A 4″ telescope, a smartphone camera, and a little patience…

This was taken with my Moto e4 camera through 30 mm eyepiece on a Bausch & Lomb Criterion 4000 4″ telescope at a star party hosted by the Black Hills Astronomical Society. I was testing a small telescope donated to the Physics department, and it performed much better than I expected!

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Gratitude (July 18 – Aug. 8)

  1. The public library bought a copy of Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet at my suggestion! I watched the first episode on July 18
  2. The bike shop completed several repairs on my bike, and now I have it back
  3. Reading more of The Cat Who Could Read Backwards with my wife
  4. Planning for my class in the fall
  5. My parents and sister came to visit us! While the were here we…
  6. …caught up on our lives
  7. …shopped at the Farmers’ Market
  8. …grilled during a thunderstorm
  9. …picked beans from our garden
  10. …and ate at IHOP!
  11. Our large green bean harvest
  12. My parents and sister safely traveling back home
  13. The wonderful time we had with them over the weekend
  14. Making substantial progress on my parts of our department review
  15. My research for the review being made relatively easy with so many documents online
  16. Seeing part of a rainbow and a beautiful sunset while walking with my wife
  17. Useful workshop on grant writing in Pierre
  18. Driving safely back from the workshop
  19. Watching my wife’s softball team compete in their playoff tournament
  20. Taking fun action photos of my wife’s softball team during a  game (July 24)
  21. My wife catching a fly ball to end the game and ensuring her team’s first win of the tournament.
  22. My wife unclogging our toilet
  23. More progress on the department review document
  24. Useful phone meeting (July 26)
  25. Building a computer!
  26. The new computer works!
  27. Successfully transplanting multiple components from the old computer to the new one
  28. Reinstalling MythTV and other software to have a fully functional, faster, and better entertainment PC
  29. Watching Golden Girls with my wife
  30. Clearing out some weeds under our deck
  31. Organizing some of the many photos I took in July
  32. Sending a homemade electronic card to my parents for their wedding anniversary
  33. Attempting (so far successfully) to save a sunflower in our garden that was partially uprooted by a storm
  34. Lunch club at Colonial House (Aug. 7)
  35. Useful meeting with one of my colleagues
  36. Successfully returning our car to the garage in time to avoid quarter-sized hail
  37. Being safe under our garage porch roof during the hail
  38. Petting a friendly neighborhood cat
  39. Kittens from the Oglala Pet Project at the Farmers’ Market (July 28)
  40. Garlic harvest from the garden
  41. New tile in the hall outside my office and lab is now complete
  42. Safe drive to Pierre for a grant writing workshop (July 24)
  43. Useful advice and practical tips at the workshop
  44. Good food for lunch
  45. A safe drive back (July 25)
  46. Buying eggs from a local source
  47. Clarinet Madness concert (July 27)
  48. Talking with friends before and after the concert
  49. My wife organizing and hosting her team’s end of season softball party
  50. Taking some time off before the start of the new semester
  51. Changing the scheduled time for my class to remove a conflict with another class
  52. Mowing our lawn before the day became too hot (Aug. 3)
  53. Watching How to Train Your Dragon. I highly recommend it.
  54. My wife getting our roof repaired after discovering a leak
  55. Passing on the thank you note from the GenCyber campers to the Black Hills Astronomical Society
  56. Time around our fireplace with friends (Aug. 4)
  57. Watching one of our friends fly his rental plane over our house!
  58. Interesting colloquium from one of my colleagues
  59. Lunch Club at Chili’s (July 31)
  60. Lunch Club at La Costa (July 24)
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Gratitude (June 27 – July 17)

  1. Catching up with food friends in our spiritual community
  2. Watching Golden Girls with my wife
  3. Taking new pictures of our garden
  4. Sunny weather after all of rain recently (July 1)
  5. Watching my wife and her church softball team win two exciting games (July 2)
  6. Our large cheering section at the games
  7. Making progress on my tenure dossier
  8. Sigma Xi quickly resolved a problem with renewing my membership
  9. Day off on July 4
  10. Seeing the fireworks from the hill near our house
  11. Making preparations for an OS upgrade to my Entertainment PC
  12. Performing the OS upgrade and getting everything working again much more quickly than I expected!
  13. I think it is working better after the upgrade
  14. Helping my wife make pasta salad
  15. Harvesting peas fresh from our garden
  16. Seeing Venus and Jupiter in the sky in addition to the fireworks
  17. My wife cleared out some space in our house by finding someone who needed the two huge bags of packing material we had accumulated
  18. My first online sale via Facebook
  19. Watching my wife make some great plays in her team’s two victories in the church softball league (July 9)
  20. Teaching someone else how to “keep book” for the game
  21. Good group meeting
  22. The support of my friends
  23. New visitors to The Well
  24. The electrical work in my lab is finally finished!
  25. My students are making good progress
  26. Learning how to set up our department’s smallest telescope
  27. Getting some major housecleaning done
  28. Farewell lunch for a colleague (July 16)
  29. Lunch Club at Gyro Hub (July 17)
  30. The latest STEAM Cafe (July 17)
  31. Food truck at STEAM Cafe
  32. Being able to work from home or alternate locations in the EEP building while my office is off-limits due to asbestos removal.
  33. Taking the group photo for the GenCyber camp (June 28)
  34. Watching Avengers: Infinity War at the Elks (June 28)
  35. Picking up our serviced and repaired vacuum cleaner
  36. Making donations to local thrift stores
  37. Hosting dinner for friends at our house (July 6)
  38. Good food and catching up with friends at dinner
  39. Riding with colleagues to the Badlands Astronomy Festival
  40. A short walk in the Badlands before the festival began
  41. Helping my colleagues set up their telescopes
  42. Learning about our location in the Laniakea Supercluster during the presentation at the Festival
  43. Looking at Jupiter, Mars, the Lagoon Nebula and many more beauties of the night sky through mostly clear and dark skies
  44. Getting to know my colleagues better during our rides to and from the Festival
  45. Getting the lawn mowed (July 7)
  46. Good discussion on living authentically at The Well (July 14)
  47. Our latest student successfully defended his dissertation
  48. Useful feedback in the reviews of our funding proposal
  49. Dinner with friends at Baan Thai (July 13)
  50. Riding with a colleague to and from Neutrino Day in Lead, SD
  51. Despite some miscommunications at the start, the day went really well!
  52. “Quality control” on the liquid nitrogen ice cream other members of the department made
  53. One of the students made a lunch run for us
  54. Good questions and interactions with the public
  55. My temporary tattoo
  56. Meeting a friend for bagels (July 15)
  57. Our morning glories are blooming!
  58. Being able to capture a photograph of interesting insect life in our backyard; I think it is a cicada
  59. Dragonfly
  60. Taking the group photo for my wife’s softball team (July 16).
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Gratitude (June 20-26)

  1. Taking in our vacuum for servicing
  2. Cooking a whole frozen crab for the first time
  3. Great music and important history at the Rapid City Municipal Band
  4. Saying goodbye to a friend before an international assignment
  5. Conversation with a colleague about mathematical and astronomical history
  6. Getting some chores done around the house
  7. Getting a department telescope ready for star party tonight
  8. Visiting with our institution’s former president and current Secretary of the Air Force
  9. Our new Blu-ray player arrived
  10. The first movie I played on the new player:
  11. Going out for a walk with my wife in some beautiful weather on Sunday
  12. Petting a pair of friendly neighborhood cats on our walk
  13. Riding on a classic Ford Tri-Motor airplane (pictures to come)
  14. Good food while waiting for the airplane ride
  15. The tremendous improvements in speed, noise, and ride quality in the decades since the Tri-Motor first flew
  16. Interesting planes on display before the ride
  17. Good discussion on the things that get in the way of living wholeheartedly well at The Well
  18. Testing our department’s new portable telescope power supply at a BHAS star party
  19. Seeing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter through the telescope at the star party
  20. Seeing the planet Mercury for the second time in my life
  21. Another star party for a summer camp at the School of Mines
  22. Good enough weather for the second party
  23. I could tell when the person at my telescope got the image in focus when they said “Whoa!”
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Gratitude (June 13-19)

  1. Lots of rain for our garden
  2. Eating fresh peas out of the garden
  3. Reorganizing our entertainment system to better hide wires and reduce clutter.
  4. Being able to quickly return a defective Blu-ray player for a full refund
  5. A new optical digital audio cable
  6. A presentation at a phone meeting went well
  7. Watching the season finale of Star Trek:Discovery
  8. Learning details of construction projects at the most recent Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting
  9. Baking bacon
  10. Being able to take a box to the UPS store on my bike
  11. Winning a new keyboard and mouse in a giveaway from a local computer store
  12. I thought our broken garage door needed to be replaced, but the repair person was able to fix it (for “a while” at least) at a tenth the cost of replacement!
  13. Watching Metropolis Restored, the nearly-complete restoration of the first science fiction feature film.
  14. Starting the Book of Amos in our reading group
  15. Buying radishes and tomatoes at the Farmers’ Market
  16. Connecting my phone to our car via Bluetooth
  17. Candlelight yoga
  18. Calling my stepfather on Fathers’ Day
  19. In preparation for upgrading my Entertainment PC, my wife discovered that I have a BTX (not ATX) motherboard in my current one.
  20. Help from a friend in selecting components for the upgrade
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#TBT: Mini Me

This is me a long time ago. I took this picture from a family genealogy book, which was written when I was in fourth grade (1990). I’m glad I finally grew into those teeth!

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Gratitude (June 6 – 12)

  1. Getting the front lawn mowed
  2. Starting a new batch of sauerkraut (June 6)
  3. My wife harvesting more kale from our garden
  4. Being able to delegate responsibility 
  5. E-mail conversation with a friend
  6. Watching my wife’s church softball team play and win (twice)!
  7. Good food and catching up with friends at The Well potluck
  8. Finalizing the dates for my family’s visit this summer
  9. Despite being clouded out, the Black Hills Astronomical Society meeting was fun, and I learned about how our new astrophotography camera works
  10. Spectacular clouds from the incoming storm
  11. A playful neighbor cat joined the meeting too
  12. Buying radishes and tomatoes at the Farmers’ maket
  13. Successfully connecting my phone to our car via Bluetooth
  14. My wife sold our previous vehicle
  15. Lunch club at Sabor
  16. Making an important appointment
  17. Winter break scheduling with my graduate students
  18. Beautiful weather for bike riding (June 12)
  19. Picking up farm fresh eggs with my wife
  20. Despite it not turning out well, I am still grateful for my attempt toradish greens.
  21. Beautiful sunset on a walk with my wife (June 12)
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Gratitude (May 23 – June 5)

  1. Helping my wife install some new light-blocking shades in our bedroom windows
  2. Important and encouraging meetings with colleagues
  3. Allen Sherman
  4. Seeing Black Panther at The Elks
  5. Our departmental meeting with the University’s President
  6. Good conversation with a long time friend
  7. My eyes are healthy and I do not need to change my eyeglass prescription
  8. Being able to work from home
  9. Helping my wife work in the garden and for the amazing amount of hard work she has done to plant it and help it grow!
  10. Getting a lot of work done around the house (May 28)
  11. Good discussion at the Wobbly Table (May 25)
  12. Visiting a friend
  13. Good discussion of imperfections at The Well (May 27)
  14. Getting packed for my trip to Minneapolis (May 29)
  15. The tremendous amount of work my wife has done in tilling and planting our garden
  16. Our first harvest from the garden (volunteer baby kale)!
  17. Safe and on-time shuttle ride to the Rapid City airport
  18. Due to a flight delay, I was unable to present at a phone meeting, but the organizer was very understanding
  19. I arrived in Minneapolis in time for all of my personal and professional meetings.
  20. The light rail system that took me to and from the airport
  21. Meeting with good friends and enjoying good food, memories, and update sat Annie’s Parlour.
  22. My AirBNB was affordable and in an excellent location
  23. Taking a shadow shift was very helpful in learning what has changed since the previous time I took a shift.
  24. Dinner with a friend from high school who now lives in the Twin Cities
  25. The opportunity to teach the person who shadow shifted with me during my first day on shift.
  26. A thrift shop near where I stayed allowed by to buy a few items I had forgotten to pack.
  27. My shifts went well overall.
  28. I was able to properly report and document the few problems that did occur while I was on shift
  29. I found good food to make for lunch while on shift
  30. Good weather for walking around campus after my shifts
  31. Visiting the Mississippi River on the U of MN campus
  32. Keeping in touch with my wife while I was away
  33. Good dinner at the Minneapolis Airport
  34. I am a getting better at plane spotting. I can tell the difference among a 737, an A320, and an A321.
  35. Safe and punctual flight back to Rapid City
  36. Shuttle ride back home with interesting conversation and a chance to talk about my work.
  37. Seeing A Wrinkle in Time at The Elks. I recommend it!
  38. Finishing a bunch of travel paperwork
  39. I was able to have a check I had forgotten re-issued and cashed.
  40. Meeting with my students after my trip.
  41. Watching my wife’s team play softball in two games, including a thrilling that ended in a 10-10 tie. She had some great plays, hits, and runs! (June 4)
  42. Having enough flexibility in my schedule to wait out the computer problems at my polling place. 
  43. Physics Lunch Club at Olive Garden (June 5)
  44. Planning for my class in the Fall
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Gratitude (May 2 – 22)

  1. Getting our lab mostly packed an inventoried for a temporary relocation over the summer.
  2. Taking possession of our new vehicle
  3. The willingness of the seller to go the extra mile to resolve some last-minute difficulties.
  4. My grad students did a great job packing and labeling our lab in preparation for the move
  5. Visiting with friends
  6. Learning how to operate some of the features in our new vehicle!
  7. When our van’s battery died, it was across the street from an auto parts store
  8. Successfully changing a car battery with my wife, a first for both of us
  9. A good and encouraging conversation with a longtime friend
  10. Shuttle to the Rapid City airport
  11. Safe and on-time flights from Rapid City to Indianapolis
  12. Catching an earlier shuttle from Indianapolis to Bloomington than I expected
  13. Staying with my friends in Bloomington while attending the NOvA Collaboration Meeting
  14. Getting rides to and sometimes from the meeting from my hosts
  15. Beautiful weather for the collaboration picnic
  16. Good food and catching up with colleagues at the picnic
  17. Honoring our departing co-spokesperson 
  18. Photograph of past and current Indiana University people on NOvA
  19. Having fun playing corn hole
  20. The van back from the picnic dropped me of two blocks from where I am staying
  21. Great food at Anatolia after the meeting (May 10)
  22. Deep and fascinating discussion about the laws of physics, Turing Machines, and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems over dinner
  23. Going to a place I remembered for lunch (May 10)
  24. Interesting thesis talk after lunch
  25. Getting several e-mails answered in the morning
  26. Making scrambled eggs for my hosts on my final morning there
  27. Seeing wildlife and a nice view of a lake during a walk through the woods near my hosts’ house
  28. My past antenna research and experience may be useful for them.
  29. Walking to the hotel for the shuttle to the airport
  30. Safe and punctual shuttle ride to the airport in Indianapolis
  31. Good lunch at the airport
  32. Safe, punctual, and quick flight to O’Hare
  33. My shuttle driver from O’Hare to Fermilab was willing to deal with some unexpected changes along the way
  34. Good weather for the walk from where I picked up the keys to my actual lodging
  35. Trying out the Fermilab bike share program
  36. Trying out Fermilab’s Zipcar to get dinner
  37. Important and helpful conversations with colleagues at the DUNE Collaboration Meeting
  38. Meeting with a friend at Country House in Geneva, IL
  39. Having Chinese food and catching up with friends at their house
  40. Riding one of the bike shares to and meeting with another friend at one of my favorite breakfast places
  41. Catching up with a friend over Chicago style pizza
  42. Very affordable lodging at Fermilab
  43. Laundry facilities in the building where I stayed
  44. Good food and conversation at the Collaboration Dinner
  45. Amazingly detailed chalk DUNE logo for our collaboration photo
  46. Dinner and catching up with a friend at one my favorite Thai restaurants
  47. Going for ice cream for dessert
  48. The aiport shuttle picked me up at Fermilab
  49. Safe, punctual, and non-stop flight from O’Hare to Rapid City
  50. Learning the basics of plane spotting
  51. Airport shuttle back to my home
  52. My wife had the upstairs bathroom repainted while I was gone, and it looks nice
  53. Time to rest after returning from my trip
  54. Making bacon and french toast at home with my wife
  55. Watching M*A*S*H with my wife
  56. Beautiful postcard form a friend traveling in Europe (card from Ireland, mailed from France)
  57. How much the garden grew while I was gone
  58. Getting the winter tires out of the car and into garage storage
  59. Starting our whole house exhaust fan again for the summer
  60. Showering our newly repainted bathroom for the first time
  61. Removing some clutter from my temporary lab space
  62. Lunch club at Guadalajara’s
  63. Good meeting with my wife and a colleague 
  64. Starting my summer meeting schedule with students
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Bloomington, IN Graffiti

In Bloomington, IN, the graffiti teaches you about the importance of punctuation.

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