Yesterday was the last full day of summer, in a little more than three hours fall arrives.
9:21 AM CDT – September 22.
Today is split summer and fall. Tomorrow is first full day of fall.
It was a good summer, but it had its moments. Yesterday, we got our last summer storm and it rolled through the area as I was on my way to school. Fortunately, it hadn’t started raining when I arrived, or I would have been drenched walking in.
At the end of the day, another wave of rain arrived as I was leaving school and it sprinkled on me as I walked to my car. That was it, summer’s last gasp. We’ve needed the rain, it’s been dry.
The shorter days are already here. Last night, I noticed it when I got home and I reset the front door light timer to come on earlier. Soon the leaves will turn and then fall. Cooler nights and then frost. And, we’ll probably get a few storms into fall, the worst storms seem to be the fall storms that blow up over the Great Lakes. Continue reading summer’s last gasp→
We are all back up north – B, W, O, Ivy, and me. If I could, I’d stay up here forever, but there is something called money, and a job, that keeps me from doing just that. And, perhaps being up north might lose it’s luster if it weren’t an occasional treat like ice cream or chocolate. This is the place that grandpa built – it’s the place for family and more memories than I can write about for now. B’s sister will be joining us later this evening for a short visit and grandma will be coming up next week. It’ll be a good time.
We came up Sunday afternoon. We had planned to come up Sunday morning, but we just needed to take our time. I’d been at Beauty and Charm all week and W came home from football Saturday afternoon and wouldn’t move – he was so tired. He needed to pack for his scouting trip next week to the boundary waters trip in northern Minnesota, but he just lied there on his bed, so we let him sleep. He slept from 6PM until 8AM Sunday morning, he must’ve been tired, because when we got here Sunday night, he slept another ten hours into Monday morning. We drove both of the cars because W has to go back Friday for his trip and one of us has to drive him.
O, Ivy, and I left first in my car and B and W followed hers with W driving. Driving 359 miles can be a drain. O was watching a movie on the iPad beside me and I was driving, paying attention to traffic, and listening to a Market Place podcast when I had a brilliant idea, why not count the number of different state license plates we saw along our way? I nudged O and explained my idea. I asked her how many she thought we might see and she replied 24. She was in. We had rules for our game – only cars and pickup trucks, no buses, and commercial vehicles like tractor-trailer rigs or delivery trucks. And, only US states, no Canada plates. She quickly called out our first license plate – Illinois. We quickly had ten or so – Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota and we had fourteen when B called to check in and I told her about our game. She took it as a challenge and it was game on. Driving along the interstates made it easier: I-80, I-90, I-94, and I-196 are heavily trafficked but once we were north of Grand Rapids, we didn’t see another new license plate.
I’ve been watching the World Cup. My dad would be proud. I do not follow soccer; I mean football and can only recognize the player’s names because my students wear their jerseys – Messi, Rooney, Dempsey, Ronaldo, and Beckham. I know a couple of those players are retired. Nevertheless, I am watching. It’s Father’s Day morning and there is calm throughout the house. I am back outside in my garden office, Ivy at my feet guarding the yard from intruders. I started indoors this morning with Ivy under the table at my feet there, too, but I decided to move outside and enjoy the morning.
Last night I checked Facebook and discovered a high school friend had posted a picture of him and his dad. The looked exactly as I remembered them. Most of my photos of dad are ‘old school’ and I have not transferred them over to digital, yet. The day will come, though a few years ago I went through slides and photos at my mom’s house and came across the photo below. I scanned it and saved it for all of us. I think mom has the original, but I have the copy. I skimmed through the flash drive and found a photo of dad and I. My brothers came along for the ride, too. I posted it with my Happy Father’s day message. I hope they appreciate the trip down memory lane.
This morning, I went back in time and re-read old posts. They links are below. Father’s Day 2010 is raw and real and Father’s Day comes early is one of my favorite posts. I can close my eyes and remember the sounds, smells, and events of that day four years ago.
Father’s day is early this year, early in June, as early as it gets. The first of June was a Sunday and Father’s Day is the third Sunday in June; it’s the way the calendar works. The mind works in completely different ways.
Today brings back many memories – some good, some not so good, but memories that have shaped me. Shaped me into the person that I have become.
My dad was my dad, he was shaped by the events of his life and he gave what he could. He, like me, had his regrets, just as I have many. I also have many triumphs as a dad. It’s easy to get bogged down in the ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda game,’ very easily. It’s negativity, man – so, I won’t. This morning I will remember my dad for what he shared, what he taught me; and to laugh, smile, weep.
The year is three quarters finished or at least it is for me. I am a teacher. A seventh grade language arts teacher and the third quarter finished Friday. We have one week before Spring Break begins and then the long march through April and May to finish the year. This year, we’ll be marching, probably more like stumbling, into the first full week of June.
Spring arrived this week on Thursday at 11:57 AM CDT local time. My students have been measuring sunrise, sunset, and the amount of daylight for locations across the globe – ranging from Tromso, Norway at 70°N to Stanley, Falkland Islands at 52°S and places in between. We began measuring last September on the occasion of the autumnal equinox and have been checking every month on the 22nd ever since. The students have gathered a lot of data. However, the lesson they learned was that Earth’s tilt is changing constantly and Thursday they realized that no matter where a person was on Earth Thursday the sun shone a tad bit more than twelve hours – the variance among the 32 locations we checked was ten minutes: from 12 hours and 16 minutes at the northern and southern extremes to 12 hours and 6 minutes nearest the equator. WOW. Spring is here, finally. Continue reading The equinox and Spring, bring it on….→
It’s another cold winter day. It has been over a month since my students have been at school on a Monday morning. It is our third bad weather day this year, and it means summer vacation will start three days later, maybe four if the schools call off tomorrow, which is highly likely. I think moms are at their whit’s end. I am, too. Last week it was cold, though not as cold or windy as it is today, or will be today. I had morning bus duty last week and it was cold. A few kids climbed off the buses wearing shorts, or a light jacket. I have no idea how they got out of the house dressed like that, but they did. It was cold. But, today is even colder and the temperatures are going to drop even more throughout the day.
Today is W’s birthday, he’s 16 today, and actually, he’ll be officially 16 sometime around 10:30 PM. I remember the day well, though B probably remembers it differently. It seems like the other day, and some days it seems a million years ago. Saturday we watched him wrestle and take second place in the conference for his weight class. He has come a long way, we all have. Continue reading Another summer day, sort of→
This week or rather the last week has been a whirlwind. The time since Thanksgiving whisked by and disappeared. Last weekend we had guests join us from out of town for the weekend and it was time well spent. They came for a youth hockey tournament and we had dinner together Friday and Saturday nights. It was good to connect with them. We see them at the cottage where our children are friends and they play together in the lake and on the slopes, depending on the season. Ironically, Paul was our pilot when we returned from Spring Break 2013 and we spent the night at their home celebrating a Swedish Easter Eve, before driving home on Easter Sunday. While we ate dinner and talked the kids played games in the family room. It really was time well spent.
Nevertheless, as usual, I digress. The lateness of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday means there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year there were twenty days, but this year there are fifteen. And, the kids know it, the teachers do too. There is always a frenzy in school, as we get ready for Winter Break and then end of the quarter, which comes the week after winter break. Just like the print on the passenger side mirror, OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.
At school we’ve been reading, writing, thinking, and learning. ELA, or English Language Arts, has me bogged down. We’ve been doing a lot of writing and I am overloaded in grading. I am looking forward to the break in hopes that I might get some down time to grade and plan. In geography we’ve been studying human geography and we were finishing the unit last week. We’d come to a concept that students consistently struggle with – issues related to population growth, specifically, scarcity and carrying capacity. Continue reading Scarcity→
This morning the sun rose at 6:40 AM, it’ll set this evening at 6:49 PM. It’s a cycle that has been repeated for as long as earth has existed and will continue long after I’m gone, my kids are gone, and their kids, too. It’s a cycle that continues without any help from man (or woman); it just happens and it will always happen. But, that doesn‘t keep me from thinking about it or forcing my students to think about it. I am the king of things kids don’t think about. That’s my job, and I love every minute of it.
Last week was gone in an instant and the week before it, too. Next week looms ahead full of opportunity and challenge. Time waits for no one. The sun rises, the sun sets, no matter what. It’s a cycle. Last year, I challenged my geography students to observe the world around them and a couple reminded me in the hall last week about the Sunshine Report. Last year’s geography students began each Wednesday morning looking at the sun’s angle, recording the sunrise and sunset, and we’ll do it again this year, but differently. Just as my students learn in my classroom, I too, learn from them: from good lessons that could be better, lessons that were awful, and lessons that should never be tried again. I learned from those students and this year’s group will teach me something different, something new. I can hardly wait. Continue reading Sunshine Report – Equinox Edition→
Summer begins today. Actually, it official began at 12:04 this morning. At the time, I was looking at the inside of my eyelids and sleeping but Earth was moving (and shaking) – tilting, rotating, and revolving. There are all sorts of definitions of summer – school, weather, and celestial. Whatever the definition, for most of us summer means vacation and time to kick back and relax. But, time keeps moving regardless of who you are or whether you are on vacation or not.
School let out two weeks ago and I have never been tireder. Is that even a word? Actually, it is not – I checked. The correct word, or words, should be more tired. It is the comparative form of the adjective, tired. In case you are wondering the superlative form is most tired and not tiredest like you’d think. Its comparative and superlative forms are irregular so the normal rules do not apply: example small – smaller – smallest and big – bigger – biggest. I would have thought tired – tireder – tiredest, but that does not work. Oh well, I have never been MORE TIRED, seriously.
The basement isn’t going as smoothly as I thought it would. The paneling is glued to the studs with super adhesive stuff and some of the paneling has come off easily, and others have not. The job is taking much longer than I anticipated. I did find a couple of the cracks in the foundation, they were the cracks we discovered in April and they were hidden behind the paneling near the window wells. Fortunately they are small cracks and easily sealable or seemingly so. I still have a lot of work to do. Continue reading Day 15: two weeks in, nine more to go→
It’s Friday morning and I have already started to wonder where the time went, but I already know. Time on vacation goes much faster than real time. Even when you try to make sure time is counting or days are counting.
I remember when my dad would travel, before my parents divorced, he would send us postcards. It was great fun to get a postcard and short message in the mail from him and even after my parents divorced, he would send a postcard now and then, from where he travelled. Of course, this was before e-mail, text messages, smart phones, and Facebook or other social media sites. Postcards were the social media! I have tried to bring back the art of the postcard and send one or two, or even more from wherever I am.