Category Archives: adventure

W^2 – old and new

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, April 6, 2022

US 1 to Key West on the left, the old bridge on the right formerly Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West on the right – Marathon, Florida. Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:14 AM

US 1 to Key West on the left, the old bridge on the right formerly Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West on the right – Marathon, Florida. Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:14 AM

This week for my W^2 post, I have the old, the new and fishing in between.

A week ago today, I was took a walk from a big island to a very small and back. A trip of four miles. The path took me over the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico on Henry Flagler’s original Key West extension. It hasn’t had a train cross it since the Labor Day hurricane in 1935, but it still stands, a testament to the will and vision of man.

We are home from our trip and I am back at work. Memories of sun, warmth, and sand will have to sustain me here in the Midwest as it is a “April showers that bring May flowers” kind of day.

I had been wanting to walk bridge for several trips, but it had been closed for restoration since 2017. I crossed one more thing off the bucket list last week and it was an amazing day and I know today is gonna today is going to follow in its footsteps. 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, all the time, or at least trying.

What is one thing you wanted to do on a vacation or trip that made your trip whole? (it’s a re-do, too)

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 newfound 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

W^2 – inspired

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Inside Fort Zachary Taylor – Key West, Florida. Tuesday, March 29, 2022 3:46 PM

This week for my W^2 post, I have Fort Zachary Taylor and a quick post inspired by an innkeeper in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

My wife and I are on spring break with another couple. It’s our first BIG trip (not counting a visit to the lake house) alone, without children, since my brother’s wedding in the summer of 1997. Yesterday we drove west to Key West or Cayo Hueso which means in Spanish ‘bone island.’ It was a good day.

We parked the car at 9:30 AM and left after the sunset in Mallory Square. In between we packed the day with all sorts of things. We had fun, we enjoyed the sun, and there were a few things we left undone. My friend Jansen (aka Patricia) pointed out there is never enough time. But, while time is finite, we do our best to make those moments count, every last one of them.

One of the things we fit into our day was a trip to Fort Zachary Taylor which guarded the entrance to the harbor. It was part of America’s coastal defense system of the nineteenth century and constructed of brick and mortar.  I find it an interesting parallel that brick and mortar was old technology for military fortifications by the late nineteenth century and today, we are watching brick and mortar being eased out of date in the twenty-first century.

Yesterday, I crossed one thing off my ‘bucket list’ and it was an a amazing day. I know today is gonna follow in its footsteps. 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, all the time, or at least trying.

What is one thing you wanted to do on a vacation or trip that made your trip whole?

W^2 – shell

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 2, 2022

a shell and the Gulf of Mexico – Galveston, Texas. Monday, February 28, 2022 5:07 PM

This week for my W^2 post, I have a shell from Gulf coast of Texas. My brother and his wife and I took a quick trip to Galveston, Texas while I was visiting this past weekend. The trip quick three days and its purpose was visiting an aunt in hospice, visiting and some business with my stepmother, and remembering my mom, who left us on this day three years ago.

I don’t know the name of the shell or the shellfish that once called this shell home, but I call Texas home even though I have lived most of my life in northern Illinois, Texas is home and always will be.

I have been out of my classroom for the past two days, but I have had a skilled educator and friend in my room with my kiddos. I am sure they have all sorts of questions and are even fuller of wonder than they were on Friday. But that’s the way life should be.

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 also, press publish. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking for wonder and sometimes finding it.

What has filled you with a sense of wonder recently? (yes, I know this is a reprise, but how can you go wrong with this one?)

W^2 – evening walk

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Fern and her shadow on our evening walk, Wheaton, IL October 12, 2021, 6:35 PM

The days are getting shorter, and the sun sets earlier each evening as a reminder that we are headed into winter. Then the process will reverse again as it always does. Until that time, fern and I will have to start earlier in the afternoon. We’ll continue to Make the Days Count, one day at a time, one step, or sniff, at time, starting earlier each day.

When do you make time walk?

three things for an early fall afternoon

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.

the tree and the sun line up

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

W^2 – evening hike

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL September 7, 2021 6:21 PM

Tuesday afternoon strong storms passed through the area. My classroom weather station registered 2.27 cm of precipitation, a little less than an inch, but at home – none. Once the storm passed it was beautiful, so Fern and I went for an early evening hike. Herrick Lake is a favorite hiking spot of ours with some elevation change, forest, and prairie with a little bit of wetlands mixed in. The two of us made hay while the sun shined and it was a good hike. The sun set over the prairie as we rounded our halfway point. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, hiking to move and moving to live.

What do you enjoy about a hike or a walk?

Sunday and resilience


It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting at my summer office, knowing full well ‘summer’ is another nine months away. The days are numbered on the summer office with a few more days left in August. Soon it will be too cold, too wet, or both to sit outside and work. But,

I’ll make hay while the sun shines. Farmer’s wisdom

The birds are flocking to the feeders, and I watched three hummingbirds hash it out over at the hummingbird feeder. Sorry, no photo, those birds are just too quick.

School restarted Thursday with students sitting in my classroom albeit masked (all of us were masked) but sitting in my classroom; AND, happy to be there. Last fall, I created a menagerie of ‘students’ to keep me company while I taught using a camera and microphone. This year, ALL of my students are in the room. I am keeping those five students to remind me of our resilience and persistence.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl Austrian neurologist, Holocaust survivor

There has been a lot of talk in the media about learning loss. The pundits love to point out deficiencies in public education because it’s easy to point out what’s wrong. It’s much more challenging to find what is good and that is what Making the Days COUNT dot org is all about. Always has been. There is far more good in the world than the media is apt to share. So, that’s why I have tuned it out. The loudest sound in the room isn’t always right, it’s just loud.

Getting back to school was easy. Continue reading Sunday and resilience

Summer Days: Week 10 and back to school

It’s Day 68 +2 and I am back to school. My first day back was Monday and my new students arrive tomorrow on Thursday. I am excited and nervous, and I am certain they are too.

I woke early Monday morning, much earlier than I was accustomed to over break. I sat outside listening to the birds’ chirp while sipping coffee and working through my morning routine. I realized that the sun rose after 6 AM and it was similar to the final sunset after 8 PM or later a few days ago, this was the last time until next spring that sun rise before 6 in the morning. Summer is winding down and being back in school is a sure sign that summer’s days are waning.

Yesterday we had meet and greets for a few students to come into school, meet their teachers, and find their classrooms. It was exciting to meet them and hopefully I will remember them on Thursday when they sit up front as a suggested. I made notes before I left school of whom I met. I am excited and I am sure they are, too.

games can teach us about how science works…

Monday morning, I arrived early, before the meetings began, I opened the packages that arrived last week. The contents are in the photo below – they are games I am going to use to help develop science skills – observation, classification, evidence, claims and reasoning.

“In the summer, we write life’s summary with the slow waves of love flowing over the sandy beach. The slow breeze and the warm sun write our memories.”
― Debasish Mridha

I only have 5 photos for this final summer days post and there is a decided ‘lake’ theme to four of the five. Continue reading Summer Days: Week 10 and back to school

Friday morning birding on Saturday

We are up at the lake for the race, the famous canoe race. Canoe race weekend is an important time for us as a family and I have written about this weekend in past years. The canoe race is always the last full weekend of July.

The canoe race is begins in town and ends 120 miles down the Au Sable River in Oscoda, Michigan where the river empties into Lake Huron. For many, the race defines this town, but Grayling is much more.

the view from my perch at the table… I can see the lake and both feeders.. and Saturday morning’s gentle rain

The rivers have been important where trapping along the three rivers – Au Sable, Manistee, and Muskegon – which begin here in the Michigan Highlands was the first industry when Europeans arrived in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Grayling, the town, was established as a logging town when it was settled in the late nineteenth century. Logging, forestry, and wood products are still key industries in town, but tourism – hunting, fishing, and recreation – is the industry that sustains this little town near the headwaters of the Au Sable River.

When the pandemic began last year, the cottage along the lake was my hideaway. I spent the last two months of the 2019-20 school year teaching remotely from our place on the lake up here. I felt safer away from our densely populated home region. In many ways we were safer here – there are significantly less people in the county and the reported COVID cases were significantly lower here than our suburban county.

And because there are less people wildlife thrives and is more abundant in the absence of people.

During this time by the lake shore, the beginning of the pandemic, change, real lasting deep change, began for me and my family.

We spent more time paying attention to nature and spent more time walking. I walked more last year with my wife and kids than I remember. I also stopped listening to music, podcasts, or audio books when I walked and I started listening to the birds, the trees, and nature around me.

And, I have paid more attention to nature.

For Father’s Day, my wife gave me a couple for bird feeders and shepherd’s double crook to hang the feeders for our lake house. I placed it just off the deck where we can see it when we are sitting in the front room or on the deck. Continue reading Friday morning birding on Saturday