Let’s go Dutch and Swedish

Today's flowers by the kitchen after a night rain.

Today’s flowers by the kitchen after a night rain.

I was driving along yesterday on the second of my two Wednesday trips to Oakton and I came across what I view as a half-hearted effort to contain the waters of the Des Plaines River as I approached my destination. I am not even sure how high the wall is, but they are adding to the wall that they had established, trying to keep the area dry and the river within less dangerous parameters. I do know one thing though, in some areas Americans just do not seem to want to go the full nine yards and do what is necessary.

If we want to be in New Orleans and have a viable city in an area that is below sea level, we cannot fool around with our less than aggressive attempts. We need to go to the land where it is clear that you can live below sea level, the Netherlands. They have shown that it is possible to take back the land and to maintain it successfully that way for long periods of time. Why are we not smart enough to bring them in if we really want to live below sea level?

Another thing that came to mind on my way south to Oakton, was the issue of roads. Why is it that we have roads that need to be constantly maintained? Is it because we actually need to have a system that is corrupt and where we never do the road correctly and thus need to rip it up year after year without biting that bullet and doing the job right the first time? It seems to me that we could go to Scandinavia or Finland and see how it is done, maybe even have them come here and show us? I do not think that their weather is any harder on the roads than ours is.

Americans can do things so well, why is it that in some areas we just do not seem to try?

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More schoolwork…

This is the vehicle often responsible for picking up the girls from our house and for making trips to the beach to surf or paddle board.

This is the vehicle often responsible for picking up the girls from our house and for making trips to the beach to surf or paddle board.

This is a video MK took of a typical day with the girls on last Monday.

A cool sunny morning yesterday followed by a lovely summer day.

I spent most all of it indoors, attending to preparation of my two online classes. I am moving along, but my biggest concern is that it is hard to really know what to do first, find that most efficient route to getting the courses ready. The one class is going to be just a reworking of what I have been using since it is still the same textbook. It is the second semester and it is not using the new book since we are ‘easing’ the new one into place and besides the current 101 students would have to buy a new book and system to do that.

I decided that given that scenario, working on completing the new class would make more sense. Besides, it is more likely that that class will even go. As of right now, there are only two students listed as being in it and it may well be dropped. I need to have at least ten students to make it a full class and I have the option of teaching it on a pro-rated scale but two students would not make that work.

At lunchtime, MK and I were treated to lunch at the Deerpath Inn where we met with a couple who are active in a Chicago group that is supportive of the Stratford, Canada Shakespeare Festival. We may well get on their Board of Operations and help out by working with their group. One of the things they do is to support fledgling actors by giving them financial help to attend classes in Canada to help them in their quest to be better actors. We had a great time with the couple and are seriously considering the Board.

We came home and I went back to work after a quick back yard lawn mow. Today I have my Oakton Office Hours (the last week) and then I am tutoring a student in Winnetka. I was supposed to host my unofficial French class here for a pizza dinner but that was canceled as one of our participants has medical parent duty. We are thus hoping to do that some other time. This change necessitated my coming up with my plans for the class. We had planned on today’s dinner moment chez Koerner to be a ‘French speak’ only situation with no planned less and a bottle of wine to aid the discussion. Now we are back to ‘Le Petit Prince’ and Chapter XXI.

It is somewhat cool and gloomy out and certainly not indicative of the usual summer days of late July. Last night, as we sat downstairs with the windows wide open (it was just warm enough to make me think of air conditioning) and the wind started blowing. Our meteorological check pointed out a major storm not far from us but apparently it pretty much bypassed us.

Off to coffee, what would we do without that coffee?

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Summer cold


One would probably assume that I am talking ‘virus’ here, but in fact I am talking about the unseasonable cool of this summer that is most probably due to the polar vortex.

Yesterday was the girl’s day here in Deerfield and we had Kelsey from the early afternoon on, picking up Samantha from afternoon camp at 4:00 PM.

At one point, I took Kelsey for a walk in the stroller and actually felt that it might literally be too cool for her.

I went to do some tutoring in Winnetka and as I looked at the temperature gauge in my car, I wondered if perhaps my summer uniform of shorts and t-shirt might just not cut it.

Compared to normal summer, two to three shower days, this is nothing short of crazy.

Christian happily profited from it, though, by getting in some paddleboard/surf time at the lake. Cold temperatures and radical temperature swings do, after all, produce waves.

Stewart is enjoying the cool as he doesn’t have to immerse himself in the little pool on the driveway. I have heard from Mikey that he has been sitting on the pond shelf to cool off, though.

So, here I sit with my sweatshirt on, wondering how warm this day shall be. Is it really summer?

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Kelsey’s Birthday and the silly border collie moment

Enjoying her first birthday moment!

Enjoying her first birthday moment!

My Kelsey birthday morning was spent grading feverishly, with the thought that I might be finished by the time noon rolled around so that I could be officially done with my major grading for the summer semester. I did achieve that, but just barely.

Christian was arriving as I was heading out the door for a therapeutic walk with Stewie before cleaning up and doing some last minute decorating for the party.

We got the balloons up, the flowers placed, the little sign over the window, and everyone arrived for a Sunday burger and dog barbecue. The weather was sultry and although not yet threatening, soon to be.

We had a wonderful time, everyone came and even Kelsey enjoyed her day.

Kelsey has not always liked loud noises and as we started singing to regale her for her first ‘Happy Birthday’ song, we saw a momentary flash on her face as it looked as if she were going to go into a crying moment. The flash left and she really got into it, realizing that the song was for her.

All in all, a great day. It was our good friend Tony’s birthday as well, so Happy Birthday, Tony!

While Grandma and a few others stayed back, after the major festivities and present opening, Laura, Mikey, Samantha, and I walked to the pool. The sultriness of the muggy, hot day seemed to begin, at that moment, to disappear as the wind took over. By the time we were at the pool, the cool water was made to seem even colder by the wind making it tough getting out of the water.

We had a good time, walked home, enjoyed some Lou Malnati’s pizza with Laura’s mom (the Highland Parker contingent had gone home by this time) and Stewie and Samantha put together an act that required the camera. Enjoy.

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Adolescent dogs, schoolwork, Glencoe girls, Kelsey’s first birthday


I took Stewie for a walk; he really needs that as he is in a naughty, adolescent canine phase, seemingly regressing from what he already knows and not listening. He has disappeared from us a couple of times as we had gotten somewhat used to his not running off. He is on probation.

I was chomping at the bit as I tried to get at my Oakton work, preparing for the fall semesters. It seems that each time I try to put in some time, that I end up realizing that more time is required. The Fall Semester starts on August 25th and I need to have everything up and running, all quizzes and tests made and also input to the system, which is quite time consuming. The syllabus continues to morph as I work and I am guessing that I am on just about the tenth version of the original and it is not done. I contacted the publisher to see about making sure I keep my mistake level to a minimum with some of the info I am putting in.

I did get a lot done but I have a long way to go. You would think that my pay would be an immense amount to do all of the work that I have to do. The fact of the matter is, I always wonder how my colleagues survive if this is what they have to depend on for a living. It is just a good thing that this is my calling and I realize that that is the case for a majority of us and why we put up with some less than professional treatment throughout the years.

Somehow I got confused on the time we were to be in Glencoe and had to fly into a whirlwind of activity to close down my work and to clean up for the gig we had, working with Laura’s mom to take care of the girls while the parents went downtown to a restaurant. Laura’s mom is in town for Kelsey’s first birthday, which is today, the celebration is at our house and once again I am behind the eight ball as I need to finish this up and do some quick decorating.

The girls were great last night and Kelsey ended up sitting with me as I tried to eat and she ended up having some of my roll (she had already finished eating) and then sucked on the fat end of a chicken wing while we watched her like hawks. She loved that thing and had difficulty giving it up.

We cannot believe that Kelsey is a year old and that we now have three granddaughters from five to less than a month! How quickly time passes and how much fun we are having. We sleep quite well too!

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