Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missing Out

As far as I’m concerned, winter has already arrived in Boston. It is cold, it is damp, and it is gray. We may have weather like this for the next five months or more.

Since I’m not outside much, I guess it truly doesn’t make much difference—but I like to see the sun once in a while, if only to keep in touch.

One thing I always found funny about my two winters in Minnesota was that winter days often would feature bright, even brilliant sunshine, although the high temperatures for such days might only be one degree Fahrenheit! Further, in Minnesota, the cold was usually a dry, bracing cold. In Massachusetts, the cold is often a damp, penetrating cold.

Our lives are sort of uneventful at present. My life is class and study. Andrew’s life is work and reading. At least we get to spend our time together, even if our noses are pressed into a variety of books for most of each evening and much of each weekend.

After dinner, I study for three hours, and Andrew spends that time reading. We do not have a television and we do not listen to music while we study and read, so our evenings are very quiet, although we often do a bit of talking during our quiet time. An hour before bedtime, we throw the books down and relax.

Andrew is presently reading a biography of Learned Hand. The book is intense and over 800 pages in length, so it will occupy Andrew for the next week or so. Andrew dislikes it. The biography is changing Andrew’s opinion of Learned Hand, and not for the better.

Andrew and I have few plans until Thanksgiving, when we will be in Minneapolis.

This Sunday, we have been invited to Andrew’s boss’s home to spend the afternoon and evening. We are looking forward to it. Andrew’s boss and his boss’s wife are lovely people. Their own children are grown and dispersed, and they appear to enjoy our company, and we enjoy their company. I am glad they have asked us again.

Boston has a musical organization that presents touring orchestras and soloists, and Andrew and I have tickets to attend a performance by the Dresden Staatskapelle on my birthday. We are looking forward to that.

Otherwise, our schedule is filled with study and work. We don’t mind.

We have now been in Boston for two months. Neither of us likes the city at all.

Despite its many universities, Boston is a pure blue-collar town. Boston natives have pure blue-collar habits, pure blue-collar attitudes and pure blue-collar sensibilities. It is all very unpleasant.

Andrew and I are missing out on a good football season.

My brother’s high school team is unbeaten. The Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are enjoying particularly fine seasons. Even the Minnesota Golden Gophers are having a good season.

The Golden Gophers are off to a 6-1 start this year, a major contrast to last year, when Minnesota suffered through its worse season ever in football. Andrew says the Golden Gophers decided to play better this year in order to taunt us, knowing that we would be out of town and unable to attend the games. I think Andrew is right.

Andrew and I are also missing out on the dog.

Andrew’s mother took him to the veterinarian on Monday because she and Andrew’s father had noticed that he seemed to favor his right hind leg on steps last weekend.

Of course, their fear was that the dog may suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition that afflicts about forty per cent of German Shepherds in the United States (in Europe, breeders are not permitted to breed German Shepherds whose family histories evidence the condition, and those higher breeding standards have eliminated the problem in most European countries).

The dog is checked for the condition every six months. His last examination was only in July, but Andrew’s mother had him checked out again on Monday.

Happily, the veterinarian’s tests showed that the dog does not suffer from hip dyslasia. However, the veterinarian said that the dog appears to be developing arthritis, another problem common for German Shepherds. The veterinarian said that Rex has rheumatoid arthritis, not degenerative osteoarthritis, and that his condition may be treated with an antioxidant vitamin, a mild anti-inflammatory agent, and a low-dosage glucosamine supplement.

Consequently, the dog now has a daily pill regimen to observe. He gets one pill with his breakfast, a different pill with his lunch, and a final pill with his dinner.

He’s been taking the various vitamins, supplements and medications since Monday night, and they already seem to be having their intended effect—Andrew’s mother said that he stopped favoring his right hind leg on steps today.

This is excellent news, because he has always been a very energetic and active dog, speeding around the house and yard all day, positively running everyone in the household ragged in the process. I doubt he would be happy leading a sedentary life.

Andrew and I are also missing out on other developments back home.

This Saturday is the day Andrew’s older brother and family permanently depart New York for Minneapolis. They will stay with Andrew’s parents until early next year, when they will get their own place.

Lucky for them, the New York real estate market has remained robust. They were able to sell their apartment for $4.4 million, an outrageous sum. An identical apartment in downtown Minneapolis would sell for a figure between $425,000 and $750,000, depending upon building and location. Also lucky for them, the sale closed in 2008, while taxes remain low.

Andrew and I will not be missing out on the election back home.

Andrew and I chose to vote as Minnesota residents rather than as Massachusetts residents. We did this for two reasons: Massachusetts is a one-party state, so one’s vote has little effect here, while Minnesota is a two-party state with very, very close elections; and we very much wanted to vote against the reprehensible Al Franken, who very well may win a seat in the U.S. Senate, but only because a third-party candidate will siphon 10-12% of the normal Republican vote from Senator Coleman. We have already voted absentee.

If he wins, Al Franken would not be the first person missing essential chromosomes to win a Minnesota election in a tight three-way race. There is a precedent in the state.

Who can forget Jesse Ventura?


  1. Joshie, I hope that doggie is doing better. It is painful to think of him having trouble getting around. He has the energy of a herd of horses. How does Drew's mother get him to swallow his pills?

  2. Paul, Andrew's mother simply puts one of his pills in amongst his food each meal. He is none the wiser.

    I understand he is doing fine, and running around as good as ever now. The vet said that very mild remedies should do the trick for the next two to four years, and they appear to be working.

    That's a relief for everyone.

  3. Oh, the poor thing! I'm glad he's doing better. How old is he?

    Who is Al Franken? And who is Jesse Ventura?

    Calvin and I are being boring this weekend. Nothing is on. We may go to Tate Britain tomorrow. Haven't been for a long while. We'll see.

    Enjoy your weekend.


  4. Edythe, he is eight, perhaps a few months older than that. It was adjudged that he was approximately one year old when Andrew's parents took him home from the shelter, and that was seven years ago.

    Al Franken is a bad comedian. He is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.

    Jesse Ventura was a professional wrestler who won the Minnesota governorship a few years ago.

    Enjoy Tate Britain.

  5. A bad comedian and a professional wrestler.

    Sounds like our team of Blair and Brown!