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A Chipp Tweed Suit Monday. . .

  A snowy, cold Monday here in The Grand Duchy today called for a heavy tweed suit, waistcoat, and shoes.  The shoes need some attention, but overall a not unpleasant combination of items for January in Mid-Michigan.  I'd rather be skiing, but now and again you've got to put bread on the table. -- Heinz-Ulrich
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Thursday Attire. . .

  N ot a green OCBD shirt this morning, but a green and white university stripe OCBD instead.  Ivy, or not?  I'm unsure.  But in my mind, I am somewhere out on the ski trails of Northern Michigan in rather different attire all together, so it hardly matters.  Same thing with pleated pants, which I prefer.   Oh, I know, I know.  But you reach a point of comfort with your dress where such talking points no longer matter much.  Don't know about you, but I have at least.   Too dogmatic an approach toward our daily attire risks turning what ought to be a joy into abject drudgery.  And don't we already have enough of that in the world at the moment? -- Heinz-Ulrich

Wednesday Attire. . .

  B ack to Earth (and campus) after our skiing getaway to a slew of email in need of replies.  I am convinced that if students actually read the directions in our online course modules, they could answer 98% of their own questions.  The apparent inability to think for oneself, make a decision, and follow through does not bode well for us as a society I fear. -- Heinz-Ulrich

Ski Vacation Style. . .

  A few photographs from our recent weekend skiing getaway to Northern Michigan. Amazing conditions.  And amazing cold.  -17 degrees Fahrenheit one morning.  But cross-country skiing warms you up fast and keeps you comfortable all day long. On Day #1, we skied at Cross Country Ski Headquarters outside of Roscommon, Michigan, just about five minutes from the charming little house we rented.  Beautiful groomed trails and rolling terrain through the woods.  Excellent for kids and people new to the sport although we saw our share of hard cases with their waxing benches set up in the parking area, applying appropriate glide and grip waxes for the day's snow conditions.   We use universal glide wax on so called "waxless skis" (a misnomer), with a fishscale grip pattern in the kick zone of the bases. The Grand Duchess, bless her, also has a pair of new skate skis (a recent Christmas gift from yours truly), which have no kick zone given the different technique used to propel on

Waxing Style. . .

  T he Grand Duchess and I spent a couple of delightful, but chilly, hours this afternoon waxing the bases on two pairs of skis in preparation for our cross-country skiing lost weekend up north.  The three of us leave early tomorrow afternoon.   Basically, we hung out, drank large mugs of hot chocolate, chatted about this and that while waxing poetic, ahem, about the science of preparing skis for use on the trails.  Racing professionals, and their waxing specialists, really do have it down to an actual science leavened with a healthy dose of arcane knowledge, tricks, and secret glide and/or grip wax recipes.   We, on the other hand, strive simply for a bit more forward momentum and glide. -- Heinz-Ulrich

Mid-January Casual Wednesday Style. . .

  C ampus was largely deserted during the 3.5 hours or so that I worked in the library this morning, enjoying rapid, reliable internet.  More staff and some faculty around than students, but one or two of the latter here and there.  Pretty sleepy though in view of our current three-week moratorium on face-to-face class meetings.   Still, there is light to be found in unlikely places, and two delightful compliments came from a pair of young women as I walked across the Red Cedar River to the lot where my car was parked.  Never necessary or anticipated, but nice to hear once in a while. Besides the attire shown here, I wore my old, heavy dark green duffel coat, an old school scarf wound around my neck, an Optimo 'Dearborn' fedora in very dark brown, and the usual oxford cloth mask (pink today) with another disposable one underneath. Even in the midst of our ugly, challenging, and downright unsafe times, it seems, there is still kindness to be found. -- Heinz-Ulrich  

More Sunday Family Skiing Style. . .

  S urprisingly good skiing today given a temperature hovering around the freezing point, high winds, and trails in need of regrooming.  Nevertheless, we had a blast, enjoying good kick, pleasing glide, and some challenging small hills along the trail.   The Grand Duchess, in particular, navigated an impressively steep pair of S-turns in the woods at speed that The Young Master and I were a bit more cautious in handling.  Besides being a cross-country enthusiast (classic diagonal stride and skate skiing), she is an experienced downhill skier, a skill she acquired in Nevada and The Pacific Northwest as an adolescent and teenager, which gives her a decided advantage.  Still, great fun was had by all with just one minor spill for The Young Master. We even managed to prolong the day's ski adventure once we returned home mid-afternoon.  Following the obligatory large mugs of hot chocolate x 3 and lunch for The Young Master, The Grand Duchess and I attended to some brushing down and rewa

Early January Saturday Style. . .

  S huttling The Young Master to his weekly Tae Kwon Do classes this cold, snowy morning in January where, among other things, he learned a really neat bowstaff form that culminates with a spinning  crescent kick before returning to the start position and bowing to one's opponent.   Scarf and duffel coat met favorable feedback from three different people we met along the way.  Compliments are never necessary, but nice to hear when they come.  In reply, a simple "Thank you" will suffice.   -- Heinz-Ulrich 

Another Passing Thought for 2022. . .

  Not sure about the origins of this particular illustration, but it is a pleasing image nevertheless.   H ere is another idea for the new year when it comes to steps we might take toward more conscious and intentional self-improvement.   How about we   cultivate the habit of self-reflexivity? That involves making a more concerted effort to become more introspective, willing to look closely at our foibles, and how we might address them in a more productive way.   Let’s also look closer and more critically at our related attitudes, choices, actions, and routine behaviors. Not to the point of stasis of course (and goodness knows many have that in abundance), but it might be wise for us to take a hard look at ourselves more than we tend to do in the hustle-bustle 24/7 digital world of the 21 st century.   The decision to examine ourselves more honestly and thoughtfully can help us recognize certain negative, self-defeating patterns and make some concrete changes in our lives that s