W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 31, 2023
It’s been, too long since I’ve published a post, but there have been many I’ve done in my mind. Things just get in the way of writing and posting.
Speaking of which, there are two school days remaining in this school year and I harken back to a school year gone awry and the birth of Making the Days Count dot org, at first a dot com. That was thirteen years ago; this post is the first of year fourteen.
I spent the evening marking papers, then realized I needed to run a quick errand and walked outside to discover the moon and the flag.
A lot has taken place since that first post thirteen years ago, but theirs is more to tell in the years ahead, just like the flag and moon. There’s more left and beginning Monday at noon, there are 76 days to practice for the time when I won’t be teaching.
Today was a great day, I think I got 140 sixth graders to think about energy transfer when they really wanted to think about summer break and sleeping in. Tomorrow we are on a walking field trip to a local park and Friday will be here and gone before I know it and I’ll be outside waving to school buses as the leave the parking lot one last time.
I’ve got a little formatting to do and then I’ll press publish and this will go live. The day is done, and I am headed to bed to catch some rest before it starts all over anew. Making the days Count, one day at a time, it’s all in a cycle.
It’s been five years since my mom, our mom, died. I miss her dearly. Especially on Mother’s Day and her birthday.
When I started blogging, she became my reader and my critic. I miss those conversations and so much more. She taught me how to be who I am today. She taught me to be curious, to ask questions, and so much more.
Last year her sister, and our aunt, died. Those two sisters taught us more than I realized, and I miss them both.
Today, we are non-sequential, 61-60, and 58. In October, we we’ll be in order again until I mess it up and turn 62 a month later in November.
It’s because of mom that I keep working at Making the Days Count. Each day, in some way, I work at it. I am thankful and full of gratitude for her patience and kindness when what I really, I needed (and deserved) was a kick in the pants and tough love.
It’s Mother’s Day and I’d better get going on it and jump in, jump out, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking back, looking forward, but always remembering.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 29, 2023
For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have the old section of the historic Seven Mile Bridge which is the dividing line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico in the Strait of Florida. I love how in the evening light the line between the ocean and the sky blend together.
My wife and I are enjoying a spring break vacation in the Florida Keys. Sunrises and sunsets mark our days and are often spectacular. Sadly, after three days in the Keys, this was our first ‘watched’ sunset though I have yet to miss a sunrise.
The bridge was constructed as part of the Overseas Railroad extension from Miami to Key West in the early twentieth century. The railroad operated until 1935 when massive hurricane wiped out a portion of the railroad. The right of way was sold to the state of Florida and the bridges were used to build a highway from Miami to Key West. The railway bridges were replaced in the early 1980s and the old bridges were disabled and left in place. A portion Seven Mile Bridge and several other bridges were set aside for fishermen. Additionally, a two-mile segment of the old Seven Mile Bridge connecting Knights Key with Pigeon Key.
It is always peaceful and calm when we visit. The temperatures have been in the 80s (28-31C) and there has been plenty of sunshine in between sunrise and sunset.
This morning, I watched the sunrise and I know today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And press publish for the first time in a long while. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, always looking, always watching, wondering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autumn officially arrives on Thursday at 8:03 CDT. The sun will rise at 6:40 AM and set twelve hours and nine minutes later at 6:49 PM. We experienced our last 7 PM sunset this past Thursday and its bittersweet.
I am enjoying the morning outside at my summer office. The day began cloudy, but the clouds have been replaced by a clear blue sky with a light breeze that gently tickles the wind chime the tree branches above me.
The forecast for the week begins with high temperatures in the low 80s and finishes the month with temperatures in the low 70s. It will warm enough by day, but cooler overnight lows dipping ten degrees to the mid 50s by the end of the month.
Fall Hiking Last fall, I accepted the forest preserve’s challenge to Take a Hike in collaboration with Edwards-Elmhurst Health. Each week I get a reminder email on Thursday get out and move. I enjoyed last year’s challenge, but I have gotten out and hiked this season. Continue reading Summer’s exit and Fall’s arrival→
Twenty-one years ago, this morning, I was welcoming my seventh graders into my geography classroom. It was early in the year in the year, and we were building routines and learning. I was learning their names and faces and the lesson for the day was the water cycle.
I don’t remember the first two classes, but I do remember when a counselor came into the classroom towards the end of the second class, about 9:20 AM or so. She waited until the class ended, the third period class had entered, and settled and until after the bell had rung and then she made the announcement that earlier in the morning America had been attacked. Her message was scripted and every classroom in our school go the same message at the same time.
I don’t remember the exact text of the message, but I can close my eyes and go back to room B111 on September 11, 2001 and picture the layout of the room on that morning.
On nine-eleven two thousand one, I was 39 and my students were 12.
This past spring, I began volunteering regularly at Loaves and Fishes on Thursday after school. I had been volunteering on Saturdays since early 2020, but I decided to add a new day. Soon, I had been asked to be the lead volunteer for my part of the operation on Thursday afternoon. Loaves and Fishes is a wonderful place, and I am thankful to be part of an organization that helps people in need, especially when the cost of groceries and gasoline have increased significantly. I have also discovered a community of people who care about others, and I have met several parents of former students who volunteer for the organization. It’s a small world.
It was the last day of school and summer had begun when I walked into the market at Loaves and Fishes for my Thursday afternoon shift.
I saw Michelle and we greeted each other, and she shared a story with me. It went something like this:
Michelle – you teach at Scullen, right? Me – yes, I do. Michelle – Do remember Judy? She was the nurse. Me – Yes, I remember Judy and I remember having her son Joey in class. It’s been a log time. Michelle – I was at a going away party last weekend for Judy. She’s retired and moving to Wisconsin, and I mentioned I had me you at Loaves and Fishes. She remembered you and we were talking, and Allison overheard us and joined our conversation, do remember her? Me – yes, I do. I do remember that name – it was our first year at the school and we were all new. Michelle – well, she remembers you. Me – WOW. Really? I remember her, too. I hadn’t thought about that name since she was in my class. That’s a long time ago. Michelle – yes, it was and she does. She told the two of us that every year on 9/11, she remembers being in your class and being scared and that you were calm and reassured her and the class that everything would be okay. Me – WOW (and at this point I am beginning to tear up) Michelle – Ally’s married and has two kids and lives in the area. Me – We all grow up, thank you for telling me this.
That’s how I remember our conversation and it’s stuck with me since.
This summer I started my baseball trip in New York City. The first game was Sunday at Yankee Stadium and after the game I drove to Washington, D. C. for another game. I returned Tuesday for third game and the possibility of visiting the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the time I was in New York City. But I figured I could at least visit the Memorial before I left for my Philadelphia and game four.
Tuesday night I set alarm for early Wednesday morning, before sunrise. My plan was to walk to the memorial which was less than a mile away from my hotel. It was early morning twilight, and I was surrounded by tall buildings blocking much of the light. New York City was beginning to waken, even though I suspect the city never sleeps, it’s always moving. Cars, buses, and trucks were beginning start the day and few people were walking with me. Some going to work and other heading home.
It Sunday and the second day of a three-day weekend. It’s Labor Day weekend where we spend the weekend working to put away summer and prepare for fall.
Three years ago, we weren’t here, but our neighbors along the shoreline pitched in and put away our stuff. It’s a community here, a microcosm of what the world can be if all of us could simply get along. I am full of gratitude for that act of kindness and concern and always will be.
There is power in community.
Yesterday we toiled to pull boats, move lifts, unbolt dock sections, and worked together as a family and a community.
Then when the sun began to set and all of us stopped to watch the sun slowly dip beneath the horizon and declare completion to the day.
Last night, I waded into the lake to capture last night’s sunset and it did not disappoint, it never does. The sunset always amazes me as it has countless people going back in time.
It’s Sunday, there is more work to be done. The kids are still sleeping, exhausted from a full day and then being up late with their lake friends. By the time the sun sets this evening, we’ll have summer packed away until next year.
It’s going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it. Sunday by the lake in early September means making the day count by pitching in and doing what needs to be done. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days count, one day at time.
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.