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Back to School 2019 Blog Post >>>> One Teacher’s Journey

By allen | August 18, 2019 | 2 Comments

The First Hour, Days and Years Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 24th year of teaching, and despite the many years that have passed, I remember well my first day as a teacher. In truth, my clearest memory is of the first hour of my first day as a teacher.   Incoming students had to locate their name and room number on lists taped to the walls around the school, and then find their way to their homeroom class. Some students arrived early and waited in the hall outside my classroom, even though the door was open. It seemed nobody wanted to be the first to enter the room, but when the first bell rang, they…

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A Brunch of Thoughts

By allen | August 14, 2019 | 3 Comments

My wife and I lead what we consider to be simple, unassuming lives. We still live in the same modest house we bought over 30 years ago when we were in our mid-20s.  That’s a time in life when many couples buy their “starter” homes. Fast forward 30 years and most starter homes in our area are far larger than the house we bought, Based on a couple of decades of conversations with young couples, I doubt the majority of them today would want to begin their lives together in a home that is a cracker box by modern standards.…

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Dark Skies, Lighter Attitude

By allen | August 10, 2019 | 2 Comments

As I am trying to go to sleep at the end of the long embarkation day, I’m struck with the thought that this whole vacation might have been a huge mistake. That thought is hardly uncommon for me. I’m hit with it at the end of the first day of every cruise and many other vacations too.   Fortunately, I’ve learned in most circumstances that my snap judgments are not very reliable, and this proves the case once again. On our first day at sea, I’m always looking forward to the opportunities the day will hold.   Today, Tuesday, we wake up early.…

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A Happy Marriage Loves & Respects

By allen | June 22, 2017

Rule # 2: Love and Respect Each Other I remember the feeling of standing in front of the church and reciting our marriage vows to each other. There were probably 150 people in the church that Friday night in 1980, but as far as I was concerned they might as well have been painted cardboard cutouts during the service. Nothing seemed real or the least bit important to me from the time I saw that white blur coming down the aisle. (At the last minute, my brothers convinced me to take my glasses off before the ceremony, so it wasn’t…

A Happy Marriage is Unselfish

By allen | June 21, 2017

Following up on yesterday’s post about how we met, I thought I’d address some of the reasons I think we’ve made it to 37 years of marriage. These will be more or less, what I passed on to my sons before they got married and what I’ll share with my daughter and future son in law before they marry in December. Some of these may be directed more at husbands, but most are relevant to both sides of a marriage. In economics, the most foundational principles are referred to as laws, but calling my suggestions the Laws of Marriage just sounds…

Marriage: Sometimes Not Knowing is Good

By allen | June 20, 2017

Sometimes not knowing how crazy something is, is a good thing –     Steve Wozniak, The Pirates of Silicon Valley A few days ago, I mentioned the accident I had at my parents’ house in 1978.  It was August 19, a Saturday, and my parents had left the house for one more grocery store bargain run, leaving me to watch after my younger brother, Frank and little nephew, David. Oilers and Cowboys Minutes before the accident I was sitting in the living room, reading the sports section of the Houston Post which had many stories about that night’s Houston Oilers…

The Spinach Can: A Fathers Day Story

By allen | June 17, 2017

Like a lot of small children, I idolized my father. I couldn’t wait for him to get home from work at the end of his day.  He wasn’t exactly the Norman Rockwell image of a father, but he was special. He was my daddy. As I got into my teenage years I started noticing things about my father that bothered me. For one thing, I noticed that my family didn’t have a lot of the things that all the neighbors had. I didn’t know why. I just knew we didn’t have them and learned that it was pointless to ask…

Why I Still Teach

By allen | June 16, 2017

About 3 months after I graduated from high school in 1978 I suffered a very serious accident in the home where I grew up. My brother had run out into the garage, and in doing so, had pushed the kitchen door open as wide as it would go. This door had a heavy spring closer on it, and pushing the door that far open meant a house rattling slam was coming unless I could stop the door first. I instinctively reached out my hand to catch the door, but instead of my palm contacting the door’s wooden frame, it impacted…

Doing What You Can Do

By allen | June 15, 2017

One of the most frustrating things about teaching is seeing students that are perfectly capable of doing an assignment just sitting there. I am not talking about students that are phone addicts, non-stop talkers, or sleepers. The kids I’m referring to are ones who do nothing more than occupy space. Somehow when I think about this I am reminded of a scene in a kid’s movie, The Neverending Story. In this scene a character known as Rockbiter discusses the nothingness: Rockbiter: Near my home there used to be a beautiful lake, but then it was gone. Tiny: Did the lake dry…

Vacation: A Crime Against Cats

By allen | June 14, 2017

In addition to sharing our home with our soon to be married daughter, Kelsey, we live with 4 animals, all of them very different. The oldest is a 17-year-old rat terrier named Randy. We were not looking for a second dog when he became a member of the family. The night we got him we had taken dinner to a family in the church where the mother was recovering from a hospital stay. We talked with them for a bit, but I remember that the conversation was distracted by a small black and white puppy that was all full of…

Insomnia Breeds an Economics Lesson

By allen | June 13, 2017

Monday began for me like many days over the past couple of years, that is, awake before 5 o’clock in the morning. For some reason, I have developed a continuous sleep limit of between 5 and 6 hours and at that point I find myself wide awake. When this happens, I reach for my phone and catch up on what’s going on in the world, or if what is dominating the news is particularly mean-spirited or divisive (and not much isn’t these days) I’ll look for business stories about changes in personal technology or consumer related news. I came across…

A Return to Reality

By allen | June 12, 2017

The last 24 hours have been about reacclimating to life off the ship, which means coming to grips with a world where we aren’t akin to Lord and Lady Crowley of Downton Abbey. A few days ago, I might have been gently chided by our assistant waiter for attempting to refill my water glass from the carafe that sat on our table in the main dining room. The staff of the ship constantly remind passengers that they are all there to serve you. As passengers, we are required to do nothing more than strenuous that choosing between the crème brulee…

Our Last Day at Sea in 2017

By allen | June 10, 2017

I began my last day at sea by going out on deck to watch the sun come up over the horizon. On a clear day it can be quite dramatic, but the skies this morning were far from clear. Thanks to a short break in the clouds the sun eventually made a brief appearance before disappearing once again I then went back to the room where Becky was trying to catch a little extra sleep before our room service coffee arrived. After coffee we went down to the last seaday brunch of the cruise. I had my favorite flamin’ tomato…