This has probably been the longest interval I’ve gone without writing. A lot has happened to keep me pre-occupied, but it’s no excuse.

  1. Abby had a healthy pregnancy, a wonderful baby shower, but a bit of a scary delivery. We were all happy to welcome Atlas Weiss, delivered just one day before Abby and Ryan’s One Year Anniversary.

    I tend to get anxious around other’s new newborns. They seem so fragile! After he was about a month old, I was more comfortable holding him. At two months we got the benefit of seeing him smile. Now at three months we can definitely see those Bilik cheeks and the occasional Bilik pout. Atlas Smiling

  2. This was followed by a couple of visits by extended family. My Dad visited in mid October and in late October Michelle’s sister, Maria, visited for a long weekend.

  3. During Maria’s visit I got a message that an old friend and longtime parishioner with me at St. Patricks had passed away. On the morning of November 3rd, I attended his funeral.

    That evening I wasn’t feeling well and the Friday (next day) afterwards I called in my first sick day in about two+ decades. My twin sons were not used to seeing me just stay at home in bed and later give them a twenty to grab themselves some dinner. They have no memories of Papa ever being sick. Dealing with allergies, sure, but not seriously sick since Abby was a toddler.

  4. I did shake the majority of the illness in about 36 hours or so. For the next five or six weeks, I had a cough that kept lingering. I avoided Mass for about a month because of how fearful recent events have made anyone when they hear someone coughing. I’ve been happy these past few weeks to be able to attend Mass more regularly, but still haven’t gotten back into my usual routines of almost daily. I hope to get that back to normal in this new year.

  5. Timothy and I did some tentative planning about his winter break. Due to some scheduling conflicts, instead of me meeting up with him in the Midwest, he flew from Rapid City back to Boston. While it’s been a quiet break, I did take two weeks off from work so I have plenty of time to hangout with my kids.

  6. I got not just one but two very different phones to tinker with over this time period. The first was a Microsoft Surface Duo. It’s a split screen phone in a 360 degree clamshell design. I was encouraged because even though it’s a couple of years since it launched, Microsoft had updated it to a more current version of Android (version 12L). And being not the bleeding edge, it was very affordable. Microsoft Surface Duo For anyone who lives in a world of both Google and Microsoft services, this is a great gadget. The whole Google tool suite and the Microsoft Office suites both work well and come mostly pre-installed. After I’d tried it for a month or so, I decided to give it to Timothy because at his college, they do a lot of Microsoft and Google based work.

    The second was completely the other way. It’s a minimalist type Android phone: the Unihertz Jelly 2E. This model has a few unique features. It’s currently about $160. It’s tinier than even the first generation of iPhone. In area it’s about the size of a credit card but it is thicker than most contemporary phones. Ya' gotta put that battery somewhere. It is pretty current on its version of Android (version 12 at the moment). It can run just about any Android app, but due to it’s diminutive size, you’ll probably just want to stick with phone, messages, and audio apps. In a world where phones often stick way out from a pocket, this thing tucks away in plenty of places. I may move the Home Line from my old Pixel 2 to this lil’ device. Unihertz Jelly2E

  7. It’s been years since I’d deleted my Twitter and later my Facebook accounts. Lately though I’ve been really enjoying a distributed network (‘Federated’ if you want to be technical) protocol called Mastodon. If you think of how Email can be associated with,,,, etc. that’s the way it is with Mastodon. It’s not silo’d like Twitter, or Facebook, etc. You can follow anyone within the entire Mastodon network, but also you can just see what’s going on with your host’s server. I like that there’s no “algorithm” trying to bias what you should and should not see and any moderation rules are all local to the host.

    There are many such Mastodon servers, often based on some common community or interest. For instance, ever since Elon bought Twitter, many journalists have been aggregating to a host that serves primarily journalists and their worldview. I joined a host with some skepticism about big government, pharma, media, military contractors, etc. It’s been a lot of fun and a great source of info and memes. Meanwhile I can still see Mastodon posts by folks I want to follow on other servers with interests in Android, Linux, Emacs, and other tech topics. As I said, it’s a bit like Email that way.

  8. Since I took these two weeks off, I decided to try some new recipes. Until yesterday, I’d done no weekly grocery shopping. I’d just go in every morning and get whatever I needed for the recipes I was going to make that night. Alas with work resuming soon, it was once again time to “stock up”.

  9. It’s been over a year now since I had the roof stripped and replaced with a standing seam metal roof. I still love the look of it [reminds me of many Vermont homes] and how snow rarely sticks long after a storm. It does mean that I often get to shovel again the day after a storm, but it comes with the territory. At least the weight of the snow doesn’t last long on my roof.

    Another downside is that I need to re-work some of the other infrastructure. The gutters had to be removed when that roof was put on and so now there is more dripping off the roof. I had our old builder-grade, particle-board garage doors taken out and replaced with nice insulated metal doors with windows near the top. All the old white wood trim boards around the house were stripped out and replaced with white PVC boards that won’t care if they occasionally get wet and won’t need painting. I had the siding power washed. Lastly for the holiday season, I had professionals install custom Christmas lights. Next Spring I’ll focus on the decks and porches, hopefully upgrading them to composite boards.

    Christmas Lighting on the House