aliste, we got the hat you made for Lydia. Thank you so much! It is adorable. I’ll take a photo of her in it tomorrow to show you.

We’re pretty settled into our new house in Knoxville. It’s a ranch style, which is much easier on Riley. (He can manage stairs just fine, but when he gets whiny he’ll insist on being carried up or down, and when we can’t do that we get the total meltdown. A lack of stairs neatly sidesteps the whole problem.) It’s got a garage, and more storage in general than our old house did. It’s pretty centrally located, but Knoxville is sprawled, so we’re still spending more time in the car than we did in Durham.

Plus ça change… Our days are much like they were in Durham just before we left: we’re at home a lot, just trying to get through the day. We’re getting a lot of support from Laura’s mom and stepdad, though, and I’m feeling the benefit of that. I have felt a little isolated sometimes, only knowing about seven people in town besides Laura and the kids. And since all of those people are Laura’s family, I’m always something of an adjunct, just by definition (not by any kind of unfriendliness or anything, it’s just how it is).

But today I met some neighbors and had a great time. This afternoon Riley and I went over to our neighbor Jeremy’s house so that I could jam with him on accordion. He plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, and a few other things. He’s quite a character, extremely friendly and open-minded. I accompanied his guitar and singing with just some really basic legato chords, but it sounded pretty good with the mostly folky songs he played. It was so much fun! He wants to work up a setlist and get some gigs with me. It worked pretty well today, I’m very encouraged. I’ll be able to fill out the accordion part better once I know the songs, of course, so I’m really looking forward to practicing some more. Now to find the time — and the real trick will be finding some when the practicing won’t wake anybody up.

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