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Why do people do this???

There is a car that is much closer than it appears in the mirror.

When I leave the gym in the morning I have to hit the center turn lane before I can merge into the proper lane.

It never fails if there is traffic. People see me. I have my signal on. I am trying to merge into the lane but someone always speeds up to prevent me entering.

This happens from time to time when I travel between buildings.

Why are people so concerned with someone properly merging?

It is like they are trying to win a prize or something.

This annoys me.

If you are a merge preventing person can you tell me why?

One other traffic issue… when did people stop yielding to fire and ambulances?

Buying a book twice on purpose.

These are both my books. One I have read and the other just arrived from Amazon.

I don’t mean ordering a book you forgot you had but ordering a new copy on purpose, like to read.

Seems nutty and something I just don’t tell my wife. She would think this is nuts and I am wasting money.

The book I had read before has all my notes and nightlights in it.

I bought a new copy so I wouldn’t be influenced by my old thinking, I could approach this reread with a fresh set of eyes and ideas.

Once I finish then I can compare notes.

Seems very logical to me.

I feel I might tap into some new discoveries this way.

The Power of the Pop

I have this thing with cake. Not angel food or cake with whipped icing. Not grocery store or boxed cake. While they might do in a pinch, they do not really fall into the category of cake. I secretly judge the longevity of a marriage based on the cake served at the reception.

There are many things about me, but this might be the most known Colin fact around.

For my birthday I usually have 2-3 cakes.

I remember many cakes of my life. Once on ship we had a cake for Cinco de Mayo. There was also a cake served if it was your birthday month. These cakes took place back in 1994. I have a memory for cake.

Life needs to be celebrated to the fullest. Cakes make that happen.

Today one of our instructional coaches, Kelly, stopped by the office and brought me this amazing cake pop.

It made the whole entire day better.

I was able to wait about two hours before eating this delicious thing.

What makes a cake pop so good? It is like the took a whole chunk of cake and squeezed it down into a little pop.

How did this happen?

Tonight the district was hosting a webinar to discuss the upcoming secondary virtual options for the the 21-22 school year. I was interesting in hearing the new options so I decided to join as a webinar participant.

I was not invited to speak. I was not sent a link to be a panelist. I am not involved in this stage of planning at all. I was just going to listen as a panelist.

I had logged out of all accounts because my son had been using the home computer.

Somehow it put me in as a panelist. And the mic was on. And I yelled.

Really it was just yelling for my daughter who was upstairs so it wasn’t anything terrible but it was loud!

I am usually the one who is setting up all thing tech. I am the one who is on the cutting edge of this but somehow I stumbled into this meeting as a panelist.

It was slightly embarrassing.

A text message.

This showed up today.

I am only 1/2 way through the cycle yet I am already beyond capacity.

A great representation of how this year has been going. We are working to our capacity yet we need to give more. Out of bandwidth but only 1/2 way through the week.

I have no idea how I used this much so fast.

It is kinda like being exhausted on a Wednesday but no idea why.

Looking forward to spring break yet hoping it isn’t like last year when we shut down.

A Three Hour Tour

For the holidays we like to give the kids experiences. Today we used my daughter’s gift, a three hour food tour. It was freezing so I didn’t take too many pictures. Here are a few things we learned along the way.

The building on the right was the first bank in the area, everyone called it The Bank. One of the main reasons for the bank was to house the valuables of the clay mine workers. Most came from Italy and they needed a place to keep valuable items they brought from home. Many lived in rooming houses which left no private or secure areas.

The bank is now a coffee shop but they kept many of the 100 year old items. The terrazzo floor pretty much looks the same as it did when they installed it, I kinda think I want that in my next hour.

One of the best parts was the bank vault, still intact with all the small safe deposit boxes locked tight. I’m pretty sure they are all empty, now it houses a few chairs for the quiet coffee drinker.

The building on the right has a super interesting story. When they first opened they needed something to stand out and bring in customers as the story was like many in the area. What he did was start to give away a bottle of bleach with every grocery purchase. In those days men mostly wore white button up shirts and the napkins people in the area used were white. Both of these require bleach.

The man bought industrial bleach and diluted it in his bathtub. Cheap for him and it built his business. Facinating!

Shotgun houses. Our guide told us some of these were built with timbers from the St. Louis 1904 Fair. Once the event was over someone was knocking down all the structures and burning the wood. A bunch of the clay miners saved the wood and used it to build these homes. Many didn’t have hallways and closets to reduce the tax. Interesting how what we tax changes over the years, always pivoting to tax us as much as they can.

If you zoom in to the house you can see some odd colors on the second story. It is chalk, plaster and concrete. The neighborhood used to be filled with these colors but now just two remain. It is said the owners did years ago as most houses were just plain brick, it was a way to make everything stand out.

This is so against code now but years ago people would buy a lot and build two homes on it. Rent own to help pay off the other. The second home was usually much smaller and pushed way to the back of the lot.

The building on the left has some very interesting brick you can see around the neighborhood. I saw brown, green and white examples. I’m not sure what it was called but it had a very shiny glaze on it. Fragile which has resulted in most of it is now gone.

A better shot of the green.

We ended back at the old bank. The white package is ten pounds of pasta. Pretty excited to try it out.

While it was freezing we had a great time. One thing stands out to me while this was a food tour I mostly took pictures of the buildings! Not sure why but that was facinating to me.

One other thing stood out, the number of people out has dramatically dropped this week. I worry some of these places we went today might not survive until the down turn in business.

Our plan is to buy a few gift cards to the small places we like to go. While it might not make a huge difference it is better than doing nothing.

Out of gas.

I think we are all in the same car at this point and we are out of gas.

Yesterday the conversations were fast and intense. A lot of speculation.

Today it was intense.

Then the president spoke, national emergency.

The governor spoke, state of emergency.

We are not closing schools at this time. The governor said he would not close. While that is a relief it does nothing to reduce the exhaustive tension.

I drove from building to building today with the gas light on. I knew I should fill up but there wasn’t time.

Went to lunch spot, which as oddly empty, and didn’t fill up.

Drove home and finally stopped to fill up.

As I pumped I wondered how many of us are running just like that, pushing until it is nearly too late.

We don’t stop to care for ourselves as we are constantly taking care of others.

I fear soon we will close and then a number of us, if we are not careful, will be working and on call 24/7. I feel it is the unspoken expectation.

Do I dare to take email off my phone? Do I dare set do not disturb up so I do not even get notifications from the emails, texts, and various messages from constantly buzzing and dinging?

They say to practice self care but I am not sure how at this point.

While I dream of doing just that, I know I won’t.

Now only half.

I am shocked at how such intense things fade over time. While you are knee deep in it, there is nothing else you can think of. You can’t see beyond the end of the day or even into the next minute, intensely in the now. Even the years following things are fresh, like it just happened yesterday.

Fading memories and a few trinkets are now all that is left. Sometimes they flash hot like the sun after a summer movie. Some days it is like something just out of grasp like that word you search for but never find. Memories are tricky.

For some reason we were put in the same four man room but it was just the two of us. That was exceptionally rare, two boots in their own room.

I think in the first weekend I heard more country music in those hours than I had in the previous eighteen years. It drove me nuts. Chasing neon rainbows to friends in low places. It wasn’t until Japan that I would yell across the barracks with requests. Mostly Cowboy Bill, we would sing from our bunks. I would trade anything for one more verse.

I also never knew anyone who chewed. There were no less than two one liter bottles of capped spit within your reach at all times. Your lip was always puffed out.

You had this love Andrew Dice Clay. I think he must have told me he would call me in an hour back, get it? Over and over. I didn’t get it. I kinda still don’t but you cracked yourself up.

Then there were a number of concussions with Cpt. French was attempting to teach us boxing and martial arts. That only turned into barracks fights between us. I’m pretty sure you are the reason I wear glasses today, you nearly tore my eyes out every chance you got. I also learned it only takes 7 or 8 pounds of pressure to remove a human ear.

I remember you bitching about 1st Sgt Hill, you and some others had to drag old squad tent to the top and back down again. This hill was about half a mile away and steep. It was so steep you had to crawl up on all fours, so steep you feared going down. Everyone was supposed to crest the hill and descend as fast as possible. Once everyone completed the task leave would begin. Crow and I were somewhere else when it started but your rat bastard ass dimed us out. Little did you know we never really climbed it, we just ran a bit and jumped into the brush. Nothing better than skating.

I remember how you would describe home, I always thought Mason was the center of everything. I know it was the center of everything you were.

It is funny how close you become to someone so quickly and how quickly that changes once you leave. The memories fade a bit like an old picture. You can still make it out but you need to concentrate as the years slip by.

These are some memories that have suddenly been reduced to half, the other half is gone. My half is slowly fading.

Mic I have regrets. I should have traveled to see you after your first stroke. And your second. I should have sat with you during dialysis. I can’t forgive myself for not doing it.

Until we meet on the other side.

A tiny bit of my secret.

AEIOU! You have to learn these! You will never be able to do anything in life you don’t learn these!

I can remember this Nun screaming at me day after day. Some days she would slam her palm on the table to accent each letter.

It never made sense to me.

The following year there was writing incentives that had me super excited. All I needed to do was write a very simple story and I would earn a book! While I couldn’t read it was still something I desperately wanted.

Like all good things, there was a catch.

The story had to be perfect. Capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. It took me years to spell my own name, there was no way I was ever going to earn a book.

I tried. Story was rejected over and over.

She told me to look up how to spell the words in the dictionary, like the other kids, but some of the words I didn’t even know how they started. I would sometimes just start looking at random pages hoping it would jump out which it never did.

I remember friends digging through the book box and complaining that they already had all the titles while I dreamed of just one.

I did get a book but it was never earned. I took it but felt ashamed, it was a pity book. It stings even today. It was that book with the little girl, the bear and some berries.

This pattern continued for years.

One day I decided enough was enough and I left never looking back.

My biggest regret was not sharing this story with my own class of second graders years ago. I wish I could go back and tell them these stories and so many more.

I was ashamed. I know that some will, and might do, see me as a lesser person because of it. That used to bug me but not anymore.

This quote made me think of something, don’t hide your struggles. There are so many that could benefit.