So today was my first day back at work after being "out of office" for almost two weeks. I'm clearly not very high up in the food chain because it took me less than an hour to clear all the unread mails. It'd have taken me longer to clear my personal e-mail account, had I not checked it on and off while I was on vacation.

The good thing about it being my first day back is that everyone assumed I was busy clearing e-mail and no one bothered me about anything new. So while about half my colleagues were having headless chicken days, trying to cope with the whims and vagaries of media requests and ministerial happenings, I got to hide in my cubicle and get my wrists used to maneuvering fingers across a keyboard again (my wrists have never experienced this mild ache before). I might've somewhat given away my leisurely status, though, when I volunteered to take notes for an afternoon meeting on behalf of a colleague.

Oh, the Frangos (mint chocolates from the Marshall Field's department store in Chicago) were a hit. No wonder Pat used to get some every time she passed a store.

In other work-related news, I came back from vacation to find that two colleagues have quit. Two! And I'm pretty close to one of them too --- I'd just gotten to a point after the last five months when I felt that we had a good working vibe going. What's really nuts, though, is that these two women have been in this department for about four years each. When they go, so does a lot of institutional memory. I am afeard.

But enough about work. My latest post-vacation financial resolution is to live on $100 a week. It's a bit extreme, but I did indulge in a leather jacket on this trip and without drastic measures, I won't even be able to get my hair cut before Christmas.

The vacation, leather jacket notwithstanding, was outstanding. The only thing that would've made it better is if T had been able to go. The weather was wintry, but I'll take that over the 45 degree temperatures I missed here. Seeing old friends was great. Watching my brother traipse around campus in his graduation garb was priceless. Having my mom steal the cap and gown and take pictures in them (she never went to college) was funnier still.

I would write more now, but I'm back at home and we're going out for dinner. Just in case any of you were still holding your breath in suspense after my previous pre-vacation journal entry, I thought I should tell you all that I didn't make it to Philly after all. The Force was not very strong with me (nor with Lucas, either, as the laughing shambles that is Attack of the Clones should tell you).


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