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Update

I vaguely remember receiving an email telling me that my domain was about to expire.  Thinking that I had already broken numerous agreements with myself to work on writing, revision, and publishing, I agreed to renew the domain.  Of course, those unfulfilled commitments continued to haunt me.  However, a few things have changed over the last couple of months that have spurred me on to at least publish a couple of entries.

The first was that my sister passed away.  On May 16, my sister, Cathy Walker, entered her heavenly reward.  My family and I cared for her for the last year-and-a-half of her life while she suffered from end stage cancer.  Much of this time she was in our home.  She was positive, upbeat, encouraging, and faithful to her Lord right up until the end, and was an inspiration to all of us who knew her.  Even with all of these gifts that she provided, it’s still physically, mentally, and emotionally draining to care for a terminally ill patient, and this labor of love took its toll on all of us.

The second was that I was carrying an enormous teaching load, even by my standards.  Four tenth grade humanities sections, two eleventh grade composition and literature sections, two Latin I sections, two Latin II sections, one Latin III sections, and one night grade US History section.  This coming school year, I’ll have a similar number of sections, but only four preps.

The third was that my wife and I, along with my mother-in-law, were in a devastating car accident on June 26.  Seeing the photos, it would be difficult to believe that all of us came away with no permanent impairments.  However, I have some broken ribs and am generally pretty sore.

The sheer boredom of sitting around rekindled my desire to write more.  I’m faced with looking around my house and my innumerable books on writing.  Paraphrasing the words of Roxanne Gay, author of Bad Feminist, it’s like being “beyond Lane Bryant fat” and having a closet full of size 2 clothes; a monument to ambition and shame.  While I realize that such feelings don’t generally produce motivation to persevere in any long-term behavior, I must acknowledge them, even it it’s to rechannel them into both a realization that I get paid for teaching rather than writing, and that there is no shame in using my verbal capacity on my feet instead of on the page.

 

 

 

 

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Around the House

818kGmg0fFL._SL1500_I ended up sleeping until almost 9 am today.  For most people, that would be the equivalent of sleeping until noon.  Is this a luxury?  Something I needed to do?  Or merely a lack of discipline?  My intention was to not set my alarm clock, wake up as close to 7:45 as possible to go get my blood drawn (no coffee, food, etc.).  Well, I accomplished sleeping in until the lab was open.
Consequently, I’m feeling rather “type b” today.  As we speak, I’m typing this from bed and it’s past noon.  However, it can be said that I have been a little too tightly wound this week.  Having recovered from some unknown respiratory virus that I caught last week, I’ve been on a mission to catch up on grading, prep for classes, find time to write, crank up the exercise, and read 4-5 books at the same time. Getting up at 5:30 or earlier each day this week,  I’ve caught myself being impatient with my sister, who lives with me and has a number of infirmities from the toll that cancer has taken on her.  If I need to take her somewhere, she’s debilitated enough so that she can’t really be hurried.  For her to get ready, it takes as long as it takes.  Meanwhile, I’m drumming my fingers, hyperventilating, obsessing about being late for class, driving way too aggressively, and in general, being rather annoying.  Not a flattering picture!
So, I got myself organized, made myself a list of things that I need to get done over the next couple of days, and am just going to go after them one at a time.  I’m almost caught up on grading, having maybe a couple of hours to go.  Since it’s the midpoint in our quarter, I need to notify the parents of my students who have gotten behind the curve, while there is still time and hope for them to improve.  A sermon that I’m scheduled to preach next week is still to be written.  Then, the weekly task of planning each class period for the upcoming week.  A good day to take time to think and sharpen the saw rather than go, go, go.
I made myself a list of books in my house that I’d like to read this year.  I counted 46 books, which include an assortment of fiction and nonfiction, education, life development, spiritual growth, biographies, histories, etc.  Good to know that I have enough reading to survive an  long economic downturn or reduced circumstances.  This doesn’t even include books in my study at the church, which would at least double that number.  At a future date,  I’ll categorize and publish the list.
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All Quiet On The Western Front

We woke up to a morning of relative quiet on the front.  The varmints are under siege.  Their days are numbered.  They will either die in our attic from poison or being caught in a trap, or they will die after breaking out.

We found out yesterday that we really dodged a bullet here.  It turns out that squirrels will try to chew through PVC water pipes in search of water, gnaw through electric wires, and chew up your insulation.  We have gotten to them before any of these things happened.  This could have been quite an ordeal, not to mention a serious financial setback.  If we manage to come out of this war relatively unscathed, we will consider ourselves greatly blessed as we consider what might have been.

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Dispatches From The Front

We have implemented a new strategy in the defense of Half Baked Manor. We called in the cavalry to kill the enemy and destroy him. Jeff from Absolute Animal Control (sounds like music to my ears!) set traps up in the attic to capture the enemy. He sighted two large squirrels — perhaps a male and a female who had moved in to start a family. So far, defense appropriations have hit the $50 mark. However, there’s more to come. We will need to seal up the eaves of our roof to secure the perimeter so we don’t have a repeat engagement. I’ll keep you posted.

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The Latest From Half Baked Manor

We had an enemy sighting yesterday.  We spotted a large squirrel foraging for food where the tortilla chips used to be in the garage.  Once sighted, he immediately scampered back up into the attic through the space that used to be covered by drywall.

Yesterday, the Missus spoke to one of our co-workers to gain intelligence on our enemy.  Our co-worker reported that she once had a similar problem and resorted to a critter getter.  At the cost of $100, she said it was “worth every penny.”

Not only does it appear that we may need to bring in the reinforcements, but we may need to do some infrastructure repairs in putting new drywall on the ceiling in our garage.  Defense appropriations will be increased at Half Baked Manor, as we must keep the manor safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic, man and beast.

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How Not To Rise Early

A couple of days ago, I posted about the “Early To Rise” Challenge.  I did not rise early today, unless you call between 7:30 and 8:00 am “rising early.”  So now, I can tell you what not to do:

1.  The night before you will attempt to rise early, sit in positions that bad for your posture so that your back is sore when you lie down to go to sleep.

2.  Stay up late.  Make sure you don’t get to bed until at least 11:30 or 12:00

3.  Waste the extra hours that you stayed up.  Go through your RSS feeds . . . slowly.  Alternate between checking Facebook, ESPN, ESPN soccernet, and EPL transfer rumors (note:  EPL transfer rumors generally have no factual basis whatsoever).  Check your Amazon seller account every five minutes for new sales.  Wash rinse, repeat for two hours.  Don’t read a book or do anything that may even be slightly construed as productive.

4.  Eat.  Ignore the fact that your body is 99 percent lard already and that today’s calorie expenditure has been roughly 50 calories more than if you had slept for the past 24 hours.  Eat lots of snacks.  You can even eat “healthy snacks”  like I did — black bean chips, peanut butter bars.  These “healthy snacks” will still give you the same caloric intake as a bag of potato chips and a couple of candy bars.  Just make sure you add another 600-800 calories to an already bloated diet.

5.  Tell yourself, “I deserve to sleep in for all of this!”

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Today’s Update From Half Baked Manor

The war against Mr. Mouse is escalating.  He has gone on another food raid.  Casualties today were two bags of tortilla chips.  So far, the tally is Mr. Mouse 3, Half Baked Manor 0.  We are in the “bend but don’t break” mode right now.  We will come out of this victorious, but right now, he has the upper hand.

We may have miscalculated the makeup of our enemy.  We are hearing sounds in the attic of being larger than mice.  It could be that we have a family of squirrels as boarders.  In this case, the mouse traps will be completely insufficient.  We will need to devise another approach.  It’s time to do some research before we given in to the temptation to  call “Critter Gitter.”  However, one way or another, we will conquer our enemy!

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News From Half Baked Manor

The war against Mr. Mouse is status quo.  It looks like we may have a protracted standoff. similar to the “phony war” following the beginning of hostilities in the First World War.  However, we’re dug in and ready to fight!  It’s also possible that our foe has relocated.  The residents of Half Baked Manor would view this as a favorable outcome, although it lacks the thrill of victory!

Today was a full day of teaching.  I went from postmodern philosophy (seniors) to America’s founding documents (juniors) to the Gettysburg Address as the classic ceremonial speech (rhetoric) to Plato’s theory of knowledge (sophomores) to fourth conjugation Latin verbs (first year Latin) to the present passive subjunctive (second year Latin).  You can say that there’s alot of variety in my teaching day!  This is pretty typical and it keeps me sharp.  This was  followed by watching the 1-1 draw of our Tottenham Hotspur vs. the Norwich City Canaries with my son. Canaries, huh?  Anyway, I gotta hand it to them.  They did play a tough game and Spurs were fortunate to earn the draw.  The goal by Gareth Bale was something to behold.  Lewis Holtby is already looking like an excellent addition.

Tonight, I’m adding books to my Amazon inventory.  Check out “Amy’s Bookshop” on Amazon if you want to browse the shelves.  It’s very difficult for me to part with books.  However, my shelf space has been greatly reduced since we moved south six years ago, I’m not getting any younger, and I’m looking to free myself from bondage to “stuff” and restart this microbusiness again.  My family and I have committed to going to Colorado this summer and I will need to raise the cash in order to continue to meet our financial goal of staying out of debt.

 

Update on Half Baked Manor

It’s been quiet here at Half Baked Manor.  There’s not much human activity here except for mine.  Mr. Mouse has not yet made his appearance.  Yesterday, we had our first casualty in this low-intensity war.  Our son stepped out into the garage and tripped one of the traps.  Our son is fine, but his pride may have taken a little hit.  So far, Mr. Mouse 1, Stuart 0.

However, we are now hearing noises up in the attic and perhaps under the eaves of our home.  I don’t know if he has migrated, or if we have some new guests.  I’ll keep you posted.

Half Baked Manor Update

It’s been a beehive of activity the last couple of days here at Half-Baked Manor.  We declared war on our friend Mr. Mouse yesterday.  One of the traps was tripped but no bait was gone and no mouse carcass was found.  So, Mr. Mouse is still at large.

The Missus went to the fabric store today, and unbeknownst to me, picked out some fabric to recover our kitchen table chairs with.  She came home and went right to work on it.  She is full speed ahead in project mode!  I’m amazed at her creativity and blessed by her industry.  The new pattern is a much lighter pattern than we have now, which is great.  We’re always trying to find ways to brighten up the public areas of Half Baked Manor, and it looks like this one will be a great success.

While she did all of this, I was at a seminar on opportunities for the Church to serve disabled people.  I’m blessed to serve in a very loving church family.  We have a number of people in our congregation who are living with disabilities, so this was something that piqued my interest.  I rejoiced to hear someone from outside our church family advocate reaching out, welcoming, and serving people who live with disabilities and their families.  However, it broke my heart to hear of people bringing guests and family members with visible disabilities being asked not to return, because it makes people “uncomfortable.”  I do remember Jesus commanding his disciples to bring in the blind, and the lame, and the halt.  Also, for a faith whose core teaching is that humanity is fundamentally broken and that the only way out of that brokenness is through Divine Redemption, it seems rather contradictory to shun those who are visibly broken.  Maybe the rest of us are just better at hiding our brokenness.

One of these days (and I mean soon!), I’m going to take the WordPress tour and figure out how to add links, pictures, and everything else to flesh out my posts and give a little help to my friends!

 

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