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Sunday, December 31, 2006

This year is ending on a weird note. Last night at about 11:00 pm, someone started throwing rocks at my roof. Thatís what it sounded like, anyway. It was loud enough that I considered the possibility that some kind of galumphing animal was tromping around up there, but every so often I could hear what sounded like something sliding noisily down the slope of the roof. Thatís what made me think of rocks, even though I could hear or see no evidence of humans near enough to make that much of an impact.

This lasted for about an hour, but it wasnít steady. Every so often Iíd hear the pounding, crackling noise for a split second, and then it would be quiet for a while. I turned on all the outside lights, but the side of the house this appeared to be coming from is dark, so the lights had little effect. I tried to see out but spotted nothing unusual. Trust me, I was not tempted to go wandering outside in the dark. I was slightly tempted to call the sheriff or the landlord, but I didnít.

First thing this morning (or what passes for first thing for someone who sleeps late on Sunday), I went out to look. I saw nothing that would clarify the situation for me. I think I imagined some streaks on the roof, as if something had slid off it. I found rocks and oak balls in the yard, but no more of them than Iíd expect to see normally. It was good to see the roof in one piece, because I thought I might be losing it.

I was comforted that the bizarre episode had lasted just an hour. That comfort evaporated when I heard the same sounds this afternoon. Just once, but still. Once is enough. This time I did walk outside. I saw nothing on the roof or in the yard. I came back in and looked out the window on that side of the house. I could see one of the neighborhood teenagers in the lot across the fence, but I had no reason to suspect him other than the fact that he was there.

The kids from down the block use that mostly vacant lot for smoking and drinking (and whatever), but lacking any evidence, Iím not in a position to accuse anyone of anything. Iíd just kind of like the disruption of my peaceful rural life to stop.

7 December 2006

Spattered clouds.

Donít bother asking if Iím staying up until midnight. The last night I didnít stay up until midnight was— well, I donít remember, but I suspect it was in August on the houseboat. I wonít be out on the street with all the amateur drunks, though. Iíll be hanging my new calendars at midnight, as is my custom. Iím not superstitious, but I have a thing about putting calendars up (or even turning the page) too early. Peeling the page off my page-a-day calendar is usually the last thing I do before I go to bed every night. Hmmm. Maybe thatís why I stay up past midnight all the time.

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The 49ers havenít had a great season, unless you compare it to their last few seasons. At times this year theyíve been nearly unwatchable, and in the season ender tonight in Denver, they were up against a superior team that needed a win to get into the playoffs. Not only did they play the Broncos even for four quarters of a very entertaining game, but they won in overtime to salvage a 7-9 record that if nothing else makes the off season seem less like a death watch for next year and more like a time of hope. Of course, any team in any sport can be hopeful in the off season. Except the Raiders, natch.

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One year ago: Sludge Hammer
"Not that things will definitely get much better in 2006. Or 2007. I have high hopes for 2008, though."

Two years ago: Back and Forth
"Itís not easy to forget the miseries around the world (and my own battles with sciatica and carpal tunnel and other sundry maladies), but there is so much good in the world that itís entirely possible, with a straight face and a full heart, to believe that 2005 is going to be a better year."

Three years ago: Destination
"We aren't in the same place we were a year ago, that's for sure. And neither is the world, although I'm not ready to say the world is better off. I'm pretty sure the family is."

Four years ago: Helplessly Hoping
"Or maybe a year from today the world will still be turning, freedom will be ringing, and a chorus of voices will be singing of peace and hope. It helps to believe that's possible."

Five years ago: Turn the Page!
"If we get a little distance from the worst of last year, maybe we can take a fresh look at ourselves and our world as the new year takes on its own character."

Six years ago: Another Auld Lang Syne
"This year that we've waited for all our lives, this year with no 19 in its name, this year that seems to have just started is over in a blink, gone in a whisper."

Seven years ago: Turn-of-the-Century Blues
"Everyone I've ever known has lived in the twentieth century, and too many of them won't be making the now too short trip to the twenty-first with us."

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