When I called Karen this morning, to ask if she wanted me to take the bus up and come visit her (she is sick with flu, poor munchkin, as is Tot), she said no, that wasn't necessary, she was surviving okay. So no visit, but we did end up chatting for almost an hour, some about my current weird fitness obsession, some about Foundation stuff, and at the tail end, just a little gossiping. (No, not about anyone you know.) And it was really nice, hanging out on the phone and gossiping while sipping tea. I was left with a warm fuzzy feeling, and it's making me want to go read Jane Austen now. Women seem to spend so much time just visiting in those books -- they go see each other, and they take strolls around the garden, and they huddle in little nooks and trade confidences, and okay, they're admittedly in a complete sublimated panic about the fact that they're having some difficulty getting married and they're about to be kicked out of their ancestral home and aren't even allowed to get jobs as governnesses because of weird social class issues, and of course they were getting dreadfully sick all the time and often dying in childbirth, so I'm not claiming that it was all sweetness and light back then. It clearly wasn't, unless you had a nice steady income, in your own name, and even then it wasn't a picnic being a woman. But the visiting sounds nice, with the tea and the gossip and the rituals of dressing for the morning, and the afternoon, and the carriage rides and the occasional balls. And okay, I'm going to go have tea with my sister this afternoon, so it's not as if my life is completely barren of such things, but we have to carve out space for them (she's on call at the hospital again tomorrow), and it's pleasant to dream about a different sort of life, one which moved in more of a friendly haze.