Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year’s Eve 2013

newyearseveIt’s New Year’s Eve. 2013. It’s over, well almost. I have a few more hours in 2013 to log a few accomplishments, to make up for things I didn’t do, should’ve done, could’ve done, or made excuses because I simply did not do them. Or, I could dwell on the things I did, the things I did well. Instead, I will move forward, trying to remember what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and philosopher, wrote long ago:

“Every man has only enough strength to complete those assignments that he is fully convinced are important.”

Goethe, wrote a lot, significantly more than I have, especially in the past year. Like Goethe, I have time for what is important, what is necessary, and what I need to do. Continue reading New Year’s Eve 2013

Christmas

this morning's view from my 'office'
this morning’s view from my ‘office’

It’s a wonderful morning in Illinois. The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, and there is a blanket of snow on the ground. We, at least W and I are, are back after spending Christmas in Ohio. B and O stayed another day and will leave for Michigan sometime today. W and I will head north early Sunday morning to join them; in the meantime he and I, and Ivy of course, have the run of the house. We also have a few things to do, like study for finals (W) and grade papers (me), before we pack up and drive north.

Somehow, Christmas always catches me by surprise. It sneaks up on me, pounces, and leaves me dazed. No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be mentally, emotionally, or physically prepared for the season. Perhaps it goes back to my days working in restaurants when the Christmas season was a blur of long days and even longer nights, or maybe there is a deeper reason for my Christmas surprise. But, my restaurant days are behind me, almost twenty years behind and I still find myself lost at this time of the year. Teaching has replaced working in restaurants and there is a two week long break for Christmas. When Winter Break and Christmas do arrive, all I want to do is rest, sleep, or just enjoy downtime. There always seems there is more to do than we have time for, or places to go and visit, there never seems time to just, be, to enjoy the holiday. We have our family traditions – we put up the tree, decorate outside, and inside – B always does a wonderful job of making the home full of  Christmas spirit. O loves to listen to Christmas songs and when she rides along with me, there is usually a fight over the radio, but not during December. I believe it all goes back to scarcity and choices; or how I use time, or not. I do enjoy Christmas and the entire holiday season, I just never seem to have it all together. It drove my dad nuts that I was so, so laissez-faire. It drives B crazy, too. Continue reading Christmas

Scarcity

the last one, shiver me timbers - it was 15 degrees outside!
the last one, shiver me timbers – it was 15 degrees outside!

This week or rather the last week has been a whirlwind. The time since Thanksgiving whisked by and disappeared. Last weekend we had guests join us from out of town for the weekend and it was time well spent. They came for a youth hockey tournament and we had dinner together Friday and Saturday nights. It was good to connect with them. We see them at the cottage where our children are friends and they play together in the lake and on the slopes, depending on the season. Ironically, Paul was our pilot when we returned from Spring Break 2013 and we spent the night at their home celebrating a Swedish Easter Eve, before driving home on Easter Sunday. While we ate dinner and talked the kids played games in the family room. It really was time well spent.

Nevertheless, as usual, I digress. The lateness of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday means there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year there were twenty days, but this year there are fifteen. And, the kids know it, the teachers do too. There is always a frenzy in school, as we get ready for Winter Break and then end of the quarter, which comes the week after winter break. Just like the print on the passenger side mirror, OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.

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Sunday morning’s sunrise welcomes me to the morning..

At school we’ve been reading, writing, thinking, and learning. ELA, or English Language Arts, has me bogged down. We’ve been doing a lot of writing and I am overloaded in grading. I am looking forward to the break in hopes that I might get some down time to grade and plan. In geography we’ve been studying human geography and we were finishing the unit last week. We’d come to a concept that students consistently struggle with – issues related to population growth, specifically, scarcity and carrying capacity.   Continue reading Scarcity