Ah, a Minnesota blizzard

Video showing how miserable it was to be out walking in today’s blizzard.

Today WeatherGrrrl and I walked from the house up to UMM for our radio show (about 1.5 miles each way). When we left at about 11:15am it was a little cold and blowy, but nothing spectacular. When the show ended at 2pm, however, the forecast blizzard had rolled in with all of its pointy teeth sharpened and ready for business.

We actually considered punting the walk back and tried calling Morris transit, but they didn’t answer (turns out they shut up shop at 12:30pm on Sundays), so we bundled up and trekked out in our best imitation of Shackleton. At about the half-way point we ducked into the Morris (movie) Theatre to warm up a bit and re-arrange our scarves, and then we cut through the “mall” for a another bit of respite. The last few blocks were arguably going to be the worst, because (a) we’d cross the railroad tracks, where there’s nothing blocking the north wind for farther than modern telescopes can reach, and (b) we’d ve heading several blocks due north, straight into the teeth of the wind. (Much of the walk up to that point had been west, so sideways to the wind.)

Just after crossing the tracks, Timna drove past, pulled around, and offered us a ride. A TOTAL LIFESAVER! Normally, I’d be all “Oh, I’m just a few blocks from the house, blah, blah, thanks a ton, etc.”, but in this case neither Sue nor I hesitated one teeny bit :-)

The video is basically the walk from the corner of our block, after we were dropped of, up to the front door, and in the lonely little minute documented here my fingers became painfully cold outside of their gloves.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure we moved here voluntarily. 22.5 years ago. And are extremely happy. But right now a warm, sandy beach wouldn’t go awry.

Not even a little bit.

And thanks again to Timna for the lift. That’s part of why living in Morris is so nice!

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Such a gift: 24 years with WeatherGrrrl

One of Sue's cool art books
One of Sue’s cool art books

…a commodity has value and a gift does not. A gift has worth. – Lewis Hyde

Tomorrow (24 June) marks the 24th anniversary of our marriage!

There are so many things I’m grateful for, and no way to enumerate them or document them here, so I’ll settle for an example.

Among her many “strangely inventive” artistic talents, Sue makes books. Wonderful, handmade books, where she cuts and folds all the paper, sews together the signatures, builds the cover, and glues it all together. Some of these are displayed in galleries, while others (such as the one pictured here) are notebooks or journals filled with blank pages inviting us to share our thoughts in word or sketch.

For the past several years, Sue has made such journals as high school graduation gifts for our and, more substantially, Tom’s friends in that year’s graduating class. As he moves on to college, the numbers are beginning to contract, but over the years she’s made many dozens of these books, often for people we didn’t actually know terribly well. That’s a lot of work, constructing by hand an object whose future is far from certain. She is, after all, making blank books, in an age where the future of books is at best unclear, an age where most are far more likely to send a text message or post on a blog [I’M LOOKING AT ME!] than to write a letter or keep a journal on paper.

Thus these are, in the true sense that Hyde means in the opening quote, gifts. As handcrafted pieces of art, they have clear worth, but their value (and how they are valued by the recipients) is quite uncertain.

Yet she keeps making them. In a flurry of activity every May between the end of the University school year and the high school graduation she cuts and folds and glues and frets. She picks out different papers to use as covers, and has Tom give her feedback on which covers would make the most sense for which graduate. She increases the worth of the world (if not its value) through these gifts, each of which is in fact a multiple gift. It is obviously a gift to the graduate, but this effort is also a gift to our son, and a thank-you to the families of these students who have been important to him.

And, to the point of all this, these are also a gift to me. For while each of these books is made by her and is officially a gift from Thomas, her work enriches us all and the glow it casts as it goes out into the world reflects back on our whole family even if it was her hands that did all the sewing.

So I say “Thank You”, for this and the untold gifts large and small that she has shared with me. It has been a truly splendid 24 years together, and I look forward to many more decades to come!

With all my love,

     – Nic

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