Today is the first Earth-Solar event of 2021 — the Vernal Equinox. It happened early in the USA: 5:37 AM on the east coast, 2:37 AM on the west coast. Here in Minnesota, it happened at 4:37 AM. It marks the first official day of Spring — time to switch from winter coats to lighter jackets!
Have you ever thought the Solstices seem more static than the Equinoxes? The Winter Solstice particularly, awaiting the sun’s return, does it seem like the change in sunrise and sunset time seems stalled?
If you have, you’re not wrong. Here’s why…
If you know me, you know I’m not much a fan of official holidays, especially those that seem a bit on the artificial side (although National Waffle Day is something I would celebrate). That said, I’m not entirely untouched by a holiday that demands chocolates. Or roses, one of the very few flowers I do love. (Rose gardens are awesome.)
So I was delighted to see that, not only do Minnesotans have good sensibilities when it comes to voting politically, we also have good sensibilities when selecting our favorite Valentine’s Day candy.
See full map below. ION: Saw a cool new SF movie last night!
It’s a New Year, so it’s time for that Janus backward and forward State of the Blog Post. (I did plenty looking back in the previous post, so today I’m looking mostly in the other direction.)
As I’ve mentioned, I framed 2020 as a year for changes. Many of them got sidelined (or outright derailed) but the year did result in some decisions that matter here. I find I’ve gone beyond my rope when it comes to what I’m going to begin always referring to as “fantasy bullshit” (FBS).
That’s not to say fantasy bullshit is all bad (some is fun; some might even be necessary), but I am going to start calling it what it is.
I think we all agree 2020 has been, as the curse puts it, an “interesting” year. Going into it, I had intentions about making changes. Most fell by the wayside due to COVID-19; I still haven’t taken the bus to watch the St. Paul Saints play. Or the bus-light rail combo to Target Field.
As a life long hard-core introvert, “social isolation” mostly meant I shopped for groceries less often but stocked up more when I did. The pain was fewer occasions of meeting a friend for tasty food, drink, and chat. I’m really looking forward to dining out again.
All-in-all, the last four years, this year… It’s been exhausting.
Versions of this post lived in my Drafts folder a long time. Writing about one’s childhood crushes is multiply fraught. The topic of sexual attraction is challenging, especially these days as we try to evolve our attitudes about it. Getting personal skates the line between recording my scrawl and TMI. The risk of objectification is also a problem.
But those childhood crushes were formative and abiding in my youth. They began at an early age, a long bridge to when I started dating (real beats imaginary every time). Honesty to my past seems to demand I include some mention of them in any account of my life.
So this is to toast those early loves (real and imagined).
A while back I wrote about a Canadian fly-in fishing trip my buddy and I took back in 1996. The lake we went to was an old friend by then — it was a trip we took nearly every year for over twenty years (starting in 1985 or so). We’d bring people with if they were interested, but many years it was just the two of us.
This is the tale of a very different trip from the 1990s, although I don’t recall the exact year. I was in that work group in The Company (TC) from 1992 to 1997, so it could be any of the later years in that range. We supported the CAD/CAM system used by company engineers for facilities and manufacturing design.
The trip was to an annual CAD/CAM user convention in Boston.
A Very Merry Christmas (or Seasonal Equivalent) to One and All! My wish for everyone is a peaceful and joyful day of good food, good friends, good relaxation, or whatever you wish this season. Ideally you aren’t traveling today, but if you are I hope your journey is swift, easy, and safe.
My wish to see the “Christmas Star” came true, and I also got a white Christmas (in the nick of time). There was also a wish about an election that came true.
So the year is ending nicely I think; worthy of some celebration.
It has been doubly depressingly cloudy for a while now. “Doubly” because I like sunshine and because I’ve been wanting to see the Great Conjunction.
Tuesday evening it was finally clear enough that I could. (I missed the date of closest approach, Monday (12/21), by only one day, so I was very happy.)
As I write this, it’s been almost eight hours since the Winter Solstice passed. (It was at 10:03 UTC.) Here we are, the first official day of winter, and it’s not looking good for a White Christmas:
Not only no snow, but it friggin’ rained this morning!
Not good at all. Unless you hate winter and shoveling!
It has been quite a year, but very many of us are very thankful about our Presidential election. We’re grateful for a return to sanity, decency, and our espoused American values and political traditions. (As much as possible under the circumstances, anyway.)
Sadly, we’re far from the idealized image of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want. (And weren’t we always, really?) We’ve long upheld those ideal values as our goals, the change we’re trying to be, but we’ve been tested and been found wanting these last years. Maybe 2020 can be a turning point — we skated awfully close to the Abyss this time.
Meanwhile, in local weather news…