It’s Sunday morning and I’ve had a good start to the day – I’ve read the paper, caught up on news, and finished watching CBS Sunday Morning’s weekly broadcast. I am full of ideas for the day, and the coming week – which usually stares me down at this time in the weekend. Tomorrow is martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday holiday and I have an extra day to prepare for the coming week. Friday was a planned teacher workday – school without kids and NO MEETINGS and I spent several hours yesterday working on school work.
I took these photos last week at a Forest Preserve I pass on my way to and from school. A narrow shallow rock-bottomed river runs beside the road and the cold weather has iced over much of it, except for the space where it trickles over a natural dam and opens up before running downstream. I visited the preserve last weekend. The sun was shining and the world was full of shadows. I found tracks in the fresh snow which I could only see because of the shadows and I startled a Canadian goose. I took my shots, captured the shadows and retreated home to where it was warm.
What do dynamite, Teddy Roosevelt, and Malala have in common?
I posed that question to my eighth graders last week. It was how I began my science instruction for the day and I tweeted it on my school Twitter account. It was Thursday, the day after Wednesday; because that is the way the week usually plays out. Friday came and went, then Saturday, and now it is Sunday morning.
dynamite – image courtesy of NobelPeacePrize.org
Teddy Roosevelt – image courtesy of NobelPeacePrize.org
Malala Yousafzai image courtesy of NobelPeacePrize.org
I’ve been feeling guilty lately. I haven’t written, blogged, or read much outside my realm of eighth grade science and history since Thanksgiving. I was looking at my blog and reflecting about its purpose and my commitment to the blog – writing, and in life in general. I looked back at the history of the blog back to my first year, 2010, and every afterward. In December, I fell off a cliff. It wasn’t just this year, it was last year and every year in December my posting dropped off and in each month there is a significant gap between Thanksgiving and the next post, today’s post is 17 days after Thanksgiving. I find comfort in the fact that every year I seem to be consumed by a vortex. It’s every year, not just this year.
There is nothing like a parade, especially on the Fourth of July. We took in two – the parade in town at 11 AM and the boat parade on the lake at 3PM.
July always seems like a busy month, I suppose all of the months are busy, but it’s July and I am in the moment. I’ve been flashing back and forth from past to present and present to past lately, some of it triggered by where I am and some where I’ve been. I needed something in between.
Friday, July 4th. Independence Day. It’s America’s birthday and it’s a three day weekend. America will celebrate it’s independence from Britain. There will be parades, families will get together, there’ll be cookouts and fireworks. There’ll be all sorts of merrymaking – most of which I won’t partake. I’ll settle for the parade, a little boating, hamburgers and hot dogs, and fireworks. It’ll be great day.
It’s bittersweet for us, grandma and grandpa were always here for the Fourth. Always. The past couple of years they’ve been unable to make it up together. Last year grandma was here, but it was different. Regardless, I am always thoughtful of this day as well as our other national holidays – Memorial Day and Veterans Day – and how and why they are important to our culture and who we are as a people.
I am ever so grateful for the courageous men and women who went before me – Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and many more who debated and wrote the Declaration of Independence and set forth the ideas freedoms of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Continue reading Freedom Friday→
Every year we attend the Memorial Day parade as a family. Sometimes we go to the parade at home, and other times we go to the one in Versailles – our home away from home. We usually ride our bikes to the cemetery and find a spot to watch the parade as it winds to an end and the participants file into the cemetery for the official Memorial Day ceremony. This year I walked, the kids and B rode their bikes.
There are veterans, politicians, firemen, police, bands, scouts, and other community organizations that march in the parade. There are the old, middle-aged, and young. They are dressed in red, white, and blue. They carry flags, wave at the crowd, and smile. One year I marched with the cub scouts. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it’s just right, but Monday it was between too hot and just right; depending if you were in the shade or not. The parade route is a lot longer than you think, but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice our veterans have made for their country.
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
It’s that time of the year, again. There are two weeks left before summer vacation. Nine school days. Summer vacation would’ve been sooner, but we had the brutal winter with sub-zero temperatures and excruciating wind chills. Four school days closed twice for two days and days were moved from June to January to make up. There is nothing like summer vacation days in January. My students are working hard and last week it was clear they knew exactly how many days remained; some even knew down to the hour and minute.
This is a bittersweet time for me. The beginning of summer always is. It is a feeling of relief and joy and uncertainty mixed into one. This should be day 2 of summer vacation. It is day 2 of summer, meteorological summer, that is. Celestial summer will arrive just after midnight June 21st and we’ll have our peak daylight. But, for now I have three days remaining before summer really begins for me.
We had a snow day in March and two flood days in April that threw a wrench in the school calendar and thus mine. It has been a rainy spring, which is nice because last year we had little rain and the fall fruit and harvest was dismal at best around our parts. Friday was warm and muggy, you could feel the energy in the air and Saturday was overcast with afternoon rain. We’ve been spared violent weather thankfully, but we had a spectacular lightning show last Tuesday evening and rain almost every day for the past week. Continue reading Getting started→
Today is President’s Day. It’s the holiday to celebrate all of our presidents, but in particular George Washington’s birthday. I remember in elementary school coloring pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and learning stories of their exploits of how George chopped a cherry tree down and couldn’t tell a lie and Abe was an honest self-educated man who chopped wood. I don’t know if these tales are true, but I do know that these two presidents led our nation in a time when its citizens were uncertain of how events would turn out.
And so being the wise nation that we are, we celebrate our heritage and history by letting the schoolchildren out of school for the day. Now, in the interest of transparency, I do personally benefit from this holiday and all of the other holidays, as well. I am a teacher. However, being a teacher does not imply an endorsement of our holiday practice. Now that that is out in the open, I can continue. Continue reading President’s Day Challenge→
Sunday was Championship Sunday and yesterday, I got half of my wish. I was hoping for a ‘no feathers’ Super Bowl, instead we got the Har-bowl: a Super Bowl where two brothers – opposing head coaches – are pitted against each other. It will be a good one, no doubt, but I will be rooting for the 49ers.
If you have followed me for a while, or even for a short time, you know I enjoy football. You might recall I have rooted for the Packers in the playoffs (2011), the Patriots in the Super Bowl (2012), and wonder if I just root for the team that is on top. Not true. Continue reading Much is required→
It’s Thanksgiving morning and the turkey is in the oven. There are yams cooking on the stove and it’s pretty quiet. Ivy’s been out a couple of times and she had a treat to start her day. I mixed chicken broth, warm chicken broth, with her dog food this morning and she enjoyed it. Actually, she’s in the doghouse with B, because Ivy woke us up just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. She had slept at the top of the stairs just outside our room and let out a yelp and short bark to let me know it was time to go out. I felt the warm spot on the carpet when I went downstairs to let her out and start the day. Unfortunately, B’s sleep was collateral damage and she followed me downstairs.
It’s my job to cook the turkey and it’s in the oven. The smells are just now wafting through the house and before long; the aroma of Thanksgiving Continue reading The turkey….→