Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Prudence keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy. " -- Samuel Johnson

I've been mulling over an idea for a commercial book for some time, and its shape is becoming clearer. Though it's related to my work, I've decided to work on it evenings so as not to distract from the consulting I'm doing right now.

I love the Samuel Johnson quote, since it speaks directly to my appetite for keeping more than one iron in the fire at all times.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A snowy day in Seattle.

I took these photos around 9:30am in the courtyard outside my office. It is very cold and snowing off and on all day long here in Seattle.

Intermittent power outages are predicted as well as winds up and down during the next several days. Snow is a big deal in Seattle, amusing for one who grew up in Iowa and then spent seven years in Rochester, New York, where the snowfall the last year we lived there was over 120".

Or it may just be that Northwesters know how to appreciate the light and quiet that comes with snow, making today a special day for all of us. Things slow down a bit. It's a great way to kick off the week that marks Thanksgiving. I'm glad I unpacked some of the holiday decorations this past weekend, just enough to make the house festive for Thanksgiving Day, our favorite holiday of the year. There will be ten of us for dinner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

With James in Albany.

We arrived in Albany on James' 26th birthday, after a red eye flight. If we look a little goofy in this picture, it's because we've had roughly four hours of sleep. We went to dinner with James and two of his friends at an excellent bistro that was able to produce this extremely rich brownie with whipped cream. No candle, no cake, per James.

His apartment is on the second floor and he will be able to grow a small garden in the spring just above the bay window. It is a tiny apartment compared to his Pittsburgh place, but he appears to have everything he wants or needs in the space. It's got lots of light in both the living room and the bedroom too.

On Sunday we visited the SUNY Albany campus, which is very large and designed in great part by one architect, evidently the same architect who did the Pacific Science Center here in Seattle.
James is thriving here, as a teaching assistant while pursuing the PhD in English; and as one of the leaders of a student group making proposals to the administration on budget challenges.

James and his father. The parallel lines above his left ear come from a mistake made during a hair cut, turned into a fashion statement.

Another of the guys. We toured the whole quad complex and were able to see his office as well.

The trees on the campus are spectacular. Both oak and birch trees were still in color.

As I flew back yesterday, I thought about how very lucky we are to have produced such an interesting person. He is as proud of us as we are of him.

George Bernard Shaw, the great Irish playwright, says that "Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Will Remember Them.

Today is Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, which recalls the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell My father was a World War I veteran, and I was born when he was in his 50s. I learned many things, some more complex than others, from him. He had both fire and humor and a fine sense of irony.

In addition to teaching me how to argue either side of an issue with fluency, he taught me how to make a bed with square corners, how to march, how to salute, and how to two step standing on his shoes. He was my hero and he loved this World War I poem, which I heard recited today against the sound of a bell tolling from London via the BBC.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Laurence Binyon, 1914

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day.

The weather is reminding us here in the Northwest that it is the first of November. Here are some plants I potted up for winter a couple of weekends ago.

It will be good when we "fall back" this next weekend, so that it is not so dark in the early morning when I get up to work out at the Y.

James tells me that the weather is cold in Albany, but that the trees still have fall foliage, which I can't wait to see the weekend of his birthday when we visited him.

Meanwhile, I continue to remind colleagues and friends to be careful when traveling in this country or abroad.