Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Wishes


Many moons ago I remember asking my Mother what she wanted for Christmas. I received an answer I didn't quite expect.

"What I'd like" she said, " is to sit around a table with all those folks who are no longer with me. I miss their voices, their quirks. I miss the way they laughed. All that time I spent going through the motions, the food, the wrapping, the gifts and how it all seemed stressful seems so foolish now. Too often, I guess I found myself wishing I could just get through the Holidays. I wish now that I spent more time talking to them about how they felt about Christmas, what their memories were, what did this day mean to them. I'd love to hear them tell some of the old stories again. I often wonder how many of those stories I never heard at all. I guess I wished I'd spent more time talking to them about who they were and what they felt when I had the chance. Sitting around the dinner table with all those folks again, that's what I want for Christmas."

Happy Holidays, AP

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Exploring effort and self motivation



Here are a few quotes from a post by Seth Godin called Self Directed Effort is the Best Kind that speaks volumes about the trials of education.

"There's an entire system organized around the idea that we're too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you're selling yourself short. If you're only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you've given over the most important thing you have to someone else."

and...

"The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it's not an immediate part of your job... how many push ups do you do, just because you can?"

What makes you tick?

What's holding you back?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Education Revisited: Homework

We've started our exploration Tech Research called Education Revisited. We challenge the perception of school, learning, teacher and student roles, and best of all we ask each student to redesign education.


Surprisingly... the results are similar year-to-year when students redesign education.


Here's one... Students want to 'do' homework differently. Here are a few that come up:
  • Many would like to see homework done in class, where there's more time to work on things, especially together. We discuss the 'flipped classroom'... where lectures go home and collaborative problem solving work is done in class.
  • No homework over breaks. Here's a good video on this one:


  • Some sort of guidelines for planning. Most often what frustrates students the most is the inability to plan day-to-day as to how much homework they'll have.
  • Homework load effects that classes they take. For students who are exceptionally busy after school, looking through the course descriptions and talking to peers about potential homework loads on classes is common practice.
Education is changing. Are we changing with it, actively trying out new systems and ideas... or are we simply saying 'it's always been this way' and / or going on 'business as usual'?


Good questions, indeed.


Engage...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sleep

The Force is with us. We were just discussing this in class ; )

Thoughts?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Social Media Puzzle... it moves fast


In the Social Networking we've taken on a difficult issue in Assignment 20.

Social media has threaded itself into our society. For many, it's amplified struggles with long standing battles: our penchant to entertain ourselves, struggles in how we communicate, relevancy, learning, connecting, peer pressure, social cliques, harassment, stalking... you name it. People get scared, and in many cases, justly so.

With all those issues per se, Social Media has also opened up incredible opportunities in our world to make connections and to learn.

Each student in the class has been asked to dig deep and explore the feelings of the older generation, an adult on campus and also one (or both) of their parents and / or guardians on this issue. 

These tools didn't exist 10 years ago... but every generation has had it's issues, it's distractions with gadgets, and struggled with the social issues around them. Here are a few to refresh the memory!


Just ask someone who's over the age of 30 now what their parents thought of them 'spending so much time on that ridiculous telephone,' or how they 'could spend so much time watching television!'

We were receivers back then primarily... we watched and listened for the most part. Now it's about creating, publishing and group conversations. With the advancement of technology though, computers, the internet, mobile technology, the transition from what we term web 1.0 to web 2.0 (and 3.0 on the horizon)... all those old traditional conversations are accelerated, they get magnified. If things are accelerating, than so must our resolve to teach communication and collaboration skills students need.

What does that mean for our future? Gaining some perspective of the past, present and future... we're hoping... will help ; )

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Music and movies playing in a classroom?

Once we have our opening discussions in class, we play music or a movie in the background.


Here's how.


The class often chooses, or I do, music or movies. Most often we choose to play music in the background while we do group project work. We choose movies during individual project work.


Here's why.


I've always thought it's relaxing for many students. It's a degree of civility in a classroom... treating it less like school and more like a home environment, a learning environment. We started down this path seven years ago now and never looked back. After all, we don't often go home to do work and sit in uncomfortable furniture, under bright fluorescent lights, deprive ourselves of all food and water, have no complimentary music or the like, and then expect we'll do our best... do we? We seem to do this in school though, and all too often I think. I've always felt, if we put some effort into making school look, well, less like 'school,' less like an industrialized environment it'd be more civil... more inspirational. 


Most often folks don't understand why we serve up movies on the classroom. First off, I ask people to focus on their work, and not on the movie. The movies, with low volume, play in the background. We'll spike the volume when we take a break for some great scenes... the Balrog on the bridge... that sort of stuff. Of course, much like a window, there are times you look up when something great is happening, or you just need a break. Bit like real life ; )


Further, we pick movies we can learn from, ones that inspire people. Creative stuff. The ones that bring dreams to life and have great messages. Inspiration... is a good thing.


Third, it threads nicely into discussions and practices on learning to work in a different environment and to manage distractions. Many folks are used to listening to music when they work. Often times this is heavily frowned upon in school. Never really had anyone give me a good reason why. I've often said 'admitting you're easily distracted is the first step to recovery.' Do you need to reposition yourself in the room? Adjust the volume? I think it's safe to say that anyone who's worked out of the school environment has had to learn to deal with distractions and figure out how they work their best.


Fourth, Almost all of the movies we choose carry great appendices... great documentary footage about how they are made. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as an example, in the Extended Editions, carry heaps of material about crafting, problem solving, hard work, creativity, and fun. Far better to play it than just discuss it. It's too cumbersome in length to play and just watch... so, we play it while we work, stopping here and there when something great comes up.


We thread in clips too that we find about films, like this one, a look inside the new shooting of The Hobbit in 3D. New material that comes out revealing creativity, problem solving, skill development, and dedication... craft.





For some, it is distracting out of the gate, no doubt. Many have never experienced a classroom environment like we have here. I'm guessing many though will never experience a work environment like they have in a traditional school model. That statement... could lead to a lot of writing ; )


This speech by Rogier van der Heide, speaks volumes to why it makes sense to change the concept of the classroom, from the colors used, to the lighting.






I'd encourage you, if you've never done it to give it a try. Turn down some bright fluorescent lights, create an environment, and coax folks to learn from the experience. Never know what might turn up. It's worked great here.


What's next? Our work here continues to challenge the concepts of a 'master schedule' and the potential of internships. Many other schools, of course, have headed dow such paths already. Again... discussions for another post.


#edchat
cross posted at: creativeStir.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

eDesign Creativity


Here's a glimpse at some of the great project work cooking in eDesign this semester. Check out some of the individual blogs listed below to see more.




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SocialNet Guest Speaker Series: Mr. Pete Nicholson - The English Teacher Tale

Our second guest speaker, Mr. Pete, 'Mr. Nic,' Nicholson.


Topic: The transition from high school to today.


Here are our cliff notes from the day.


__


Communications major 'by default.' Unsure of what he wanted to do.


Internship on 10 o’clock News in Philly. Found the career to be cynical. Looking for tragedy all the time.

Interviewed for sales postion. Door-to-door type thing. Couldn't really see himself doing it. He didn't want to be the most annoying man in the world. 


Sister got him a gig at Nickelodeon in the copy room.
Worked up to being a production Assistant: “first real job.”
MTV show ‘Unlimited.'
‘Show went too high brow to be successful. Should have been more trashy.’
Overall, the PD job was a 3-yr gig.
Constantly praised for work ethic... and made him wonder just how bad other employees were who had his job previously.
Had a philosophy... get there before your boss and leave after.

One day he had his existential moment where he asked himself, "is this it?" Decided that the current career path he was on wasn't working for him. So he saved up his money and decided to buy a used car and he followed Horace Greeley's advice and he went West. Started hoarding money. Packed up shop.

Traveled 8 months alone from Missoula, down the West coast, through New Mexico, and all the way back to his brother in Vermont.

Read ‘The Alchemist.' Book had a large impact on his thinking.
Started asking himself ‘what am I going to do when I get back?’
Started daydreaming of teaching.

Took some classes in Albany to get English credits and then moved to Bristol and went to UVM to get his Masters in English.  

He and his then girlfriend, now wife, decided to move back to Manchester and it was after he moved back, he then interviewed for the teaching position at BBA which he obviously got and the rest, as they say, is history.


As career went on... stopped thinking about perfection and more process.
Life is not without battles. Self doubt and the like.

SocialNet Guest Speaker Series: Financial Do's Dont's and How. With Mrs. Lisa Souls




Many thanks to our first guest speaker in the Social Net class, Mrs. Lisa Souls.





Topic: Financial Do's and Don'ts. How to get started.

Here are our cliff notes from the day.
___


What should you look for when your borrowing money?
  • Interest rates and the cost of funds.
  • Looking at interest rates, you need to look at late fees and the interest rates.
  • Everything you spend money on goes to a credit report over time and it will follow you for seven to ten years.
  • The biggest form of debt is due to credit cards.
Unsecured: Buying a t-shirt on credit, the bank won’t take it back
Secured: Mostly real estate, if you don’t pay, they will take it.

Credit

There are three major credit card bureaus. 300-850 worst to best credit.
You get three free credit reports a year.
Make sure, even if it seems like you're too young, get a credit report. myannualcreditreport.com is a free credit report.


Make sure you can pay off your monthly bill. The interest is sky high so don't use a credit card as a loan.
Get a credit card and pay it off each month. Don't spend what you can't afford. Credit cards themselves aren't bad... how we use them can be. Don't treat it as a loan. The interest is far too high. Don't feel 'entitled' to money you don't have.
Small purchases equal small payments and will help you to establish a credit rating.


Find a credit card that offers benefits that have value to you: money off at the pump, travel benefits, etc. They change all the time. keep up on it. There's no magic formula.

Federal vs. Private loans:
FHA (federal housing administration) is a conventional loan which guarantees the money. Since you don't have the money to put down on the loan they will put down more but they charge more as well. It is not the best program but it helps some people.

Investing

“Save money for a rainy day.” Set a budget. Save at least 10% or 5% if you can out of your income every check. Too many people who could save money don't. Most of them in that scenario end up paying for it later. Life throws obstacles at you.

401k. Take a certain percentage of your salary out of your check directly, tax free, and employers will match it. Usually ranges from 3% on through 5%. This is only applicable if you work for a certain company. If you don't contribute, they wont pay. If they offer it, take it. It's free money!


* Summarized by the class in collaborative editing and published by students.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP, Steve. We'll miss you here.

A few minutes ago I saw the announcement that Steve Jobs had passed away. 

I stopped my work and headed to the Apple web site and found this.







Apple's tribute on their web site...

Simple, elegant, to the point, and it didn't take very long.

Just the way Steve would have liked it.


RIP, Steve. We'll miss you here.

#ripstevejobs
#stevejobs

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Refitting our Social Networking Course Description



We had a discussion if the Social Networking course description was as good as it could be.


So... we had at trying a refit.


Here's the old one:


What role does technology and social media play in your life? Is it a source of entertainment and grounded to more typical school functions like reading, research, and writing? If so, there's a good deal more it can do. How can you leverage these tools to build an extensive learning network? How can you learn to deal with information overload? How can social media be leveraged into, well, more? Here are some other questions designed by your peers who created this course: What practical knowledge and tools will help you in the future to understand the world of finance, budgets, credit cards, online investing, amortization rates, taxes, individual retirement accounts, and mortgages? What resources will help you manage stress, and understand the role of nutrition in this modern world? We'll explore the questions from the class by leveraging social media... for you. We'll also use these tools and skills to connect with guest speakers. These speakers will discuss their areas of expertise and also how they made the transition from high school into the responsibilities of adult life. We'll use social networking skills to collaborate in and out of class and help you learn about how to head into your future. This class will consist of collaborative work, group discussions, explorations and projects designed by the class.


Here's the new one:


Ever get worried about life after high school? Need advice on finances? Credit cards? Bills? Online banking? Health? College? How to deal with roommates? How about nutrition? Cooking? Cars? Aging? Retirement? What practical knowledge do you need to help you into the future? We'll frame up questions as a class, and we'll find answers. We'll invite guest speakers in to share their expertise with the class on themes we design and also to discuss their personal transition from high school and into life. Along the way, we'll explore and uncover a deeper layer of using social media. We'll help you sculpt your thoughts on how you appear online, what you should know about these tools, and help you learn to leverage them to help you in the future. You'll learn more about how to learn, and how to communicate in this hyper-fast world. You'll gain deeper technology and social media skill, and gain a wealth of practical knowledge for your future. It's a course designed by your peers and explores your new questions each semester.


Thoughts? 


Anything we should add or change? Even better, design one of your own and tell us about it. Add your comments below. Your thoughts are very much appreciated!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Evolving... Blog name and 'SocialNet' course name

Image from: CafePress:
http://www.cafepress.com/+uss_enterprise_history_tile_coaster,472671744

I did some tuning today here on this site to refit the side menus... make things easier to find... especially for folks visiting the first time. I also posted our new Assignment Assessment forms, and a few other minor things.

The lab here has evolved... and keeps doing so.

Originally, this web site just housed the Tech Research class. The we moved in Hardware and Networking class (now taught by Mr Morrison), eDesign, and the new Social Networking course.

With these new course additions, the title of the blog (bbaTechResearch) may not, well, fit any longer.

Should we keep all the courses combined here? Is there a better title to house them all, something that encapsulates what we do?

Should the Social Networking course move onto its own blog?

As for the Social Networking Course... is this the right name for the course? Is there a better title? Something more descriptive?

We'll see where the discussions head.

Your thoughts on these matters are appreciated (add a comment!).

Keep moving forward...

AP

Class Discussion: First speaker

The Social Networking class has chosen 'Finance' as our first topic. We've framed up the following ideas for our questions and will send out an invitation to a guest speaker today! We're hoping to bring the guest speaker in next week.

Finance:

What should you look for when you borrow money?

Setting a budget: Especially in college:

Credit cards: How do they work?
Interest?
How does monthly billing work? Is interest charged monthly on unpaid balances?
What are some 'credit card traps' to watch out for?

Mortgages? How do they work?
Interest rates?
Paying on principal?

Car loans?

Online banking?

Safe investing?
CDs, Roth IRAs, Interest on accounts. What's the best option?

Saving money 'for a rainy day.' Problems with spending to your budget limit.

How did you get to where you are?
Did you want to do this when you were in high school?
Job path?
College experience? How did you manage this path?

What do you see as the future of your job?

What was your personal journey from high school into college, the workplace, to where you are now?

Other questions we should ask? Perhaps ones we should leave out for another time?

Thoughts?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Secrets to Success... To boldly go...

We tossed this quick speech up by Richard St. John Thomas on the secrets to success and had a quick discussion. Quick speech... good message. Simple.



The discussion and challenge we discussed with students...

Make something of this school year.

Don't go through this year feeling like school is something that's done to you.

Be an active participant.

Challenge yourself to learn.

You... hold the keys.

If you don't like your opportunities... seek out new directions, new programs, new initiatives to change things for the better.

Explore your curiosities. 

It'll take: persistence.

It'll take courage... to admit what you don't know.

Embracing the challenge will help you build skill... and strength.

If you can do that... who knows where it might lead.

'To boldly go...' requires a sense of adventure.

Engage...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodnight Irene



Well, where to begin...


Here I sit on Labor Day, just over a week after Hurricane Irene and it's tropical storm alter ego washed through Southern Vermont.


It's been an exhausting week-long roller coaster. My endurance was tested through it. It's been awhile since I've felt 'that' kind of exhaustion.


If you've been on the web or out and about you've seen the devastation from the storm and I won't recap it too much here. The pictures and music tributes popping up are like a wave themselves: Roads, bridges, homes, and in many cases livelihoods washed away.


Back last Sunday, we knew the storm would land but certainly didn't expect this amount of damage.


Up until then I'd never experienced a flash flood.


I walked outside around 1020am. There were just puddles in the road and it was raining... hard.


Roughly 10 minutes later I heard a car drive by and sloshing some serious water. I looked outside and grabbed a camera... here's what I found as I looked down the road North:




I walked inside to look across the other side of the house, then out front again... 10 minutes tops. I walked out in the road in some sandals to see how deep it was... and could feel the water rising up my legs as I stood there filming.


Just then a truck drove up and a water logged fellow leaned out and and said the brook had run over and the flooding will get a lot worse... and we'd  better get out. Here's the video of these two gents driving up:


video




I walked inside and told Janice and the kids, calmly so... it was time to evacuate. It's a surreal thing to say really to your family... You go into a bit of an overdrive mode, a facilitator who keeps folks from panicking. The next 10 minutes ran the gambit of emotions, especially for the munchkins.


What would you take, what would you do if you were told to evacuate your home in just a few minutes?


Almost exactly 10 minutes later we had the car loaded, two dogs, a few bags of clothes and were ready to drive out. I asked Janice to open the garage door and I ran inside quickly to make sure things were locked up. As I rounded the corner into the living room someone was pounding on the door.


I opened the door and found a member Fire Department... he told me in short order that they were evacuating homes. If we wanted to go they'd take us now... and that they may not be able to get us later.


I explained to this fellow that we had the car packed and were ready to go... and he told me the water was too high. "You'll flood the car and never get out. The end of the road is already washed out in your neighborhood." When I looked over his shoulder to one fellow standing in the road, the water was almost two feet high on his legs.


In roughly 10 minutes the water had gone from 2-3 inches to over two feet... and was moving fast.


37 minutes... and counting...


They asked how many folks we had, if the dogs were friendly... and they helped us carry two kids, two dogs, a small bag of dog food and we piled into the fire truck. We picked up two more neighbors on the way out and just a few minutes later were off onto Richville Road... which was now completely submerged in five inches of water.






Skipping a few details here about crossing a bridge you could no longer see... we were off to Town Hall... the emergency shelter.


There were some great folks at the shelter, taking out what they had, helping folks be comfortable. Water and some snacks started to arrive. I was working with the kids, we played a game... I flitted about on the web answering texts from friends asking how were doing.


About two hours later we were picked up by some friends with an invite to stay over. Reports came in that power, water and sewer had been shutoff to our neighborhood. On the way to their house... I felt it felt a bit like some sort of Disney ride... rivers pounding bridges, washing out house foundations... trees tumbling down peoples lawns in floods of water. Trees rifling down Benson's Hole, a gorge of sorts, hitting a small ravine that now resembled a ariel ski jump and then bursting into pieces.






I watched a large lawn tractor mixed in with trees and a full size propane tank roll down someones lawn in the flood and on down the river.


In the back of my mind... I was wondering how our neighborhood and how our house was doing.


It was a long night.


37 minutes... puddles to evacuation... what could I have done differently... what would be destroyed... what would be left...


My mind went over the pictures we might lose, my children's drawings the generations of family christmas things... my guitar, music equipment, music charts, comic books, baseball cards, books and toys. The equipment in the house... the furnace... the water heater... the pellet stove...


... reams of old handwritten notes from baseball, from classes, from clinics...


Then you here stories of houses washing away. Bridges being torn away. Towns becoming isolated islands, impassible to any road in or out.


It was a long night.


By the next morning, now Monday, the water had receeded. I skimmed an email that our opening in-service had been canceled... no doubt a good thing. We waited for the roads and bridges going to our development to be declared open and then worked out way in. Most of the road into the development had washed out. Boulders... narrow lanes to and fro... and we worked our way over to the house.


It looked like the water line had gotten up about a foot away from the house.


And I thought about how lucky we might be.


We entered... the first floor was dry. Intact. No damage.


We went inside and checked the basement, and found this... a picture I took after I started to move things around a bit.




It's a odd feeling... a flood, seeing your belongings floating around. I sloshed over to the bulkhead, grabbed some tools and... started to walk around in the water... scanning.


As I stood there... my oldest baseball glove floated by.


It's just stuff. And everyone was safe.


"I was sentimental when I was old."


I pulled my guitar case out of the water... and watched the water drain from the case. I opened it... and poured the water from the sound hole. Ruined. I picked up the stereo, the Wii, Wii Fit. A strange effort to... maybe salvage some items... some water logged electronics. Somewhere along the way I put a tape measure in the water. The mechanical room, the finished basement and all contents were under 8 inches of water.


By the time I stuck the first sump pump in 1.5 hours later (a neighbor brought down a generator) the water had risen to 14".


We pumped for 4 hours with one, 1" pump and the water went from 14"... down to... 14".


Then the cavalry arrived and I put three pumps in. Over the next 8 hours we pumped from 14" down to 2". We called it quits around 11pm. I had to eat, take a shower... and get ready for the first day of in-service...


I didn't sleep that night.


I spent most of the time wondering how much more damage there was, what we'd return too the next morning. Before I knew it, as I walked around our guests neighborhood...


I thought of an old Tom Waits line in a song... "the dawn cracked hard like a bullwhip..." and it did.


On the way I to school I stopped by the house to see if we'd gained water... and was very happy to see we didn't. My thoughts were on all the work to do... and the thought of heading out that morning to our school in-service that Tuesday morning was a bit, for lack of a better term, like wading through fog. I hadn't slept in 48 hours and was by no means thinking about working meetings, opening speeches or the like. After some short meetings at school I headed back to assess the damage in more detail.


The list of casualties was long: Furnace, water heater, pellett stove, stereo, speakers... pictures... artwork... my guitar... decades of comic books and graphic novels, baseball cards...


It's a long list.


After I started vacuuming out the water and lugging some stuff out...


... the cavalry arrived.


The BBA Girls Soccer Team and some others helped carry things out of the basement. Their efforts saved me countless hours of exhausting work... emptying out a storage room... marching things to the garage, the lawn to dry or straight to the dumpster. Rob Hunter, Nancy Strain, a new teacher at BBA... about 22 folks in all. Full to empty and ready to muck in just over three hours.


Rob Hunter, Anthony Boucher and I... moving two water logged couches...


The surreal part for me came that evening. Janice, Doug Rawson and I  pulled apart reams of water logged pictures and laid them all over the first floor of the house... every surface... over 30 years worth of memories... some dating back over 60-70 years.






It's a surreal feeling... pumping out your basement, looking at decades of pictures all laid out, sorting through water logged things, wondering what the financial impact just might add up to...


After another 16 hour day, we called it and went for some sleep.


On Wednesday... the first day of classes for Freshman and my Junior Advisory... I skipped out. I needed to get a bunch of appointments in motion to get things running again... and then get on to mucking. The water had already soaked up the insulation and sheetrock nearly a foot over the last 24 hours. I got a quick text from my friend Chris that am. He said he'd be over the following day to help out. I sent a text back saying I'd dive in, do what I could today. 20 minutes later he walked in... appointments canceled, ready to dive in. 10 minutes after Chris arrived Todd Ameden dove in too with tools in tow.


We worked for 10 hours to muck out the basement. Here's a bit of it:



The effort those two gents put in for our family that day is something I won't soon forget.


After they left, I continued sorting through boxes, tossing water logged... stuff.


The pictures were saved for the most part. A good thing, no doubt.


I ran out of gas that night... after staying up over 72 hours and exerting that much energy left me pretty taxed. I checked the basement fans and dehumidifiers and had something to eat. When I came out... some neighbors had showed up. They moved all the remaining stuff out of the basement and into the garage and helped us clean up a bit. For the 12 people that helped out... it was about 1/2 hour of work. For Janice and I... it would have been another long marathon of work well into the wee hours of the morning.


I remember going to sleep that night... barely.


In the days that followed, things were drying out. The dehumidifiers were drawing out over 20 gallons of water every six hours.


The house was at a standstill... rather than a rapid decay.




Friday night, Janice and I helped a neighbor muck out. Saturday, another 14 hours of tinkering for another few neighbors. 

When a person at school asked why I was out helping other neighbors dig out most of the day Friday and Saturday... I simply said "I couldn't sit at home. So many folks had helped us out over these few days... after a bit of sleep. I felt the need to do the same."

I've told many people since this started... if you're going to go out and exercise... go help somebody instead.



With the threat of more rain on last night, Sunday night... I checked the basement every two hours... pumps ready if needed.

Not a trace of water came in.

Four dehumidifiers continue to parse the air... down to about 12 gallons total every six hours.




Today, this Labor Day... I shored up a good slew of work lost from this crazy week... and tonight... at long last, I feel ready to get some sleep.


For all the great folks that helped us out... those who came and worked and hauled, those who checked in offering help, those who brought us a generator and pumps, the great folks who brought us food... the folks who helped us get our power and hot water restored...


To the BBATA...


To BBA itself and the incredible group of students who dedicated their time to help us and the other folks in our neighborhood...


You all helped peel off layers of exhaustion and stress for this family and so many other folks here in the community.






My friend Dan French sent a note out yesterday... about gearing up the neighborhood for an Oktoberfest of sorts...


I'm in...


... and I'll be sending out a lot of invitations.


It's raining hard at the moment again... and I'm finding my thoughts wander back... an urge to check the basement, my mind flits over the location of the pumps like fingers flitting over some controls... and that we caught the mold before it took flight.


Everyone's safe.


The basement is drying out.


Things are moving forward.


Goodnight Irene.