Gratitude (Aug. 9 – 15)

  1. Having dinner with my wife at Sabor
  2. Buying new pants, including an unexpected deal
  3. Good meeting with a colleague about our departmental review
  4. Starting to set up another experiment for my fall class
  5. Choosing a textbook for the fall class
  6. Summer nights
  7. Finalizing the list of experiments for my class this fall
  8. Taking measurements and ordering parts for my environmental tester.
  9. Starting to read The Cat Who Could Read Backwards with my wife
  10. Our garden seems to have survived a hailstorm.
  11. The hailstorm did not strike while I was out biking
  12. Hosting friends for a backyard pot luck (Aug. 13)
  13. Beautiful weather for the potluck
  14. Good food from friends and from the fireplace
  15. Finding graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores
  16. Good meeting with Facilities about future renovations of my lab space
  17. Watch one of friend’s children (Jacob) perform in a local play
  18. The play was a hilarious and surprisingly deep satire of American history
  19. Jacob performed very well!
  20. Walking around the mall after the play
  21. Calling and meeting with potential deck repair contractors.
  22. Physics Lunch Club at Chili’s
  23. Community meal with friends
  24. Bringing cheese and bread to the meal
  25. Learning about people’s past eclipse experiences at the meal
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Totality – 6 Days

Total solar eclipses are common. In this century (2001-2100), 75 total (or hybrid) eclipses will occur somewhere on Earth.

However, a solar eclipse within a 3 hour drive of my home is rare, and that is what will happen exactly six days from now. A group of students and professors from the SD Mines Physics Department will (Lord willing) be in the path of the moon’s shadow as it passes over Alliance, NE.

If you are in the Black Hills and can’t get to the path of totality, you can still see a 95% eclipse with appropriate eye protection at several places.

Live Stream at the Journey Museum

Source: Total Solar Eclipse Live-Stream | Calendar | Journey Museum and Learning Center

Central States Fair

Sanford Underground Research Facility

Sanford Lab and the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center are hosting a 95 Percent Eclipse Party beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, at the Visitor Center in Lead, 160 W. Main. The eclipse begins at 10:27 a.m., reaches its peak at 11:49 a.m. and ends at 1:13 p.m. Cookies and beverages will be served at the free event.

Source: A total eclipse of the sun | Sanford Underground Research Facility

NASA Official Eclipse Site

This is NASA’s official 2012 total eclipse web page. It contains maps and tables for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21 and includes information on eclipse photography, observing tips and eye safety information.

Source: NASA – Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21

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Gratitude (July 18 – Aug. 8, 2017)

This summer has been busy, so I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, but here I am now with a three-week gratitude list.

  1. A wound on my hand seems to be healing well
  2. Quick medical appointment to look at the wound
  3. Watching my wife’s team win their first softball playoff game of this year’s tournament
  4. Taking the team picture
  5. Beautiful sky while taking the picture
  6. Exploring the timer feature on the audio Bible on my phone
  7. Packing ice and water for the second day of the softball tournament
  8. My wife’s team took second place in the tournament
  9. Thank you to the Black Hills Astronomical Society for volunteering to create a wonderful star party for a high school girls’ cybersecurity summer camp at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology on Tuesday!
  10. The campers were exemplary in their patience (certainly more than me) as we waited for clouds to clear and in their curiosity.
  11. We saw Jupiter, three of its moons, Saturn’s rings, the Ring Nebula, a globular cluster, and others.
  12. All of the work my wife put into organizing and teaching at the camp
  13. Time to rest this week
  14. New RAM for my Entertainment PC
  15. Ideas for how to record the upcoming total solar eclipse
  16. Progress in preparing for my class this fall
  17. Making hotel reservations for our upcoming trip
  18. Making airport transportation arrangements for the upcoming trip
  19. Our rain barrels have started collecting rain!
  20. Good conversation at the Wobbly Table (July 21)
  21. Watching the LBNF groundbreaking ceremony at the Sanford Underground Research Facility
  22. Meeting the Governor of South Dakota at the groundbreaking
  23. Meeting our sole representative in Congress Kristi Noem at the groundbreaking
  24. Meeting Senator Mike Rounds
  25. Our School prepared a press release to go with the groundbreaking
  26. Good conversation about finding “our song” at The Well
  27. Beautiful and delicious fruit bowl (made out of a watermelon) at The Well
  28. Helping my wife make homemade chicken noodle soup
  29. The wound on my hand is healed and almost invisible
  30. Planning for my next set of NOvA shifts at the U of MN
  31. Completing the outline for my visit to Anselm House, which under a different name was a critical group for my spiritual growth in college.
  32. Skype conversation with a good friend (July 24)
  33. Dinner with my wife’s softball team to celebrate the season
  34. Some of the children of team members found a giant Connect Four game in the restaurant’s outdoor section
  35. Stared writing my part of our department’s five-year review
  36. Finding good deals and helping a friend’s family while shopping at an estate sale
  37. Kayaking on Canyon Lake
  38. Our kayaks still float
  39. Good (less hot) weather for kayaking
  40. Buying and preparing snacks for The Well
  41. Meeting about renovations to the building that houses my lab
  42. Good conversation about difficult life events at prayer and book group
  43. My new phone (Motorola Moto E4)
  44. Activating my new phone online
  45. My new memory cards fully work in my camera
  46. Taking bad news in a healthy way
  47. Getting the second experiment for PHYS 350 set up
  48. Getting bathrooms cleaned
  49. De-cluttering living room
  50. Putting kayaks away
  51. Getting many other house chores done (Aug. 6).
  52. My parent’s wedding anniversary
  53. Time to rest this weekend (Aug 5)
  54. Finding a good deal on lodging for my upcoming trip to Minneapolis
  55. Riding on the Mickelson Trail for the first time
  56. A colleague to guide me on the trail
  57. Seeing wildlife (including young turkeys) and lush scenery on the trail
  58. Riding longer that I though possible when I first started (10 miles uphill)
  59. Grilling for our weekly Community Meal
  60. The weather was good for grilling and eating outside
  61. Harvesting our first garden carrots of the year!
  62. Conversation and good food with friends at the meal
  63. Adjusting my bike seat to a more appropriate height
  64. Starting to watch Doctor Who
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#tbt DeSmet 2015

Two years ago, this week, Kelly and I visited DeSmet, SD, one of the homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

We visited the DeSmet cemetery, which included “Pa” Ingalls’ grave.

We saw wonderful views of the titular prairie.

We visited one of the schools where Laura taught.

We saw a re-enactment of one of the books

Perhaps most memorably, we met an incredibly cute(and friendly) litter of kittens!


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Watch groundbreaking of Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility live

I am looking forward to attending this in person!

On Friday, July 21, a new era of physics in the United States will officially begin. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility will streamed live.

Source: Watch groundbreaking of Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility live

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Gratitude (July 11 – July 17)

  1. New shoelaces to replace my fraying old ones.
  2. Participating in the Downtown Master Plan open house (July 11)
  3. Community meal with friends
  4. Playing trains with the daughter of the community meal hosts
  5. Watching videos with her
  6. Physics lunch club at Pizza Ranch (July 12)
  7. Good discussion with the organizers at the MPO transportation open house
  8. Trimming my beard
  9. Creating a digital picture frame with electronics we already had around the house.
  10. Working on my Entertainment PC
  11. Taking the day off
  12. Watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which was far better than I expected and surprisingly moving
  13. Good discussion at the Wobbly Table
  14. A new member at the Wobbly Table
  15. Good meeting with University Relations about the upcoming groundbreaking at the Sanford Underground Research Facility
  16. Testing a card game with my wife
  17. Successfully testing the Physics Dept. telescope on a 12V battery
  18. Buying cinder blocks from Menard’s
  19. A well-timed call with my wife the kept me from unnecessarily trying to bring home 2 tons of cinderblocks.
  20. The physical strength to move and place the cinderblocks I did need
  21. Menard’s rain barrel kit
  22. Setting up the first phase of our new rain barrel system
  23. Getting laundry put away
  24. Decluttering our living room
  25. Setting up the first experiment for our upcoming advanced lab class
  26. Organizing and rediscovering photographs from earlier in my life
  27. Beautiful concert (part of the Rushmore Music Festival) at the Cathedral
  28. Good discussion at The Well about time and values
  29. Making several important phone calls this morning (July 17).
  30. A wound on my hand seems to be healing well
  31. Quick medical appointment to look at the wound
  32. Watching my wife’s team win their first softball playoff game of this year’s tournament
  33. Buying water and ice for the team for their possibly long series of playoff games tonight
  34. The campus electrician showing me how to shut of some lights to make stargazing easier for the BHAS outreach event for the SDSM&T GenCyber camp.
  35. Taking the team picture
  36. Exploring the timer feature on the audio Bible on my phone
  37. Lunch club at Pauly’s
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Gratitude (July 5 – July 11)

  1. Our electrician removed unneeded cables from our house
  2. Important conversation with a colleague
  3. Having a job flexible enough for me to attend the town hall meeting by our lone Congressional representative Kristi Noem
  4. Enough interest to pack the town hall with at least 120 people (my estimate)
  5. The 4-H students who were at the town hall
  6. The audience was more than willing to express disagreement with Noem and each other
  7. Staring to de-clutter our living room
  8. Bonus frequent flyer miles from a new credit card
  9. My first yoga class at Sol Yoga, and I was the only student!
  10. The graduate student who helped me teach people about radioactivity in everyday objects at Neutrino Day
  11. All of the people who attended Neutrino Day.
  12. Great support from University Relations for our booth at Neutrino Day
  13. Seeing friends from church at Neutrino Day
  14. Driving from Neutrino Day to home, the library, my office, and the airport in time for our flight to MSP.
  15. My wife finishing the packing while I was at Neutrino Day.
  16. Safe, punctual flight to MSP.
  17. Good dinner at the airport
  18. Shuttle van to Eau Claire
  19. Our hotel is next door to the shuttle drop off location
  20. 24-our convenience store across the street from our hotel
  21. Visiting my grandmother
  22. Good weather for our time in Wisconsin
  23. Visiting, eating, and catching up with my parents, aunt, and sister around a backyard fire in Wisconsin
  24. Petting Willow, the office cat at the Chippewa Valley Airport Service Eau Claire location.
  25. Beautiful lightning on the ride back to the Twin Cities
  26. Safe flight and drive home.
  27. Starting to set up the advanced lab class I will be teaching in the fall.
  28. Good conversation and food at community meal
  29. Looking at pictures and toy trains with the daughter of our of our friends
  30. Attending an open house about the Downtown Master Plan for Rapid City
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Gratitude (June 28 – July 4)

  1. Rain for our garden (June 28)
  2. Watching Red Green with my wife
  3. Learning more about how to power the department telescope without an electrical outlet
  4. July 3 and 4 off from work
  5. Deciding on a cloud backup for our computers
  6. My wife’s talent for arranging decor
  7. Putting decorations on walls that have been sitting in boxes for nearly four years
  8. Printing and forming two of my best photographs from the past year
  9. Good deal on frames
  10. Meeting new colleagues in the Faculty Lounge
  11. Watching fireworks from a hill near our house on July 4
  12. Being more aware of the reasons why some Americans are reluctant to celebrate Independence Day.
  13. Good lunch at La Costa after our Sunday brunch plans didn’t work out
  14. Ice cream sale at Safeway
  15. Bringing snacks to The Well
  16. Finding digital photograph I thought I had lost
  17. My wife installing new towel bars and clothes hooks in the upstairs bathroom
  18. Getting the bathroom clean after the installation
  19. Moving a pile of sticks to a less obtrusive place in our backyard.
  20. Removing a clog from our garage gutters.
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Every dollar matched until midnight July 4

Whether we celebrate Independence Day proudly, think we have nothing to celebrate, or celebrate it as “Victory over Custer Day,” I hope we can all agree that the opportunity to bring freedom and justice to those who need it is a great way to celebrate today.

Give before midnight on July 4 to double your impact
To celebrate our nation’s independence, the Beachbody Foundation has offered to match up to $100,000 of donations to International Justice Mission through midnight on July 4.

Send freedom to children and families trapped in slavery this Independence Day and change their lives forever.

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Gratitude (June 17 – 27)

  1. Skype conversation with a good friend (June 26)
  2. Preparing for the next step in commissioning of our radon monitor
  3. Watching my wife’s team play (and win one game) in the church softball league
  4. The opportunity to “keep the book” for our team
  5. Bringing snacks for our church
  6. Catching up with our friends at church
  7. Buying a needed supply for a dish my wife is making
  8. Getting a few treats while shopping.
  9. Shopping at the Farmers’ market new location (June 25)
  10. Kettle corn
  11. Grilling out for the first time this summer
  12. Conversation with friends over grilled dinner
  13. Safe drive to and from The Badlands
  14. Mostly clear and beautifully dark skies for the Badlands Astronomy Festival
  15. Seeing Saturn and Jupiter through large amateur telescopes, especially the Cassini Division in Saturn’s ring
  16. Two bright Iridium flares
  17. Seeing Pluto and 3C-273 (the first quasar identified, 2.4 billion light years away) through one of the telescopes at the festival
  18. All the beauty of the night sky, including the Milky Way
  19. Getting our upstairs bathroom cleaned
  20. Helping my wife get started on a project in the bathroom
  21. Learning how to cross the moat that was in front of my lab due to elevator shaft construction
  22. Food and friends at community meal
  23. The Clarinet Madness Concert
  24. Talking with friends after the concert
  25. More soil for our garden potatoes
  26. Enough fresh peas from our garden for my lunch vegetable for a few days.
  27. The moat has been filled in.
  28. Physics lunch club (June 27)
  29. My wife’s excellent lasagna at community meal
  30. Catching up with friends at community meal
  31. Sharing photos of our trip to Prague
  32. Complements on my beard
  33. Voting on upcoming NOvA meeting dates.
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