Update on my passport: my new passport remains new and not yet used. Thursday, though. However, I got another letter from the State Department, and this contained my old passport, hole-punched, along with the other of the two photographs I'd sent for my renewal. I don't know why it had to be sent separately, although I suppose there's sense in getting a new passport to the applicant as soon as possible (it did come in a priority-mail envelope) and returning the cancelled one by surface cargo (it came in a regular low-grade envelope, although oddly enough one which somehow had the feel of Singaporean envelopes I have known). I'm glad I have the travelling companion back.
There's another companion that's returned. After my mother had the old floor lamp from the living room put in the garage, in the hopes we would someday find something to do with it, my father's taken it back and set it next to the couch and endtable where it had been all along. He hasn't taken away the new table lamp with its highly directional focused lampshade of shading; instead, we've just got the two roughly equivalent lamps sitting next to one another. I'm sticking with the table lamp for my lighting needs --- it's surprisingly nicer having the little island of light in the dark room that it offers, at least if you aren't feeling spooked by the hour --- while my father is using the floor lamp and its broad if less intense dispersal of the photons.
I still don't get how he isn't knocking one or the other lamps over every time he reaches for the TV remote or the glass he's drinking from, but I suppose he's got some idea what he's doing.
My parents still haven't noticed the other Mother's Day present.
Trivia: An earthquake struck the Finger Lakes section of New York State on 1 November 1935, during the long cooling period the 200-inch glass Palomar telescope mirror was cooling at the Corning Glass Works. Source: The Perfect Machine: Building The Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence. And weirder than earthquakes in the Finger Lakes is the mentions of Robert Benchley and his humorous essays about the big telescope parts (``if you ask me, they have got started making gigantic glass lenses up at Corning and can't stop''), many of which I've read, being the stuff that telescope management reads with amusement and dread.
Currently Reading: Symmetry: A Journey Into The Patterns Of Nature, Marcus du Sautoy.