A Quote to Start Things Off

Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

2024 A to Z Challenge

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Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Catered Affair


As I mentioned in my Januarying post, I am trying to watch 12 new movies to me this year and review them here on my blog.  I am trying to find movies made at different times, 8 during my lifetime and 4 before I was born.  The Catered Affair fits into the latter designation being made in 1956. The National Board of Review said it was one of the best 10 films of 1956 and awarded Debbie Reynolds Best Supporting Actor. 

I enjoyed this movie and would give it probably 3 out of 5 stars. The movie features Ernest Borgnine and Bette Davis as a New York City Cab Driver and his wife who are advised at the film's start of the upcoming marriage of their daughter portrayed by Debbie Reynolds.  The film then depicts the changes that take place in the relationships of family and friends in preparation for the marriage.  One theme that is explored in the film is the differing perspectives, challenges, and expectations that are experienced in both weddings and marriages.  This movie is similar in at least 4 ways to one of my top 10 favorite films, Marty.  1) It takes place in New York City in the 1950s and New York itself functions like a character, 2) It stars Ernest Borgnine. 3)  It was written by Paddy Chayefsky and 4) originally aired on television before being adapted for film. 

One thing I like about this movie is that it takes a "warts and all" view of both family and marriage but still remains hopeful about the institutions.  One thing I disliked about the movie was that it was no Marty.  Marty is a film that I can watch again, and again and never grow tired of. This movie lacks the endearing charm and cosmopolitan wit of Marty. This doesn't make it a bad film, just not a top-10 one. I think people who like Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine or Debbie Reynolds will like this movie.  I also feel people who watch this movie will end up liking Davis, Borgnine, and Reynolds as they all do good work here. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

23 23 Aziz Ansari

Today is the 23rd of February. It is also the year 2023. Starting on January 23 (Actually, I started today read more about that by clicking here.)    I began making posts about people born on the 23rd of the current month.

Today I am featuring Aziz Ansari who played Tom Haverford on the NBC comedy Parks & Rec.

                  A Typical Tom Haverford Pose

Ansari was Born on February 23rd, 1983 in Columbia, South Carolina.  I was born on the23rd of September in 1964.  I graduuated from High School in 1983, and I lived in Columbia for 2 years from 1996 to 1998.  If you are not familiar with Park & Rec, the  scene below  is a really good intro to the Tom Haverford character,

The # 1 song in the United Kingdom on February 23rd, 1983 was Too Shy by Kajagoogoo. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Timber-Lee closing and Trinity College and grad school going virtual only.

 Two places near and dear to me are ending their work as we know it in the coming months.  These places are Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy,  Wisconsin, and Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois.  Both of these establishments have long histories, both recently celebrating a milestone.  In 2022 Trinity College celebrated its 125th anniversary and Timber-Lee celebrated its 75th.  If this were the Electric Company short, Letter Man, The villainous Spellbinder would take out his magic wand and change the first E to a  second L making milestone, millstone.  I'm not sure what to call the millstone. Perhaps it was  Covid, perhaps a change in the culture of education, perhaps a change in the paradigm of Christian camping; likely a combination of all 3.  But the millstone around Trinity International University whose umbrella is around both Camp Timberlee and Trinity has caused business as usual in the college's case and possibly business altogether to come crashing to a halt in the very near future.  

 I was never a student at Trinity, but I have visited their campus on multiple occasions over the past 40 years.  I have slept in their dorms, eaten in their cafeterias, and played frisbee in their courtyards.  I have attended classes, visited students, and borrowed materials from their library.  I even at one time had a Trinity library card. 

In 2016, Camp Timberlee was gifted by the Evangelical Free Church Association (EFCA)  to Trinity International University (TIU).  I have a long history with Camp Timber-Lee. I was baptized in their lake in 1986 at a church picnic. I did a polar plunge in the same lake in January 2020. My wife Amy and our children once attended a home school camp there and our family slept in one if their famous cabooses. I have visited friends who worked there on multiple occasions. I even flipped over a snapping turtle  who had was trapped on his back bicycling near their grounds while visiting a staff member. I was bicycling near the camp, I'm assuming the snapping turtle was a pedestrian. 

Over the past 15 years, I have chaperoned a half dozen or so arctic blast and winter X-treme trips with our church kids groups and youth groups which has included at least one of my children on each occasion. 3 of my favorite things to do at those winter retreats are

1. A trip to their nature center where there is always an obligatory snake pic taken of one of my children.

2. To spend hours playing gaga ball with students.

3. To spend hours playing nine-square with students.

There is a multitude of other things to do at Timber-Lee: Ropes course, rec room, x-country skiing, zip line, sledding, tubing, tobogganing, horseback riding, broomball, and karaoke, just to name a few.  Of course, camps are a lot of fun and make lasting memories.  But Timber-Lee was all about sharing the gospel and promoting Christian growth.  This spiritual aspect of their ministry is the main reason why so many people are shocked and saddened about its demise.    

When camps like these go under there is often talk of getting new funding and continuing the ministry.  Sometimes something comes out of it like the recent change of ownership of what used to be called Cedar Campus in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Timber-Lee has a plethora of staff, campers, and alumni who would love to see the ministry continue to grow.

As for Trinity College the class of 2023 seems to be the last class as a residential college as they make the transition to distance learning only.  TIU sees this as a new beginning that fits with its global strategy.  I, for one, hope that is true, but need time to reflect on the past and what will surely be missed.  




Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Deep Valley - Rich Mullins Live Album - Out on Streaming Devices.

Rich Mullins passed away over 25 years ago. His music is as meaningful and relevant to me today as it was back then. This is one reason why I am so delighted that a recording of a concert he gave many years ago has just been released on almost all of the streaming platforms and is also available on c.d. The Album is called Deep Valley and was recorded at Deep Valley Christian Service Camp in Western Pennsylvania.  Rich loved this camp and my understanding is that he performed there often. Here is a recording of the song Finish Line recorded at the camp in July of 1983.  (This song is not on the album.)


Rich Mullins's music still has an impact on people today as attested in this New York Times Piece. Bellsburg, the album mentioned in the NYT piece has been available for streaming since November and Deep Valley dropped (as the cool kids say) earlier this month.

Both albums were funded on Kickstarter and produced by Old Bear Records.  I received both albums on C.D. by participating in the Kickstarter.  I enjoy both albums immensely.   I guess if pressed, I would say I like Deep Valley every bit as well as Bellsburg as it is great to hear Rich playing in a concert setting again on a new recording.  I highly recommend either album.  

My wife and I are going to listen to Deep Valley on the way home from work today.



Thursday, February 9, 2023

Poets in the Family

 My daughter Emma and I started attending a live poem workshop at our library at the beginning of the year.  It meets on the first Monday of the month and the first thing we do is go around the table and share a poem we have already written if we would like to.  

Monday Afternoon was very hectic at my house.  Amy was out and about and everything was going wrong.  The workshop started half an hour earlier than I thought it did, dinner was a hot mess,and I was in a foul foul mood.  By the time we got on our way a gorgeous full moon was shining on the river that our library sits upon and it had a calming effect on my soul reminding me what the important things were and how I was chasing the unimportant.  

Emma and I got into the meeting right as the poetry sharing was beginning. I jotted this poem down and then recited it when it was my turn.

Inside Outside Upside Down

(With No Apologies to Sam And Jan Berenstain)


Running late

Mixed up meeting time

bad mood

burnt food

rush rush rush


Circle moon

Yellow glow

Silence between loved ones

That speaks comfort

Through the admiration of beauty

I'd like my inside to be more like the outside. 

After I read my poem Emma read hers.  She had written it previously but I  still took it as a warning that I need to be careful with my words, thoughts, and actions so I don't hurt the ones I love.

I encouraged Emma to start a poetry blog. She had a few other blogs when she was younger, but doesn't use them now.  Her poem and my poem are both at Poetry Friday this week.  It is being hosted this week by Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.



The first 40 days of Reading 2023

 One of my Januarying tasks was to get back into reading and listening to books.  Last year, I pretty much stopped reading altogether at the end of July. As I referred to here and here. August through December of 2022 was a crazy busy time of my life; as a result, some things got dropped and books certainly didn't get picked up.

Over Christmas Break I started reading again.  Today is the 40th day of the year and so far I have finished 8 books.

They are  Listed by Title, Author, How obtained, How Consumed

Dead Center                                  David Rosenfelt          Hoopla                Listened to from phone

Heaven                                           Randy Alcorn             Own                    Read (to self)

Dryer's English                               Benjamin Dryer         Local Library     Read (to self and others)

A Big Day for Baseball                  Mary Pope Osborn     Classroom         Read (to self)

Big Nate: Welcome To My World   Lincoln Pierce           Classroom         Read (to self)

Play Dead                                        David Rosenfelt          Hoopla             Listened to from phone

Billy Graham: America's Pastor      Geoff & Janet Benge  Hoopla             Listened to from phone

Unnatural Death                               Dorothy L. Sayers      Hoopla             Read from my Ipad. 

That's 8 books finished in 40 days.  There are 365 days this year which means to find out how many books I'm on pace to read in a year you would just multiply 8 times 9.125 which us of course 73 books.  

I guess since I've mentioned the last 8 books I've read I've also technically mentioned the last five as well  That being said, here are 10 books that I am currently working on or hoping to get too soon.

The Annotated Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen Annotated and Edited by David M. Shapard.

The Last Sweet Mile - Allen Levi

Write Better - Andrew T. Le Peau

Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund

Luke - The Gospel of Amazement - Michael Card

What To Do on Thursday - Jay E. Adams. 

75 Readings - An Anthology

Heroes of the Faith - Gene Fedele

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer

If I were to complete all 10 of these books in the next 40 days Then I would be on pace to finish 81 books by year's end.  My wife is sure to annihilate any kind of total I should accumulate as she is a reading machine.  

For those familiar with my reading ways you may wonder why there are no C.S. Lewis books on the docket. This is by design.  I do plan to read all of the Chronicles of Narnia this year as I've done most every year since I was 16.  The difference this year is I decided to put them off a little bit and concentrate on other books at the beginning of the year. .  When I do get to them, I have decided to read them in alphabetical order rather than chronological or Narnian historical order as I have in the past.  This means I'll start with The Horse and His Boy and end with the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  

It's good to have started the year on a reading note.  Hopefully, I'll be back soon with news of 5 more books completed.




Wednesday, February 8, 2023

It's A Boy Sub!!!

 This is my 5th school year being a substitute teacher.  I started about 4 years ago near the beginning of the 2nd semester of the 2018-2019 school year.  In the school district I work in there, are 3 types of substitute teaching jobs.  Substitute Teacher, Long Term Sub, and Building Sub.  A substitute teacher is exactly what you think it is.  You come into a school and replace the teacher that is gone that day.  A long-term sub replaces a teacher when they are gone for 4 weeks or longer.  This is often due to maternity or paternity leave but these are not the only reasons.  A building sub is assigned to a particular school and is the first line of defense when teachers call in sick the day of school or perhaps leave during the course of school.  I spent my first 2 years as a regular sub, I have been working primarily as a long-term Sub since February of 2021 and last month started my new adventure as a building sub.

One advantage of being a long-term sub or a building sub over a regular sub is that the base pay is better.  An advantage to being a building sub over a long-term sub is that often times a long-term sub has additional duties like grading students and preparing lessons that a building sub does not have.  I really enjoy being a building sub because I get to know all of the kids in the school and my day to activities are extremely varied. The best part of my current position is that I work with my wife.  She is a School Psychologist in the district and I work at her school.  Most days we drive in together which is not only a great way to spend time together but also a great way to save money.

Most days I don't get my assignment for the day until I'm on my way to school.   Some days I'm subbing for multiple teachers due to meetings or trainings, others I'm in for just one teacher.  The latter occurred earlier this week.  I went into the classroom and was sitting at the teacher's desk reviewing the plans that had been laid out for me.  I heard a commotion brewing in the hallway.  On this day the teacher had come to school, realized she was too sick to teach, and left before the school day started.  She was not able to leave the building before being spotted by some of her students.  The commotion I heard brewing was the students discussing the prospect of who their sub would be.

The kids are supposed to sit by their cubbies until the teacher lets them in their room at a certain time.  Buoyed by their excitement at the prospect of a sub they kept popping up and looking through the glass window in the door to see who their sub was.  One by one I heard the delighted shrieks of "It's A Boy Sub!".  At that moment I knew what my next blog entry would be titled.

This is my 5th week at the school and most of the students know who I am by now.  So when the comments switched from it's a boy sub, to it's Mr. Roller, I met them at the door and let them in a few minutes early.  

While there are certainly more female teachers than male ones in my district, there are still quite a few men teachers.  What there aren't a lot of are male subs.  I've only encountered a few in the time I've been subbing. Even so, I didn't really expect that kind of reaction from my students that day.  I think that one of the reasons I like being an educator, especially a building sub,  is that most every day I experience the unexpected. 



Saturday, February 4, 2023


 January 2023 is in the books, more proof that the calendar plays for keeps.  My wife thinks that this January would never end and was glad to see the back of it (Sorry, she had Downton Abbey on , and I couldn't help myself.). For me, January ended too quickly, I hadn't finished all my Januarying. 

I've always been  a little bit uncertain when it comes to  what I think about New Year's resolutions.  On one hand, I think that they are a colossal waste of time because we should always be trying to improve ourselves and we  don't need December 31st telling us what to do.  On the other hand, there are definitely things I like to try to accomplish every year and January 1st seems like a good time to start accomplishing those things.

Some of these goals (I do like goals better than resolutions) vary from year to year and many of them don't get accomplished.  I do spend quite a bit of time each January planning to accomplish them, which is why I call making a game plan for the goals, Januarying. 

One goal I have every year is to average 10,000 steps a day for the year.  2022 is the only year so far I have met that goal.  I had come close in 2021 averaging around 9,200 steps a day.  It really was a tale of two halves where I averaged just 7,000 steps from January to June and then averaged close to 11,500 to close out the year.  I made my goal for 2022 to be averaging at least 10,000 steps for the entire year (In 2005 White Sox parlance we call that going wire to wire). To that end I walked 26,122 steps on Jauary 1st.  We had a small party at out house on New Years Eve  and after our guests left, I walked our neighborhood for a little while.  Most of the steps came later that day when I got the job of patrolling the movie theatre where I work which means walking up and down 12 theatres every 20 or 30 minutes to make sure  the equipment and audience members are behaving appropriately.  

This year I decided to approach repeating my accomplishment differently. I made a calendar in my mind and decided in advance how many steps I wanted to get on the given month.  At the end of the year, If I make all my goals I will have again averaged  over 10,000 steps for the year.  In January, I set my goal for far lower than 10,000 but still beat the average I set for myself by more than 1,000 steps a day.  

Some of my other Januarying goals have to do with or are chronicled on my blog.  I will be posting more soon about my goals of watching 12 new movies (to me) and reviewing them here, and my reading goal for the year.  So. Ill just table such discussion for now, except to say that I have spent quite a bit of Januarying plotting out some of the books and films I want to consume this year and going about consuming them.  Each December and January I spend time redesigning my blog. I have especially enjoyed  linking some new blogs to mine in a space called Blog Try Outs. One such blog is called Laws of Gravity The caretaker of Laws of Gravity is a substitute teacher like myself.

At my advanced age of 58 years, 4 months, 1 week, 4 days and 12 hours (It's actually 11 hours, but I still have to edit this post.) , I am beginning to hear more and more about finishing well.  I feel like I might be a tad young for that, but Januarying has been instrumental in helping me start well.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

January Stats

 In January of 2023 I posted 8 times.  This was five posts more than I had in November and December 2022 combined.  I  really limped tot he finish line of 2022 blog wise. 2022 wasn't a wholly unsuccessful year in that regards.  I had 102 posts in 2022 just 15 less than I had in 2021.  The problem was that 86 of those posts were from January to June and only 21 were in the 2nd half of the year.  I consider that a missed opportunity.

The 8 posts this past January put me on  pace to have 96 by years end.  Hopefully this will not be a February flop but will be even more successful than how the year began.  

Thanks to my lovely editor/proofreader/wife who keeps me on track bloggingwise and in so many areas of my life.  



A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip