Carry on

It’s Sunday evening and the beginning of a new week. Yesterday morning I woke up at the lake, awakened by a barking dog wanting to go outside. This morning I woke in my bed at home to a barking dog, reminding me it was time to get up and get moving. Some things in life are constant.

It was great to get away to the lake. It’s magical. But, there’s magic here, too.

carry_onUp at the lake I was able to relax and breathe. I was also, to find a quiet place and read. When I packed up left the lake yesterday, I only had a few chapters remaining in the book I was reading – Carry On by Lisa Fenn. This morning, after I let Ivy outside and then let her back inside, I poured a cup of coffee and then I sat down in a quite space and I finished reading the book.

There are a few books which after I read, I want to know more, I want tell someone and share. There are books which change my perspective and make me want to continue to be a better person. Carry On is one of those books.

Carry On is the story of three people – the principles in the story – Dartanyon Crockett, Leroy Sutton, and Lisa Fenn. It’s the story of how the three met and how their lives intersected to change the lives of more than the three, and seemingly everyone touched or connected to the story.

The story began in February 2009 when Lisa Fenn first learned of Dartanyon and Leroy and flew to Cleveland, Ohio to meet them. At the time, Lisa Fenn was a producer for ESPN and Dartanyon and Leroy were high school wrestlers, seniors. It would be the last time either would wrestle, competitively. But that day, marked the beginning of a relationship that would change the three forever.

A blind wrestler who carried a legless wrestler. Continue reading Carry on

magic – a photo challenge

It’s Wednesday afternoon. It’s been an amazing day and there is still a little magic left.

We’re UP NORTH where magic abounds. I suppose if I looked, I could find it at home, but I am here. We drove up after school yesterday and stopped halfway to deliver a Christmas wreath to a good friend. We arrived late and the stars were twinkling magically as we unloaded the car.

This morning B nudged me and said, “we’d better get going and rake the yard before the snow hits.”

I grumbled, but got moving. It began to spit snow as we finished.

there is magic in the air...
there is magic in the air…

Then it was a trip to the grocery for what we needed for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s tomorrow and I am thankful

I’ve been dreaming of being here since my last visit in early October. It’s magic here, even when it is cold and snowing. Continue reading magic – a photo challenge

The speed limit

Thursday was my birthday. I turned the speed limit, the speed limit in the United States, in miles per hour, or at least the speed limit that President Nixon signed into law when I was 12. Earlier this year, I was following Sammy Hagar’s example and got a citation for exceeding the posted speed limit. It was an expensive reminder to stay within the boundaries.

photo courtesy of University of Michigan - Dearborn
photo courtesy of University of Michigan – Dearborn

I am 55, not 70, this year and I am comfortable with the number and idea. Each year, I gain a bit more wisdom, realize I have much more to learn, and realize that I have limits. We all have limits.

Since November ’13, I joined the Movember movement and have been growing a moustache to bring awareness to men’s health. At the beginning of November, the moustache is barely noticeable, but after twelve days the whiskers are visible and several people have asked, ‘Growing a moustache?’

I reply, ‘yep.’ And the conversation begins….

I am growing the moustache, not because I look amazing with one, but because the moustache opens a conversation with men my age about the importance of a regular checkup. There are two other men whom I see regularly at school – they both teach 8th grade and we eat lunch together and talk about school, sports, politics, and teaching. But the conversation came up and I asked,

‘When was the last time you had a checkup?’

Neither could recall their last visit for a checkup and were fuzzy when they were last at the doctor’s office and why. Several years ago, that could have been me, but I’ve had a checkup going back to ’09 and the only reason I’ve had a checkup every year since was that I couldn’t go to Boy Scout summer camp without a medical form which included a physical signed by a doctor.

Each doctor’s visit ends with the same reminders – lose weight, watch you what you eat, get some exercise and each year I’ve promised myself to do better and I begin and then, I am back to my old habits.

Earlier this year, I restarted and I am working hard. I have several friends – real and blogger friends – who’ve influenced me through their actions and blogs about the importance of getting and staying active. So, I am moving. I feel much better and my knees are thanking me for it. I am watching what I eat, taking time to exercise, and feeling better.

movember_me_1112So, my moustache grows and it looks ridiculous. The more ridiculous the better because it opens the dialogue and the chance for me to ask, Continue reading The speed limit

UNITY: Rights and Responsibilities

Election Day, it’s finally here. This year, I am off. The schools in my school district are closed, but not all school districts are closed for election day, it depends on the school district. It’s a local issue.

My students wrapped up their study of the U.S. Constitution last Friday. They believe the Constitution is behind them, but they are in for a surprise – knowing and applying the Constitution never goes away.

I was awakened this morning before my alarm sounded and I got up, I should have stayed in bed, but didn’t. I am not sure what woke me in the first place, but what kept me up was a thought I couldn’t keep out of my mind. Last week, as I was discussing the Constitution with my students, I needed to cover their rights, duties, and responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America.

ivoted

The duties mentioned in our textbook are:

  • Obey the law
  • Pay taxes
  • Defend the nation
  • Serve in court
  • Attend school

I went further to remind my students that though attending school was a duty, being in school and being more than ‘present’ was their responsibility, not only to themselves, but to our country. It meant being engaged in their learning. Continue reading UNITY: Rights and Responsibilities

Home

I am HOME for the weekend. Not the home where I live, but the HOME where I grew up, where my roots are, where my mom, brothers, and their families live. Texas. All of us are here: me, B, W, and O. Ivy stayed back and, I am told, is sulking: we’ll return Sunday evening and hopefully all will be forgiven. In the meantime, it’s a family reunion on both sides of our families.

great backdrop... perfect
great backdrop… perfect

The reunion is Three funerals and a wedding, sort of twist on the Hugh Grant movie from the 90s, Three Weddings and a Funeral. Continue reading Home

shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Midwest. Actually, Saturday was a beautiful day, too and I am not referring to the Chicago Cubs.

We’ve had a run of beautiful days. Warm sunny afternoons followed by cool nights. Tonight, the sky was clear again when I took Ivy outside. Since she and Mr. Skunk met in August, she gets an escort out in the evening. I looked up and I could see several stars. Living so close to a major city, my stargazing is limited by the light pollution. I am thankful for the stars that shine bright enough for me to see.

ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange
ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange

I spent most of my day hunkered down in the basement working on school and other things. I popped out of my cave to enjoy a slice of O’s birthday cake. It was O’s birthday and W was over to help celebrate.

It was that time in the afternoon when the sun’s angle illuminates and shines across the landscape in a special way. It makes the grass greener and the fall leaves redder, oranger, and yellower than they are in the midday sun or morning sun.

the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun
the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun

The backside of our home faces west and is surrounded by mature maple trees and a lonely ash tree. Among the maples is a maple tree that turns the brightest orange-yellow in early fall. It is so bright it appears to be afire. The other maple trees turn a pale yellow and drop almost simultaneously after the first heavy frost in mid-November. One of the maple trees has a vine that climbs the trunk and had turned a brilliant red-orange. Continue reading shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

“All politics is local.”

“All politics is local.”

We (we Americans) are in the midst of a contentious presidential election. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and, so far, I’ve successfully avoided talking politics. AND, I am not going to break with tradition, I’ll keep my opinion on the presidential election to myself.

But, “all politics is local,” former Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is credited with the phrase, bit it’s a moot point.

I vote, or should vote, for the candidate that most closely aligns with my political, and economic, interests. That is what makes the election for a national leader local.

I teach 8th graders US History (and science) and my students are itching to know who I am voting for or planning to vote for this year. I am not telling them who I am planning to vote for, either.

pink pencils and the 'freedom rock'
pink pencils and the ‘freedom rock’

Continue reading “All politics is local.”

water – a photo challenge

I’ve had this weekend circled on my calendar since Labor Day. It’s been awhile since we’ve been up here, by the lake, in the early fall. The past few years, we’ve been able to come up only after football season was finished and even then it was for a short two-day weekend, not the longer three-day weekend that Columbus Day brings.

the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we're here... by the lake, Up North.
the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we’re here… by the lake, Up North.

Last year, it was W, O, Ivy, and I for fall cleanup, the year before in ’14 we all of us left on early Saturday afternoon (after football practice) and only had Sunday to work, and in 13’ I came by myself.

I’ve been searching back in my memory and the cottage guest book and it’s been a long time since we’ve been Up North at this time in the year.

B and I reminisced on our way out of town Friday evening as the sunset in the rearview mirror about our trip in ’96. It was BK – before kids – her parents met us and we had a great time. We drove through the countryside looking at the fall color and we did some yard work, but I remember the deep breaths I was able take by the lake. It does that for me, the lake helps me relax and refocus. Continue reading water – a photo challenge

25 years ago…..

25 years screams by in an instant. It seems like the other day, I was standing outside of a church in Versailles, Ohio nervously pacing….

Our wedding day - Warren, B, me, my mom and David
Our wedding day – Warren, B, me, my mom and David

The post below is from 2013…

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years ago, today was a great day and there have been many more in between. 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, every day, all day.

Thanks for stopping in….

22Yesterday was our 22nd anniversary. I have known B for much longer, almost thirty years. The time has flown by. If I close my eyes, it seems like yesterday when we met, got married, and had kids. It was also my younger brother’s birthday. For a short time, we will be consecutive 51-50-49. I am the oldest, the smartest, the best looking, and the most humble, in case you didn’t know. Yesterday was also homecoming for W and it was a day full of activity finishing with a dance. Oh, the memories it brings back. It’s fall in the Midwest, again. It happens every year. The days get shorter and cooler, and the trees begin to turn and then leaves begin to fall. It happens, always. Continue reading 25 years ago…..