Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Power of Music

My friend and colleague Timothy Robson lives a bit of a double life- in addition to being a librarian (currently interim University Librarian) at CWRU, he has been the organist and music director of the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church for over 25 years. Tim performed the music for our wedding last summer at Amasa Stone Chapel.

Last week, a horrific fire burned the church to the ground. In addition to losing the building and the organ that Tim played each week, he also lost his complete personal library of organ music. While insurance can rebuild walls and replace carpeting, there are so many things it cannot replace, and Tim's music is a prime example.

Since the church is surely not a building, the congregation has begun to move forward, even in the short week since the fire. One of our local television news channels produced a wonderful piece about Tim and the church, which I've embedded below.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Pause for Trout

This weekend has been busy with infant CPR and first aid class yesterday, and a whole lot of bathroom construction (drywall is all up, ready for tape and mud.) But this morning I decided I'd give myself a little break and chase trout for a few hours.

About an hour south is a small creek that the local chapter of Trout Unlimited has adopted and turned into nice trout habitat. They stock the creek twice a year, spring and fall, and the fish population seems to do OK. This was my destination for the day.

The weather turned from yesterday's pleasant, sunny, cool weather to downright cold and a steady rain. It was 42 degrees when I parked the car to suit up, with an even, cold rain falling. The creek water was fine- it hadn't been raining long enough or hard enough to wash it out.

I fished for about an hour with little luck- didn't even see many fish. At my upstream limit, I turned around to head back downstream and changed flies from my favorite wet Royal Coachman to a black Wooly Bugger with a cone head. This wet, heavy fly would get down deep in the water to where the fish were likely holding. I let the fly swing downstream and gave it some action and in the first deep pool I felt a bump. The water erupted as a big, 16 inch rainbow trout leapt, trying to throw the hook. I let him take line, then as he tired, reeled him in.

I followed the same routine for about 45 minutes, and ended up landing 4 trout, all of them large, healthy rainbows. It was hard to get pictures since I was fishing alone, but this one came out OK. The third white mark on the fly rod is 18 inches from the end of the rod!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Baby Gift Registry

Fully cognizant of risking crass materialism:

For those of you who would like to send a little something for baby George Clooney Claspy, we've set up gift registries at three online retailers, links below.

Major props to New Mom Extraordinaire Jennifer Perry for helping Kim select items!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bicycling Caps

I'm a big fan of bicycling caps, the simple cotton head wear cyclists have been wearing for decades. I wear one under my helmet on all but the hottest of days.

On a bright day, the short brim is just enough to shade my eyes from the sun. On a rainy day, the brim is equally useful for keeping the worst of the rain from my eyes and face. On the all-too-common cool days, the cap provides a simple, thin layer of insulation on the noggin.

When I'm not cycling, I frequently wear them while doing chores around the house. Part of the reason for this is so my kids will think I'm impossibly dorky- something I don't have to work too hard to do. Mostly though, I'm just keeping myself a little warm or hiding the inevitable weekend bed-head look. And the cap serves as a bicycling reminder, even when I'm not clipped into the pedals.

I don't have a lot of caps, just a few favorites: one with the Castelli logo, one from Cervelo Test Team, and one that I've had for many years from the French racing team Brioches La Boulangère (now Bbox Bouygues Telecom). That one has a cool red poppy right on the forehead. I like to wear it when I go to the bakery, for some reason.

The one in the picture above arrived in the mail today from the folks who create the interesting and wonderfully produced Embrocation Cycling Journal. I really like this publication, but I really like their logo even more- a Bialetti Moka coffee pot right on the front.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Old Red

Yesterday I said goodbye to an old friend. Old Red saw me through nearly fifteen winters of dark and cold times. Early mornings of wet snow, nights of blistering cold winds and deep drifts, days when I asked for his help not once but two or three times between sun up and sun down- in all of these cases Old Red would cheerily rise to the occasion and help me with my work.

Sure, there were times when Red would complain. The 10 degree mornings when I'd have to open up his bonnet and replace shear pins. Or the major surgery of replacing drive belts. But in each case, he responded with the ability to roar through knee-deep snow, leaving neatly carved paths in his wake.

And it wasn't just my own paths and driveways that Red helped with. He did equal work on the aprons, sidewalks, and driveways of neighbors in three different neighborhoods, earning the unsung praise of schoolchildren and postal carriers alike.

Yesterday, Old Red moved on to his next call of duty, the driveway and sidewalks of my friend Roger. I'm sure Red will prove equally skillful, industrious, and tireless in his new home.

Red, a tip of my toque to you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A New Portrait

At our last appointment with the obstetrician, he was mildly concerned about Kim's size- that she was perhaps a bit smaller than she should be at this point in the pregnancy. (He had a hard time convincing Kim of this, mind you.) So he ordered another ultrasound be performed to determine if young Herman Melville Claspy is growing apace as he should be. This morning the ultrasound was performed.

University Hospital is, of course, a teaching hospital. So the technician did the ultrasound, performing all of the body measurements required- measuring the cranium, cerebellum, heart, ulna, etc. Then, after a moderate wait, the doctor came in, trailing a resident and a medical school student. We- mostly Kim and little Ahab- then became the object of study for a half-hour worth of ultrasound technology, obstetric method, and fetal anatomy. It was all quite fascinating. We learned about measurement of the cerebellum, spinal cord development and the topography of the four chambers of the heart. He also reassured us that everything with young H.M. Claspy is normal.

He also produced this 3-D portrait of the young lad. It looked even more remarkable on the screen but this printed version is just too cool not to share.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baby Shower

We had our first baby shower on Saturday, planned and organized by Kim's mother Pam, party organizer extraordinaire. The shower was held in a meeting room at the CH-UH Coventry branch library, quite a fitting setting for little Samuel Taylor Coleridge Claspy's first party.

We are ever so grateful to one and all, both for your friendship and for your generous gifts. This little lad is going to be well kitted out!

A few pictures:

Big Sister Anna has been trying to cement a solid relationship with her brother and likes to talk to him. Hello, little brother!

In addition to friends and grandmas there were sisters and cousins and aunts! And a real live BABY!

Phyllis Lester designed and crafted the cake for the event. Not surprising that it was beautiful AND delicious.

The tyke was the recipient of many lovely gifts like this cute outfit.

And the Claspy tradition of a baby quilt, this one from his Aunt Jane.

Thank you again, one and all.