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Day 452, September 20, 2021

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Uneven Bars I was multitasking today, and while I made the effort to pay attention, unfortunately the whole endeavor was a loss. I’m not entirely sure what I accomplished, and I hardly know a thing about what I missed. I know it is not a productive thing, and yet, it is so hard to resist. There is always more to do, another email to respond to, another crisis, another report, another job posting to write. Tomorrow, I have a chance to redeem myself. Can I disengage, focus entirely on a screen and learn something? It is what we have expected of our students this whole past year, but now I find my tolerance greatly diminished. Tomorrow, I will demand of myself, attention, focus. Make the most of an opportunity. Discipline. This weekend I played the last gig I had on the books. It was one of a small flurry of gigs that were arranged in that window when it seemed like everything was going back to normal.  We played outside in front of the Montague Common Hall. The first part of our show was

Day 447, September 15, 2021

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Waiting for Rain People leaving early For the storm Eat candy And leave the door open To the great emptiness That I lock and seal shut. The sky looks like  Spilled ink And it makes people Walk with purpose. Maybe there is something In the distance. Maybe there is a butterfly Careening in soothing And then frenzied  Figure eights. A lemniscate. I hope the rain will Wash the dust from  The windows on my car Like a decent thought, One that prevents people from dying, Reignites love, Tastes like ocean. Still we wait. While I cook dinner The dog barks once,  Twice, At the distant thunder, But that is all. Seals at the Mystic Aquarium

Day 446, September 14, 2021

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Too Much Sun I’ve realized that I probably need to change the name of my blog. I suppose it is now the Dean at Home the Dean at Work Blog, or something else catchy like that. I’ll have to dwell on it. On my ride home today I passed the carcass of a beautiful snake with a striking pattern of maroon diamonds. I hesitated to stop in the middle of the road to take a picture, but like this morning, when I passed someone’s cable lock in the road, I pedaled on. I did stop to peek inside a guitar case propped against a free pile (it was empty), and then regretted not stopping to pay respects to the snake. There was also a deer gingerly picking her way into the woods, and several rafts of turkeys.  Among the honors bestowed upon 50 year olds, is the shingles vaccine, and I got my first shot today. I also added one additional pushup to my routine, and when I sat outside eating my lunch, I felt older and like I needed to avert my gaze a little more often to avoid appearing like a lecherous old ma

Day 441, September 9, 2021

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Friendship   When I was a child, the Korean Catholic Church in Massachusetts had two congregations, one in Springfield and one in Brookline. So, basically, every Catholic Korean east of Worcester came to the church in Brookline, and it seemed more Sundays than not, mass was followed by a party at one of the Lee’s houses, or Helen and Ann’s house, or our house. But I loved going to the Charles’ house, because he had a whole basement to himself, a cozy nook of a room where he introduced me to Denon stereo components, metal cassette tapes, The Police, and I remember watching snippets of Xanadu on his basement television. He also had one of the first Olivetti all-in-one computers, if I remember correctly. A kind of predecessor to the laptop. http://www.vintage-computer.com/machines.php?olivettim18p Charles was a little older than me, so he was preternaturally cool, and yet, for a period of time we hung out together. We would eat tacos in their kitchen, daring each other with increasing la

Day 440, September 8, 2021

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The Breath of Dragons All day there has been a storm blowing in and it is still not raining yet. Even this morning, the air was balmy with short little licks of moist, super warm, glasses-fogging air, that enveloped my body, and then just as suddenly, just a few feet down the road, the air was cool again and my glasses cleared. This morning I wrote that it felt like climbing into someone else’s sleeping bag… tonight I imagined it to be like dragon’s breath. Like a dragon was lurking just out of sight in the woods as I was riding by. This morning I wanted to stop and write about it. I was worried I would forget, the way one forgets a dream. I wished my watch was new enough that I could speak to Siri through it… but instead I tried to crease the memory in my brain, repeat it this way and that way, turn it over and over, with the hope that it would stick and I would remember. Tonight, the ride home was surprisingly warm. I left my jacket and long pants off and rode home in shorts even tho

Day 439, September 7, 2021

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A Rafter of Turkeys It is getting cooler. There was something I was going to write about, but I forget what it was. I think it had something to do with the changing seasons, the cooler temperature, how some mornings it is so chilly that my eyes water and my fingers feel a little numb. But today wasn’t that bad, and I dressed a little warmer for my ride. It is also a birthday season, where a whole collection of people I love share a few birthday weeks, all Virgos or near Virgos. A strange attraction I suppose I have. It is hard to have less time to write.  I learned a father of one of my childhood friends has become a writer of books. He was an engineer, I think, but in retirement he translates poetry, writes about opera, goes golfing with NFL football players (he had a funny picture of himself standing next to two guys and said, I didn’t realize I was such a shrimpy guy!). What a marvelous second career. I have always tried to balance my working life with other things, writing, playing

Day 434, September 2, 2021

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The Waking Life In the liminal spaces, I forget to put on my mask. When I get to work in my bike clothes, I put on a mask to go in the building, but then I forget my mask as I carry my work clothes to a bathroom to change, and while it is early in the day and hardly anyone is there, a student sees me from down the hall, and even from that distance, and even over her mask, I can see the surprise and concern, and it is only a moment later that I register that I am not wearing a mask and slap a hand over my face as if that might make up for it. Again, at the end of the day, I forget my mask when I retrieve my bicycle lock (I leave the heavy U-lock at work in my office) and a faculty member sees me. I walk faster as if that might mitigate my potential contagion.  Conversely, sometimes I find myself walking across campus outside and discover I have forgotten to take off my mask and the immediate freedom and increase in oxygen is an exhilarating rush. Suddenly, there is fresh air. Suddenly,