Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Leroy Gray Memorial

The memorial for my former teacher, Mr. Gray, was Saturday, and what an experience it was. It was exactly the kind of day I remember from when I was a kid--bone-chilling cold. The sky was overcast, and the 30 mph wind cut right through our jackets. It was supposed to be 50 degrees, but it was only 42, with a wind that made it feel like 12.

We left at 6:30 that morning and arrived at 11:00. We walked into the track meet, and I immediately started looking for friendly faces, aged 25 years or so. Ironically, the first one I found was Mrs. Gray, my English teacher and mentor, and Mr. Gray's wife. She was surrounded by family, and her face lit up when she saw me. "Don't tell me--Jim!" she exclaimed, and I nodded and hugged her. There were plenty of other former students there to see her, so I gave her some space and kept searching the crowd. Magi had Sera bundled up and huddled against her in a blanket. As more and more people started to arrive, recognition would wash over our faces and we would just start gushing. A couple people passed me a few times with a puzzled look on their faces, as if they wanted to say something but just couldn't place my face. I let them off the hook, though, as I was a lanky 200 pound (yes, 200 pounds is lanky when you're 6' 4")18-year old kid when they last saw me.

Old students and athletes of Mr. Gray's began to assemble, and my former next-door neighbor Kellie Amidon started warming up her cornet to play the Star-Spangled Banner. I kidded her that she used to play the trombone, and she responded that she kept trying to play bass clef when reading the music which she had taped down because of the winds. Nancy Markham had a prepared speech and was going over it while Paul Williams, my former basketball coach and recently-retired athletic director tried to get the public address system going. I stayed busy catching up with Denise Shively and Rhonda Cochrane.

Nancy (Markham) Klein

A break in the track meet was called, and people assembled around the home stands. Nancy gave a heartfelt speech, followed by a 21-gun salute by the Cadillac Area Honor Guard, given in respect to Mr. Gray's service during the Korean War. Taps was played and a flag was raised to half staff, then lowered and given to Mrs. Gray. Nancy had arranged for the flag to be flown over Washington, D.C. last year. A new flag was raised over the stone memorial and Mrs. Gray graciously thanked everyone in attendance, showing off her still-booming voice that always commanded attention in the classroom.

Mrs. Gray

The Memorial Stone

On our way home, I pointed out the exit to the small town where the Grays lived (and where Mrs. Gray still lives) while they taught in Mesick. Magi expressed her admiration at the dedication it must have taken to drive 70 miles round trip to work every day for 22 years. I, for one, cannot thank them enough for the impact they both had on my life.


The Cadillac News covered the event here. They have exerpts from Nancy's wonderful speech.

I have created a Yahoo group for alumni of Mesick High School here. Stay in touch!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Mesick, Michigan is my hometown. I have lived in well over a dozen towns: In Michigan, I lived in Delton, Hastings, Mesick, Williamsburg, Traverse City, Delton (again), Hastings (again), Hamilton, Allegan, Naubinway, Tustin, Mesick (again), Kalamazoo, Otsego, Oshtemo, Paw Paw, and Kalamazoo (again). Since graduating from college, I have lived in Indiana: Michigan City, Mishawaka, and Osceola.

Most of the moving was done when I was very young. I only completed one full school year in the same elementary school, and that was when I was in Hastings for all of third grade. After I went to live with my father, he settled us in Mesick the summer before I started junior high and promised me that I would graduate from Mesick High School. He kept that promise, and I am better for it. I have a hometown.

Having attended part of Kindergarten and a month of first grade in Mesick, I already knew some of the kids there. My grandparents had retired to the small town of 375 and my father moved us right next door to them in a little trailer. Those days were the best of my young childhood. I went to Kindergarten in the morning, walked home (can you imagine a Kindergartener walking home now?) and ran over to my grandmother's house next door, where she would make my favorite lunch, tuna salad sandwiches with tomato soup and Fritos. To this day, this is my most comforting of comfort food.

My parents divorced while I was in first grade, but even as I was bounced from city to city and school to school, I always returned to Mesick in the summer and at Christmas when my brother and I visited our father and grandparents. We played on the school playground, and went to baseball games that my old friends played in. I was allowed to practice with them, but I couldn't play in the games because I didn't live there. It was a place of stability at a time when there was no other stability in my life.

When I returned for good in the summer of 1977 (Star Wars, anyone?) we lived with my grandparents for a while, and then my dad bought another trailer on the other side of their house for us to live in. When I started school a month later (remember when school started the Tuesday after Labor Day?) I was reunited with my friends. Puberty was not easy on me, like most people. I sweat like a pig, my face broke out, and my hair was greasy. I showered every day after P.E., and then at home too, and the problem persisted. It was tough at times being the tallest kid in class as well as the most awkward, but I found that my sense of humor could overcome a lot of those feelings of inadequacy. One of my teachers, Mr. Neahr, saw my discomfort and tried to save me from being an outcast by recruiting me to play in his role-playing game club, but I thought the people in the group were a little weird. I was right, but little did I know that they were my kind of weird. I wouldn't discover that until years later. Sports were what ended up preventing me from being alone.

The only organized sport I had ever played was baseball, and that was for one year when my dad volunteered to help coach the local little league team in Tustin the year before. In my dark years with my mother and stepfather, playing a summer sport would have been out of the question. I had been forced to quit playing on the 6th grade basketball team after one day because I hadn't done a good enough job shoveling the driveway, so that gives you an idea of the importance they placed on having kids participate in activities in school. In Mesick, though, it was different. My friends desperately wanted me to play because I was tall. I had no skill whatsoever, but I was 5' 7" in seventh grade, which was pretty tall. I did the drills and learned to shoot layups off the right foot, and that was enough. I didn't shoot well, because I had never been taught how. I thought I was so bad that I didn't even encourage my family to go to the sports banquet at the end of the season. I found out the next day that I had won the Most Improved award, and that was the last time I skipped one of those. Positive reinforcement was what I desperately sought at that time, and I had denied myself the opportunity for relatively large-scale recognition.

The next summer, baseball was back on the schedule, and I happily played. I had been the best player on my sixth grade team in Tustin, but on the Mesick team, I was average. Kids were allowed to throw curveballs now, and I had real trouble with them. That didn't stop me from enjoying what I was doing, though. We played the entire summer without losing a game, traveling from town-to-town in the back of a pickup truck covered by a cap. Again, can you imagine this today? After we won, we were treated to ice cream cones at the Dairy Pit (yes, that's what it was actually called), and if any of us hit a home run, we were uprgraded to a banana split.

The acceptance that sports gave me lasted on through high school. I eventually did become better coordinated, even gaining recognition as an all-conference athlete in football and basketball. I got an honorable mention vote in baseball, but that was only for my defense. But the way I was treated because of my athletic career was important to me not only because it helped me to make the right kind of friends who would stay out of trouble, but it helped me with my eventual career choice. I helped a good deal of my teammates stay eligible academically. My teachers helped me to cement that future career.

Mr. Neahr, my junior high math teacher had seen me as walking wounded, and he was perhaps the only one of my teachers to see that. I had some other teachers who didn't look past my insecurity and simply assumed that I was just a sarcastic jerk. I was a sarcastic jerk, but there was a reason behind it.

In high school, things were different. Mesick High School was small, so we had some of the same teachers in high school as we had had in junior high. One new teacher made a big difference in my life and that was Betty Williams. Betty was a good friend of my grandmother's and she was a wonderful teacher. I still remember taking her world history class and taking time out to watch the first flight and landing of the space shuttle Columbia. I also remember one of her favorite expressions of affirmation was, "Surely." I also remember answering in Leslie Nielsen deadpan, "Don't call me Shirley." We had a great time in that class. Mrs. Williams' husband passed away while I was in high school, and the outpouring of student support at his funeral had to have really touched her. There were at least 100 students there. I had Mrs. Williams again for civics as a senior, and rumor has it she taught just one last year because another favored student and I were going to be in her class. Either that, or she retired after that year because I drove her to it. Either option is equally likely.

Mrs. Gray was another very important teacher for me. As one of two English teachers in our school, we were likely to have her two or three times in high school. I was an exception. As a junior, she was my teacher four times a day--in consecutive periods! I had her for third period vocabulary and grammar. For fourth period she was my speech teacher. I was her student assistant fifth period, and she was my creative thinking teacher sixth period. You would have thought we would get tired of each other, but that really didn't happen. She helped me with the ins and outs of teaching. I maintained her gradebook, ran off copies, and did all of her errands. She, in turn, took an interest in me and showed me what a good teacher does. Her husband also taught at our school and they both traveled 40 miles one way to get to work. Despite the long travel time, Mrs. Gray worked long hours after school with the Future Problem Solvers program and with the Drama club putting on plays. She took several of us to dinner and a play in Traverse City one night at her own expense. It was an extremely generous thing for her to do, especially considering how poorly teachers were paid at that time. Mrs. Gray remains one of my most valued role models.

Communities like Mesick are few and far between. In such small town, students are called upon to play many roles. Football players play in the band. The Future Farmers of America are scholars. Everyone has to be active in many different activities to make the whole system work. Because I was allowed, even encouraged to do so many things, I became a well-rounded individual. In my senior year alone, I was student council president, varsity club president, and class treasurer. That's in addition to playing three sports and going to vocational school half-days because I only had two classes left to take. In the afternoon, I had civics, study hall and pre-calculus. These experiences were an essential part in helping me learn to manage my time as an adult.

At the time I was in Mesick, our sports teams were conference champions again and again. Our band scored the highest marks time after time. The community was so proud of our achievements at the time that they purchased billboard space to promote all the good things that were going on in our small town. During my junior year, our basketball team lit up the town. We rolled though our season, demolishing nearly every team that came into our small gym. The crowd would literally start the slow clap, slowly increasing its intensity until it involved stomping on the bleachers so hard that you could feel it down on the floor. My ears nearly ring in the memory of some of the cheering that was done in support of our basketball team. The adrenaline rush that the sound provided was addictive. One thing our coaches made sure to instill in us, though, was sportsmanship. We didn't gloat when we won, and we didn't pout when we lost. If we knocked someone down, we offered our hands to pick them up afterward. We would do good things for people, too. I remember as we prepared for the distric tournament that year, our team bus stopped where a person had driven off the side of the road in snow. We piled out of the bus and twelve strong young men nearly lifted that car back up to the paved surface.

The capstone had to have been our state championship in baseball. I have written about this here, but I may not have been thorough enough in describing what this did for our town. If there had been someone of a mind to, they could have looted our entire town, because just about everyone was at the game. When we returned victorious, the streets were literally lined with townspeople welcoming us back. There was a huge spaghetti dinner the next night in the high school gym, and the place was packed. I have never felt such a sense of belonging as I did that year and that night. It made me proud to wear my varsity jacket around other towns. It always amazed my grandmother when people in a town thirty miles away would recognize me and say nice things about our team and our town.

Tomorrow, the Mesick Track Invitational will be held, and one of my teachers, Mr. Gray, who was a track coach and who passed away a short time ago, will be honored. Mrs. Gray will be there, and I will get to introduce her to my daughter and tell her just what an inspiration she and her husband were in my life. I hope I see all of my friends and all of my teachers and coaches.

I hope I have made them proud because tomorrow I'm going home.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Night at the Cove

My buddy Eric and I went to the first Dollar Monday of the South Bend Silverhawks' season last night at Coveleski Regional Stadium (the "Cove"). It was a perfect night for baseball, with mild 73 degree weather at game time, cooling off over the course of the evening. The Silverhawks, as I have mentioned before, are the low-A minor league team of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Several current Diamondbacks are former Silverhawks, as are a number of quality players from around Major League Baseball. Brad Penny, Lyle Overbay, Dan Uggla, Matt Chico, Javier Lopez, David Dellucci, Brian Bruney, Ross Ohlendorff, Chris Capuano--all are former Silverhawks.

Dollar Monday is a nice promotion to get fans out to the ballpark. Reserve seat tickets, hot dogs, and 12-oz. sodas are all one dollar apiece. It truly makes for an affordable family outing. We got there early last night, and the rush that usually coincides with Dollar Monday was taken care of by a swift move by their food service people. They already had several hot dogs ready in bins, with condiment packets available to help avoid long lines at the kiosk they normally employ. They served their dollar sodas as 12-oz. cans of pop on ice. These replaced their standard paper cups, which take a bit to fill and are clumsy to carry to one's seat. Everyone was able to get their fill and get seated before the game began. It was a 1000% improvement over last year.

The game itself was very enjoyable. Despite the Silverhawks' dismal 2-14 record, they played cleanly, with no errors and displayed skills that will serve them well in advanced play. They were hitting to opposite fields, fielding well, and the pitching was sharp. The Silverhawks scored early with a leadoff triple and a base hit to right, both executed perfectly. Although the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers tied the game in the top of the eighth inning, the Silverhawks scored to retake the lead with another triple and a sacrifice fly in the bottom half and the lead held up.

One thing you really have to watch out for in minor league games is a foul ball. The stands are so close to the field that foul balls can be especially dangerous. A guy in the stands about 50 feet from us got drilled right in the ribs by a left-handed batter. He left the stands with help in the fourth inning and I didn't see him back in his seat until the ninth.

The Silverhawks' mascot Swoop got a makeover this year. He looks less frightening (Sera will be relieved) and now has blue eyes instead of green. He has a new uniform too.

Another nice touch to the game last night was added by the public address announcer. Not only did he announce the batters and pitchers, but he also added a classic Ernie Harwell bit. Every time a foul ball landed in the stands, he said something like, "A fan from Wakarusa caught that souvenir," or "A young man from Mishawaka will take that one home." Most fans might not have caught that it was an Ernie Harwell riff, but I sure appreciated it.

With the Silverhawks victorious 5-4 in their first home win of the season, we left happy and satisfied. The evening was beautiful, shared with a good friend, and baseball was played.

What more could anyone ask?

Monday, April 21, 2008


Today we are taking the NWEA (NorthWest Evaluation Association) Levels Test. We'll be taking it part of tomorrow as well. It's a good test, geared toward students' actual abilities, which is determined by a "locator" test, which was previously given. Those abilities will be compared to last year's NWEA results to see how far students have come in a year. I really like this test and what it shows, and I'll have the results back in about two weeks or less. I'll be able to make corrections specifically based on student need. If Sally needs improvement in number sense, I can address that. If Jamal is a poor problem solver, I can tailor instruction to help him overcome that deficiency before the school year is over.

Earlier in the year (the school year, that is, it was September, 2007), we had ISTEP+, the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus, which is three or four days long; it's a bad test. It actually doesn't check for progress, like the name implies. It simply measures what the students know of the standards they were expected to have mastered the previous year. It doesn't compare what they know now to what they knew then, it simply determines what they know now. There is no way to even make a comparison to last year's performance, since the tests are entirely different. Ironically, this is the test used to determine whether our students have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), a key component of No Child Left Behind. No, we still don't have those individual results back, but we do know which of our subcategories did not make AYP. By the time we do get the scores, it will only provide a snapshot of what the students knew (and didn't know) seven months ago. And if I'm worth anything as a teacher, I know that already because of my own evaluations. And by the way, the ISTEP+ costs millions of dollars statewide. We taxpayers pay millions of dollars to find out what students knew seven months previously when it's too late to do anything about it. Well, we also pay those millions so the federal government can assign blame for student failure to promote their private school voucher agendas.

I have an idea. Why don't the people who are trained professionally to evaluate individual students' strengths and weaknesses assess students at the beginning and end of each instructional unit? They could create an assessment based on the Indiana Standards to determine a student's previous knowledge, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and then teach according to what is needed most. At the end of the unit, a post-assessment could be given, and reasons for passing and failing could be given with specific, personal attention paid to students who demonstrate poor performance. Those poor performers could have instantaneous feedback, and reasons for bad test results could be addressed.

I can tell you, for example, which of my students has parents who do not know how to do the math that I teach them. I can tell you which of my students's parents do not require them to finish their homework before they turn on their video games. I can even tell you which of my students won't see their parents or any other adult tonight when they go home. I can tell you which of my students are responsible for the care and feeding of younger siblings or even younger cousins, placing far too much responsibility on their young shoulders, leaving them no time to practice the skills that I am trying to pass on to them.

Unfortunately there's nowhere to bubble that in on their ISTEP+ score sheets.

Friday, April 18, 2008

2,288 Miles, Day 3

On Monday, we took the day off. No obligations, no family to see, just peace and quiet on the beach. Magi doesn't go to the beach too much, so I took Sera down myself. She saw the rolling dunes along the boardwalk and said, "Snow!" I laughed and gently corrected her, so now she knows what sand is. We walked down to the end of the boardwalk and took her sandals off and Sera looked like she was walking on the moon. She waddled down to the water with me, smiling all the way. She was having the time of her life. I took her by the hand into the water, and when a wave lapped over her knees, she almost jumped into my arms. It was cold, but it wasn't that cold.
We walked back up a ways and set out our things on a towel. Sera immediately took the shovel we had bought her and started digging in the sand. As we dug a nice hole, she started throwing sand with her hands...both hands...at the same time! This went on for a while, until she discovered the most amazing thing: a seashell! She was fascinated by it, and when I suggested that she put it into her spare pail, she put it on her arm like a purse and started looking for more. She found about a dozen that she liked shouting "I got it!" each time, rejecting the broken ones, and she had a great time. I took her back up to the pools, where Magi joined us, but the pools were still a little cold for her tastes.

As Sera took her afternoon nap, I got to read. I had picked up a copy of The Godfather for five dollars at the local Books-A-Million and dove in. The last time I had the opportunity to really relax and read was almost a year before, when the last Harry Potter book came out, and Magi and Sera were on vacation without me. If you love the movie, you should really read the book. At this moment, I'm watching the movie for the first time since reading it, and like most good adaptations, the movie is well-supplemented by reading the book immediately before. Some of the scenes make a lot more sense now, and my memory fills in the subplots, almost entire chapters that had to be left out for the sake of time. Brilliant work, both novel and movie!

The evening presented quite a treat, as Magi's mother, Sheila, drove down from Mobile to watch Sera so that we could go out to dinner alone for the first time in over a year! Magi's sister Kati had suggested a new place called Cosmo's in Orange Beach, so we tried it. Let me just say that we now have a new favorite restaurant in the area. A basket of warm bread was brought to the table, which is nothing unusual, but this bread was. It had kalamata olives baked into it, and was served with a creamy garlic butter that was just out of this world. We had the Firecracker Shrimp as an appetizer, which was very tasty, just spicy enough. For dinner I had their seafood pasta, which I'll just copy and paste from their menu: "Fresh gulf bay shrimp & blue crabmeat sauteed with broccoli and snow peas, with lemon pepper linguine tossed in a sun-dried tomato Chardonnay cream sauce." It was amazing! Magi ordered their special, which was baked flounder. It was a little dry on the outside, but they made everything right for us. By that time she was full from all the food we had already eaten, so they took it off the bill and gave us a free dessert. We chose the Red Velvet cake, and that was wondeful too. It was quiet, it was romantic, and it was just what we needed after a year. It was perfect.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2,288 Miles, Day 2

On Sunday we woke up late with a cool breeze coming in off the Gulf and with overcast skies. We got dressed and drove to Hazel's Nook for breakfast. Now I didn't grow up in the South, but I did have the pleasure of eating southern cooking my senior year of high school when I boarded with the LaFountains after my father moved away from Mesick. Joyce LaFountain was a foster mother with three adopted children of her own. Her son Ken and I were classmates in school. When I lived with the LaFountains, Joyce cooked up huge batches of pancakes, eggs, bacon and grits. I had never had grits before, so Joyce's breakfasts were extravagant and exotic to me. Hazel's has breakfasts like that. They have a buffet that includes homemade biscuits, bacon, sausage patties, scrambled eggs, grits, potatoes, corned beef hash, pancakes, french toast, and fresh fruit. They also have a cook standing by to make omelets with any ingredients you want. It's just sensational! One of the things I like to do at Hazel's and have already passed on to Sera is to eat a plate of breakfast and then split some biscuits on my plate and cover them in fresh strawberries from the fruit bar. The strawberries in spring are just so sweet!

Later on, we headed up to Magi's father's bay house. He and his wife Nora had the house built after Hurricane Katrina, which slowed its construction, but was it ever worth the wait! Huge cathedral ceilings, an office/loft overlooking the living room, lush bedrooms, a screened in deck, everything was luxurious! We dined on freshly caught crab, followed by steak and fish on the grill. Magi's sister Kati and her family came over (they had caught the crabs in traps off their dock next door) along with Magi's mother, who also lives in Mobile, and we spent the evening there together. I didn't have the greatest time, only because I had to watch the Tigers get blasted by the White Sox on the plasma TV. After that, though, we watched the Tennessee (Nora's alma mater) women's basketball team come back and defeat LSU for a trip to the NCAA women's finals.

We picked up milk for the condo and made our way back home. Once again, the surf and the breeze made it easy to go to sleep after a full day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2,288 Miles, Day 1

Finally, a breather! Monday night I had to get some plastic tubing to divert sump pump water away from the house before it accumulated to a small pool a foot away from the foundation, and Tuesday we had to finish our taxes and get them sent in. No, we didn't procrastinate. One of our statements comes very late into tax season and we have to wait on it.

Our spring break was one of the best ever! Three years ago, we didn't go to Gulf Shores because we had a July wedding in New Orleans to attend. Two years ago, we stayed home because we had to travel for a long weekend in May for Magi's sister's wedding. Last year we were in China. So this was the first time in four years that we got to return to Gulf Shores for spring break!
We took off Friday night at 5:00 with a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks and didn't stop until we got to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, our new halfway house. It isn't really halfway to Gulf Shores, but it's just far enough away from home to get a full night's sleep and have a much more relaxed 12-hour drive the next day. We stayed at the Comfort Suites, which comes with a more than decent continental breakfast, just enough to get you on your way without stopping at a fast food place.

Our next stop was in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, where me made a very happy accidental discovery. We were looking for a place to stop and have lunch, and when I accidentally went straight after being told to turn, we saw a Wolfgang Puck Express. We immediately knew where we were having lunch! I had the Rotisserie BBQ Beef Melt on focaccia bread with mushrooms, carmelized onions, BBQ Sauce, and mozzarella. It was served with horseradish Ceasar slaw, which was so good that I got a to go order to take with us. Sera had the Butternut Squash Soup, which she loved. Magi ordered the Smoked Salmon Pizza, which was good at first, but she got a really fishy bite and sent it back. They replaced it with the Chicken Pesto Focaccia, which was similar to my sandwich but with chicken instead of beef. Very tasty! As we were about to leave, Sera yelled, "Doggie!" and sure enough, there was a guy at the Starbucks across the parking lot with a dog sitting on the back of his motorcycle, talking to women. He had obviously trained the dog to sit on the motorcycle, because he had goggles for it to wear while riding. I'm not sure how well-trained it was, though, because it came running to Sera as soon as she yelled.

We pulled into Gulf Shores at about 9:00 PM local time and stopped for dinner at Magi's favorite restaurant in town, Mikee's. Mikee's remodeled after suffering serious damage during Hurricane Katrina, but it had the same feel as it did before. It's a local place, the best kind for seafood.
We had a round of raw and steamed oysters, which I never would have eaten before I met Magi. She started me with fried oysters several years ago, and let me build up to steamed and then finally raw oysters. Now I eat just as much of them as she does! For dinner I had the all-you-can-eat fried shrimp, because by then it had been nine hours since lunch. Mikee's shrimp are large fried shrimp without tails. It's like popcorn shrimp but full-sized, and they are delicious! Magi had the seafood combo, with shrimp, oysters, and fish, and Sera helped her with that meal. She even ate a fried oyster...for a minute. After one reorder, I was done and ready for bed.

We made the last 15-mile drive down Fort Morgan road to the Gulf Shores Plantation, where we checked in, got Sera off to bed, and sank into the pillow-top bed with the window open, listening to the Gulf waves crashing onto the shore. Sleep came quickly, as it always does when we can hear the water.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Spirit is supposed to wear BLUE! Updated

For crying out loud, why can't Frank Miller just leave things alone? First he destroys Batman, and now in his movie version of "The Spirit," he changes the look of the character nearly beyond recognition by putting him in black and red (see left). The Spirit wears BLUE, Miller! Look to the right and tell me what the heck is wrong with blue? He's only been wearing it for 68 years!
And yes, those of you who know me might recognize the color scheme from a character of mine. Geez.
Update: He wears white-soled tennis shoes, too. You can see it in the trailer by clicking the link on this page.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I haven't completely disappeared off the face of the earth. I'm on vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The internet connection here is a bit slow for loading pictures, so I'll be writing about the trip when I get back. On Monday I expect I'll be able to start giving a full account of this wonderful trip. Sera is having a wonderful time at the beach! This picture was taken yesterday at the zoo. She had a great experience, much better than last year when she was indifferent to everything at the zoo except for the fish.

Friday, April 04, 2008

News to Me, Part 3

Overheard in my classroom today: "Ain't El Salvador in Mexico?"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Today is the anniversary of when we met our daughter, Sera. My wife has a way of putting things so much better than I do, I will simply link to her blog:


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Election Season

Think about this: Opening day for Major League Baseball was yesterday. It is a long season, 162 games in 180 days. Then with the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series, also known as the fall classic, another month passes. After seven months have passed and the 2008 season is over, a new World Series champion will be crowned.

And the presidential election will still not be over.