Right now, it’s almost fifty degrees warmer than it was Monday morning. By some standards, it is cold but it feels rather warm. Following our freezing cold of Monday morning with the incredible wind chills, we’ve warmed up, relatively. It’s still January and there are colder days ahead; and of course there is February and March and possibilities of more cold and snow. It’s winter in the Midwest. It is the price we pay for the three other seasons.
I grew up in south Texas where summer begins in early May and ends in late September, or November depending on the year. Winter comes for a week; sometimes, for two weeks, but it is like that houseguest you are glad to take to the airport at the end of their stay. Depending on who’s telling the story (I escaped \ I was released \ I ran away) from Texas over twenty-five years ago. I lived in northern California for three years then arrived in Chicagoland in the early nineties. I’ve been here ever since. I miss Texas and my family, but I love the Midwest even when it is cold and snowy, as it has been this winter. The weather is not always this brutal, last year at this time, we had 1.3 inches of snow for the season, and this year we have hit the normal for entire season already with close to 35 inches already.
It is mid-year for my students and me, the first semester ended yesterday. Second semester begins Monday. It is the best part of the year, because the seeds we planted in the first semester begin to bloom and grow. It’s amazing how far my seventh graders develop from late August to early June. The new term brings me to Sherlock Holmes and the two stories we read: The Red-Headed League and The Speckled Band. If you haven’t read them, give them a whirl or re-read them. I love reading Sherlock Holmes with my students because they miss so much because of the language and they know so little about the Victorian era in England. They are some life lessons hidden in these two gems, I work hard to get them to look past the language and see beyond the words. After we’ve read the stories, we’ll watch the each television episode in class. It is fun to see their perceptions change when they can visualize the characters and the settings. I imagine that I had the same epiphany as an adolescent. I just don’t remember it.
For my own kids it is a new term at the end of the coming week. O will be in her last semester of elementary school. Next year, she’ll be at the middle school and closer to another year of me LIVING seventh grade, no escape round two. W has finals next week and then they have a long four-day weekend. Next week, will be interesting. W is at an all-day wrestling meet today, he’ll come home spent and he’ll need to prepare for finals next week. He is ready for the term to be over and a reset, too.
I have things to do as well, the usual tasks the weekend brings – grading, chores, and football. Last night, we stayed in and relaxed. The weather changed at the end of the week and Friday brought rain, turning the slushy driveway and roads into slippery hazards. B took a tumble on the driveway and is sleeping in; I hope she is feeling okay today. She was stiff last night when we enjoyed Friday night watching a movie in the family room. B has been wanting to cook beef stew. She has the ingredients, so I’ll be cooking this afternoon. I am going to prepare beef Bourguignon, a classic Julia Child recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have a copy of the book in the bookcase downstairs and memories of my mom cooking it for us, long ago. A few years ago, I cooked it for Christmas dinner and it was good, very good. I winged the recipe, sort of. I followed the basic directions and it turned out well. I’ll give it a whirl and report out later. I’ll try to get O to help me. It will be a perfect day for cooking and staying inside. The weather is going to be cold and grey perfect weather for staying indoors, having a fire, and being comfortable.
As for football, I’ll get to watch today but the games I want to see are tomorrow. I have arranged the happy meal toys according to the matchups. Yeah, I am a geek and I did succumb finding the missing teams on e-Bay. Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, even when it is cold and grey.
How’s the weather in your world, this fine January day? Whatcha gonna do with it?