A to Z Challenge Reflections 2020

I hadn’t originally planned on participating in the A to Z challenge this year. I hadn’t really been blogging at all since midsummer and when the school years started I was working 60 to 70 hours a week at a movie theater and as a substitute teacher. And even though I had a week off school for Spring break our family had a number of activities planned for that week. Planning 26 entries for mu blog was probably the furthest thing from my mind.

Then in quick succession my spring break was lengthened to two weeks, the movie theater temporarily closed , and all the spring break activities we had planned were postponed or cancelled all due to pandemic concerns. Sometimes during those 2 weeks came a stay at home order and all of a sudden I had time on my hands.

During those weeks I did a lot of relaxing and even amid all the anxiety really enjoyed my family and my new found free time. I rediscovered reading blogs for pleasure and while I pondered whether I might be able to find work to replace my “nonessential” jobs, I decided not to look until March 30th, which would have been the Monday I was supposed to come back from Spring Break. It was at that point I decided to sign up for the A to Z challenge.

My theme for last years challenge was the movie music of the Sherman Brothers. It was a bit of a complex process as I would have a video of the song, the lyrics from the song and my reflections or remembrance from the movie. It was complex but each post had a very predictable pattern. I also had prepared many of the submissions in advance of April 1st. By choice or necessity that was all different this year.

I chose a topic Capitals and put my own Random twist on it. I chose New York’s capital Albany as my A entry and wrote about a visit to Baseball’s Hall of fame a few years back. The Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, not Albany. While my son and I did stay in Albany for a few days on the trip the articles main focus was not Albany.

Most every entry was like that. Quito is the capital of Ecuador. The missionaries Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were married in Quito, I’ll write about them. It was much less about capitals and more about free association derived from Capitals. I tried as much as I could to tell about myself and so you might not know anymore about Pierre, South Dakota than you did before, but hopefully you know a little more about me.

Going back to my sudden inclusion into the ranks of the unemployed for a moment, I actually viewed it as a bit of a sabbatical. I had set a date of March 30th to start looking for work, I expected that this could take quite a bit of time. The truth now was that on the 30th, I heard about a job, applied for that job, was interviewed and hired for that job in about a 6 hour period.

I thought the job would be restocking a grocery store on the over night shift 2 or 3 times a week. Which would give me plenty of time for my family, volunteer activities and the challenge. It turned out the job was 5 to 6 times a week giving me less time than I thought I would have had. Also changing my sleep patterns really did a bit of a number on my whole creative process and also got in the way of deadlines. On three different times I had to catch up on my posts after missing the natural deadline of the calendar.

Generally one of my favorite parts of the a to z challenge is how it involves me in the blog-o-sphere. I love reading and interacting with other peoples blogs. This year I did far less of that than I hoped to. Now that I am no longer obligated to post every day, I hope to catch up on some of that reading and commenting.

I will start by spending some time to look at some reflection posts. If you are interested in checking these out, click here. I am already looking forward to next years challenge. I have an idea that will be very time intensive and will take months of preparation. I thought of it last year, but by December , I knew there would be no way to implement it this year. This is what is known in the entermation (a synonym I just created for infotainment) field as a tease.

I’ll end this piece with a bit of an announcement. 11 years ago I began my blogging journey with a blog called Home School Dad. I did over 700 posts there from 2009 to 2012 another 100 from 2013 to 2016 and its essentially laid dormant for the last 3+ years. I recently decided to bring this blog out of mothballs. I will still be posting here as well, but I imagine that HSD will again become my flagship. I spent a few hours this evening adjusting the format. If you check it out by clicking here, you will always see a link to my most recent Random Acts of Roller entry, which of course will be this entry. Thanks for everyone stopping by from the challenge. I hope achieving a new normal after the challenge and in this crazy covid situation is fun and fulfilling.

Capital Z Zanesville

Zanesville was the capital of Ohio from 1810 to 1812. Here is what I think of when I think of Zanesville, Ohio. I may have passed through Zanesville before but I have never purposely gone to Zanesville before. Back in the day, if I ever wanted to drive through Zanesville I’d get my road Atlas and start planning a trip. The first thing I’d want to know would be how long of a drive would it be. I could figure out this with my atlas, but for time sake I googled it and it would take me 7 hours and 20 minutes to traverse the distance of 436.5 miles between my hometown and Zville. The next thing I would figure out is if there would be a time change and there would be one. If I wereable to drive straigh through with out stopping and leave at 8 am central time It would be 3:20 p,m central and 4:20 p.m local time (Eastern) when I arrived.

Another fun thing I like to do with my atlas is to see what other destinations I could go to from my destination. I would often plan a trip like this assigning point B as a hub and figurung what point C might be. Most atlasses have a chart of major cities in the state showing the distance between them. The 3major cities in Ohio are Cleveland, Cincinatti and the Capital, Columbus.

From Zanesville, Cleveland is about 148 miles and would take 2 hours and 16 minutes leaving at 8:00 am May 1st I would arrive there at 10:16 am the same day. Cincinatti would be 161 miles and take about 2 and 1/2 hours so again leaving at 8 am on May1st you could get there 10:16 am the same day. Columbus would be the closest of the 3, 55 miles and 55 minutes away leave at 8 am May 1st arrive 8:55 the same day.

This is about the time in my trip planning that I might go a little crazy. (As if this isn’t sufficiently crazy?) I might thing Zanesville rhymes with …(actually megypsies rhymes with …, but I more than digress) Janesville. And I might check and see if it was posisble to zoom through Wisconsin on my way home. It would take 524 miles to get from Z to J (ville wise) anf about 7 hours and 45 mintues the good news id the time would change back so leave at 8am may 1st arrive 2:45 the same day

I would probably look up a number of more routes. I’d look for the nearest minor league ball team or some such. But I think,what I did share gives you enough of a glimpse.

Links abound as we come to an end of another a to z challenge click here to get to said challenge. To see my final post in last years challenge click on Zuckerman. If you are interested here are the links I used for the different cities.

Elgin to Zanesville


to Cincinatti

To Columbus

To Janesville

Capital Y Yucatan

Yucatan is the capital if the Mexican state of Yucatan. I shared a memory of Mexico yesterday when I chose Xalapa as my X. When I was in high school the Anthropology club took an annual trip to Yucatan. I never went but my friends said it was amazing.

For more a to z challenge click here. To see my first Y post back in 2011 click yesterday.

Capital X Xalapa

Xalapa is the capital city of the Mexican state of Vera Cruz. When I think of Mexico, I think of the Summer of 1990 when I traveled to Mexico. I spent quite a bit of time travelling on my own in Mexico City. One thing that was out of the ordinary for me was how clean their public parks were. One reason why is that while you could buy bottles of pop (soda) from street vendors they would immediately pour the drink into a plastic bag, so they could redeem the bottle and get their deposit back.

This picture was actually taken in Guatemala, but the idea is the same.

For more a to z challenge click here. To see what My A to Z challenge 2019 X click on xpialidocious