Saturday, October 31, 2015

It has been...

a long week, and I'm just goofing around today.  It is really one of those dark and dreary fall days outside and I am in my bunker, reluctant to go out even to pick up the mail.  Everyone feels it, even the mice--I have caught six in my trap line since Thursday morning.  Who wants to be outside?  It is wet and cold and gross out there.  I think thinking of putting a little reception desk in my living room to welcome them.  Before I kill them, of course.  The hides are stacking up.  I am hoping to steal a fur stole from all of them, or perhaps make a tiny tiny throw rug.  Sigh.  The battle begins and continues. Everyone has mentioned that their interior mouse population has skyrocketed this year.  They are also an issue at work--they ate a good chunk of chocolate from my office sweet (haha).  While it is noticeable when 15 large chocolate truffles disappear, it is equally noticeable when you see sparkly (from the wrappers) mouse poop all over your desk along the litter of all the diabetic test kits and the mouse-sized insulin needles  left from the now diabetic mice.   It is not uncommon to hear screams of disgust in the admin building as one or more furry friend scampers around the Advising Center or president's office.

I have take a few photos but not that many--I will play catch up over the next few days and add more.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

14 minutes ago...

I awoke to a white robe hiding or muting the colors of all of outside--nearly two inches of snow fell overnight.  It is like a guest came much too early to the party--flowers were still fighting to bloom, and most leaves were still hanging on and still in their autumn finery.  And the guest is boring and promises to stay for most of the next six or seven months!

None-the-less, I dragged my (warm) butt out of bed and took a stroll around my extensive estate and took a few photos.  I blame bad light and an active reluctance to take snow pictures this early in the fall for these photos.  I wanted to mow one more time and of course there is the raking.  Do I get to skip those tasks?  Of course now I have to shovel...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The last of them...

Fall is here with its colors. temperatures, and its "feel."  Of course poets and others have spilled millions of words trying to describe what that "feel of fall" actually is.  I recognize all the smells, from wet leaves to the breezes that bring the tang of wood smoke to the smell of mice in your house.  More about that soon.    This is a weekend to dream of--it is in the 70s, and the colors, while not dominant, now appear in large enough blocks to smack your visual cortex often, and you have to notice the smears of reds, oranges, and yellows.  I think that you really get to use the Oxford comma this time of the year as you write lists of the reds, yellows, and other descriptive words for all the colors.

These are probably the last of the flowers from my yard, the yard that has provided many of them these past five months.  I was struck how the background colors are sometimes more striking than the fading colors of the flowers.  Leaves don't cover my "estate" but they are kind of hard to keep out of the frame.  Way back when, a friend noted that one flower was pretty and colorful  but it also left a interesting and pretty seed "pod."  One photo confirms that prediction.  I love the tiny flowers--why is that?  The smallest are but 1/8th to 1/4 inch across.

Perhaps the next photos could feature snow--that is more probable than more flower photos.  But until then, I will enjoy the colors, the smells, and the benefits of a fantastic fall day.

Monday, September 21, 2015


It has been a while since I last posted, though it seems longer than a little over two weeks.  I that it is mostly because I have been busy--the start of school, along with the fact that I am teaching a class, has made the days a bit longer and fuller.

My class is fun--it is at the high school and of course that makes me feel 138 years old.  I have good kids, but they are all so, so young.  I am enjoying it so far and they haven't thrown anything at me yet, and they are smart enough to laugh at the old man's jokes, so they will be OK.  It is a political science class and that topic provides many things to talk about.  Their political points of view are starting to emerge, and mostly they reflect the area and their parents.  So I am new to them, since I am a heathen liberal.  Hey, everybody has to bend a bit--it's a key feature of a democracy, though our country seems to provide a rather poor example in this regard as of late..

I feel 138 years old because I just had one of those milestone birthdays.  I am as someone said "a speed limit!"  They only good news is that it isn't a speed limit in the 60s. Yet.  That said, I did my usual to ignore it as much as I could and spent most of my birthday weekend in a car, though with a nice visit in between the drives.  I wanted to be either in the woods or in a different country, but this teaching and a busy work schedule has limited my time away.  It is sad--I have 40+ days of vacation, but I am not sure when I can use it.  That is just wrong, and so not French.

I did take a picture, something I haven't done for too long.  Not much work involved--this is my favorite little neighborhood lake, Lake Marl.  I drove in the parking area, stepped out of my car, pointed a camera, pressed a button a few times and that's it.  Total time involved?  Three minutes.  It isn't like this photography stuff interferes with my life but I just haven't been motivated.  Soon, I hope.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Forgot one...

I woke up  to a thunderstorm and while making sure my house was still on its foundations, I saw my blog up on my computer.  I forgot a picture, this time the fog with some horses,  I am heading to bed for real, though it is still kind of noisy out there.


I went to an Amish auction/flea market this morning and wandered there in a pretty good fog.  The flea market was so-so.  Lots of new stuff, and not so much not so old stuff.  Of course I found a few treasures, but I bought every thing I wanted and still left with money.  I think that is a success!

The quilt auction was great.  They sold several hundred quilts and many were amazing and the prizes were amazing, too.  Some were affordable, but there were several that approached my bi-weekly paycheck.  I know, not so much, but still pricey.  They were beautiful...made be think of my Grandmother's quilts.  The best were hand-stitched with thousands of pieces.  I wondered if they were like quilts of old, with quilt squares make of scraps of fabric that meant something and that  were pieced together by a circle of women who shared their days and lives as they created these treasures.

The photos are are mostly of the fog, with some people included.  One photo shows either a job opportunity or a description of my current job.  All-in-all, not a bad adventrue.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I have noticed that it is dark once again when I awake and often, even as I head to work a little later.  My days stretch into dusk now and the trend of even shorter days will continue.  What I like about it is that it is so subtle--a few minutes of light at the beginning and end of the day just disappear.

I think sunflowers are like these coming fall days.  If you have a field with a few hundred thousand sunflowers in bloom, they don't just turn dark.  As some faded, there were a few that are still bright and that catch your eye, or at least they caught mine.  I actually like the contrast between the bright blooms and their more faded neighbors.  It isn't a stretch for back-to-school metaphor, though it hurts a wee bit to be reminded which sunflower I am in the field of "sunflowers" that fill schools across the country.  Sigh…

I have never taken photos of a sunflower field despite lots of sunflower photos.  I was glad to find a field, in part because I was inspired this year by this great story from Wisconsin.  Check this out:  To celebrate a life and a love, a stretch of four-plus miles was planted with sunflowers.  My photos have no such lofty goals.  They just celebrate shorter days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


While the entries are not exactly overflowing my inbox, the ones that I have received are pretty good.  I am disappointed by the lack of entries from my friends in higher ed--what's going on, are you busy or something????

Beautiful blue sky
Riding as fast as I can
Seasons are a gift 


You know, I sometimes think that I should document my life, these travels and adventures, in verse but I know I am not qualified or skilled enough.  At best I can manage three lines and 17 syllables.  If I were better, I could move up to a limerick but that is hard--where do you go after "There once was a boy from Roscommon?"  If only I lived in Flint!

Dark, threatening skies
Harbinger of cold, cold rain
44--it's fall

Monday, August 24, 2015


Monday afternoon
Wrigley field for the Cubs game
Back to school can wait

Have to find a job
Where I work one hour a week
Oh wait, I have one

First entries

Fall rolled in last night
Morning breezes, shivering
Not enough covers

Waiting for the bus
Bouncing children; photographs
One more scrapbook page

Back to school

It is my first day of school, with all its fun!  Where is that teacher?  Yes, online classes start today, too!  No, you can't start your class in two weeks when your kids go to school!  Please sign the 70 contracts NOW!  And so on.  So why not procrastinate a bit and write some poetry?  I wish I could take the time to write a 14 line sonnet, but first I would have to learn how to do that--I am a dean, not a vice-president--I don't have that much time!

So the first annual (my journalism friends will hate that) fall back-to-school Haiku contest is now underway!  Get published!  Earn the respect of your peers in this peer-edited blog! Exercise and/or exorcise your creative demons!  Or simply procrastinate, like me, and submit your very own fall/back to school Haiku.

The backpack has been thrown down.  Do your best.  All will be published.

New backpacks, new shoes
crisp paper, sharp new crayons (or Empty notebooks, new pencils)
It's a new school year
Summer is fading
The school year pushing it away
Fall comes, unwanted.