waiting for it

I mentioned yesterday that my family and I were in New York to see a show. What I didn’t say was which show. (I did leave a couple of hints for those who know the show.)

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I caught Hamilton Fever from some friends about a year and a half ago. When another friend with the same affliction decided to buy tickets for the show in New York, I plunged in and got tickets for my family, too. This was back in March. That is to say, eight months ago. We were willing to wait for it.

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I may write more about seeing the show (which was amazing), but we just drove home to Massachusetts, and I’m wiped out. So you, too, will have to wait for it.

dispatch from the greatest city in the world

We are travelling this weekend, something we haven’t been doing as much of lately. We’ve headed down to New York City to see a show.

We’re staying in a hotel somewhat near both the theater and Central Park, and as our room is on the 65th floor, and on a corner to boot, our views are pretty amazing.

Even though we arrived after 10 last night, we got up at the crack of dawn. You see, we have an avid birder in the family, and we have been talking about going birding in Central Park for a while. (I’ll probably write more about this later.) Early morning is one of the better times to see birds. And so it is that I have photos of the view at sunrise. (I usually avoid being awake at sunrise. Especially on weekends.)

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I was looking at the map to see what is in the direction of these views, past the water. I was vaguely aware that New Jersey was to the west. In particular, it appears to be Weehawken.

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View towards Weehawken. Dawn.

In the other direction, we can see a bit of Central Park.

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This room must have had an amazing view of Central Park before those two new buildings sprang up.

We spent basically the whole day today in Central Park, birding. We got to see a number of interesting water birds (wood ducks, coots and shovelers, for example), as well as many of the bird types that frequent our neck of the woods (jays and cardinals). All my bird photos are on my camera, and it’s too much work to download them to my laptop for now. (These photos are a few from my phone.)

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A very expressive tree in Central Park

(For those friends of mine who live in the greater NY area, I’m sorry that I can’t see you this trip. It’s a rather short trip–less than 48 hours in town, sadly. And we have committed to birding for most of the trip. At least for the hours that are not spent in the theater for the show tomorrow.)

And now I need to get to bed, because we’ve got more birds to see bright and early. (The early worm catches the bird?)

lasting impressions and life goals

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In addition to being the 11th anniversary of my blog, yesterday also marked the 10th anniversary of a dear friend’s death.

My friend Elizabeth continues to be one of my personal heroes. She was an extraordinary person, but chose to live an ordinary life. Or at least what might appear from a distance to be an ordinary life. She didn’t seek fame or fortune, but valued the richness of her life, her friends, her family, and the many things in life that brought her joy. She was witty and insightful. She was warm and kind and incredibly supportive, but could show biting sense of humor. She cared deeply and passionately about the world, but also loved to let loose and get silly.

She died far too young, and I feel her loss still. There have been so many things over the past 10 years that I have wanted to share with her. To discuss, to celebrate, to lament.

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I know that I am not the only one who continues to miss her. She had an impact on so many who knew and loved her. Her impact was not from any single great feat or action, but from the sum of countless moments of connection with others.

Her life was indeed extraordinary.

This blog goes up to 11

Eleven years ago today, I put up my first post on this blog. Here we are over a thousand posts later, and I am still more-or-less here.

analog-clock-1111 It appears that I am quite partial to the number 11. Not the least because I regularly post at the eleventh hour. (It might not surprise you that it is now after 11 as I write this post.)

elevenThe number 11 has featured prominently in quite a few posts over the years, in particular on 11/11. In anticipation of the exciting (at least to me) date of 11/11/11, I encouraged others to post things that go up to 11. I’ve posted about the word for the number 11 in Spanish.  I’ve posted lists of elevens. I’ve posted photos of elevens (or at least photos of patterns that look to me like 11s). And I posted a ThThTh list of 11 things, which, given that I posted it in 2007, did not include one now very well known Eleven.

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This is all really just a very roundabout way to say happy birthday to my blog. Thanks to any and all of you who have dropped in over the years.

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When in doubt, post a trout

 

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A fish sculpture in Paris. 2007.

When it gets late, and it gets tired, I typically find I don’t have the energy to do actual writing. All too often, this is what motivates me to post photos. Not to say that I don’t often have photos that I want to share, but posting photos over text has been my default when I’m tired.

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The Majestic Cod of the Massachusetts State House, Boston. 2016.

And then I try to come up with a catchy title. But sometimes, a catchy title catches me. And makes me laugh a little inside. And makes me hunt down (or in this case, go fishing for) appropriate content to go with it. When in doubt, post a trout.

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A gleeful boy taking a grouchy fish for a joyride. As seen on a bridge in Paris. 2007.

And so it was that I remembered that I have quite a few fish photos. Even more specifically, I have a bunch of photos of fish statues and sculptures, taken over quite a long period of time, and in quite a few different locations. (I was sorry to not find any fish sculptures in my photos from Asia, so it looks like I have only 2 continents represented. Unless you want to consider this startlingly shiny gold fish furniture from my hotel in Shanghai.

 

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A shark shack in small town near Dublin, Ireland. 2014.

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A surprised looking fish in Boston. Probably not a trout. 2016.

But I have a terrible confession to make: while I may have lots of photos of fish, I really don’t know whether there is a trout among them.

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A deranged looking fish in London. Almost certainly not a trout. 2005.

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A fish bone sculpture from the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts. 2012

So, what say you? Can you find a trout among today’s catch?

these books were made for walkin’

We got a puppy last summer, and I have become the primary dog-walker. Brodie is a border collie mix, a rescue from the south, and as with most herding dogs, he’s very intense. He was also an anxious and high-energy puppy. He’s mellowed quite a bit, but one thing that we learned is that he is much calmer and happier if he gets a morning walk. In fact, it seemed that if he did not get a walk, he would not settle down, and not let me get things done. So, I started building into my day that I would spend a good hour every morning on our walk. Often it was more than an hour, sometimes less. While I recognized that this was something good for my health, it felt like it was eating a big chunk out of my productivity. I’d start the day with getting the kids up and out the door, starting around 7, and by the time I came home from the walk, it would be 10 or later. I was starting to resent my morning walks.

This summer, though, John got me some fancy wireless headphones, and shortly after, it dawned on me that I could use them on the walks. I hadn’t been listening to anything on my walks, because I wanted to be alert to sounds from traffic or other dogs. With my new AirPods, though, I could easily use only one at a time, leaving my other ear open to the rest of the world. And I started listening to audiobooks regularly, on almost every morning walk.
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I’ve listened to a few novels, but the real win for me has been to listen to non-fiction audiobooks for books that I have been wanting to read, or have felt like I should read. I love reading, but non-fiction books don’t tend to hold my attention for long periods of time. (Or they put me to sleep.) As a result, it can take me a really long time to finish a book. On my walks, though, it’s been easy enough for me to listen to even a long book. And I’m definitely not going to doze off on the walk. Rather, I feel like I’ve been feeding my brain while walking.
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I’m especially pleased to have finished listening to Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, which is a fascinating look at the often surprising ways in which our minds work. I’m currently listening to a related book, Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, which talks about decision-making. I’ve also listened to both Don’t Think of an Elephant and The Political Mind, by George Lakoff, and Saving Capitalism, by Robert Reich. (In case you wonder about a theme, all of these books are making me think about ways I can participate in affecting positive social and political change.)

How about you? Do you ever choose to listen to audiobooks? Any favorites to recommend?

 

superlative skies

I guess I may have my head in the clouds more than most, because I do find myself noticing the sky quite often, and even pointing it out to others. Take, for example, the rather spectacular, improbably pink sunset below, which I saw during my son’s soccer practice one evening.

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I was completely entranced by the shape and color, and took quite a few photos. When the soccer practice ended, the other parents and I walked toward the filed to collect our kids. I asked the nearest parent: “Did you see that sunset?” In turns out that she had not, even though she had been sitting only a few feet away from me.

The composition below is another one I saw during a soccer practice. What the photo doesn’t quite capture is the the colorful right edge of the cloud, which had both pink and green.

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And because I like to post things in sets of at least three, here is a non-sunset cloudscape from yesterday morning.

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