Solstice -- 06/21/11

So here we are at the summer solstice...

I've always loved summer...

This may be from spending all those years in school from age five on... or maybe it is just the magic of warm summer nights and fireflies (or lightning bugs, whichever you prefer) and a gazillion stars across the sky and anything is possible... And yet I especially enjoy when the daylight lasts and lasts and the summer darkness comes so late.

When Nancy and I went straight to London from our wedding celebration (just two days until our anniversary) we were struck by how late the daylight and the twilight lasted... and it seems as if most times that I've been back to London since then has been in summer and I always love how twilight lingered and you could read a newspaper outside even as late as 9:30 or 10:00 in the evening. (My business travel to various interesting places around the world ended when I switched over to the education standards and practices team back in '03 and, actually, I've not been in England for more than a decade other than to change planes at Heathrow.)

Hey -- I saw my first firefly of the season Sunday night. Nancy and Jill and I were eating a late dinner out on our back deck (Jill didn't get out of work until after 8 p.m. and I'm afraid I've long ago outgrown my 1950s blue collar background and prefer not eating early.) We had finished eating and were just sitting there in the almost-summer night, sipping wine (well, Magic Hat #9 "Not Quite Pale Ale" for Jill) and talking when I caught a spark of light out of the corner of my eye -- a firefly in our backyard. (And then we went inside to catch the penultimate episode of A Game of Thrones.)

And here is my new toy...

A Lenovo ThinkPad T60 laptop -- factory refurbished -- at a very good price -- so I will not be tied down to my desk when I want to do some computing (or writing) this summer. (Photograph taken on our back deck a few minutes before six.) I've had a series of laptops that belonged to my employer since early in '98 -- or maybe '97? (at first, in addition to a desktop system, but then in place of a desktop machine) -- but this is the first laptop I've owned. (I'm the last in the family to get one -- Nancy has a Dell I bought her one year as a birthday present, Jill has a high-end Lenovo she bought for herself last year (high-end because she is a gamer and needs a powerful processor and a heavy duty graphics card) and Jeremy has a factory-refurbished Lenovo. For both of them, the laptops are in addition to their desktop machines. Well, for me as well, except my desktop machine is the oldest computer in the house. (How old? Well, more than eight years old. I expanded it a few years ago from 256 MB of RAM to a full gigabyte and then, more recently, replaced its 40 GB hard drive with a 240 GB drive.)

Do you get the impression that I am cheap? Just because my 1999 Toyota Corolla is the youngest car in the family? I prefer the word frugal. I bought it new in the fall of 1999 -- i.e., when the 2000 model year cars were available -- and so I got it for a really good price. Nancy's 1996 Toyota Camry was also purchased new -- and is still the preferred car if we are going to travel two or three or four hundred miles.

Oh, okay, cheap...

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