Tag Archives: Summer Vacation

W^2 – summer

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

I completed my baseball trip Sunday and joined my family Monday afternoon at the lake in Michigan. It has been an amazing summer; it is day 34 of 73.

Yesterday began cloudy, but by mid-afternoon the sun was out, and it was a beautiful summer day. I had waded into the water with the dogs to cool off after a working out and my daughter asked if we could take the neighbor boys tubing on the lake. She had asked mom, to which mom replied,

“Only if you can get your dad to go with you as your spotter.”

And when she asked me, I said, “yes.”

It wasn’t long before we were towing one of the three boys behind the boat.

two of the three boys hang on to the tube, Lake Margrethe Grayling, MI July 5, 2022 5:54 PM

All three got a ride and all were eventually tossed off the tube and into the water, but that’s life. In life, you hang on when things get rough and sometimes there are setbacks, but you get back on and do it again. The skies were dotted by puffy clouds and the water was perfect. We were on the lake for about an hour, and I think my daughter would have been out longer if we didn’t need to refuel. We got a hearty,

“Thank you.” when we pulled in.

It was a great time.

There are always great times here at the lake and there are days that aren’t so great, but you keep at it. Today is going to be another amazing day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. But I am sticking with the present and I am going to try to stay on so, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, taking each day as it comes with all of life’s ups and downs.

What’s your plan for the day?

Friday night fireworks

It is Saturday morning, and I am in Cincinnati, Ohio. I started to write a post last night, gave up, and went to sleep. I picked up this morning and the post morphed and changed. Writing takes time, especially, good thoughtful writing, it takes time and so does driving. Today I am driving to Cleveland and my seventh and final baseball game for this trip. I decided to shelve the post I was working on and drive to Cleveland. I’ll finish that post later.

the view down the left field line – Great American Ball Park Cincinnati, Ohio

Last night I watched the Atlanta Braves defeat the Cincinnati Reds 9 to 1 at Great American Ballpark on the banks of the Ohio River. It was a close game, 2 – 1, until the seventh inning when the Braves’ line up opened up with their ‘fireworks’ and scored three runs and an inning later scored three more. The Braves added another run in the ninth. The only fireworks the Reds had to offer where the Friday night fireworks after the game.

I enjoyed the game, but it would have been more fun to watch had the contest been closer.

Their fans have a good time and I’ll have to come back the next time the Astros play the Reds in Cincinnati. I have a 249 mile drive ahead of me, Maps predicts it will take 3 hours and 37 minutes and if there is anything I’ve learned on this trip, it will be longer. So I’d better jump, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, always learning.

What is something you’ve learned from experience on a trip or vacation?

Roberto Clemente and the Pirates

Last night, I was in Pittsburgh to see the Pirates play the Brewers. It was the BEST venue yet. Hands down.

I am not sure why, but everything clicked last night from getting to the ballpark to getting back to my hotel room and everything in between. Including an eraser on the pencil provided with the scorecard.

and the peanuts were good, too.

My dad loved baseball. He had two favorite teams; I believe. He loved the Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates. I think. I’ll have to go with what I think because I don’t have anyone to ask, anymore. Continue reading Roberto Clemente and the Pirates

Baseball traditions – Tuesday’s Tune

I began thinking about my baseball trip a couple of months ago in April. Then life set in, as it always does, and I put it off.

When school ended in early June all I had was a dream, but no plans. I had empty dates on the calendar and a dream of visiting all thirty of the baseball cities in my lifetime.

The idea of a summer trip was born with the idea of flying to New York City to see my favorite team, the Houston Astros play in New York City. When I discovered that the schedule had the Astros playing the other New York team, the Mets two days later I decided to make it more than one game, or two, but more. By the time I had finished planning I had seven cities, seven days, seven stadiums, and a total of ten MLB teams.

The venues are Yankee Stadium (NYC), Nationals Park (DC), Citi Field (NYC), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), PNC Park (Pittsburgh), Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati), and Progressive Field (Cleveland).

My first step was deciding to fly one way to New York City, rent a car, and drive the remainder of the schedule. Then I booked the flight and then the car and I was on my way.  I could find and sketched out an itinerary, Sunday to Sunday.

Queensboro Bridge over the East River connecting Queens to Manhattan. Construction began in 1900 and the bridge opened in 1909.

Hotels and game tickets were next, it was early enough in the season that there are plenty of game tickets available for purchase. After tickets, places to stay, then places I wanted to visit along the way, because in life there is more than just baseball.

Along the way, I decided to visit at least one place in each city and write a long my way.

My first contact was an old friend who I used to work with in the restaurant business before I became a teacher. He and his wife live in the DC area. I texted him after tickets and hotels and yesterday we met for lunch. When he pulled picked me up, we started up right where we had left off some twenty plus years ago when worked with each other.

My second contact was a friend in Ohio for the Reds game in Cincinnati. He and his wife joined us this spring in Florida, and we shared a car when our flights home were cancelled.

Then there were the sights along the way. Each city has something I want to see along the way.

But it was the baseball that was most important.

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” – Yogi Berra

New York City
My first stop was historic Yankee Stadium. Last week I saw that a friend of mine and his wife were in New York for a vacation, he and I teach together at the same school. So, we met at Gate 4 on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon for Houston Astros vs. the New York Yankees. Neither of us had seen baseball in Yankee Stadium.

I was a small speck of orange in a see of white pinstripe Yankee fans..

Yankee Stadium is only historic because it’s home the New York Yankees the most successful franchise in MLB, the stadium opened in 2009 and is modelled after the original stadium that was the team’s home from 1923 to 2008. Continue reading Baseball traditions – Tuesday’s Tune

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?

Days of Summer: Week 9 and crickets

It’s Wednesday and Day 64. The past week has been my last full week of summer break. The school year restarts for me this coming Monday and Thursday for our students. I am excited and a little sad as I am every summer when school restarts.

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

The past couple of nights we’ve had severe weather pass through the area. It’s that time of the year when thick humid unstable air masses cause thunderstorms to develop late in the day. Monday’s weather spawned six tornadoes which touched down to the west of us in mostly rural areas causing damage trees and minor damage to structures. We got very little rain from the storm.

Last night’s storms rolled through the area bringing more rain, but no tornadoes.

stopped at a stop sign looking east with storm advancing from behind me – rain and wind, but no tornadoes

Yesterday, our school hosted an event for our incoming sixth graders. Even though school hasn’t started I went in to help and be a welcoming face, answer questions, and help supervise. I met many of my new students who likely will remember me more than I will them, there were a lot new students wandering the hallways. Continue reading Days of Summer: Week 9 and crickets

Summer Days: Week 8

It’s Day 57 and I have a dozen days remaining in my summer break. I slept late this morning. Sleeping late is a luxury of summer or anytime when the following day comes without a schedule or place to be early in the morning. Sleeping late is a direct consequence of living without a schedule or maybe staying up late to watch the stars shine brightly in the summer sky, or return home from a family.

“Summer was our best season – everything good to eat, a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Last night all three of us went to a concert by the band Chicago. B and I listened to them in our youth and the songs were part of the soundtracks of us growing up. O got a glimpse of the music her parents listened to as they figured out how to be adults. It was a fun concert, and the band finished their performance with one of their best-known songs, “25 or 6 to 4”, for their encore.

It was a late night and we got home well past midnight.

Continue reading Summer Days: Week 8

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