tree near my balconyfinding a new home:  After a long drive from Anaheim to Madison, in mid-September I found the kind of apartment I wanted — one bedroom on the top floor (3rd) with a balcony — in the neighborhood I wanted.  With a tree!  It was easy to decide “yes” so I could unload my totally full car, relax in my new home, breathe a sigh of relief, and enjoy.

doing what I want:  Since arriving I've continued being busy, but with a major difference.  In Anaheim, much of what I did was what I HAD to do, but now (in Madison) it's what I WANT to do, and this feels good.  I'm happy and thankful, settling into a new home I like and continuing my life on a road less traveled   {some projects – especially writing & meeting – that I want to do}

I.O.U. – Today I discovered that most end-of-page photos don't load, so tonight I'll find-and-fix the problem.

 

an option:  If you don't want to read about sports (or dogs) or a creative competition-format, you can skip ahead to "Anaheim vs Madison and Columbus" plus "Green & Orange, White & Green" and more, including lots of photos.


two wonderful dogs:  Mom & Dad were (and I am) lovers of dogs.  In 2006 they got a life-loving playful dog who looked like Toto from Kansas/Oz, and named him Kobe, like the Laker.  During his final two years, twice each day he danced with “no more pain” joy!  After the sad passing of this wonderful dog in May 2018, Mom & I got a new dog, fluffy-and-happy Zoë (in Greek her name means “life” and, like Kobe, she enthusiastically enjoys the simple pleasures of life) and I'm happy & thankful that she now has a wonderful new home, full of love and adventures, as you can see in the story of us (me, her, them) plus cute photos & videos.   /   I love dogs because they (well, most of them) are fun-and-loving, are good role models for joy-and-gratitude.  Life would be better if more people were more fun-and-loving!

 

the best in basketball:  I've always enjoyed sports (playing when younger, watching now) and September 15 (the second night in my new home) was the beginning of NBA's Final Four in 2020.  That afternoon I bought a 4k TV to watch it, using Sling Orange (for semifinals on ESPN & TNT) and a broadcast antenna (for finals on ABC).  The NBA had an excellent plan for covid and they did it well, with no positive tests in their NBA Bubble and (on the court) an exciting pre-playoff race for 8th place in the West (and it was better in 2021) followed by a full playoff schedule and (for me) a happy ending when it was won by the Lakers.   :<)     /     Mom & Dad were (and I am) lovers of dogs and fans of the Lakers, first in Iowa {when the team was one state north of us in the "Land of 10,000 LAKEs" - actually 11,842} and then in California {after they moved to LA in 1960, becoming the LA LAkers (lalakers?), 2 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to LA and 2 years before we moved to Anaheim}.

the best in baseball:  {update on October 19}   This year, will the LA Dodgers be the best in baseball?  After 8 years of regular-season success (winning 8 consecutive titles in NL West) and 2 years making it into the World Series (2017 & 2018) but with their season always ending in a loss, will they FINALLY win it all?  They're close in 2020, are back in the World Series (after winning a close Game 7 last night) and now — after being fairly successful for 8 straight years, coming close but always falling short — winning it all would mean a lot to them, so I'm cheering for them to win it, will be very happy for them if they do.   { Oct 27 – yes, they did it! }

the best in soccer:  {update on December 12}   Tonight I watched Columbus Crew (where I probably will be living in September 2021) beat Seattle Sounders (my first UW city, for most of 1970-1989) to win the championship of Major League Soccer.  So after moving, in late-2020 my old area (SoCal) and new city (Columbus) won championships in basketball & baseball, and (American) soccer.   {winning NBA or MLB makes a team “best in the world” but winning MLS just makes it “the best in USA”}   And then...

the best in basketball:  {Part 2, with an update in July 2021}   In 2020 the NBA champs were a team in my old state, and in 2021 it was the team from my new state!  Although initially I had mixed feelings — mainly because Chris Paul is one of my favorite point guards, who are my favorite kind of player because they do interesting things to guide-and-lead their team's offense, helping good things happen, so they're fun to watch — later I was totally wanting the Bucks to win.  My shift of feelings was partly geographical (because I've had many good experiences in WI, mainly in Madison but also Milwaukee, especially during a long visit in Summer 1972) and also because overall i think it “meant more for them” to win, and it would have hurt more if they had lost.  Just getting to The Finals made it an amazing year for Phoenix (although losing was tough for Chris Paul because this probably was his best opportunity to finally win it all, and maybe his last realistic chance), but anything short of #1 would have been a huge disappointment for the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

* better playoffs:  {update in May 2021}   Using innovative creativity, in 2021 the NBA expanded their pre-playoff race into a Play-In Tournament with 8 teams, 7-8-9-10 in the East and West.  The design was brilliant, and saying “yes, we'll do it” was wise.  Now instead of beginning the playoffs slowly with no decisive games for at least a week, they begin immediately with a “Game 6” in all four series, with every game being decisive for one team (because “win and you're in” for 7-vs-8, “lose and you're out” for 9-vs-10) followed by two “Game 7's” where a win or loss is decisive for all teams.  And this year the regular season's final day featured two “Game 5's” so each winning team entered their Game 6 with a 3-2 lead, while the loser began their Game 6 down 2-3, needing two wins (both on the road) to survive.  Yes, their new format was brilliant and wise, producing more end-of-season interest (and hopes for fans of more teams, thus more interest & revenue) and more beginning-of-playoff excitement.


 

Anaheim versus Madison  Am I comparing them?  Yes and No.  Yes, I'm describing why I like my new home (the apartment, neighborhood, city) but...  No, I'm not saying “Madison is better than Anaheim,” instead I'm just saying “Madison is better for me.”  I really do like many things about Anaheim, Orange County, and (more generally) Southern California.  I understand why many people enjoy living there, why they think it's the best place for them.  It just isn't the best place for me, it isn't where I want to be.

moving to Columbus:  Probably I'll move to Columbus in May 2022.  Why?  Basically I think it will be “better for me, now.”  I'm looking forward to a new adventure,* as with Seattle in 1970 and Madison in 1989.  Columbus is sort of like Madison (with the state's capital & major university, and a reasonable cost of living) but is larger.  It's a little warmer, by 10° in Dec-Jan-Feb (when I like it warmer) but only 4° in June-July-Aug (when cooler is better, although I handle heat well).  From 1970 to 2013 (when I was free to decide), most of the time I've lived in university cities – mainly Seattle & Madison with UW-FarWest & UW-MidWest in WA & WI, but also multi-month living in Eugene & Corvallis with UO & OSU in Oregon – because I like the atmosphere, especially the gathering of people who enjoy discussing ideas.  I'm a football fan, and Ohio State is always a national contender, with enthusiastic fans.  I've read web-pages about the city, watched videos, and like what I've learned.  Because of its university, capital, size, and central location in Ohio, Columbus will provide many opportunities for networking with other educators.  It has a major airport, is within a day's drive to many cities on the east coast.  And there are other reasons, including a big church I really like (Vineyard Columbus), with everything adding up to a conclusion that it's where I want to be, and (I think) where God wants me to be.     {* although returning to Madison has been comfortable – relaxing, fun, productive – we know "a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for" and I think my next adventures should be in Columbus.}

 

Anaheim to Madison:  My page with stories includes an explanation of why – for the long-term health of my overloaded (and thus underpowered) car – I should have chosen the Southern Route instead of driving thru the up-and-down terrain of Utah & Colorado.  And now that I've arrived, here are some observations about the natural beauty of Madison, its seasons & weather, and my new neighborhood.

 

Aerial View of Madison IsthmusGreen & Orange, White & Green:  Madison is a beautiful city, with lakes and other natural blessings.  Inside & outside the city, most areas are green with grass and trees.  At this time of year, there also is yellow & orange & red with trees changing to autumn colors.  This is pretty, but also a bit sad because it's a reminder that soon the orange leaves will fall and the city will be white with snow, which I really enjoy for awhile, but eventually I'll be looking forward to March-April-May when it gradually becomes green again, and warm.  Among the many things I like about Orange County is its mild climate (typically not extremely hot or cold, with low humidity) but during the past 8 years I've missed the cycle of seasons, especially the joy of springtime when it offers welcome relief from a long cold winter.   {taking time to watch snow - and “see the wind” - in March 2012}

Weather in Anaheim and Madison:  Today (Oct 12) it's 64° with rain, similar to SoCal in the winter, but with occasional thunder – common in the midwest, rare on the west coast in SoCal or Seattle.  Next week will be cooler, with an average high of 48° that feels cold now (after a summer in Anaheim and mild early autumn in Madison) but will feel warm (after a winter in Madison) when the temperature rises to 48° in February, fueling our annual anticipations of springtime.   /   The TV weather forecasts are very different in SoCal and Madison.  They're typically boring for Southern California — with “more of the same” from April thru October, except for minor morning variety due to some May Gray & June Gloom — but with a variety of geographic areas (LA/OC, beaches, inland empire, low desert, high desert, mountains) each having its own weather and thus its own forecast-box on TV.  By contrast, in Madison there is only one geographic area, but there is a wider variety of weather in the summer (with sunny blue skies, plus rains & some thunderstorms) and winter (with lots of snow & occasional ice) and our radar map gets to show its full range of colors, including not just the green-yellow-orange-red (for rain) we see in Anaheim, but also blue-pink-purple (for snow & ice).     {AccuWeather predicts that Winter 2021-22 will be colder than a year ago.}

 

east end of Rennebohm ParkMy Neighborhood – Hilldale in Madison:  During my first 24 years in Madison (1989 to 2013) I lived near U of Wisconsin, at distances of only 0.7 mile to the south [for 2 years] near Vilas Park & Zoo, then 1.4 miles east [8 years] a few houses from Lake Mendota with sunset-watching in Summer 1996,  0.7 mile west [4 years] in an area with many beautiful houses & yards, then 0.1 mile south of Union South [10 years] and 0.2 mile from Chemistry Bldg, at Orchard & Spring.   This time I'm further away (although still an easy bike ride), 2.5 miles west of UW's west edge.  Why?  It's partly because I no longer teach in the UW Chemistry Dept (so there is no benefit in being able to frequently get there quickly by riding a bike or even running) but also for other reasons.  I like my new neighborhood (map) because of...  its ALTITUDE {it has an “open-air feeling” on a wide plateau-hill (above the surrounding areas of Hilldale) with five apartment complexes similar to mine (Normandy, Sovereign, Carolina, Monticello, Chapel Hill) having large grassy frontyards & courtyards};   and its LOCATION – as you can see on this map, close to...   PARKS {especially nearby Rennebohm Park [photos are in a park-page and to right & below] but also other parks [to west & east] and [to north] Blackhawk Country Club [golf course,...] and Lake Mendota};   STORES {Hilldale Shopping Center [.5 mile away downhill, with many small stores, including Apple Store, UW Bookstore, AMC Theaters (formerly Sundance Cinemas), CycleBar, Great Dane Pub, plus Target, Ace Hardware, ...],  USPS [.4 mile],  UW Credit Union & Walgreens & Pick 'n Save (large grocery store) & McDonald's [.8 mile],  Starbucks and Whole Foods [1.1 mile] with Amazon Locker;   and farther away, UW Hospital [2.0 miles] & UW Campus [2.5-3.5 miles],  downtown {State Capital, Monona Terrace,... [4 miles]},  Olbrich Botanical Gardens [7 miles],  MSN Airport & East Towne Mall [9 miles],  and [3 miles from here in opposite direction] West Towne Mall.  There will be plenty of fascinating places to explore by driving & walking, riding bus (from nearby stops on Sheboygan Ave, for 7 routes going eastward [to UW & downtown & beyond] and westward, plus a “church bus” from UW to my Blackhawk Church) and especially by riding bicycle — an excellent machine (are wheels the best human invention? followed by the drivetrain of bikes?) for exploration trips over medium-short distances ranging from a few blocks to a few miles.

 


Projects in Madison:  One of the many things I WANT to do is writing, by continuing to develop & revise web-pages about a wide variety of topics that include education & thinking skills & much more.  Also...  meeting with interesting people in Madison before I move to Columbus, probably in May 2022;   looking thru six decades of papers with “ideas I wrote earlier” (boring for most people, but interesting for a writer);   working part-time on a project that's analogous to my full-time job for 8 months of 2020 – deciding what to do with the immense number of items in my parents' house & garage, trying to give away more, throw away less – but much easier, by making decisions about my own things (especially the idea-papers), trying to have less.

Here are the main pages I've been working on recently:  an expanded introductory section in the home-page for my website about Education for Problem Solving;  pages about Education for Thinking Skills – Creativity (a major developing of whole page), Critical Thinking (with major new sections about Monday-plus-Tuesday teaching & biased reasoning), creative-and-critical Problem Solving (mostly just revising) – plus minor work on other web-pages;  continuing to develop my page about improvising music (by using creativity plus music theory) and colorizing my new keyboard;  and in June, I finally made a youtube channel with videos of my juggling plus our happy-and-fluffy doggy.    {my overall home-page}


 

Most photos are views from my balcony:
Sep 15 - my tree and courtyards (near, far)
 
Sep 15 - trees with leaves, balcony with ivy
tree near my balcony   sewing machine
later - near and far courtyards, clearly visible
 
Oct 20 - my tree lost green, far trees lost leaves
  sewing machine
in mid-May, a view from my pillow
 
and a robin's nest
tree near my balcony   tree near my balcony
beginning of first snowfall
 
big snowflakes – prettier in person, close,
with motion, falling & swirling in wind!
 
tree branches outlined with snow
 
snow-tree & courtyards, early evening
 
tree covered with snow
 
balcony covered with snow
 
icicles - view from courtyard
 
icicles - view from balcony
 
top of tree with new snow
 
top of tree with new leaves
 
early-blooming tree thru bedroom window
 
early-blooming tree from balcony
At first I thought this was a dogwood tree — based on my experiences during a 6 week vacation (a “gift for myself” as a reward for finishing my PhD) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina — but later I discovered that it's a crabapple tree.
 
After the first small leaves appeared on my tree, within a
couple of weeks they rapidly increased and the tree began looking
 more fully-green, like it did the first time I saw it on September 14.
winter - two snow-trees, roof-icicles
 
spring - dogwood crabapple near other balconies
 
some families have young children who play
in the courtyard, giving it a nice “atmosphere”
 
Swimming Pool
 
South Courtyard, viewed from
the stairway to Our Courtyard
 
Meeting Area above Pool
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Here is my new keyboard — bought & colorized in September 2021, following several previous keyboards (also color-coded in this way, based on music theory) beginning in the mid-1970's after learning about 12-Bar Blues in 1971 — with musical utility that is explained in the "Improvising with a Keyboard" part of my page about Musical Improvisation.  If you know music theory, you'll understand.  But even if not, you can use the colors to help you play along with 12-Bar Blues.    {my old trombone also is used for jamming with backing tracks on youtube}  {btw, the lengths of trombone & keyboard are 46" & 20"}
trombone and colorized keyboard
 
You can see nearby Rennebohm Park above (its far-east end) and below:
community garden plus
tennis courts & Carolina Apts,
 
from far-west end of park,
tennis courts, shelter area,...
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My room is at "o" below red balloon,
0.1 mile from north edge of park
(near courts, garden, shelter),
 
shelter area and playground,
large open areas (also for playing),
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