Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Afternoon at the ER

If only George Clooney had been there . . .

I woke up with a horrendously red left eye and a right eye that wasn't much better. Although the allergies were still hanging on, I had hoped to get a great deal more done today. Yesterday, I had gone back to using my soft contacts because I was tried of not being able to read at a close distance with my gas permeable ones - the doctor warned me at first I could strain and read and eventually my muscles just wouldn't do it any more. I think my mistake was not putting in a new pair - I can usually wear a pair for a week and thought I had only worn the last pair a few days but didn't give much thought to the solution being old given that I'd rinsed them what I thought was properly before I put them in yesterday morning. And, I so enjoyed not having to look for my reading glasses.

I can still remember how excited I was in 4th grade to find out I had to get glasses. Just like the cute boy in my class that we used to chase around the building. I picked out little gold wire rim frames that now I realize look like granny glasses. The good news in junior high was that once I proved I could keep my braces clean, I was able to get contacts by the time I was in 9th grade.

I still haven't adjusted to my bifocal glasses but will have to given that I can't wear any contacts until I go see the eye doctor - who's in the nearby city about 45 minutes away - so a tough call to get back for classes on Monday but I'll have to try. This was also a day it wasn't fun to not have anyone around to take me to the emergency room. Poor little Shadow didn't understand what was going on.

For some reason, I thought my eyes would get better as the day wore on although they actually became much worse overnight. As the doctor explained today, it's likely that I was initially allergic to something and then "obtained" an infection while my eyes were irritated. She said she couldn't tell and to go to my eye doctor on Monday.

I hope he can help me figure out what is up so I can wear the bifocal contacts. I do like them much better overall and am just too stubborn to quit trying - although today's experience will certainly slow me down quite a bit.

In hindsight, I should have started with a new pair and could have maybe saved myself all this grief. Of course, I had told myself I would try them for one day and see how I did before trying to go back to wearing them every day. Before when I had switched solutions, I already had eyes that were a little bloodshot - which I hadn't noticed at first given that I can't see the whites of my eyes until after my contacts are in and I'm then standing too far away from the mirror. Oh well. I am human after all.

I ordered myself a coffee press online so that I don't have to go to Sonic or Starbucks just to get iced latte - which I discover is primarily coffee and milk.

It is supposed to stay in the 80s this week - I'm guessing we will have a fast cool down once the fall weather really hits. The nights are much cooler but with these allergies I won't be using the attic fan anytime soon.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

week's reflections

I was hoping to be over the allergy attack/head cold by now but it seems to still be draining a bit of energy. Although, as usual, I had tons on the list to get done, I am only getting the bare minimum done (ie grading and a few other odds and ends). At least I wasn't scheduled to travel this week. And I did finish the first round of a large project - now I just have to wait for revision suggestions. As I realized later, despite the weekly turn-in schedule over 5 weeks, the reviewer is too busy to get back to me. So, I'll just roll with the flow when I do here back. With evaluation presentations and a conference presentation with grant teachers in a nearby state (at least it's driving and not flying!.... yet), the week will go fast. I did get a major home project "in progress" - something that's been going on for about 5 years - will be nice to finally eliminate the obstacles and move forward.

Fall weather is starting to kick in although I am getting tired of days that still reach into the 80s - summer is officially over. And, I am hoping for some good snow this winter!


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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Studying Singles

Here's the elephant in the room:

Make Room for Singles in Teaching and Research


Over the past few decades, the demographics of the United States have changed markedly. In 1970, 28 percent of Americans over 17 were single — divorced, widowed, or never married. More than twice as many households consisted of mom, dad, and the kids than of single adults living on their own. In 2005 more than 40 percent of adults were single, and more households contained just one person than married couples with children. In another striking departure from the past, Americans now spend more years of their adult lives unmarried than married.

It is not just the proportions of married and single people that are changing; so too are the nature and functions of marriage and the family. The nuclear family — which united marriage, economic viability, bearing and rearing children, love, sex, and intimacy — is splitting apart. In July 2007, the Pew Research Center reported that "just 41 percent of Americans now say that children are 'very important' to a successful marriage." And marriage is no longer the gateway to adulthood and having a family. The same Pew report noted, "In the United States today, marriage exerts less influence over how adults organize their lives and how children are born and raised than at any time in the nation's history."

Ways of thinking about single and married people have not kept up with those rapid social changes. Like other groups considered to be outside the mainstream of American society, single people are often the targets of stereotyping and discrimination. As one of us has shown — in Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (St. Martin's Press, 2006), by Bella DePaulo — single men are often paid less than married men, even when their accomplishments are comparable; single people are often charged more than married people for health and automobile insurance; renters prefer married couples to single people as tenants; and so forth.

This is certainly something academe needs to consider in hiring. While business often complains about too much required socializing, we are often too much over in our own corner . . .

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Rumble Strips on Center Line

News from The Parsons Sun: "KDOT to add rumble strip to part of U.S. 400 KDOT to add rumble strip to part of U.S. 400 Work should start in spring 2008 The Kansas Department of Transportation has tentatively scheduled the installation of center line rumble strips on U.S. 400 and U.S. 69 in Cherokee County to begin in the spring. KDOT is developing the pilot project and may award the project to a contractor in February. The football-shaped rumble strips will extend across U.S. 400 from the Labette/Cherokee County line east to the K-171 junction and continue south on U.S. 69 to the U.S. 69/U.S. 160 junction north of Crestline, according to KDOT. The strips are installed on roads to warn drivers when their vehicles drift across the center line into oncoming traffic to possibly help avoid collisions. The estimated cost of installation is $1,800 per mile. 'I think the pilot project is a good idea,' said state Rep. Bob Grant. 'The center line rumble strips may save a life. After the pilot project is implemented I hope we receive some feedback from our constituents and the people who travel our highways.' 09/21/2007; 1:33:28 PM"

I'm hoping this will be a good reminder to folks to stay on their side of the road. Some of our roads are low enough traffic that some drivers think it's not a big deal to cross the center line - as do some semis on roads that are their narrower options to roads less than 5 miles away.

Bottom line - this should make us all safer given how many collisions are head-on because someone has crossed the center line.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Teaching with Poker

I heard this NPR story last week about instructors at Harvard using poker to teach algebra and law school analytical skills. Makes sense - especially to get college age women interested in math - that and the new book by the actress that was in the Wonder Years and in The West Wing.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last Weekend of Summer

I'm spending the last weekend of summer at the lake. Although I had planned to get here more often, it's been mid-late June since I was here. We went out on the boat for lunch and had some great crab rangoon at Backwater Jack's.

The energy of the lake has dispelled from summer since, although it's in the 80s today, we're outside the traditional summer window of Memorial Day to Labor Day. It also means fewer of the neighbors are down so there's not as much random noise. The newbies at the lake, for example, don't realize that playing their boat stereo is heard louder across the cove than where they are sitting on their dock. ;-)

Since TAH grants started, summers just zoom by - and this one even faster than ever. But that may also be a sign of getting older every year.

My students are bearing more of the responsibility of doing their work this semester and although it's taking some gradual condition on my part not to worry about them so much, it is a normal expectation that they can read directions and, more importantly, be expected to follow them instead of just "sorta" doing so. And this is especially true of graduate students. I am trying to redirect my psychic energy into worthwhile directions instead of directions over which I have no control.

My teaching methods class has self-selected down to 4 people - a very manageable group - and much more so who dropped because they sensed it was "too much work". We're expected to meet increasingly higher standards but students are still stretching to see how this connects back to them. My job is not to get them ready to student teach next semester but, instead, give them the opportunity to do so. In return, I am causing much less stress damage to my internal self - both physically and psychologically.

The dirt work at the farm also came into focus late last week which, in return, releases a large dose of psychic energy. Now I can turn to other issues that haven't been hanging over my head for years. I do much better with tasks I can just do myself - but operating dirt moving equipment is certainly NOT one of those. Next on the list is getting rid of the armadillos who have almost taken over both the area around the house and the fields.

Some longtime neighbors are moving. I haven't seen them to ask them to where - although it will still be in town. I will certainly miss them - I watched their kids go from pre-teen and early teenager to all grown up with jobs and families. The newer younger neighbors on the other side fill in somewhat of a gap - but a bit different now that I am the age of my neighbors who are moving when I first moved to the neighborhood. I guess it beats the alternative. And, I certainly appreciate my retired neighbors who always keep out a watchful eye over me - and, more importantly, my mail.

I notice Shadow has deteriorated a bit more since we were here in early summer - and maybe that is because I'm paying more attention. I can't take him on long walks anymore given that that will stress his little heart too much. He had an excitable evening the other night running around and playing with me - I just kept an eye on his breathing, etc., - and he reminded me he still as some "young pup" energy occasionally. He's never been much of a dog that wants to play either with people or other dogs. He sets his own course and I've tried to give him a good life. He has always been a great companion - occasionally needing his space but also understanding the need to "cuddle" and be petted.

Home is where I'll be for another week before I head off to a conference in Oklahoma City with some grant teachers and then, two weeks later, the grant directors' conference in New Orleans. . . disaster tour by a local included.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Elementary Constitution Day

These are two of our Project eHIKES graduates who are continuing to incorporate history into their classrooms:

Constitutional scholars
Constitutional scholars

By Colleen Surridge

Parsons Sun

Most people can tell you when Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter is, but many don't know what holiday occurred Monday.

Monday was the day the National Archives and Records Administration celebrated the 220th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Sept. 17 is known as Constitution Day. The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. The holiday also mandates that all publicly funded schools provide programming on the history of the Constitution on that day.

While some high school students may say their First Amendment rights are being infringed upon by schools not letting them say what they want or wear T-shirts that express what they want, Associated Press reported Monday, "A study being released Monday by a foundation that focuses on journalism and the First Amendment (John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) found that 51 percent of high school students questioned had not heard of the day when they are required by law to learn about the Constitution."

Throughout Parsons schools, no special activities were reported in classrooms to celebrate Constitution Day, except in Debbie Shaffer and Mary Colvin's fifth-grade classrooms at Guthridge Elementary School.

Students were given dice and paper clips and were asked to make a game with them.

The students were initially befuddled at what they could do with the two items, but after some time developed games with rules to play by.

"It was to represent the delegates of the 12 colonies when they gathered together and tried to figure out what they were supposed to do and how they had to come up with ideas that made up the Constitution," Shaffer said. "I think it is really important kids start to learn about community and government early, and this is just one step in their education. We keep it fairly basic, but we give them the understanding they can build on."

By afternoon the fifth-graders were learning about the Electoral College.

In fact, while Shaffer and Colvin start a weeklong study of the Constitution with Constitution Day, the two consider the Constitution so important it is incorporated into their students' lessons throughout the year.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Library as Search Engine

The Chronicle: 1/5/2007: The Library as Search Engine: "It is even easier in the online world than in the library to link to different subjects that people may be interested in. A really rich personalization engine is certainly our dream. Greenstein: I'm not worried about that patron. That patron is always going to be there. What is interesting here is that we are taking libraries and turning them inside out so that many thousands of other patrons get to see what is there."

Dr. Greenstein has been on the Electronic Records committee with me and this insight into the future of academic libraries and the Google book project is only one example of how open access is indeed good for everyone.

The most resistent groups I've seen in academe to these "open proposals" are those who have large libraries conveniently located to their own geography and simply miss the point that not all of us have that access. I sitll remember waiting 45 minutes for 3 pages of text from a library - just with basic organizational info about a search, not actual articles or info items - and being excited. I was also able to get caught up on much of my journal reading waiting on file downloads. This was about 12 years ago now and look how far we've come.

Earlier in the article, it talks about how some of the most creative people have trouble staying on task even in the library. I must be one of those people given that I always pick up books beyond the topic of what I am going to the library to find.

And, even though I love the technological access, I love browsing library stacks at other colleges and universities, especially large universities. I also enjoy the bookstores although that has become quite limited lately given the huge amount of work the used market and buyback takes - unless you are around at the beginning of a semester, the bookstore stacks are always closed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Course Web Site as Crystal�Ball -

The Course Web Site as Crystal�Ball - "The Course Web Site as Crystal Ball Course-management systems can put a lot of data at a professor’s fingertips: With just a few keystrokes, it’s possible to see which students are logging on often, and which ones seem to be giving the course Web site nary a thought. That information can be useful. According to several professors, it can predict whether students will stick with a course or drop out early. “If you could get an early warning that a student is at risk,” writes Michael Feldstein at e-Literate, “you can intervene and hopefully help that student get through a rough spot.” But just because the information is useful doesn’t mean it should be used with abandon, he argues. Students, after all, may not have any idea that their professors are taking digital attendance. Do professors have an obligation to ask permission before they monitor log-in data? And once professors start gathering that information, Mr. Feldstein asks, are they obligated to reach out to any student who seems to be staying away from a course Web site? —Brock Read"

This seems perfectly logical. Our university has recently switched from Blackboard to Angel and for students it seems to be pretty smooth. My main challenge is to remember to set up a separate dropbox for students to submit each assignment given that our version of BB had a common dropbox for the course. But that is a relatively minor thing that I will soon get the hang of doing properly.

I was surprised that students had little trouble handling the transition - it shows we're making progress on their understanding how important it is for them to learn and utilize new technologies.

In my graduate seminar, they were supposed to pick their project topics and submit their annotated bibliographies today. Of course, some were still not worried about picking topics until Friday. What they didn't take away from our in-person two-hour meeting on the first night of class (our graduate seminars only meet occasionally) was that they had to pick something for which they could find appropriate primary sources. We're looking at the Cold War in its broadest context which means doing some popular culture or how it affected a local Kansas community in some way. It wasn't intended to mean, as some students seemed to think, doing a topic from the Russian viewpoint given that they can't travel to Russia to access the sources they need to do graduate level research. Not to mention that I doubt any of them reads Russian . . . . But I left it up to them so that they didn't feel too "cornered" - that's part of their graduate education being more reliant on student initiative than instructor-driven.

Monday is here again and I'll finish getting ready to teach the teaching methods course for undergraduates later today. The level of commitment has sunk in and a few student drops have thinned the ranks for the long haul.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

edwired comment on Kelly in Kansas comment

edwired: "3. A couple of people with lots of H-Net experience at the senior level (Greg Downey and Kelly in Kansas) wrote to say that they saw both positive movement for change going on within H-Net–not abandoning email lists, but adding new ways of communicating. I didn’t say that email lists should be junked next month or even next year. But I did suggest that they were probably on their way out and so I hoped H-Net would consider what comes next when the email list is over. These comments suggest that there is more going on at H-Net than is apparent on their website. Downey mentions a conference in his comment. I’d love to hear a review of that event after it happens."

History News Network

History News Network: "Mills Kelly's 'The End of H-Net?' edwired, 10 September, spawned widespread discussion, among H-Net editors, on H-Scholar, and on the blogs, AHA Today, Cliopatria, Legal History Blog, open wiki blog planet and Progressive Historians. The discussion extended to non-English language history blogs, including histnet (in German) and Agricolan uutiset ja keskustelu (in Finnish). For Kelly's responses to the discussions, scroll down edwired."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thank-You, Library of Congress

The AHA blog made note of this report from the Library of Congress. Here's what we have to thank the LoC for:

Providing care to more than 2.6 million endangered special collection items, with emphasis on the Library's most significant holdings.

Surveying a total of 197,227 rare and fragile items so they could be stabilized by treatment or rehousing for access, digitization, exhibition, and relocation to off-site storage.

Housing 2,379,643 items, including the preparation of 14,078 protective boxes; and the cleaning and housing of 15,397 discs, film and magnetic media.

Rehousing 2,263,059 photographs and 86,696 paper-based items, as well as 418 miscellaneous items.

Treating 16,449 items from 12 curatorial divisions, including 14,265 paper documents, 784 books, 944 photographs and 506 other format materials.

Preservation microfilming of 3.3 million exposures (5.8 million pages).

Deacidifying 298,826 books and 1,069,500 document sheets as part of its Thirty Year (One Generation) Mass Deacidification

Plan to stabilize more than 8.5 million general collection books and at least 30 million pages of manuscripts.

Initiating a new five-year contract for deacidification services that will save 1,250,000 books and more than 5 million sheets of original manuscript materials.

Using a single-sheet treatment cylinder onsite at the Library to deacidify 4,000 pages per day of non-book, paper-based materials that were too valuable to be transported to the mass deacidification vendor plant near Pittsburgh, Pa.

Collaborative Projects

Maps. In collaboration with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Alcoa Foundation, the Preservation Directorate and the Geography and Map Division started the process of creating a permanent, oxygen-free housing for the 16th-century Waldseemüeller Map that depicts the name "America" for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. The map will be displayed in its new housing in 2007.
Sound recordings. The Library is working with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to convert the analog information on long-playing records (LPs) to digital audio files in a project known as IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.).

Newspapers. Building on the successful U.S. Newspaper Program, which microfilmed more than 72 million endangered newspaper pages over a 23-year period, the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities established the
National Digital Newspaper Program in 2005. Under this program, six institutions were awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers now in the public domain.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Email Management for the Sane

One of my realizations during my sabbatical was that, while it is my lifeline to the rest of the world, I have to do a better job of ensuring that it doesn't keep me from being otherwise productive. As more than one person teased me that I always answered email almost instantaneously, I realized that I too often feel compelled to do so. And, this also sometimes causes problems given that I give my 'first response' and not my 'reflective response' when there is almost always time for the latter.

Another situation at my university also caused me to rethink my approach. We've switched from Blackboard to the ANGEL course management system for our classes. ANGEL is much more user-friendly and intuitive and offers greater flexibility for users. One of the best features I am already making the most of is that you can email within the ANGEL system. Now, you can also check a box to send the email on to the actual email account the user (student) has registered. But that has been problematic in many cases - primarily because most of our students choose NOT to use their free university email account that is accessible from anywhere by webmail. Most of the free public email systems such as Hotmail and Yahoo often interpret group/class emails as spam and the student can legitimately claim to have never seen them - except that if they are going to use these systems, they need to know how to effectively operate mail filters.

ANGEL's "in-system" email system helps eliminate that important issue that often becomes a barrier to effective student-instructor/professor communication.

Even better is the fact that keeping all of the email within the system means that it is accessible no matter where I am and it's much easier to trace a chain of communication.

Because I tend to work during all my waking hours (or feel guilty about not doing so) and constantly check email, I was spending too much time answering student emails that were already addressed within the course documents. However, students are just like the rest of us and tend to go to the path of least resistance - ask the instructor instead of looking it upon the syllabus, for example. I have promised to answer email once every 24 hour period - with the caution that it may be the morning of one day and the late afternoon of the next day.

This also helps students remember that while they may leave an assignment to the last minute, there is really very little in the academic world that qualifies as a medicla emergency. For my class that meets once a week, I explained that most of their very detailed questions should be taken care of early in the week. (Note that their big assignments include at least one in-class session to address questions - it's just that many of them don't consider that they should have an assignment almost done and, instead, haven't even considered starting it yet and, thus, have no questions . . . until the 11th hour, that is.)

So, it's already paying dividends in time management. I'm addressing student needs in a more timely fashion than even daily in person office hours offer (most of our students work and aren't on campus except to attend class) and not letting my day be consumed by continual requests for info that are often already answered within the same system.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Second Life on Doonesbury

db070909.gif (GIF Image, 600x799 pixels) - Scaled (66%)

Thanks, KJ!

In the Trenches (Cover Story) Patrick Hicks

In the Trenches (Cover Story) Patrick Hicks: "In the Trenches A powerful war poem teaches history--and humility —By Patrick Hicks, Florida Review Utne Reader September / October 2007 Issue 'When did it end?' My students examine their copies of The Norton Anthology of Poetry while, outside, a snowplow rumbles up the street and then beeps as it backs up. I let it do another lap before I say anything. 'What do we know about World War I?' A student in the back, the one who wears a wool cap to hide his bedhead, raises his hand and mentions the name Franz Ferdinand. 'He was the archduke who got shot in Sarajevo. That's why the war started, right?' Later in the semester I'll learn that a popular band has named itself after this historical personality, but for now I'm nodding with enthusiasm. I'm delighted that one of them knows something-anything-about World War I. This war shaped the 20th century. It introduced us to flame-throwers, the tank, aerial combat, and more skeletons than the heart will ever allow us to count. It almost single-handedly made modernism the prevailing artistic movement of the day. And yet, in the United States, we don't think about this war, perhaps because we are drawn to sequels that promise something that is bigger and better than the original."

Thanks to Ralph Luker at Cliopatria for pointing this out.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tenure and Spinach: Confessions of a Community College Dean

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "Predicting whether someone will still be busting her hump thirty years from now strikes me as a fool's errand. Our predictive powers just aren't that good, and I don't trust either side to be clairvoyant. Using shorter-but-not-ridiculous time horizons – I'm thinking three years at the point of hire, followed by five-year renewals (with shorter renewals for folks who are floundering) – and explicit criteria that don't require being superhuman, seems to me a reasonable move. If you're doing your job well, your work should be allowed to speak for itself. If you're retired on the job, and you don't respond to warnings, then you should be kicked to the curb to make room for someone who will actually produce. (This would also have the happy effect of opening up more positions at senior ranks, the better to offset the place-boundedness characteristic of so many jobs now.) Either way, though, you should be spared the indignity of having your mind read. The alternative is to continue to fill scarce tenure-track lines with folks who vow, in the manner of Scarlet O'Hara, never to eat another vegetable again. No, thanks."

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ready or not

Just finished a huge project- or at least the segment that was due before part is due each week this month. It was fun once I was able to get my head wrapped around it.

Off for 3 days away - a summer vacation at last!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Legal History Blog: The Little Rock Crisis: 50 Years Later -- New Books

Legal History Blog: The Little Rock Crisis: 50 Years Later -- New Books: "The Little Rock Crisis: 50 Years Later -- New Books Fifty years ago Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas blocked a federal court order requiring the integration of Little Rock's Central High School, setting off an extended crisis in the city, which came to a dramatic close only when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops who held back white mobs and escorted nine African American students to school. There are many events planned and new resources available as the nation takes up Little Rock's anniversary. To start off, here are two new books on the Little Rock crisis. Legal historians might find most interesting Tony Freyer's new book, Little Rock on Trial: Cooper V. Aaron and School Desegregation, just out from the University Press of Kansas. Here's the book description:"

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saturday Morning

It's Saturday morning, the first of September. While we're all usually more aware of the time when we take time to look at the clocks on our computers, I'm not sure we're always as aware of the dates. I find that more of a challenge lately because too much time seems to slip by too quickly.

My friend and I apparently missed our opportunity to see No Reservations at the first run theater and there are no other movies that interest me. The Bourne movie does but I need to make sure to see all of its predecessors from beginning to end to understand it.

I read someone else's blog entry that relates to a colleagues comment about some of my blog entries that focus so much on weather. I hadn't given much thought to so many places where people live (esp. cities) where weather just isn't a factor. Right now, we're watching the weather not only for storms but for signs that it will finally cool down - which it did significantly for the first time last night - below 60. It's actually cool outside this morning - and I don't just mean a cool breeze in the distance. :-)

Fall may actually be my favorite time of year although I love the winter when there is a good clean snow on the ground - it's like a time of renewal. For most of my live the ebb and flow of the seasons and the academic year have been the guiding factors of the "time" in my life - quite different than the year-round jobs most of the world deals with on a daily basis.

This is a work weekend so that I can take off a few weekdays for a long-postponed family event. It already feels productive, however, which is a good thing.

I'm off to the farmer's market in town. I missed the one in nearby town which had some outstanding fried green tomatoes. Wonder what is left today - so late in the season. I primarily have herbs left in my own garden - a giant basil plant and rosemary that is doing okay plus some sweet banana peppers. I had some outstanding cherry tomatoes but the big tomatoes didn't do their thing this year. As with every year, I either have too much time or not enough time for the garden.

And, more good news, the cit is finally getting serious about the fixing the clogged drainage situation that goes on for about 1/2 mile behind my house and the neighbor's house. A new development behind us just chose to push everything - including large tree trunks - onto our property rather than staying back a few feet and keeping it on their own property. I'm still not understanding why the city can't force the developer to fix the problem he created but he's certainly not scoring any points with the neighbors.

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