Looking back at 2017

The year started with a clean bill of health for M after the usual tests. We spent our anniversary in Princeton, doing the things we love doing there (a meal at Mediterra, a visit to the Lindt chocolate shop and to the Labyrinth bookstore). D started teaching a brand new undergraduate course, on the economics of inequality. It’s the hot topic of the day, of course, and it is remarkable that D’s department had never offered a course on it. The course was well attended and well received. D is planning to apply to make it formally a part of the economics department’s course offerings. He also has started writing a book to serve as the text for such a course, based on the lecture notes he made while teaching.

In February, notable events included a visit to a hugely photogenic Longwood Gardens and D’s second appearance in the Meet Me at the Music event at the university. This time D sang Prince Gremin’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and the “La ci darem la mano” duet from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, joined by an undergraduate voice student and an undergraduate pianist. It was fun as usual.

In March, M had two of her photographs included in an exhibit about flowers in the Philadelphia Sketch Club.

In April, both M and D had photos of birds exhibited at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, not too far from our house.

April also saw D’s first ever participation in a rally, the Philadelphia March for Science, on Earth Day, April 22. He marched with three Temple University undergraduate students. The crowd marching was substantial and only started to disperse when a downpour started.

April was also when M was approached by a publishing company that wanted to produce a new edition of her Personality textbook. This was welcome news, as her previous publisher had decided against producing a new edition. The new publisher found that there was keen interest by many professors who had adopted the textbook to continue using it, so they made M a nice offer. As of today, December 31, M is doing the last bit of proofreading, and the book will be available to be used in teaching in the spring as an e-book and from the fall and later as both a hard-bound book and an e-book.

May saw D perform his last official act as director of graduate studies in his department; he is vastly relieved to not have to continue in this burdensome role, so he can spend more time in his scholarly writing. May also saw Temple U’s graduation and a sendoff of a graduating advisee of D’s who is going on to pursue her PhD in economics. She has done some projects with D starting in 2014, and was instrumental in inspiring him to create and helping him teach the economics of inequality course. D is happy to see her spread her wings, having flown the coop, and is glad to be in touch with her as she moves to higher achievements.

M and D each had two photos included in the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s New Member exhibit in June, with the opening day of the exhibit the day before our departure for the adventure described next.

June saw us visiting Ireland and Northern Ireland for a momentous event in the life of our good friend Rob: his wedding. Five years ago, Rob met Jelena, who had just arrived to teach at his university. On June 23d, they were married in Belfast; Rob asked D to be his witness, an honor D was very happy to accept. Here is the happy couple seconds after being proclaimed husband and wife:

Jelena and Rob at Belfast City Hall

It was really nice to have a chance to explore Dublin, where our visit to the Emerald Isle started, then go to Belfast and see again Rob’s parents after 15 years, and meet his sister and aunt, as well as Jelena’s brother and her lively and lovely witness, and of course celebrate their wedding. We still have not dared watch ourselves in a short video the brother made of our blind tasting of whiskeys. We were pretty buzzed by the end of that event! Also notable was a visit to the Belfast Botanic Gardens, where we saw an amazing collection of roses. You can see one rose below, and more here.

Belfast rose
Multihued rose

Just a week after we were back from Belfast, M visited Greece for a week. She spent a quality week with my mother, brother, and my brother’s family, and got to see just how nice it is to swim in the Aegean Sea.

M swimming near Thessaloniki, at the aptly named Paradise Beach

The rest of the summer felt like it went by very quickly. We did not rent a big house in Ocean City this year, preferring to spend the money on the big trip to Ireland, but we missed spending two weeks surrounded by our friends at the shore house. Mid-August found us visiting the Woodloch Lodge and Spa for a few days. On August 21, we headed to Princeton to catch the solar eclipse. While this location did not get 100% occlusion, it did get 79%, and the town turned the occasion into an outdoor party, complete with a telescope for everyone to use for a brief glimpse of the event and free safety glasses.

In September and October, we had our second photography exhibit at Elcy’s coffee shop in Glenside. We were happy with the success of the exhibit. All in all, a good year for our photography! To bring the year to a good conclusion in that area of our lives, M took an intense landscape photography class during a weekend in October, in Chanticleer Gardens, and came back with new tricks and great photos. It was a good conclusion to a year of photography classes to which M dedicated many a Tuesday evening, when she was not taking her other art class, that is! Tuesdays were art evenings for M for most of the year. Here is a photo M made in Chanticleer Gardens:

In early November, D’s brother paid a quick, almost-one-week-long, visit to a coauthor of his in Princeton. It was nice to have the chance to see him.

Dinner with Kostas in Princeton

M had another routine battery of tests in mid-December to close the year, with excellent news.

To cap the year in style and comfort, and to add to our photography œuvre, we travelled to Captiva Island, Florida, for an almost week-long stay spanning Christmas. This is now the third year that we’ve spent Christmas in the subtropical weather of the Captiva / Sanibel islands. We had a lovely time, enjoyed the warmth while our own neighborhood was freezing, and made some photos. We paid two visits to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge this year (up from one last year), and also rented a telephoto lens to help us photograph birds there. Here is a selection of our photos, starting with four of D’s and ending with three of M’s. You can see more of our photos on Facebook, of course, and M has not finished editing her complete set, so look out for more later.

Pink shell
Playful dolphin pair
D chasing the perfect pelican photo


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