Category Archives: travel

W^2 – planets

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Last night I set my alarm so I could go outside to see the five visible planets.

This morning the alarm went off, I thought about ignoring it, but I got up. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head and put on a pair of shorts and walked outside.

I had the lake to myself. The sun was beginning to rise, and the sky was clear, with the waning crescent moon highlighting the lake’s gentle waves. I could clearly see three of the planets; Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and while Venus had risen, I couldn’t see it because of the tree line. Mercury was still below the horizon. I decided four three planets and the moon were enough.

Before long the sun rose, and the day began. It is going to be a great day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, stopping to take in the world for moment.

When was the last time you got up early to see the morning sky?

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

W^2 – me

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 15, 2022

This is me and this week’s W^2 post.

me, and the lake on a beautiful late spring morning. Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI June 13, 2022 8:27 AM

I snapped this photo Monday morning before I left the lake for a week at home.

It was a cool late spring morning, yes, it is still spring for another few days, and the temperature was in the mid-50s and sunny. I always enjoy my time by the lake, it’s restful, relaxing, and it puts a smile on my face, even when I have say goodbye.

By the time I had reached home it was in low 90s and thick clouds hung in the air. Severe storms passed through the area in the late afternoon and early evening, but I didn’t feel a drop of rain, but I could feel the energy in the air.

A heat wave is rolling through the Midwest and bringing excessive heat warnings and the possibility of severe weather this evening. I am going to lay low and keep my head down, a smile on my face, and dedicate time to those things I can do.

Today is going to be going to be a great 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, a smile on face, a song in my heart, and skip in my step.

What is going to make you smile today?

what I am planning for summer break 2022

It’s summer, day 9 to be precise. I am a counter. I count the days and I try to make the time count, too. Sometimes I do, sometimes I come up short, but I am reminded that

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…. Ecclesiastes 3:1

It reminds me to do better and to be present.

I am at the lake for a short trip, and I am headed home early Monday morning to do some of the things I said I’d do when summer came and so far, it’s a work in progress. This morning I awoke to a silent lake and fog lifting off the surface and hanging over the lake. It happens when warmer water interacts with cooler air – it’s science in action and I love how it looks in the early morning light.

morning fog, Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI June 11, 2022 at 6:29 EDT

I re-read last year’s summer post Three things for a mid-June Sunday morning and I did well in 2021. I wrote when I could, and I enjoyed the backyard birds and even branched out to birding by the lake. I re-centered myself last summer and I think last school year was my best year as an educator, yet there is still room for growth, there always is.

Today’s post will be the first post of my 13th year of blogging. Oh, how far I have come and yet I have never left where I began. Continue reading what I am planning for summer break 2022

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 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.

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