Monthly Archives: January 2016

Bittersweet Sunday

It Sunday morning. It’s a typical Midwestern January morning – cold and overcast. Yesterday was the same and tomorrow will likely be the same. It’s all right, cold and overcast January days are the rent we pay for the rest of the year.

W looks on and waits for his next match. I snapped this and texted it to him and got the reply 'go get me a sub' followed by 'thank you.'
W looks on and waits for his next match. I snapped this and texted it to him and got the reply ‘go get me a sub’ followed by ‘thank you.’

Jonas bypassed us. We’ve had storms come through and shut us down, but nothing as severe as Jonas. Since, I’ve been blogging we’ve had several snow days, one in January 2011 that brought 21 inches of snow and shut schools for two days. We’ve had bitter cold and severe wind chills and we’ve had torrential rains that closed our schools, too. In all that time, we stayed inside and waited. When it was over, we went outside shoveled snow and cleared our drive and our neighbor’s, too. It’s the rent we pay.

Saturday was a bittersweet day, it was sunny in the morning, then overcast, then the clouds disappeared in the evening to reveal a full moon.

It was bittersweet for more than the weather; it was W’s last wrestling match. W is my son, my favorite son, and he turns 18 Wednesday.

W was born late in the evening Tuesday, January 27, so late it was close to January 28. Like all parents, especially dads, I remember the moment I held him for the first time, I remember the moment well. I can close my eyes and picture myself holding him and feel the tears well in my eyes and roll down my cheeks. They still do, the tears that is. I remember his first of many things, I remember his first day of pre-school – 9/11. I remember his first wrestling match, a loss in less than 15 seconds and I remember his first win – in overtime. He was our first, and only, for almost five years, then O came along and I had another favorite – a favorite daughter. Continue reading Bittersweet Sunday

a frigid Monday morning

It’s cold outside, that’s why I am inside sitting at my desk in the basement. Yesterday, O, my favorite daughter, and I braved the elements and took off for the big city. She wanted to take the train in and I opted for the car. It was a good choice.

chicago_selfie2
a Chicago selfie – it’s colder than it looks, the lake is frozen along the shoreline

Saturday morning, she came downstairs to the basement and plopped down in the chair beside my desk proclaiming she an adventure and trip to the city. She wanted to visit the Shedd Aquarium and after listening to her plea, I decided Saturday wasn’t the day to go – I had too much to do and she didn’t ask until almost noon, too late to drive into the city. So instead, we planned and plotted for a trip Sunday.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day even if temperatures hovered near zero.

a Revolutionary War hero - Polish born Tadeusz Kościuszko
a Revolutionary War hero – Polish born Tadeusz Kościuszko

This morning it’s -1 F, or -17C; yesterday it was a five degrees warmer when we drove in to the city. It was still cold. The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill weather advisory for today because it feels like -21 F, or -30 C, and that is fine with me it’s safer and easier to stay inside and take care of business. I still have a lot to do.

Traffic was light on the expressway and the biggest hurdle was finding a parking spot close to the aquarium. We arrived just as another family was leaving and we took their spot.

It was a short walk to the aquarium but the cold and the wind in our faces made it seem longer than it was. The return trip seemed shorter a few hours later.

The Caribbean Reef exhibit
The Caribbean Reef exhibit

We had a good time. We both took pictures and took in the exhibits. O surprised me with her patience as she read about the exhibits as she passed them. We started with the Caribbean Reef and watched the diver feed the fish. The Caribbean Reef is in the center of the aquarium and in the rotunda with rooms shooting off like spokes of a wheel. Several years ago when we were in Florida, O and I visited the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. It was there we learned about the dangers sea turtles face as the human world intersects with the natural world. One of the biggest dangers to turtles are boat strikes. The boat strike isn’t always fatal, but it renders the turtle unable to dive as it creates an air bubble between the shell and turtle’ body. O and I watched as ‘Nickel,’ the Shedd’s green turtle, paddle around the aquarium with her rear pointing to the surface. O remembered our visit.

waiting for the aquatic show - lake Michigan and the Adler Planetarium in the background
waiting for the aquatic show – lake Michigan and the Adler Planetarium in the background

We took in several more exhibits and watched the aquatic show in the main aquarium facing Lake Michigan. Continue reading a frigid Monday morning

Circle – Weekly Photo Challenge

It’s is Sunday morning and life has turned full circle for me. A scant two weeks ago, Christmas Break began and now, two weeks later, it is over.

early Sunday morning, the lake has changed and the ice is moving and Ivy patrols her yard
early Sunday morning, the lake has changed and the ice is moving and Ivy patrols her yard

This year’s break is like all the others before it, I have enjoyed the time with my family and I have rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated for the new semester and I am ready to go back, to return to a routine and a schedule.

We’ve enjoyed the last several days Up North by the lake. Our place by the lake has incredible restorative properties; the kids spent a day skiing and snowboarding and another day resting and relaxing. I spent a couple of days cooking and enjoying the cottage with Ivy. B and I have enjoyed relaxing with friends and ringing the New Year in with a roaring fire and a full cottage. Now, it is time to pack up and return to our lives. For W, it is finals and his last semester in high school, for O it is seventh grade and halfway through middle school. Next year, is seemingly far away, but it is closer than we all realize. Continue reading Circle – Weekly Photo Challenge

Happy New Year – 2016

I started a post writing yesterday, but I didn’t finish. We arrived at the cottage late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, depending on one’s perspective, and thus I woke up late, near 10 AM, which is much later than when I usually awake. I am often the first person in the family out of bed every morning. I usually rise before five in the morning during the week and I allow myself to sleep in to six, or half past six on the weekends. I quickly got busy in other jobs and didn’t write more than the first few lines of a new post.

Thursday morning's view of the lake - New Year's Eve 2015
Thursday morning’s view of the lake

Below is what I began to write,

New Year’s Eve 2015

I backed into the cottage driveway a little before 3 AM. I roused W, he grumbled when I shook his leg and called his name. It was cold and dark and I was tired. I roused Ivy, too. She was excited to climb out of the car and gently pulled at the leash. I opened the cottage door and she rushed inside waking B, my wife, before I clipped her to the tether and let her explore the front yard.

And, that is how far I got, I closed the lid on the laptop and didn’t open it until today – New Year’s Day. Instead of writing, I spent the day getting the cottage ready for our New Year’s celebration and cooking dinner.

Our menu for New Year’s was

New York Strip – grilled
Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
Steamed and buttered broccoli
Sautéed mushrooms
Green salad
Robust red wine
Chocolate cheesecake for dessert=
All homemade and home cooked, well maybe not the wine….

Our New Year’s Eve traditions took shape several years ago and they revolve around being Up North and at the cottage. We celebrate with two families whom we would otherwise never have met if it weren’t for the lake. We are blessed. I am thankful. Continue reading Happy New Year – 2016