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September in Pictures

September 30, 2015
"By all these lovely tokens September days are here, 
With summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer."

Sheepish

September 30, 2015 {273/365} Sheepish
Someone must have told them that it's sweater weather!

Gourds

September 29, 2015
September 29, 2015 {272/365} Gourds

"I long for the countryside where I get my calm and tranquillity - 
from being able to come and find a spot of green." ~ Emilia Clarke

*
[I long for weekend in Door County before I go out of my gourd!]

Dahlia

September 28, 2015
September 28, 2015 {271/365} Dahlia

"I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one."
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Fall

September 27, 2015
September 27, 2015 {270/365} Fall

"Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day!
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree."
~Emily Brontë

Stalker

September 26, 2015
September 26, 2015 {269/365} Stalker

"There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking."
~ David Coleman

Wasp

September 25, 2015
September 25, 2015 {268/365} Waspish

“If I be waspish, best beware my sting.” 
~ William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Listen

September 24, 2015
September 24, 2015 {267/365} Alarming

"Listen once in a while. It's amazing what you can hear."
~ Russell Baker

It's hard to imagine a day without bells or alarms. They jar us from blissful sleep, signal the arrival of visitors, keep us on schedule, call us to worship, remind us that food is ready, and protect us from danger. Yet while we are so tuned to these interruptions, we often miss the occasion to truly listen, to notice the voices of loved ones, a distant melody, the wind in the trees, or our own rhythmic breathing. I often struggle to silence my voice and my mind. Quiet challenges me. 

Fall

September 23, 2015
September 23, 2015 {266/365} Fall

Happy First Day of Fall and
Happy 119th Birthday to F. Scott Fitzgerald

Potions

September 22, 2015
September 22, 2015 {265/365} Potions

"Work is the true elixir of life. The busiest person is the happiest. Excellence in any art or profession is attained only by hard and persistent work." ~ Theodore Martin. (Although, from time to time, this not-so-secret elixir may also lead one to desire another form of potent potable!)

Hearts

September 21, 2015
September 21, 2015 {264/365} Hearts

"We do not see nature with our eyes, 
but with our understandings and our hearts."
~ William Hazlitt

September Sunday

September 20, 2015
September 20, 2015 {234/365} September Sunday

"The Amen of nature is always a flower."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Marquette Wine

September 19, 2015
September 19, 2015 [262/365} Marquette Wine

"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Orange Slices

September 18, 2015
September 18, 2015 {261/365} Orange slices

When I started my Project 365 nearly three years ago, I resolved to take a photo each day of something beautiful, interesting, or meaningful. I've shared hundreds of photos, and over the years, my choices have evolved into mostly images of what I find beautiful. I try to assign meaning by finding inspiring quotes or doing some creative writing, but I seem to have shifted from my original intention. So, today's photo is neither beautiful nor interesting, just profoundly meaningful.

Today is September 18th. Every year on this day, I feel sad and empty like I'm missing a piece of myself. This morning's steady rain seemed to echo the tears in my heart, adding to my melancholy. Nineteen years ago today, we lost my dear dad, and although it feels like forever since I've seen the twinkle in his blue eyes or heard him whistling in the garage, it still feels hard to believe that he's gone. 

This afternoon, one of my colleagues offered me an orange slice -- those sugary candies that we used to share on road trips or while bobbing on the lake, waiting for the fish to bite. And suddenly, Dad was here and I remembered that he always will be. 

Holding On

September 17, 2015
September 17, 2015 {269/365} Holding On

"Faith is the art of holding on to your reason, despite your changing moods." ~ C.S. Lewis

Aster Risk

September 16, 2015
September 16, 2015 {259/365} Asterisk

*
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly 
find out how far one can go." ~ T. S. Eliot

Change

September 15, 2015
September 15, 2015 {258/365} Changing

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past 
or present are certain to miss the future." ~ John F. Kennedy

Although autumn doesn't officially arrive for another week, there are subtle signs of change in the air: Days are shorter, nights are cool and damp, fields are turning golden, and if you look carefully, you'll catch brilliant glimpses of changing leaves. I always look forward to the shift from languid summer to brisk autumn.  Although it has become almost cliché, here's my list of fall favorites: walking through the woods -- the smell and sound of dried leaves beneath my feet, bundling up in sweaters and scarves, warm tights and comfy boots (I feel more "me" at this time of year), Packers football, cozy fires, lovely soft yarns for knitting projects, steaming cups of coffee, tea, or cider, bold red wines, carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds. This year, there is also the prospect of even bigger changes...stay tuned!

Good Day Sunshine

September 14, 2015
September 14, 2015 {257/365} Good Day, Sunshine!

Holy Hill

September 13, 2015
September 13, 2015 {256/365} Holy Hill

"This is the day the Lord has made. 
Let us rejoice and be glad." ~ Psalm 118:24

Dew Drop

September 12, 2015
September 12, 2015 {255/365} Dew Drop

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time 
like dew on the tip of a leaf." ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Remembering

September 11, 2015
September 11, 2015 {254/365} Remembering

As I walked across campus shortly after 8:00 am, at almost exactly the time that the south tower of the World Trade Center was struck fourteen years ago today, I paused under our flag flying proudly yet somberly at half mast. The air was crisp and the sky was the same bright blue that it was on that tragic September morning that seems like yesterday for me. I was teaching communications to a group of eighth graders when a colleague entered my classroom and whispered in my ear to turn on news. In the minutes to follow, my room, one of the few with a television, quietly filled with teachers and students who watched in disbelief as the Twin Towers collapsed. The rest of the day was a blur of tears, phone calls, and parents arriving to hold their children close. 

This morning, as I entered the elementary school and navigated through a sea of excited students just beginning their day, it occurred to me that none of them was even born on that horrific day. In fact only our high school students were alive in 2001, and it is unlikely that any of them remembers the pain that so many Americans experienced on that Tuesday morning fourteen years ago. So rather than dwell on the fear and sorrow, perhaps our legacy to this generation and those that proceed them is to focus on our strength as a nation, on our love for our country, and on compassion and respect for diversity. And while we'll never forget that terrible day, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reminds us that "We must never allow September 11th to become a time for protest and division. Instead, this day must remain a time for promoting peace and mutual respect."

The Library

September 10, 2015
September 10, 2015 {253/365} The Library

"A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

When is the last time you visited the library? It has become so convenient to download books and periodicals onto my computer, tablet, and phone that I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't used my library card in years. I do love the culture of literacy that has been established in Pewaukee -- how wonderful that all language arts students (i.e. all students) are afforded luxury of time to read whatever inspires them. Yet, although I am fortunate enough to work among the great works of literature, poetry, biographies, historical and popular fiction, I rarely take avantage of the libraries here at school. 

This week, I was invited to help students in various English classes set up blogs to showcase their writing. When I arrived at the start of the first class, I actually envied the students who were immersed in their chosen books. I miss taking time to read. Why have I allowed myself to be "too busy" to enjoy a good book? I also realized that as much as I love the convenience of technology and digital downloads, I miss holding a book, the feel and smell of paper as I turn each page in anticipation. So before the next class, I solicited book recommendation from other avid readers and took myself to the library. I chose The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, a book that I have been meaning to read for some time. So now, for the past two days, I have hurried to the five classes that invited me to savor those ten blissful minutes of reading. It feels great to rekindle my love of reading, of books, and of visits to the library.  

Henry Ward Beecher may be correct that a library is a necessity, but the library in today's photo is also very luxurious. Wouldn't you love to curl up with a good book in this beautiful space? There are some great choices here, including the classics, art books, fiction and non-fiction. I remember buying that Edmund Fitzgerald book for my dad years ago. 

Why not savor a cocktail along with your literature? Cocktails in the library? Now there's a novel idea (ahem)! This "library" is in Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. What a great space and a great idea!

[Photos taken in Philadelphia in June 2015]

Crab Apples

September 09, 2015
September 9, 2015 {252/365} Crab Apples

"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." ~ Aristotle
Yet sometimes the apple for the teacher is more of a crab apple.

Ma Rose

September 08, 2015
September 7, 2015 {251/365} La Rose

« C'est le temps que tu a perdu pour ta rose
qui rend ta rose si importante. »
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

*
Raindrops on roses really are one of my favorite things, but this year, my sea foam roses were weakened by both black spots and Japanese beetles. Yet, with an little extra TLC and today's nourishing rain, this fragile, but beloved rose has begun to rally.

Laissez faire

September 07, 2015
September 7, 2015 {250/365} Pink Ruffles

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! 
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.” 
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Beautiful

September 06, 2015
September 6, 2015 {249/365} Beautiful

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, 
for beauty is God's handwriting." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enough

September 05, 2015
September 5, 2015 {248/365} Enough

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, 
and has time enough." ~ Rabindranath Tagore

It's Labor day weekend, but there is still time...

Bee Fashionable

September 04, 2015
September 4, 2015 {247/365} Bee Fashionable

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. 
Fashion is in the sky..." ~ Coco Chanel

Bird watching

September 03, 2015
September 3, 2015 {246/365} Bird watching

"Integrity is doing the right thing, 
even when no one is watching."
~ C. S. Lewis

Productivity & Creativity

September 02, 2015
September 2, 2015 {245/365} Two Bees

"The bee gathers its material from the garden and the field, 
but transforms it by a power of its own." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

La Rentrée

September 01, 2015
September 1, 2015 {244/365} La Rentrée

"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it."  ~ Buddha

C'est la rentrée -- the re-entry -- the return to school, work, a normal routine. Every first day of school brings excitement and apprehension for students, parents, and educators. Today, I begin my twenty-second year in the Pewaukee School District. This year, I will continue coaching my colleagues in the middle school and high school as they leverage technology to make learning engaging, authentic, and personalized. 

Yet, as much as I enjoy collaborating with such caring, innovative educators, I am most excited about the opportunity to teach a blended French 4/5 course this year. Most of the students in the class were in middle school when I last taught French, so I'm eager to reconnect with them. I worked hard this summer to create an engaging, virtual residency in Paris where students will explore the city, find apartments, work internships, go to films and museums, participate in a book club, and visit different regions of France and the francophone world: sites.google.com/site/pewaukeeparis. C'est le retour de Madame! 

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