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written Thursday, 11/27/2008

Today marks my fourth Thanksgiving in New Orleans. This in many ways has become my favorite holiday in spite of typically spending most of the weeklong vacation by myself. Actually, it’s probably because of the solitude that I find quiet occasions to be grateful for how fortunate I am.

The Atlantic hurricane season 2008 officially ends in three days. For the first time since my wild induction into tropical storm watching, I had to evacuate for a hurricane three months ago. According to America’s favorite information source, 2008 is the only season in recorded history to feature a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) in every month from July through November.

How lucky I am to have the means to escape such peril, friends who look out for me, family to assure me that I’ll always have a place to stay in the worst-case scenario, two wonderful kitties who I discovered are pretty good travelers, an apartment and job to return to, etc.

Nat and Joan continue to be great inspirations to me, as they have been ever since I spent my first summer in Louisiana with them. Nat’s most recent round of medical problems, which started during the Gustav evacuation, culminated in the discovery of a large infection. His left foot was broken several months earlier and the infection required amputation just above the knee. He and Joan are in good spirits, just happy to have him alive. Upon my most recent visit I was still greeted with Nat’s familiar beaming smile and Joan’s eternally-faithful outlook on life. For as long as they’re around, it will be difficult for me to ever leave New Orleans.

This is a good occasion to remind myself to be thankful for my role in education. We’ve reached a point in the year when I’ve become fed up with a pervasive inattentiveness to academics (and every year there’s always one class that irritates me more than any other!) Nonetheless, looking over my roster for all six of my classes, there isn’t a single kid who I don’t like. A former colleague who moved to the Pacific Northwest over the summer recently remarked by email that his new students “are just so damn boring.” For whatever gripes I have about work ethic and maturity at my current school, I can’t complain that my kids lack personality.

Someday maybe I’ll get married and become engulfed in the joys and struggles of being a family man. Meanwhile, as a free-swingin’ bachelor I appreciate the unbridled moments of craziness, which for me typically involve Photoshop or Flash. Of course with a whole week off from school I had to come up with a project more ambitious than those below, but the posting of that one will have to wait another week or so!

A couple attempts to convince my students that an epic 1976/1977 novel/miniseries and a Philadelphia rap group were both originally named after terms that are synonymous to "roots" in mathematics. Free samples in the Sunday paper led to a discussion at work about the suggestive naming of Folger's new Black Silk blend. Tangram game made with free Geogebra software. Needs Java installed in web browser to view… takes a moment to load.

More than anything I appreciate the people who enrich my life. I’ve experienced more personal growth and change in the past year than any other, largely due to the positive influences of those most dear to me. Yesterday I spent a couple hours with two special individuals who I hadn’t seen in over a year even though they’ve been on my mind constantly. Even without many occasions to see or talk to them, they contribute a great deal to my life.

Time to go spend Thanksgiving evening with some friends and continue being grateful for their presence.

Abrupt ending coming up… now.