Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dinner at Dave's - AND, it IS Vermont and it IS March -

On Monday night I had the first of five dinners at my home after my Men & Masculinities class. A couple of years ago I began having the class over to the house for what they called "dinner at Dave's" and which became quite popular and fun for my students. After class on Monday nights, beginning right after Spring Break, five or six students at a time come over for some OFF CAMPUS home cooked food and conversation. We always have great conversations and I usually have to "throw them out" around 11:00. The first group consisted of Kate, Sarah, Sunny, Tim, Kaitlin and Brian. What a good group. Tim and Kaitlin are also in my Practicum class so I get to see them a LOT on Mondays as both classes are Monday only classes. I also will have Practicum over for lunch before the end of the semester. They always enjoy getting off campus and having time just to sit and relax and have good conversations with their friends and with me. They always seem to marvel that I actually can cook which cracks me up as I DO cook, a lot and enjoy cooking for them because they are so appreciative. I always tell them that I will provide the food and they bring what they want to drink - NON-ALCOHOLIC only. I end up serving them dessert of cheesecake with Vermont Maple Cream which most people have never had but it is amazing - the folks at the Vermont Maple Syrup Outlet on Rte. 15 near Jeffersonville make the BEST......

Our weather is incredible with records being broken every day for the past several days. Of course, the students are all clamoring "can't we have class outside?" - I did take Practicum outside at the end of class Monday to visit the College's Word Garden which is an amazing community space filled with rocks with various words cut into them - there always seems to be someone out there appreciating the quiet and peacefulness of that Garden. Of course, I keep reminding them all that this IS Vermont and it IS March and while today the temperature is 82, we could get a couple of feet of snow next week - needless to say, they don't want to hear that. The other issue is that as the temperatures rise, grade point averages FALL -

I went skiing a week ago on Monday and it was great at Smuggs - two days later, after a rainy 67 degree day the conditions were not as good - on my way home I stopped off at my favorite kayaking spot just in case - I thought it would be fun to ski in the morning and kayak in the afternoon but Indian Brook was still frozen solid - a good thing. Todd Wright from our Wilderness Program sent out an email warning all of us that while the temperatures ARE great, the water temperature is NOT and people can easily endanger their lives going into water this cold - a good warning Todd - thanks.

Take care, be well and please keep all of our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers. The horrific and tragic story out of Afghanistan highlights just what we are asking of our military personnel when we send them back for multiple deployments - no one can deny the tragic loss of life of those civilians - women and children BUT while I condemn what happened, I can't condemn the man who allegedly did it - we need to know what happened before we judge him. Condemn the behavior but struggle to understand WHY if happened is perhaps more important. At the same time that the world was focused on what that man (1 of 2.3 million soldiers who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan) did, another young man who had had multiple deployments and was only 23 years old (a very close friend to MY friend and veteran Alan of whom I have written in the past) took his own life - 1st LT Daniel Weiss (Danny) from Chicago. He was just 23........ The President of Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans of America spoke the other evening about the civilian deaths in Afghanistan and commented that there are more casualties in our Armed Forces from suicide right now that from the War..... A frightening statistic and a challenge to all of us for dialogue about how WE ARE managing a War in which too many men and women are being sent back, time and time again and time and time again to fight FOR US. I promised Alan that I would talk about his friend Danny to my classes and in this blog - we must pay attention AND again, please keep all of the members of our military and our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.