Jul 17

Your Monday status report

It was a successful race on Saturday. Everyone got finisher medals. Everyone set new personal records. Seventy point three is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve done it once. (Once.)

Afterward we sat in the shade and had burgers and told stories. Here are some of the visuals:

And then the long drive home. It was a sunny day, much improved from my drive up the day before. But I was tired and had a headache and passed actual Waffle Houses. So I stopped at one. And while weaving my way into the parking lot I saw this thing:

Now, their website says they have blacklight mini golf, laser tag, pizza, a game rame, playground, arcades and, coming soon, bumper cars. That all sounds fun. I’m sure that it appeals to children of all ages. But that guy on the roof is kind of terrifying. And the car doesn’t really scream “Demand mom and dad take me there.” But that’s just me.

Saw a bit of graffiti on the walk into the office this morning:

The lane is closed because the world needs more condominiums, and this construction has meant work crews and heavy equipment and Jersey barriers and cones and signage. And, apparently, a contribution from the commentariat. The only problem is we don’t know if this message was added for this job or some previous lane closure. Such is the problem of the application of permanent marker on temporary, and moveable, signage.

And now I’m hanging out with Allie. She’s in her box:

We’ve taken to interpreting this as “Time to play, hooman.” She attacked a ribbon toy for the better part of an hour, until I finally had to hide the thing while she was distracted. Then she sat on me so I couldn’t eat dinner. So pretty much a perfect evening for her.

Jul 17

Visiting the middletown*

Wrapped up the week and then hopped in the car and turned north. And I drove through clouds and rain for about two hours.

Here’s my before view:

And after the rain, when I was off the highways and moving between now-flooded country roads, this is the after view:

I met up with The Yankee and her friend, Anne, at a pizza joint. And then we drove over to a hotel near Muncie. She’s doing the Ironman 70.3 tomorrow. I’ll be schlepping some of the gear and trying to stay in the shade. But the ladies will have a great race. Anne’s husband Bill and I will be grilling hamburgers. So it should be a nice Saturday all the way around.

*Middletown was the name given to Muncie in a series of 1920s sociological studies. The name was meant to disguise the city — the people there eventually figured it out — and to suggest a typical small town America, in a conceptual sense. And that is all the sociology you get from my seat in a Best Western. More here Monday. Perhaps check out Twitter or Instagram between now and then.

Jul 17

I don’t think I have published these here

These videos went elsewhere to the various social media places which you should follow, of course. They never made it here, though. So let’s fix that.

A few nights ago Allie had a very big play session, which means video, which means Allie’s theme song:

The original version of that was just for my in-laws, but I figured I’d “worked hard enough” to synch up the last bit of the music that I should use the footage elsewhere, so I put the tags on it, uploaded it and now I am using it to pad out a Thursday post.

This video was from the weekend before last. We’d gone up to Muncie for a bike ride where, at a park, we started out just behind a miniature tractor parade. “What are we supposed to do with this bit of Americana?” The Yankee asked, which was a line I laughed at for about 10 miles until I had to really start chasing her. Hey, we passed five moving tractors at the beginning of a 50-something mile ride. So that was good for the ego.

On the way back to the house after the ride, though, we found ourselves stopped at an intersection, by this fire truck that was controlling traffic for another parade of tractors. And, no kidding, on the local radio station at the same time:

My answer to the question about how to deal with that sort of Americana is that you follow them. The person on the tractor knows where the food is.

Jul 17

She is the original multitasker

What does this image have to do with anything? I’m so glad you asked, because there is an answer and you will find that answer, and be intrigued by the premise behind it, just below this now ancient comic strip cell:

I’m returning to the dabbles of a long-ignored section of the site, Aubra’s Books. It started with a Bible, and then five other books. And now I have all of my grandfather’s textbooks and magazines and things. So I have a few boxes of great mid-20th century illustrations and advertisements to check out. Some of them I’ll scan and upload, of course. Today I’m sharing a few pages out of a couple of notebooks. And you can find them, including that comic, here. I also have a few images from an old English and science text here.

I haven’t touched this section of the site in years, so now I’m wondering if I should redesign the site. I had to re-work a few things tonight, so I hope not. But, style being such as it is …

To distract us from that, there’s this. On campus right now there is a group called the Mandela Fellows. They are 25 of Africa’s young leaders from about 20 countries, taking on a six-week academic and leadership program. I’d met a few of them last week.

Today, however, I had the chance to sit down with four ladies who are taking part in the fellowship. They are recording a few podcast-ish shows about their experiences and today I did a little board op work for them.

It’s an easy thing, it involves two buttons and a few mixers on a board. You could do it blindfolded, and they made it easy. But the ease of it let me hear some of their stories, and listen to them talk about their work back home, which they are all very passionate about. There’s a dean and a journalist and some activists that you might say are similar to our social workers.

To hear them talk about their work, and what they see here, and what they want for their communities, is moving. I hope they’ll show me where they post the conversation, so I can share it with you here.

Tonight, dinner with an old friend from out of town. He has some family here and he makes a visit every summer and his aunt and uncle are nice enough to share him with us for a few hours. It wasn’t nearly enough time to catch up completely, but plenty of time to consider our next two or three meetings.

Between one of those, and a bicycling trip we recently dreamed up, our next two vacations may be spoken for.

Jul 17

Happy Fourth

Hope you had a lovely day of it, he said while waiting for all of his neighbors to stop demonstrating their mastery of a modern application of ancient chemistry. I don’t suppose it would do any good if I went out there and asked them to stop, since it is after 10 p.m., would it?

Anyway, we woke up, packed the car, had a nice little barbecue lunch with my mother and grandfather and got on the road. And there we stayed for the entire afternoon. It is a drive. And so here are some pictures, and all of them will age better than fireworks.

Since you like rainbows, here is one we saw on Friday, somewhere in Kentucky, or perhaps Tennetucky:

And this is probably, technically, the same rainbow. I find it hard to keep them straight, especially when I am moving around. It emerged from the same storm system so, at the very least, the two were cousins:

I was talking about genealogy yesterday, because my grandmother and I were reading old names and dates and such on Sunday. She was sharing pictures, and here are two of them. This is my paternal great-grandfather, a man I never knew:

This picture hangs on a wall at my grandparents’ house. Its one of those things you pass by and don’t really know until you ask about it, I guess. I know exactly four things about the man. But, The Yankee says she sees where I get my hair. She has said about that man’s son, my grandfather, and she’s usually right about most everything, so it is a safe bet.

On the same side of my family, this is my other paternal great-grandfather:

My grandmother, his daughter, believes our hero is the young man on the right. He died before I turned three, so I don’t have any memory of him, or his wife, my great-grandmother, who died just a bit later. I do, however, see a few particular pictures of them a lot. They are an older couple, he has a flattop and she also looks just so. They are handsome and they look kind and welcoming. That’s the man I see in my mind’s eye. But this guy, with the wide hat, he looks like an interesting fellow too.

I wonder what we’d think of people we know if we’d had the chance to meet them in some other place in their lives …

Meanwhile, this is a time-traveling hipster:

The caption says this is a sesquicentennial anniversary for a Tennessee county, and that the photo was taken in 1959. The book was published at the turn of this century and, thus, the only logical conclusion is that this man is a time-traveling hipster.

Truly, that’s the last great frontier of Internet conspiracy theories.

Anyway, back to today. The view while driving back to the house, somewhere in southern Indiana:

Allie is a great traveler, but this drive gets to everyone after a while:

There is a great deal of scenery to enjoy in the trip. First there are hills and pine trees and the occasional hardwood of Tennessee, and then all of the trees of Kentucky. In the last third of the trip:

All the barns and corn and silos and corn you can enjoy. And I do enjoy the views a great deal.

Traffic was light. Everyone was where they needed to be. It only rained for about half an hour and we got home just in time to unload the car, have a late dinner and watch today’s stage of the Tour. Tomorrow, it is back to work and email and journalism and recording things and getting back to the routine, here, as well. Meanwhile, there’s always Twitter and Instagram for you.