Gratitude (Feb. 7 – 13)

  1. Attending the latest “coffee with planners” of Rapid City
  2. Short but good conversation with a friend (Feb. 7)
  3. Good video conversation with a friend via the internet
  4. Being back in band after my trip
  5. Good food, conversation, and friends at the pot luck
  6. Hearing different opinions on upcoming political and social issues
  7. Attending the Legislative Crackerbarrel on Feb. 10.
  8. Both of my questions were asked at the crackerbarrel
  9. Getting to know some of the other regular attendees
  10. Watching The X-Files online
  11. Teaching my class about Feynman diagrams
  12. Watching Police Squad with my wife
  13. Getting to bed early so I could attend an earlier than usual meeting (Feb. 12)
  14. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Feb. 11)
  15. Useful Faculty Development Committee Meeting (Feb. 13)
  16. Lunch club at Hong Kong Buffet
  17. Revisiting my photographs from Geneva with my wife
  18. Weather warming up for part of this week
  19. Ice spikes (upside down icicles) 
  20. Preparing for next trip
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I voted Yes

I voted early today in favor of the water rate changes for Rapid City. I’m happy to discuss why if you contact me privately.

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Gratitude (Jan. 31 – Feb. 6)

  1. Being able to do laundry on my trip
  2. The view of Geneva from the towers of the Cathedral St. Pierre
  3. Delicious cheese fondue for the collaboration dinner
  4. Visiting the prototype DUNE detectors
  5. Time to explore Geneva before I returned home
  6. Seeing a church where John Calvin preached in Geneva
  7. Dinner at an very nice restaurant with a waiter who happened to speak English
  8. A delicious chocolate shop on an island in the Rhône River
  9. Public transportation to the airport
  10. Safe and punctual flights home
  11. Seeing several colleagues on the way to and at the airport in Geneva
  12. Buying cheese and other souvenirs in the Amsterdam Airport
  13. Beautiful views from the plane on the way home
  14. Watching Frozen for the first time on the way home.
  15. The airport shuttle driver safely navigated bad roads and cold weather to get me home
  16. Time to rest on Sunday after returning
  17. I seem to be over the jet lag now.
  18. Being able to help a friend
  19. Learning about a Buddhist saint at The Well
  20. My laptop was given a clean bill of health upon return
  21. My flexible work schedule
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Gratitude (Jan. 24 – 30)

  1. The life and influence of my friend and teacher Craig Lehmeier
  2. Fun band rehearsal
  3. I was well-prepared for class
  4. My new lunch experiment (reuben wrap with homemade sauerkraut) seems to be working well.
  5. Calling in to a meeting where my student gave an update on her research
  6. Finishing a time-consuming and important review process
  7. Finding good books for my wife and me at the library
  8. Finding an e-book from the library for my trip
  9. Finished packing for my trip
  10. Helping my wife while she is sick
  11. Ride to Rapid City airport
  12. Safe and sufficiently punctual flights to Minneapolis, Paris, and Geneva
  13. Finding the right bus to CERN after nearly getting on the bus going the wrong direction
  14. Help from a fellow visitor in finding the right entrance
  15. Helpful guard who let me in to CERN
  16. The room where I am staying is a good deal, conveniently located, and comfortable
  17. Good start to the collaboration meeting, in which I was able to ask a few questions
  18. Catching up with colleagues and good food at the DUNE Collaboration Meeting welcome reception
  19. Invited to dinner at a pizza place with colleagues after the reception
  20. One of my colleagues was able to navigate us out of a building
  21. Interesting, fun, and useful seminar on communicating science
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Craig Lehmeier (Oct. 11, 1954 – Jan. 17, 2018)

Craig married my grade school and high school band director Pam in 1993. He was a musician (clarinet player) and band director too, and he sometimes substituted for her. They were a musical team with a lasting influence on many of their students. My wife and I visited him and Pam on our trips to Independence to see my family.

The best testament to his influence in my life is that this Wednesday, I will be playing a tuba in a rehearsal for the University Band at SDSM&T. We have a concert in April. Almost twenty years after I last played in my high school band, I am still making music, and that is thanks in part to Craig.

My favorite memory of Craig is from one Halloween in high school. I went as Peter Criss from KISS. My sister did the makeup and nails. When I went to the band room to borrow a pair of drumsticks to complete the costume, Craig said, “I have a few album covers that look like you!” He was one of the few people who recognized the costume. I will miss him.

Obituary | Craig V. Lehmeier | Edison Funeral Home


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Gratitude (Jan. 17 – 23, 2017)

  1. Ordering cake for my birthday party
  2. Helping someone in the grocery store
  3. My work laptop repairs are finally finished!
  4. Longer term planning for my class
  5. Dinner with my wife at a nice restaurant
  6. Organizing the vote to choose our next reading at the Wobbly Table
  7. Meeting the new President of SDSM&T at his welcome reception
  8. Dinner at Botticelli
  9. Good food and friends at community meal
  10. Celebrating my birthday at The Elks Theater by watching the original The Day The Earth Stood Still.
  11. Good cake at the party
  12. All of my friends who attended
  13. Learning and important lesson for scheduling the party next time. I did not intend to put it in conflict with the Women’s March.
  14. Babysitting the children of a couple of our friends
  15. The children we very well-behaved
  16. Time to rest this weekend (Jan 20-21)
  17. Finding a very good program to display pictures in my homemade digital picture frame: feh.
  18. Figuring out how to remotely mount a drive from one computer in my house onto another
  19. My wife safely navigating us down a steep and slippery hill.
  20. Interesting colloquium from one of our graduate students
  21. First group meeting with a new graduate student
  22. Getting laundry done in preparation for and upcoming trip
  23. Informative and powerful presentation on the proposed OneHeart transitional housing campus
  24. Lunch club at Great Wall
  25. Cooking taco meat
  26. Starting to pack for my upcoming trip
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Gratitude (Dec. 13, 2017 – Jan. 16, 2018)

  1. Having my boot zipper fixed quickly and affordably
  2. Big group for Physics Lunch Club at Mongolian Grill
  3. A former student visiting for Lunch Club
  4. Seeing Neither Wolf Nor Dog at The Elks
  5. Being married for 8 years
  6. All of the congratulations we received from friends and family on our anniversary!
  7. A student making good progress
  8. Forming a plan for backing up my work laptop
  9. Our first Ph.D. graduate from the Physics Department
  10. Being on stage as part of awarding the graduate his degree
  11. Hosting community meal at our house (Dec. 15)
  12. Dropping off my work laptop for repairs
  13. Dropping off my bike for a free one-year servicing
  14. Test riding an electric bike
  15. Submitting all of my Fall Semester grades on time
  16. Safe and on-time flight to Mesa
  17. Enjoying warm weather and sun in Mesa
  18. Writing our annual end of year letter
  19. Writing cards to accompany our end of year letter
  20. Mailing all the letters and cards
  21. Friendly hotel staff
  22. Hot tub
  23. Shopping at Whole Foods
  24. Shopping at Trader Joe’s
  25. Shopping at Sprout’s
  26. Brining home lots of dark chocolate covered dried fruit
  27. Save drive to Kitt Peak National Observatory
  28. Nice dinner for the Kitt Peak program
  29. Watching a beautiful sunset from the peak
  30. Beautiful, clear dark skies
  31. Seeing the Andromeda Galaxy, the Great Orion Nebula, and other celestial wonders through a 16″ telescope.
  32. Safe drive back to Mesa
  33. Great food at many different restaurants, including…
  34. …Lalibella
  35. …Beaver Choice
  36. …Rolberto’s Taco Stand
  37. …Koreatown
  38. Refrigerator and microwave in our room
  39. My wife figured out how to get the hot water in the shower working
  40. Beautiful walk by the river
  41. Fascinating shadows
  42. Delicious and bountiful buffet
  43. Giant Christmas ornament
  44. A stranger who took our photograph in the ornament
  45. Shopping for lights while in Mesa
  46. Beautiful Christmas display in the airport in Rapid City
  47. Safe and warm ride home from the airport
  48. Seeing three other cyclists on the road this morning (Jan. 5)
  49. Interesting and useful D2L training
  50. Successfully printing on the department printer with my linux laptop
  51. Diagnosis of some problems with out furnace
  52. Learning about high efficiency furnaces from my wife
  53. A first lesson in using our sewing marching
  54. Helping my wife repair a ripped seam in my rain pants
  55. Finishing letters of recommendation for a student
  56. One of the institutions let me correct a small error in my letter
  57. My mistake in my travel paperwork did not cost me any money
  58. Celebrating at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party
  59. Good food at the party
  60. One of our friend’s son led us in a mad lib he wrote
  61. Despite the bitterly cold weather, our vehicles are working fine
  62. Picking up my bike
  63. My bike rides well after the servicing
  64. Good conversation with a friend (Jan. 1)
  65. First Physics Lunch Club of the New Year (Jan. 3)
  66. Useful D2L training
  67. Catching up with friends at the Wobbly Table (Jan. 5)
  68. Finishing the syllabus for my spring semester class
  69. Good food and friends at Community Meal (Jan. 5)
  70. My wife successfully navigating slippery roads and rough driveway
  71. Dinner with friends
  72. Vacation photos from friends
  73. First meeting of the Well in the new year
  74. Finding a card at the Newman Center that is a great fit for the Well’s next series
  75. Attending a meeting of the Rapid City Sustainability Committee
  76. A potential new graduate student in my group
  77. First University Band rehearsal of the semester
  78. We have three tuba players in the band this semester
  79. The music is challenging but fun
  80. Interesting and useful presentation on critical thinking
  81. Restaurant Week in Rapid City, during which we ate at…
  82. …Tally’s with friends
  83. …and the Vertex with another couple
  84. Seeing an improv show that starred some of our friends and students
  85. Lunch Club and fundraising at MacKenzie River
  86. The organized moved the day of lunch club to accommodate some of us who could not be there on the usual day
  87. Mild weather
  88. Walking around Canyon Lake
  89. Seeing (and hearing) all the geese and ducks at Canyon Lake
  90. A good walk to the post office and grocery store
  91. Seeing the tracks of different animals, including cats, in the snow
  92. Meeting and petting a 19-year-old cat
  93. Getting our mini-fridge back
  94. Good conversations and food at The Well potluck
  95. Having time off from class preparation and meetings
  96. Watching an interesting documentary on Thurgood Marshall
  97. Good meeting with a colleague about the future of some experimental equipment
  98. Sharing laughs with my wife over story of a problematic physics lab
  99. Finishing a very time-consuming set of reviews
  100. Dinner with friends and a nice view of the city
  101. Physics Lunch Club at Colonial House
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Gratitude (Dec. 6 – 12)

  1. Learning how to improve the sound quality and crop some of my video recordings
  2. My interview with SDPB is online
  3. The people who have complimented me or otherwise responded positively to the interview
  4. Booking the venue for an upcoming celebration
  5. Walking around a lake in good weather (Dec. 9)
  6. Time to rest when I am feeling a bit sick (Dec. 9)
  7. Hosting community meal
  8. Helping my wife prepare the main dish (soup) for the meal
  9. The soup was delicious
  10. Catching up with friends at the meal
  11. Catholic Lego
  12. A good conversation with a good friend here (Dec. 7)
  13. The opportunity to be our department’s representative at the upcoming commencement ceremony
  14. Beautiful candle lighting ceremony at church
  15. Compliments on my homemade sauerkraut at church and at my wife’s department social
  16. Lots of good food at the church potluck
  17. Lots of good food at the department social
  18. Discussing gravitational waves and neutron star mergers at the social
  19. Being able to my wife get up early to proctor an exam
  20. Watching funny TV shows and laughing with my wife.
  21. Being married for 8 years and all of the congratulations we received from friends and family on our anniversary!
  22. A student making good progress
  23. Forming a plan for backing up my work laptop
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South Dakota’s First Physics PhDs! 

On Saturday, Dec. 16, I will have the honor of being the Physics Department representative at the graduation ceremony where we will officially confer the first Physics Ph.D. in our school’s history and one of the first two in the history of the state.

Wenzhao Wei and Dan Rederth are the first to earn physics PhDs within the state of South Dakota.

Source: The PhD pioneers | symmetry magazine

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Gratitude (Nov. 15 – Dec. 5, 2017)

Thanksgiving and the end of the semester have been busy times, and I have not kept up on my gratitude lists. To make up for the gap, here is a triple-length edition!

  1. My new 128 GB USB drive arrived
  2. The drive works with both my Linux laptop and my phone
  3. Successfully downloading new open source video editing software
  4. Using that software to trim the recordings I have made from VHS tapes.
  5. Reformatting my new USB drive so that it can be read by Windows, Linux, Android, and hold large video files.
  6. Getting many chores done on Sunday (Nov. 19)
  7. Watching the children of two friends in a production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  8. Helping my wife with her work
  9. Deciding on which antenna to keep
  10. Deciding how and where to mount the new antenna
  11. Good and surprisingly emotional discussion of Christmas memories and music at church
  12. I was able to find and by White Out (liquid paper) when my wife needed some
  13. Our fall band concert went very well, and several of our friends and colleagues attended
  14. The concert was live streamed and is available to watch again (our band begins at about the 50 minute mark)
  15. Physics Department Thanksgiving Feast
  16. My wife providing our contribution to the feast
  17. Good conversations and fun at the feast
  18. Leftovers from the feast
  19. One of my students made some good looking plots for a presentation I gave
  20. Making plans for the Thanksgiving break at home and for work
  21. Bringing treats to the final band class of the semester
  22. One of our band members demonstrating a kayagum, a Korean musical instrument
  23. Interesting Inclusion Committee meeting
  24. Learning more about myself and how much childhood experiences affect my current attitude towards money
  25. Teaching my last class of the semester
  26. Getting my final and exam and solutions written on time
  27. Taking snacks to the Physics Department Gift Exchange
  28. Getting a gift I actually liked at the exchange
  29. Hanging up our inside Christmas decorations
  30. I also discovered another part of fractal human culture: pens!
  31. Physics Lunch Club at Mackenzie River
  32. Finishing the editing of all of our VHS to digital transfers
  33. Good discussions about selecting our next book for the Wobbly Table
  34. Successfully installing the new antenna on our deck
  35. So far the antenna is working, and we are receiving 21 channels over the air with clear reception, including the one I was most concerned about.
  36. Final garden harvest of the year!
  37. Making kale and carrots with the harvest from our garden
  38. My wife was excited that she was finally able to make progress painting our kitchen
  39. The kitchen looks beautiful
  40. She was also to hang up the new baskets at the left in the picture above
  41. Moving the fridge out of the way for painting was fairly easy
  42. Being invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner
  43. Bringing dessert and snacks to the dinner
  44. Wonderful food for Thanksgiving
  45. Catching up with friends
  46. Meeting new people
  47. Taking home leftovers
  48. Saving the leftover turkey bones for making broth
  49. Interesting colloquium on the recently discovered neutron star merger GW170817
  50. Having lunch with the colloquium speaker
  51. Helping a colleague by proctoring a classes evaluation
  52. Watching Clarinet Madness perform at the mall
  53. Lunch at the mall food court
  54. Skype conversation with a good friend (Dec. 2)
  55. A beautiful Christmas concert at the Cathedral
  56. Seeing two tuba players playing their tubas while walking
  57. Hilarious performance by Σ Improv (Sum Improv), which is our student drama club’s monthly improv event
  58. Σ Improv accept several of my suggestions for “Scenes from a Hat.”
  59. Helping a friend move
  60. The friend fed us pizza and bread sticks for helping move
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