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14 May 2023


It's Mother's Day, so I spent some time this weekend with family as usual.  Yesterday's food drive went smoothly and brought in a lot of food, albeit lowest returns in many years.  Economic effects have brought more need to the community, which means fewer able to give, and even those who can giving less.

I also watched my parents perform Mozart's Requiem with the Erie Philharmonic Choir last night, which was wonderful.  Although I guess the lesson is starting to be reinforced on me that I really need to bring my glasses with me to events like that if I want to be able to discern faces from more than a handful of meters away.

Since I had to be back in Pittsburgh tonight to get ahead of the coming week, my mother and I kind of explicitly didn't have any plans for the day.  But spur-of-the-moment externalities caused it to be a day full of adulting and similar obligations which, while enjoyable, tired me out more than I probably needed.  So this is all hastily written (and designed!) in the waning minutes of the day with far less planning than I would have liked.

Perhaps having adulted today is more appropriate than blogging, though, now that this blog itself is eighteen years old.  Old enough to be legally an adult; although in blog years, I think it qualifies as "ancient".

But even adult blogs — er, hmmm, grown-up blogs? — want some bloggy cake!  And I won't disappoint!


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01 January 2023


For the last couple of months, it definitely felt like 2022 just started, and yet now it's over, and 2023 has begun.  I guess that's partly the general pace of life getting back to normal, which of course entails a lot of the mechanics of normal, even though nothing feels normal about how it's getting back to normal.  "New normal", I guess.  (Bleh, I do hate that phrase, but occasionally it's apt.)

Anyway, 23 has long been my favorite number, so despite any awkward feelings, I'm determined to make 2023 a good year in at least some ways.  And as I start to ease out of vacation mode (and down from the overstimulatory sugar high), I'm already setting it up for a good start, I think.  Still: Approaching cautiously.

Like in 2013, I leaned toward a serifed three for today's doodle.  I think it's a good reflection of where I'm at and where I'm heading.  It doesn't so much reflect the old strained "hopefully" anymore, but rather — really — genuine hopefulness.  And that feels good.

Random tangent: Realizing in the waning days of 2022 that my parents didn't yet have a calendar for the new year, I picked up a Dayspring "Kittens 2023" calendar while passing through a Wal-Mart.  Only when I put it up behind the old calendar did I then realize that the old calendar (which I hadn't bought for them) was a Dayspring "Kittens 2022".  Kitties!


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31 December 2022

A Refreshing Respite

Huh.  I find myself in the usual position of writing this in the waning minutes of the year, but this time I'm finding it weirdly kinda refreshing, albeit still in the usual and frustrating way.

In particular, I'm struggling a bit to recap the year that was, in part, because, for the first time in a while, I have quite a bit of optimism for the year ahead.  (I suspect I'm not alone.)

Don't be mistaken: After the trials of the last few years, it'll be critical not to enter 2023 with any particular expectations.  Walk in slowly, no sudden movements, don't startle it — all that good stuff.  But I think, despite the necessary modicum of caution, there's actually a lot of concrete reasons to be hopeful.

Work life is progressing.  Stabilizing from the peak-pandemic chaos, surely, but not into anything resembling the past.  We welcomed new coworkers in April and May to expand our team, and they're already helping bring us well into our next phase of existence, as we continue to have more prominent impacts across campus.

And yet somehow, personal life is maybe progressing even more?  I finally have some decent answers to some long-standing questions.  Of course, major answers, while helpful, often beget further questions.  So still a bit of work to do there, especially in the weeks ahead.  I'm never one for resolutions, of course, but nevertheless poised for progress and positivism there, too.

Meanwhile, family have been struggling a bit here and there, especially these last few months.  Some ups, some downs, to be sure.  But broadly a bit more on the better side than the worse side at present, which is a relief.

In any case, it's been busy, and it's been good to have a bit of a break from it all.  During my stay in the Erie area, the weather sure has been, uh, variable: We broke the record low on 23 December with a temperature of –2 °F (–19 °C) on 23 December, only to break the record high a week later on 30 December, with 64 °F (18 °C).

Ah, home, sweet home.

Now if I could just get over dealing with the last ten days' worth of sugar.

Random tangent: It looks like all three major networks arranged to break from their primetime New Year's Eve programming for local news an hour early, at 22:00 EST.  Makes sense: Not only is the overall pageantry less rushed, but also ABC no longer has to cut away from national just as it hit midnight in Puerto Rico.  I hope that's able to stick around in future years, and wasn't just a one-off because this year's broadcasts aren't on a weeknight.


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14 May 2022


Did I really say 2022 was going to "feel about the same" as 2021?  Oh, what a difference a few months can make!

In fairness, I'd said it would be "long and transitional".  And now that I can see more clearly where the year is headed, that much has been spot-on.  But certainly not in the same sense, no.  Whereas 2021 was transitional in a more gradual way that even seemed stagnant at times, so far 2022 is transitional in the OMG IT SEEMS LIKE LITERALLY EVERYTHING IS CHANGING way.  It's not actually quite that dramatic, of course — but even good and necessary change, when significant enough, can get a little bit overwhelming at times.  Right now, I'm in the thick of that in more ways than one.

Of course, it's fun that my blog's birthday is around the same time as the National Association of Letter Carrier's "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive each year, which brings me back to my hometown and, in some sense, the same roots that bore this blog in the first place.  But things are also quite different, since I'm literally double the age I was then.  Now, at the age of seventeen, this blog is just a few short months away from being just as old as I was when I started it.

Maybe it's time for my blog to start a blog.  While it decides whether that's a good idea (it's not), here's some bloggy cake:

Still, while there's usually proximity, it's not every year that 14 May falls on the Saturday, which means both volunteering for the food drive and blogging on the same day.  If that weren't enough, the Eurovision Song Contest has been added to my radar in recent years.  And I have friends graduating at Carnegie Mellon's commencement ceremony tomorrow, so it was right back to Pittsburgh tonight.  And good, novel bloggy cake clipart is increasingly hard to find these days.  Busy, busy.

After that, my mother's spending a little time with me here before I help run a primary election on Tuesday.  Did I mention I'm a local Judge of Elections here?  Been that way for four years.  I'm so bad at this blogging thing.

And then it's right back to what already feels like the busiest summer season I've had at my job, even before adding in the two new full-time staff that have been added to our tiny team in the past five weeks.  (One started just yesterday!)  All of the shuffling, divvying, and expansion of responsibilities that entails — while certainly for the betterment of us all — will definitely take a lot of adjustment in the coming weeks and months.

As far as the food drive, though — since ya know, that's what's already happened — you could indeed consider it a "transitional" year as we got our bearings back: Folks remembering that the food drive exists, letter carriers remembering how and when to best get the food to us, us remembering how best to process the intake, and also getting used to doing it all in the social hall and food pantry area of the new church building, a building which hadn't even broken ground when we had the last food drive in 2019, and which by now has already been open for more than a year.  Today, we took in 3642 lb (1652 kg) of food nonetheless — among our lower totals but still an impressive feat — less a super-consistent 3.58% in spoilage from outdated or damaged foods.

So it's good to see that, despite the challenges of the past few years, and those that continue, the community's generosity hasn't changed.

Another thing that hasn't changed is my "pandemic hair".  Unless, of course, you count it having grown a year longer.

It was already pretty long in last year's post-vaccination photo at the age of just over 14 months.  Today, it's pushing two-and-a-quarter years since that last haircut on 27 February 2020.

I'd kinda missed a good window of opportunity last summer before the Delta variant came roaring through, but now I've got some big things coming up before which I'd like to tame it significantly.  I don't think I'll be going straight back to the short hair of the past, but I've gotta get this stuff out of my eyes.  And mouth.  And all over everywhere.  Just gotta find the time first to get it done right.  (Ya know, 'cause "big things" and "busy".)

And the humidity today, oof.  The result is not so much "unkempt" as "unkempable".  Suddenly all those hair product commercials that once confused me as a child make so much sense.

(Maybe my hair should get a blog?  Nah.  Besides, it's "transitional".)


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