I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, I reserve life changing promises for the new year which begins at the end of school, when teachers and students have an entire summer to reflect and reset for a new year. Sometimes these promises work and sometimes, they don’t.
The beginning of 2023 is no different. I’ve been reading posts on the blogosphere and social media disparaging the recently completed year, 2022. I suppose for some 2022 wasn’t the year for them. I read support for the recently completed year, as well.
On the whole, 2022 was, at least for me, an improvement on the previous year. It wasn’t perfect, but most years aren’t.
Early this morning, I discovered a new word – annus mirabilis, or a remarkable or notable year. I found it checking the meaning of another word with my Merriam-Webster app.
I’ve been blogging since the end of the school year in 2010. Blogging was a resolution then, but really it was more of a reaction to an annus horribilis. This post will mark my 728th post that I have published across fourteen consecutive years. That one resolution has changed my life in so many ways.
It is Sunday morning and my last day at the lake for this trip. I’ll be heading home tomorrow morning to focus on my summer to dos. I enjoy my time by the lake, and it serves its purpose: I am rested, relaxed, and getting closer to the restoration that I need after a year of teaching.
I was up well before the rest of the house. It was a beautiful Michigan July summer morning; temperatures in the upper 40s, fog hanging close to the still mirror-like lake, and clear blue skies. The past few days began the same with highs in the low 80s. It promises to be a beautiful day.
Today is also Day 38 of summer break with thirty-six days remaining. I keep track of the days only to remind myself that summer is finite. Yesterday was the tipping point of summer. It was the point at which the first part moves into the second part or the first half changes to the second half. Summer is an arc, either way it means that I am on the downward side of the arc. Continue reading Tipping point→
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve been watching the skies in my science classes this past week. We have been watching Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the early evening sky. It has been fun to watch the planets as well as my students when I begin class by asking,
“Did anyone go outside last night?”
Their eyes light up and some even produce photographs of the night sky they took on their phones. It’s exciting to see the wonder and enthusiasm for discovering something new. I found the video below and I was excited to learn about a partial lunar eclipse on the evening of November 18-19. You can check it out below. I will set my alarm to see partial lunar and I hope that it is a clear night. Watching and listening to my students makes me realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing as I begin my seventh decade today. Yes, it is my birthday, and I am 60. I still feel like a young man full of curiosity and wonder. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, thinking like a young person keeps me young and full of excitement about what’s coming next.
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write or even craft a Wordless Wednesday post. I’ve thought about it, but also thought about all the other things that are on my plate and in line on front of writing and posting. I even had a photograph selected for the 9/15 – W^2 post, but skipped it to accomplish something more important and more urgent.
I’ve been overwhelmed with school and life and just haven’t made time to simply reply to the comments readers have left for me. So, this morning I made time to go back to reply and be thankful. Honestly, I am thankful that many people read what I write here at MtDC. I know that when I look at my priorities when school is in session MtDC is falls into the important, but not urgent category. Continue reading three things for an early fall afternoon→
It’s Day 57 and I have a dozen days remaining in my summer break. I slept late this morning. Sleeping late is a luxury of summer or anytime when the following day comes without a schedule or place to be early in the morning. Sleeping late is a direct consequence of living without a schedule or maybe staying up late to watch the stars shine brightly in the summer sky, or return home from a family.
“Summer was our best season – everything good to eat, a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Last night all three of us went to a concert by the band Chicago. B and I listened to them in our youth and the songs were part of the soundtracks of us growing up. O got a glimpse of the music her parents listened to as they figured out how to be adults. It was a fun concert, and the band finished their performance with one of their best-known songs, “25 or 6 to 4”, for their encore.
It was a late night and we got home well past midnight.
We’ve been home for the week, and it’s been glorious. The partial drought of late spring has been replaced by more seasonal rain pattern and unseasonable coolness.
We returned home late Wednesday evening wrapping up details at the lake house and driving home while it rained much of the way home, traffic was light, and we made good time on the road.
Day 30 and Thursday was time to catch up on our home. The yard had grown wild and mowed the grass twice once at the highest setting allowed and then lowering the mower one setting and gathered the clippings – two full of grass clippings. I mowed it again yesterday, Day 35, catching the grass and have one bin full of grass clippings for my effort.
It’s that time in summer when nature thrives in the warm sunlight and abundant rainfall. We are blessed.
“And summer isn’t a time. It’s a place as well. Summer is a moving creature and likes to go south for the winter.” ― Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay
It’s Day 29 of summer break and it’s July. If July were a color, I think it would be yellow. July is the caution light of summer for me. It’s the reminder that school is closer than it was in June, but there are plenty of days remaining to keep making count.
This past two weeks we have entertained guests at the lake, two separate guests – this first guests were O’s classmates who celebrated the transition from high school to college – all three are heading off to school in August in Michigan. This past week we entertained friends from wife’s hometown – her buddy and high school classmate and his wife. They’ve joined us before, and we always have a great time together.
This year we took a road trip to the Upper Peninsula and had a blast. We were there the entire day and well into the night. We passed through Paradise three times on our journey!
It was my first time to visit Lake Superior and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point where we spent most of our time walking the beach looking for agates – rocks formed inside volcanic and metamorphic rocks. We visited on July 1st and Canada Day, and we could see Canadian hills in the distance. We decided to forego the museum for lunch at Tahquamenon State Park which I had learned about from my blogging friend Dawn at Change is Hard. The falls did not disappoint we visited the lower falls first, enjoyed lunch, and took in the upper falls before we left. We finished our day with a trip to an International Dark Sky Park at Wilderness State Park before heading home. It was a fun trip, but we pulled into the lake house drive well after midnight.
“Summer is for surrendering; winter is for wondering.” ― Debasish Mridha
“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” ― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
The summer days are gliding past, it is hard to believe it is Day 22. I’ve enjoyed the first twenty-one days and made them count and the past seven days of summer have been filled with up, downs, ins, outs, and a lot of rain at home as well as by the lake shore.
O and I returned home late Sunday afternoon for a quick visit home to grab a couple of things we needed before returning this morning for the Independence Day weekend.
Monday morning, Fern and I awakened to a very moist garden and yard. It had rained most of the previous week and W (our lawn service) had not been able to mow the lawn. The mid-June flowers were blooming and there was a closeness that only can be felt in the summer. It’s the point where you can feel the moistness of the air. It rained and was cloudy, but Fern and I ventured out for a walk and we both came home exhausted and thirsty.
And as the song’s chorus reminds me,
This could possibility be the best day ever! (This could possibility be the best day ever,) And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be a million and six times better. So, make every minute count, jump up, jump in, and seize the day, And let’s make sure that in every single possible way, Today is gonna be a great day!
Making the Days Count, one day at a time, especially when it rains.
What was one of your ups (or downs) this past week?