This has been a busy week, and next week is only going to be worse. I ended up driving out to Hammond on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (instead of my normal 2-day-a-week commute), and I've had a lot of grading to work on, besides my slogging along with Fauré research and oral exam prep.

Thursday night added to the busy-ness, but in a very welcomed way, since we drove to NOLA for a concert at the House of Blues. The band was one of our favorite groups, Nickel Creek, a 20-something trio who do bluegrass/pop (yes, bluegrass/pop is how I'd classify them). They're incredible musicians and play guitar, violin, and mandolin on most of their songs, some of which are very close to traditional bluegrass and some of which are more poppy-sounding. Anyway, we've been enjoying their music for years, and this is their Farewell (For Now) tour, so we figured we'd better get over there to hear them live.

The House of Blues is a standing-room-only venue, which we knew when we bought the tickets, so Jack called before we went to make sure there would be some kind of seating for a poor old pregnant woman. I was pretty apprehensive after remembering Jeannette's post about their aborted trip to the House of Blues during her pregnancy. Sure enough, though, they had stools for people like me; we just had to ask at the door, and thanks to new Louisiana laws, it's now a non-smoking venue as well. They were very understanding about the whole pregnancy issue, actually; the woman who was supposed to wand me to make sure I wasn't concealing a knife or a gun took one look at my belly, said "You got a baby in there?" (which cracked me up) and then said that she wouldn't wand me because she didn't know what it might do to the baby and she'd rather play it safe. Not exactly airport-security toughness, but it was fine with me. Once inside, we got a security guard to give us a stool, and we parked ourselves next to the sound booth so that I'd have a wall to sort of lean up against as well.

The arrangement worked with mixed success for a couple of hours (through the waiting time and the opening act), but it was one of those wooden stools with no padding, and it was too high up to put my feet on the ground, so I was pretty tired and sore just from sitting there. Jack stood behind me to help support my back, but it wasn't the same as being able to lean back in a normal chair. I made a couple of trips to the bathroom, which wasn't as scary as I had thought it might be, and I walked around a little bit to get my circulation going and make my back and butt bones stop hurting so much. I ended up holding out for three hours total, which was enough to get us almost all the way through their set. Since we were next to the sound booth, I kept sneaking peeks at the set list so that I could see how far we had come and what songs were coming up, and near the end, after one of my favorite songs ("This Side"), I told Jack that it was time to go. They had six songs left, but it wasn't going to happen for me. I was dead tired, and Jack, though a bit disappointed, was understanding about it, so we left, and I dozed in the car while he drove us home. It was a great concert, though I would have enjoyed it more with a real chair under me, I think.

In other news, we played Dance Dance Revolution for the first time last night at Jennifer's, and it was great! Some of the jumping around, like when I had to put both feet on different spots at once, wasn't exactly made for pregnant people to do, but we had a really good time. Jack and I were pretty evenly matched since we both have a good sense of timing and rhythm (no conception jokes, please), and we also had fun watching Jennifer and Rob push themselves to do really hard levels and then stumble over themselves trying to keep up. They used to play in different arcades around town until Rob got the game and the floor pads for Jennifer for Christmas, so now they practice at home, too. I'm interested in trying it at an arcade sometime, probably after the baby is out of my belly and I can move with the same grace and ease that I used to have (ha).

On tap for this next week is more teaching and grading in this penultimate week of classes, my 30-week doctor's appointment (which I'm doing solo so that Jack can save up his vacation hours), and the last throes of preparations for my oral exam next Friday. Ugh. And after all of that is over, we have our Super-Duper Lamaze Weekend Immersion Program on Saturday and Sunday. Don't be surprised if the posts are scant or nonexistent for a while!

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