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I generally take the same route each time I walk the dog. It’s a circuitous route around the neighborhood, chosen for its flatness mainly, and its relative lack of yard dogs.

There is one black dog who never barks at us. I’ve been walking Emma by him for too long. He just stands and stares at us. Not a friend, really, but a neutral party anyway.

It’s a comfort, this wind of familiar streets and sidewalks in the evening. Nothing exciting, but at least I know where I’m going. And the black dog knows me.

I bought a camera recently, an older Japanese SLR – super manual. Got it pretty cheap. I’ve been trying to learn how to use it, taking a roll of shots pretty indiscriminately, testing shutter speeds and apertures in different light.

Of course you get a nice camera and you think you’re going to become the next Ansel Adams. Then you start looking at your daily world through the lens and realize it’s not very compelling subject matter.

But I do go places. We actually have quite a large collection of snapshots from our travels, our celebrations, and such. In about a month we’re going to Italy, which is one reason I decided to try to make the jump to a better camera.

I want a better chronicle of my life. That’s also the reason for this site.
But it’s been, the past few weeks, one of those periods where not much happens. We had Halloween, and my daughter chose to be something “scary” (vampire’s wife) for the first time. It was quite fun, with a pizza and, later in the evening, old horror movies with a few friends.

And of course the world keeps falling apart, nothing new there. The best lack all conviction, etc. They keep picking off our boys in Iraq, one or two a day like there’s a quota. The other day they blew up a bunch of Italians, just for good measure. George Bush is going to London this week. Our only remaining “ally” is beefing up police presence for the visit, bracing for “the biggest mass protest in modern history,” as they are predicting it. It must be great to be completely oblivious to condemnation from the entire rest of the world.

I’ve been suffering through a new ailment, a bum foot. I can not tell you what happened, only that all of a sudden it became very painful to walk. It’s been getting better with some care in walking (Maybe another reason my life is slowed down these weeks – can’t walk too far.)

Maybe this weekend we’ll drive out to the small town we visit each fall . It’s a quaint little place, with apple orchards and a fine old park with ancient trees and an old mansion you can tour through. Maybe we’ll get a good shot of my daughter in the colorful leaves for the old Christmas card.

A man could do worse.

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