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Akron: 13 February 07: Is this what they call an existential moment?

So.

Just a few minutes ago, I was picking my way across the porch and down the (outside) steps from our second-floor apartment to the breezeway on the main floor, laundry basket in hand. It's full dark and has been since seven or so, and it's hovering somewhere just around freezing. My ankles are cold, but bearably so, and the rest of me is fine in jeans and a fleece. And as I'm stepping cautiously down the stairs and the motion sensor light kicks in as I hit the fourth stair from the bottom, I'm thinking about  the fact that I'll be doing this every week. Every week I'll be trekking down stairs to take care of the laundry, and it will get hot, and in summer I'll be wearing sandals and shorts and one of those sleeveless cotton blouses I'm already collecting for summer, and it will still be almost to hot to bear... and I find myself thinking "can someone remind me again: why am I here? and when can I go home?"

Then, of course, I collect the laundry, head back up the stairs, and join my sweetie in the living room, and the feeling passes.

(Spoiler: the answer to the second question is "just a little over seven and a half months from now.")

sample for testing

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What I'm (not) Reading Now: 13 January 25

Not reading a thing except occasionally some music. We're joining a co-worker to play some recorder trios at a house concert. She plays easily as well as I do, and certainly reads music better than I do... and yet, as far as I know, she's played recorder half a dozen times before. Ah, to have studied music with a major in woodwinds...

Anyway, we're playing a Tom Horn piece called Dancing Butterflies, an arrangement of a Robert Jones song called Farewell, dear Love, and our own version of In Thee is Gladness. Once we know the notes, we'll start having some real fun. And we'd better learn the notes soon, as the concert is a week from tomorrow.

Akron: 13 January 25: Two things about last weekend

Well, the parents are safely home now, in spite of missing a connecting flight at O'Hare due to de-icing delays. We had a most enjoyable time with them (and our family friend, who joined them). In the spirit of making the most of their limited visiting time, we went to a number of places and events. Two from this last weekend stand out for me.

1. We visited Shady Maple Smorgasbord. First of all, the place is huge. The lobby can hold a few hundred people quite easily; the dining room (including the side rooms that can be opened up for public dining or closed off for private groups) seats 1200 people. The tables and chairs aren't really anything exceptional, but the interior design otherwise is quite luxe, with some very beautiful light fixtures. And let's not forget the smorg, which was the reason we were there. There were the usual serving tables, with dishes held at appropriate warm and cold temperatures. Two were seafood (mostly shrimp) only; I visited those more than once, for shrimp scampi, shrimp alfredo, steamed shrimp, coconut shrimp, battered shrimp, and krab (misspelling intentional) au gratin. The scampi was lovely, and I would have eaten more of the alfredo if I thought I could get away with it. Sadly, much as I love alfredo sauce, it doesn't love me. There were also salad tables, other meats and dishes, and a serious selection of desserts. The desserts were not as good as the scampi (or so I'm told - I slighted them in favor of the shrimp selection). The drinks selection was quite impressive as well - dispensers offering coffees, flavored creams (actual cream!), coffee drinks, soft drinks (including some local specialty ones made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup), milk, juices, tea...  And I forgot the four grilling stations, where things like tilapia and catfish were made to order.  Quite overwhelming, and mostly quite tasty.

In the basement of Shady Maple is a gift shop. It's huge, and filled with many things I do not have need or desire for. However, one corner is occupied by a separate shop called Family Farm Quilts. Beautiful, painstakingly made quilts, with a store person who knows what she's talking about and is happy to show off the quilts. If I want to buy an Amish-made quilt, I'm going there first.

2. Lancaster Bible College put on a musical this past weekend (and this coming one, if I remember correctly) called Once Upon a Mattress. It's a spin on the Princess and the Pea story, and it was quite well done. The story started off a bit slowly, I thought, but with the arrival of Prince Winnifred ("YOu can call me by my nickname, though?" "Winnie?"  "Fred!") it picked up speed. The actress playing Fred did a superb job, as did the actor playing the drunken-sot jester (who was a lot more alert than he let on). It appears that Carol Burnett played Fred in the original Broadway production, and went on to play the wicked queen in a 2005 Disney TV movie. I'm now interested in seeing at least a snippet of any of the productions with Carol Burnett.

I think I hear youtube calling me...