Sunday Stealing: February

walking without tripping

The first question in this iteration of Sunday Stealing is about the second month. It should be the 12th month, but we won’t get into that.

1. What are your plans for February?

There will be an Olin Family Reunion online on February 3. I’m involved with the John Olin Origin Project. We know he came across the Atlantic in the latter 17th century on an English ship, but was he English? Welsh? French? BTW, I am the spouse of John> Joseph> Joseph> Reuben> John> Earl> Orva> George> Ann> Carol.

Two Death Cafes are taking place online in February. I’ve written about them here, among other places. Although I wasn’t a part of the originating group, I’ve been recruited to run one of the break-out rooms, making sure everyone who wants to has the opportunity to speak, take notes for when the group gets back together, and basically try to keep things on track. Some college students will be joining in.

Also, Valentine’s Day will be Ash Wednesday. They coincided in 1923, 1934, and  1945, which I don’t remember, and 2018, which I do. It will happen again in 2029, but not again in the 21st Century. My hot V-Day date with my wife will be going to church.

2. Did you ever have or go to sleepovers as a kid?

No sleepovers at my house, at least for me and my friends. I have some vague notion of going with one or both of my sisters to someone else’s house when I was eight or ten, having a mad crush on a girl from the host family.


3. Which books would you pick for a book binge?

There’s a shelf in this office of books I purchased in the past two years at the author talks at the Albany Public Library that I’d grab. I’d probably start with Roosevelt Sweeps Nation by David Pietrusza.

4. What features do you love most about your home?

It’s the built-in bookshelves in this room, the contents of which I had to reorganize.

5. How often do you try something new?

I watched this recent Vlogbrothers video by Hank Green.  I’ve concluded that every day I do something new when I write this blog because I’m synthesizing my experiences. And the experiences are new, whether seeing a movie or reading a book. I only went to France last year so I’d have blog fodder. (KIDDING, Deborah!)

6. What type of sushi is your favorite?

I don’t really know sushi, and I seldom consume it. California roll, I suppose.

7. Do you prefer to relax or go on adventures during vacation?

I don’t have a great need to go somewhere in order to relax. It is not as though I like sitting on the beach, in no small part because of my vitiligo, but even before I developed it two decades ago, I never saw the attraction.

8. Which colors look best on you?

I look marvelous in everything! You should ask someone else. Blue, I guess?

9. Do you like brunch?

As opposed to not having brunch? Sure.


10. Do you get stage fright?

Apparently so. I was in two different musicals at church in the past decade, and I knew my songs cold in rehearsal but forgot a line in one song and failed to make an entrance in another.

11. Which podcasts do you like at the moment?

There are approximately one zillion podcasts, and I’ve heard a few that seemed intriguing, but I haven’t the time. I can’t listen to one while doing something else. (This is true of audiobooks as well, BTW.) So I’ve been listening to three: Coverville by Brian Ibbott since 2008, Hollywood and Levine by Ken Levine since c. 2016, and AmeriNZ by Arthur since… actually, I haven’t a clue, but for a long time.

12. One thing that immediately makes your day better

When the cats are in a good mood and want to purr on my lap.

13. Which family members are you closest to?

My wife, my daughter, and my two sisters.

14. Something you practice often

Choral music, near-obsessive self-reflection, walking without tripping over the cats.

15. Are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper?

Deep sleep, not necessarily for very long, but often enough time to have vivid dreams.

February 1972: sectioning; draft number

Gene Hackman

PunchcardSome notes from my diaries.

Monday, Jan 31 – My father drove me to the bus station. I took the 9:45 a.m. bus from Binghamton back to Poughkeepsie. (For reasons unclear, I actually taped the Shortline bus ticket to my diary page.) To my surprise, the brother of my high school girlfriend was onboard, visiting his sister in part to borrow money for a motorcycle. I must admit that I took some small pleasure over the fact that he doesn’t like her new beau.

It’s a slow trip, changing buses in Monticello, and then stopping in Newburgh. My bus was supposed to arrive at about 1 p.m. but was two hours late. My girlfriend (the Okie) wasn’t at the station to pick me up. So my ex kindly dropped me off at New Paltz. [BTW, she remembers this; I did not.] It turns out the Okie’s car was inoperable. I didn’t see her until late the following day.

Tuesday, Feb 1 – While waiting for the Okie, Uthaclena, our friend/Okie’s roommate Alice and I turned off the lights and listened to a weird record of Uthaclena’s about the zodiac. Bruce, the resident advisor, came in, thinking we were up to something.

Groundhog Day

Wednesday, Feb 2 – I had to register for classes, in a process they called sectioning. I got into Intro to Black Studies, Basic Economics 2, and European Politics and Government easily enough. But the freshmen always get what hasn’t been closed out by the upperclassfolk. So Intro to Sociology was my third choice. I also got closed out of one General Anthropology course, and Intro to Philosophy, and had to take an 8 a.m. General Anthro class. The process took about 80 minutes, 20 minutes longer than the previous semester.

[As I recall, there were boxes with IBM punch cards, and when the number of cards designated was depleted, you knew you were out of luck.]

My friend Uthaclena and I were sitting in the dorm lounge when Fred came with the draft numbers. Uthaclena and some others had high draft numbers [which meant they were highly unlikely to be drafted]. But Fred got 23, and I got 2! Lengthy conversations about the implication and the options ensued.

[In an odd quirk, March 6 was 1, and March 7 was 2. My friend Karen wrote to me days later indicating that if I were going to get a low number, why not #1?!]

Six of us went in my roommate Ron’s car to see The French Connection in Poughkeepsie at the Juliet Theatre [which I know because I have the ticket stub – the admission was $2]. I had been worried about the violence, based on previews, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. We then stopped at the Plaza Diner.

The songs on WABC were particularly resonating with me:
Get Together – The Youngbloods, one of the very few singles I ever purchased. I still have it.
Dedicated To The One I Love – The Mamas and The Papas
Without You – Nilsson

Eventually, I went to sleep listening to Chicago [II], side three.

Not incidentally, there’s a LOT more detail that I shan’t be sharing.

February 2017 weather rollercoaster

She was TICKED and rightly so.

It snowed – again – in Albany, NY in February 2017. It snowed so little last winter, and indeed this one (less than 17 inches to date by February 9) that when it actually took place, people were SHOCKED. They complained it was cold, in upstate New York, in winter; oh, please.

And they have forgotten how to shovel. If you do it frequently, it’s much easier. If you get down to the sidewalk level, then the pavement gets a chance to dry up. but if you don’t, the covering turns to ice, and it’s pain to walk on. And if you live on a corner lot, clear to the street in BOTH directions!

There were school closings and delays in the area on the 9th and the 13th. The latter in particular got on my nerves. I noticed that Albany schools had a two-hour delay, as did the school my wife teaches in, and I confirmed this at 6:30 a.m. on the Times Union newspaper website. I’m watching CBS News This Morning, which starts at 7, not particularly paying attention to the closing scrolling along the bottom. But I did happen to notice that Albany city schools were shown as CLOSED! What?

I ran upstairs to the laptop in the office and saw that I had an email from Albany SNN (School News Network) that the schools were indeed closed, posted at 7:08 a.m.! I also confirmed on the TU website. It was called SO late that, as I was out shoveling the walk, and my wife digging out the car, she saw a teacher at the Daughter’s old school who had not heard about the closing, only the delay. She was TICKED and rightly so.

There’s a basic arithmetic rule in my household that apply to snow days:
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is greater than, or equal to, the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is good.
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is less than the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is a PITA.

I rushed to work, took care of a couple must-do tasks, and less than two hours later was taking a bus home and taking 3/4 of a day “vacation.”

And after these two storms, which brought the seasonal total to a mere 41 inches (less than average), it got warm. The snow went away as the temperature reached the upper 60s (upper teens C), breaking a couple daily records, 69F on the 23rd, and 74F on the 24th (!) before going back to more seasonable temperatures. I even rode my bike to work work a couple days. (I need to – ouch – do that more often.)

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