Dec 20

My left breast pockets are natty

This evening I spent a bit of time making new pocket squares. Making is the wrong word. It’s not as if I acquired the cotton seeds and cultivated the crop, spun out the fabric, dyed it and so on.

I found some DIY instructions online, is all. It was on a manly site. A how to site, without the patriarchal and chauvinistic overtones. The point, essentially, was a jacket without a pocket square is naked, indeed. And a splash of color is, in fact, the accent you’re looking for.

And now I make my own pocket squares. Here’s today’s batch:

It’s quite simple and straightforward, really. Really straightforward. It’s “Why did I have to look that up? A few seconds of reasoning would have demonstrated that, ‘Hey, these are squares.'”

Really, you just have to clean up the edges. The rest is in how you decide to fold the squares.

So that adds 12 to the collection. I have 17 more to make, pastels mostly — hooray spring! — and about seven more own the way. If you had those to the other six or seven I have, that’s a lot.

The problem becomes which one to wear. Tomorrow, I think, a dark blue will work. Simple, understated, matches the cufflinks.

Dec 20

I got in a ride today

It was a spectacularly beautiful day today. The rarity, the miracle, which that can be here this time of year. It was sunny and clear and almost warm. I’m not used to the cold being the norm, but it is the norm for here. I’m used to this being the norm here. It was in the 50s. You could see the sun, and the blue. That’s the way it should be. It’s an unexpected gift here. That’s just sad.

But you take advantage of it. And I did with a late afternoon bike ride.

I rode in shorts! With no gloves! Sigh.

Here’s a clip from a neighborhood part of my route, and the trail I added on at the end just to tick up the odometer a bit.

Kmart closed their two stores here in 2016 and 2017. I don’t know where motorists have been getting their licenses updated since then, but they’re all due a new road test. They were brutal today, so, in that way, it was usual.

This is from a different ride. It took place two or three years ago, and also it was during a different season. Everything was so green! And warm!

Anyway, we’re now essentially caught up with the county’s historic marker series. I ride around and take pictures of the signs and what they’re commemorating. One new marker has been installed recently, and another has been re-installed since I went by it last. So I have two more weeks of this we can still look forward to in this county. And then, perhaps next year, I’ll start riding to the markers in the neighboring counties.

Anyway, click this image to see this post.

Ferry Bridge

Two things: I hate taggers. There’s not enough community service in the world to deliver on taggers. Second, have you ever noticed how every bridge is always the biggest or longest or highest or heaviest? Why must every bridge be superlative? Can’t we just acknowledge the brilliance of the engineering and what they mean, rather than an assessment of their constituent materials?

Anyway, to see all of the markers, just click here.

Dec 20

The week with bad titles, part four

This area is rich in limestone. The campus is full of local stuff. Courthouses around the state feature stone that was ripped from the ground around here. The stone was the necessary ingredient for the move Breaking Away‘s subtext.

We watched Breaking Away when we moved up here. The Yankee had never read it. It’s still a fine film, and I wonder how townies feel about it. It still holds up, even if the locals would tell you there are some geographical problems. And I’m older now. Growing up it was a movie aimed at me, the child. Today I’m much, much closer to the dad’s age than the young kids who really make up the movie. The dad’s big speech, which probably raced right by me each time I saw it as a kid, really sank in differently that last time we watched it.

And it’s popular far and wide. Indiana’s limestone is what you see at the Empire State Building. The U.S. Holocaust Museum, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Archives, the Department of Justice, Wilson Center, the EPA, NOAA, the Department of Commerce and more, they all came from here. Federal courthouses, churches, college campuses across the country, tons of them feature Indiana limestone.

At the height of the industry, the state sent 14.5 million cubic feet of dimension stone to all of those projects, most of it coming from this region. It has certain attributes that make it both aesthetically pleasing and professionally easy to work with. Even today, those cutters quarry 2.7 million cubic feet of Indiana Limestone each year, and it generates about $26 million annually in revenue.

And it all started right here, or, rather just a few miles up the road. The first real digging of limestone in Indiana is the subject of this installment of my old and forgotten, and now remembered and almost completed historical marker project. I’m showing off all those beautiful painted signs in the county. I rode to all of them on my bicycle. This particular one is the second-furthest away from the house, in fact, so enjoy. Click on the image to see this particular entry.

The marker itself, which you can see by clicking over via the image above, is a bit removed from the location it celebrates. You can’t, in fact, see the old quarry (it failed in the 1860s) by road, or even from the bird’s eye view of Google Maps. But there’s some more local history sitting in the center of the park in that sleepy, small town, population 200. (Stinesville was laid out 28 years after the quarry began, which was when the rail line showed up. The post office arrived five years after that.) The bonus photo you’ll find in the post is of a locally important bell. It came from a church established in 1894, just 67 years after that first quarry was dug. The community saved the bell in 1995, and I bet there’s a story behind that which the web isn’t telling us, and it was put in that park in 2005. So it’s been there 15 years now. I wonder where it was for the 10 years it was being saved.

Oh, here it is, in a local historical newsletter, from 2006. It seems the church building has had several lives. First it was a congregation for Lutherans, and then it became known as the First Christian Church. It was badly damaged in a 1964 storm, though, and a few years later the church was sold to a private individual. All the contents were auctioned, including the bell. And then in 1995 the bell was going to go on the market again, but the community preserved it. Later, the church building, not made of limestone, was repaired, renovated and is now a private residence. Happy ending. And, in the summer of 2015, the last time the Google car came through, it needed a fresh coat of paint. I believe it’s had one since then, and now that I know what I’m looking for, I’ll check on it when I’m out that way again. But the lawn was well-kept! So, like all of us, it’s in progress.

If you’d like to see two county’s worth of historical signs and the places they’re highlighting, go to the main page.

Nov 20

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s a little silly how we concentrate, today, on the things that we have in abundance. We should do it every day, all year. And maybe you do, and this is just me. But I could do it more.

We went for a morning run, the now traditional turkey trot.

It was, of course, a neighborhood run, an unofficial trot, if you will. It was still good to get outside to do it, and I only survived by thinking of the food I’d get to enjoy this evening. And the food was wonderful. We made a delicious turkey breast that cooked and cut nearly perfectly. The Yankee found a new recipe for sweet potato casserole, messed up the proportions for the toppings and we found that we preferred it that way. I had some of my mother’s patented and traditional dressing:

We had green beans, just to change the color scheme of the plate.

Did a video chat this afternoon, and phone calls and more video chats this evening. And this is what I am abundantly thankful for: while we were not today with the rest of the people we care about, they are all safe and healthy and happy. That’s our greatest abundance.

I hope you and your family are safe, and that you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Nov 20

A semester’s production wrap up