1. I had a lovely birthday celebration yesterday, amid all of the season’s hustle and bustle – one of the few times in my life that we’ve managed to celebrate my birthday on my birthday, which actually felt a bit odd. Pleasantly odd, but odd. Friends and family sent me birthday greetings by social media or by phone, sometimes both. Kim, Oliver, Lauren, and I had a lovely take-out dinner of barbecue and – by my request – brownies afterward. There were cards, and I can’t tell you enough how much I loved what was written inside of them. And afterward the four of us hung out at the table for a good long while in conversation. As you get older you realize that all you really want for birthdays and holidays is to spend time with those you love, and it was a perfect birthday that way.
2. Of course now the math has all changed and this will take a while to get through my head. I have no idea how old I am at any given moment – I have long since passed the age when I had that memorized and every year it’s a calculation. Let’s see now, I was born in … and this year is, wait, what year is this? … and I don’t think I’ve had my birthday yet … what month is this? … so no? yes? maybe? … and subtract the first number from the second and … wow, that’s old. It beats the alternative.
3. In the last week I have made a grand total of three cash transactions. From one of them I got one of those 2009 pennies with the Lincoln designs on them, and from another I got a wheat cent. I’m on a roll!
4. Two of my three classes are done and put to bed now, and the third never will be until I pass it along to someone else. My advisees have moved on to other concerns for a while as well. So I’m as done with this semester as I’m going to get. It doesn’t seem real yet, somehow. In a semester where everything has happened from home, finishing up and staying home doesn’t mark any great change.
5. It’s strange to hear that you’re going to be part of someone else’s book. One of my friends is writing an autobiography of sorts – as a guy who’s been writing a blog for a decade I’m not in any position to question this, I know – and apparently some of the things we did back in the day are in it. I am kind of curious to find out how they come across. There’s a difference between history and memory, after all.
6. There is less than a month until we have sane government again, or at least saner government. Are you counting down the days? You should be. If we make it to January 20 with the Constitution intact and the republic still standing it will be the single greatest political accomplishment of the last four years. Seriously – the US Army had to make a public statement recently that they would not participate in the right-wing coup attempt that the sitting president of the United States was discussing with his advisors. That’s not normal. Why everyone involved in creating, perpetuating, or supporting this sad rerun of the Beer Hall Putsch (history, as Karl Marx pointed out, repeats itself – first as tragedy, then as farce) is not jailed and awaiting trial is a mystery.
7. I’m really, really looking forward to the avalanche of indictments and further investigations that will rain down on the heads of der Sturmtrumper and his minions beginning on January 21. There isn’t enough popcorn in the world for that.
8. Speaking of things to make a person merry, I actually went out and did some Christmas shopping today. I tried to go to local businesses since they need the help this year more than usual, and I found a couple of things. I’ll probably go again tomorrow just for a few more odds and ends. People here in Our Little Town are pretty good about wearing masks these days – even the guy standing out on the street corner with the sign asking people to “Honk for Trump!” had a mask on – so there was at least that measure of protection.
9. I recently found a bottle of whiskey in my cupboard that I inherited from my dad. It was open when it came to me, though it was mostly full. We were not teatotalers in my family, but the fact that this bottle has a 1978 tax stamp from Maryland on it does suggest that perhaps alcohol consumption wasn’t our top priority. It’s pretty smooth now. Bottle-aged.
10. We now have LED shop lights in our basement. They’re really snazzy. You hang them up, plug them in, and they just work. They’re also bright enough to land planes by, which is a bit of a change from the old fluorescent lights and could possibly lead to Projects as we are able to see things clearly for the first time, but so it goes. We’re too busy for Projects, so I figure I’m safe. For now.