We just got our first big one, here in New England. (Or at least, here in Boston.) It made me sort of happy, as I've been itching to try out the snowblower that a neighbor across town gave me, which I spent some time putting back into running condition back in June. It worked! (Actually, it worked temperamentally at first. Turns out that a carburetor setting that works well in June doesn't work so well in December. I fiddled, though, and got it running better.) I'd never used one of these things before, and it was a little like maneuvering a large animal with a mind of its own. Also, if you don't aim it right, you get a big faceful of snow right in the kisser. That happened a number of times. But it was fun, and I wandered up the sidewalk, clearing a walk here, a driveway apron there, and generally trying to share the fun a little. (I found a box of cookies outside my door the next time I went out. With a thank-you card. That was fun, too.)
My other new toy is a replacement PDA for my ancient Cassiopeia that went wonky right about the same time my laptop died. I bought a used Dell Axim X50v on ebay, and I love it as a book reader! Its high-res screen makes book text very clear, and it's ideal for reading in bed in the dark, with red text on a black background. They don't make them anymore, and I like it so much I looked for a bargain on a second one, just to have in reserve.
My teaching gig at MIT ended a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed it hugely, and I hope the students did, as well. I kept up Joe's tradition of ending with a pizza party, which perhaps was a bit of a relief to the students, who were just gearing up for finals. I expect they must be done now, and on their way home, or to wherever they go for the holidays. (If any of you read this, drop me a line!)
Anne pointed out that I forgot to provide an update on Joe Haldeman's condition. Sorry about that. He's back home in Florida now, at last, and is recovering slowly but steadily from his surgery and pancreatitis. Here's wishing him and Gay a fabulous Christmas and New Year!
For that matter, here's wishing you all a fabulous Chanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, and New Year!