Sep 23

Welcome the weekend

This is how parking works on the Rowan campus: You park. If you work there, you don’t have to pay for it. Which is a novel approach for some campuses, and more of them should look into it.

I would ride my bike to work more, but our house is a little too far away and no one wants to watch me sweat during a lecture. So I have to drive, which means I have to park, which means I have to get a parking permit. No problem.

This is how the parking permits work on the Rowan campus: You go online through a series of website links, with each click wondering why they didn’t send you to the third-party vendor site the first time. Eventually, you fill out some information asking about the color of your car and so on. You put in the mailing address and, eventually, the permit arrives. Mine arrived today, which will come in handy next week.

This was on the note inside the envelope.

Helpful stuff considering I had been looking for this in the mail and the return address sort of gave the game away about what might be inside the envelope.

The parking permit is a sticker. I prefer the hang tag style, as I am old school like that, but whatever puts me in a good spot with a relatively easy walk on campus, ya know? The only problem is they want you to put the sticker on a particular spot on your car. You can tell that from the instructions, the instructions found on that insert. But the instructions might leave you with the impression of having been edited by someone moonlighting in the assembly manual department of IKEA. They say put the sticker here, unless that spot is unavailable, in which case, put the sticker here. The way I’ve read the sentence, several times, it sounds like the two places are the same place. This is only a problem for people like the security guard hut in front of my parking lot and any people tasked with doing parking enforcement who are looking for these stickers, affixed to cars in one of two places, which are the same place.

This is only the second most first world problem of my beautiful Friday.

We had a bike ride today, and the weather was grand. Sunny, not windy. Mild enough so that you didn’t get a lot of sweat in your eyes. I’ve been getting dropped a lot lately, and I’d resigned myself to more of that. But it wasn’t too bad. My lovely bride stopped about a third of the way through the route to stretch her back out and I pressed on, knowing she’s particularly strong on the next segment and she’d catch me soon.

That road is 2.5 miles and she didn’t catch me, but I saw her over my shoulder as I turned left.

I divided the next 10 miles or so up into short segments in my head. “If I can make it to this overpass in front of her, then I’ll be able to stay out front until that next intersection.” So for 10 miles I rode as fast and as hard as I could, knowing she’d catch me just before the end, because she’s done that a few times.

And I made it over that overpass. I got to that next intersection. I put in a lot of effort over two sticky little hills and through another left turn. Here, I knew, was where she’d find me. And probably pass me like there was nothing to it. Only she didn’t. And then there’s one more left, and on that last mile she didn’t catch me.

Checked my phone, which I suppose your supposed to do, but, there’s a lot of information coming your way through your phone. Take this, for instance —

So I put the bike inside, changed my shoes, had the brilliant idea to grab a kitty carrier and drove back out to the scene of the cat.

We brought her home. She was young, hungry, angry, and desperate for pets. We didn’t take her inside, no need to mingle with our furballs. Called around for animal control, no answer. Called some vets, one of which told us to not call that animal control, but do call this one.

Eventually, we found a place where we could take this kitten to get the care and attention she needs. And, soon enough, some kid or some adult is going to all in love with that little face.

Our friend Sally Ann flew in for part of the weekend. The Yankee picked her up at the airport while I took a trip to the inconvenience center. I rearranged some things in the garage, picked some tomatoes and soon enough there we all were, reunited once again. We went to a nearby winery for dinner. The atmosphere is as causal as possible — there was a DJ tonight, and it was nothing but coffee house hipster vibe covers.

They make really good pizza, it turns out, and so we went for pizza. Except they only make pizza on Saturdays and Sundays. On Thursdays and Fridays they do shortbread.

Not as good as their pizza, but, still, a great way to welcome the weekend.

Sep 23

Thursdays are the full days

We had a man from the electric company scheduled to come out this morning and do electric company things. You know the deal, you spend hours on the phone with people and machines and hold music and finally you get someone scheduled in a two hour window on the busiest day of your week. My lovely bride has been handling all of the phone stuff. We were both scheduled to be here to meet the fellow.

You can tell where this is going already, can’t you? Guy never showed up. She called the company again.

“What’s the deal? When is he coming out?”

The person on the other end of the line was all What did he say?

“He never showed up.”

What does the paperwork he gave you say?

“He wasn’t here. He brought no paper, or himself.”

At least the lights come on when you flip the switch. You wonder how, sometimes.

But, hey, it gave me more time to iron. No wrinkles on me for class today.

And how’s that going? I’m doing so well I have even ironed clothes for Monday night’s class.

Unless you meant class. How are my classes going? Just great. Two of them today. One was better than the other, but only because they both can’t be equally awesome. And because I probably did a better job in one than the other.

After two in a row, though, and almost six hours of prattling on, I am quite talked out by the end of the day. It’s been, probably a few decades since I’ve done continual talk and projection. At least it’s just one day a week.

We talked about pre-production, post-production, sampling rates and quantization. We also discussed frame rates and aspect ratios. In the next class, they’ll be pointing cameras at subjects and shooting video. It’ll get pretty fun from there.

What’s really fun is, after a full day of classes and dinner, you can start handling the inbox, and the grading. This will take a few minutes.

Let’s dive back into the Re-Listening project. You know this feature. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, in the order in which I acquired them. It’s fun; a few trips down memory lane, some singalongs, and I get to write a little bit about it here. So let’s dive in.

It’s 2003, though this CD was released in 1998. That means I probably bought it in bulk at a used record store. I can’t say which one specifically, but I am guessing this is from a little downtown shop in New Albany, Indiana. We used to go there for the fall festival and that store sat on the corner and, every year, I’d come out with a handful of discs. That’s just a guess, because I have no memory of buying this, but it makes sense considering the discs that surround it in my little collection.

Most assuredly, though, I bought it on the strength of the moderately successful alt radio single, track one, “Pensacola.” It takes a second or two, but it builds nicely.

The contemporary Washington Post review is humorous.

Country-flavored new-wave rock would be the correct guess. As indicated by song titles like “Pensacola” and “Pull the Weight, Virginia (Innocent Lucille),” this North Carolina quintet is heavily into poetic Americana, but its “In the Gloaming” sounds less like the Band or Son Volt than REM. (Indeed, the disc’s guest musicians include ex-d.B. Peter Holsapple, who used to supplement REM’s guitar sound on tour.)

It’s not that Jolene never gets earthy or gloomy. Even when it does, though, the group retains an early-’80s-rock sense of dynamics: Songs like “16c” and “So Sleepless You” contrast brooding verses with bombastic choruses or bridges. More common are such brisk tunes as “Wave to the Worrying” and “Star Town,” which feature jaunty rhythms and rippling guitars. It’s not a style that Jolene can make sound fresh, but the band plays it with skill and assurance.

That’s a lot of styles to throw in one column, into one band, or especially one record.

This is the band’s second record, and there’s some atmosphere in the instrumentation, but for the quality mixing and mastering, there’s just … something … missing overall.

It’s pretty clear, from the liner notes alone what they’re after here. Blurry photos, oddly mismatched fonts showing snippets of whoa deep lyrics, deliberately poor kerning. These guys were trying to ride the alt movement for all they worth. And, in 1998, they were just on the backside of that wave.

By the time I got this in 2003, it was probably just something I listened to for that one single. When I played the whole thing this time through I was looking for a second song to like. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to get past something’s texture to enjoy its taste.

By the time I picked up “In The Gloaming” the band was spent. They’d parted ways in 2001, having produced five records on three small labels and supporting some pretty substantial bands.

This is the song I’ll play while trying to find out what’s become of the five members of the group.

One of the guys, Rodney Lanier, died young. He’d been diagnosed with cancer, and though this band hadn’t played together for years, they all came back together for one more show with their old friend.

Mike Mitschele is a front man in Alternative Champs. You might also hear his music in The Righteous Gemstones. Dave Burris played in a few other bands, and has since turned to film making and been a producer of reality television. John Crooke is doing marketing out west, released a few solo projects and is still playing, from the looks of things. Mike Kenerley was the drummer in Jolene. It looks like he continued on and played with a lot of notable bands over the years.

Up next in the Re-Listening project is Wyclef Jean’s “The Carnival.” People have written scholarly articles, more than a few, about this record. It’s difficult to say something new about such a widely well-received record that’s now 26 years old.

So I’ll just say this. With the exception of the comedy bits, so familiar in the 1990s, this album holds up better than almost anything in the Re-Listening project

It is solid, throughout. Better than “The Score” in several respects, “The Carnival” debuted at number 16 sixteen on the US Billboard 200. Certified as double platinum in the U.S. in just over a year. Funkmaster Flex is on here. Lauryn Hill and John Forté, of course, but also the Neville Brothers and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. There was a coming together on this project.

I remember we used to play this song on our campus radio station before anyone had an idea that it’d be a single.

Critics loved the record, while also writing a bit dismissively about the samples. Released in 1997, people were still trying to figure out how they felt about samples, I suppose. (Look who won, right?) It’s funny in retrospect, I suppose, but the answer to that question was always in the lead single.

The Bee Gees didn’t care for the finished product, but Jean’s audience did. It climbed to 45 on the Hot 100, number three on the Hot Rap Songs chart. This song, and the album, often landed on those “Top of the Decade/All Time” lists that people compile.

And The Fugees are still playing. Right now they’re supporting on the 25th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Don’t know how long Pras Michel can be on this tour, though …

OK, back to the grading.

Sep 23

Going fast, and also seeing things slowly

I have two classes tomorrow, so a substantial part of yesterday, and almost all of today, have been spent in making notes for myself, trying to think up ways to keep students’ attention and give them some useful information. This is always a learning process, both in terms of pedagogical techniques but, sometimes, in the actual material. I learned a few things yesterday. Now I get to share that information with others. That’s a lot of fun. Hopefully they’ll think so, too.

Just kidding. I’m working on a lecture a few weeks from now. But I did learn some things. One of the things I learned is that some of the reading materials have disappeared, and so I had to scramble for suitable replacements. Another thing I learned involved something arcane and technical. The journalist in me would have benefited from the existence of this technology, but not understood why or how it worked. Sorta like me and, say, an important converter in a hydroelectricity plant, or the part between solar panels and light switches.

What was really fun, and quite gratifying, is when I get to a new section of notes and text for this lecture that will take place in a few weeks and realize, “Hey, I know how to do this. I’ve been doing this for a long time, as it turns out.”

Can’t buy the sort of confidence that comes with steady realization, I’ve always said, since at least the beginning of this sentence.

The one big break from all of that today was a bike ride this morning. Here we’d just been chatting, when I looked down and we were soft pedaling through the low 20s.

On this particular route we follow that road for some miles until it ends. Then we turn left onto a road that parallels the river. The road is mostly flat, but there is the slightest little gradient. And my lovely bride will crush a false flat. I could still see her when she got to the next turn, but I didn’t see her turn. Despite having a clear view down that next road, I didn’t see her there. She wouldn’t have continued on straight ahead, owing to the logistics of the ride, but no can see.

So I spent the next four miles putting in some of the ride’s best splits, just to catch back up to her, which I finally did. We talked again for a moment, which was mostly me just trying to get out “You’re fast!” Then I went past her. I held her off for four miles, after which she dropped me with a “Why’d you do that?” look.

Because being chased is every bit as fun as chasing. Moreso when your legs are beginning to feel pretty decent again. (That only took two months.)

Also, I set three Strava PRs on that ride. All of which is why there’s only one shot in the video. I was too busy, and then too tired, to get more shots.

The seventh installment of my efforts in tracking down the local historical markers did not come from today’s ride, but rather a weekend expedition. Doing this by bike is one good way to go a little slower, see more things and learn some roads I wouldn’t otherwise try. Counting today’s installment, I’ll have visited 15 of the 115 markers found in the Historical Marker Database. What will we learn a bit about today? I’m so glad you asked!

Downtown is an old town here. Quaint houses. Signs on the walls displaying the original or locally famous previous residents. Hitching posts out by the modern curb. Lots of cars, but the whole vibe. It’s a charming little place, and houses like this are part of why.

Built in 1724 by a second generation immigrant, Samuel Shivers had one of the first houses in this town, and it is still today a fine example of several different generations of architecture. Historians would point out that there’s four centuries of work here, included the remnants of Samuel’s father’s 1692 cabin. The house we see today, then, shows us work that spans four centuries. The door, the hinges and the rest of the hardware there are period original, but I don’t know which … again, several centuries of work are in here.

The mantel is original. Some of the window glass is original. It wasn’t long before the Shivers family needed more space, so Samuel bought a nearby tavern and had it moved onto his property. Samuel’s daughter and her husband took over the house in 1758. That man, Joseph Shinn, helped write the state constitution in 1776. Their son, Isiah Shinn, took over the house. He was a state lawmaker and militia general. Isiah presided over more additions in 1813, adding a dining room and two more bedrooms, and this was the look on Main Street until 1946. The woman that owned it then made a lot of changes and whoever produced this sign did not like it. But for the past few years a preservationist has owned The Red House and is restoring it to its original style.

Apparently, the first film produced by Samuel Goldwyn in his studio Goldwyn Pictures in 1917 was shot in this town, and all of the interior scenes take places in this house, or on sets modeled after it.

The whole movie is online.

The Red House, also, has this fancy plaque on the front wall.

I touched it. It’s some sort of vulcanized rubber. But the rest of the house, though, it’s something else. Some day I’m going to have to work my way into an invite.

What already seems like six or seven years ago, somehow, but was merely last Wednesday, I showed you the marker that stood by itself, with nothing to memorialize. It was a fire ring. There’s one other in town, and it is within just a few feet of The Red House.

And even though, last week, I shared a screen cap of the Google Street View car’s photo of that now-missing fire ring, it’s important to see it for yourself. So now here is a fire ring.

This all seems pretty obvious now. It sounds like this.

I’m just tapping the ring with the metal head of my bike pump but the sound really jumps. Imagine, years ago, hearing this in the middle of a quiet night, when someone full of adrenalin is striking this ring. “FIRE! COME QUICK!” I bet it was an effective system for it’s time. The Red House’s sign says it has survived, among other things, fires, so that ring must have been an effective call to the community.

Also, ‘Old Discipline’? What a great name. What a great name for anything.

If you’ve missed some of the early markers, look under the blog category We Learn Wednesdays. What will we learn next week? Something quite unique indeed. Come back and see!

Sep 23

The day that I enjoyed

There’s a little security guard hut between the road and the building I’m teaching in. A human sits in there, checks everyone’s parking pass and raises and lowers the arm. The gentleman that was there last night, as I made my way in for my evening class, was the talkative sort. Asked me where I was headed. I pointed to the right. Going to teach, I said.

What class?

“Journalism. Introduction to New Media, specifically,” I said, unsure if we were chatting or if he was challenging me.

Journalism is old media, he said.

“Yes it is …”

And I want to hold it in my hand!

So we were chatting.

He had a solid 45 seconds ready to go on the subject, and he delivered it in a steady way full of calm, fun conviction, the sort that lets you know he could do two, three, maybe five minutes on this if you wanted and didn’t mind a little roughness around some of his witticisms.

He was right about what he said. You couldn’t help but agree and laugh at his larger point. But, sir, I really need to get parked and go in and log into the 19 services I need to teach this class and …

Have a good one he said, as he pointed roughly in the way I was expected to go.

It’s a night class, so parking was a breeze. We were in the gloaming, but the building was still bustling with activity. I walked into the room and two students were already there. The rest flowed in over the course of the next 20 minutes or so. Owing to the holiday last Monday, and the late start hour of this class, this is the last first class of the semester. They knew it, too, and, by then, students are usually over all of the first day class experiences. Let’s get into this.

So we did. Course outline. Syllabus. The many policies. An icebreaker. Some jokes. A conversation about how we want this class to go — and they got a say in some of the key elements of that. And then I launched into a presentation about new media … I started with some works archeologists have uncovered that date back about 3,500 years. I like doing the history for context. I’m not sure if you need three-plus millennia of context, but it’s so interesting. Here is an Egyptian medical scroll, it isn’t even the oldest medical document we have. Let me tell you what this 65-foot document covered. And occasionally you flash forward. Maybe not to WebMD.com, but you bring it around. And then you jump to another part of the world, another period, and you talk about the story these cave walls told, or the meaning behind this Japanese tale, or the functionality of Ghana’s talking drums.

Then there are the various cultures that used knot-tying systems for record keeping, if not for storytelling. We know of four of them, at least, in various parts of the world, and they all seem unrelated. And so isn’t it interesting how people from different places and times, with different resources and problems, and different needs and degrees of ingenuity solve their problems. I mean, these drums talk. And certain varieties can be heard miles and miles away.

And then you get to a certain point in history, and some of these older technologies give way. Some stick around. Their uses entrenched traditionally, or just important cultural artifacts, or their purposes modified, but people in what we arrogantly think of as modern cultures all start gravitating to the same tech.

It’s a big lecture, and it all winds up with the Lutherans, somehow, because I found a great cartoon image to end the slideshow, making the point that, at least in the western sense, everything we know stems from this moment.

I think the biggest takeaway, though, is they probably won’t want me to lecture them late into the evenings. It’s going to be a group class, and it could be a good one. Thirty or forty percent of them were leaning into it on the first night. I’ll get the rest in due time.

Today, I worked on part of another lecture, which I will give twice on Thursday. And this is the rhythm of things through the end of the semester in mid-December.

I also went for a bike ride because I needed a break and folding laundry didn’t sound fun, comparatively speaking. I was going to do a quick square pattern, a route that I’ve established on four of the closest roads. It’s about nine miles. Do it twice, you can get in a good hour and then get back into whatever. I have a feeling I’m going to do that a lot, which is fine. They’re good roads.

But one of the things that should never be taken for granted about having your feet on two pedals on either side of two wheels is the ability to be spontaneous. Before I’d done the first mile I had a new idea. What about this other road? Where does it go?

It’s a road that we drive for some of our routine trips. Thing is, if it is part of the routine you only your part of the road. And, sure, I could look at that on a map later — and I do for some roads, but the real joy is in simply finding out first hand. So, I figured, I’ll go down that road until my bike computer says I’ve done 10 miles, then I’ll turn around.

When I’d gone three miles I had to amend the idea, because the road ended in a T-intersection. See? I didn’t know the road. Hadn’t consulted a map. If I turned left, I’d go down a hill pretty quickly, which just means riding up it later. But if I turned to the right, it was a gradual thing. So I turned right and found myself racing over some nice false flats, only to run out of that road pretty soon. OK then, I’m going to have to remember landmarks and such. Another right turn, and then another. I stayed on that road until I got to 10 miles — though even though it seemed like it took a lot longer than normal — and then turned around, retracing my route.

I had a brief conversation with a friend the other day about seeing things by bike. The speeds are different, of course, so you can see and appreciate more. For instance, I’ve driven on this stretch of road now maybe four or five times. I’ve never noticed this sign.

I shot this on the way back. I’ve also never seen this one, which is great, because how can I top the serendipity of the sun setting over the shoulder of the sun?

Near the very end of my little 20 mile ride I got behind a tractor. And the tractor got behind another tractor, this one which was hauling a trailer of fresh crops away from the fields. The second tractor passed the first. And then I passed him, too.

The first tractor had not been going particularly fast, but it disappeared somewhere, and I’ll probably think about that every time I’m on this road I explored today.

I just created three new segments on Strava for various parts of that road, meaning I’ll have to try to go faster next time I come through there. I also added a segment that is a commonly ridden road on the way back home. I could add segments for every stretch of every road that is becoming a part of the new habit, but I’d never know which ones to give a big effort, and where to recover. Segments are usually done going uphill, but I am, of course, much faster going downhill. All of the ones I’ve created, the Strava website tells me, are flat or downhill.

Go figure.

Tonight it was cleaning up a bit outside, watering a few plants, catching up on the Vuelta, writing this, plotting out the next few classes and … that’s enough, really. Oh, and listening to the rain tap on the walls, and the wind howling over everything. That really should be enough. After all, I’ll be writing more lectures tomorrow, and thinking up a good newspaper joke for that guy working the security hut.

Sep 23

Put some Monday between your toes

What a Monday, eh? In the history of Mondays, this one certainly lands on the list. It is notably surrounded by other such impressive days as Monday. And who can forget, that extra special Monday. Sad Monday makes the list, but you should never forget those happy Mondays. And somewhere, way high up on the list, there’s the special Three Day Weekend Mondays. There’s just no escaping this. Monday is definitely one of the seven days of every week. And even that’s on a list somewhere.

Now, where this week falls on the list of weeks, well that’s still TBD, which is SOP. And highly subjective, too. Weeks being what they are, different for all of us. Or at least many of us. But Mondays! Mondays are a uniquely held condition among everyone with a 21st century working calendar, even if your “Monday” is, say, on Wednesday, you still have them. And this was one of them. Why, we could quibble over the placement of this, but everyone will agree: in the history of Mondays, this was definitely not a Friday.

I spent the day making lecture notes.

So let’s talk about the cats. It is, after, the site’s most popular feature, and far more interesting to most of you than my exploration of ancient Egyptian scrolls, or 1st century Roman architecture or how many copies of the Declaration and the Constitution we still have (26 and 11).

Phoebe does not care about my lectures. But she is delighted to play with this mouse, most any day of the week.

And here, she seems to be on her ledge, looking down at the floor, thinking Later, he will hold that shape in front of me and make me pose for a picture, whatever that is.

I don’t think Phoebe really understands cameras or phones. Not that she isn’t as capable as the next cat, I just don’t think it has occurred to her that she should, which is to say, they don’t matter to her, which might make her smarter than everyone.

Poseidon, on the other hand, he understands this concept perfectly.

He’ll even give you moody suntanning photographs. Some cats are just natural born stars, I guess.

He won’t stay off the counter, though, even though he understands the tall people in the house don’t like it when he’s there. But his defiance gives us an opportunity to admire his footwoork.

So the cats are doing just fine, as you can see.

My lovely bride did a nearby-ish triathlon on Saturday, and so I went for a bike ride on some new roads. Here’s a brand new road. The first part of it was fine. The part after this was likewise in great shape. This stretch, just under a mile I’d say, was brand new. My hypotheses are either someone knew I was coming, or an important county official lives on this stretch of road.

No one knew I was coming.

It was a venture out to get photos for the Wednesday historical marker feature. I track all of those down by bike, and I try to do them in batches, which means a lot of planning, a lot of map-checking mid-ride, but a lot of lovely new views to check out.

Today I saw some old churches. I walked around an 18th century cemetery. There was a message board in that old grave, behind one of the old churches, that basically said “The members who founded this church in 1741 also founded the local militia during the Revolution.” It was a fascinating place.

I also visited two historically important houses, a famous cannon and more. You’ll see them in the next few Wednesdays.

I also, for the first time ever, lost a bolt that holds the cleat in my right cycling shoe. This peculiar chunk of plastic is held to the bottom of the shoe by three bolts, and when the one disappeared, probably in that cemetery, that meant that stopping became a bit tricky.

This is the foot that I unclip for stop signs and red lights and the like. Just before you come to a complete stop, you take the one foot out of the pedal. You leave the other one in because it looks cool, and it helps for getting going again in an efficient matter. To remove the cleat from the pedal, you crisply turn your ankle so that your toes point inward. You hear a loud, satisfying pop and then you can put your foot on the ground in the precise moment you come to a halt.

The problem on this ride was that I lost the inside bolt. The cleat only had two fixed points of contact, and when I’d go to point my toes inward, the cleat, my shoe and my foot just kept moving.

Fortunately, I only had to take my shoe out of the pedal twice more after that bolt disappeared.

The best news is that I figured this would mean I’d finally have an excuse to go spend money at my new local bike shop. But, I figured, let me check the personal inventory first. I’ve had to replace cleats before, from wear and tear, and when you buy new cleats you get a fresh set of bolts and the square washers that go with them. That, I reasoned, didn’t seem like a thing I would throw away.

So I went to the new bike room, and discovered the problem. In the old house, I’d know exactly where these would be. But so many routines, systems and paradigms change when you move. Much as I’m still (and forever will be) trying to figure out all of the light switches, and which stairs make what noise, I have no idea where these bits of hardware might be right now. I didn’t set up the new bike room, my lovely bride did. And they were not in the first place I looked.

They were in the fourth place I looked.

Anyway, popped a new bolt on the shoe, took less time to do than to write the above, I’m ready for the next ride.

I have reached the point in my bike-riding life where there’s a reasonably fair chance I’ll have the part I need already on hand, when I need it. It’s a special feeling.

Sunday we had brunch with some of The Yankee’s family friends. My mother-in-law is a retired nurse, and she is the chief organizer of her nursing school’s class reunions, an annual event that she takes great joy and pride in, and that was this weekend. The end of the festivities was brunch, and it was not too far away from us, so omelettes for everyone.

We were a surprise, and all of these lifelong friends were delighted to see us, but mostly my wife. I watched a septuagenarian hopping, literally jumping for joy, that she got to see her friend’s daughter unexpectedly. It was delightful.

It rained on us on the way there, and then rained terribly hard while we visited. Wind whipped it sideways, giving people mind to talk about storms they remember. And then the rain stopped, and the sun returned, acting for all the world like it had never left.

When the nurses all said their goodbyes, we went to the beach, just two blocks away. The water was a bit chilly, but you still go right down to the line, tempting fate.

I couldn’t decide which of these two I liked best, but this was the one I got a shoe wet on, so I’m saying I suffered for my art and am posting the photo.

Just the one shoe, somehow, and no sand in either one.

I did get photobombed. I always get photobombed. She’s just the cutest when she does that.

It is the beach, I think. Some people just go to 11 when they make it to a beach. She fairly glows.

I’m a little more about the woods that way, but the beach is always fun, he said with a wet sock.

We can be at a beach in 60 minutes from where I’m writing this. The biggest thing that would slow me down is digging up the sand chairs and finding the good sunblock. And there’s woods and plenty of other lovely outdoor scenery along the way as well. But just an hour from this.

Which is what I won’t be able to do just now, because it is back to that class prep.

In closing: an important thing of note about Mondays is that there’s a Tuesday following close behind.