The Geek & The Chic

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Autumn, Happy Fall

I realized when I lived in Alaska how much I missed autumn. Real autumn, with all the colors and scents that announce winter’s coming. The joke in Alaska is that autumn lasts one day and then it’s winter. That’s not quite so true but there is a hint of truth to it. The leaves on the birch trees will turn gold, it will rain for three days – a nasty, cold driving rain with thick clouds obscuring the mountains and then it will clear. The day will be bright and cold and the mountaintops will have snow. Winter’s here.

But this year I am in the Lower 48, having been absent for 12 years. I am having a real autumn this year and I have marveled at how beautiful the colors are. I really had forgotten. And it’s not just plain old red or gold or orange but varying shades of all those colors that somehow suggest nature is on fire. That even as the leaves are dying, they’re alive with bright and vibrant color.

I used to think autumn was my favorite season because I was born in September. But I’ve come to know it’s much more than that. Autumn begins quietly and ends with a flourish. Autumn makes us hurry up, as if to balance out summer’s laziness. Mornings begin crisp and grow warmer as the day grows old. Not long after that, the day will be described as having a "chill in the air". That’s the cue for the squirrels to gather their nuts, for the birds to fly south and for humans to begin their own nesting rituals for a long winter. And it’s not long after that before we’re scraping ice off the car’s windshield and cursing Old Man Winter.

Autumn is really very practical. We’re allowed to play even while we work – like jumping into a pile of leaves, or picking pumpkins for Halloween which in itself is another good reason to like autumn.

Ah but tomorrow is November, a month that feels more like Winter than Autumn. But November might perhaps be the most "autumn" of all months since it's associated with harvest. And come later this month, we'll sit down to remember and give thanks for all we have and are.

Happy Autumn to all. Better late than never.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm On Canadian Radio

Okay, not really. I was thinking of that Wall of Voodoo Song (Mexican Radio). But we get so many Canadian stations, I've lost count. That's just radio -- we get at least two TV stations too.

I bring this up because of my intolerably long commute. Yes, I am still working in Syracuse and trying to quit. The owner won't let me. I think I will have to go in next week and just follow Nancy Reagan's advice and just say no. Anyway, being in the car for two hours a day gives me lots of radio listening time. When I'm in the H2O vicinity, the choices are between NY and Canadian statoins. Closer to Syracuse, there are a ton of choices and the problem is I can't decide what to listen to.

There are so many choices out of Syracuse. Many of them offering various music formats-- most of which I don't care for. I can't find a jazz station. What kind of big city market doesn't offer a jazz station? And talk radio. I became hooked on local talk shows while living in Anchorage. There's a guy in the afternoons on a station here but since they talk about Syracuse (which really doesn't affect me) I can't find it all that interesting. I also think he's not as personable as some other hosts I've listened to. Ah, Mike Poracaro of the 50,000 watt Blowtorch, where are you when I need you?

But getting back to Canadian radio. There are two FM stations I find myself tuning in. One is called Joe FM and the other is Fly FM. I don't know when it became de riguer to use catchy one word phrases but they have. Joe's format is "we play anything" and they do. There's alot of stuff I don't recognize (but then again, I spent the 80's actively avoiding Top 40) and Fly's format is more mainstream. It's not bad. There are also other stations -- I can pick up BBC World reports, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) and even some French Canadian stations. They're fun. You'd think after studying that language for five years I'd know what they were saying.

Joe FM is engaged in a contest if you guess the correct year something happened you win a free pizza. The place offering the pizza is called Ta-Ta's. I don't think I want to know anymore than that, but doesn't it make you wonder?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Go Away And Don't Come Back

It has rained here all week. Every day, every night -- you'd think I was in Portland, Oregon or something. Well, Mother Nature just better quit it now. We've had enough. We've not had the flooding that other parts of the country have had but the rivers are overflowing and only so much rain can fall before you start wondering where to get plans to build an ark. And if you did build an ark, who would you invite? Ah, now there's a great question. For me, it would be my husband, family, some good friends and a few cats and dogs, chickens, cows, pigs and horses. I'd purposely leave the mosquitos and snakes behind.

But seriously, we've had enough rain to last through the end of November. It's time for it to let up and go away... don't come back another day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cook With Your Kids -- Ha!

We did have a wonderful visit. The niece, nephew and their parents arrived Saturday afternoon. When I had spoken to my 4 year old niece Friday night, she asked me if there were toys in Watertown and I replied yes. So what's the first question she asked when she walked in? She wants to know where the toys are. Well, I have a few stuffed animals and one blind cat. Take your pick. They were pretty good with Pounce though. I did have to show my 2 year old nephew how to pet him nicely (he wanted to use both hands and knead him or something. It was weird). I should mention here that at one point during the weekend, the cat had sticky fur as if little hands had pet him with something on them.

After dinner, I thought it would be fun to bake Halloween cookies. We needed an activity and I thought I could involve Niece in helping me to measure. And she was pretty good at it but she thought she need to pack the flour down. Nephew was content to watch the goings-on and so he did. The fun started when I turned on the mixer... I asked Niece to slowly add the flour, which she did but then her brother wanted to help too, so he climbed up on the chair where she was and picked up the bowl containing the flour and turned it over as if to add its contents to the batter, but instead missing the bowl entirely and making a huge white mess on the kitchen floor. You know, I didn't get upset. The only thing that bothered me was not knowing how much flour was left to add, so I guessed. We rolled out the batter and started to cut out the cookies using the pumpkin, ghost and witch cookie cutters.

Now, just a note about my oven. It's weird. The dial does not match up to where it clicks on. So I never know if I'm baking something or broiling it and the first batch of cookies came out very done so we watched them more carefully after that.

On Sunday, we went out to Sackets Harbor and went to the farm. We picked out pumpkins -- that was alot of fun for them. We also took a hayride and fed the cows, goats and pigs. The only problem Sunday was the weather. It was very windy and hence very cold. It would have been a great day otherwise.

Overall we did have fun and I hope they'll visit again. Next time I'll have toys and skip the baking altogether!

Friday, October 07, 2005

They're Coming!

I'm so excited. My sister, her husband and their two kids are coming for a visit this weekend. They arrive on Saturday and they'll be first in the family to see our new digs in H20town although they're staying at a motel.

In my head, I imagine my niece soooo excited to see us, as she appears to be when we visit them at their home. My nephew will be excited because his sister is and both will have a fun time exploring the place. They will delight in seeing Pounce ("cat" was my niece's first word) and I'll have to ask them not to chase him since he can't see where he's going.

Our plan is to bring them to Sackets Harbor. I love that little town. There's so much history there to which the townspeople have not strayed too far from. There's a free self tour you can take of a battlefield from the War of 1812 and all kinds of quaint shops to browse. It's on the shores of Lake Ontario and if you're so inclined, you can wave to Canada.

We're going to a farm not too far away from Sackets Harbor. They have a corn maze, pumpkin patch and a hayride. They also have 200 animals you can go see and if you want, you can take a tour of the dairy and see how cows get milked (no thanks). Also on the list of possibilities to do is to drive up to Alexandria Bay for the Fall Festival they have there and build our own scarecrow. That might be fun. I had wanted to go apple picking too but everyone outvoted me -- they're party poopers, that's what they are.

Hurry up Saturday and get here!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Just A Dream...

I awoke Saturday morning in a panic. My first thought was to make sure I was not alone in bed and I was not.

I had dreamt that Husband left for Afghanistan before I had a chance to say goodbye. I don't remember the exact details of the dream just that I was too late. I had missed his plane's departure by minutes but there was nothing I could do.

I do think all dreams have signifigance in some way or other. I do believe that we can find answers in dreams -- mind you, not always but that we can get something out of our dreams, even if it turns out to be only conversation fodder.

We are well underway for the imminent departure of my Husband's government sponsored trip to Afghanistan. All last week and this he has been filling out paperwork he needs for top secret clearance. In the past month, there's also been field exercises and training. So it is no surprise that I should have this dream. Yet it seems too soon to be dreaming like this. Yet again hardly a day can go by without realizing that this time next year, I'll be alone. He told me the other night of how much he'll miss me -- yet somehow I think it might be easier for him. He has a job to do, a mission to complete. His mind won't have to wander all over the empty house his departure helps to create. He won't have to sleep alone in the first bed we bought together; he won't have to eat all his meals in the kitchen where I've prepared meals for two or sit on the same couch watching a movie with no one to snuggle against.

Living in the present, looking ahead, it's a topsy turvy world right now.