Jun 22

Happy anniversary to us

Take your time.

We were standing in the heat, in Savannah, where we’d taken our first trip, across the street from our tree and the place where we’d gotten engaged. Everyone was sitting outdoors on the hottest weekend of the summer — you shouldn’t reserve a space in August, I figured, because people would melt — so they melted for us in June, instead.

The story’s setting is really about the place and being our place, but the story is always told and remembered for the heat.

My uncle is standing beside me. He and I are waiting until The Yankee comes down the aisle on her father’s arm. She’s smiling to light up the world. I can see that smile even now.

We’re in front of everyone and, ever since, I’ve thought, it would have been nice to say something profound and special to her parents. How do you say in a whisper, in a moment, that you’re going to spend all of your time watching out for their daughter and trying to make her laugh? Not that she needs that, because she’s amazing. They know that, of course, because they raised her and watched her, and they were beaming with pride. That they were beaming with pride seems exactly why you should have that thing to say. I still kick myself for not being smart enough to figure that out, and not being cool enough to deliver in that moment.

My uncle delivers. He’s got this lovely little service, and it is just about perfect. I’ve heard him preach a little, but he’s a church singer. I can pick out his voice in a church full of singing people if I’m standing in the back of the room. He’s a good and kind and patient man, and, there, on such an important day, he was putting words to thoughts about what I’m supposed to do with all of my days to come. Almost all of our two small families are there to hear it, and the fullness of that remains as important as anything.

She says a part and tears up a little and I whisper something about taking her time. Like she needs this advice. This is one of the strongest, smartest people I know and this platitude is silly even as I say it, but there’s no rush here. Not really. It’s hot, sure, but there’s no rush. There is rushing aplenty in our lives, a lot of rushing that day even, but this is a moment to be empowered and encouraged and emboldened. Do it your way. The fans aren’t moving any air, anyway.

You may kiss your bride, and I did something funny and people giggled and then the ceremony was complete. We had a lovely dinner sitting at a long, long table. We took more photos, including this one, and the festivities continued long into the night.

And they continue still! The festivities continue on with adventures, at home and abroad, and with the people who care for us. They carry on in all the big moments. And they absolutely continue on in the even more important, little, pleasant and predictable parts of life, which was the sort of day we planned today.

Thirteen years of laughter. Take your time.

May 22

Let’s go back in time

Ten years ago I took this photograph, and published it on my Tumblr site. (Remember those?) This is the agapanthus, the African lily. From the Greek agape (love) + anthos (flower).

The plant is believed to have a hemolytic poison and can cause ulceration of the mouth. It does have other medicinal properties, however. There are about 10 species in the genus.

(Haven’t put anything on that Tumblr since November 2014. I wonder why? Probably just rightly remembered I should put everything here.)

Nine years ago I was at a baseball game, and the good guys won. We found our friend watching from a nearby parking deck.

(Happy times!)

Eight years ago we ran a triathlon in the morning, and watched a baseball game in the afternoon. (Good guys lost.) And I got Aubie to take a selfie on my camera.

(Happy times!)

Seven years ago we ran a 10K. I did it in brand new shoes.

This was a fundraiser in London, and on part of the route we ran around Wembley Stadium. The guy that won the race was an Egyptian Olympian. He lapped us. It was amazing to watch him run. He could not stick around to get his medal, they said, because he ran off to run another race. Long distance runners, man.

But look at this awesome bling!

(The next day we were in Paris. It was a whirlwind.)

Six years ago, plus one day …

I’ve never been able to eat watermelon without thinking about that. And I can’t eat watermelon without being a bit sad. Had some this morning, in fact.

Five years ago, boy, I was right about this one.

Four years ago, we were in Tuscany, specifically, Siena, and just one of the beautiful things we visited that day was the Duomo di Siena. In the 12th century the earliest version of this building starting hosting services, but there’d been a church on this spot for centuries by then. The oldest bell in the church was cast in 1149! These beautiful facades started appearing in the 1200s.

That was a grand trip. We’d do that one again, I’m sure.

Three years ago, the 17th was a Saturday, and we went on an easy bike ride.

Two years ago I apparently sat around and thought of little more than Covid. Remember the pandemic?

And last year at this time I was recovering from my first long drive in a year. We’d just come back from visiting my vaccinated family members. It had been my first drive out of the county in more than a year. It took a day or two to recover.

I did have a reason to re-use this gif, however.

The guy on the left is a sports director at a television station in Illinois now. The guy on the right is a 2L at a Washington D.C. law school. (We’re all going to work for one of them one day, I’m sure.)

So a bit of everything on this day in the last decade.

May 22

Just go go go

Worked today, doing work stuff. Enjoying the beginning of summer by getting ready for the fall. I had an actual lunch! We got takeout from Chick-fil-A and ate it in a parking lot between Panera and Fresh Thyme and a funeral home. It’s a glamorous life, to be sure.

After work I got gas. Paid $3.19 a gallon, which was a dollar off the sign price, because of the Kroger fuel points plan. This loyalty program is one of the three great things about our local grocery store. And, at the beginning of the year we took advantage of what is essentially Kroger Prime. Used to be that every dollar you spent was added into a formula for a reduced price at the pump. Since you’re shopping for groceries anyway, this was an easy and obvious thing. But now your dollar amounts are worth double in the gas reduction formula. We signed up before the war in Ukraine and inflation drove up the prices, and so this has paid for itself several times over already.

After that, and I know you’re riveted, I went to the hardware store. Got some tack cloths. At the house I sanded wood until it was time for dinner. (And almost all of the sanding on this ridiculously long-stalled project is now down.) And then I ate and washed dishes and did a very small amount of house chores until it was time to write this. And here you are.

Five years ago tonight, we were with the Indigo Girls.

I think that was the seventh or ninth time I’ve seen the Indigo Girls live. I don’t go to a lot of concerts anymore — indeed, I think I’ve been to one other show, in 2019, since then, and we had two others canceled in 2020 — but Amy and Emily, I’d never turn down. They never disappoint.

OK, the sanding isn’t done. Everything is done through 400-grit. Later this week I’ll do the ends to 800-grit. Then it’ll be ready to clean and stain and install. Which is good, because there’s an ever-growing list of other things I need to make.

So, this summer work, bike and build is how I’ll get ready for the fall.

May 22

A few weekend photos, and cats

I had the opportunity to watch the School of Nursing graduation on Saturday. Their ceremonies were in our building for space reasons, and it was neat to see all of those happy, bright young people getting ready to go do some hard work.

Nursing is a calling. All of the good ones are angels, and the rest are certainly working on it.

I noticed for the first time, on the way into the building, this blooming lilac (syringa oblata).

Just in time for summer!

We went for a bike ride this weekend, and I was sucking wind hard enough on the second half that I was able to take a photo to add to the irregular Barns By Bike collection.

And I marked Mother’s Day with a nice call and these classic photographs. I think this was my first snowfall.

We might have been overdressed. If I knew the date I’d look up the weather so we can laugh at the faux fur hooded parka my mom is wearing. But, instead, I just had a nice chat with her. She’s enjoying a weekend getaway vacation, and we enjoyed a nice long chat yesterday evening.

And now it’s time for you to enjoy the weekly check-in with the cats.

Here’s Phoebe doing one of the things she does best.

That cat relaxes so hard. I’m not saying she’s lazy. She has an intensity to her naps heretofore unseen by mortal man.

Poseidon was enjoying a little time in the window this morning.

Better than licking the blinds. He loves blinds. And every day I don’t have to take some broken blinds down and waste an hour buying and installing new ones is a victory.

That’s a three-blind window, and I have replaced each of them because of that cat.

Poseidon, like a cat does, also likes to get in all the places Poseidon isn’t supposed to be. These are strictly inside cats, so the evenings when we are cooking out Poseidon wants to go outside in a most desperate way. Someone has to hold him.

Enter the cardboard boxes they enjoy.

Phoebe was all too happy to play the role of the watchful warden. She stayed on the top of the second box the whole time he was in there. For most of that time he was purring happily away, too. And we didn’t have to worry about him while grilling.

Apr 22

And that’s a wrap!

Today the last two shows of the semester were produced by the entertainment division of IUSTV. This afternoon the Not Too Late crew wrapped their season in Studio 5. This morning it was The Bloomington Breakfast Club, which always ends their year talking to former hosts, for whatever reason. It’s great to see old friends, though. And three of them were on Zoom to join the current hosts.

So it’s Old Home Week! Gabrielle, who is in the top left square, helped start the show with Lydia, who is in the bottom right. Julianna came along after Lydia moved on. And they’ve all moved on to great things. Gabby is a producer at Vox Media in Los Angeles, Lydia is in marketing at Adidas in Oregon and Julianna is doing social media marketing for Dick’s Sporting Goods corporate offices in Pennsylvania.

That show started in 2016-2017, one of two new shows we launched in that year, my first year here. This year we rolled out three new shows, and at least two of them are going to stick. We’re also building out something really unprecedented for next year, as well.

Other interesting stats on this year … IUSTV has produced:

161 episodes of TV
Over 10 series
Three live streams
All told, earning well more than 205K views
And podcasts all over the place

Most importantly, the students are developing skills, and the graduating group are getting jobs. IUSTV is young this year, among the entire group — some 120 or so strong. We’re graduating four or five this term. Almost all of them had jobs by spring break this year.

The last shows of the production year will be online Monday, and I’ll share them with you here.

What we’ll do after that is anybody’s guess.