my parents new cottage before beginning my summer job after Memorial Day.
Q. Ok, a lot of information here. First, your parents are building a cottage? Why would two ex-1960s counter-cultural types become landed gentry and build an estate on the backs of the poor?
A. Good question. First, my parents wanted a place for the entire family to gather together in the shadow of Lake Michigan. As for this new cottage, not only will we serve the Lord, but also future Bratt grandchildren will be trained in Dutch Calvinism, the finer points of Reformed Theology, the importance of restoring a national governing Democratic coalition to redress the past 12 years of GOP wrongs, and simply a place to have fun. I'll post a link to some photos I've taken in the near future.
Q. That sounds good. You also mentioned that you started a summer job. I thought graduate students spent the summer trying to understand what hit them over the past academic year.
A. Most people might consider some vacation to be prudent. However, I got a great job for the summer, and every day of work feels like I'm on vacation. I work at the Institute for Social Research, and I'm doing a great deal of interesting work on various studies. My job will last till early August, and then I'll have a few weeks before classes start again in early September.
Q. Oh no. You have the potential of three weeks free. Don't tell me you are going to be idle and do the devil's work?
A. Not at all. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm going to be working on an article regarding urban planning in Grand Rapids during the late 1950s and early 1960s, so I will be in Grand Rapids for a week doing research and eating at favorite old haunts. I'm also leaving a week to put together some graduate applications for next year, and I will be vacationing with Susan at the cottage as well.
Q. I've gotten the non-important stuff out of the way. On to the real questions. What is new with Susan.
A. Well, her blog will fill one in with any needed information. She has had a busy summer, jumping through a great number of hoops required for ordination in the PCUSA. She is actually in Princeton this week taking a class while I eat away left overs and avoid cooking.
Q. Anything going on with the cat?
A. Not really. She's getting a haircut at some point later this month. She destroyed two of her toys while I was gone last weekend, so I'll need to get her something new soon.
Q. How are you guys doing after the death of your car in February?
A. We are doing OK. Thanks to the sharp eye of Susan's mom, we got a 1994 Buick Century in March, and it has been doing rather well for us. The exciting news is that Susan picked up our new car in Washington DC last week. Hello 2004 Toyota Prius!
Q. That is good news. Perhaps you might be able to do some road tripping now? After all, you have made repeated boasts about planning these great trips, and never actually do it.
A. Very true. I'm hopeful that I'll do some long-distance driving this summer. My sister is starting a Ph.D. program at UPenn this fall, so I'll probably help her move a bit. One of my brothers is beginning graduate work at Stanford this fall as well, although I'll probably save that trip for something that Susan and I can do together later next year.
Q. Thank you for your time, and please blog some more.
A. I'll try!