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Another year has come and is almost gone. 2012 was a year of politics, additions to my professional tasks, learning the new cataloging rules as they applied to authority work, trips to a variety of places for conferences and elsewise, and just pretty busy all around. And New York State joined the states legalizing same-sex marriage.

My conference trips took me to Dallas, Los Angeles, Toronto, Detroit, and Anaheim. Each trip was filled with interesting meetings (and a few tedious ones) and good times with friends and colleagues. I really (I mean, really) enjoyed the trip to Detroit for the Society of Architectural Historians conference. I stayed at the Hostel Detroit which is in North Corktown, a part of town on the edge of gentrification. Several other SAH people were staying there, including three Brits. I had a couple extra days and got around a decent amount, even climbing around on the abandoned Packard Plant with cousin Megan and new friend Matt. Dessert was a lovely stop on the way home with Sara Jane in Cleveland which included seeing the new Vinoly wing of the Cleveland Museum of Art. (N.B. Vinoly is spelled with a tilde on the n.)

Work trips took me twice to the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. I really enjoy the collection and the people I work with there. And both times I spent Friday night with Ann and Moira and we just have a joyous time together. A few trips to New York City: one for the NY Art Book Fair and another for training for my new gig as a contract indexer for the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. The Avery indexing is a real delight. I have about a dozen periodicals and do the indexing via remote desktop to Voyager. Between Bard, Avery, and my two days a week at the Scholes Library of Ceramics here in Alfred, I'm working on Voyager, Millennium, and Aleph as well as OCLC Connexion, both web and desktop clients. There were also a variety of relatively local trips to professional meeetings: Syracuse, Ithaca, Oneonta. Mostly day trips.

So that's what this retired person does to keep busy. I'm thankful to all of you working folks for keeping the Social Security bins as full as you can. Just increase the maximum amount of taxable earnings and I've heard it would be fully funded. Oh, and don't borrow from that fund and don't jump off any cliffs.

Regular activities when I'm home include the noontime silent peace vigil on Wednesday and the Bergren Forum on Thursday. The forum is an hour's talk by someone on something, from GIS to student trips in Europe, from quarks to Central American music, art practice to learning styles. I try to get to as many artist talks as I can including the Studio Visit talks on Wednesday morning. I sat in on a medieval manuscript class and it was delightful to see the pictures. Yes, living in a college town, even a small college town, can be fulfilling. Still, I do regret that I wasn't able to see the Zoe Leonard installation at Murray Guy.

My family gathered on July 4th at Carol and Barb's. Bill came out from Boston to join us. Bill and I went to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and to the American side of Niagara Falls when I went up to the Buffalo airport to pick him up. It was great fun to mix Bill and the family; I think they all enjoyed it. Another fun trip was to help Carol fetch their RV from Mayfield, Kentucky, where she and Barb spend the winter. The RV wasn't ready to come back with them in early April, Barb had choral recitals, Carol needed company, so this old retired guy flew to Nashville with Carol and helped her get the RV home in late May. We also went to Paducah and dipped our feet in the mighty Mississippi River. I didn't drive the RV, just navigated, which is fine with me. My new car is as basic as I could get: a 2013 Ford Fiesta, stick shift, crank windows, no power locks.

Last year, my friend Nicole said she almost made her goal of reading one book a week. I don't know how she did this year but goodreads.com is a nice way of keeping up with what your friends are reading. Sure, it's social media but it's related to reading so how can it be bad? Among the books I most enjoyed this year are The lacuna and The bean trees by Barbara Kingsolver, Bring up the bodies by Hilary Mantel, State of wonder by Ann Patchett, Fordlandia by Greg Grandin, a couple books on Detroit, The swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, a couple novels by Walter Mosley, Hadrian and the triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt, and more. You can check goodreads if you want. I have a lot of trouble rating my reading though; as I'm reading the book, I often think this is really great but can't remember it a couple books later.

Oh, I guess I should reveal that I got my first tattoo: an egg-and-dart+ band just below my elbow. I took a picture of a 2nd-century BCE Palmyra architectural fragment to the local tattoo artist; he drew it up and added a free-form curvy band and did a fantastic job ringing my arm. And red highlights.

One thing I don't get so much in Alfred is live music and dance concerts and recitals. The Alfred University Symphonic Band is good and this month's end-of-term dance program included some good stuff and one breathtaking mashup of two solos into one piece on the second night.

That's an overview of my year (we won't mention the herniated disk which was real painful in my arm and shoulder but which seems to have be history with the good help of the physical therapists and focused exercise). I really enjoy my jobs but Linda said I have to quit working if I want to do something beyond envying her European and exotic travels. Sicily is on the horizon for March as well as conference trips to Seattle, New York City, Providence, Pasadena, and Chicago.

I hope your new year is filled with things that make you happy and satisfied. And may your holiday season be everything you want it to be, whether it's travel, family (birth or otherwise), friends, presents, solo walks, snow, sun.

Sherman Clarke
33 South Main Street
Alfred, NY 14802