Pumpkin Spice

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The onset of fall brings about many seasonal changes. 
The leaves change colors, the temperature dips and it’s mandated that pumpkin spice be added to everything. I don’t recall this flavor obsession as much last year, but now it seems to have saturated everything we eat and drink. The standard Thanksgiving pie flavor has now invaded lattes, creamers, alcohol, waffles, oatmeal, toaster pastries, soda, peanut butter, margarine, coconut milk, almonds, gum, marshmallows, ice cream, pudding, greek yogurt, M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses and even Oreos! What’s next?

Employee of the Year – Winter

Winter’s been clockin’ some serious overtime lately filling in for that lazy, good-for-nothing, slacker of a season Spring. So instead of dreaming of BBQs and baseball we get to shovel and scrape windows for a while longer. I have to give the Old Man some credit though – I mean it really looks like December out there. Parking lots with piles of snow and ice. He’s doing a real bang-up job.

Hey Spring, you should maybe take some lessons from the ‘Ice Man’ – in fact, you might want to start worrying about keeping your job. Really, how many times can you call in sick because you’re feeling a little under the weather and expect to call yourself a season? Face it, Mother Nature should fire you for being this late!

Dog Days

Stay hydrated and load up on sunscreen because I think Summer has decided to take his pit bull for a walk. Here I was thinking we’d make it the entire season without this blistering heat. I don’t know why I should be surprised. In this state the temperature extremes will typically guarantee that you stay indoors at least twice every six months. All in all I’d have to say this is one of the mildest summers we’ve had in years but between the neighbor’s dog and Mr. Sun, my lawn is pretty much toast when August hits.

Flatline

August is an extremely busy time of year in our household. Summer has all but come to a screeching halt and all the things that were slated for completion go into overdrive. As a teacher this rhythm is expected, but right now I’m blanking out a bit with how to proceed. Every second counts and it’s slowly ticking towards the start of the new semester. The monumental task of unpacking our department into our new building space needs to happen over the next two weeks. I just visited my office and see that all my furniture is still in boxes waiting to be assembled. It’s really overwhelming. So much to do. So little time to do it. I wish it was the only thing I had to think about right now.

Water War

One thing can be said for hot summer days: they’re perfect for waging water war. Our two boys declared war on us from the relative safety of their tree house. To be fair we equipped them with a five gallon bucket full of water balloons, but we retained the ammo dump: a double-barreled water blaster, more water balloons, a swimming pool and access to the hose. They may have had a better vantage point for throwing water bombs from up high but the thick covering of branches limited their perimeter for firing. Clearly we had some advantages, but I will say getting beamed with a water balloon at 50mph in the small of your back isn’t exactly refreshing. The skirmish ended without a clear victor (amid the chaos there were even some documented cases of friendly fire). Everyone was wetter and cooler (the real goal) and no one was exempt from picking up the latex shrapnel from the lawn. If you had fun, you won.

Leaving Cali

Our last day in California was relatively light with activity. In the morning we visited Ocean World where we learned about some of the creatures that inhabit the waters of Crescent Beach. Suddenly the idea of picking up a sea star or touching a sea anemone didn’t seem so scary to the boys. In fact, we all had the opportunity to pet leopard sharks. It felt nothing like I expected. Petting the shark from head to tail felt like soft leather, but going the opposite direction their skin felt bristly like a pig’s.

After two and a half days of dreary, overcast weather we finally had an afternoon of beautiful California sunshine. To take advantage of the break in the weather we spent the rest of our last day combing the beach outside our motel. We collected rocks and drift wood of all kinds. The constant abrasive action of the waves makes everything rounded and smooth. Even small pieces of drift wood end up looking like baby carrots.

The boys bravely climbed the rocky outcrops on the beach searching for sea stars that they would, thanks to their experience at Ocean World, pry off the rocks, handle and then release back into the water. The tide finally dropped low enough in the evening for us to travel across to Battery Point Lighthouse where we witnessed a fabulous sunset. Those final hours of day three certainly made for a nice end to our California stay.