tree near my balconyfinding a new home:  After a long drive from Anaheim to Madison, in mid-September 2020 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.   /   photos - views from my balcony (in all seasons), plus central area (with pool) and nearby Rennebohm Park

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.   /   * beginning in late-2012, I served as caregiver for Dad & Mom (who lived long-and-good lives until 91 & 95) and then tried to “find good homes” for the many items they collected in their house and garage.

 

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 (writing this a month after my arrival) 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.

 

from my balcony, view to the rightWatching Snow and Seeing Wind:  During the first visually interesting snowfall of December 2021, again (as when taking time to watch snow - and “see wind” - in March 2012) I was fascinated by falling snow.  Watching “the white after orange & before green” from the balcony of my apartment, in every direction (east, south, west, and in-between) the snow-seeing was different, and it changed with time during each second of my 25-minute viewing.  Toward the east (left), looking at the brownish-red walls of faraway apartments, it was like seeing thru an almost-clear window, but with a little changing (glistening) due to moment-by-moment changes in the snowfall, but mainly a uniform almost-normal view.  Looking southward at the bare (but starting to be snow-outlined) branches of my nearby tree, and thru them to the two snow-covered courtyards, there were obvious changes with time, with flakes (some smaller, some big & fluffy) “doing things” to make visual contrastings between dynamic snow and static tree.  But the best direction was westward (as in the photo but without the icicles from February 2021), with snowflakes made clearly visible by the brick walls, with (as in 2012) snow swirling up & down, sideways, in different directions at different distances, so (as in many earlier times) I could “see” the invisible wind.     {more about weather}

 

Anaheim versus Madison?  Am I comparing them?  Yes and No.  Yes, above and below I'm describing why I like my new home (the apartment, neighborhood, city, with freedom) but...  No, I'm not saying “Madison is better than Anaheim,” instead it's just “Madison is better for me.”  I really do like many things about Anaheim (home of Disneyland), 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. {update: I arrived here May 18}   Why?  Basically I think it will be "better for me" now, at this time of my life.  I'm looking forward to a new adventure,* as with Seattle in 1970 and Madison in 1989.  Columbus is sort of like Madison (beautifully green, with the state's capital & major university) but is larger.  Columbus is further south and 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).  It has a major airport, is within a day's drive to many cities on the east coast.  Most of my homes have been near a university, beginning with my final 3 years at UC Irvine when I lived in a campus dorm, and nearby Newport Beach (a block from the beach & ocean), and the university's on-campus apartments;  then from 1970 to 2013 (when I was free to choose), most of the time I've lived in university cities — mainly Seattle & Madison with UW-FarWest & UW-MidWest in WA & WI, but also visits to UC Berkeley (almost entering their SESAME Program for Science Education), a month in Santa Cruz with UCSC, and 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 – and hopefully working with them to improve our Education for Problem Solving – who work in local K-12 districts and at the state level, and in OSU's College of Education & Engineering Education & Physics Education (re: my physics book + what they're doing) & Music Education (also music with Sunrise Senior Living), plus a church (Vineyard Columbus) that I like for many reasons, with a solid foundation built by Rich Nathan (and many others) that now continues with the husband-and-wife team of senior pastors, Eric and Julia.  Everything adds 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.

 


options for reading:  above is a new home with freedomGreen & Orange, White & Green and (during White) Watching Snow and Seeing WindAnaheim versus Madison and “why Columbus?” and below is Two Wonderful Dogs and NBA's Creative Idea for a Play-In to begin their PlayoffsWeather: Expectations & Two Kinds of VarietyMy New NeighborhoodProjects in MadisonPHOTOS (from my balcony & beyond)The Best in Sports.


 

The next two stories are not directly related to my new home, but...  one dog was named after a Laker, so in September 2020 (when the Lakers were winning a championship) I wrote about him;   then the NBA Playoffs in 2021 began with an example of creative-and-critical Problem Solving.

 

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 they named him Kobe, like the Laker.  During his final two years he had diabetes, and twice each day he danced with “no more pain” joyAfter his sad passing 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're fun-and-loving, are good role models for joy-and-gratitude.  Life would be better if more people were more fun-and-loving!

 

better playoffs with play-in:  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 quickly with four “Game 6's” and every game is decisive for one team (because “win and you're in” for the two 7-vs-8 games, “lose and you're out” for 9-vs-10's) followed by two “Game 7's” where a win or loss is decisive for all four teams.  And in its first year the season's final day featured two “Game 5's” (one East, the other West) that determined which winning team would enter their Game 6 with a 3-2 lead, by contrast with the two losers who began their Game 6 down 2-3, needing two wins (both on the road) to survive.  Yes, their new format is 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.    {* they either independently re-invented an idea from the 1930's Australian Football League, or they found this idea by searching thru our collective memory;  either way it was creatively brilliant.}

 


 

Expectations about Weather:  Today (in mid-October 2020) it's 64° with rain, similar to SoCal in winter, but with occasional thunder – common in the midwest, rare on the west coast when I lived in Anaheim & Seattle.  Next week will be cooler, with an average high of 48° that will feel cold in October (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.  When I moved to Madison, and traveled from there to Anaheim (to stay with Mom & Dad in the comfort of our family home) during Winter Break in late December, people in SoCal sometimes apologized for the cold weather (if highs were only low-60's, cooler than the average of 70°) but for me it felt warm and comfortable. 

Geographic Variety (SoCal) and Weather Variety (Madison):  TV weather forecasts are very different in SoCal and Madison.  They're typically boring for Southern California – with “more of the same” (dry and warm-to-hot) 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 & commentary on TV.  By contrast, in Madison there is only one geographic area, but a wider variety of weather in the summer (with sunny blue skies, plus rains & 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 Orange County, but also blue-pink-purple (for snow & ice).

 

east end of Rennebohm ParkMy New Neighborhood – Hilldale in Madison:  My new home is 0.1 mile from Rennebohm Park (photo is halfway to its far end), in a part of Madison where I've never lived, but had often seen while riding a church bus (that ran before COVID) from my final previous home (near UW) to Blackhawk ChurchDuring 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 and Zoo,  then 1.4 miles east [8 years] a few houses from Lake Mendota with sunset-watching in Summer 1996,  and 0.7 mile west [4 years] in an area with many beautiful houses & yards,  then (at Orchard & Spring in Cambridge Apts) only 0.1 mile south of Union South [10 years] and 0.2 mile from Chemistry Bldg.   This home is further from campus (although still an easy bike ride), 2.0 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};   DESTINATIONS {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),  Starbucks and Whole Foods [1.1 mile] with Amazon Locker;   and farther away, UW Hospital [2.0 miles] & UW Campus [2.0-3.5 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, 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 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 the first 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 now in Madison it's much easier because I'm making decisions about only my own things (especially the idea-papers), trying to have less.

Here are the main pages I've been working on recently:  one of my favorites is the expanded Introductory Overview — now including Educational Bridges (what, why, how) plus Problem-Solving Strategies & Models that include colorful visually-logical Action Diagrams — in the home-page of my website about Education for Problem Solving;   also, pages about Education for Thinking Skills – Creative Thinking (with a major developing of the whole page), Critical Thinking (with major new sections about Monday-plus-Tuesday teaching & biased reasoning), creative-and-critical Problem Solving – plus minor work on other web-pages;   I'm also continuing to develop other pages, like improvising music (by using creativity plus music theory) and investing an hour to colorize my new keyboard;   and in June 2021, I finally made a youtube channel with videos of my juggling plus our happy-and-fluffy doggy.     {my overall home-page with lots of links!}

 


 

Most photos are views from my balcony:
Sep 15 - my tree and courtyards (near, far)
 
Sep 15 - trees with leaves, balcony with ivy
from my balcony, the view to left side   from my balcony, the view to right side
November - near and far courtyards, clearly visible
 
Oct 20 - my tree lost green, far trees lost leaves
  sewing machine
Some families have young children who play
in our courtyard, giving it a fun “atmosphere”
(your tree is to the right, providing shade here),
 
South Courtyard – with Pool
and Meeting Area, viewed from
the stairway to Our Courtyard,
Our Courtyard, where children play   South Courtyard, with Pool & Meeting House
in mid-May, a view from my pillow
 
and a robin's nest
tree near my balcony   tree near my balcony
Green after White:  springtime is especially welcome – a reason for joyful celebration! – after a long, cold winter.
beginning of first snowfall, December 11
{ in 2021, first snowfall again was Dec 11 }
 
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
 
Best Icicle Day, in late February:
a view from our courtyard,
 
and from the balcony,
  lots of icicles
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 tree near other balconies
 
Swimming Pool
in Summertime
 
Meeting Area above Pool
Swimming Pool   k;mfgkmgf
You can see nearby Rennebohm Park above (its far-east end) and below:
community garden plus
tennis courts & Carolina Apts,
 
view from far-west end of park,
of tennis courts, shelter area,...
ljhljjnjnjkn   ljhljjnjnjkn
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),
ljhljjnjnjkn   ljhljjnjnjkn
     
     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 (from Harold & Charlie as part of our jamming with their clarinet & trumpet plus my trombone) 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 or other Chord Progressions.    {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
 

 

The Best in Sports:  Beginning the first full day in my new home, in 10 months I watched four local teams (from where I had lived, was living, or would live) win Pro Championships:  first the LA Lakers (basketball, NBA) and LA Dodgers (baseball, MLB), then Columbus Crew (soccer, MLS) and Milwaukee Bucks (basketball, NBA).

the best in basketball:  I've always enjoyed sports (lots of playing when younger, mostly just 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 July 2022) 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” which is much less than winning The World Cup that is THE Championship}   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 in 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 other players be more effective so good things will happen, and 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.