Saturday, February 24, 2007

Real Time Adventure

I love this weather!! I just got done with a post talking about the last snowfall. Well, this still counts, I guess. Weather forecasters have been telling us for days that this weekend will be a mess. I ran out for a couple things, and stores were busy today b/c people were "stocking up" for the weekend so they don't have to go out. I went to Blockbuster, and so did half of Madison.

It's kind of fun when so many people clearly all in the same situation. Katie and I came home from the gym today and the plow had created this 2-foot road block in front of our driveway.

So I backed up across the street, took a running start at it and plowed through. Yeah, it would've been better if you were there. So thinking of such a dilemma, I had Katie take a picture of the Outback taking on the small snowbank. Yes, I realize it was small, but would you do this with your car?

The approach.

And we have contact.

So this is a Real Time post, here on the Game Plan, because Katie and I are hunckered down for the night. We had our homemade pizza and just got done watching a documentary - Mad Hot Ballroom. Great film!!

Now we're about to watch Ronin - DeNiro on a Saturday night is always a good thing.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Katie Turns 28

On Tuesday, we took the day off work to celebrate Katie's 28th birthday. She decided to go to Milwaukee's Art Museum. As you probably know, Katie is a wonderful artist and loves art history, also. As we were walking through the museum, she would comment how certain pieces were done before other ones - just by their style. Needless to say, I was learning a lot that day.

Art is so interesting, especially when you're observing it with someone who knows what they're talking about. And when you read about the artist, the time period, and the culture associated with a certain piece, we begin to see the world through the eyes of very talented artists.

This is a progression of Katie's 3 Pears:

One Last Snowfall

I realize I'm in the minority on this one. But I can't get enough of the snow. I hold on to winter as long as I can. Just tonight, Katie and I were coming back from Tex's Taco Tub (it tastes better than it sounds). As we were driving, the snow was really starting to fall. I just LOVE my Outback in weather like this.

So when we got home, I opened the front door to look at how everything was becoming covered with this white blanket of snow. Have you ever looked outside late at night during a good snowfall? Everything is quiet. Cars don't speed by - they seem to creep down the street, packing the snow all the way down the road. It's quiet, so the world seems a little bit smaller, cozy.

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really love my Wisconsin Winter.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What's Happening in the Schools

In my search for a teaching job, I’ve been subbing in the Verona Area School District. I just got finished with a long-term sub position in elementary P.E. and realized how much I missed being in the schools. It’s been a very frustrating endeavor applying to schools and hearing how many other candidates put their resumes in for the same position. Lately I’ve been thinking about “outside the box” ideas for teaching. I’ve had a home school opportunity come my way, and the idea of running my own business and having it be in the field of education is very appealing to me. I’ve also looked into an outdoor education program, and really like the possibility of doing something like that.

To be honest, it’s really hard to trust God for this when I haven’t really seen anything work out yet. The long-term sub thing was great, and maybe that was my “re-entry” into the field. I just don’t know where to go – is it time to leave Madison and maybe even Wisconsin? I know (many) other 20-somethings are struggling with the same issues and situations, but it doesn’t give me much comfort.

What I do know is that I love teaching and I love physical activity. I also know God cares about me and my family a great deal, and I must continually put this before Him and be a good steward of my time and resources.

In my subbing days, I’ve been all over. One of the coolest things I’ve seen was at Glacier Edge Elementary. It’s a new school in Verona, so they have all the newest technology. The have a mobile computer lab for the whole school to use. It’s a cart that is equipped with a printer on the top. When you open the side panel, this is what you see:

This is 22 Apple MacBooks. They all plug into the cart to recharge before they travel to the next class that needs them. Each student gets their own computer. If there’s work to print, they can wirelessly print to the afore mentioned printer on top of the cart. Pretty cool set-up.

One of my subbing assignments last week was a math class for 7th grade. During one of the classes, two girls were playing with the teacher’s pet lizards, who have a cage along the window sill of the room. They took out the lizards, and so I decided I had to have a picture with them.

Schools are really exciting places to be. There’s political crap that certainly gets in the way. That’s why the idea of my own program with home school students is appealing. Outdoor education probably would be free of some of the same politics. No job is perfect, I’m just very anxious to find a place to get my teaching career started.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Link Winter Retreat

I have been doing college ministry at Blackhawk Church for over 6 years, and I absolutely love the retreats. They've changed a lot over the years from just hanging out to very spiritually focused. I'd say this year was something of a mix. We went for a more spiritual direction, but as always we left plenty of time for hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

Here's a few pics from the retreat.

Craig, Nick and Travis on a chair. Matt Cranney is there, somewhere.

See, I told you he was under there.

Cranney, Craig, and me.

Al, Matt, Casey, Zach, me.

Brian and me.

(l to r) Mari and Jenny. The Pewaukee Connection: Dan and Andrea Wolck, and me. Metzger and me.

Subzero Sleeping

One of my friends, John Swee, is a big outdoors guy. He works at REI and has more gear than anyone I know. If I could post a picture of my jealousy, I would. Anyway, he and I were on the Link Retreat and were discussing the possibility of sleeping outside. Note: temps this weekend were highs of 1 and lows of -13. After discussing our strategy, we began to prep for our adventure that night.

Our plan was for each of us to put one sleeping bag into another. I had a bag rated to 15 degrees and another rated to 0 degrees. John had one rated to 15 and 50 degrees. I had a little gear back I'd keep in my bag with my iPod (incase I couldn't fall asleep), small water bottle, cell phone, extra hat, and camera. Every nighttime outdoor activity requires a headlamp. Here, we're packed and ready to go.

After a few minutes of adjusting, we're in our beds for the night.

So you're probably asking yourself: "How cold was it out there?" Great question. John had already planned to monitor our situation. Here's what one thermometer said, sitting against our boots outside our bags.

The next logical question is: "How warm were those bags?" Another great question, thanks for asking. John had another thermometer in his bag and after we got settled, he was giving me 30-second updates: "65 and rising. 70 and rising. "

Finally we maxed out the thermometer - 80 degrees inside our bags. After thinking about it, it made sense that these down bags would keep in our body heat (which we all know is 98.6) and we should be able to keep warm.

It was time to call it a night. We wrapped up for our final sleeping position. This turned out to be the most difficult adjustment for sleeping in sub-zero weather. If you completely close off the mummy-bag, your breathing is tough b/c the air is so warm and clostrophobia begins to sink in. Both John and I experienced this for the first time. We figured out that if we created a "hood" with the end of our bag, we could have a sliver of cold air that quickly warmed when it reached the warmth of our bags. This fresh air was important for our compfort throughout the night.

In the end, I woke up at 5:45 and had to go to the bathroom so bad. I knew I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, so I called it a success and took my gear inside the lodge and slept for the last hour of the night. Later, John would tell me that at 4:30, he woke up and had the same thougth. Except he got out of his bag, did what he needed to do, and got back in!! He is hardcore.

Subzero sleeping is very doable with the right gear, a little planning, and the will to adventure out and try something new.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Athletes in Action ROCKS

My friend Scott works for Athletes in Action here at the University of Wisconsin. Friday morning I got an email from him announcing their full-page add in the USA Today. This was done by the national office, not here in Madison. I checked it out here at the coffee shop and it looks amazing.

The ad features the two coaches in Super Bowl XLI - Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith. Both are committed Christians and have teamed up with AIA to share more of their faith with anyone who wants to listen. Here's a small pic of the ad:

I hope you can blow this image up, I know it's kind of small. Check out the AIA website (above) and if you can find a USA Today, check out the Super Bowl section backpage.