Monday, December 30, 2019

Evanston: collision: the best year ever

I have wondered in this journal how in this technological age when positions are known precisely in all kinds of weather ships can still run into one another.  I thank Jason for a link to a long article that provides the answer, part of which is the technology itself, part the human interface with the technology, part human error, and as almost always a series of small failures that cascade into disaster.

An article in the NY TIMES makes the surprisingly good case that 2019 has been the best year ever.

Not having taken any photos of interest lately, or hardly any at all, I am running as an antidote to the gray overcast and intermittent sleet and snow outside our windows a repeat above of  two fish who followed THE HAWKE OF TUONELA for several days across the South Atlantic ten years ago.

Here is a version in Apple’s Silvertone.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Evanston: a serendipitous meeting; two quotes; two movies; and a big wave

Tom, who Baby, the sea beagle,  permits to steer her boats, is in Ireland and sent me the above seen on the wall of the Temple Bar in Dublin.

Here is the author.

I have never been to Ireland.  Obviously I should go.

I count at least three Welsford Parthfinder builders/sailors as friends:  Tom and FIRST LIGHT; Steve and SPARTINA; and Rik and VANESSA.  I know Tom and Steve personally: Rik who lives on Aruba by email.

Yesterday Rik who is visiting Key West and reads Michael’s Key West Diary was walking trough town and recognized Michael’s faithful companion, Rusty, from photos Michael has run and then Michael himself.  Michael wisely runs far more Rusty photos than Michael photos.  I smile as I write about the chance serendipitous meeting of two of my friends in a distant town.

From a NY TIMES review of 1917, a movie I want to see, comes this quote from Albert Camus:

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, though the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

A few nights ago Carol and I rented ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD from iTunes and found it enjoyable, unusual and original.  Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting is outstanding.  Brad Pitt is good, but has a less demanding role.

The next night we went to see LITTLE WOMEN.  I have seen reviews that say the movie is not just for women.  I disagree.  I also saw an article this morning that says men are being sexist when they are not interested in the film.  I disagree again.  And Carol shares that opinion.   I have never read the novel.  Carol did in school where it was required.

The film is well acted, well filmed and well directed.  I am aware that women still do not earn equal pay for equal work, which is absurd, but the idea that women can be intelligent, independent and creative is hardly news.  I think LITTLE WOMEN is not just for women, but for women who are far behind the times.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Evanston: Louise

Last Friday I received an email that Louise, my oldest friend in terms of how long I had known her, had died.  She had been seriously ill for years, so this was not entirely unexpected, but the fact came as a shock.  

I had known Louise for a half a century, ever since we worked in the same State of California office building in the late 1960s.  She was a social worker who spent most of her career on child welfare cases.

Like me, Louise was a Midwesterner, but also like me she thought  beyond the Midwest and even the United States and saw the world.  She was three months younger than I, born appropriately on Valentine’s Day for there were many men in her life.

I expect that the year she enjoyed the most was the one she spent as a Red Cross Volunteer in Vietnam at the height of that unfortunate war.  She was there under artillery fire during the Tet Offensive.

Louise knew tragedy in the early deaths of close relatives and some of the men she cared for, many of whom were in the military.

With her interest and skill in photography, I once suggested that she would have been a good war photographer.  She laughed and said as we both knew she was not the most athletic of people and would have been too slow to take cover.

Despite diabetes and congestive hearth failure, Louise continued to travel after her retirement, often grueling flights to the other side of the world, as long as she could.  She had special fondness for Asia and Africa.

Louise and I always stayed in touch.  She lived in San Diego all the time I knew her and when I was there we got together for lunch.  During the five years I was making the GANNET circumnavigation, her health declined, preventing travel, and eventually causing her to be confined to her suburban condo.  We last had lunch together there a few months ago.  She had the food delivered and I stayed two hours before she tired.  She recently mentioned in an email that was the last face to face conversation she had had.

Louise had the talent of all good photographers of seeing the moment, as she did in the above photo taken in Egypt in 2007.  

I will remember her.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Evanston: the year, the decade, sea change

The news is filled these days with lists and observations about the best and worst of the closing year and decade which have caused me to consider what the decade has meant for me.

Most obviously I made my sixth circumnavigation in the supurb GANNET.  I had to check the lists page on the main site to see that I also published two books early in the decade, THE FIFTH CIRCLE and SHADOWS.  I wrote GANNET’s passage logs which could become a book—I have not yet decided—many magazine articles of which I have not kept track, four poems, one or which, ‘Ithaca, Illinois’ is certainly original and may be great, and this journal.

GANNET’s voyage means that I have now completed circumnavigations in five successive decades.  Two in the ‘00s.

I almost forgot that I received the Ocean Cruising Club’s Jester Medal and the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal.  I forgot because, while meaning no disrespect, I do not measure myself by awards and neither is on display in our condo.  When last seen one was in a desk drawer and the other a back closet.

I also gave some talks and speeches and at the request of others shot a lot of videos.  I even like some of them myself, perhaps particularly the two ‘end of being’ videos.

I have grown old and perhaps most significantly completed the second part of my life, being.  

As the decade began I was 68.  68 may or may not be old.  78 unquestionably is.  Despite in recent months having cracked a rib and caught a virus, I am in remarkably good health, take no medications, have normal blood pressure, a resting heart rate in the 40s, and still can and do more than my age in push-ups and crunches.

On the down side I went totally blind in my right eye this decade and also now wear hearing aids.

Whatever my other achievements, I have stayed married to Carol.

I sailed a little over 7,000 miles this year, almost all of them in February, March and April.  

Above is GANNET’s Yellowbrick track from Hilton Head, South Carolina to San Diego, California.  Studying it I see us being blown back while lying ahull in a gale a few days out of Hilton Head and I see those dots representing positions at six hour intervals frequently become solid masses as we were becalmed out of Panama, and the tacks the last more than a thousand miles.

Not all months are equal.  Here is the Yellowbrick track of the sailing I have done in the last seven months.

Regular readers will know that I love being in San Diego and that GANNET has chanced into a perfect dock position, but I am ready for a sea change and I expect that this time next year GANNET will not be in San Diego, but either in New Zealand or Hilton Head.

I have written that the numbers have become something out of science fiction.  The year 2020.  Age 78.  I can hardly believe it.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Evanston: hell before breakfast; AirPod Pros again; John Clare

I have just finished reading the interesting and well written HELL BEFORE BREAKFAST which is about war correspondents in the last half of the Nineteenth Century.  I knew of a few of them before reading the book, but most I did not.  They were interesting, adventuresome men.  In addition to the wars they covered, the book also describes the circulation wars between the newspapers of the age.

The title comes from a quote by General Sherman who with some justification considering the lies they wrote about him despised reporters and when told one had died in battle said, “That’s good news!  We’ll have dispatches now from hell before breakfast.”

Our flights to and from Charlotte, NC last week were my first real opportunity to test the AirPod Pro’s noise cancellation and they passed admirably.  The noise cancellation is not quite as good as that on my Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones, but close enough considering the difference in size and convenience.  I even found squeezing the stem to switch from noise cancellation to what Apple calls ‘transparency’ where outside sounds are more easily heard without having to remove a Pod easy.

In IMMORTAL POETS I came across John Clare, whose work was unknown to me.   I like some of his poems very much.

Here is his, ‘I Am’ which was written in the Northampton County Asylum

I Am!

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows; 
My friends forsake me like a memory lost: 
I am the self-consumer of my woes— 
They rise and vanish in oblivious host, 
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes 
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed 

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, 
Into the living sea of waking dreams, 
Where there is neither sense of life or joys, 
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems; 
Even the dearest that I loved the best 
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest. 

I long for scenes where man hath never trod 
A place where woman never smiled or wept 
There to abide with my Creator, God, 
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, 
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie 
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
And here is a link to a longer poem, ‘The Badger’, which says as much about us as badgers.

I thank my Mission Bay marina neighbor, Kevin, for forwarding the above beautiful photo which carries a watermark of Evengy.Yorobe. Photography.  I will of course remove it if asked.

The photo is taken in line with GANNET’s view of the Sea World tower which is streamed with Christmas lights at this time of year.  The photographer caught the exact moment when the full moon became a tree top ornament.

A good time to wish all of you a pleasant holiday season and a splendid 2020.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Denver, NC: warmer water

An article about how Iceland’s fishing industry is being impacted by warmer ocean temperatures that result in fish moving farther north caused me to email Markus, an Estonian commercial fisherman and sailor with whom I have long corresponded, to ask if this has also been his experience.  He was at sea at the time and replied as below after he returned to port including the dramatic and beautiful photos above.  I thank him for permission to share them and his response with you..

Despite darkness, low temperatures and strong winds we managed to do quite well.

I have been trawl fishing on the southern part of the Bay of Bothnia for 9 years now. Compared with the North Atlantic it is almost like a lake. We can cross it in 12 hours looking for the baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras). There have been changes but it is hard to make any firm statements. Scientists claim the stock to be healthy and we can see the fish as well but it has become more and more difficult to catch them. There are nice shoals where the bottom is rocky and the depth gradient changes rapidly. There the fish can feel themselves comfortable as they are not threatened by our gear . It´s a game of hide and seek. We win when fish venture out to the underwater flatlands or during night rise high enough for us to catch them. Most of the time we lose.

10 years ago the 
Bay of Bothnia was completely frozen for 3 weeks during the winter, 2 years ago there was only a little bit of ice in the inner archipelago. During the colder years it was easier to catch as the fish moved into deeper waters in the middle of the bay. The quotas were also much smaller 10 years ago. ln 2008 fishermen were allowed to catch around 80000t. In 2015 it was 140000t which was far too optimistic as only 100000 was caught. For the next year 53000t of 
Bothnia´s herring is on the table for the Finnish fishermen. Good for me as I will most propably  have more time for sailing and other matters.

Of the photos:  As a matter of fact it looks much worse than it really was. It was blowing just around 30 knots but as we drive our ship named Olympos well ballasted she usually goes through not over the waves. It is bit more stable that way. Seas are short around here. I like how the sea and sky melts together on the picture. Dive-dive-dive! 

As you can see we have returned from the Biltmore Estate and fly back to the frozen flatlands tomorrow.

The Estate cost $6,000,000 to build in the 1890’s which is said to be the equivalent of 1.5 billion dollars today.  This is about what the world’s largest private home, the 27 story skyscraper in Mumbai, is said to have cost when completed in 2010.

The Biltmore winery has a sign stating that it is the most visited winery in the US and the wine bar is said to sell two million bottles of wine a year.  In our two days at the Estate the four of us consumed four of those bottles in addition to a free wine tasting.  All were good and surprisingly reasonably priced.  I recommend the Limited Release Malbec.

I thank Ernest for this quote from Richard Feynman:  Anyone who thinks they understand quantum mechanics, doesn’t.

A correction—and I am beginning to see a distressing pattern here.  I have been on Catalinas, specifically my friend, Larry’s, CORVAIR, a Catalina 34 MK 2, in fact more than once.  Both times were several years ago and I might be forgiven for forgetting by Larry’s generosity with Laphroaig.

I think I may also have once been on a Catalina 30.

I have not sailed on one.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Biltmore Estate: an American castle

The Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate is said to the the largest private home in the United States and the second largest in the world, exceeded only by Antilles, in Mumbai, India, which is a 27 story skyscraper costing more than one billion dollars, belonging to an oil and gas tycoon.  The Biltmore is quite large enough.  To someone who can happily live on GANNET it is overwhelming.

Every surface is ornamented and thousands of drawings and paintings hang on the walls of its corridors and 250 rooms.  So many that it is difficult to focus on any one.  However the audio tour did point of this print of a rhinoceros by Albrecht Durer, who presumably never saw one.  Note the second horn on its back.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Denver, NC: beyond me; precocious; swing keels

From time to time I try to read about quantum mechanics.  I usually understand the words, but I utterly fail to understand quantum mechanics.  Perhaps I am not alone.

Yesterday the NY TIMES ran an article part of which is about what may have been a recent epoch changing event.

Last month, at a lab in Santa Barbara, Calif., a team of Google researchers reached a milestone that some compared to the first flight at Kitty Hawk. They reached “quantum supremacy,” building a quantum computer that needed only 3 minutes 20 seconds to perform a calculation that today’s computers couldn’t finish in 10,000 years.

The article proceeds to provide answers from experts to the question what is a quantum computer “that anyone can understand.”  Being entitled to be included in ‘anyone’, I can declare conclusively that they failed.

Here is a link to the article for you to decide for yourself.

Last evening Barry, my brother-in-law and I went out to get Chinese food for all those gathered here.  The pleasant Chinese lady behind the counter who recognized Barry said, “Oh, is this your father?”  Barry laughed and said no.  

Barry is 67 and does look younger.  I am 78.  To be his father I would have had to have been extremely precocious.  

You may now refer to me as ‘Gramps’.  Don’t be disappointed if I don’t respond.

A comment on one of my videos strangely appears in my email account but not on the YouTube page where I could respond to it, so in hopes that D Douglas reads this  I will answer here.

What are your, or anyone's, thoughts on taking a Catalina 25 Swing Keel offshore? I mean like Bermuda and beyond offshore. I also understand a rigging upgrade is in the offing but primarily wondering about a swing keel configuration in nasty blows. Had I to do it over I believe I would have gotten a full keel yet, it is what it is.

All my boats except CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE have had fixed fin keels.  That would still be my choice for going offshore.  However, CT had a centerboard and was unballasted.  She sailed more than 20,000 miles and crossed the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  I know of a Catalina with a swing keel that circumnavigated.  I do not recall if it was a 25 or a 27.

I believe that my sailing experience proves beyond doubt that small boats can cross oceans, but I don’t believe that all can.  What is critical is that they be well designed, well built, and well sailed.

I have never sailed or even been on a Catalina so have no opinion as to whether they meet those criteria.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Denver, North Carolina: visiting

I ran a similar photo many years ago.  It is the view from our bedroom window at Carol’s sister’s home overlooking a cove on Lake Norman just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.  

All of Carol’s family has gathered here this weekend.  Her parents and her older sister and brother in law who live here and her two younger brothers and we various spouses.  

We will drive on Tuesday to spend two days at the Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate in Ashmore.  Neither Carol nor I have been there.

My rather admirable virus finally vanquished I am again feeling strong.  I am ambivalent about inspiring others, but I am a living fact that feeling strong at 78 can be an expected norm.  And while I am clearly in the last part of my life, I am not yet used up.

2019 has been a significant year in my life.  I completed my sixth circumnavigation, something I don’t believe any of the other more than seven billion Homo Sapiens on the planet could claim.  And I completed the ‘being’ part of my life.

It is also possible that none of the other seven billion misnamed Homo Sapiens have understood their lives as they have lived them as well as I have understood mine.

I do not know where GANNET will be a year from now.

I have my preference, which might surprise you, but I will adapt to whatever happens.

Smile, fool, and sail on.

I first wrote that more than forty years ago.  I stand by it now.

If you do not recognize the words  from STORM PASSAGE you might read the book.

Friday, December 6, 2019


I thank Jay’s daughter who brought the 2013 Academy Award winning documentary, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, to Jay’s attention, and I thank Jay for bringing it to mine.  

The Sugar Man of the title is the singer Rodriquez who is said to have been the greatest 70s rock icon who never was.  His albums did not sell in the United States and he was forgotten here, but copies somehow reached South Africa where, unknown to himself, he was bigger than The Rolling Stones.

Almost no details were known about his life.  It was rumored that he had committed suicide, possibly on stage either by shooting himself or lighting himself on fire.  A South African journalist decided to try to unravel the mystery.  This excellent film is about that quest.

Until Jay wrote me about it, I did not know of the film or Rodriquez.  I watched SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN yesterday and am still enthused.  It is the most enjoyable film I have watched in a long time.  I liked it considerably more than THE IRISHMAN.

I am not going to say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the experience for you.  I watched on Netflix.  SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN can be rented from several sources, including iTunes and Amazon.  If you watch, I guarantee you, too, will want to thank Jay’s daughter and Jay.

As Steve pointed out initially the previous post was headed ‘San Diego’.   Obviously anyone who misplaces himself by two thousand miles is senile.  I am in Evanston.  Therefore obviously I am senile.  I thank Steve for alerting me and have made the correction.

In that post I predicted that Apple will use the AirPod Pros to take over the hearing aid industry.  I have since learned that there is already a hearing aid function which Apple calls ‘Live Listen’.  It uses your phone to collect and amplify sound that is then transmitted to the AirPods.  I have set it up but not yet utilized it.  Certainly this is only the first step.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Evanston: in 60; article added; AirPod Pros; once too many

Why I Sail’ has been added to the articles page.

I also added to the page of photos of the old sailor the image now on the home page of the site.

 In doing so I glanced at the other photos, including the only one extant of me taken before 1974,  It was copied by someone else from our high school yearbook.  So from this

To this in sixty years.  Or by other measurement, one butterfly cough.

The white things hanging from my ears are AirPod Pros which arrived a few days ago and are called by some revolutionary.

I kept coming across superlative reviews of them and in my ongoing quest to make things ever simpler and smaller I ordered some.  I am impressed and pleased.

The Pros are new and differ from the original AirPods in several ways.  They are said to have better sound.  Not having ever used the originals, I personally cannot say, but the sound is very good.  Remember again that this is coming from an old man who needs hearing aids, but it is also the almost universal opinion of tech reviewers.  The stems on the Pros are shorter.  And perhaps most significantly the Pros have noise reduction.

Here is a link to a useful review.

With the latest IOS update you can run a test to determine if the pods are seated properly and you can switch noise reduction and what Apple calls ‘transparency’ on and off.  You can also do this by squeezing the pod stems, but I find this awkward.

AirPod Pros cost $249.  That is not cheap, but it is cheap when compared to my hearing aids which cost ten times more.  In switching from my hearing aids to the AirPod Pros and back again the thought came to me that in the near future Apple will add outside sound amplification to the AirPod Pros and take over the hearing aid industry.  That will be fine with me.

Carol and I finished watching THE IRISHMAN last evening.  With a length of three and a half hours,  the film warrants an intermission.

THE IRISHMAN is well done, acting—especially Joe Pesci, writing, directing; but both Carol and I came away with the sense that this was one trip to the well too many.  Scorsese’s GOODFELLAS and  CASINO and THE GODFATHER trilogy and others have covered this territory and perhaps exhausted it.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Evanston: sunk ships; butterfly; noble words

In a NY TIMES article about the lives of Philippine crew men on commercial ships are three interesting statistics.  First that 90% of the world’s trade moves on ships.  Second, the 400,000 Philippine sailors comprise 25% of all the world’s 1.6 million commercial seamen.  Third, in the past ten years 1,036 ships have sunk.  

The last most surprises me.  I had no idea the number is so high.  That is slightly more than 100 ships each year or about one every three days.

I have written that our lives are as brief as a butterflies’ cough.  From MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL comes another butterfly measurement.

Writing of the bomb detonated over Hiroshima:  The bomb itself was extremely inefficient:  just one kilogram of the uranium underwent fission, and only seven hundred milligrams of mass—the weight of a butterfly—was converted into energy.  But it was enough to obliterate an entire city in a fraction of a second.

I have now listened to Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album, THANKS FOR THE DANCE, several times with ever increasing appreciation of the songs and the manner of his death.  Despite suffering he continued to write extraordinary music to the end.

I particularly admire the final lines of The Goal:

No one to follow
And nothing to teach
Except that the goal
Falls short of the reach

Friday, November 29, 2019

Evanston: Chernobyl; paperless; rain

I first learned of Chernobyl when I saw the name in the headlines of a newspaper as I was walking through a subway station in Sydney, Australia.  Like almost everyone else at the time I had no understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.

For the past several days I have been immersed in Chernobyl.  

Carol watched the HBO series on business flights to San Francisco and back, and among the NY TIMES ten best books of the year is MIDNIGHT AT CHERNOBYL by Adam Higginbotham.  I bought the HBO series from iTunes and a Kindle edition of the book from Amazon and have watched and read, completing both yesterday.

Both series and book are excellent and compliment one another.  Both re-enforce my long held distrust of authority figures.  Both reveal the heroic—and I use the word sparingly—self-sacrifices of some and the deceitful self-serving egos of others.  Both reveal that the disaster could have been much, much worse and almost was.

Most television is like most political leaders beneath contempt.  If you live or die by appealing to the greatest possible audience your content must be stupid.  Rarely television achieves greatness.  The final words of the final episode of the HBO series about truth and lies are great.

I highly recommend both the HBO series, CHERNOBYL, and Higginbotham’s book, MIDNIGHT AT CHERNOBYL. 

I thank Carlos for a link to an article about NOAA’s plan to stop producing paper charts.

I am sure there will be ‘traditionalists’ who will complain.  As you know I will not be among them.  I don’t even recall when I last used or owned a paper chart.  You can download all NOAA charts for American waters for free directly into iNavX.  I prefer Navionics charts which cost $20 for all American waters, less than the price of a single paper chart.

Electronic charts are subject to a zoom complication.  Many hazards do not appear at all zoom levels.  This is known.  Any competent navigator will study his intended route in close detail before setting course.  Paper charts are the equivalent of cotton sails.  RIP.

I read that San Diego had its wettest Thanksgiving ever yesterday.  More than an inch of rain in the city.  Two or three inches to the north and inland and several inches of snow on Mt. Palomar.   Julian had over an inch of snow.  A few perhaps foolish drivers had to be rescued from vehicles trapped by floods.

San Diego gets a few winter storms, but in my memory they mostly occurred after January 1.  A storm last week.  A storm this week.  And the seven day forecast shows another due next week.  The sky is indeed falling.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Evanston: from others

I am not doing or thinking anything interesting, so permit me to share from friends who are.

The above photo was taken this dawn by Roger as he sipped his morning coffee on TRAVELER anchored behind Fenwick Island fifty miles from his home in Bluffton, SC, near Hilton Head, on the last day of his successful summer cruise from there north to New England and back with a changing crew including his wife, Laurie.

As do many of you Roger possesses skills I do not and beautifully built the roughly 40’ TRAVELER catamaran himself, including making his own carbon fiber mast, which is almost unheard of.

As I write Roger is underway.  He will tie up to his home dock later today with well earned satisfaction and perhaps slight regret that the cruise is over, any such regret tempered by the knowledge that the ocean is still there waiting for sailors to push away from the dock again.

From Michael comes:

Twenty and thirty knot wind is howling around our building.  Carol has already bought the making of our Thanksgiving dinner which she cooks magnificently.  We will spend a quiet day at home.  I will watch some football.  Accompanying the traditional feast will be a bottle of champagne.

I wish my fellow Americans a happy holiday.  I wish all of you a fine day wherever you are in the world.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Evanston: puppets

Leonard Cohen died three years ago.  Before his death I knew some of his music but I would not have recognized his name.  Since then I continually come across him.  Music.  On television.  A film.  BookBud offered a biography, I’M YOUR MAN, which I bought but have yet to read.

I have bought several of his albums.  YOU WANT IT DARKER, released only days before his death, is one of my favorites.

Last week I learned that his son has assembled and just released a posthumous album, THANKS FOR THE DANCE.  I bought it from iTunes on Friday and have listened to it a few times.

One of the songs, ‘Puppets’, may be as profound a song as he or anyone else has ever written.

Here is a link to a review of the album.

Here a link to a video of ‘Puppets’.

Here a link to the lyrics

My virus rallied on Saturday and, though I am improved, is still hanging on.  I do not admire its perseverance, 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Evanston: return to winter

The flight from San Diego was uneventful and arrived twenty minutes early.  My virus behaved itself and remained quiescent.  After arriving at our condo at 7:00 PM I showered and made a martini, which I drank while nibbling cheese and crackers and watching Thursday Night Football. 

When I woke this morning a few minutes before Carol’s alarm was due to go off at 5:10, I found the temperature outside to be 35º.  Although we have other heating, I light the gas fireplace when the temperature drops below 40º.  So I did.  Chicago has already been considerably colder than this and Carol has used the fireplace.  I checked and the flue was open.

The temperature dropped for the next couple of hours until it reached 32ºF/0C

I have resumed wearing socks and when I walked to the bank a couple of blocks away I wore a leather jacket and gloves.

The trees are bare.