This past week, I had the privilege of interviewing Nancy Jones, who was retiring as an art instructor following 38 and a half years of teaching at Punxsutawney Area High School.
Thoughts during and following the interview brought to mind the memories of art class and my high school days at Valley Forge High School in Parma Heights, Ohio.
The minute I walked into her classroom, the familiar old smells of clay being molded and tempera paints being used brought me back to those good old days of dabbling in the arts.
It's a phrase I've heard over and over again from well-meaning folks in all sorts of situations: "Don't worry. She'll come along someday."
If you read the headline, I'm sure you've already figured out what this column is about.
With the beloved St. Valentine's very own day approaching, love is in the air, and especially on the television waves.
And you know what, I couldn't be happier for all of those involved in mushy-gushy relationships who choose to celebrate this day â€” and while that probably came across sarcastically with the "mushy-gushy" addition, I sincerely mean it.
Friday morning, while I was wiping the sleep out of my eyes â€” after sleeping in knowing that I had a long day ahead of me â€” there was already a song running through my head.
As is often the case, it was a song that was rather randomly placed in my thoughts, but at the same time, it was also quite appropriate, given the date.
February 1st â€” Groundhog Eve as those of us who grew up in Punxsy have always known it.
Sometimes, I go through an interesting chain of events to arrive at what I'll be writing about each particular week.
This week, with the temperatures in the single digits and the wind chill dipping into the negative numbers, it was kind of hard not to start thinking about the weather â€” in particular, how much I dislike
On an unrelated note, I've also been doing a lot of other thinking, mainly surrounding the news of the death of my close friends' father, who made it evident time and again that he cared for me before he was taken away from us far too soon.
In traveling around, we have all found that certain professions and industries have a language of their own, a language that, at times, hopes to exclude us from knowing their inner workings.
This is true in the world of computers.
The only thing here is that most of us who have computers should know the language and why we use it.
Now, if you are really into computer usage, you might want to stop reading at this point because you know it all.
This little break from winter that we received last week made me think of one of my favorite times of year â€” summer!
Yeah, you remember it, sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures and air conditioning.
Last week's warmer weather gave me a reminder that my lawnmower that I purchased for $15 eight years ago died at the end of the mowing season, which prevented me from mulching my leaves in the fall.
And that we finally disposed of our 30-year-old window air conditioner.
Air conditioners have changed over the years.
This morning in church, a wide variety of facets were part of the service, including a goodbye to our 20-month interim, Pastor Wayne, who has served the church selflessly over that period.
He was honored at a dinner after a message about new beginnings â€” quite fitting given his and our circumstances.
But another part of the service that really stood out to me as something meaningful was the dedication of several of our church family's children â€” from newborn babies to a 13-year-old young woman.
So what's the deal with these microcars people are driving now?
Everyone already knows the benefits of driving these cars: better gas mileage, less expensive to purchase, easier to park, go nicely with a Matchbox car collection.
I suppose they are more environmentally friendly and help prevent greenhouse gas emissions which, in return, reduces the probability of global warming.
That concept seems mute to me because I feel global warming will be pretty sweet â€” we can swim outside in November!
It will, however, force the ice caps to melt in Antarctica.
I promised myself all week that I was going to go against the cliche and
write a non-New-Year's-resolutions-based column.
I even had an outline written up about pet peeves of driving.
Yet, as I sat in church just a few hours before my self-imposed writing deadline, a new column came to me, and it just so happened to be related to resolutions.
So, as I wish you a blessed and happy new year, I'll also apologize for not breaking out of the mold.
While the results of Santa's "Naughty-'n'-Nice" list have already been revealed, I gave myself a few extra days to put the finishing touches on my own version of the list.
And given the more serious nature of my recent columns, I decided it'd be fun â€” definitely for myself, and hopefully for my readers, too â€” to look back on the things that I deemed nice and the things that I deemed naughty for 2012.
This list is, of course, far from exhaustive, as my longest list would probably include thousands and thousands of items.