W^2 – bird of the year

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 5, 2021

I have been looking for one these woodpeckers for over two years. Last fall I saw one, but by the time I had trained my camera it was gone. Two weeks ago, at the lake I spied one along the lane picking through a log on the ground and then saw another on a tree. I didn’t have my camera, but I was able to capture both with my phone camera. The following Sunday I recorded the video below as a pair of them worked the forest in search of food. it is the ABA Bird of the Year for 2021!

It made my weekend and I keep Making the Days Count, one day at a time.

What made your weekend?

remembering mom

Every time I roast a chicken, I think of my mom. Every time single time.

and after…

Friday night, I cooked dinner. Roasted chicken with rosemary and thyme, green beans, and a salad. It was just me, and Fern.

We are at the lake for the weekend, and it was just the two of us. I cut open the package and pulled the chicken out of the plastic wrapping, placing it in the sink and removing the neck and the giblets from inside the bird. I rinsed the bird and carefully patted it dry. My mom taught me that a crispy skin is because it’s skin is dry and light coated with olive oil. I placed the neck and giblets in a small saucepan, covered them with water, and placed them on the stove. Exactly like my mom taught me. I turned the burner to low and allowed the pan to slowly cook the contents – this part of the bird was for Fern.

I patted the chicken’s skin dry a final time before I placed it in a cast iron skillet lightly coating it with olive oil and then sprinkling it with black pepper and dried thyme and rosemary on the back, the breast, and legs of the bird pressing spices onto the skin. Then I placed it in the oven at 425˚F and waited.

Within a few minutes the aroma of a roasting chicken filled the cottage.

While it cooked, I fed Fern sprinkling some of the broth from her part of the bird and its some meat gleaned from the neck. Mom taught me that a whole chicken could feed a family and a dog. Every time I cook a whole chicken, I feed the dogs, too.

It took almost an hour in the oven and while it roasted, I busied myself with other chores and then prepared the salad and the green beans. I pulled the roasted bird out of the oven, checked the temperature, and then let it rest a few moments before carving off a thigh and a drumstick and plating it with green beans and a generous portion of the salad.

While I ate, I thought of mom and all she taught me to do and to be. Continue reading remembering mom

W^2 – spring

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, April 14, 2021

late afternoon sun blocked by a tree trunk. my backyard, Wheaton, IL Monday, April 12, 2021 4:49 PM
bullfrog in the shadows. Morton Arboretum Lisle, IL Sunday, April 11, 2021 2:12 PM

I couldn’t decide, so I chose two photos for the week. Earth’s annual renewal is a thing of beauty. This continual cycle of rebirth helps me continue to Make the Days Count, one day at a time, stopping to look and be present.

What signs have you noticed that spring is here?

Three things for a rainy Saturday morning

It’s been a long since I sat at my desk and wrote a blogpost on a Saturday morning. Saturday morning was once my ‘go to’ day to write. But things change and as I believe all have learned, and experienced, this past year is that if there is one constant in our lives it is change.

As I do from time to time, I looked back at the blog. Over the past year or so, most of my posts have been on Wednesday – those Wordless Wednesdays with a few words or more, so the posts aren’t truly wordless, but wordless at least for me. The second most frequent day I have posted has been Sunday.

I remembered every post and picture; I suppose that it’s your experience when you look back at your own blog.

Oddly, the last time I wrote a Saturday morning post it was a ‘three things’ post and it was raining. So for this week here are my ‘three things’ – hope, spring, and change. Continue reading Three things for a rainy Saturday morning

Light Mode

It is Friday, Good Friday, and our spring break is winding down. Last year for spring break we were in Michigan and we watched the lake ice melt. I spent the remainder of last school year – April and May – teaching from our cottage in Michigan. This year, we are in the keys of Florida and it has been very relaxing. We’ve been safe or as safe as one can be in the world of COVID19, social distancing, and mask mandates.

Monday evening’s sunset from Sunset park, Key Colony Beach, Florida

This year spring break has a different outcome. Last year I was returning from break to remote learning – something I had never done – posting assignments by 8AM and monitoring student progress, using ZOOM to connect with my students and using email and comments on assignments to provide feedback. This year I am returning to having most students in class four days each week and the remainder joining class remotely via ZOOM.

Much has changed since last year and I am thankful, very thankful. This year there is hope, while last year there was fear and uncertainty. Even with hope, there is still some fear and uncertainty, but I have found that when I focus on what I can control and for the rest what I am unable to control, I rely on my faith and pray that hope rises above fear.

Sunday morning’s sunrise. Key Colony Beach, Florida

A week ago, Monday, I opened my email and found that my Lenten Journal had been published. I smiled and shared it with a few folks, and now I share it with you.

I had written the reflection in mid-January as we were preparing to begin hybrid teaching and learning. Hybrid teaching is having some students in class and the remainder remotely on ZOOM. In January, we had divided the students who wanted to be in school into two groups an A group – last names A-L and a B group – last names M-Z. The A group attended Tuesday and Wednesday and the B group attended Thursday and Friday. In all, I had a little more than a third of my students in class for at least two days of instruction and those students who were not in class attended class remotely via ZOOM. It took a bit of learning on my part and my student’s part but we figured it out. We made it work.

Below is my Lenten reflection.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)..” Ephesians 5:8-9

I teach 6th grade science and recently added an iPad as an extra screen to help manage my classroom with students in class and those following along at home. It helps me to create a single classroom and bring together the students who are in the room with those who are at home on Zoom. The iPad suggested I try ‘dark mode’ to help me better see the screen and improve the battery life of my device. But I soon discovered that it made reading more difficult for me and following along in class, dark mode became a burden and I turned off ‘dark mode.’ Continue reading Light Mode

W^2 – Irma and time

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 31, 2021

demolition is almost complete on this piece of ocean frontage. Key Colony Beach, Florida March 28, 2021 12:49 PM
a black and white version of the same photo, Key Colony Beach, Florida March 28, 2021 12:49 PM

Hurricane Irma came ashore on just east of this location on September 10, 2017. Irma was a category 4 hurricane with winds in over 100 mph and a storm surge of 6 to 10 feet. She left behind damaged homes, buildings, and this condominium complex in her wake. Most were able to rebuild, but for some the damage was too great to rebuild. Sometimes, it’s easier just to start over. Making the Days Count, even when I must press the reset button and begin again.

When was the last time you pressed re-set?*

*Full disclosure, I went back to ”play’ with Adobe Photoshop and decided to add a black and white version of the photo.

W^2 – shenanigans  

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 24, 2021

a whimsical monument to school by one of my 6th graders. Naperville, IL March 9, 2021 12:49 PM

+ Add New Category

We started with a few students coming back to school. The change was immediate. The change happened because our building became a school again where children’s laughter filled the halls and the classrooms. School isn’t school without a little bit of shenanigans and tom foolery, now and then. Making the Days Count recognizing that a little tom foolery and shenanigans boost the soul from time to time.

When was your last shenanigan? What did you do?

W^2 – lake sunset

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The sunset over the frozen lake, beginning to melt at the edge. Grayling, MI February 26, 2021 6:16 PM

Winter is on its winding its down and spring is on its way. I never tire of watching a sunset or a sunrise it’s what keeps me Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, each day is a step forward.

When was the last time you stopped to the sunset or rise?

W^2 – branches

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 24, 2021

reaching for the sky – bare branches on a late winter afternoon. Wheaton, IL February 23, 2021 4:44 PM

The past few weeks have been cold and snowy. We’ve had out days with brilliant sunshine, but the land is covered in several inches of packed snow. Yesterday, it was above freezing, and it felt warm even though it was 40F or 5C. It was warm enough for a walk in the afternoon and it was refreshing. I spied this tree reaching for the sky. There is beauty and peace in the world, especially on a late February afternoon. Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, finding beauty and peace everywhere I look.

Where are you finding your peace these days in late winter?

W^2 – ice

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 3, 2021 on Thursday. Ooops.

Ice covered topiary. Wheaton, IL February2, 2021 5:16 PM

We have had several inches of snow fall over the past week and we are expecting another few inches today. Fresh snow is pretty, but when it melts and refreezes it’s another kind of beauty. Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, looking for beauty anywhere I can find it, beauty in the world makes my day count.

Where have you found beauty lately? Are you looking? Or does it just happen?