An old friend, a much older building, and modern fish

I spent part of my free time today emailing with an old friend. We worked together for a few years, used to be geographically close enough to have the occasional family dinner with them when they were all in town. We chat about once a year or so now. It’s a pretty regular clockwork.

And I think, on my part, it is because I don’t always have new amazing things to tell my most discerning friends and colleagues about. Oh sure, there’s always the new thing in the yard, or a clever solution to a problem chore or something funny one of us said to the other, and don’t forget the latest cat antic. But the really cosmopolitan types … you need a special story for them.

So I did the big swipes. These are the concerts and shows we’ve seen. This is a museum I’m hoping to visit soon, and so on. All three of his adult children now live in the same town in Florida, and my friend and his wife are both from Florida and so it sounds like they may be looking to move back down there sooner than later. Also, they’re going to Iceland this fall.

I should go to Iceland. But maybe not in October.

Also, today, I came up with a clever solution to a problem chore. And let me tell you about this joke we shared last night …

This afternoon, on the bike, I rode the volcano circuit on Zwift. It’s a short loop, and a central point of fixation for some people on Zwift. Some people are there to chase the badges, and there’s one badge that you earn when you’ve completed 25 loops around the volcano in one ride. Until very recently, I thought this was a route involving going both around and up the volcano. This would be a 355-mile ride with more than 15,000 feet of climbing that destroyed more than your most romantic metaphors of suffering. But, no, the volcano circuit is a different route. A flatter route, and shorter. Completing 25 laps would be only 63.5 miles. This would take about three hours, which is a long time to be on a stationary bike.

I earned the 10-lap badge today. I don’t care at all about the badges. I’m interested in three things on the bike. Going as fast as I can — which is never that fast. I also want to ride as long and as much as I can — which is also relative, of course. And, to have fun.

You can’t spreadsheet fun. And trying to document the much more quantifiable speed would be demoralizing. So I concert a lot on the miles.

I’m not really sure why, but I do.

The other thing I’m concentrating on, at the moment, is consecutive days in the saddle. I wonder how long I can keep this current streak alive.

Speaking of the bike, it is time for another installment of We Learn Wednesdays. I ride my bike across the county to find the local historical markers. This is the 24th installment! And, lately, we’ve been checking out many of the markers I banked late in the fall. This is the 44th marker we’ve seen in this series. And it has to do with this 19th century building that looks not at all out of place in this downtown area.

Surrogate has the traditional “one who takes the place of another” definition in this instance. It’s been an office around here since 1710, when the Archbishop of London granted the colonial governor authority to act as the Archbishop’s Ordinary, or Surrogate General. The governor then localized that to the county level, and the surrogates looked after things like probate wills, marriage licenses, and other things that, today, we think of as county records.

Which is why this building looks out of place as it does. As the sign notes.

Today, the state has an elected surrogate in each county. That person is elected to a five-year term. A man named Smith Dorman, or another man, Benjamin N. Smith (of the Whig party) was the first to staff this building. Fifteen others have filled the role since then, including the woman currently in office, who has been there since 2006.

The surrogate court has moved down the street, and the clerk’s office is elsewhere these days, too. Maybe there are some wonderful renovations taking place inside those special fire-proof walls.

Next time, we’ll see the ancient courthouse. If you’ve missed any markers so far, you can find them all right here.

Let us return to the water! Why can’t we be in the water today? We should definitely be in clear blue water today …

My dive buddy agrees.

Sometimes you get lucky with the sponges and the coral in one shot. A version of this one is definitely going on the front page rotation when I finally get around to updating it. (Next week.)

At other times, you just can’t decide which fish to fixate on, so you stay wide, try to keep them all in the viewfinder and hope it all works out.

This is where, in the selection and editing today, I’d used the next shot because it looks like a world class photo-bombing by a wide-eyed reef fish. Alas, the exposure was lacking.

Instead, I offer you this much better photo, which will also make the front page of the site. It has the added bonus of making you wonder if I was just diving in an aquarium. (I was not.)

And this isn’t the best composition, but it is the best shot this Atlantic blue tang gave me. Look at those incredible colors!

OK, that’s enough for now. I’ll have more diving photos and something from ground-level, as well. (Which is to say it is sunny and mild, and you should go wander around outside for a few minutes when that happens.)

Comments are closed.