One other thing kind of stood out as something different while I was away for the week. My parents had friends of their own over, without even asking me for permission, and the friends stayed in the guest room where I've been camped out. The immediate side effect of this was I felt embarrassed at a distance, even though I didn't see their friends this time around, because I had left a partly used bottle of mouthwash on the bookshelf because I needed to put it somewhere and forgot to bring it with me for house-sitting. The sane part of me knows that they really didn't care about the fixtures of the guest room as long as the bed was clean and comfortable, and in any case it's not like Listerine is a particularly humiliating product to have around, but if I had known my room would be looked at I'd have tried putting it into some more presentable order.
Also along the way my parents laundered and changed the sheets, and somehow they folded the lightest cover -- the one I actually use as a blanket, since the heavier stuff is really inappropriate what with climate control meaning it's not in the lower 40s Fahrenheit -- back and forth over the mattress so that I can't get the lower edge out or unravelled, and I can't get it to lay out straight either. This is going to have to result in my tearing all the sheets off the mattress and re-doing it, but I just haven't been bothered enough until the time I try to go to bed and realize my feet are restrained in awkward ways, when I'm too tired to deal with it.
And a happy year 2000 to Ethiopia! Apparently way back around the 6th century the Roman and the Ethiopian churches came to slightly different conclusions about just when this Christ fellow had appeared on the scene, and both sides have more or less stuck to their answers since then and are reasonably comfortable with the way things have worked out. The Ethiopian calendar is also linked for the new year to the Coptic date, the one based on the annual flooding of the Nile that got the Egyptians so worked up about leap days and Sirius and such.
Trivia: Coptic Christians in Egypt also keep the anni Diocletiani, dating from the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletius. (By that calendar it is 1723.) Source: The Calendar, David Ewing Duncan.
Currently Reading: A History of the United States Weather Bureau, Donald R Whitnah.