Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The results are in...

When I took the position as instructor at NMSU Carlsbad, one of the perks was that my family receives six credits free each semester. This means that Kerri has, over the last few years, made significant progress towards earning a Masters degree in Education, with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.

She has made so much progress towards earning that degree that she is in serious danger of graduating this spring! She even went so far as to complete the four hour Master's exam a few weeks ago.

Well just yesterday, she received notice that she passed. While we never doubted her abilities, we are very proud of her. She has managed to maintain a 4.0 grade average throughout the degree, which has not been easy.

There are plenty of smart people out there, and I'm sure that if you were inclined to look, you might find a few good lookers out there. But rare are the women who possess the poise, beauty and intelligence of my lovely bride.

I am one lucky dog.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weeds + Kids = a Nice Yard

This week is Spring Break in Carlsbad and in order to celebrate, we have planned... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Squat. Zippo. Nothing!

I know that may not sound like much fun to you, but since Kerri started school, I started teaching, and the kids started... well, being kids and playing soccer, singing, piano, student council, science fair, basketball, jumprope club, band and so much more, a little nothing is just what the doctor ordered.

Yesterday, after Church, we besieged the backyard with gloves and rakes and shovels. No leaf was left unbagged, no pecan left unpicked, no weed was left unplucked. and in the end, though there is little grass and the paths that the dogs have worn are still unlevel, the back yard is a pleasant place to be.

Sometimes, in our busy lives, working inside under the life sapping glow of florescent lighting, listening to the eternal hum of electrical appliances, printers and computers, we forget the great peace that can be found in the the silence of the outdoors.

Come Monday, they will come for me, looking to drag me back indoors. This week however, I am king, or maybe prince, of my own backyard. The King is the one who sends the sun that makes the backyard beautiful, and I am so greatful to Him for that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mighty Large Hail

Here Ruthie Roo waits patiently to see if I will put the hail down her brother's shirt.

Growing up in central New Mexico, the only hail I ever saw as a child was the small stuff, the size of peas or maybe marbles once or twice. Mind you, it hurt, but after getting hit a few times, the wisest among us learned that the best way to avoid the pain was to stay inside. Eventually, even I learned that inside was the best place to be in a hail storm.

We lived in a large house with a tin roof, so even the small stuff was sounded awfully impressive, but I don't remember ever losing a window or a cat to hail.

I have seen larger hail on television and recently my uncle's house, in the center of the state, was pummeled to the point that cars were totaled and siding was destroyed. The pictures looked impressive, but I don't guess it really sank home.

Long time Carlsbad residents tell stories of softball or golfball sized hail, which I had always guessed was smaller hail that had been run through a fish story or two, but last night for first time, I experienced hail that I worried might have the power to break glass. Not the size of basketballs, mind you, but larger than I had ever seen.

The picture above was taken moments after the hail stopped. I gathered a sampling of the hail and took a picture with my phone. It measures about 3/4s of an inch and the cracking noise it made as it glanced off the windows sounded like a baseball connecting with a bat.

I'd have to say that regardless of the size, the sound is much more impressive on corrugated tin than anything else, but the whack whacking on the glass was pretty cool. The cool part being the fact that no windows were lost.

Moments after it began, it was over and deathly silent. Within five minutes, the skies were clearing and we saw nothing more through the night.

I checked early this morning and the hail was gone. There were no signs of pitting on the vehicles, though the hail removed the majority of the remaining pecans from the trees and the streets were brown from dislodged hulls and branches. Driving to work at 7AM, there were drifts of hail along the shoulders, but by 9AM when I emerged from the classroom they were gone.

I often dream of replacing my indoor teaching job, computers, pressed shirts and paved roads for land, a ranch house and cattle or maybe a farm. Some days a post hole digger and miles of fence to string sound more appealing than program reviews, Chairing department meetings and such. Last night left me wondering, how many cow hands have had the sense knocked out of (or into) them while riding herd on a stormy night.