Two things happened today to make it slightly more interesting.

First, there was a mouse. He (she?) had fallen into the window well by my office, and was spotted by Laralee. She called the kids down, and we all watched him running around the rocks trying to figure out how the heck to get back up. Trying to get a closer look, we opened the window and pulled out the screen.

You guessed it, the mouse jumped into the basement and disappeared into the closet. The kids shrieked and started coming up with plans to trap the little guy. At first it was funny, but as time wore on it became clear that getting our new friend out of the house wasn’t going to be easy. He was pretty small, and quick as a dart. He’d run all over the room hiding behind computers, under the desk, behind boxes, and so on.

Laralee eventually trapped him under a plastic CD stack case (a clear cylinder about five inches across and eight inches high). With great ceremony she took him upstairs and released him into the wild again.

The second thing that happened– well, actually it was first chronologically– was the eruption of a big wildfire west of Longmont. Laralee and I were driving up I-25 and saw a vast plume of smoke ahead. It stretched from the foothills (several miles west) across the interstate and well to the east. By the time we got to Longmont, we were in the thick of the haze and the entire sky was a brownish tinge.

The sun was a dim crimson red, and when I looked at it I could see the two enormous sunspots up there. Apparently we’re in the midst of one of the biggest solar storms in a decade, and these gigantic sunspots are at the heart of it all. It was pretty amazing to see them with the naked eye from a hundred million miles away. I can’t begin to imagine how huge they are– likely large enough to comfortably house thousands of Earths.

Anyway, I tried to get a couple pictures of them but our two cameras couldn’t get a high enough zoom to see any detail. Still, it’s possible to see the reddish color of the sun and the slight brown of the sky…