Happy New Year 2018!

It’s hard to say “2018” out loud—mainly because I’m shivering in the cold! This picture of a frozen Niagara Falls illustrates exactly how it feels here in New England.

Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press via The Associated Press via Boston Globe

Here’s wishing everyone a much happier year than 2017!  And may an inexplicable attack of sanity and reason sweep the halls of Washington, D.C., and bring us much-needed relief!

Happy New Year, everyone!


Christmas Greetings!

We slid right into the last couple of days before Christmas, with everything coated with ice yesterday morning. I spent most of the day scraping ice, doing last-minute shopping, and cooking up Fantasy Beef Stew* in preparation for Christmas dinner. (Today I’ll be cooking Spacetime Chicken Stew.**) This is so we can have a fine feast, but not spend all day Christmas cooking.

I probably won’t be online much until after Christmas (when we’ll be hosting my brother and his wife and two dogs, our daughters and their boyfriends, and a few other good friends in the bargain). So say I’ll Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone now! Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

I thought of writing a rhetorical piece about “How did celebrating the birth of Jesus turn into such a frantic race to get everything done?”—not that that applies to us personally, no!—but I decided instead to take a dog’s eye view of the day. Here’s Captain Jack checking out the beautiful, icy pine tree.

*Named in homage to Diana Wynne Jones’s take on hearty stew in fantasy worlds, in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel.

**Named in homage to Fantasy Beef Stew.

First Snowfall!

Happy Advent, everyone—or whatever holiday you prefer. We received a very pretty 7 inches of snow today, leaving lovely mounds in the branches of our evergreen out front, all lit up for Christmas.

Driving home this evening, I watched as a taxi ahead of me spun in a graceful 270 degree circle (on a street that fortunately was mostly empty). As he straightened out and drove on, I imagined he was driving a bit more cautiously. I wonder if this was his first time driving in snow. You learn fast!

Schrödinger’s Cat in Space!

Conduct your own experiment with Schrödinger’s Cat in space! Go to APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) and press the button to see if the astronaut is holding a picture of a live cat or a dead one. You have to go to APOD; it won’t work here. Are you determining the course of the universe, or splitting it into another set of infinite branches? What do you think? I know which interpretation I favor, but pick your own. (No one knows which is right! Who says science has already answered all the great questions?)

Oh, and Happy April 1st!


We Made It Around the Sun!

Here’s where I wish everyone a Merry Christmas (oops, too late!), a Happy Hanukah (oops!), and a Fabulous New Year (um…).

Well, you Philistines, technically it’s still Christmas until Three Kings Day, and our tree stays up until then! So I can still say, Merry Christmas, from all of us at the Star Rigger Ranch! And it’s still a pretty new 2017, so Happy New Year, as well! It’s got to be better than 2016, right? Right! (No, don’t talk to me about Trump. I will not let you bring me down. Not today.) Anyway, we celebrated our New Years Day by catching Rogue One. It was really good.

So, all together we traced another nearly perfect circle around the Sun, and we’re still kicking. Yes, we suffered losses, including some real shockers. But I guess that’s part of what happens in this carousel around the Sun. We didn’t wobble out of our orbit and fall in, or get thrown out of the solar system, or get hit by a big asteroid, and that’s worth being grateful for.

Anyway, as I said to my small group this evening, I hope that a year from now we can all check in and say what an amazing year 2017 was. I wish that for all of you, too!

Thoughts for Thanksgiving

My main thought for Thanksgiving? That I hope you all have a joyous, thoughtful, and celebratory day today! Try not to eat too much, but don’t try too hard. And if you’re feeling down, whether it’s because of politics or family or the weather… see if you can focus for a few moments on something you’re grateful for. If you’re lucky, and my prediction pans out, you’ll feel better for it. In my case, it’ll be the family and friends I hope to have gathered around.

Have a most happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The photo above, by the way, is the countryside somewhere near Concord, Massachusetts. I took the economy autumn foliage ride recently, courtesy of the MBTA’s commuter rail. It was a lovely interlude.

Merry Full Moon Christmas!

Full moon Christmas Beirut

This is a photo of last night’s full moon, shining through the star atop a Christmas tree in Beirut (from AP, via NPR). This is the first full moon on Christmas since 1977, and the last until 2034! Our skies are cloudy here in Boston, but I hope you get to enjoy it!

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas! To those who don’t celebrate Christmas, blessings on your day!

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Jesus! Many happy returns!


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