Archive for November, 2011

November 13, 2011

Fallen Soldiers (Unsung Heroes)

Veterans Day has certainly become more meaningful to me as my life has become more entwined with military service and especially the Marine Corps. Reading blogs from the Marine Corps, sharing Alex’s experiences and the recent celebration of some of our service men heroes, brings the idea of sacrifice and commitment into sharp focus.

I want to share this amazing link to a rap done by a former Marine honoring a Medal of Honor recipient, Jason Dunham. Written by former Cpl. Joe Potter, this video made me pause and reflect on the selflessness and ultimate sacrifice made by Cpl. Dunham. I want to share it and hope you wil share it as well.

I also want to share the background on Joe Potter, the creator of the song and video because it is also an example of the respect and brotherhood forged in the Marine Corps.

I know that Alex would love to “go the the sandbox” and make what he feels is a meaningful statement in his career, but when I see the picture of Jason and his mother together, I am thankful that I will never have to bear the cost of his heroism. I am too selfish. But I am also proud of Alex and the men and women who are willing to rish it all for what they believe in. Semper Fi.

November 10, 2011

Hello, Mr. Chips

The last two years have wrought tremendous change in Jim’s life. Making the decision to go back to school to become a teacher sounded so simple in a way. I think it was clear to everyone who knew Jim that he would make a fantastic teacher. There are few people I know who are as intelligent, soak up knowledge like a desert rain, love to learn for the sheer pleasure of it and then love sharing that knowledge (sometimes ad nauseum) with those around him.

Grad school was often a hump. Not only was there the need to get back into the practice of being a student. There was a pretty significant quotient of dogma to ingest. Not all of this dogma agreed with Jim and there were some tough times when he tried to work through theories and philosophies with which he truly disagreed. But he persisted. That meant gritting his teeth and playing along.

Of course, Jim excelled at every course. During the time he was home with the kids, his drive for excellence was not always apparent. He was a good and nurturing parent, but there were few exams or situations which would allow him to quantify his gifts. Those gifts, however, were in full view during his course work. He was dubbed “the curve buster” and brought passion and commitment to each of his classes.

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November 3, 2011

Woolie Excursion to Saugerties

It seems like New York Sheep and Wool 2010 was just minutes ago, but here we are coming up on the big weekend once again. This year we have extra fun planned with a visit to Shaye and Jaime’s new house in Saugerties, New York!

One of the best aspects of NYSW is the expectation that much will be the same, but there will also be new things to discover. It is this mix of expected and unexpected that makes it a comfortable tradition with a bit of discovery.

I cannot say that Jim woke up Saturday morning shouting, “Hooray!!” But he was a good sport and barely mumbled complaints as we piled into the car for the two hour drive north to Rhinebeck. I think the idea of visiting Shaye and Jaime helped him gird for a day of crazed knitters and sheep.

The roads were clogged with traffic and the parking lot already packed when we arrived at 10:15. Due to the rain, large portions of the parking area were unusuable and they were bussing people from further locations to the fairgrounds. It was a typical Sheep and Wool day weatherwise, a bit blustery and cold with a sky changing from blue to grey with swirling clouds. It always pays to dress warmly.

Of course, a big aspect of the festival is the parade of hand knit sweaters, shawls and scarves. It is always fun to see people sporting their meisterwerks and, as with all yarn events, it is permissable to walk up to a stranger and fondle their garment asking personal questions such as, “what yarn is this?”

First thing we do each year is head to the souvenir tent to buy the year’s t-shirt. Every year a specific breed is honored and I have a big collection of t-shirts with various breeds. Jim wanted to buy a pair of fingerless gloves for one of his colleagues at school and we found the perfect pair before we even hit the souvenir tent. That made Jim a little happier. He had also brought along his Flip video camera and he busied himself taking lots of videos of sheep shearing and other activities.

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