Friday, October 31, 2014

I love Halloween!

The saddest part of Halloween is how quickly it arrives and how fast it's over. This year, despite better weather than last year when it rained, we had less children stopping by on "Beggar's Night" last night, though we did still ran through most of our candy (my husband always keeps a small reserved "stash").

This year he carved the best Jack-O-Lantern ever, and my sister sent me the best costume for Lizzy (as the Headless Horseman's horse) but it was too small. Still, we made good use of it and fun was had by all (except Lizzy, of course, though she did enjoy being petted by the very mannerly children who all adorably asked "Can I pet your dog?").

Goodbye Halloween! Until next year!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October days

Like March and April in the spring, October is the busiest month for pretty much everyone at my small college on the hill, and it's even busier for me now that I'm doing two jobs at the same time. This past Thursday and Friday I was busy pretty much every minute of both days (yesterday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.) in events all related to work.

Now that it's over, I'm very grateful that I got to sleep in a little this morning and will soon be going back home to my husband and furry children. There's still piles of grading to get through, which I hope to finally get to tackle over the next two days. So no weekend break for now.

Because this October has been so over scheduled (in comparison with last year), and because we were in Ann Arbor last weekend also for a work-related conference, my husband made his delicious buttermilk biscuits on  Monday and it was the perfect way to start another busy-bee week.

Meantime, the fallscapes around my small college on the hill are at their peak, with trees getting routinely illuminated in their full color by the afternoon sun and the farm lands acting like the last green preambles to the groves of trees dressed up for fall.

And, of course, this month is Halloween and our house in the small city is already decked out for that purpose. Next week our small city has trick-or-treat hours on Thursday and that's a highlight of our life in that community so I'm very much looking forward to it! (Note to self: don't forget to get candy!)

I'll leave you with a video I shot of Chiquita, in my home-away-from-home near my small college on the hill, doing one of her favorite things: chasing a ball. She's not the best retriever, as you'll see, but she does love to chase that yellow ball as if she were.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Luna de toros

This month, the moon was huge in the sky at night. The first picture is taken with my phone from the courtyard in front of my small apartment near my college on the hill.

The second photo, also from my cellphone, is the fuller moon a day or two later from our home in the city. Just looking at the photos makes me want to howl.

Friday, October 10, 2014

October break

When I started my administrative job, one of my colleagues promised that the amount of meetings I would attend would at least double. I smiled at what seemed like a funny exaggeration since I was already attending a fair share of meetings before I started as associate provost.

But, like many such predictions I've tended to disbelieve, this one was quite accurate. Some days, I have a hard time keeping on track when going from meeting to meeting to meeting to office hours with students to teaching my classes to meeting to meeting to meeting. Though this position is half time for now, it is obviously one that could easily be full time with the amount of work it's absorbing. Some days nowadays I find that the phrase "booked solid" aptly describes a schedule that goes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in meetings and class-time alone.

Still, I'm learning a lot in this new position and really enjoying the different challenges that teaching and administration bring. But it's not easy keeping on top of two new preparations for my two brand-new classes (even if one is modeled after the Honors Seminar I already taught) so I'm looking forward to next semester, which will be easier with only one class to teach (and that a class I've taught several times before). But we're already mid-term so I just have to pull through this first one as best as I can.

Not having had a chance to celebrate my appointment yet, my husband and I went to the Hocking Hills this past Thursday for October Break to enjoy "the colors" and to spend a night at our favorite Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. This is a lovely place that we try to go to at least once a year, mostly for dinner at their restaurant, but we'd never stayed in their cottages before so we decided to try one of them.

We stopped at Lake Logan for a few pictures and even in the rain the area was just vibrant with fall colors and I could feel myself relax after the challenging first several weeks in the new job.

Once at the Inn, we got the Bluebell cottage, which didn't look like much from the front but was very comfortable inside. It also had a wonderful deck overlooking the forest and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in warmer and better weather.

We had some time before our dinner reservation, so we decided to hike to Cedar Falls, which is now only a trickle, but which is beautiful during its peak seasons. It's a cliff area and there have been plenty of news stories about accidents and falls by people who stray off the trail so the signs are a little bit daunting. But the hike itself is very safe and easy, and well worth it since the views are breathtaking, even in the drizzling rain.

It is an ancient area, with huge sandstone configurations that speak of a time when the region was under water, and one can't help but be amazed when walking through the rock formations.

After the hike, we had a delicious dinner, a restful night's sleep, and we returned home yesterday. It was a quick turnaround, and I was a little sad that it was over so quickly. But I'm very grateful that we have such a lovely place not far from home. Hopefully, we'll get to go back soon.