Category Archives: Challenges

W^2 – last time?

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 4, 2023

I’ve been in northern Mississippi since Monday afternoon. I flew Southwest Airlines, yes that Southwest Airlines. The airline that melted down and cancelled hundreds of flights for an entire week beginning the day after Christmas. It’s been my go-to airline since I began travelling to Mississippi to visit my stepmother or care for the house these past three years.

the moon rising at 5:08, cant’s see Mars and my stepmoms home in Oxford

Yesterday, I engaged a realtor to sell the property. The day began with thunderstorms racing through the area and a tornado warning. By noon, the skies were clear. I took care of a few errands and decided to walk around her neighborhood one last time. Oxford is a beautiful town, and I understand how she and my dad came to love it.

fifteen minutes later and mars is visible

As I finished my walk, the sun had set, and the moon was rising. I’d gotten a message from an app that the moon and mars would be in conjunction and the best viewing time would 5:06 PM. It was still light out and the moon was visible, but Mars wasn’t. I pulled a lawn chair out onto the drive and sat and watched. Within twenty minutes Mars became visible as a small dot above the moon.

I savored the moment; it was a beautiful January evening, and it was pleasant enough to sit outside without a jacket.

twenty-seven minutes after sunset

I’ve enjoyed my visits over the years, but I am hoping this is my last trip to Oxford.

I had entertained the idea of driving to Vicksburg and staying at the Baer House and visiting the Vicksburg battlefield one more time but decided to get home and finish up a few things before school restarts Monday.

It’s a beautiful sunny day at the Memphis airport, but it will be good to get home later this evening.

Today is already an amazing day. I got to the airport ahead of time, I am checked in, and waiting on an airplane. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking forward to getting home.

How is the weather where you are?

W^2 – five thousand plus seconds

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Last night I was on my way home from purchasing a lottery ticket, two tickets, one for last night’s drawing and one for tonight’s drawing. I know, the chance of winning is minuscule, maybe even infinitesimal, but I purchased them anyway.

the waxing crescent moon and Jupiter over Danada Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL, December 27, 2022 8:41 PM

On the way home, I looked up to see the setting waxing crescent moon and Jupiter. A cloudless or less clouded December sky is a rarity here in northern Illinois and I suppose my four-dollar purchase of lottery tickets could be construed as an admission ticket to a Tuesday evening light show.

I pulled to the roadside and waited patiently for traffic to pass while I snapped photos of the prairie, the moon, and Jupiter; all of which are reflecting our sun’s light. It takes the sun’s light 5080.32 seconds to travel from the sun to Jupiter and reflect toward Earth so we can see it. That’s an hour, twenty-four minutes, and forty seconds.

My last post was titled ‘light’ and I almost named this post ‘light, again,’ but I decided that the title above would be better. Things take time and cloud free nights in winter are rare. This morning the sun rose, as it always does, and we welcomed a new day. Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, being patient with the universe.

When was the last time you looked up to see the light of a night sky?

W^2 – light

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The past few weekends my wife and I have spent the afternoons cleaning leaves and adding Christmas lights to our yard.

the the sunsets on the backyard, Wheaton, IL, Sunday, December 4, 2022 4:52 PM

We finished this past weekend, and I was at the right place at the right time to capture the lights and the sunset before they were gone for another day.

 I enjoy looking out in the evening and seeing the illumination of the yard and I am reminded there is light in the world.

Sunny days in December are rare. This morning there is dense fog, tomorrow rain. But, I know there is light amid the darkness and I am going to find it and let it shine. Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, leaving my mark.

How is your Wednesday going (or any day for that matter)?

W^2 – measuring up

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, I was mowing our lawn on a Wednesday evening after school, when I looked up to discover this young boy and his mom investigating the handprints in our sidewalk. His mother was patient as the young boy placed his hands in each of the handprints and repeated the process.

a young man investigates the handprints in our sidewalk, When, IL, Wednesday, September 7, 2022 6:18 PM

The first was the handprint made by our daughter who was four almost five years old and the other, our son who was eight years old at the time. Beneath each handprint, my wife had scratched their initials and the date. The year was 2007.

Our kids are grown. Our son is married, our daughter in college, and one day this young boy will be making his way after leaving his mark somewhere along the way.

We all leave a mark, sometimes it’s visible and sometimes it’s not. It’s in the things we do, the way we made people feel, thew tings we say and write, and the contribution we made along the way.

Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, leaving my mark.

How has your Wednesday been?

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – part 2

Yesterday was my twenty-fourth first day of school, well, not completely. I was with teachers and administrators for meetings and new school year information, but kids will arrive Thursday. I am excited and I am sure the kids are, too..

I have one more day of meeting and a FULL day to work in my classroom and prepare for Thursday’s real first day of school with kids.

After school, I asked a colleague to film the solution to the riddle I posed in last week’s Tuesday’s Tune – The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

Before the solution reveal, let’s review the rules.

  1. The raft needs at least one animal to paddle it across the river, and it can hold at most two animals.
  2. If the lions EVER outnumber the wildebeest on either side of the river (including the animals on the boat if it is on that side), the lions will eat the wildebeest.
  3. The animals cannot just swim across – there are crocodiles in the river, there are no tricks, the animals must use the raft as described in rule #1.

Did you give it a try?

If so, how long did you persist in the challenge?

And now the solution…… Continue reading The Lion Sleeps Tonight – part 2

W^2 – torn

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The present – rain on the window, Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI July 27, 2022, 8:45 AM

I was torn for this post. I haven’t taken many photos over the past week. It rained quite a lot this weekend at home, almost three inches over two days: an early Saturday morning thunderstorm and gentler rain overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. The vegetation is thriving at home.

I arrived yesterday afternoon at the lake, for the annual family gathering for the canoe race. It’s a family tradition when we gather to watch the canoe teams begin paddling the AuSable River overnight eastward toward Lake Huron. But this morning, we had gentle rain to moisten the lawn, the forest, the front window. Today there only three of us – me, my wife, and our daughter. Our son and his wife will be joining us late Thursday night and our weekend party will be complete, including four dogs.

In the meantime, there are prospects for an improvement in the day’s weather as the storm passes through. The forecast for the weekend is warm sunny days.

As I mentioned I was torn between two photos: the one above and the one below. The Echinacea hybrid was taken at Ball Horticultural Company’s demonstration garden not far from our home.

The past – Echinacea hybrid Sombrero Lemon Yellow, Ball Horticultural Company, West Chicago, IL July 22, 2022, 12:26 PM

Today is going to be a great day. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, trying to choose between the present and the past.

Which do you prefer? the present or the past?

W^2 – mailbox

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

WOW, three months ago today our yard and mailbox had a very different look. Summer is in full swing here; it has been warm and humid but not the oppressive heat other places around the globe have been experiencing. We are blessed. The flowers and trees and birds are flourishing.

our mailbox in the apex of summer, Wheaton, IL July 19, 2022 8:03 AM

In April I woke to discover my wife’s mailbox in a state of winter – W^2 cruel and yesterday it was in a state of summer. Ninety-one days separate the posts and ninety-two, the pictures.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Summer is moving quickly and in a few scant weeks, I’ll be back at school, teaching kids and learning all sorts of new things.

In the meantime, I am going to make my summer days count. Four weeks from tomorrow I’ll have a classroom full of excited and anxious sixth graders. It’s going to be a great year, but I have the present to focus on, So I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, focusing on the present and learning from the past.

How is the weather on your slice of the globe? Continue reading W^2 – mailbox

W^2 – no hurry

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday July 13, 2022

Deer crossing Margrethe Boulevard, Grayling Michigan July 8, 2022, 1:54 PM

Fortunately, I saw this at 25 mph and not 60 mph. I stopped to give this doe and her fawns time to cross the road from one forest to another. These three were in no hurry and slowly crossed the road.

It’s Wednesday and the middle of the week. I have a list of to dos and it seems I am in the one who isn’t in a hurry, but I should be.

“Wherever you are, be all there” Jim Elliot

Today is gonna be a great day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. But I am sticking to the present and going to pay attention to what is ahead. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, moving from one thing to the next.

What are you in a hurry to get done today?

W^2 – summer

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 6, 2022

I completed my baseball trip Sunday and joined my family Monday afternoon at the lake in Michigan. It has been an amazing summer; it is day 34 of 73.

Yesterday began cloudy, but by mid-afternoon the sun was out, and it was a beautiful summer day. I had waded into the water with the dogs to cool off after a working out and my daughter asked if we could take the neighbor boys tubing on the lake. She had asked mom, to which mom replied,

“Only if you can get your dad to go with you as your spotter.”

And when she asked me, I said, “yes.”

It wasn’t long before we were towing one of the three boys behind the boat.

two of the three boys hang on to the tube, Lake Margrethe Grayling, MI July 5, 2022 5:54 PM

All three got a ride and all were eventually tossed off the tube and into the water, but that’s life. In life, you hang on when things get rough and sometimes there are setbacks, but you get back on and do it again. The skies were dotted by puffy clouds and the water was perfect. We were on the lake for about an hour, and I think my daughter would have been out longer if we didn’t need to refuel. We got a hearty,

“Thank you.” when we pulled in.

It was a great time.

There are always great times here at the lake and there are days that aren’t so great, but you keep at it. Today is going to be another amazing day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. But I am sticking with the present and I am going to try to stay on so, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, taking each day as it comes with all of life’s ups and downs.

What’s your plan for the day?

W^2 – planets

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Last night I set my alarm so I could go outside to see the five visible planets.

This morning the alarm went off, I thought about ignoring it, but I got up. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head and put on a pair of shorts and walked outside.

I had the lake to myself. The sun was beginning to rise, and the sky was clear, with the waning crescent moon highlighting the lake’s gentle waves. I could clearly see three of the planets; Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and while Venus had risen, I couldn’t see it because of the tree line. Mercury was still below the horizon. I decided four three planets and the moon were enough.

Before long the sun rose, and the day began. It is going to be a great day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, stopping to take in the world for moment.

When was the last time you got up early to see the morning sky?