On July 6th we bring home our dog. Finnegin is the name we decided on. I’m excited and nervous. There’s a lot of work we need to do around the house to get things ready. Our family always kept cats. Or we did until 2012, when our old cat died. My oldest son was allergic to her, but by the time we figured that out, she was so old we didn’t want her to have to deal with the stress of relocation, so he just learned to live with it. Four years without an animal in the house seems like too long.
My sister and brother in law adopted a puppy from the same litter. They brought her home last week. Not being experienced dog owners, my wife and I opted to have the breeder start our puppy’s training. I’m kind of glad we made that choice seeing how much work there is with having a very very young dog who has never slept away from its mother before.
My first job of the summer is to repair the fence in our yard, which got smashed by a falling tree branch a year or so ago. I could have done this last summer, but the boys next door play a lot of soccer in their back yard, and given the number of times they were having to jump the fence to get the ball, it seemed easier to leave it down. Plus, there were so many good books to read, that just seemed like a more summer-ish way to spend time. Easier for me, easier for the kids next door. It was a win-win. Now though I think it will be easier to have a solid fence for the dog.
I see a lot of next year’s AP students have started those blogs. I’m just starting to get to the posts that have gone up this past week. I hope this summer to keep reposting favorites here. When you see them, if there’s something you like, follow it. A lot of you have a lot of cool stuff going on.
I’m not sure how many of this past year’s AP Lang students are still checking in here, but for those of you who made videos or infographics to the next president and wish to publish through the national project, here are the links with instructions. For videos:
Basically, the national project involves promoting your work with #2NextPrez. KQED is following this and, I think, selecting outstanding pieces to feature on their sites. They’ll require some assurances that the work is yours and some permissions if you’re under 18.
I would love to hear if any of your work gets selected.
On Wednesday one of you asked for some recommendations on books about the environment. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but here are a few that come to mind:
Watchers at the Pond, by Franklin Russell. Written by a Canadian journalist about a pond like the ones you might find near Royal Oak. It will change your view of the kind of habitats that seem boring and common because they are so familiar to us. The Tree Where Man Was Born, by Peter Mathiessen. He was a travel writer who wrote extensively about Africa. It’s either this, or African Silences in which he chronicles his encounters with some of the last hunter-gatherers living freely on that continent. Sailing Alone Around the World, by Captain Joshua Slocum. The title pretty much says it all. This is a classic. The North Pole, by Robert Peary; South, by Ernest Shackleton; Scott’s diaries… Tales of polar exploration and adventure. If you want to cool off during the summer. Which reminds me, White Fang, by Jack London. As long as we’re moving into fiction, The Monkey Wrench Gang is a classic by Edward Abbey. Be warned, it’s hilarious and violent. A crime story at every level. Action packed. The crime novels of Carl Hiassen come to mind as well, but they are certainly toned down from Abbey’s work. And while Hiassen has an environmentalist take on life, they aren’t, strictly speaking, about the environment. William Bartram’s Travels. Explored the Appalachian mountains in the 1700’s. And Walter Bonatti, The Mountains of My Life. Famous Italian mountain climber from the mid-20th century. The novels of Jim Harrison, and his memoirs. True North, Sundog, Off to the Side. A Michigan writer who will remind you that the state in which you live is unique among landscapes of this planet, and well worth guarding in every way. Then there’s poetry. Gary Snyder, Thomas Merton.
Hopefully this is OK for a partial list. Enough to get you started, at least.