Thursday, March 31, 2011

Every time I watch this it makes me smile. My kids chose to go to a regional high school in a neighboring town, rather than the high school down the street from where we live. The local schools have an excellent academic reputation and are definitely much closer, but the neighboring school offered more diversity and options and was a better fit with my kids. Fortunately in Massachusetts you can "choice" into another district and your town pays the tuition.

Among the many things I love about this school is the spirit and creativity and how this is nurtured and promoted by the students teachers and administrators, in addition to academic excellence. I have seen this in so many areas and the following video is one of them.

I know of few schools that can involve a third of the student body in a project including the principal and vice principal and many teachers, yet Monument does it again and again.

"This is the Lip Dub that Monument Mountain Regional High School filmed in December 2010. Around 200 students showed school spirit and amazing talent. This is Robert Adler's independent study project. It took him just under 3 months to produce and make it what it became"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Down for the count.....or at least half a count

I use an average of one sick day a year plus maybe a few hours when I just throw in the towel and go home. Today was the "one". I don't count the hour I left work early yesterday because I was there early. Sneezing, coughing cobwebs in the mind. The "cold" has been officially passed
on from my wife to me.

So today I lay on the couch surfing (channel and web) and snoozing on and off with an occasional check in of email. While I called out, I was too lazy to do the mechanical message and auto-replies that I do for a vacation. So for some people who get an email response from me, they think I must be in meetings.

While I moderately feel like crap, I also stayed out so as not to contaminate others. But I am also feeling bored, which means I am actually feeling better and will most likely go in tomorrow and will leave if I sink in the pit. Bored doesn't translate automatically to energized or motivated, so after I finish this post of what seems to be random, I'll probably curl up with an afghan and maybe not snooze but rest. One of the unusual signs of this episode is that while weary I am not tired.

There are predictions of another snow storm on Friday of 6 inches. Enough already, winter go away. I went out for a bit today for some air and it was sunny but cold. We have just about used up the 4 1/2 tons of pellets that we started the winter with so given the pace of what is coming Friday and beyond, I'll be loading up the car with 40 pound bags this weekend. It seems hard to comprehend that from October to now I have moved 9,000 pounds of bags at least once into the house and probably half of those from the yard to the garage. 13,000 pounds. I guess that is how ants do it, one piece at a time.

The emails are all working again along with 5 apologies from the email provider to match my 5 tech tickets.

So that is the not so exciting blog update from this far western corner of Massachusetts and after I sign up the youngest for an SAT prep course, I think I will grab the afghan.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


This morning the sun was bright and I was up early and looking at how sweet it looked out there. After sipping my third cup of coffee and exhausting the online newspapers and seeing my neighbor take off for a run it was enough of a boost to the urge to go for a nice long run in the sun. My schedule has been crazy all week with full days of training where they feed you lunches that are heavier than what I would make for my self. Plus there was not time for any kind of exercise, so I was feeling heavy from the imbalance. All good reasons to get out.

So squinting a little to check out the temperature, which said about 35, I added an extra layer top and bottom, grabbed the gloves and a hat and bounded out the door. Hey, I'd been running when it was 25 and snowing and had a great time. Plus 35 with full sun can feel almost like spring. Yah!

Getting to the street and heading up the hill out of the neighborhood it hit me. CRAP!! there is no way in hell it is 35 out here. While the sun was bright the wind was whipping and cutting through the layers and biting my face. Rounding the corner and heading in a direction I knew there were trees and houses and hoping that perhaps that will be a block.

I get to the corner and start to cruise up a another hill and a blast of wind literally stops me in my tracks. These freakin trees won't give any cover, there are no leaves and the woods behind the houses channel the wind to the street.

Not fun but determined still, I hit the mile and a half mark and another hill and another blast of wind and that's it. Had I worn my winter-wear of thick layers and tight then it would have been different, but now the body heat building up was just keeping it tolerable, but not enough to fend off the wind. Plus while I am ok with the cold, a cold wind is just not pleasant by any stretch. Flipping around I head back, settling for 3 three mile unpleasant run when I was pushing for 6-7 in in the sun. Not sure which was more disappointing, the distance or the cold.........nah no question, the cold.

So back home and warming up I take another look at that thermometer but this time I put on the glasses. 15 degrees - add a wind and it explains it all.

I have had enough of winter.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The last few days have been a techie hell. I have five email accounts plus the one for work and had problems with all of them this week. My ipod, which can retieve mail from all of them, also decided not to work with any of them and one account is sending responses back saying "user doesn't exist".

So, you ask, why the hell so many emails accounts? Actually I have more than that but those are dormant. I use email accounts to sort out the different parts of my life. This blog has it's own, there is the order online one, then there is the home one, and then there is the every day one and the spare. And there is the one that ties in some of my volunteer work.

For some this is too much technology and too much confusion but my ipod can handle at least a half dozen and I can fling the emails back and forth between accounts and send attachments to my Ipod that I can read in meetings in the office and out. It's great until they all go fluey. Usually it is only one at a time and having all of them go haywire is a painful aboration.

It seems like when each of the mail systems goes through an upgrade to "improve reliabiliy and service" it ends up with service being knocked off or interupted and at least for a time, becoming totally unreliable-thus the reason I have the spare. Now it is the spare that has completely stopped working and is sending evil "non-exist " messages and guesss what, it just got a major upgrade and product enhancement....Not.

I have always thought that technology can be wonderful or totally suck. There are times when I would like the option of picking up the phone or doing an online chat rather than file a "ticket" and get the auto response, though at least that is better than hearing nothing at all. So I have filed multiple support tickets, deleted all the accounts off my IPOD and reinstalled them only to have 200 previouly read and filed emails come back through as unread and I openned up a new spare to the spare account, because when I don't hear anything I have doubts about whether I'll ever get the full use back. I'm a glutton with a short attention span.

And then there are the techy problems at work that fortunately there are techs to support but getting them to make things a priority can be a challenge. I feel a twinge of guilt when I rank my problem higher than someone elses and get more immediate attention but I rarely do it so my credibility in that area is fairly high.

I know the full moon has long past but perhaps there is some other phenomenom that is happening that is causing this techy hell. If so I look forward to the normal hum of consistent data coming in without a fight.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winter, at least around here, is subsiding and the signs of spring becoming more evident. Me running outside with only one layer and no fleece, though still needing the gloves, is one sign.

These geese heading north are another. I recall so vividly being in the same spot in the fall and the gaggles were heading the opposite direction as they left the marshy refuge nearby.

This stack of pellets was 4 across in October, over 4 tons. There are probably 15-20 bags here and another 4-5 still in the garage. Hopefully we will get through to the warmer weather without having to get some more. When we reach this point in the season I am ready for an end in the routine of hauling in 40 pound bags from the pile, especially when its 11:30at night and I am already sleepy and notice the supply won't make it through the night. Fortunately I have someone home from college this week who I hope to recruit to move the rest of this pile inside.

With all the pallets empty comes that yearly event that seems to appeal more to men than women, burning day. The dried out Christmas tree under a pallet or two makes for a roaring fire that is every amateur pyro's dream. A good opportunity of getting rid of additional brush being exposed with the melting snow and to burn off some weed patches in the yard.

This stream is always pretty along the side of the road. The red barn in the background, the highlights of the snow around the edges. The water flow is heavy with the drainage from multiple sources and the higher elevations behind and this stream winds its way down to the river below.

Patches of back yard start to reveal itself and this morning a large flock of robins descended to pick through what could be found in the grass. Seeing one or two is fairly normal even throughout the winter, but 25 seems more like a traveling flock on their way somewhere.

It will easily be another month before the daffodils are up and probably into early May before they bloom. There are some years when winter seem to go on and on, deminishing very gradually until we hit May and early summer appears.

Someone finally bought the $1.5 million farm house I wrote about in the fall. Over Christmas decorations started to appear and cars were parked by the mews (yes this is a 2 house property). I am thinking they are 2nd or third homeowners and definitely from the City as the big trees that they have tapped in the yard for sap are oaks. Opps!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Never underestimate the power of prayer. This isn't a post about religion or evangelizing but more about spirituality. You won't find me quoting scripture, not my thing and I don't make those connection. But I feel I am a deeply spiritual person and that comes though in much of my writing. I have seen the power of prayer in the past, on larger scale of healing to smaller incidents and I witnessed it again this week.

More than a few read into my post a few days ago that either something troubling might be going on or that perhaps I was over-analyzing life. Thank you for your concern and comments and good thoughts.

Something was not right and the potential implications monumental, and while I couldn't say what, I needed to write about it, to get it out to the cosmos.

This morning was the news that all is well, life can return to normal though with a renewed gratitude of life and of good health.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There are times when you just can't put what you are feeling into words, yet still publish those words. It's a struggle to sort fear from the reality, the relativeness of what is going on to the greater happenings, the feeling of helplessness and sorrow and dealing with uncertainty and supporting others through the same; the balancing of what is on your mind the most while living through the days. In this world of 24/7 we want instant answers, instant fixes, instant resolutions, happy endings.

A few weeks ago I put up a quote about looking too far out into the future: "Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road. " and from past experience, I know much of the truth in this. I just have to keep repeating it to remind me of that.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Can it be possible that there are more frost heaves out there at this late stage in winter than last year? I feel like the auto equivalent of a rodeo. Could it have been that warm spell that then turned back to bitter cold?

I thought last year was the pits. But then that is because the constant bouncing on the back roads not only successful demolished the springs and finished off the struts on my old car but then proceeded to destroy the new struts that had cost an obscene amount of money on a car that I wasn't planning on keeping more than 6 months more but had no choice but to replace them.

So as I only fill my morning mug half way because I know otherwise the contents will be in my lap by the end of the driveway I also hold my breath every time I do the bouncy bounce for miles on end hoping that this now also aging car won''t meet the same fate.

This too will pass and we'll be left with cracked pavement and a driveway that, if this keeps up will break up on its own without the help of equipment. Hopefully when we are ready to replace it and not before.

Ok......I am ready for spring.