xyHt What?

xyHt is the name of the magazine I helped produce for a hunk of my life. If you’re curious, hang on to your hat. (Otherwise skip this next paragraph.)

The magazine is for a variety of professionals who locate and/or measure most everything: from exact spots on the ground, to big sections of land or water, to the shape of the Earth (spoiler: it’s not a perfect sphere); from building interiors, to dams as they age; from rising sea levels, to your neighbor’s fence line. The letters x, y, and H each represent a direction (long story on the capital H there) and t is for time (ditto on the long story). They’re the core of how and why these professionals locate and measure. And if you’ve never thought about those actions as crucial to how we understand our planet Earth and how we live on it, read this explanation.

As you might imagine, the magazine staff is a motley crew of scientists, artists, writers, managers, thinkers. Collectively, we’ve ridden the waves of industry change over 30 years of publication, and—look—we’re still friends!

Many of us locals got together at a brewery/winery while I was in town, and we did a heck of a lot of catching up, since some folks no longer work for the magazine, some folks never did but were major influencers, and some folks came along for the beer (Bob M., I’m looking at you, fondly!).

Missing from the event—and in our mind and hearts—were former staff members (I thought of you often, Gavin), past and current writers who live afar, and especially our long-time coworker and friend, Rachael, who’s recovering from cancer. Rest up Rachael: we’ll see you next time.

Angie managed the get-together and won the award for the most ornate BBQ meal from one of several food trucks on the grounds.

We knew Banjo would be happy to see this guy in the red shirt, below, but you should have seen her spot him as he approached the group from across the field. She pulled me on the leash all the way to Chuck, and then she went “Crackerdog” (thank you, James Herriot) around him until he petted her sufficiently. Even a full year apart couldn’t suppress Banjo’s memories of the delicious treats Chuck used to give her when we were all office mates before I left work.

This afternoon encapsulates my Friends and Family tour theme: When you used to see people all the time and then you don’t see them for a year, it’s only that casual time—milling about a little, sitting quietly side by side for a bit, laughing at old stories and hearing new ones—that heals some wounds from the past year. It’s what we all need.

I’m very fortunate to be getting in this time during this tour.

When these two (Dave and Renee, above) heard we were camping in the area, they brilliantly booked a tent site in our campground, so we also got to hang out by the fire at each other’s sites and shoot the shit as only people sitting around a campfire late at night can. And you can see how much Banjo appreciated getting to see someone both at home (the trailer) and out in the world.

Even More Pictures

I didn’t get a shot of Finn and our friend Sooz (hi Sooz!) at lunch earlier that day, but when I remembered to pull out my phone I took a selfie, after (of course). The day was just so warm and pleasant, and we stayed at lunch after Finn and Sooz left so we could enjoy the memories of being outside in a small town I love.

Banjo likes Frederick, too. Here we are outside my former apartment complex waiting while Tracy’s at an appointment. My last dog, Jackie Boy, lived with me here, so I took Banjo on our old walks and reminisced with her about dog relationships. An unexpected delight.

My heart is full and my emotions are exhausted. But you know how it goes with family and friends. Love isn’t divided among them; it regenerates so you can continue to spread it, and your heart also expands to receive it. We have three more days on tour, and I expect them to include a few classics, some new songs, and a couple of encores. Bring it.