names – a photo challenge

It is Sunday afternoon and the sun is shining. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. weekend which means a three-day weekend for me and O, W is out of school until next week when his college goes back into session.

Winter Break finished last week. I was back at school this past Monday and it was a whirlwind of a week; each day I came home from school promising myself I’d put together a post in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Names and I never did. Friday night, I fell asleep on the couch and yesterday I was laid low by the flu and took a day off, of sorts.

I spent the last week of Winter Break in Northern Mississippi visiting my step-mother, Juliana or simply J. It was intended to be a wellness check visit, she lives by herself and I worry. She has friends, but friends aren’t family. So, I worry,and my brothers worry, and we visit when we can.

Vicksburg National Cemetery – of the 18,244 interred, 12,954 are unknown – unnamed

I had asked J before I arrived if she would want to take a road trip to Vicksburg with me. I planned  to see the Vicksburg National Military Park and possibly pay a visit to Jansen Schmidt, a blogger friend at the Baer House, J agreed. So, on Wednesday – January 4 we took off on a road trip. Oxford, Mississippi is almost two hundred miles from Vicksburg. The weather was great – it was cool in the mid-forties but dry. Perfect for driving into unfamiliar territory.

Wednesday morning got off to a slow start – I distracted myself with a technical issue that I discovered was a worthless endeavor. J was hesitant getting started, but once we were on the road we made good time and arrived at the park close to 2 PM. We were all in. Continue reading names – a photo challenge

resilient – a photo challenge

This morning, on the way home from dropping W off at work, I glanced left and took in the magnificent morning as the bright sunlight brought the prairie grasses back to light and life. We had a hard freeze last night and much of the world was covered in a heavy frost. It was 19 F or -7 C, depending on your scale, whichever you choose – it was cold.

Danada Forest Preserve – 1/1/17

The prairie grasses were frosted and golden in the light. The sun had been up above the horizon for less than an hour and it was low on the horizon and the entire prairie was brightly lit and slowly warming.

By now, a few hours later, most of the morning’s frost is gone and the prairie grass is no longer coated with frost. It’ll be a while, several months with the arrival of spring, before the grass completely returns to life and the cycle continues.

Danada Forest Preserve – 1/1/17

Continue reading resilient – a photo challenge

path: a photo challenge

Thursday – December 29, 2016. Counting today, there are three more days in 2016. Then a new year, of sorts. Last year, I had three hundred sixty-six to count, the coming year brings three hundred sixty-five. For educators, like myself, the year is defined by the school calendar mid-August to June or early May with a break in June, July and early August. Which means new year marks the beginning of second half and new birth of sorts for my eighth graders.

Christmas dessert – B’s homemade old-fashioned creampie

At the moment, I am on winter break – Day 7. I wish I could report I had accomplished more than catching up on sleep, but I can’t. I prepared an amazing Christmas Dinner – roasted bone-in prime rib, au gratin potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with bacon. Ivy got the bones. B made the old-fashioned cream pie for dessert.

Today marks the beginning of a new path – thank you notes, cleaning off my office desk, a workout (this would be three days in a row), and maybe some school work –  maybe.

We had snow in early December, the first Sunday of the month. The storm left several inches of snow covering the ground. A week later, we had another storm blanketing the area with a fresh layer if snow. The following week, we had bitter cold and last weekend we had rain and the most of the snow melted. The Monday after Christmas, I was outside raking leaves from the deck and cleaning up the yard a bit. Except for a few patches where the sun doesn’t shine, the snow is gone, it’s history. This afternoon’s forecast calls for a dusting of snow, but at the moment it is clear and sunny – a bonus for this time of the year.

Same path, different days….

Continue reading path: a photo challenge

sometimes you’re the bug

It’s been several months since I wrote a Tuesday’s Tune post. But, I’ve got a song in my head, thanks to some obstacles that popped up yesterday morning.

Yesterday was Monday and like most Monday’s I wasn’t looking forward to getting out of bed and embracing the new week. It had snowed most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday and the cars and roads were coated with snow. AND it was cold.

Sometimes you’re the windshield
Sometimes you’re the bug

As I always do, I get up early. Yesterday I rose around 4:30. And as usual I checked my e-mail while the coffee brewed and discovered the WIFI was down, so I re-booted the system, twice. The re-boot didn’t work. Then, I realized we had a service technician coming to change and upgrade our service and the internet and cable must have been turned off. Yep, the television signal was dead, too. Thirty minutes wasted spent trying to solve the problem. But, the coffee was good.

courtesy of How to Detail Your Car.

Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you’re just a fool in love

Continue reading sometimes you’re the bug

new horizons: a photo challenge

Sunday morning. It’s cold outside and we’re between snows – yesterday afternoon it began to gently snow as we were finishing our outdoor Christmas decorations. This morning when I woke the eastern sky was cloudy and grey and the sun’s light struggled to dimly awaken the world to a new day.

my first peek outside – the window beside my bed…

We’re 14 days from Christmas morning and 21 days from New Year’s morning. A new horizon and a new year. Somehow, the past 345 days have been a blur. Continue reading new horizons: a photo challenge

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