This week’s topic is a VIDEO focusing on climate change and what we can/can’t and should/shoudn’t do to help. Another disclaimer: this subject is one that I’m only recently becoming more passionate. For most of my years, it’s one that I simply didn’t think about. I think my recent (last 3-4 years) interest in camping, hiking, and just nature in general, has sparked an interest in the topic.

Two points:

  1. Rights v Duties

I love when the man in the video talks about how all our current conversations revolve around RIGHTS. My right to freedom, etc. But where is the discussion about what DUTIES each of us have to care for one another, the environment, etc. To me, we get so consumed with “getting ours” that we leave no room for taking care of other things.

Whose footprint is most important?

Individual issues as societal problems – This video shows the importance of understaning the ways in which societal structures control big parts of society. YES, it IS important for each of us to do what we can to solve social problems (crime, poverty, environment, etc.); however, the reality is that much of the change we seek will only come from the top down. In other words, we as a society must work together to force change within the larger structures in society.


I’m sure that this week’s post will not appeal to the majority of you, but hey, it’s my blog, right? The beginning of each semester, especially week’s 2 and 3 are stressful for me. The first week of class is introductions, many students add my class late, and everyone is getting their books for classes.

Weeks 2 and 3 are when everything revs up. Full lectures, quizzes, etc. And even though I’ve successfully taught for 16 years now, I still have anxiety, especially during these weeks. This has been especially true since the pandemic took us out of the classroom. On top of that, I also wasn’t on campus last fall, as I was on sabbatical. This means that I haven’t been teaching INSIDE a real classroom in almost 3 years (I get a little heart palpitation even as I type these words).

People deal with anxiety in lots of ways. Some positive, others not so much:( Today’s ARTICLE focuses on an attorney who deals with the same types of anxiety as I often do, especially early in the semester: speaking in front of people. The article focuses on mindfulness and there are some great nuggets here so I hope you’ll give it a read (or maybe two). Our ability to “test” thoughts we may be having (I’m going to fail in my presentation today, which will mean I’m a failure”) and determine if they are in fact true is key. The other nice section is the manner in which we respond to negative thoughts, fears, etc. Our tendency is to quickly react, which creates all sorts of problems. This isn’t the way it has to be, however. The extent to which we can create space in between those thoughts (I’m going to do poorly and thus I’m a failure) and how we react to them offers the opportunity to not allow anxiety to rule the moment.

Anyway, I know that most of you reading this rarely have anxiety, but it’s always a helpful reminder for me.


Full disclosure: my wife and I do not have children. We made the decision numerous years ago that we’d just do the cat and dog, not human type.

I’ve always said the reason we decided not to have children was because we were selfish. We wanted to do what we wanted, when we wanted, etc. I’m currently 51 years old and have not regretted the decision (nor has my wife). Not yet;)


Interestingly, two individuals recently weighed in on this subject and I’d like to highlight them. The first was the Pope (see article) who claimed that couples who chose not to have children (but dogs and cats instead) “take some of our humanity away from us, and nations can suffer from this.” One of his points obviously refers to the problem that many nations are experiencing as birth rates are down, which COULD turn out to be a problem for nations.

The second is from Thelma Sutcliffe, the oldest person in the US who recently died at 115 years of age (see article). Thelma credited her long life to “the fact that she never had children, never smoked and believed strongly in never worrying about anything.” Now I think I would have liked Thelma, especially since the last thing she credited her long to was “never worrying about anything” which, in my opinion, is some GREAT advice. IF ONLY I COULD CONSISTENTLY DO IT.

Obviously having children is a person choice and one in which many undergraduate students won’t seriously consider for several more years. And look, children are great. I love spending time with my nephew and niece.


Check back here this Sunday for my first weekly post of the spring 2022 semester!

Alex and I lost Sutton yesterday. The grief we are experiencing is still raw, as the loss was unexpected and too soon. We were laying with him when he passed, which was bitter sweet. I’m so glad we were there. As I sit in my study this morning, I wanted to write down some thoughts about this chunk of our lives that, in some ways, disappeared yesterday. So I decided to write it in the form of a note to Sutton.

Dear Sutton or “Shbeing,”

We had the privilege of adopting you over 8 years ago. You were a little over 2 years old when fate brought us together. We adopted you in Lake Zurich, IL, a fairly forgettable city, except for you. At the time, we still had Champ and Finn, our two golden retrievers. Champ was up in age and having considerable physical troubles so we wanted to have a friend for Finn, as we didn’t know how much longer Champ would be with us.

I’ll always remember two things the day we adopted you. The first was how beautiful you were. Yeah, I know you never bragged about your good looks, but those who met you will back me up on this. First, you were so big. I’ll admit that I was quite intimidated when I first approached you. And your beautiful white, brown, black markings…just beautiful. The second thing I’ll never forget was how the woman who was fostering you cried when you got in our truck. I distincly remember her saying, “He’s just such a special dog.” She was sure right. You were special.

That said, your split personality took some getting used to. Yes Sutton, you had a split personality. Our first couple of months in Delavan were memorable, if not a bit worrisome. You were extremely barky (this never stopped) and were VERY territorial of ANYTHING walking within 40 yards of our property (never stopped). I remember being concerned at the thought of taking you to CO that summer, as we hoped you woudn’t act similarly in Grand Lake where there would be tons of people walking around daily. Our fears dissolved when we realized that you were a tedd bear as soon as you drove away from our home. You showed everyone love while they oohed and aahed over you. You were arguably the most popular dog in Grand Lake in the summer for years. And definitely a “Gentle Giant.”

You were such a lover. You know you’re buddy Niles, one of our cats will miss you. You and he were such buddies, although I’d say you tolerated him well sometimes when he’d annoy you. Of course Fraser, our other cat will miss you too. I must tell you that Axel, your neighbor dog friend sat by the fence last night staring toward your trolley, seemingly waiting for you to come outside. And your two girlfriend dogs next door will miss you as well. We will certainly miss seeing you out on the trolley toward the back of our house standing guard or mayby just talking with Axel and your girlfriends. Probably a bit of both.

Sutton I want you thank your for enriching our lives. I know we treated you like a king during our time together, but we were the lucky ones. I hope I never forget the following things about you: (1) The way you would nonchalantly mosey into the kitchen with those sad eyes whenever anyone took the plastic wrap off of a piece of sliced cheese; (2) Your “I want to go outside” dance (Click HERE to watch); (3) Your fear of bad weather; (4) Your dislike of the postman; and (5) Your love of people and other animals.

Thanks again for the enriching our lives!

Sunday wrapped up my 3rd week social distancing. Alex and I haven’t traveled anywhere since March 28th.

Still spending alot of time getting caught up and with working remotely. I’m not near as envious of people who work remotely now that I’m doing it. I am learning how to better divide my work and personal life though. Alex and I have been drinking coffee at David’s Speakeasy (my basement study) and Paul’s Porch Coffeehouse (our enclosed back porch). And then she, and Fraser have been meeting me at my office (David’s Speakeasy after 430 pm) at lunch as well.

Decided to use to have my groceries delivered. Was supposed to receive our first order ($132) this past Sunday, but they never came. Emailed my shopper and he sent me a picture of my groceries sitting by my front door (see below)

HOWEVER, anyone that has been to my house or knows the address and enters it into Google Maps will see that the image below is a picture of my front porch:

Soo, unfortunately I did not receive my groceries and haven’t received any contact from Instacart since. Yesterday I contacted my bank and filed a dispute so there’s that:)

Anyway, that is frustrating, but it’s nothing and I’m still grateful for many things (job, wife, technology, pets, family) and I’ll get some groceries sooner or later (not sure it will be from Instacart). Maybe the people at the other house above needed them more than us.

Just finished my 2nd week of social distancing. How did I fare? Well, within the last week, I’ve taken three 2.6-mile walks from my property and visited the grocery store once. I’ve been getting out of bed at around 7 am to eat breakfast, meditate, read a bit, and work (from home). I normally go to bed between 10:30 – 11 pm.


First, working from home is not what I thought. I’ve always imagined that working from home would be nice and easy, as one could sit in their pajamas, drink coffee all day, and work at a leisurely pace. This isn’t exactly how it’s worked for me. To begin with, I’ve found it hard to manage the boundaries of work and leisure. At first, I found myself working pretty much all day into the evening. A great deal of my job takes place on a computer so it is easy to see how the worlds of leisure and work could be blurred. By the end of this past week, I had to split locations of work and leisure. For me that meant doing work in my basement study and then transitioning to my living room for leisure. At least my surroundings for work and leisure were different. We’ll see how I fare with this arrangement in the coming weeks.

Impression #2: Fear is a real and hard emotion to regulate. I’ve never considered myself an overly obsessive type of person. Moreover, I’ve tried over the past two weeks to watch/read what I thought was a low-level of news surrounding COVID-19. But let’s face it, the Pandemic news is EVERYWHERE. And I get it on one level: we have to get the word out in order to respond in ways that will result in minimizing the horrid effect of the virus.

But the news coverage coupled with the death of a family friend (click HERE) due to COVID-19 resulted in a surprisingly strange and eery trip to the grocery store on Saturday. Alex and I had not planned to go to the grocery store till this coming Wednesday, but severe weather intervened. Sutton, our St. Pyreneese, is scared of thunder and lightening and we had run out of benadryl. So I ended up going out to the grocery store for benadryl and other things.

Now in our family, I’m the grocery shopper most of the time, so I’d “been there and done that” numerous times, but this 30-minute shopping spree suddenly took on a really weird vibe. Unbenonst to me, I became ubra-sensitve to touching just about everything. And halfway through my 30-minute spree, I was sweating nervously for some reason.

I’m probably not doing a good job of describing how weird of an experience it was so you’ll just have to trust me. TRANSLATION: So surprising how strange and distressing a normal event such as grocery shopping could be. We will see what SDWK#3 holds.

Thought it might be cathartic to document my experience of social distancing (S.D.). Maybe I’ll learn something, right?

Honestly, the fact that I’ve spent the overwhelming majority of the past week at home hasn’t really proved unique. It sorta feels like a really lousy spring break or the beginning of a semester break. However, that’s not even true because I worked my ass off this past week trying to transition to working remotely. However, thinking how this is going to be the norm for the time being HAS BEEN weird.

I’ve unfortunately been thinking too much about scarcity in regards to food and such. We’ve stocked on food items (maybe 2 or so weeks worth) and are going to only venture out to the store once per week at most (that’s the plan). Still the scarcity thing is always somewhere in the “back of my head.” Just being honest.

I’ve made it a goal to walk everyday as long as it’s not raining. And let me tell you, this is hard for me. It’s SOO much easier to simply sit and do work all day (I’ve got plenty of that) or surf the Internet. But I plan to work hard to maintain this one, as it’s really important for my health.

Another goal I have while S.D’ing is to complete tasks around our home. And wow, have I got alot of those:) LOTS of spring cleaning to do. The garage, our shack (an outbuilding on our property that has become THE #1 place to store any and everything), basement, etc. Yesterday, I worked on our back porch and my basement study. I figured my study should be a priority since I’m going to be working from there a minimum of 5 days per week.

For good or bad, smart or stupid, I’m not watching or reading news services, as doing so tends to freak me out. I normally logon to once per day. Honestly all the COVID-19 numbers (#’s contracted virus, # dead due to virus, etc.) just packs on the anxiety. But hey, if that works for you then great! I’m gonna pass.

Anyway, this is the end of my first week S.Ding. I’ll post on Sundays each week. I’m not trying to build a brand or anything; rather just writing it down for myself.

This has been a really weird and busy week. Not going to go into detail, as I think you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway last weekend I got back out to Ottawa Lake Campground. However, this time I spent two nights there. It was good weather (a bit cold) and I got some really beautiful sunset pictures.

I hiked some of the Eagle Segment of the Ice Age Trail and found it mostly dry.

I cooked some pretty simple meals over these two days. Using my 2-burner Coleman stove, I made some beef stew for dinner and eggs and sausage for breakfast. I love my coleman 2-burner stove.

I brought my same sleeping setup (Coleman cot with air matress and 10-degree Magellan Sleeping bag). I slept well and warm.

Altogether it was a nice weekend at Ottawa Lake.

Sunset at Ottawa Lake Campground

I spent another night winter camping at Ottawa Lake Campground. I arrived at the campground around noon and secured a nice site overlooking Ottawa Lake. The nice weather had brought out numerous tent and RV campers so it wasn’t near as quiet as it was in January. Got some exercise walking around the campground and then prepared my dinner. I then sat out in front of the lake and watched the sunset. It was goregous! Check out the pics below

My campsite turned out really nice and I spent a couple of hours by the fire. The termperature hovered around 32 so it wasn’t too bad with my new sleeping bag. And I stayed really comfortable with my Coleman air matress (I’m not roughing it).