Thursday, September 16, 2021

Me, at home, in a T-shirt and plaid flannel shirt, circa 1987

Unlike most of the pictures I choose for these musings, I am (almost, kinda-sorta) an adult in this one. I think I was about 20 when this was taken, probably some time in 1987, maybe 1988. I was out of high school and in college but still living in the house I grew up in in Lilburn, about which I’ve written quite a bit before.

The T-shirt says Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and has the MGM lion on it. I used to wear that shirt a lot. Dad brought it back for me from a trip to California back when he worked for TBS. I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt over it because...because I always wore plaid flannel shirts over my T-shirts--it was part of the 1980s-long-haired-guy uniform. I was also wearing bracelets and a dangly earring--other parts of the uniform. (And jeans, of course. I always wore jeans back then--I don't think I owned any pants then that weren't jeans. Now I never wear jeans--I don't own a pair of pants that are jeans.)

When this was taken, I think I had already started going to Georgia State University, but it was right after my two years at DeKalb College (as it was known then), which were two great years (or so my selective memory leads me to believe). Though I know this picture was taken a couple of years after the fact, it makes me think of the fall of 1985, my first quarter at DeKalb, and taking Philosophy in the Nursing building--I loved that class, with Dr. Yohan (Shan Yohan; her husband, Walter, also a philosophy professor at DeKalb, had retired a year or two earlier. I know this only because Rod Bennett, whom I met in that class, once told me that somebody told him to be sure to take philosophy with Dr. Yohan, and when he did he was disappointed to find out the professor was the wife and not the husband.)

I was also taking the Mercer continuing-ed creative writing class at night with Jalaine, and finding new writers to admire and emulate (Bobbie Ann Mason stands out as an early favorite, but there was also Raymond Carver and Amy Hempel and others). Back then I used to actually write--I mean, write short stories, poems, parts of novels (these blog entries and musings count, but it just isn't the same thing--I know I'm not creating literature here). I even published a handful of short stories back then, too (but mostly in tiny basement-copy-machine little magazines that nobody's ever heard of, though I racked up quite a few rejection slips from university-sponsored literary magazines).

One thing that freaks me out when I do the math: If this picture really was taken in 1987, then it was only about fourteen years before I married Anna. As I sit here writing this, Anna and I have been married for twenty years. So the Chris Burdett in this picture is closer in age to the Chris Burdett who got married to Anna Benoit in 2001 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Lawrenceville than the Chris Burdett who is writing this is. Man, do I feel old!

I like the guy in this picture. He still had some growing up to do (maybe he still does) and some stuff to learn (maybe he still does), but he was an okay guy. Hopefully he still is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

My First Computer

My brother, Jeff, playing a game on our Apple II home computer in the early 1980s

My first computer was a 1980 Apple II that Dad bought for us, back when he worked for a local computer store that was an Apple dealer (in addition to selling Compaq and Kaypro, and some other brands that are no longer around -- Apple obviously is). This distinction probably isn't something many people these days would recognize as important, but it was an Apple II -- not an Apple II+ or an Apple IIe, and certainly not an Apple IIc -- that model didn't come out until a few years later.

No, it was just a plain old Apple II; for a monitor you connected it to a TV set via an RF modulator, its character set didn't include lower-case letters, and it had to go into a different mode to display graphics than it used to display text. The Apple II did have color, though, which set it apart from many of the other home computers around at that time, but since we used an old black and white TV as our monitor, we couldn't tell the difference: the frogs in Frogger were a light gray to us.

But even if we were watching grayscale frogs hop across grayscale traffic to hop onto the backs of grayscale alligators, we at least had a computer, which was not true of very many families back at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s.

Yes, it was a computer, at least technically, but it was nothing like the ones we're used to today. In those days 64KB of RAM -- not 64MB, and definitely not 64GB -- was a lot. In fact, I think we started with just 4K (back then you didn't indicate the B; I guess "bytes" was understood) and worked our way up by taking the cover off and plugging RAM chips into the available slots. For the first year or two, we read programs into that memory from a cassette drive, but Dad eventually (perhaps fairly quickly, I really don't remember the exact timeline of all this) brought home a floppy disk drive, and then another, making it much faster for us to boot up Space Invaders or Frogger or whatever game we felt like playing. (These were 5 1/4 -- pronounced "five and a quarter" -- inch floppy drives and disks, by the way, and they held something like 512K per side, which at the time really was a lot.)

Games were mostly what we used the Apple II for: the already-mentioned Space Invaders and Frogger, Lemonade Stand, and quite a few I'm sure I've forgotten. In the picture above, Jeff is playing one of these games, probably Space Invaders, holding the paddle in his lap (the Apple had a dedicated port for paddles, I imagine because games like those were probably its most common use).

I made grand plans when I learned we were going to be getting the computer but didn't yet have it, back in sixth grade, of becoming a programming whiz and creating a computerized version of Monopoly (and possibly getting rich and famous, though I don't think I actually thought about that possibility very much). I would pore over the pamphlets and manuals (Dad managed to bring home a copy of a manual before we got the actual computer) and scheme and fantasize and dream.

Scheme and fantasize and dream, but not do any real planning, other than a few inept sketches of what the screen should look like, and I never wrote even a single line of code for my Monopoly game. I did become a decent BASIC programmer, though, and I did write a game that involved guns you would move around with your paddle, and bullets that could either take out the other gun, or disappear into the cactus in the middle of the screen (it was my sole gimmick, in this game at least) only to be shot out again from the cactus in some new, randomly-chosen direction. I also wrote a program that drew letters on the screen, creating a lower-case character set the computer then lacked. (It couldn't save what you wrote, though -- I didn't know how to make it do that -- so it was not a "word processor" or "text editor" by any stretch of the imagination.) And when I was taking chemistry at Berkmar (in 11th or 12th grade, 1984 or 1985; I don't remember, but I do remember that the teacher was Mrs. East -- actually Dr. East, I believe; I think she did have a Ph.D., but she didn't go by "Dr."), my science fair proposal was a computer-based study program called Computer Tutor, which I actually did do a lot of work on, but which I never actually finished, just as a I didn't finish chemistry. (Dropping out of one made it easy for me to abandon the other.)

When I was in ninth grade at Berkmar, taking Coach Thees's Algebra class, there was a tenth grader in my class who I would talk to sometimes about music (he was into synthesizers and liked Gary Newman) and computers (he also had an Apple II); his name was Jeff Martin. At one point he gave me a floppy disk containing a pirated version of SirTech's landmark fantasy roleplaying game Wizardry. It was a strangely defining moment for me -- I already loved fantasy fiction, and I soon loved this game. I didn't have a manual or any instructions, but by trial and error I learned how to play, and eventually got my cousin Scott and my brother Jeff into it with me, in long Friday night adventuring campaigns with our party of Srizaxa, Sribob, Imok (so named when we saw the spine of I'm OK, You're OK on Dad's bookshelf), and at least three others whose names now escape me. (A full party in Wizardry was six characters, and we always played with a full party.).

The last thing I'm going to say -- for now, at least -- about this phase of my life is that we subscribed to Creative Computing, a magazine I dearly loved and read faithfully every month. I also looked through the ads in the back many times, fantasizing about the computers I would get and what cool things I would do with them.

Today, computers are all around us, powering or enabling an awful lot of what we do, and we tend to take them for granted. I wrote much of this musing on my Google Pixel 3a smart phone using an Anker bluetooth keyboard, and, except while composing this sentence, it doesn't even occur to me what a cool thing it is that I have these tools at my disposal. I am glad, though, that I have memories of a time when personal computers were unique and not yet ubiquitous, and back then I think I really did realize how cool they were.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Elyse and Mommy at Callaway Gardens

This weekend Elyse and Anna went to Callaway Gardens for a Labor Day Weekend getaway, and to see the balloon glow that was happening there Saturday night (which Elyse didn't know about; Anna kept the balloon glow as a Special Surprise). Here are seven of the pictures they texted to me while they were on their weekend adventure:

Callaway Gardens is getting ready for its Fall Festival

They went to the beach for a couple of hours; this is Elyse as a mermaid

Pokey the Turtle Balloon, whose pin Elyse has and coincidentally brought, was there for the balloon glow

The second day, Sunday, they went to the wild animal safari place; this is the two of them on the bus being taken in to the safari

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Stone Mountain Village and Old Town Lilburn with Jessica

Today Jessica and I went to Stone Mountain Village and Old Town Lilburn (both places we've been before) to walk around and take pictures. Here are some of my favorites of the pictures I took:

One of the buildings in Stone Mountain Village

I'm not sure if this sign in Stone Mountain Village is vintage or recent

Rooftops seen from the library in Lilburn, where we stopped so I could visit the euphimism

Same as above, except this is looking across at where the Chick-Fil-A is

The outside of the antique store in Old Town Lilburn

Books in the antique store in Old Town Lilburn

Geometry in the antique store in Old Town Lilburn

Lots of miscellaneous stuff in the antique store in Old Town Lilburn (you can also see Jessica in the mirror on the right side)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Roswell with Jessica

Today Jessica and I went to Roswell (Georgia, not New Mexico) to walk around and take pictures. Here are some of the pictures I took:

We didn't eat here, or even go in, but I liked their fa├žade and sign

This decorative wall was outside the antiques & interiors store, and I believe hid the air conditioning units

"If I ever left my house without my walking stick
That would be something I could never explain"

detail on an old (and very expensive) mantel in the antiques & interiors store

This is the house where Anna lived, with her roommate Carolyn, when I first met her in 1999

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Cassiopeia and Starrllyle

We never intended to remain a one-cat family for long, and today we went to Gwinnett County's Bill Atkinson Animal Welfare Center (the animal control shelter) to adopt two new additions to our home. Their names are Cassiopeia (the more orange of the two; Casio for short) and Starrllyle (the lighter-colored cat; I think his full name is spelled with two R's and three L's, but mostly we just call him Lyle); they are three-month old brothers, and they're very sweet and also very curious about our house.

Here's one picture I took--of Elyse taking a picture of Lyle in Mom's office, within a few minutes of us arriving home and letting them out--and one picture Anna texted to me and four pictures Jessica texted to me throughout the afternoon:

Casio exploring Jessica's room

This is the one Anna sent me

Hale-Bopp is so far not amused to have two new cats living in our house, but we are confident that eventually she will warm up to them.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Elyse Goes Ballooning (sort of)

Elyse has been interested for some time in flying--not like a bird, which I'm pretty sure she accepts as impossible, but in an airplane or helicopter or hot-air balloon. Today she had the opportunity to get near one--hot-air balloon, that is--and even inside it, though not actually take it up, up and away. (I've been trying to figure out how to work a Fifth Dimension reference into this, and that's the best I can do. Sorry.)

The event took place in Jackson, Georgia, which is in the amusingly-named county of Butts, which is why it was called Butts Aglow. It involved hot-air balloons lighting up so that...well, I'll quote here from an article by Larry Stanford in the online edition of the Jackson Progress-Argus: "A balloon glow is when hot air balloons are set up and inflated, but anchored to the ground. The propane burners are ignited periodically to keep the balloons inflated with hot air. When night falls, the balloons glow like huge light bulbs or Chinese lanterns, given [sic -- I assume it should say "giving"] a spectacular display for the audience." (The whole article is here: Butts Aglow 2021)

Anyway, Elyse had a really good time. Here are some of the pictures Anna texted to me from the event:

Friday, July 30, 2021

Goodbye, Nazzie

This was not a good day.

Today we had to say goodbye to Nosfurratu, or Nazzie for short (though we could never all agree on the spelling of her full name or nickname). She got sick just a couple of days ago, and spent two days at the vet's office, but she just couldn't make it, she was too sick. She wouldn't eat and her body temperature kept going down and there was fluid in her chest and she was having trouble breathing.

We're devastated. She wasn't even three years old yet.

Goodbye, Nazzie. We were lucky to have you as our little fur girl for two and a half years.

Jess texted this picture to me back in March. I'm terribly sad that I won't get anymore of Jess's wonderful Selfies with Nazzie.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Two Views of Our Screened-In Back Porch

(A few weeks ago I wrote a post based around just a picture of the house I grew up in in Lilburn. Here's another one, except this is based on a different view of the house, and this time there are two pictures.)

I don't remember exactly when Dad and my uncle Richard (Scott's dad) built this screened-in porch on our house in Lilburn, but I remember the building of it well, even if I'm not sure when it was. But I think it must have been 1981 or 1982 -- I'm almost certain I was at least in middle school at the time, if not already in high school -- which means that for the first eight or nine years we lived there, there was no back porch. In my memory, that house always had a screened-in porch, even though I know that wasn't true. (Memory is often unreliable like that. I think I might have learned that in college; I don't remember.)(Do you see what I did there?)

We spent a lot of time out there, or at least I think we did. (If we didn't, then we should have.) In these pictures you can just make out the white and blue plastic and canvas table and chairs we had on the porch, at which we had summer lunches and the occasional game of Trivial Pursuit. I think there was also some wicker furniture too. And ceiling fans? I think so, but you can't tell in these pictures, and my memory doesn't fill them in. What I wish was true is that I spent a lot of time out there reading, and I know I did some, but I think even after this porch was built I still spent most of my time in my bedroom reading Piers Anthony and Clifford D. Simak novels and playing my guitar.

I do remember this, though: my fourteen-year-old self was in much better shape than I am now, forty years later (not surprisingly), and back then I could do something that I wouldn't even attempt now, which is to climb up on the gate of our chain-link fence, just beside the house (you can just barely see it in one of the pictures above), and pull myself up onto the roof. Some days I would take a book with me and a little plastic jug-shaped container of juice and sit up there on the porch roof -- which was pitched at a more comfortable angle than the rest of the roof-- and read for a while. Whether this is something I just did a couple of times or something I did every day for a whole summer I'm not sure. I outgrew the habit (probably pretty quickly because I imagine it was hot up there, even if it does seem like a cool thing to do).

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Buford Highway Recollections: Another Book Post

Book Nook as it appears now, in its current location on North Druid Hills road

In the early 1980s, my cousin and friend Scott and I would go on book-buying trips down Buford Highway once a month or so. (At least I remember it as being that often and that regular. Maybe it's something we only did three or four times…but I remember it as being every month or so for a period of a year or so. Also, for me they were book-buying trips, but I think Scott was actually more interested in looking for records.) Sometimes we'd go on a Saturday, sometimes on a weekday afternoon after school—most of the time when this was a regular event for us, we were both still in high school at Berkmar, me in ninth or tenth grade and him in eleventh or twelfth.

The high spot of these trips was Book Nook. Back then it used to be where Clairmont intersects Buford Highway. (Some years ago, it moved to—and still occupies—a building on North Druid Hills, which is fine, and I still go there two or three times a year, but I liked the old location better.) Book Nook was a large used bookstore with a great SF/fantasy section, and probably quite a lot of other types of books, too, but I don't remember because I never looked anywhere else. I do remember, though, that you had to go by—or was it through?—the comic books to get to the SF bookcases. (Book Nook is still a large used bookstore, and it still has a pretty good SF/fantasy section, but now when I go there I also go to several other sections, and also in their current location you don't have to go through the comic books to get to the science fiction shelves.)

When I was in high school, I used to go to the library during my study hall period and look at the original 1977 Science Fiction Encyclopedia—still my favorite edition, primarily because of the illustrations, which were omitted from the mid-90s update. I loved that book; I read more about science fiction than I actually read science fiction. Sometime in the mid-80s, a year or two after Scott and I had pretty much stopped going on our Buford Highway excursions, on a Book Nook visit with my first girlfriend, Laura, I found a copy of the Encyclopedia, and I pounced on it, though I was (and still am) a little disappointed that it didn't have the dust jacket. I can't remember how much it cost, or whether I was able to buy it right away or if I had to go back later (hoping all the while that no one else had gotten to it before me, I'm sure) with the right amount of money. More than thirty years later, I still love that book.

Besides Book Nook, there were at least two other places Scott and I would go regularly. One of them was also a used bookstore; I remember going there one afternoon and finding a copy of Harlan Ellison's landmark anthology Dangerous Visions and thinking I'd found a real prize. I realized years later that it was just a cheap and fairly common book club edition, but I still have that copy, and have read…oh, maybe a fourth of it in the thirty-five years since I bought it. (I've always been guilty of spending more money buying books than time reading them.)

Three books I still have that I know I bought at bookstores along Buford Highway in the 1980s

The other store I remember Scott and me going to on Buford Highway was primarily a used record store—I remember Scott buying an ABBA record there once—but they might have had used books too. I can vaguely picture the inside of the store, but not its location along Buford Highway. I can also remember the owner of the store, as he rang up Scott's ABBA record, telling him about how the members of ABBA spoke no English and learned all their songs phonetically but didn't know what they were singing. Scott just nodded and said, "Oh, really, that's interesting," but as soon as we left the store he told me that was a load of crap (which I'm pretty sure I already knew).

I recall one time on a Saturday Scott and I had lunch at the McDonald's that was near Book Nook, and as we ate, Mike Beaty and Toni Pecoraro, two guys we knew from Berkmar, came in. Mike had a huge afro—look at Neal Schon on the back of a late 70s Journey album—and Tony had shoulder length hair. The both played guitar and were in a band together. I know now that they were just a couple of teenagers, not very different from any other teenagers, but at the time I thought they were rock stars. I don't remember if we talked to them, or if they even acknowledged our presence.

I still occasionally drive down Buford Highway, usually just for nostalgia's sake, since all the book stores and used record stores are now long gone (or, thankfully, moved elsewhere in the case of Book Nook). Sometimes it makes me happy just to be there, since I have so many great memories of that time in my life, and of those book-buying trips with Scott. Sometimes it makes me sad that the area has changed so much, and sadder still that I can't be fifteen again, heading out with Scott to drive down Buford Highway.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Self Portrait with Ennui

or, Rainy Tuesday with Nowhere To Go

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Throwback Thursday: The Blogger as a Cub Scout

I was a Cub Scout for a whole year—or at least much of a school year, if not actually a whole calendar year. I quit way before I ever had a shot at going from the minor leagues of the Cub Scouts to the big leagues of the Boy Scouts, and I don't regret not participating longer. Every once in a while I have a student who includes in their "About Me" post at the beginning of the semester the fact that they were—or are—an Eagle Scout, and that's great for them, but it doesn't bother me that I never was. I can't tie a Shawshank knot or pitch a tent in fifteen seconds or tell at a glance which mushrooms are edible and which are not, and I'm okay with that. I don't like mushrooms anyway. (Besides, ALL mushrooms are edible. Some of them will, however, kill you.) I do know that, had I stayed in the Cub Scouts, the next level up within the Cub Scouts—not in the Boy Scouts, but the Cub Scouts—was actually called Webelos, which is awfully close to Weebles—"Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down"—and maybe that's part of why I dropped out. I mean, seriously, if you want a nine-year-old kid to continue in your organization, don't threaten him with a dumb-ass title like "Webelo."

Here I am in my uniform, sometime in 1976. There's no date written on the photograph, but I know it was 1976 because the strongest association I have of the Cub Scouts—along with some vague recollections of Den meetings at our Den Leader's house (I'm not sure what should really be capitalized here, so I'm just going to use initial caps on anything that sounds officious or official)—is of marching with my Den in Lilburn's Bicentennial Parade. Although, to be honest, I don't actually "remember" that, I just know it is a fact of my past: I marched in Lilburn's Bicentennial Parade with my Cub Scout Troop. We have a picture or two from that day, but I don't truly have any memories of it.

The only true memory I have of my time in the Cub Scouts is participating in the pinewood derby, a wood-model-car race—or maybe it was the space derby, which is basically the same thing except instead of cars on the ground you race balsa-wood rocket/space ship things suspended on fishing line. I vaguely remember working on my car, or rocket, but what I really remember is going to a church in Lilburn—it's now Calvary Baptist Church, but I'm sure it wasn't called that then—for the actual race. (It's the big church on the right as you're going down Lawrenceville Highway toward Lilburn Square, where the Lilburn-Tucker Cinema used to be.) I don't have any idea how my car, or rocket, did in the race (though if I'd won I'm sure I would remember that), but I do remember that at that time I was reading The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, which is I think the fourteenth Three Investigators book, and now whenever I drive by that church in Lilburn, which is several times a year, I think about that book, and about going to the church for the pinewood derby (or space derby, whichever). (And about misusing the word "vigil," a word I learned from that Three Investigators book, one day when I was trying to impress Jarrod Parker with my vocabulary in Mrs. Osteen's fourth grade class—but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Maybe the best thing that came out of my brief association with the Cub Scouts was my subscription to Boys’ Life magazine, which I'm pretty sure extended two or three years past my membership in the Cub Scouts. I enjoyed reading Boys’ Life—a magazine which still exists, and which is published by the Boy Scouts of America for its members; it has apparently been renamed Scout Life, a change I don't care for—more than I enjoyed being a Cub Scout. I read the joke page, Think & Grin, of every issue thoroughly, memorizing some of what I considered the best jokes. (I still know some of them today, more than forty years later.) I remember when they started serializing a comic version of Robert A. Heinlein's Between Planets, though I didn't read it. (These days it wouldn’t be described as a "comic version," it would be called a "graphic novel," but thankfully that term hadn't been invented back then.) Nor did my subscription last through the end of that serialization; somewhere in there my subscription to Boys’ Life was replaced with a subscription to Guitar Player magazine, which was more enjoyable, and more appropriate, to the fifteen-year-old me. Now I remember the two magazines with equal fondness. (When I actually read the Heinlein novel a few years later, I thought immediately of Boys’ Life magazine, but that association didn't last long.)

Before I close this musing, I need to say a few things about that living room. This picture is forty-five years old, and I haven't lived in that house for thirty years, and I'd forgotten that the fireplace hearth was just a big old block of concrete. I remember the dark brown wood of the fireplace and mantle, though, and the black metal of the firebox, and those candles and the ceramic turtle up on the mantle. In the middle of the mantle is a black case, which I think was the case for the very camera my mother used to take this picture. On the right side of the frame there's a red chest of drawers, which I remember well, with a bowling trophy one top of it. Not long after this, my uncle Wayne would build some shelves into that space for us, and eventually there would be quite a few bowling trophies on those shelves.

And here's something I remember very well about this scene: there's a knot-hole in the fireplace—in this picture you can see it as a little circle a bit past half-way up the frame, beneath the mantle and pretty close to the left edge of the picture—and when I was a kid I would push things into that hole so they would fall into the hollow space behind the wood. Mostly I put bits of paper back there, candy and gum wrappers and things like that; I had the idea that they might be discovered years later when the house was renovated or demolished. And for all I know, they will be—or perhaps already have been, if the current owners have altered the fireplace. I would love to be able to comb through the debris back there and see if I wrote any notes and dropped them through that little hole. I can easily imagine the ten-year-old me writing a note for posterity and depositing it in that hole.

This is one of the longest posts I've ever written, but I'm about to extend it even further: here's a picture of me and my Cub Scout Den—the picture of me and my Cub Scout Den; I don't know if there are any others—marching in the Lilburn Bicentennial Parade:

I'm the left-most Cub Scout in the picture, and our Den Leader—I don't remember her name, or anyone else's name—is right beside me. I'm not sure who the green-uniform-and-red-beret-wearing guy behind me is.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Tybee Island Beach 2021

This week we went for a brief--Tuesday through Thursday for me and Jessica; Tuesday through Friday for Anna and Elyse--vacation to Tybee Island. We actually stayed in a cabin on Skidaway Island (in Skidaway Island State Park), but the main interest (for Anna and Elyse, at least) was the beach at Tybee Island, though we did also go for a few-hours-long trip into Savannah (mostly to visit River Street Sweets and get some candy).

Here are a whole bunch of pictures I made on the trip (plus one Anna texted to me), starting with the walk down the municipal pier on Tybee Island Beach and including a few pictures of our cabin:

The cabin's loft, in which the kids slept

Elyse up in the loft

The view from the loft

Wednesday morning Anna and Elyse went on a dolphin-watching boat tour; Anna texted this picture to me when they arrived at the place for the tour.

I took this picture from the parking deck on Wednesday afternoon when we went to Savannah.

Thursday morning we went to the beach early,  arriving before 8:00 so we could get a good parking spot (and have some time at the beach before the rain started). There were already some people there:

Jessica and I came home Thursday afternoon. We stopped for supper at the DQ in Wrightsville, which, it turns out, is almost exactly halfway home. (That was nice to find out but unplanned.) Jessica wanted me to take a picture of the church across the street, being sure to get the DQ sign in the frame:

Jessica and I went through a terrible thunderstorm in Covington around 9:30, but we were home by 10:30. Anna and Elyse got home today (Friday) a little before 1:00.