Recently acquired

68D72BA6-80A4-4525-95DF-766B02117556It had been a long time since the coin jar had been emptied, so earlier this week I poured the contents into a large baggie and added a trip to the bank to my modest list of spring break errands. But each time I remembered the awkward sack of coins in the backseat, the bank was closed. Eventually, I settled on the coin-changer at the local grocery store. Egads! What a ridiculous fee for cash! No fee for an Amazon gift card, though, and coupled with another card received earlier this month, it yielded enough to replace several bird feeders and choose a number of books from my wishlist. Pictured above are a few of the latter plus a book I bought used.

Spring

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Detail of Norman Lewis’ “Afternoon” (1969).

I captured the above image last month at the Smart Museum of Art. Don’t the colors and composition feel like spring? Family geocaching adventures bookended our youngest’s spring break, and during both hikes, we were rewarded with the blue skies and bright yellow sun that this painting evokes. My older daughter and I are on break this week, so we returned to the purported location of the last geocache to see if we could solve the mystery. Alas, no; the site has been temporarily disabled until it can be replaced. We relished sun on our faces, though, and the hint of warmth in the wind.

To be read

6CE16D6B-1BD1-4A5F-B588-EF8D71811E74Last Sunday, I weeded about six bags of books from the collection and shifted accordingly while dusting the shelves. The project took about four hours. One of my goals was to reduce my TBR stack to one shelf, so I photographed this group of hopefuls before putting them in the main collection. Think of it as a virtual TBR stack.

“Physics is not only a history of successes.”

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This is the world is described by quantum mechanics and particle theory. We have arrived very far from the mechanical world of Newton, where minute, cold stones eternally wandered on long, precise trajectories in geometrically immutable space. Quantum mechanics and experiments with particles have taught us that the world is a continuous, restless swarming of things, a continuous coming to light and disappearance of ephemeral entities. A set of vibrations, as in the switched-on hippie world of the 1960s. A world of happenings, not of things.

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Physics is not only a history of successes.

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Time sits at the center of the tangle of problems raised by the intersection of gravity, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. A tangle of problems where we are still in the dark. If there is something that we are perhaps beginning to understand about quantum gravity that combines two of the three pieces of the puzzle, we do not yet have a theory capable of trying to gather all three pieces of our fundamental knowledge of the world.

Genuine interest in art

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Detail of Leonardo Drew’s “Number 185” (2016).

Earlier this month, we visited the Smart Museum of Art before seeing Photograph 51 at the Court. From a distance, the piece pictured above looked to me as if it had been blackened in a fire.

Other notes: Once I finished Parks and Recreation, I moved on to The Good Place and now must wait until fall for new episodes. Related: We had breakfast-for-lunch at the Ron Swanson-inspired Whisk last weekend. It was so awesome that it has effectively ruined our local breakfast nooks for us. And speaking of ruining things for us, William Hootkins ((Moby Dick) and Nick Offerman (Lincoln in the Bardo) set the bar for audiobook narration so high that nearly every other narrator is a disappointment. (And, yes, we loved learning that Offerman is an Illini, too.)

To bring this post home, Ron Swanson on art:

Okay, everyone! SHUT UP and LOOK AT ME! Welcome to Visions of Nature. This room has several paintings in it. Some are big; some are small. People did them, and they are here now. I believe that after this is over, they’ll be hung in government buildings. Why the government is involved in an art show is beyond me. I also think it’s pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they can just go outside and stand in it. Anyway, please do not misinterpret the fact that I am talking right now as genuine interest in art and attempt to discuss it with me further. End of speech.

School closures

My school was closed Monday for snow. They were also closed early on Tuesday and all day Wednesday and Thursday for extreme cold. When I learned about the mid-week closures, I promised myself I would treat the days off as the gifts they were. No “getting ahead” on weekly chores. The house is immaculate. No reshelving projects. No reorganizing closets. No comparison shopping for a new lawn mower. The library looks wonderful. So do the closets. And I have at least six weeks on the lawn mower purchase.

Relax, I told myself. Approach the days with some child-like delight.

So, yes, I finished our federal and state tax returns, but I also finished Season 6 of Parks and Recreation and three books. Yeah, I caught up on correspondence with out-of-state family, practiced my music, and exercised. But I also slept in a bit and woke up without an alarm clock. And we made fun food: one-pot pasta and crunchy garlic bread; bacon sandwiches; brownies.

For two days: No makeup. No hair products. No work clothes.

I look forward to working with my students tomorrow; I do, after all, like my job. But what a week; Friday is already here!