Tag Archives: hard work

wondering and wandering – it’s shiny!

I am easily distracted, so much so I need to be away from distractions. When I first read Andrea Badgley’s weekly photo challenge, I identified.

Wrigley Field, and me…

I am in the basement, outside it’s rainy, or was raining, and it’s wet. Whether it’s raining or not, sitting on the deck and writing would be a bad idea this morning. The basement is dry, thankfully. The family is sleeping, reaching for that last bit of sleeping in late.

Lately, I’ve been distracted by just about everything. Sunday afternoon, I was writing a letter to my mom – more on that later – and I could not keep my mind on what I was writing and my pen, a fountain pen, would dry and I’d need to constantly re-wet it. I finally finished the letter Tuesday and put it in the mail with four thank you notes. I have another letter I need to write – this one to a former student and I’ve been dragging my feet, or rather allowing myself to get distracted.

It’s the ‘shiny’ stuff that gets me off topic and wandering and wondering.

Last week, I took in two baseball games one by myself, and the other with my favorite daughter, O. I root for the Astros. She roots for the Reds, and the Cubs, but the Reds are first. She’s been wanting to go to a Reds game and this week they’ve been in Chicago. She mentioned it last week and reminded me yesterday.

O is off to high school next week and freshman orientation was Tuesday afternoon with a parent orientation Tuesday evening. Continue reading wondering and wandering – it’s shiny!

hydrogen and helium: elemental

It’s Sunday morning by the lake. Yesterday was Saturday and tomorrow, is Monday. It’s how the week rolls, it’s elemental.

When I woke Saturday morning, it was cool and overcast. By midday, it had warmed and the sun was out. I had to install a part on the boat lift in the lake. I gathered my tools, my camera, and waded into the lake. Ivy came with me paddling and O followed. The install took only a few minutes, I took photos of the new part, then I took photos of the lake.

earth, water, and air – the ancient elements

I have taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of photos of the lake, but most of the photos I have taken are from shore or from a boat.

I focused on South Bay where a rain cell raced across the lake.

I was able to capture several of the elements of life by the lake – the lake, the hills, and the clouds at once. Of course, there are the sunsets, but that’s for another time. Continue reading hydrogen and helium: elemental

Thankful Thursday

It’s mid-afternoon Thursday and I am thankful. I am thankful other days too, however this was a planned post, or at least the topic/subject was planned. In full disclosure, I started writing earlier this morning but I wasn’t able to finish the post, proofread, edit, and publish before an appointment, so I had to finish this afternoon.

At the beginning of the calendar year I began a quest. The quest, really a task or goal, was to write a handwritten thank you note and post it in the mail to someone, somewhere, each day. I was inspired by a book I had read several years before about being thankful by John Kralik. He had written the book about writing thank you notes to people he knew and encountered and how in doing so his life changed for the better. The book, A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life was published in 2010 and I first learned of the book in early 2011. I bought the book and read it and passed it on to a couple of people…but that was several years ago.

This past December I was writing thank you notes to my students for their thoughtfulness and generosity with their Christmas gifts. Writing thank you notes is not new, I have always written thank you notes at Christmas and at the end of the year – even before I read the book. However, this year I could identify with Kohn Kralik. The past several years have been incredibly difficult – personally and professionally.  If you’ve followed me for a while, you may know or remember posts about the passing of my in-laws and my sister-in-law in the brief period of 18 months. When it rains, it pours. You may also recall, I my teaching assignment shifted from teaching English Language Arts to teaching science and moved from one grade to another. The transition has not been easy – in fact it’s been incredibly difficult. However, I have persevered, been resilient, and learned from my (many) mistakes and have continued to move forward. It’s been important to remind myself – I am passionate about social studies. In 7th grade it was geography and I loved it, in 8th grade it’s U.S. History and making social studies fun and relevant for kids is my passion. But above all, I teach kids, not a subject or a content area. Continue reading Thankful Thursday

Marvelous Monday

It’s Monday morning and I am in my summer Saturday morning writing spot, the deck overlooking the path and the back yard and garden. The lawn crews don’t work our neighborhood on Monday, so it will be peaceful. Ivy joined me earlier, but decided she wanted to go back to sleep, plaintively whining beside the backdoor, so I let her back in. She went inside and laid down curling up on her pad. Later, when I went inside to refill my coffee cup, I asked her if she wanted to come back outside, she lifted her head, and sighed as if to say,

“It’s Monday morning, let me sleep, please.”

I can empathize, the past couple of days have been a blur.

photo by O – a Black-eyed Susan is a rest stop for a moth

It’s a new week and it’s going to be a great day, a marvelous Monday.

Thursday, I laid low and took a day to relax and rejuvenate and of course, to make a salad. Continue reading Marvelous Monday

order – a photo challenge

Summer would not be summer without red geraniums blooming on the deck overlooking the lake. Today is summer vacation day three with many more on the horizon. This morning I am Up North on the shores of Lake Margrethe. It’s relaxing coming here, but it comes with a price set up and maintenance. This is the setup visit and maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in some relaxation time into the order of business.

There is order to our work. The dock and lifts must go in first, then the boats, then of course a bit of fun, then yard work.

Thursday morning view of the lake

Yesterday we got the dock and lifts in and one of the boats – the Sea-Doo. The Sea-Doo is the easiest of the boats to get in the water, and according to O, the boat with the most fun potential. Continue reading order – a photo challenge

Preserve, protect, and defend

It’s Sunday morning and tomorrow is Monday, yesterday was Saturday. That’s how it rolls every week. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to tackle the Christmas decorations. Usually, we take down the decorations in February or March when the snow melts, but the snow has been gone since Christmas day and yesterday’s temperatures were more like spring than winter and we both worked in our shirt sleeves.

Ivy’s job is to preserve, protect, and defend… but mostly she sleeps

Friday was the inauguration of the new president. It happens every four years or every four years and a day, if the January 20 falls on a Sunday. It was a day of anticipation for many people across the United States of America. A day of anticipation because we are a nation divided. Continue reading Preserve, protect, and defend

names – a photo challenge

It is Sunday afternoon and the sun is shining. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. weekend which means a three-day weekend for me and O, W is out of school until next week when his college goes back into session.

Winter Break finished last week. I was back at school this past Monday and it was a whirlwind of a week; each day I came home from school promising myself I’d put together a post in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Names and I never did. Friday night, I fell asleep on the couch and yesterday I was laid low by the flu and took a day off, of sorts.

I spent the last week of Winter Break in Northern Mississippi visiting my step-mother, Juliana or simply J. It was intended to be a wellness check visit, she lives by herself and I worry. She has friends, but friends aren’t family. So, I worry,and my brothers worry, and we visit when we can.

Vicksburg National Cemetery – of the 18,244 interred, 12,954 are unknown – unnamed

I had asked J before I arrived if she would want to take a road trip to Vicksburg with me. I planned  to see the Vicksburg National Military Park and possibly pay a visit to Jansen Schmidt, a blogger friend at the Baer House, J agreed. So, on Wednesday – January 4 we took off on a road trip. Oxford, Mississippi is almost two hundred miles from Vicksburg. The weather was great – it was cool in the mid-forties but dry. Perfect for driving into unfamiliar territory.

Wednesday morning got off to a slow start – I distracted myself with a technical issue that I discovered was a worthless endeavor. J was hesitant getting started, but once we were on the road we made good time and arrived at the park close to 2 PM. We were all in. Continue reading names – a photo challenge

Carry on

It’s Sunday evening and the beginning of a new week. Yesterday morning I woke up at the lake, awakened by a barking dog wanting to go outside. This morning I woke in my bed at home to a barking dog, reminding me it was time to get up and get moving. Some things in life are constant.

It was great to get away to the lake. It’s magical. But, there’s magic here, too.

carry_onUp at the lake I was able to relax and breathe. I was also, to find a quiet place and read. When I packed up left the lake yesterday, I only had a few chapters remaining in the book I was reading – Carry On by Lisa Fenn. This morning, after I let Ivy outside and then let her back inside, I poured a cup of coffee and then I sat down in a quite space and I finished reading the book.

There are a few books which after I read, I want to know more, I want tell someone and share. There are books which change my perspective and make me want to continue to be a better person. Carry On is one of those books.

Carry On is the story of three people – the principles in the story – Dartanyon Crockett, Leroy Sutton, and Lisa Fenn. It’s the story of how the three met and how their lives intersected to change the lives of more than the three, and seemingly everyone touched or connected to the story.

The story began in February 2009 when Lisa Fenn first learned of Dartanyon and Leroy and flew to Cleveland, Ohio to meet them. At the time, Lisa Fenn was a producer for ESPN and Dartanyon and Leroy were high school wrestlers, seniors. It would be the last time either would wrestle, competitively. But that day, marked the beginning of a relationship that would change the three forever.

A blind wrestler who carried a legless wrestler. Continue reading Carry on

“All politics is local.”

“All politics is local.”

We (we Americans) are in the midst of a contentious presidential election. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and, so far, I’ve successfully avoided talking politics. AND, I am not going to break with tradition, I’ll keep my opinion on the presidential election to myself.

But, “all politics is local,” former Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is credited with the phrase, bit it’s a moot point.

I vote, or should vote, for the candidate that most closely aligns with my political, and economic, interests. That is what makes the election for a national leader local.

I teach 8th graders US History (and science) and my students are itching to know who I am voting for or planning to vote for this year. I am not telling them who I am planning to vote for, either.

pink pencils and the 'freedom rock'
pink pencils and the ‘freedom rock’

Continue reading “All politics is local.”

wind in my sails

I teach kids, kids that are 13 to 14 and getting ready to enter high school. It’s fun and exhausting; and even though it’s work, I don’t call it work, because when it becomes work, I think I’ll quit and never go back. I hope that day never comes, I mean the day when it becomes work.

That’s why, when I get an e-mail like I did today, it gives me the energy to keep going.

Hi Clayton,

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into the Recap Pioneer program! Here’s a badge for your blog. Please send us a short bio and photo for the Pioneers page.

I am excited.

2016-pioneer-badgeLet’s Recap is free software that teachers can use to assign a question and students can respond by recording a video response. It’s easy to use and easy to use for my students. I’ve used it twice, once on a test run and more recently last weekend to gauge how well my students understood why the American colonists were upset with England and King George III in the period leading up to the American Revolution. In previous years I’ve assigned a protest letter and students wrote the letter and handed it in to me. This year I tried Recap and I was impressed with the results. My students still used the traditional planning with pen and paper- though it wasn’t required – but the results showed deeper thinking and I believe better transfer of the content. I’ll discover how well it worked next Friday when I give the unit assessment.  Fingers crossed.

Teaching is an art. Continue reading wind in my sails