Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell and Welcome

The year's ending with the feeling of winter, the wind whipping past with the sharp sting of the cold and snow, the rain having turned to ice overnight. We've got snow on the ground, ice on the windshield, and nothing between us and the start of the new year.

It's been a good year of traveling, writing, teaching, and other sorts of work and play. I hope it was for you, too, dear reader, and hope that in the next year perhaps you'll be more inclined than ever to join me on these pages, readers from Daqing to Sao Paulo, from Hookset to Flandreau.

Maybe you're an old friend who's stumbled onto the blog from afar, maybe someone here in Madison. It would be great to hear from you. May your next year be a great one!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Cow and The Liquor of the Sacred Heart

It's the journey, they say, not the destination, and driving across Minnesota is an illustration. The big dog Jack and his owners might be at one end of the journey, but if you keep your eyes open and stay on the lookout for cheese, you never know what you might see.
I managed to see my two sons and daughter this weekend, along with C, who knows how to oversee a mean sandwich operation. Younger son and I put together his first stop-motion video, and the daughter and I went for a very nice run around Alimagnet Park with big dog. Elder son keeps on with his own journey; it was good to see him.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas in Madison

Christmas here in Madison has come and gone. Seems like there was more than enough to do over the past few days, finishing up shopping, touching up some home-made projects, going to church, and finally giving and getting gifts. Travel to the Twin Cities is ahead, and I look forward to seeing C and C and A and exchanging gifts and visiting. We took some time on Christmas eve to drive around with the camera and shoot some lights; here's one shot. Today the father-in-law got a new knee for Christmas, which will probably bring some pain for a while and then a new lease on walking and dancing perhaps. This afternoon we laid a good friend from Scotland to rest with a beautiful service and the gathering of many friends and family. It's a good life when so many recognize all the things you've brought to them, the most precious gift being that of your love and attention. Peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Icy December--A Good Reason to Stay In

Across the area today ice is forming on roads and houses, cars and trees. It's icy out there! My father in law picked a good day to retire yesterday from the USPS, for whom he delivered rural mail for over 35 years without an accident, logging over 1,200,000 miles. Some people I know, my son in Fargo included, have plans to travel today; my thoughts are with them, hoping they will act wisely.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

According to Simon Pulsifer . . .

Many of my students like to cite the online resource Wikipedia for articles on everything from bulimia to obesity, on topics all over the board. A recent article in Time sent to me by TQ points to one kind of writer that contributes heavily to the Wikipedia effort, a man named Simon Pulsifer who's written over 2,000 articles and edited over 90,000 others. Why does he do it? Partly because his work doesn't keep him busy enough.

From now on maybe I'll encourage students who want to use Wikipedia articles to use the signal phrase, "According to Simon Pulsifer, a 25-year old unemployed resident of Ottawa who still lives with his parents, bulimia is . . . " How's THAT for an authoritative source? But maybe that's going too far.

I like the Wiki for some things myself, but I hate to see students lean on it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stephanie T. and Her Multimedia Presentation

With the end of the semester, it's good to look back over what has gone well and what needs to be changed. Having had students do excellent work may be my favorite thing to look back on. It's good for them, when they've worked hard and that effort has resulted in outstanding work, and I think they appreciate having someone recognize the efforts and the good results. One of my students in a sophomore-level composition class, a non-traditional student whose family and work also takes up a good chunk of her time, submitted an outstanding work that she has allowed me to recognize here. It's a tribute to her mother and an affirmation of her own goals as a mother herself. I like how the essay at the center is able to draw from a number of resources for its strength, including an appropriate poem by Emily Dickinson.

It's worth noting that students did not have a lot of time for the assignment, and most of them had never used the programs or created a multimedia document at all. Although I point to this as one outstanding effort, the two composition classes I taught this fall had several outstanding submissions, which may find their way here. In the future I plan to post some things I learned from giving the assignment. Here is the link to Stephanie's multimedia essay: Enjoy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Party's Over

The title above might refer to a number of things--the end of the semester, the jolt in the celebration of the Democrats taking over the Senate, the last of the 125th anniversary of DSU, or, most importantly, the end of the first 50 years of yours truly.
All that's left of the birthday party now are the hats that the surprise travelers wore when they arrived, one of the arrivals looking oddly like a Dutch queen, with two hats jauntily jutting out at odd angles. Well, the hats and the bulging shirt-front on the birthday guy.
Birthday greetings came in from many sides, and it will end up being a week-long 50-fest, since it began on Saturday, continued through Wednesday, with more good will offered today, and Sunday my last gifts will be arriving. But best of all, no contest, was the festive appearance of the Minneapolis mob with their goofy smiling truck hats and silent blow-party unrolling do-dads (that really should squawk a barbaric yawp). The good will offered makes up partly for all the dumb stuff I did in the last 50 years to make people wonder if it's a good idea to be seen in my vicinity. Let's hope my next decade has me always making good choices. Like ending this entry here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Surprise Visitors

With a big birthday coming up, I was surprised this weekend by some very welcome visitors, two of my kids and my daughter's number-one man. I had thought it was going to be a party with some friends here in town, but when A and C and C showed up, everything got more sparkly. The friends AND the kids AND the wife made the whole thing a memorable weekend. The wife got things arranged with some stealthy emailing and arranging, and Saturday evening was a fun time, with birthday cake, games, and lots of fun conversation and sharing. Sunday we took a long walk in the park, and then the three travelers returned home and DSU turned its attention to this fall's graduates. Excellent.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Memories of Comic Book Adventures

My son and I were talking this evening and got on the topic of cartoon heroes and comic books, among other things. I was a comic book nut when I was a kid, eating up Spiderman and Daredevil comics, a fan of the sharp and witty sarcasm of Peter Parker's alter-ego. Daredevil was an earnest and anxious do-gooder that I liked, too. Some guys had flaws, like Iron Man with his bad heart, Daredevil with his blindness, but those flaws just made them cooler.
I would read anything, and I remembered as we talked that I even read Archie, Richie Rich, Donald Duck, Red Hot, and Casper the Friendly Ghost comics. But the dopeyist comic I remember was Baby Huey, a baby duck that was way bigger than his parents or anyone else. He wore a dopey bonnet, a diaper, and a goofy smile all the time. But, put a comic book in front of me, and I'd read it, whether it was Baby Huey or the Classic Comic version of Silas Marner. What were your 12 cent adventures?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Multimedia Project

My most recent assignment for the students in my two sections of Composition II has been the creation of a multimedia essay. For this project I encouraged students to use Photo Story 3 for the visuals and Audacity for the audio (both free downloads). I recommended that they write and record the essay in Audacity, add whatever background music was appropriate, and then add the photos and anything else in Photo Story. The idea here is to keep the writing, the essay itself, as the center of the work.

I had considered the use of Windows Movie Maker, but that program applies more to the use of video, so if students are just using still photos for the visuals, that program doesn't seem to fit. Some students appear to be planning to use PowerPoint, which can also serve well enough.

This week I finished a sample for my students, and I recognized that putting something like this together takes some patience and time. I wish mostly that I had spent more time on the essay itself and not as much on the production. If' you have made it reading this far, you must be interested, so I'll give the link to my sample. It's here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Welcome Guests!

An initiative to invite prospective students and others into the blogosphere at DSU went live today, and humble HorseshoeSeven is one of the chosen sites. Welcome! Look through my archives to check out some of the activities, photos, ideas, and exotic places your humble writer has been involved with over the past few months. Other student, faculty, and staff bloggers at DSU are listed here- - -along with podcasts by a number of people.
And, as always, your comments are welcome!

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Christmas Story--The Games

The 1983 movie "A Christmas Story" keeps building its reputation, an article in the NYTimes shows. Two games that give fans of the movie a chance to play Ralphie are at (Don't shoot your eye out!) and Be careful with that first one!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Creating Multimedia Presentations

With the technological focus of Dakota State University, and as a professor in the liberal arts there, it's important for me and my colleagues to keep up with innovations that affect how people learn about and make art and communicate. Technology changes these things continuously. Cell phones, mp3 players, computers, radio, and other innovations keep making things new. So, what do we do? We're trying to make good use of technology and teach students to use it effectively, so I'm taking my first leap into a required multimedia presentation in a composition class. It's exciting and a little nerve-wracking at the same time. Will the technology hold up? Will students respond with vigor? I'll try to keep the blog posted.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Nashville Cast--And Cats

Del McCoury's bluegrass band sings a song called "Nashville Cats" that describes the concept of being one of too many guitar pickers in that music city, and it might also be applied to others, English teachers included. Three of my colleagues and I presented a paper last weekend in Tennessee at the NCTE Conference there, and nearly 200 people were in attendance, many of them interested in what we had to say. Thousands of teachers, from grade school to college, attended the conference, and it was heartening to hear all the good things that teachers across the country are doing to promote good writing and effective reading. We were a dime a dozen those few days, but we left knowing a lot more about how to be good teachers.

But the conference wasn't the only thing on the table, and we got to visit one of my sisters and check out the Grand Old Opry at the Ryman Auditorium (where the lineup included Emmylou Harris, Hal Ketchum, the Del McCoury Band, Jean Shepherd--singing "I'm Tired of Playing Second Fiddle to an Old Guitar"--and the Riders in the Sky, among many others). Others included Pam Tillis, Nanci Griffith, Carolina Rain, Ray Scott, and that guy that sings "Pop a Top Again"--Jim Ed Brown. We spent an evening on music row, where every little hole in the wall had a band just bristling with talent.

It was much the same way looking through the conference schedule, with almost every presentation a home run.

Check out the photos here--note the wife's new boots and my sister's first pair after moving to Nashville a dozen years ago. That's Emmylou in the white hair.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Busy Weeks

This week is the second of short weeks of school, following DSU's Assessment Day and Friday off for Veteran's Day. Tomorrow begins two days of training for the use of InDesign software by Adobe. Then Wednesday is back to school, with a visit from Kent Meyers, author of The Work of Wolves, Light in the Crossing, and The Witness of Combines, and The River Warren. He'll be visiting my class in Mark Twain and then doing a reading and discussion that night to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Madison's public library. That Wednesday night we'll be heading to Omaha, where Thursday morning four of us will present at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Nashville, TN. We hope to see Emmylou Harris at the Ryman Auditorium, visit with relatives, and see a lot of great presentations and people at the conference. We hope to return full of new ideas and put them into play in our classes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Flatware in Love: Or, How to Make an Afternoon Disappear

After seeing David Pogue's video on creating stop-motion movies using free software, I got a bee in my bonnet and wanted to make one. So, I bought a cheap webcam (Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000) found the software (Stop Motion Pro v5), downloaded their trial version, and made a little film about silverware at odds with each other. I used Audacity for the sound and Microsoft's Movie Maker to finish it off. I then loaded it onto YouTube. It's silly, and it has the watermark of the trial version, so I'll have to try it again with a bit more preparation. It's here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Times Offers its Treasure-Trove for Free (Temporarily)

About a year ago, The New York Times took some of the great content it has online and put some of its premium writers into a subscribers-only category called TimeSelect that kept out those of us who were taking the free ride. This week it's offering this great content gratis, including the writing of David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, and Thomas L. Friedman, among others. One of the delights I hadn't expected was the sharp and artistic observations and paintings of Maira Kalman, who offers up The Principles of Uncertainty, a blog that displays her sharp eye and keen and roving mind. It's worth a look, so while you have the chance, check it out, and don't miss Kalman's take on Paris. The gate closes on November 12.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pheasants Falling, Moon Rising

Troops flew in from Alaska last night to try and turn the tide against the invading horde of ring-necked pheasants. We donned our orange uniforms and did our best to sort the soldiers from the civilians as we tromped through corn field and sloughs, blasting away at the roosters and letting rabbits, deer, owls, partridges, quail, and pheasant hens go, along with various little birds and assorted animals.
Then the moon rose on the way home and life was back to normal after the long walk through cluttered hallways of cornstalks and seedy clouds of cattail blossoms.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Trojan Sports Fans

The wife and I were good supporters of DSU sports the past couple of days, attending the men's basketball team last night and the football game this afternoon. It was fun to watch the men, who don't always get a chance to relish the taste of victory, handle a team from North Dakota and send them home with a notch in the "L" column. Women's basketball won last night too, beating one of the top teams in the nation. Both men and women ran in the cross country meet in Sioux Falls, but I haven't heard yet what our top runners managed to accomplish. This afternoon the football team saw victory and the memory of a positive end to the season slip away as their opponents marched down the field and regained the lead to seal the victory.

But it was fun to join our colleagues and watch our students doing the things they enjoy doing.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Healthy Dose of Corn

Talk in Howard today was about corn, getting it out of the field and into bins or elevators or just into big piles of corn, the different varieties and brands visible in the differing bands of color as they spill out of the auger.
Here's a pic of corn piling up along the highway and JB next to his newly aquired corn hauling rig that lets him make one-third the number of trips to the elevator than his previous truck. He was east-bound and down until we caught up with him at Jake's and snapped this picture.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Motoring in My Mind

My motorcycle-mad brother and his long-suffering wife stopped by yesterday for a brief visit, and he called today with more commentary on motorcycles old and new. He's happy he's got his old Honda 550 up and running after it had sat (owned by some uncaring lout) for years, and he's looking forward to digging into an old Suzuki GT185 that he's just aquired. But when he mentioned that Kawasaki had a new Concours out, it stuck in my head. I had to take a few minutes out of my paper grading to check it out. Whoof. Here's a video. And here are some pics. It's a go machine. I wonder how those handlebars would fit me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Keeping a Keen Eye on the Moment

How do you get to be a poet the stature of Ted Kooser, whose poetry has garnered him the Pulitzer Prize and the Poet Laureate of the US? Listening to him last night at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls, you might have heard an answer. You might try getting up early, every day, as he does, and write for a couple of hours, knowing that most of what you write is destined for the trash bin. You pay attention to the world around you, shutting off the voices that cry out in your head, "I should have . . ." and "I should . . ." and rather concentrate on the moment in front of you. Be here now, basically. Pay attention to what is here. Observe, and notice the small things others might not see. When you write, pay attention to how things sound. All that shouldn't be so tough, should it?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Office: Before and After

It got to be enough for me this morning, so I took the bull by the horns and cleaned much of my office. The first photo's a little blurry, which seems to be an issue with my learning to use the new little camera we bought in Pittsburgh, but the second one--the AFTER photo--is sharp and shows how nice my office can look when I have it clean and tidy.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Importance of Being There

Having just returned from Pittsburgh and the wedding of a friend there, I'm reminded of the importance of being there for the event. The happy couple had their families there in full, and I was glad for them. It's important to have witnesses there for the event, seeing the couple make their vows publicly, giving them your support. Some people couldn't make it; I'm glad the wife and I were able to be there.
A friend of mine got married just as I was getting ready to finish my undergraduate degree. He and I had been friends since kindergarten, we'd shared a house, and during our college days we went fishing and hiking together. He started going out with a woman that seemed to want to get rid me and his other friends, and soon they were married. I didn't know anyone who went to the wedding. They hadn't told anyone, and my friend disappeared from our lives; that's the way they wanted it. I tried to stay in touch, but he didn't, and I didn't see him for almost twenty years, though I tried stopping by his house and calling him. Finally, last fall, I found him nearby, happily married to a different woman, his first child a toddler. Maybe it was just the way he was.
But, to come back to my point, I think being there is important. There aren't many events that we mark by making oral statements. Getting married is one of them, and having the right people there to hear you state them is a big deal.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Todd and Lea's Wedding

We got it done. Here are some photos of the big event. Send them your best!

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Big Day in Pittsburgh

Sure, the Penguins played yesterday, and the Steelers face the Chiefs today, but a bigger news item in our world isn't in any sports field. Today's the big day for LB and TQ in Pittsburgh. We've had a good time and head back tomorrow, but not before we have seen some of this beautiful area and seen our two friends say their vows to each other today. Here are a few photos illustrating what there is to see here, down near Ohiopyle, PA, including Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece.
There's also a photo of the tour crew at the top of the Monongehela Incline, looking over the Three Rivers area. We're having a good time, and I get to read at the ceremony this afternoon Robert Frost's poem "The Master Speed." Read it here and offer up your best wishes to two good people as they join their lives.
No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still--
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Testing the Air

Tomorrow morning the wife and I will rise into the air again together as we've done numerous times since we've wed, rising and traveling over the country, over the Pacific, over the Atlantic, over mountains, over plains. This time no oceans are involved. We'll land, God willing, in Pittsburgh, PA, before noon in time for a wedding celebration, and we'll return, God willing, on Monday. There's always that moment when the airplane is hurtling down the runway toward the end of the pavement, and the nose lifts, the plane leaves the earth, and the passengers let go a sigh of relief, that one wonders that such an event can occur at all, the plane is such a massive thing, with a belly full of heavy luggage. Who could have known what Wilbur and Orville were cooking up, along with their French rivals?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Celebrating McGovern's Legacy

Saturday the wife and I went to Mitchell for the dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service. What a lineup of big-hitters they brought out for the ceremony, including Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson, Stephanie Herseth, and many others.
It was a delight to hear McGovern speak there and at the premier of the movie about the SD Senator's 1972 bid for the presidency. I was just a youngster in '72, but I remember how McGovern lit a fire under young people hoping for a change and an end to the conflict in Vietnam. That hope rose when McGovern became the Democratic candidate for the office, but it fell that summer and fall with the missteps and stumbing of an inexperienced campaign staff. McGovern's resounding defeat was a loss for the country, a point driven home by Nixon's resignation in disgrace soon after his election.
The resounding message of Saturday was that McGovern's life was dedicated to much more than seeking power; it is a life dedicated to doing as much good as he could, through public office or other efforts, especially in his program to provide a daily healthy meal to school children worldwide.
It made me proud to be a Democrat, knowing that people like George McGovern have worn that mantle. The voice he gave to the liberal tradition, the belief that the efforts of people at work--in government or otherwise--can make the world a better place, is one worth listening to.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Taste for Corn

Summer might be corn season, but the fall is the time for candy corn, the real stuff, preferably Brach's. It calls my name. I do like corn--popcorn, corn on the cob, frozen corn, creamed corn, corndogs, cornbread, corn pone, corn tortillas, corn chips, KORN radio station, rows of corn, corn shucks, corn shuck dolls, roasted corn, corn nuts, and corn-fed cattle. Even corny jokes are okay.
But candy corn stands apart, an addictive honey-sweetened handful of yellow, orange, and white corn-shaped treats. I do enjoy them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fall Settles in for the Season

My little camera got another outing this evening as I went out for a very short jog in the park to work out some of the kinks from yesterday's marathon. Yes, the body is sore, but the fall colors made up for that, and I took the little clunky digital camera out and took a few pictures. The photos gave me an opportunity to try out Picasa's new online photo album, and you can view all my evening's photos here.
One of my colleagues was out "catching the light" with a white door propped up in a field of wild yellow sunflowers, the bright red foliage of a tree standing behind. I envied him his camera. His resolution had to be better, but I like mine nonetheless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Hunk of Tin and a Running Shirt

If you think the shirt and the medal are the only rewards to running a marathon, you should think again. Getting through the 26.2 miles without shedding a tear is a memory worth savoring. Who cares if you toddle in an hour and a half after Mbarak Hussein, who won the TCM this morning in 2:13, clipping along at a 5:06 per mile average pace. Yikes! I guess it gets you done quicker.
I had a great team with me on race morning, with CO the chief driver, AN the head navigator, and the wife as head cheerleader and organizer. CN was there for sweatband selection at the race expo.

It was a warm day, with temps in the 80's by the time it was all over. Not ideal for a marathon. But I survived another one, saw some of my favorite people, and enjoyed a good weekend. Here are some photos, including the race start, two key supporters, a Ford GT we spotted on Cedar Avenue, and the sunset to our good weekend.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

No Sore Foot--Will Run for Shirt

Last year a sore foot kept me out of the Twin Cities Marathon, but this year, it seems well enough to allow me to at least attemp to survive the 26.2 mile ordeal. It starts at 8:00 at the Metrodome, winds around several lakes in Minneapolis, crosses the river into St. Paul, and finishes at the capitol. I'll be glad to come down the hill on Summit, past the cathedral, and to the finish line, where I plan to get my shirt and enjoy a banana, a glass of water, a cupcake, a cup of coffee, and a long nap. I may not get the long nap.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Blog on Health Related Topics

I'm having my students keep blogs as they do research, and I'm using a blog to guide and encourage them as they embark on a research project. It's here:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Festival of Books! Love, Ted

This weekend in SF provided lots of offerings for a book-lover, including an evening of poetry on Friday featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and others. Saturday night gave us a panel of four authors and action-librarian Nancy Pearl, who shepherded Pete Dexter, Marilynne Robinson, J.A. Jance, and Joseph Marshall III through a discussion of the writing profession.
It was the South Dakota Festival of Books, the premier annual gathering of literary figures in South Dakota.
The evening sparked along with the mix of writers, with irreverent Dexter teasing the sedate Robinson, and Jance countering the high-minded discussion with more practical and market elements. One treat was when Pearl told a story about falling in love on the bus with Dexter's 1995 book, The Paperboy, realizing she was blushing and needed to read the book in the privacy of her home. Dexter took the opportunity to tease and flirt. It sparked me to buy his Paris Trout and have him sign it.
Friday's gathering was a bit more sedate, with poet Lee Ann Roripaugh leading a series of readings and discussions with Kooser, Bill Holm, Patrick Hicks, and Marilyn Chin. Holm generously used his time to feature a South Dakota poet, Leo Dangel, whose poem "Farming in a Lilac Shirt" prompted my purchase of his collected poems.
One treat was being joined by my friend Kent Meyers and his wife at the reception for Kooser and Robinson. One odd moment came Friday evening after the reading, when Kooser went to sign a copy of one of his books that I'd been given as a gift. The wife had already inscribed it, so he just added his "& Love, Ted." In all, the festival was just what I'd hoped for, only now it's over.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Seeking: Coordinator of Electronic Communications

As my friend and colleague Dan points out, our employer, Dakota State University, is looking for a Coordinator of Electronic Communications. Read the position announcement here and pass the word. We're looking for one good person.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back on the Horse

Nearly a week's worth of events have happened in the last week, so it's time for something to be said about the past six days. Friday night some friends used up, and Saturday the bathroom floor, the basement stairs, and the back door landing utilized the time, and that night we partook in an event that I'd tried twenty five years ago to do and finally got it done.
Despite the nasty thunderstorms that came through the area, I took off down to SF where the wife and her mom spent the day shopping and met up at the Washington Pavillion to see a band I'd wanted to see but failed to for years, the Red Willow Band, the best in western swing. They were just what I'd wanted. From the opening strains of Kenny Putnam fiddling on "Tying the Knot" to the late rendition of "Very Old Friend," I was a happy listener. Two new fans of RWB joined us, only to be disappointed to learn that this band had disbanded more than twenty years ago. They've still got a good fan base in the area, as the very full Pavillion demonstrated, and Monday night the concert being filmed for SD Public TV sold out. Every few years they get together for a reunion concert or two, and they were invited to play at the Vietnam Memorial in Pierre this year.

On another note, we had great company the past few days from Waynesville, NC, CB and RB. They were our hosts last summer down there and we were happy to have them here if only for a couple of days. What gentle, wonderful people. C was able to join us briefly for my last discussion of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead here in Madison, where 28 people showed up.
Now it's Wednesday, our company is gone, and life is once again back to normal.

Maybe this weekend will be a bit more quiet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Life Just Has a Way of Getting Busy

Let me take a deep breath and think a minute. So. Friday, the Dylan concert. Cool, great music. Saturday morning, a garage sale at our house. Saturday afternoon, garage sale cleanup. Saturday evening, another book talk, with the Gourmet Book Club in Howard, discussing Marilynne Robinson's Gilead again (first time was in Platte), with me on the hotseat since the pastor was there with actual knowledge and experience backing him. Sunday morning, the half marathon in Sioux Falls (1:46:something). Not bad, fifteen minutes faster than in the Black Hills this June. Sunday, then what? Breakfast at Perkins. Then come home, rest, relax. Happiness at seeing the pile of free stuff on our curb reduced to a sign that read "Free Stuff!" I don't think I even read the paper--wasteful, wasteful. Monday, KC's birthday, my first-ever Pilates class, where I was the only male. Tuesday? I think I missed Tuesday. Maybe I did some writing Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday? The high spot I think was Jeff Dittman's chicken cookout lunch at DSU, at least until we went to SF and found a new klik-klak (what some people--uneducated) might call a folding couch, and seeing "Little Miss Sunshine," what a gas. I also got a good run in Wednesday. Today, one good class, some paper grading, some preparation time, a meeting, going to the farmer's market and scoring some great eats, then unloading the klik-klak and moving it in (thanks, TQ), then fixing the mower at TQ's, then fixing the mower at MM's. Then home, where the wife fed me a great supper and we watched some of the new "Survivor" and then admired the new clean extra bedroom, thinking of company coming next week who will take over our bed for a couple of days. Yowza. How's a guy supposed to have a deep thought? Back to grading papers.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Taking Aim at 16

Today's my youngest's birthday; he's 16, ready to go to work, drive, and pretty much do the same stuff he's been doing--hanging out with friends and family, playing games, volunteering at the zoo, and going to school. Maybe he'll take up archery again, like he was into back when he was half the age he is now.
Happy Birthday, KC!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Smuggled Photos from Bob at the Birdcage

Yes, cameras were not allowed at the Dylan concert last night, but my little bitty camera fit nicely into my pocket and I only took two pictures, one of the three women I went with and one of Junior Brown in full swing. I've got the Sioux Falls Half Marathon tomorrow morning early, so I'll have to save my commentary for later. No flash--no pics of Bob or anyone else, but memories of good music, good weather, good times, and a full moon over it all.
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