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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fair time...

I went to the fair last night, the Ogema County Fair.   It was NOT the state fair by any means,but it was fun. Like all fairs, it had food and rides and animals and people, but this one just had a whole lot less of all the above.  If there were 25 swine or 30 cows, I would be surprised as I thought there were fewer than that.  The avian flu shuttered the poultry exhibit, and really, this area just isn't that agricultural.  If we had a fair that showed our ag products, we would have pens of trees.  Generally they would smell better but it just wouldn't be the same.

I wasn't that inspired in part because of the poor food choices.  Honestly, they didn't even have cheese curds.  Really.  What kind of a fair doesn't have cheese curds?  I suppose the kind of fair that isn't in Wisconsin…  I have been to so many fairs over the years so I think I completed the checklist of required fair photos.  Let's see--cute animals?  Check.  Bright lights, etc from rides?  Check.  Darn--I missed the shot of a 4H member showing/cuddling/washing their animal!  At least I didn't get cow/sheep/pig poop on me within 12 steps of my car.  I have heard that happens.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


School starts in a week, and it is busy.  I worked most of yesterday and then worked again today.  I am still in need of faculty (anyone want to teach Bio?  Call me) but from my conversations with my colleagues around the state, everyone is having challenges finding faculty.  Blame the good economy and the fact that Michigan is a right to work state.  Plus, while I am proud that my school pays more than most, it is still about 40% of what Minnesota pays for adjunct faculty and only 30% of what California pays.  So I am still busy...

I did get to go sailing last week or ratther, I got to go and watch sailing from a classic wooden boat.  A friend from high school was over here watching/helping his son sail in a big race on Lake Huron.  It was great.  I hope someone smiles at least at that.  It was fun, with perfect weather.  Since I am new to photography, I of course  had the wrong lens but when you are in a perfect spot with photogenic water and boats, you usually can find a photo.  I am not marine oriented, that is for sure.  I almost embarrassed myself and lost my breakfast over the side, but I gamely held on.  My friend was gracious, and just encouraged me to sit closer to the side--no doubt he was thinking of his bilge.  I just pointed out that this was not my environment and that he would probably get sick in some the meetings that I have to sit through!