My most famous relative and other stuff

File under: weekend update

For the first time in a while, I feel like I actually have stuff to talk about! It isn't important or interesting stuff, but at least it's stuff!
Friday night, Pat was watching the movie The Informant! while I read on the couch. I was deeply involved with my book, but about an hour and a half into the movie, a character's name (the main character) finally came to my attention: Mark Whitacre. My thought process went something like this. "Whitacre. I have a bunch of people in my family named Whitacre. I wonder if there is any relation. Mark Whitacre. That name sounds really familiar. Mark Whitacre! Hey, I am related to him! I forgot I'm related to one of the most famous whistleblowers in history. Holy shit! Matt Damon is playing the part of one of my distant relatives. " Then I proclaimed to Pat, "Mark Whitacre! I'm related to him!" Yeah, so he's on my mom's side of the family. (I don't know exactly how I'm related to him, but he's, like, a second cousin four times removed...or something.) I remember now that one of my aunts had emailed me a couple years ago to say a movie was being made (and a book had been written) about him, but I have a terrible memory and it just slipped my mind. If, however, I had known Matt Damon was going to be playing one of my family members in the movie, it probably would have commanded more of my attention. Anyway, it was a funny surprise. I'm less shocked that I'm related to some misguided whistle-blowing thief (I think that's a fair description) than I am shocked I'm related to someone with nine academic degrees, including three doctorates and two law degrees. But, seriously, there are so many things that bend my brain about him and his story and the movie.
Saturday I ventured out and met a friend at Solera, a cozy wine bar in the South Wedge. It was so fun! It was low key and unpretentious, and there was an interesting mix of people. It was so nice to get out and about. We got there early and walked out by 8:30 PM. My friend had to get going, but I was sort of drunk with freedom and just wasn't quite ready to go home. I called another friend, Sarah, on the off chance she was already out or wanted to meet me out. Like kismet, we were able to meet up at Tap and Mallet for a beer. I still got home at a totally reasonable hour, and I had so much fun catching up with two people I always click with and never seem to get enough time with. It was fantastic—a night that could certainly not be duplicated.
We also had a pretty productive weekend and got to spend some quality family time outdoors. We worked in the yard quite a bit (gotta keep up with the Joneses now that we're in Brighton). Greta and I planted a bunch of seeds, which is something I don't think I've done since I was a kid. Hopefully we'll see some results from those. Also this weekend we officially started composting! I'm ridiculously excited about compost! Who knew?? And now that we're composting and being more "green," it's our ticket to be socially irresponsible in other ways.
Going back a bit, the book I was reading Friday when I was mostly ignoring The Informant is really good. My book club is reading In the Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim. He lives in Brighton, and the (nonfiction) story takes place on his street. After a murder-suicide at his neighbor's house in 2000, he realized he really did not know any of his neighbors more than on a surface level, and some he did not know at all. He started asking his neighbors if he could interview them so he could get to know them personally, and he even asks to sleep over at some of their houses for a night. There is more to it than that, but I am terrible at giving the in-a-nutshell version of books. Anyway, it's very good. Certainly part of the allure for me is that he's talking about my neighborhood, but I think it's well written and an enjoyable read. It has definitely made me rethink my idea of what neighbors' relationships should be, and I do want to try to push past my shyness and hopefully actually meet some of my not-so-new neighbors. Hell, it has crossed my mind to invite at least the surrounding neighbors over for a gathering at our house. Amazing. I definitely recommend the book. If you have read it or are interested and live in the area, Peter Lovenheim is going to be at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble this Thursday at 7 for a book signing (do you think he'll sign my e-reader?) and "discussion." Yay for local authors! I haven't finished the book yet, but I plan to finish it before Thursday. Normally I have sort of a weird system of rationing books so I can spread things out (I know it's a dumb system), but it has been fun to have a purpose to just blow right through this one.
Amazingly, I still have more I could say, but this is getting lengthy and I'm also trying to watch Breaking Bad, and things are heating up this episode! More later.


#1 Xorauguyna

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#2 Xorauguyna

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#3 Thank you!

Mary Ann, it is so nice of you to say so, even if JV nudged you. ;-)

I hop you guys are well. Congrats on the new house! I can't WAIT to see what you guys do with that beautiful old church!

#4 Johnathan wanted me to let

Johnathan wanted me to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog each Friday afternoon at work! I love keeping up on what ya'll are up to!