Okay, so I'm bubbling over and just have to share very positive developments this weekend:
1. I am a step closer to liberating myself from having to rely on the generosity of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my professional e-mail needs. After deciding that three e-mails over two weeks with no response from Northwestern computing staff was quite enough waiting, I took matters into my own hands and obtained and installed Office 2007. The remaining issues involve what may be fundamental deficiencies in the Northwestern webmail/IMAP set-up. For this, I might have to turn to using a private ISP, although I will try consulting again with NU tech support before I do this. I'm very happy about many aspects of the new job at Northwestern, but I will have to admit that the recurrent experience of having paid support staff to whom you send e-mails and simply do not get any response whatsoever is new for me.
2. Yesterday was an absolutely splendid day for college football: My Hawkeyes won with me in attendance, Iowa State won (meaning that they will not go 1-11 with their only win being over the Hawkeyes), Nebraska lost by giving up more points in its entire history (and to Kansas, to boot), and Notre Dame lost to Navy for the first time in 44 years. I was dressed in full Hawkeye regalia and had a conversation with a Northwestern mother on my way to the game in which she asked where I was from and I said, "Um, actually, I'm faculty here at Northwestern." We had a nice discussion then about how her sons were enjoying Northwestern and what a nice thing enduring undergraduate loyalty is.
3. I have secured tentative agreement from at least some family members for my scheme to host Freese Family Thankgiving here in Evanston. Yes, me, putting on Thanksgiving Dinner for my family. (No, of course I'm not actually going to cook. Have I mentioned that I live right next door to Whole Foods?)