Category Archives: Writing

W^2 – mailbox

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

WOW, three months ago today our yard and mailbox had a very different look. Summer is in full swing here; it has been warm and humid but not the oppressive heat other places around the globe have been experiencing. We are blessed. The flowers and trees and birds are flourishing.

our mailbox in the apex of summer, Wheaton, IL July 19, 2022 8:03 AM

In April I woke to discover my wife’s mailbox in a state of winter – W^2 cruel and yesterday it was in a state of summer. Ninety-one days separate the posts and ninety-two, the pictures.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Summer is moving quickly and in a few scant weeks, I’ll be back at school, teaching kids and learning all sorts of new things.

In the meantime, I am going to make my summer days count. Four weeks from tomorrow I’ll have a classroom full of excited and anxious sixth graders. It’s going to be a great year, but I have the present to focus on, So I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, focusing on the present and learning from the past.

How is the weather on your slice of the globe? Continue reading W^2 – mailbox

at rest, in peace

I began writing this post two weeks ago in Cincinnati, Ohio and didn’t finish in the time I had. I started writing after the Reds game Friday night and worked on polishing it in the coffee shop Saturday morning. But I couldn’t quite find the right words or flow. It was the last full day of my epic baseball trip and I wanted to make it on time to Cleveland, so I stopped and crafted a different post.

Of all the cities and stadiums, I visited on my trip, Pittsburgh was my favorite. I felt connected from the moment I arrived, I felt welcome, I felt home.

PNC Park and the Pittsburgh Skyline, the yellow bridge is the Roberto Clemente Bridge dedicated after his death in 1973.

Before I left Pittsburgh, I visited my paternal grandparents. They are buried in a beautiful cemetery to the south of the city center. I had intended to visit them before the game, but I was late leaving Philadelphia. The cemetery where they lay at rest, in eternal peace, was in the general direction I was traveling. So, it was a win-win. I could visit them and get closer to Friday’s destination, Cincinnati.

my grandfather with me on the left and my Warren on the right. 1964, Bay City, Texas

My grandfather died in 1971 at the age of fifty-two. I was nine years old and remember the summer evening we learned of his death. He died peacefully on July 17, 1971.

It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood and growing up. Continue reading at rest, in peace

W^2 – no hurry

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday July 13, 2022

Deer crossing Margrethe Boulevard, Grayling Michigan July 8, 2022, 1:54 PM

Fortunately, I saw this at 25 mph and not 60 mph. I stopped to give this doe and her fawns time to cross the road from one forest to another. These three were in no hurry and slowly crossed the road.

It’s Wednesday and the middle of the week. I have a list of to dos and it seems I am in the one who isn’t in a hurry, but I should be.

“Wherever you are, be all there” Jim Elliot

Today is gonna be a great day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. But I am sticking to the present and going to pay attention to what is ahead. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, moving from one thing to the next.

What are you in a hurry to get done today?

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?

Game 7, done

Saturday marked the end of my seven game, seven stadium, and ten team baseball trip. I was in Cleveland, Ohio for a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians.

it was a Larry Doby jersey night, I got the hat on my own. Larry Doby was the first African-American baseball player in the American League and played his first game July 5, 1947

This morning, I will pack up and head home. It has been a fun time. I will glad to be home, even for one night before I drive to our lake house to spend week and the fourth of July with my family.

I have enjoyed the trip and I’ve loved being in the six cities I had never watched baseball in before. This trip increased the number of my baseball cities to 18. There are twelve cities I have not seen a major league baseball game played and I hope to make it to 30 before, well you know.

Along the way I ran into people who were doing the same thing as me – trying to get to all 30 major league baseball stadiums in their lifetimes. It was fun listening to their stories and telling mine.

I believe we all want to tell a story with our lives, with our passions, and with how we spend our time. Continue reading Game 7, done

Friday night fireworks

It is Saturday morning, and I am in Cincinnati, Ohio. I started to write a post last night, gave up, and went to sleep. I picked up this morning and the post morphed and changed. Writing takes time, especially, good thoughtful writing, it takes time and so does driving. Today I am driving to Cleveland and my seventh and final baseball game for this trip. I decided to shelve the post I was working on and drive to Cleveland. I’ll finish that post later.

the view down the left field line – Great American Ball Park Cincinnati, Ohio

Last night I watched the Atlanta Braves defeat the Cincinnati Reds 9 to 1 at Great American Ballpark on the banks of the Ohio River. It was a close game, 2 – 1, until the seventh inning when the Braves’ line up opened up with their ‘fireworks’ and scored three runs and an inning later scored three more. The Braves added another run in the ninth. The only fireworks the Reds had to offer where the Friday night fireworks after the game.

I enjoyed the game, but it would have been more fun to watch had the contest been closer.

Their fans have a good time and I’ll have to come back the next time the Astros play the Reds in Cincinnati. I have a 249 mile drive ahead of me, Maps predicts it will take 3 hours and 37 minutes and if there is anything I’ve learned on this trip, it will be longer. So I’d better jump, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, always learning.

What is something you’ve learned from experience on a trip or vacation?

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

Tuesday at the Mets

Tuesday found me back in New York City for the third game of my seven game baseball trip.

I didn’t plan my drive from DC to NYC very well and I arrived at the peak of rush hour. I was able to make the game on time and I was in my seat with food, beverage, and a scorecard for the first pitch.

 

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A post shared by Clay Watkins (@makingthedayscount)

The Astros began with a walk to Jose Altuve, their lead off hitter and lightning rod for boos in New York City and most baseball stadiums. The next batter, Jeremy Pena, hit into what should have been a double play, but he beat it out on a manager’s review. It was all downhill for the Mets after that. The Astros sent seven batters to the plate, got four hits and four runs in the first inning. They never looked back.

I enjoyed my dinner, Buffalo wings with blue cheese (needed more blue cheese) and a celery stick, kept score and watched the game. Continue reading Tuesday at the Mets

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

moving purposefully

Yesterday morning, I went for a hike at a new location, St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois. It’s less than five miles from my house, about a ten-minute drive, and I had been there a couple of times, but I had never hiked. The parking lot was largely wide open when I arrived. Wednesday was s hot and humid, unseasonably warm HOT for mid-June which explained the parking lot.

the sun and a solid oak at St. James Farm Forest Preserve

St. James Farm and the adjacent Cantigny Park could be called an American “Downton Abbey.” Continue reading moving purposefully