Category Archives: Family

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?

Roberto Clemente and the Pirates

Last night, I was in Pittsburgh to see the Pirates play the Brewers. It was the BEST venue yet. Hands down.

I am not sure why, but everything clicked last night from getting to the ballpark to getting back to my hotel room and everything in between. Including an eraser on the pencil provided with the scorecard.

and the peanuts were good, too.

My dad loved baseball. He had two favorite teams; I believe. He loved the Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates. I think. I’ll have to go with what I think because I don’t have anyone to ask, anymore. Continue reading Roberto Clemente and the Pirates

Wednesday and Philly

Wednesday night’s game four of my baseball trip concluded with a pop up out to center field. Twenty- seven outs. It was a good game; the Atlanta Braves bested the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yesterday I arrived in Philadelphia, site of game four but also the site where this great American experiment came to a head some 246 years ago.

the room where it happened, Independence Hall

Less than a mile from where I sit, the founding fathers discussed, debated, and argued about next steps in 1776. The eventually came up with a statement, a written declaration, of complaints and desires. The Declaration of Independence was intended for King George III, who never read it. But it didn’t matter the world was in motion, as it still is today. Evolving, changing, succeeding, failing.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I wonder what the founding fathers would think of where we are as a nation of people today. Continue reading Wednesday and Philly

Baseball traditions – Tuesday’s Tune

I began thinking about my baseball trip a couple of months ago in April. Then life set in, as it always does, and I put it off.

When school ended in early June all I had was a dream, but no plans. I had empty dates on the calendar and a dream of visiting all thirty of the baseball cities in my lifetime.

The idea of a summer trip was born with the idea of flying to New York City to see my favorite team, the Houston Astros play in New York City. When I discovered that the schedule had the Astros playing the other New York team, the Mets two days later I decided to make it more than one game, or two, but more. By the time I had finished planning I had seven cities, seven days, seven stadiums, and a total of ten MLB teams.

The venues are Yankee Stadium (NYC), Nationals Park (DC), Citi Field (NYC), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), PNC Park (Pittsburgh), Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati), and Progressive Field (Cleveland).

My first step was deciding to fly one way to New York City, rent a car, and drive the remainder of the schedule. Then I booked the flight and then the car and I was on my way.  I could find and sketched out an itinerary, Sunday to Sunday.

Queensboro Bridge over the East River connecting Queens to Manhattan. Construction began in 1900 and the bridge opened in 1909.

Hotels and game tickets were next, it was early enough in the season that there are plenty of game tickets available for purchase. After tickets, places to stay, then places I wanted to visit along the way, because in life there is more than just baseball.

Along the way, I decided to visit at least one place in each city and write a long my way.

My first contact was an old friend who I used to work with in the restaurant business before I became a teacher. He and his wife live in the DC area. I texted him after tickets and hotels and yesterday we met for lunch. When he pulled picked me up, we started up right where we had left off some twenty plus years ago when worked with each other.

My second contact was a friend in Ohio for the Reds game in Cincinnati. He and his wife joined us this spring in Florida, and we shared a car when our flights home were cancelled.

Then there were the sights along the way. Each city has something I want to see along the way.

But it was the baseball that was most important.

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” – Yogi Berra

New York City
My first stop was historic Yankee Stadium. Last week I saw that a friend of mine and his wife were in New York for a vacation, he and I teach together at the same school. So, we met at Gate 4 on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon for Houston Astros vs. the New York Yankees. Neither of us had seen baseball in Yankee Stadium.

I was a small speck of orange in a see of white pinstripe Yankee fans..

Yankee Stadium is only historic because it’s home the New York Yankees the most successful franchise in MLB, the stadium opened in 2009 and is modelled after the original stadium that was the team’s home from 1923 to 2008. Continue reading Baseball traditions – Tuesday’s Tune

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?

Tuesday’s Tune – Reunited

It has been quite a long time since I wrote a Tuesday’s Tune post. It isn’t that I haven’t been inspired by music because I have, but it’s been a time issue especially during the school year.  It’s the third week of summer break and while I have more time to write, I also have the time for all those things I said I’d do when school was finished for the year, and now I have that time.

It’s Day 18 of summer break, the first real day of summer and I have been slowly carving away, and adding to, my TO DO list.

Our son was married the Saturday before Memorial Day and it was a weekend of family and friend time. It had been a while since I had been to a wedding, and we had a wonderful time celebrating our son and our new daughter-in-law as well her entire family.

School ended three weeks ago Wednesday and I finished the following day. It has been an interesting two and a quarter years since that last Tuesday’s Tune post – Tuesday’s Tune – Everything’s Not Lost.

The Friday’s weather, the first day of summer break, was sunny, warm, and perfect for watching the birds at the feeders in the backyard. I have placed the feeders so we can see them from the kitchen and sometimes I stop to watch the activity at the feeders. That first Friday afternoon, I looked out to watch for birds and I discovered an unusual bird latched to the tree bark. I stared and realized that it appeared it wasn’t a native bird. I was busy and when I came back later, it had flown off, and didn’t think anything about it the rest of the night.

The next morning, I was putting the trash out when I saw a bird walking in the street, it was the same bird I had seen the day before in our backyard. I bent down to pick up the bird and he climbed on to my finger and I picked him up. I guessed the bird was a pet and it had a purple (mauve) band on its left leg. A neighbor who had been walking his dog stopped to help and neither he nor I knew anyone in our neighborhood who had a pet bird. I placed the bird on a tree branch and took a photo so I could post a “have you lost your bird” post to our neighborhood’s Facebook page. I then headed off to Loaves and Fishes for my regular Saturday morning volunteer shift.

I couldn’t get the bird off my mind, I knew it was some family’s pet, and I felt guilt for not doing more to reunite the bird and its family. So, I turned around when I was almost halfway to Loaves and Fishes so I could retrieve the bird and put him (I was assuming it was a ‘him’) in Fern’s crate until after my shift. Fortunately, Fern and Ivy were (and still are) up north at the lake with my wife and daughter – which is a good thing, because if Fern had been in her yard, the bird wouldn’t have fared well. The bird was where I had left it and it got on my finger right away. I took it inside and placed the it in Fern’s crate, gave it some water, and birdseed, created the “have you lost your bird?” post, and headed off to Loaves and Fishes for my shift.

Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune – Reunited

what I am planning for summer break 2022

It’s summer, day 9 to be precise. I am a counter. I count the days and I try to make the time count, too. Sometimes I do, sometimes I come up short, but I am reminded that

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…. Ecclesiastes 3:1

It reminds me to do better and to be present.

I am at the lake for a short trip, and I am headed home early Monday morning to do some of the things I said I’d do when summer came and so far, it’s a work in progress. This morning I awoke to a silent lake and fog lifting off the surface and hanging over the lake. It happens when warmer water interacts with cooler air – it’s science in action and I love how it looks in the early morning light.

morning fog, Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI June 11, 2022 at 6:29 EDT

I re-read last year’s summer post Three things for a mid-June Sunday morning and I did well in 2021. I wrote when I could, and I enjoyed the backyard birds and even branched out to birding by the lake. I re-centered myself last summer and I think last school year was my best year as an educator, yet there is still room for growth, there always is.

Today’s post will be the first post of my 13th year of blogging. Oh, how far I have come and yet I have never left where I began. Continue reading what I am planning for summer break 2022

W^2 –moon, calm

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 18, 2022

sunset on the lake, waxing moon, calm. Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI Saturday, May 14, 2022 8:59 PM EDT

This week for my W^2 post, the calm after the storm.

This past weekend I asked my wife I made a quick trip to the lake and back. Up late Friday afternoon and home late Sunday night.

We had chores to do, and I was looking for a bit of calm as the school year winds (and grinds) to a finish. As in my previous post, W^2 – beauty and the beast, weather intervened. The skies opened and a thunderstorm rolled across the lake bringing hail and almost an inch and half of rain in about thirty minutes.

Once the storm passes, the skies cleared and there was calm. Calm enough to sit at the end of the dock and admire the sunset or flip the other way and admire the moon rise.

It was an excellent weekend, and I got a taste of summer, early. We also got the calm we needed and craved.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type ten more days of school this year and then it is summer. Today and I going to try and convince my 6th graders that there is a lot of space in the atmosphere for air particles (aka atoms and molecules) to move and I hope it provides the calm they need to weather the final days of the year. I know it is going to be going to be a great 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, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What brings you a little calm these days?

Be Curious, not Judgmental

It is the Saturday morning before Easter and I am up early, before anyone else. Normally, I’d be at Loaves and Fishes volunteering helping families in need of food get the food they need, but Loaves and Fishes is closed for the holiday. I did work Thursday after school as it was the last day that families could get food this week and it was terribly busy.

trees along the path, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL. April 10, 2022 5:29 PM

Yesterday I was reading my devotional, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy. I was reading the entry for July 21st. I know yesterday was April 15th, but I started reading the journal a couple of years ago and I started almost two years ago on April 25, 2020, by starting with the January 1st entry. The intent was to read each day and finish a year later on April 24, 2021, with the December 31st entry, but that didn’t happen. Things happen and life gets in the way of good intentions. But each time I have read an entry; I have felt as though the passage is speaking directly to me. Yesterday’s title was “Discernment instead of Judgement.” As I read the entry, I reflected on its meaning, and I immediately thought of the TV comedy series Ted Lasso. Last week, a colleague and I had been talking about teaching science and the topic of Ted Lasso wisdom had come up. He mentioned a Ted Lasso quote, “Be Curious, not judgmental,” and we chuckled because I encourage my students to be curious and full of wonder in science. Continue reading Be Curious, not Judgmental

Friday and wonder

It is Friday of spring break. Our last full day on break, tomorrow morning we’ll pack up, clean up, and begin the journey home. It had to end; all, good and bad, things do. It is the nature of things.

My wife and I are enjoying our break in the Florida Keys with another couple we know. He was a childhood friend of my wife, and he was in our wedding 30 years ago. We have lot in common and we’ve enjoyed our time together on vacation away from the cares and responsibilities of adulthood. We’ve had an enjoyable time together; we’ve had excellent food along with the time to enjoy it, adventure, and we have relaxed along the beach listening to the rhythm of the surf and the breeze rustle through the palm trees. It’s been fun, but tomorrow we are back to our life and how we live it. And that is good.

last night’s dinner, a grilled fish sandwich, and the last photo I took in March.

There has been a little bit of ‘normal life’ from me here on vacation, there’s been the morning devotion time, a walk to move purposefully, coffee to begin each day, and a new found challenge; the Wordle.

I’ll admit I was not an early adopter of the challenge, but I’ve become fond of it. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl at Wordle @ New York Times. Each day, the NY Times offers a new five-letter as a challenge, and you have six tries to get the word. This morning I tried a new starter word – STARS. I have used all sorts of starter words among them are ADIEU, MEATY, TEASE, and MOUSY. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. My blogger friend Mary at Wilderness of Words was a persistent user until she reached fifty completed puzzles, then she stopped. I wonder if she misses the daily challenge. I’ll admit I miss her daily encouragement and gentle reminder to stretch my mind, even just a little.

This morning, I correctly guessed the Wordle in three guesses or words. I consider this a fluke I have only accomplished this 6/29 times and I usually take five and sometimes six guesses to get it right. I don’t want to give today’s word away, but STARS came back with the confirmation I had two letters correct and one, the letter S was the first word in the day’s Wordle. My next guess, inspired by the direction I was facing, was a guess to check for additional vowels, ‘A’ was a miss and there were four remaining possibilities – ‘E-I-O-U.’ The last, and correct, guess was inspired by our dogs and how I miss them.

Tomorrow it’s back to life and I am ready for it.

Yesterday, I finished my fifth book of the year, The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. I am a little ahead in this year’s reading challenge. Each year I set a goal to read twelve books. I should read more, but I haven’t the past few years. Regardless, The Stranger in the Lifeboat tells the story of a group of people who are shipwrecked and find themselves adrift when one announces he is the Lord, and He is there to save them if only all the occupants of the life raft can accept Him as the Lord.

the night sky featuring Orion, Tuesday, March 28, 2022

Continue reading Friday and wonder