Category Archives: postaday

delta – a photo challenge

Moments in time – early morning, last day of June, or Friday.

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather do something else.” Sir James Barrie

I am stuck for more – beginnings and endings, the edge of something new or the end of a month a week, or even – night and day.

dew drops cling to the lily buds in the early morning light

This week’s weather has been typical early summer. It was cool and dry at the beginning of the week and it has transitioned to warm and humid. This morning when I ventured out into the garden to capture my ‘delta’ photos the lawn was covered in the morning dew. Last night’s air was saturated with water vapor and overnight in condensed and settled across the landscape.

lilies in all states of being – flower and bud – all blossoming with color in the garden

Continue reading delta – a photo challenge

mirror: a photo challenge

Labor Day weekend – 2016. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for three weeks. We’re up north at the lake for the last weekend of summer; and while it makes me happy to be here, it does make me bit sad.

the lake, the fog, and Shamu - the Seadoo - standing where the dock was....
the lake, the fog, and Shamu – the Seadoo – standing where the dock was….

I awoke this morning to a fog shrouded lake. It was still and cool outside and the temperatures were in the forties. In late summer, the lake is still warm, or relatively warm and the cool nights cause the fog. Before long the cool nights will chill the lake. This morning surface was like glass, almost a mirror, and the quietness of the lake made my morning coffee special as I remembered the mornings sipping coffee with grandma talking and gazing out over the lake.

I have many memories of being up North for Labor Day weekend. I was scanning the guest book and came across grandma’s handwriting about the time W and I came up to help grandpa and grandma in 2003. B stayed home with O because she didn’t want to deal with a baby in the car and the awful Labor Day weekend traffic. She remembered W and I sailed through and made the trip without traffic jams. And then there are Labor Day weekends like this year when traffic was snarled and we crawled out of Chicago before breaking out of the traffic when we got past Lake Michigan’s eastern shore near Holland.

The year is a cycle – summer – fall – winter – spring and over and over again. Each year brings us new ends and new beginnings and it seems sometimes, as if I am peering into a mirror reflecting on the past. Continue reading mirror: a photo challenge

Close Up

a coneflower and a bee - photo by O
a coneflower and a bee – photo by O

We are on the downside of summer break. We’re past the busy part of summer. We’ve been focused on the world up close and when I reflect on what we’ve done

  • I’ve finished two professional development classes. CHECK
  • O’s softball season is complete. CHECK
  • W is finished with summer football. CHECK
  • O is home from church camp. CHECK
  • W’s Eagle project is completed. CHECK
  • W is off to Philmont and hiking in the Sange de Christo Mountains of northeastern New Mexico. CHECK

The busy part of summer ended Wednesday afternoon when the train pulled out of the station; actually it ended when I finished loading the cars and pointed the car east, then north early Thursday afternoon. I could feel the muscles in my neck loosen and relax with each mile away from home.

Sure, we have work to do, there is always something to keep us busy, to keep us on our toes – we have two kids, a house, and a dog and that’s more than plenty.

B has plenty of gardening work and I have to begin thinking of the coming school year. Up close, the work is easy, it’s when I look at what I have to do from afar that it seems monumental and overwhelming. One step at a time. Continue reading Close Up

Half and half

There is another half of summer yet come, waiting. Or, summer is more than half-complete, finished; depending on your perspective. According to my summer calendar, 29 days remain. For O she has 31 days, W has 22, and B has 31 days left of summer. It’s cruel how fast summer moves.

halfandhalf
the team gathers for the final time this summer, as a storm clouds gather on the horizon

The past several days our weather has been interesting. Monday it was warm and muggy.  Tuesday the weather changed and it was cool enough to open windows and rely on nature to cool the house, and Wednesday evening was cool and getting out of the pool after my swim was a chilly experience. Thursday was overcast and rainy, and then Friday arrived. Friday arrived with excessive heat warnings and afternoon thunderstorms. O and I tried to make it to the pool, but the lightning and thunder closed the pool. Instead, we watched nature’s light show and decided to try again Saturday. Continue reading Half and half

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

It was good to talk with you this past Sunday and great to hear your voice. I am glad you got the letter I wrote in Michigan.

I gonna sit right down and right myself a letter....
I gonna sit right down and right myself a letter….

I write a lot about growing up on my blog. I reflect and write how growing up made me who I am, why I do what I do, and why I think the way I think. I have never taken an accounting of the balance on my blog posts between you and dad. If I had to guess at a ratio, it would be mostly dad, about 70 – 30. Abraham Lincoln said it best, or maybe wrote it:

“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.”

The complete quote is, “There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.”  From the Lincoln Nobody Knows by Richard M. Current (1958).

But, it really should be 50-50, after all I am a product of the two of you.

Every once in a while I’ll call to thank you for something or to apologize for all of the headaches and heartaches I put you through growing up, especially that period between 13 to 25. I don’t know how you did it considering since that period of time was magnified three-fold and lasted until we all grew up.

Growing up is a process and I continue to grow and mature, even at my age. When I stop learning and growing, it’ll be time.

Thank you for all that you shared with me that shaped me into who I am.

I love to cook because you love to cook. You taught me that it was okay to fail, as long as I learned from it and moved on. Your maxim of no comments until after dinner is good advice for a cook. You taught me to be open to new foods and even though we were young, we all remember Julia Child’s kidney recipe as well as Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, S.O.S. – dad’s recipe from the Marine Corps – and so many other foods and dishes. Continue reading Dear Mom,

Door

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.” ― Pablo Picasso

Our cottage has two doors, one in front and the other along the side. A key unlocks the side door there is no key for the front door. The front door faces the lake and I’ve spent many a morning sipping coffee talking to grandma, B’s mom, or sipped coffee alone and thought of the times we shared our morning coffee. Lately, it’s been only Ivy and me. Ivy curls up on the footstool leaving barely enough room for my feet and gazes out over the front yard as I enjoy my morning coffee. She keeps an eye open for ducks in summer and deer in winter.

the front door and the view over the lake
the front door and the view over the lake

In the afternoon, the doors open to yard and the sounds of play, wind, and the lake.

I’ve seen every season through that door and it’s held back every season, too. It’s kept the cold and snow out and allowed the sunshine in to bring us light. I’ve watched the sunset in the evening and the sun creep across the yard from behind the house each morning.

W on the fourth of July in 2001 - my he's grown and the doors have remained the same....
W on the Fourth of July in 2001 – my he’s grown and the doors have remained the same….

Yet, not all doors are physical. Sometimes doors are barriers keeping us from exercising our free will and then, there are those that declare our freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading Door

muse

It is morning Up North. O, Ivy, and I loaded the car and left home yesterday and after a couple of stops, we were on the open road headed east, then north. We pulled into the cottage driveway a little after sunset, but the lake was bathed in blue with a crisp orange and red northwestern shoreline. Venus and Saturn provided bright white punctuation marks in the evening sky. B and W followed in another car a few hours later.

the first sunset of summer - at least for us at the cottage
the first sunset of summer – at least for us at the cottage

It’s sleepy and peaceful this morning Ivy sleeps on the footstool in the front room while O watches a video on the iPad on the couch. B and W are still sleeping and I am here struggling with the right words to match the photos. Continue reading muse

Off-Season

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” Paul “Bear” Bryant

The first game in 2015 high school football season is 75 days away. The first official practice is a 56 days away. School is out for the summer and summer football camp started last Wednesday. The 2015 Tiger football team began preparing, for W it will (likely) be his last football season as a player. He has learned a lot and grown a lot as an athlete and as a person. Being part of a team has helped hone his sense of responsibility and preparation as well as his sense of service. He is a team player – that’s what it takes for a team to be successful – players willing to put the team before themselves.

NIU_tigertalk
Coach Muhitch addresses the team – the good, the bad, and the ugly – that’s why he is 103-24 with 3 state championships and 2 runners up – preparation

It’s during the off-season that the players come together and learn to work and play as a team. It’s the off-season when the coaches develop players and teach. There is a lot that will happen between now and the first game – a lot of growing – mentally and physically.

Continue reading Off-Season

Vivid: memories, colors, and flowers

poppy5
the poppy is a brilliant, vivid orange and yes, that is my foot

It’s Saturday morning and I am finishing a few school tasks before heading out to do some yard work. There is one more day, really two – but only one with kids. It’s been a good year and I had my end of year meeting with my principal Wednesday afternoon, sort of an exit interview – but I’m not leaving. He was new this year and his approach is different from previous administrators. He asked the questions you want to hear, but do not want to answer – but I did anyway. He asked what was good, bad, and ugly. I have many vivid memories of all of them – the whole gamut. In the coming weeks, I’ll be reminded that the good outweighs the bad and the ugly. It was a tough year full of learning and growing for me, and my students. I am not certain who learned more; regardless it’s always a fair trade.

Last week, I posted photos of the peonies along the fence in our backyard. We had rain last weekend and the peonies that had bloomed are beginning to fade and shred. They continue to bloom and provide glimpses of vivid brilliant color from the kitchen window and almost everywhere in the backyard. Earlier this week, the poppies began to bloom. The poppies bright orange bloom is in sharp contrast to the pink and white peony blooms. Continue reading Vivid: memories, colors, and flowers

Enveloped

Thick clouds enveloped the lake, as if to keep it safe for another generation, a new season.

the morning's lakescape, quiet, peaceful, serene - enveloped
the morning’s lakescape, quiet, peaceful, serene – enveloped

This morning, I awoke a few degrees further north, a smidge from being halfway to the North Pole or halfway from the equator. Yesterday afternoon, we drove east, then north and arrived at a lake shrouded in darkness. It felt good to unfold after the long drive, stretch the legs, and breathe in fresh air.

It is the time of year, when few folks are here, except for a few permanent residents along the lane, the lake is deserted. Next weekend is Memorial Day, and summer’s official start, but we’ll kick off our summer this weekend. We’ll open the crawl space, pull out the deck furniture, pull weeds and breathe fresh clean air basking in the freedom of the lake. We’ll make lists and dream of warmer days. I’ll referee arguments, grill steaks, and sit beside the first campfire of summer, hopefully. And, if the clouds recede, I’ll gaze up to the heavens and soak in the wonder of the night sky. Continue reading Enveloped