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Eldest Son was home from college for the weekend – a most excellent birthday gift for this mom. Hubby picked him up on Friday. He was due back today for a class at noon, so we left gray and early this morning. His college is about a three-hour drive from home.

Other than the weather, a sneeting sort of snow, the drive was uneventful. Hubby drove; Eldest Son and I napped part of the way. We listened to Minnesota Public Radio for part of the drive. On the second half of Mid-Morning, author James Ellroy talked to Kerri Miller as part of Talking Volumes. For a Minnesotan, Talking Volumes is second only to Oprah as a respected place for an author to hawk a book. (For a Minnesotan, maybe it’s even first.)

Ellroy was an interesting fellow to listen to, quite full of himself. He claimed that he doesn’t read other people’s books (with only a handful of exceptions), although he’s been writing more historical fiction lately. As a historian, I wonder how anyone can write anything based on history without, oh, I don’t know …  reading some history. I can’t hold complicated historical facts in my head for longer than a few minutes. I have to make copious notes from my primary sources in order to put together an essay. Maybe Ellroy meant that he doesn’t read other fictional books. He did say that he writes long outlines (over 400 pages for a particular 600-page novel) as part of his process, so maybe I’m missing something.

After stopping at Eldest Son’s dorm so that he could unload his stuff, snarfing down the homemade pizza we brought with, and dropping Son at his class (with the requisite goodbye hugs), Hubby and I were on our way back home. This time there was sneet with periodic bursts of sunlight. Go figure.

On the drive back, we first listened to the Dave Matthews Band’s newest CD, Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King – a birthday present from Hubby and the kids. It is fabulous if you haven’t given it a listen yet. But what’s almost more impressive than the music is the art work, drawings all produced by Dave Matthews. The guy is multi-talented; the art not the work of an amateur. His fantastical, Mardi Gras inspired drawings are so complex that they beg to be stared at for a long time.

After the CD finished, we switched to the radio, tuning in to a station Hubby had discovered on his last drive to pick up Eldest Son – Z 103.3. The station plays the weirdest mix of music, from the Scorpions to the Psychadelic Furs, from Social Distortion to Rob Thomas, from The Monroes to AC/DC. We heard all of these within an hour and were delighted. There’s no rhyme nor reason as to genre, nor does the station repetitively play today’s hits. It seemed to be kind of heavy on the ’80s, which was what we grew up with. WCCO weatherman Chris Shaffer, who often references his passion for ’80s music, would totally dig this station. Unfortunately we lost the signal about 45 minutes from home.

There’s something about long drives that saps the energy out of us, even though it involves copious amounts of sitting. When we arrived home, Hubby and I took a nap. I’m still tired, so will try to go to bed early.

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