1. It was 91F here in Our Little Town yesterday. In Wisconsin. On the first day of autumn. It’s hotter today. This in a year where most of the western part of the US and Canada as well as large portions of Europe and Africa were on fire. Where four Category 4 or higher hurricanes made landfall in less than a month. Where it was 106F in San Francisco – a city that regards 75F as uncomfortably warm. Where once again we have set records for the hottest year since data has been recorded. Where we have had over thirty straight years of “hotter than average” months – nobody born after Reagan’s second inauguration has ever seen a “cooler than average” month. Where Houston, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Niger, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have all seen record flooding. And still there are people who think global climate change is some kind of hoax. Sweet dancing monkeys on a stick but sometimes I wonder if there is any hope for this species.
2. I made a quick jaunt out to Philadelphia last weekend to help my mom in her new place with a few projects and collect some things from the old house before it passes to the new owners next month. It was good to see my mom, however briefly. We also got to see her old neighbors, which was fun. They took good care of my parents and made it possible for them to live in that house for that much longer, and I appreciate that.
3. It was kind of strange locking the door on the old house one last time.
4. I also got to see my friends Mike and Krista on the way home, which I don’t do nearly enough. I live too far away from too many good people.
5. One of the most satisfying feelings when driving down the interstate is when you switch lanes to let the nitwit who came roaring up behind you at warp speed and has been tailgating you for the last half mile pass by and then see him (almost always “him”) get trapped behind a wall of semis. It’s almost but not quite as much fun as watching the cop pull out from the median to chase him down. Yeah, I can be petty too.
6. The Taco Bell here in Our Little Town – or the one I pass every day on the way to work, anyway, as we are a multi-Taco-Bell kind of town – has finally completed its renovations. It’s snazzy now. I’m almost tempted to go in, except that I know that inside that nice new building is, well, Taco Bell. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something.
7. Although sometimes imitation Mexican food is precisely what you want.
8. Yes, I know what real Mexican food is. I live in a town where the dining out options include a) all of the finest chain restaurants in America, and b) real Mexican food. We have several places that serve actual Mexican food in all its tasty, tasty glory, and I am all for it.
9. In every class there is always that percentage of students who Just Don’t Get It. You can identify them pretty quickly – the 13th-graders pretending to be college students. The joy of teaching at the college level is that they are not legally required to be there, which means that over time either they will get it and become college students or they will move on. The process, however, can be painful for everyone.
10. While I was away I missed the Local Band’s annual banquet, where Lauren was voted “Rookie of the Year” and was given a nice trophy to that effect. She was also awarded a hat with velcro on the front and several velcroed labels bearing the names of the various instruments and roles she plays in the band, so she can swap them out as necessary. She wears many hats, and this way she only needs the one. Go Lauren!
11. I also missed the annual night tours of my old museum, where they turn off the electric lights and light the place up with lanterns as it would have been done in the 19th century. Tabitha was a guide for it, as she has been for the last few years. I always loved those tours, even though when I was there I rarely got home before midnight. I’d be cruising through the place at the end of the night, shutting everything down in the dark. We had a lot of people tell us the place was haunted, but I never saw anything. Oh well.
12. Every decision comes with a cost.
13. The first couple of weeks of the semester are just a madhouse when you’re an advisor, but things calm down once the add/drop deadline for classes goes by.
14. You know you’ve been busy at work when you go to toss the teabag from your mug and realize that you never tossed the one from the previous time, so your tea has been unusually strong but somewhat less in volume, and you didn’t even notice. This happens more often than I care to think, these days.