the hyphens that define my life

Falling October 28, 2013

Fall leaves are quickly falling.  The temperatures are dropping, the north winds are blowing and fall is in its glory.  Leaves have changed from shades of green to a spectacular rainbow of magentas, reds, oranges, golds and browns.  The air is crisp with the earthy smells of crushed leaves and wet dirt from recent rain.

Today I realized I had not one picture of fall foliage.  At lunch my husband and I walked a couple mile loop, purposely avoiding the bakery and the tap house, to get away from our desks and to enjoy the splendor of our new hometown in autumnal glory.

Then there’s us, the odd couple.  My husband is a skinny white boy from Southern California.  He has spent plenty of time in cold weather, skiing, hunting and living.  Yet, he shows up for our walk wearing waterproof hiking boots, flannel lined jeans, two shirts covered with a lined windbreaker shell, gloves and a hat.  I’m in regular jeans, tennis shoes, a long sleeve t-shirt, a fleece jacket (no hat, no gloves), and my camera.  I asked where he was going because I only had 25 minutes, he said he was prepared.  Good for you.

To his credit, it was 44 degrees and the cold wind was whipping, stinging your skin.  Ok, that was the first block.  Once you got your blood pumping, the weather was perfect.

I took a bunch of photographs but none do justice to the amazing fall colors.  Plus I’m late, I should have done this last week.  This is the best that I could capture:

Our pathway to the park.



At the park, in full golden opulence.

As we walked, I scuffed my feet through the mounds of leaves on the sidewalk, kicking the biggest mounds into the air.  I pointed out every squirrel we saw to avoid attack.  My husband does not believe my squirrel attack story.  I was there.  He wasn’t.  The squirrels and I know what happened.

Fall is upon us.  Halloween is just days away (still not ready but keep feeding me Brach’s candy corn and mallocreme pumpkins for increased endurance!).  The boys came home from school ready to turn in their hoodies for warmer jackets.  They are anxiously awaiting the first snow fall and leaves falling to the ground and dropping temperatures takes them one step closer to snow.

I will be certain to remind them of their snow dreams when they are raking leaves this weekend.


Be Well October 5, 2013

University recruiting is my favorite part of my job.  Not only do I travel to great cities, awesome universities that make me want to go back to school, I also get to meet really inspiring, energetic and brilliant students that renew my faith in humanity with their fearlessness, maturity and ambition.  These fantastic youth also carry germs.  The only job hazard I have, other than tripping on my way down the hall from my kitchen to my office in my own house, is catching these germs while on campus.  I shake hands with anywhere from 200-300 students.  Despite my hand-sanitizing efforts, I manage to catch their colds every fall.

I’ve tried not shaking hands, keeping my hands behind my back and just nodding but being reserve and intrinsic isn’t my style.  I’m really a hugger so engaging in a handshake is more my speed.

So after my whirlwind tour of Toronto, Cincinnati and Denver last week with poor sleep habits, I invariably caught a cold and ear infection.  I emailed in sick to work on Friday.  How lame is that?  Dear Boss, can’t make it to work today, I’m sick.  This doesn’t mean I can’t stumble down the hall and turn on my office light and sit in front of my computer.  Me calling in sick means I can not peel my head off my desk to look at my computer screen and no way possible am I able to talk on the phone.  I am unable to represent, therefore I am sick.

Sleeping all day Friday and not dragging myself out of bed until 10:30 AM this morning (plus some good meds from Urgent Care) and I’m back among the living.

Let me tell you, nothing thrills my husband more than me being gone for a week then being sick for a week.  How can I make it up to him?  Not well….I’m gone this next week and part of the following too.  Love, love will keep us together (Captain and Tenille quote) but we’re looking forward to October 19 when our lives return to normal.

Being well is my goal.  What better way to be well than to go out at night in the brisk 50 degree weather that’s quickly dropping into the low 40’s tonight for some Halloween fun!  Tonight we went to the Incredible Corn Maze (shout out, specifically for the Haunted Corn Maze.

Here are my Children of the Corn:


There were four mazes, some up a couple of miles long!  We did two of the mazes, including the haunted maze.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!  The mazes are cut into the corn field.  The haunted maze, with no dead ends, had  people jumping out and scaring the bejeezus out of you.  In the dark!  We ran, we screamed, we tripped, we fell, we laughed and laughed and most of all, we had tons of fun.  At the end, a very tall guy in a zombie clown mask carrying a real sounding but fake blade chainsaw jumps out and chases all who pass.  He chased our three boys almost all the way back to the ticket booth!  This isn’t a spoiler…you see him chasing others while you wait your turn.  Yet our boys kept running, and he kept chasing.  adrenaline was pumping at the end.

Part of our move to Spokane from Orange County California was to expose our kids, and us, to new experiences.  Corn mazes, especially haunted corn mazes and on this scale, are definitely something they never would have experienced in Southern California.  Growing up in Ohio, with plenty of corn fields, we didn’t have corn mazes, so this was a fun “first” experience for all.

A great family night outside, enjoying Autumn weather, getting a taste of Halloween fun and trying something new.

Be well.