Enjoy the shortest day of the year because I’m looking forward to the longest, darkest night of the year – every amateur astronomers dream.
Today, my son, daughter-in-law and grandson are driving here from Texas. They left before dawn and we anticipate their arrival late this afternoon.
With the help of my daughter, who arrived earlier this week, my main floor living area is mostly baby proof. And the new furniture was delivered Thursday afternoon. And Friday, Rachelle setup the Christmas tree and last night over home-made pizza we decorated (or rather she decorated because she’s the artistic one).
Rachelle and I will spend part of the day shopping, taking advantage of her Costco membership to stock up on food she can eat (corn allergy) and for the rest of the family as well. While I have a Christmas goose in the freezer, I need to plan for other meals and sides. Instead of just Terry and I to feed, I’ll have three to four times that many to provide for.
So we are ready for family gathering and making new memories until we once again scatter back to our nests for the new year.
These are a few of my favorite things during the winter months and they add up to darker skies and brighter stars. This weekend also has a few things going for it, astronomically, and also happens to be Twelfth Night (tomorrow, January 5th) and Epiphany (the day after) commemorating the journey of the Three Wise Men guided by a Star in the East.
Friday, January 4
Although people in the Northern Hemisphere experienced the shortest day of the year two weeks ago (at the winter solstice December 21), the Sun has continued to rise slightly later with each passing day. That trend stops this morning for those at 40° north latitude†. Tomorrow’s sunrise will arrive at the same time as today’s, but the Sun will come up two seconds earlier Sunday morning. This turnover point depends on latitude. If you live farther north, the switch occurred a few days ago; closer to the equator, the change won’t happen until later in January.
† I’m just 68 miles south of the Kansas-Nebraska border, which juxtaposes with the 40th parallel. Weird fact discovered this morning via Google Maps: The Kansas Highway that is literally a block west of my house (K-7) ends at the border and turns into 666 Avenue (see map screenshot below). Continue reading “There’s a Star in the East”
Today is the 22nd of January and of 2016. I woke up this morning to a bitter cold Friday, to the prospect of working through most of the weekend. Not the best way to start your day. A huge project I’ve been involved with for many many moons is finally rolling out. So while I’m stressed beyond belief, I’m excited to finally be able to put this project in the completed bin come Monday morning. Then it’s on to the next “Big Thing,” er, project.
Stressful work-life aside, January wasn’t a complete loss for leisure. I’ve read a space opera that I liked, listened to an audiobook for a book club that was interesting, read my first graphic novel for another book club and read an ebook novella (click here to see what I’ve read so far this year). Continue reading “The Case of the Vanishing January”
The day after the Kansas City metro area got nearly a foot of snow dumped on it, I ventured out to return to work. Most of the local schools and some businesses remained closed that day, but not my employer or the employer of one of my other vanpool riders. On the commute home, I enjoyed watching some sun dogs playing around the sinking sun. My smartphone camera just doesn’t do them justice: