Hello, everybody

How are you? Did you miss me? I would understand if you didn’t. There’s a lot of stuff out there to see and read and watch and hear and do. And if it isn’t in our faces all of the time, we might not even be aware of it’s absence. We are consumerists of the moment. It has probably always been this way, since society reached beyond some arbitrary critical mass of saturation, but let’s blame it on the Internet.

Shame on you, Internet. There’s just so much of you. So much so, that people won’t even notice me. Or, most critically, notice if I’ve taken the day, or many, off.

Which is what I’ve done. It was a nice idea and I’m pleased with having done it. I haven’t written anything here, or on social media, though I have kept up a little. I’ve just done the other things in life. And, I suppose, that means I’ve had a little extra time. So I have accomplished more stuff! Well, yes and no. Mostly no, but also yes, in a pleasing enough manner. I read four books. Two of them were essay collections edited by Edwin Grosvenor, one on The Civil War and one on World War I. These were both good. It was, I said to a friend, like reading well-written longform Wikipedia posts on specific subjects. I also read Al Roker’s story about the 1900 hurricane in Galveston. It was a book that tried to walk a line between people who want to know about weather and, yet, no know nothing about weather. It is a great and tragic and amazing tale, one somehow lost in the modern zeitgeist. But the book could have done with another editing pass or two. Also, I finished a book about the archeology of the battle of the Culloden battlefield. We visited there a few years ago, and the interpretation is well done for casual visitors. Most battlefields are difficult, for me anyway, to visualize and understand. Not so, Culloden. Part of that is because of the work that’s been done to return the hallowed ground to what it looked like in 1746. And that’s because of thoughtful scholarship like that found in this book.

Things that have happened since we spoke last…

I got sick! There were about six days of feeling rough, eight days of eating zinc and vitamin supplements and cough drops like candy, and three of those days where I was laid quite low. After that, another week of idle coughing and throat clearing. But I’m fine now. It was, as you might expect, a fine way to bring in the new year. But, with that out of the way, I’m good to go and be virus-free until about 2026 or so.

I returned to work after the holidays, of course. (As did you! Was your office different? Mine was exactly the same.)

The beginning of a semester brings its own odd pace. Two or three weeks in, as we are now, the rush of the start is over and we slip into the rhythm of the term. But, in addition to that early semester rush, we’ve also been working toward a project that just wrapped last Friday. CBS Sports was here, producing an episode of We Need To Talk. They used our studio, some of our students and talked to and about a lot of the local sports world. This is the only clip they’ve put online so far:

It was a good show, a good experience for the people who took advantage of it. And, most importantly, we can move on to other things.

Let’s catch up on everything else with photographs.

Poseidon is still getting into everything. We try to keep him out of the laundry room, but he’s fast. And he knows precisely what he’s going for, the bag randomly sitting between the dryer and the ironing board:

We’ve had gray skies:

A lot of gray skies:

It’s just positively charming in its perpetual dreariness. (It’s not.)

We’re averaging one day of blue sky a week. But on one particular blue sky day we had a nice sunset:

It should just happen more often, is all.

I’ve been running, of course. Even as I was trying to get over my head cold. And I have had the opportunity to use the running light that The Yankee got me for Christmas:

It casts a giant arc of light. Probably looks weird coming at you, but you don’t miss things on the sidewalk or path or road. And it inadvertently spotlights deer. Now we both have one of these ONE80 lights, and we’re big fans. If you run, or work outside at night, or need something that’s ridiculously bright and long-lasting and hands free, this is the one you want.

Also, it has been cold, of course. But happily, so far this year, it has been an unseasonably mild winter. Even still, cold enough.

Only a few days this month have been really bitter. And that’s plenty for the year, thanks.

I got to run with Venus, which you can see in the twilight here:

The Canada geese are just moving back and forth from one pond to another around here.

They think, this is south enough, I guess. They are mistaken.

There is a running path behind our house. It has little tendrils that extend out to the road in front of us, but otherwise, it just exists unto itself, ending in a fallow field on one end and almost seven-tenths of a mile away it ends in woods. It is one of many paths around the city, and we’ve been told that they’ll one day all be connected, which would be a great feature, if you think about it. The realization of that goal may well be long after we can be bothered to care, or live here. But there is a bit of progress on our local stretch of pedestrian asphalt. The path behind us has been extended a bit, recently. Now it goes back and behind the newer developments on the road. Meanwhile, one of the other paths (which joins the larger network on one end and just … stops … on the other end) is growing toward our little path. One problem: the creek in between. Well, that problem has been solved:

Now those two paths just have to link up.

Also, the ponds recently froze:

Definitely the kind of weather I want to be outside in. Fortunately they haven’t been frozen solid. Here’s a shot of a larger pond, just a day or three later. And if you squint at the fuzzy background in the distance it almost looks like that’s some sort of alpine village, which would be an upgrade.

It has been cold enough for the cats to cuddle:

Phoebe is also doing just fine:

And now we’ll try to get back into some normal routine around here, too.

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