Category Archives: teaching

that California trip …

It’s Thursday and I am sitting at the gate waiting for push back. After five baseball games and two days driving along the coast, I am headed home.

I am trying something new with this post. I am going to write directly into WordPress using my iPad and the plane’s WiFi as I fly home to Chicago. I have never posted from my iPad or typed directly into WordPress, so I’ll see how this goes.

the view from my seat over Colorado….

I was able to piece together the video below from Monday’s drive north along the Pacific Coast Highway. I uploaded the video to YouTube this morning and added the pictures at the airport before boarding.


It is Day Ten of summer break. This summer’s break is 76 days and like every summer before, I am going to Make the Days Count.

Yesterday, was a day game and a chance to spend an afternoon with my friend, Tonette. She and I worked together in the late 80’s until early 1990 when I lived in the Bay Area working in the restaurant business for Vie de France. All these years, we’ve kept in touch via cards, birthday wishes, Christmas cards, and Facebook ever since. The last time we saw one another was in 1995 when I was in Southern California opening a restaurant for Vie de France.

Won’t you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six

Three baseball games in San Francisco, the first two were night games before yesterday’s day game.

San Francisco is not a new ‘baseball city for me, it was the third baseball city for me back in 1987. I moved to the Bay Area in June of 1987 when I worked for Vie de France. Monday’s baseball game was my first game in San Francisco since the World Series earthquake game was played on October 27, 1989; ten days after the devastating earthquake. Continue reading that California trip …

W2 – glassware

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Clean glassware drying on the drying rack. Naperville, IL Monday, June 3, 2024, 12:54 PM

It’s summer again, this year it’ll be my 25th summer break as a teacher. I have four more summer breaks after this one, then it’ll be permanent summer break.

This summer, and for the past twenty-four, I’ve simply been auditioning. Continue reading W2 – glassware

MtDC…

It’s April and we are at the lake for a short weekend getaway. My wife picked me up Friday after school and we drove up as day turned to night arriving before midnight. We will leave later this afternoon. Instead of chores I am writing a post, which was supposed to be a quick post.

yesterday evening’s sunset… they are never the same… created with Adobe Express

It all started in 2010 and it is difficult to believe I am still writing (and posting) at MtDC after all these years, but I am.

Last year, before school let out for the summer, I signed up for a professional development class hosted by Adobe for their new dynamic content creation software, Adobe Express. I’ve been using it to edit and create since; almost entirely on my phone where I take all my photos. There are desktop and mobile versions of the software, but they weren’t the same and frankly I preferred the mobile app for its convenience, but that changed Friday morning.

Sometimes, learning is difficult.

It’s been a couple of days of figuring things out. I’ve tinkered a little and used it to create a couple of images learning as I go.

When I started writing and posting, I wanted a logo that fit what I was doing. I created my first logo in 2010 and it stuck around until 2014. I changed it again in 2016 and it has been the site icon since.

Earlier this month I was tinkering with Adobe Express and created a new logo, the above logo. A couple of weeks ago I added it to WordPress as my site icon and planned to write a post but didn’t. This morning, I changed all my social media to the icon.

created 2024

So, here’s the post, a debut of sorts. Continue reading MtDC…

All Hallows Eve

It’s been haunting me that I’ve been silent so long.

I haven’t disappeared or gone into hibernation, it has simply been school and family. All good things, but it keeps me from writing, sharing, and creating.

the ivy and the maple tree

Last week, while I was helping my wife trim our puppies, who are not really puppies any longer. Ivy, at all at thirteen and half, is a senior dog and Fern, at four and half, is a full on adult dog and both are lively Britany Spaniels. I was patiently holding Ivy, when I looked up to see the most amazing color combination of the creeping ivy, not the dog Ivy, but the plant ivy climbing up the trunk of the maple tree.

There is light out there against the fall colors, even on Halloween, All Hallows Eve.

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, even as the days grow short.

How are you holding up this Halloween?

Say their names….

It’s Monday, Nine-eleven.

Every year, I go back to my seventh-grade geography class when I first learned of the horror of that morning. It was son’s first day of school of school and his excitement was dashed when he saw his mother, my wife, standing television set crying as she watched the news unfold that Tuesday morning twenty-two years ago. She comforted him when he asked,

“Why are you crying momma” he asked.

She collected herself and replied,

“It’s just bad news.” She replied.

It was bad news and we have come together and moved forward since that awful day.

a replica of the fifteen star, fifteen stripe flag which flew over Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814.

I am reminded of the names on this day, some two thousand nine hundred seventy-five men, women, and children who perished that morning.

This summer I stumbled across the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland in downtown Baltimore. Earlier in the day I had visited Fort McHenry and seen a replica of the flag which had flown the night the British bombarded the fort. It had fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. The memorial moved me to create a movie of me reading each the victim’s names.

Todd Beamer, LeRoy Homer, Wanda Anita Greene, and Honor Elizabeth Wayne

I am inspired by the events of that morning and fellow bloggers Beth at I Didn’t have My Glasses and Mary at Wilderness of Words who encouraged me to say their names.

It is Monday, the first day of a new week. It’s raining for the first time in weeks, and it 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, saying their names, so we never forget.

Is there a name you remember from that day?  

W^2 – ducky

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, August 30, 2023

It is Wednesday and I am feeling ducky. I am five days into my twenty-fifth year of teaching and feeling like a duck on dry land, or perhaps skewered on a car antenna.

Rubber duckies on a car antenna, Naperville, IL, August 19, 2023 10:30 AM

I spied these rubber duckies on a car antennae a couple of Saturday’s ago while volunteering at Loaves and Fishes. The car’s owner is a regular and she lifts us up with the joy she shares with the world through her personality and her sticker adorned car.

I noticed the rubber duckies were a new addition and I talked to her on her way out.  She shared her story of how the week before she’d been on a trip with her family and collected more than a dozen rubber duckies playing a game and decided to skewer them on her car’s antenna.

A new school year is full of joy and excitement. It’s also change from the carefree life of summer break and audition for retirement. I inched a little closer this year to retirement this school year as I began my twenty-fifth year of teaching. Interestingly, this year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of my own year as a sixth grader, time marches on.

This morning I am more than just ducky; I am filled with joy and passion and excitement for learning. Today is going to be an amazing day, it just might be a million and six times better than yesterday. I get to teach kids and share my passion and curiosity.  So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, exploring, learning, and being curious.

How is your summer finishing?

me, first day of school. 25th year of teaching and 50 years since I was a 6th grader, Wheaton, IL August 24, 2023 6:40 AM

W^2 – anthem (renamed)

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, August 9, 2023

It is Wednesday, and I am in Baltimore for another baseball trip. This city and ballpark make 25 of 30. I have one last trip before school starts in less than two weeks.

These baseball trips have been more than baseball. Each stop has been an adventure full of curiosity, history, learning and growth, and excitement. Sometimes it is planned, but most times it simply happens.

the Star-Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry Baltimore, Maryland August 8, 2023 2:14 PM

Yesterday, I arrived my flight from Chicago arrived late morning. I had planned to visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine before checking in to my hotel. Fort McHenry guards, or guarded, Baltimore Harbor in 1814 during the War of 1812. The British had planned to invade and take over Baltimore in September 1814. The War of 1812 was started by the fledgling United States who was losing the war to the might British Empire. Only weeks before, in August, the British had routed the Americans in Washington, D. C. and burned the White House.

But the British attack on Baltimore is the unravelling of the British advantage and the strengthening of American resolve. In battle it isn’t always might and strength which decides the outcome of a conflict. Sometimes it’s an idea.

During the British bombardment of Fort McHenry an American, Francis Scott Key, watched the battle from a ship in Baltimore harbor. When morning came, he looked across the harbor to see the fort and he saw the American flag flying through the ‘dawns early light.’ He retreated to his sea cabin and penned a poem which spread like wildfire across the young American nation.

In 1931, the United States adopted this poem as its national anthem. We know the poem as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

The poem was four stanzas, and we sing only the first. Last night before the baseball game the crowd rose and sang the song proudly.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it just might be a million and six times better than yesterday although Tuesday night’s ballgame was the best baseball game, I’ve seen this season. Who knows? So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, exploring, learning, and being curious.

What adventure are you off to today?

POST PUBLICATION NOTE: I decided to change the post’s name, from O’ say can you see to anthem.

W^2 – east and west

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, August 2, 2023

It is Wednesday, again and We are in Michigan by the lake with friends. It’s been a busy few days with the annual canoe race and a day trip to Mackinac Island Monday. We’ve been laughing and scheming and today our plan is to canoe down the river.

Looking west, Sunday evening’s sunset. Lake Margrethe Grayling, Michigan July 30, 2023 8:58 PM

Today’s photos are from Sunday night’s sunset and moonrise which occurred simultaneously, sun to the west and moon to the east. If I hadn’t turned around, I would have missed it. The skies were clear Sunday, but wildfire smoke crept back Monday, and it seems as though it is here today.

Looking east, Sunday evening’s moonrise. Lake Margrethe Grayling, Michigan July 30, 2023 8:58 PM

Our plan for the day is to rent  a couple of canoes and paddle down river together making it to the canoe race’s first timed checkpoint. The first racers make take 42 minutes to paddle the ten miles, we’ll take at least two hours. Our pace is going to be a bit more leisurely than the racers.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it could just be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day and get started to paddling through the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, spending time with friends laughing and scheming, again.

What made you laugh today?

July’s peaches make the summer count

Dutch Farm Market, South Haven Michigan Friday July 28, 2023 11:16 AM

July peaches make the summer count. I stopped at Dutch Farm Market in South Haven on the way north yesterday. I only bought three things: peaches, blueberries, and beets. These three multiply the joy of summer from three words in to six, or more. Six Word Saturday Could’ve been,

  • I stopped at Dutch Farm Market, or
  • Summer’s harvest brings peaches, blueberries, beets, or even
  • Farmer Ed’s market sells Michigan peaches

But I settled on the title above. Today is going to be an amazing day and I am thankful for the blogging world to encourage me to stretch, even a little. Making the days count, one day at a time, six words in a sentence.

What six words describe you today?

A post for Six Word Saturday inspired by Debbie at Travel with Intent and my blogging friend Margaret at From Pyrenees to Pennines.

What I love about baseball

I am not exactly sure how my baseball bucket list adventures began, but I can backtrack the trail to Homer Bailey’s second no hitter on July 2, 2013.

I am sure you are wondering,

“How in the world can he be certain?”

Well, it started with Maribel, my late mother-in-law. She was up at the lake, and she wanted to listen the Cincinnati Reds game. Unfortunately, neither the Reds radio network nor the Reds television broadcast served norther lower Michigan. That area was Detroit Tigers territory. She was a Reds fan and she watched or listened to the Reds ballgames at home in southwestern Ohio.

 I signed up for MLB TV and we watched and listened to the ballgame using my computer in her bedroom. That night I signed up three times for MLB TV and I didn’t catch my mistake until my credit card billing statement arrived the following month. Thankfully, MLB TV was understanding and cancelled the two additional accounts. I’ve been renewing the package ever since.

About that time, my favorite team, the Houston Astros began to play better and since, I’ve been paying more attention since. Thank you, Maribel.

Since last summer, I’ve travelled to twelve cities and thirteen new ball parks in addition to the two ballparks in Chicago. I’ve met many people in my travels. I’ve attended all but one of those games by myself and each time I sit down to watch the game, I meet new people.

What I love about baseball is that I realize that it is truly America’s game. By attendance it is the most popular sport, but the baseball season is 162 games long and each team plays half of their games at home and the other half on the road. In 2022, over 64 million people watched a major league baseball game in person, attendance is down almost 10% compared to 2018.

the crowd in St. Louis with the Gateway Arch in the background

This past year MLB made rule changes to the game to speed up play and make the game more exciting. At first, I was apprehensive, but with four months (and seven games in a ballpark) into the season I agree. The game is more exciting and on average a ballgame is almost thirty minutes shorter this year compared to previous seasons. This season’s average is 2 hours and 39 minutes compared with the 2022 season average game length of 3 hours and 6 minutes. Continue reading What I love about baseball