first day jitters

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BOOM, CRACK, boom, BOOM, crackle, zap; that was a couple of hours ago. Ivy came running into our room And jumped into our bed – startled and out of sorts. A line of thunderstorms was moving through and it upset her. It woke us up, too.

She curled up at the bottom of the bed – B never lets her sleep there – and snuggled up to my leg closely in a tight ball. I was able to get back to sleep, sort of, but my alarm woke me less than hour later. I am not sure if B was too sleepy to care about Ivy, or understood. We’re all kind of jittery today.

I am up now and Ivy is, too. The storms moved through and she’s snuggled up in a chair beside my desk downstairs sleeping fitfully. I can’t go back to sleep. It’s the first day of the new school year. It’s the kids first day, too. I’ll get kids next Tuesday and I’ll be jittery, again.

W is going to be a junior and O is off to middle school. How did that happen? It seems everyone is getting older and I am just getting wiser. B and Ivy get their house back today and have it all the way until early June. She’ll miss us and then get back to her routine; we will, too. Ivy will miss us, too. I love coming home and having Ivy meet me at the door or in the yard. It’s the best.

Last night I packed lunches, made breakfast sandwiches so we would have something to eat for breakfast this week, I’d spent the day on last minute details – there is always something which lies unfinished at the end of each summer. I have a longer list of unfinished projects this year, but it is understandable. Those jobs will get done, eventually.

Today is our first day back to school. I’ve got a new lunch box and it’s ready for my lunch. O’s got her backpack packed and W’s is, too. It’s gonna be a great day and tomorrow could be a million and six times better, but this could possibly the best day ever, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one first day over and over every year.

Do you have first day back to school memories? Do share, thank you.

my lunch box - new this year....

my lunch box – new this year….

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhoutte

an A340 glides out of the sun for a landing at O'Hare - Sunday August 17th
an A340 glides out of the sun for a landing at O’Hare field – Sunday August 17th

Lately, it seems I have been very good at coming up with diversions. Errands, movies, games, practices; and on the surface, they appear legitimate, but really, they are distracting. O and I have been distracting ourselves quite well, lately. Honestly, I think we are both nervous about the coming year. She is headed off to 6th grade in three days and I am headed to 8th grade science. Saturday, I took her to O’Hare to watch airplanes land and takeoff after getting her new eyeglasses, and we did it again yesterday after the softball game. Granted, O’Hare was close, but there were so many more important things we could have been doing, but we were distracting ourselves from what’s important.

1999 was my first year of teaching. I was in 6th grade and I lasted a year at the grade level before my promotion to 7th grade. Continue reading

summer flowers, summer memories

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O among the lilies – one of my favorite photos of her – July 2004… she was not quite 2 years old

I started the summer with seventy-two, and now I am down to seven days. It seems like yesterday and yet, it seems like so long ago. Summer is a magical time for me. I met my wife thirty summers ago and I get to spend my summers reinventing myself, year after year. Summer is a time for family, growing, trying new things, traditions, and enjoying being outdoors. Twenty years ago, the new summer cottage opened for the first time. I spent that first summer, or as much time as I could, up north moving rocks, planting lilies, working, and getting the cottage settled. I’ve been doing much the same around the cottage since; and I enjoy every minute of it. Summer is also the time when I remember my dad’s passing and my trip a year later to France and his final resting place. This summer, five years after my dad, my father-in-law passed away.

Ironically, it was five years ago when the deer ate the lilies. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture

 

peach and blueberry crisp with salted caramel ice cream...hmmmm
peach and blueberry crisp with salted caramel ice cream…hmmmm

Texture – the way a food or drink feels in your mouth – smooth, crispy, crunchy, chewy….

MW_textureThat’s Merriam-Webster’s definition, but like most words we use we end up having a working definition of the word. To me texture means many things, it’s the way I wear clothes, to the way our house is landscaped, but I love to cook, to create, and have fun but the food on the plate needs to have a different texture and different feel when you eat it.

Continue reading

Sparks fly

The song begins….

There’s 104 days of summer vacation
Till school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it
“Today is gonna be a great day” – Bowling for Soup

I’ve been finding all sorts of ways to spend it: playing, campfires, s’mores, water sports, fireworks, driving, remembering, visiting, learning, thinking, writing, and so many more. This morning, grandma heads home. I’ll be driving her halfway home to meet my nephew who’ll get her all the way home. It’s been a great visit, it’s been nice to see her and I think she had a good time, I know we did.

At last night’s campfire the ‘sparks flew’ and I captured a slice of summer.

the campfire, the lake, the moon, and 'sparks fly'
the campfire, the lake, the moon, and ‘sparks fly’

There’ve been so many days this summer and though I wish we had 104, I don’t think I could have used them any better than I have. The chorus repeats…..

And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be
A million and six times better

So make every minute count
Jump up, jump in and seize the day
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way
Today is gonna to be a great day
“Today is gonna be a great day” – Bowling for Soup

Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, because all it take is one spark.

How have you made the ‘sparks fly’ this summer?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Zigzag

There is nothing as fun as hanging onto an inner tube tied to the back of the boat as the driver tries to shake you off – zigzagging over the water, especially when the driver is your wife. Just hanging on was fun, trying to shake me was more fun for the driver.

me, hangin' on - photo by O
me, hangin’ on – photo by O

I stayed on the tube and had a blast, though my arms and shoulders are screaming this morning.

O took the turn before me, and the turn after me; we both had a blast. It was a fun afternoon on the lake.

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O, slippin’ to the outside, must be a zig or maybe it’s a zag – photo by me

Our summer has been full of zigzags – highs and lows. I am grateful we were able to squeeze a little zigzagging fun.

Yesterday was GREAT DAY and today is going to be a million and six times better…. I know it and I can feel it. As the the chorus wails……

This could possibly be the best day ever
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be
A million and six times better

So make every minute count
Jump up, jump in and seize the day
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way
Today is gonna to be a great day
“Today is gonna be a great day” – Bowling for Soup

Making the days Count, one day at a time, one zig, one zag, one and one zigzag at a time.

What do you remember from middle school science?

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – prompt – at Word Press.  The week’s prompt is “Zigzag.” For this week’s challenge, share with us your own take on zigging and zagging. It can be a winding path, the Herringbone pattern on your coat, a scar: any jagged line that tells a story. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

August morn

cinFriday morning, August 1st, twenty more days and I’ll be back at school or work. I promised myself that when I began to call it work, I would get out. I still call it school, though there are days when it seems like work. There are years when I learn more from the kids than I ever thought possible and then there are years, like the year ahead, when there is a lot to learn (and re-learn) about what I am teaching and I re-invent myself.

Nevertheless, it is the first day of August and I am still Up North. I had plans to be home the last couple of days but my procrastination de-railed me. Sometimes my procrastination is a positive, because this time I get to spend more time at the cottage along the lake AND I get to spend come more time with my mother-in-law, aka grandma. She arrived last night and it is good to see her. I don’t know how many more trips she has in her, but I am determined to make her days here count.

When she arrived she noticed the yard, the flowers, the beds, and the deck had been painted and all the hard work B and I have put in. Actually, she noticed the results of all of our hard work. She also noticed the dent in the hassock and wondered what happened. We knew what had happened, but didn’t tell her. Ivy did it. I know, I know, blame the dog trick #1, blame the dog….but really, it is blame us, because we are the ones who allowed Ivy to jump up and sleep on the hassock. B and I looked at each other and winked, we feigned we didn’t know. O almost spilled the beans, but we winked and she got it. Continue reading

Monday morning coffee

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I desperately needed my coffee this morning. I am glad I remembered to setup the coffeemaker before I went to bed last night, and even then, it was a challenge to get moving.

I spent the first hour of the morning with my feet up on the hassock sipping a cup of coffee, looking out the front window at the lake, reading the news, sifting through e-mails, and in general allowing the time to slip through my fingers and then, I got busy replying to posted comments and reading blog posts.

Over two hours have passed since I crawled out of bed this morning and I begin to write. My mind is all a jumble of thoughts going every which way. B is awake, I can hear the printer upstairs spitting out a sheet, or two. At first, I thought it was J – B’s sister, or O getting up and coming downstairs. But, the sound changed and I realized it was B printing from her iPad in our room. She woke and came out thirty minutes or so ago and asked me why I had set my alarm for 6 AM, after all, we are on vacation and I relied that I wanted to be up early, before everyone else. Satisfied she had an answer, she went back into the bedroom closing the door behind her. I suppose my alarm woke her up and she hadn’t been able to get back to sleep.

Coffee has never tasted so good, as it did this morning. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge – Summer Lovin’

Summer means so many things – it means sunny warm days, cool nights, road trips, family, swimming, boating, sleeping late, staying up long after dark, gentle rain showers, and campfires beside the lake wrapped in a beach towel to keep my back warm…. It also means keeping it short and sweet like a melted marshmallow with a chunk of chocolate on a graham cracker… I can even taste it….

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Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one summer memory at a time….

What summer memories do you have?

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – prompt – at Word Press.  The week’s prompt is “Summer Lovin’.” This week, share a photo that says summer lovin’ to you. It might be a favorite pair of sandals you can’t bear to part with, the homemade salsa you made with veggies from your garden, the flowers you planted, or your family frolicking on the beach. If summer is on the way in your hemisphere, show us something hot hot hot: your homemade sriracha sauce, some friends shuckin’ and jivin’ on the dance floor, or even the furnace or boiler that heats your home.

License plates and sunshine

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our route – I think I could do it with my eyes closed….

We are all back up north – B, W, O, Ivy, and me. If I could, I’d stay up here forever, but there is something called money, and a job, that keeps me from doing just that. And, perhaps being up north might lose it’s luster if it weren’t an occasional treat like ice cream or chocolate. This is the place that grandpa built – it’s the place for family and more memories than I can write about for now. B’s sister will be joining us later this evening for a short visit and grandma will be coming up next week. It’ll be a good time.

We came up Sunday afternoon. We had planned to come up Sunday morning, but we just needed to take our time. I’d been at Beauty and Charm all week and W came home from football Saturday afternoon and wouldn’t move – he was so tired. He needed to pack for his scouting trip next week to the boundary waters trip in northern Minnesota, but he just lied there on his bed, so we let him sleep. He slept from 6PM until 8AM Sunday morning, he must’ve been tired, because when we got here Sunday night, he slept another ten hours into Monday morning. We drove both of the cars because W has to go back Friday for his trip and one of us has to drive him.

O, Ivy, and I left first in my car and B and W followed hers with W driving. Driving 359 miles can be a drain. O was watching a movie on the iPad beside me and I was driving, paying attention to traffic, and listening to a Market Place podcast when I had a brilliant idea, why not count the number of different state license plates we saw along our way? I nudged O and explained my idea. I asked her how many she thought we might see and she replied 24. She was in. We had rules for our game – only cars and pickup trucks, no buses, and commercial vehicles like tractor-trailer rigs or delivery trucks. And, only US states, no Canada plates. She quickly called out our first license plate – Illinois. We quickly had ten or so – Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota and we had fourteen when B called to check in and I told her about our game. She took it as a challenge and it was game on. Driving along the interstates made it easier: I-80, I-90, I-94, and I-196 are heavily trafficked but once we were north of Grand Rapids, we didn’t see another new license plate.

We finished with 24 and B and W beat us Continue reading