Tag Archives: fall in the Midwest

shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Midwest. Actually, Saturday was a beautiful day, too and I am not referring to the Chicago Cubs.

We’ve had a run of beautiful days. Warm sunny afternoons followed by cool nights. Tonight, the sky was clear again when I took Ivy outside. Since she and Mr. Skunk met in August, she gets an escort out in the evening. I looked up and I could see several stars. Living so close to a major city, my stargazing is limited by the light pollution. I am thankful for the stars that shine bright enough for me to see.

ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange
ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange

I spent most of my day hunkered down in the basement working on school and other things. I popped out of my cave to enjoy a slice of O’s birthday cake. It was O’s birthday and W was over to help celebrate.

It was that time in the afternoon when the sun’s angle illuminates and shines across the landscape in a special way. It makes the grass greener and the fall leaves redder, oranger, and yellower than they are in the midday sun or morning sun.

the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun
the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun

The backside of our home faces west and is surrounded by mature maple trees and a lonely ash tree. Among the maples is a maple tree that turns the brightest orange-yellow in early fall. It is so bright it appears to be afire. The other maple trees turn a pale yellow and drop almost simultaneously after the first heavy frost in mid-November. One of the maple trees has a vine that climbs the trunk and had turned a brilliant red-orange. Continue reading shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

water – a photo challenge

I’ve had this weekend circled on my calendar since Labor Day. It’s been awhile since we’ve been up here, by the lake, in the early fall. The past few years, we’ve been able to come up only after football season was finished and even then it was for a short two-day weekend, not the longer three-day weekend that Columbus Day brings.

the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we're here... by the lake, Up North.
the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we’re here… by the lake, Up North.

Last year, it was W, O, Ivy, and I for fall cleanup, the year before in ’14 we all of us left on early Saturday afternoon (after football practice) and only had Sunday to work, and in 13’ I came by myself.

I’ve been searching back in my memory and the cottage guest book and it’s been a long time since we’ve been Up North at this time in the year.

B and I reminisced on our way out of town Friday evening as the sunset in the rearview mirror about our trip in ’96. It was BK – before kids – her parents met us and we had a great time. We drove through the countryside looking at the fall color and we did some yard work, but I remember the deep breaths I was able take by the lake. It does that for me, the lake helps me relax and refocus. Continue reading water – a photo challenge

summer’s last gasp

Yesterday was the last full day of summer, in a little more than three hours fall arrives.

9:21 AM CDT – September 22.

Today is split summer and fall. Tomorrow is first full day of fall.

driving west - storm clouds rolling in from the northwest
driving west – storm clouds rolling in from the northwest

It was a good summer, but it had its moments. Yesterday, we got our last summer storm and it rolled through the area as I was on my way to school. Fortunately, it hadn’t started raining when I arrived, or I would have been drenched walking in.

At the end of the day, another wave of rain arrived as I was leaving school and it sprinkled on me as I walked to my car. That was it, summer’s last gasp. We’ve needed the rain, it’s been dry.

The shorter days are already here. Last night, I noticed it when I got home and I reset the front door light timer to come on earlier. Soon the leaves will turn and then fall. Cooler nights and then frost. And, we’ll probably get a few storms into fall, the worst storms seem to be the fall storms that blow up over the Great Lakes.   Continue reading summer’s last gasp

Thankful, once more and always…

The turkey is roasting and it smells delicious. B and O, my wife and daughter, are still out of town. They’ve loaded the car, but haven’t hit the road, yet.

I’ve alluded to it in the last several posts but haven’t been direct. B’s mother and my mother-in-law, my favorite mother-in-law, I might add, passed away a week ago Monday morning. The funeral was last Saturday. Her wake, funeral, post-funeral gathering was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who led an extraordinary life. She leaves behind three children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We will miss her.

I drove home with W, my son, Sunday afternoon. He slept, I drove thinking about the two days I had to teach my 8th graders.

Instead, I thought of all of the parts of my life for which I have to give thanks.

I am thankful for so much. I am third.

I am thankful for my faith in God, who has sustained me over the last several years as our families have struggled with loss.

I have a wonderful family, a great wife and kids, and a great dog, too. My mom, step-mom, my brothers, my wife’s brother, sister-in-law, her sister, and all of nieces and nephews, who are strong role models for my two children and always make time for them. Continue reading Thankful, once more and always…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

I awoke feeling well rested for the first time in a long time, I got a good night’s sleep and if hadn’t been for Ivy – the dog wonder – I would have had an even longer sleep. We are up north for a short weekend of yard cleanup and it is a treat; even working up here is a treat.

Friday afternoon... treat
Friday afternoon… treat

We drove up yesterday and arrived with plenty of time to do a large part of the yard cleanup we had planned, but my helpers were exhausted and I was, too. So, I decided to quit, go out for dinner, and get a good night’s sleep. I thought it was a good call. Not so, the weather played a trick on me. Yesterday was cool and cloudy, but this morning it began to lightly rain, it was dark when Ivy woke me – even though it was a little before seven AM and I could hear the gentle rain on the deck. I let Ivy outside; she sniffed around, came back inside, and snuggled up on the cushion at my feet while I sipped my coffee. Treat.

I don’t like doing yard work in the rain, but that’s what it looks like is gonna happen. Trick.

Who are the guys? trick
Who are the guys? trick

It’s Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve. Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

Sunday Morning and ideas

Sunday comes after Saturday, and a full week; so it’s no surprise that it’s another Sunday morning. CBS Sunday Morning is on the television in front of me and I can watch with one eye and one listen with one ear. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t because I am easily distracted and drift off and watch with both eyes and listen with both ears, not good for a day with several chores and much schoolwork lying ahead.

But, I watch and listen adjusting the volume up and down as needed, because sometimes I get an idea for a lesson, or maybe even a post. Or, maybe it makes my life a tad bit richer than it was before I switched it on.

a ten dollar bill.....
a ten dollar bill…..

Last week slipped by in a blur of days and activities. The week was four days long due to the Columbus Day holiday and when Friday’s 3 PM dismissal bell rang school was done, but I was not finished. There was more to do with the time than I had, a common problem I encounter.

Tuesday afternoon, I volunteered to play music at the 8th girls’ volleyball game after school. Tuesday was pink out – for Breast Cancer Awareness and the 8th grade girls played in homemade pink jerseys. A week earlier, I had given each of my students a pink pencil in honor of Melinda and her mom who was taken too early in July 2000. The same day I changed the banner of my blog to pink pencils – the odd colored pencils in the banner, represent women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. I enjoyed playing music between games and during timeouts, and so did the girls and their parents. One of the girl’s teams won, the other lost, but it was time well spent. Thursday in class, the girls asked if I would play music for their playoff game that afternoon, so I did. They came up short and their season is finished, but the lessons they learned this season will last a lifetime. Sometimes, what is pressing is not as important as building relationships.

Last week in history class, we finished studying the American Revolution and began our study of the next steps in democracy – for the young nation, it was figuring out what was next. They started with the Articles of Confederation and soon discovered the Articles needed amending and wrote the Constitution. It was messy and each state and each delegate had their own ideas of which direction to move. Several men stepped forward and advanced their ideas – Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and Hamilton are the few we remember – here are the rest…. Founding Fathers.

My eight graders were wondering what was in it for them, they wondered,

“Why do we need to learn this?”

Continue reading Sunday Morning and ideas

The Happy Place: A Photo Challenge

It’s Sunday morning. Sunday is usually the last day of the weekend, but this weekend brings a holiday on Monday – Columbus Day. So, our ‘Sunday’ is Monday, and we get an extra day to renew and restore.

Last night, B and I waited up as long as we could but we finally fell asleep when W, our oldest, came home after the high school homecoming dance – his last. Our daughter O, and youngest, started off at a friend’s house across the street, then went to see a movie.

Saturdays are busy for our family, W plays football and is on the field Friday night for the varsity game, but plays Saturday morning in the JV game. O plays softball and her games are on Saturday afternoon. And, there are chores, too stuff that doesn’t get done during the week.

Last night, I ordered pizza – pepperoni, onion, and garlic with extra sauce, in case you wondered. B and I shared it watching baseball (the Cubs) and then, college football trying to stay awake. I knew it would be a late night, late enough to post this response to the Word Press Photo Challenge – Happy Place. But, I couldn’t write struggling for focus and I decided to finish Sunday morning.

I’d been to one of my ‘happy places’ Saturday morning. Sunday, we’ll drive west to another ‘happy place,’ and then spend Monday finishing the weekend together – chores and preparing for the coming week.

I am happy, almost always, in almost any place, I am reasonable flexible person, but there are times when there is comfort in small, simple things. Saturday brought one; Sunday will bring another.

W’s JV football game was at 8:30 Saturday morning, he had to be at school at 6:45 and he was a difficult young man to awaken. It took several trips upstairs before his feet hit the floor and he began to move.

W’s JV team won their game and he played, but that’s another story, for another time. This football season has been a lesson in adversity for W and his senior class.

After the game, I asked B if she wanted to go to the French Market. She smiled and replied, ‘”yes.” I drove and picked the route, choosing a longer but more peaceful tranquil over the more heavily travelled shorter path.

Yesterday morning was a picture perfect early fall morning with crisp cool temperatures and a clear blue endless sky; perfect weather for a Tiger win and a visit to the French Market.

frenchmarket
it’s fall and the leaves are turning, soon falling….

I wanted to visit my flower vendor, Ari’s Flowers. I love their flowers and I’ve been posting them often this fall. We had struck up a conversation several weeks ago and I shared that I planned to give all of my students a pink Ticonderoga pencil to honor a former student, Melinda and her late mom and Breast Cancer Awareness month. She mentioned that she was a breast cancer survivor and wanted to for something my students, too. Last week I gave her a package of the pink pencils when I stopped in to buy my anniversary roses and she reminded me to come back this week. Continue reading The Happy Place: A Photo Challenge

The Can Crush

It’s been over two weeks since I wrote a post. It’s not because I haven’t had ideas. I’ve had loads of ideas and I even started a post last Sunday morning, but I ran out of time. That post died on the vine, it’s no longer relevant.

Since my last post, O has been to her first middle school social. The social was the day after her birthday and she had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about on our way to W’s final regular season football game. We arrived with a minute left in the second quarter to watch the Tigers score a touchdown and take 14-9 lead to the locker room. They needed to win the game to make the playoffs. This is how they did it.

Since then, W’s football team has ripped off two more wins and next weekend play in the state playoff quarterfinals. The team’s first playoff win was in the blinding snow and howling winds on Halloween night with a last minute field goal to tie and a touchdown to win in overtime. The second win was yesterday afternoon – it was a beautiful fall afternoon, perfect for a high school football game. Continue reading The Can Crush

Weekly Photo Challenge – Dreamy

dawnsearlylight
the two maples work in concert to brighten our front yard – dreamy

Trees are ablaze around us. It’s fall. We have two trees, which appear as if they are afire; yesterday the sun’s light reflected into the bedroom and illuminated it in an orange glow. Soon the leaves will be falling to the ground and covering the lawn. Soon, my weekend activities will shift from dreaming to working on the lawn clearing leaves. That’s okay, that’s is what happens at this time of the year; the days get shorter and the dreams become stronger.

The dream of the lake, the pull of the lake.

I long to see the sun rise over the lake and watch the sun’s rays slowly bring the hills and trees to life. It’s quiet at the lake at this time of the year only a few people visit in the late fall. I’ll be there soon enough, I have a few chores to do before winter sets in. Last year I went alone, this year it’ll be a family affair and all of us will venture north for a short weekend of working the yard and getting the cottage ready for winter. It’ll be all hands on deck and then we’ll get to rest and relax Saturday night and dream.

dreamymorning2013
the lake on early summer morning, mist rising off the still lake and the sun slowly bringing the hills to life on the opposite shore – dreamy

In the meantime, my dream is to finish grading lab reports and articles of the week today. It’s going to be a great day, the weather is cool, misty and the forecast calls for rain. Perfect weather for sitting down and working. My dreams will have to sustain for another day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, one trip back in time, one dream to keep me going.

What dreamy place gives you a ‘gentle push’ when you need it?

sparks_fly
campfire and the moon when the sun sets – dreamy

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – prompt – at Word Press.  The week’s prompt is “Dreamy.” This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and the gun goes off

'77' is for Red Grange a Wheaton alum and NFL Hall of Famer
’77’ is for Red Grange a Wheaton alum and NFL Hall of Famer

The Tigers lost their playoff game Friday night and their season is over. I am sad. My son played his last game a couple of weeks ago when the regular season ended and is now waiting for wrestling season to begin this coming Monday. It will keep him busy and fully exercised during those lean months of little sunshine and bitter cold. It’ll give me and B something to do on Friday evening and Saturday. He wrestled last year and had a good freshman season.

If you have been following MtDC over the past several years or high school football seasons or however you want to count it, you know I am a passionate high school football fan – especially the Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers. Even before W got into high school, we were there on Friday nights. It was our Friday evening entertainment. B grew up in a small town in southwestern Ohio where her Tigers were legendary in the small school section of Ohio high school football in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s. She played in the marching band in high school and marched Friday night in the late seventies before graduating and going off to college. Her dad played for the high school team in the forties and later at Miami University after his navy service at the end of WWII. When W was a little kid we went to watch my nephew play for the Ohio State Football Championship in Paul Brown Stadium in Massillon, Ohio. They won 26-0 and it was a good game, and it was worth every minute of the four-hour drive there and the four-hour dive home.

I guess that’s why I am so agitated this morning and was even more agitated last night. The Tigers began the season rated in the top twenty and knocked off the defending 7A state champion in the first game. In the second game, they defeated another state power. In the third game, the Tigers were up against the crosstown rival Wheaton North. In a hard fought game, the Tigers dominated the Falcons in every way. The Tigers had a bump in the road mid-season and lost a game to a team they should have defeated and were soundly defeated in the second to the last game of the year to last year’s 8A state championship runner up and possibly this year’s 8A state champion. Who knows? Regardless the Tigers finished 7-2 and qualified for the playoffs. They won last weekend and moved on to the second round.

The Tigers have been successful, very successful in the nineties and ever since. Continue reading It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and the gun goes off