Tag Archives: Fall

Not Only Once in a Lifetime (Hopefully!)

this halloween is shaping up to be a big one and not because of a costume party or trick-or-treating or anything relating to halloween per se, but because of temple owls college football. ok, i heard you groan right then, but stick with me.

c graduated from temple university school of pharmacy and two of our three kids also graduated from temple, but from boyer college of music. our oldest was in the band while she was at temple as well as drum major for two years, which served as a reason to buy season tickets to temple football. truth to tell, ten years ago, the band was the only reason to go to a football game. our youngest was also in the band while he was in school so we held onto the tickets, and also because they are prime club level tickets on the fifty yard line at the philadelphia eagle’s stadium. truthfully, we didn’t go to a lot of games and when we did, we only stayed until after the band had performed, because temple was usually losing or embarrassingly losing.

now i’ll admit that i have not always been a football fan. my dad played football in college, so football was often on in the house during the season, and mom would occasionally watch college ball after dad died. but for a big chunk of my life i ignored football. after i met c, i started to learn more about the game just by watching with him, since he had played in high school and briefly in college. now i think i’m pretty knowledgeable about the game, although i’m also smart enough to keep my mouth shut most of the time when it comes to commenting on the game. (there’s little worse than sitting next to a person who complains constantly during the game but doesn’t even know what is really going on down on the field).

the plan was to stop buying season tickets after our youngest graduated. and then something kind of wonderful happened: the temple football team started to win. over the years they have had a few marquis players who made it into the nfl, but you could count them on one hand. a couple of years ago there were more than just a couple of talented kids and last year there were even more talented kids on the team, and most of them were freshman. this year the majority of the talented kids are sophomores and juniors and temple is at 7 and 0 for the season so far. more importantly, they beat perpetual powerhouse penn state for the first time in 74 years!

so this year, temple plays notre dame at home on halloween night. and the game is the college game of the week on abc network. and the show “college game day” will be broadcasting from independence hall on saturday morning. whew! i’ll tell you that philadelphians are not used to such positive attention and temple football fans especially are not used to positive attention. ok, so maybe notre dame has something to do with it… but hey, we’ll take it.

now those of you who are used to be affiliated with schools who have big winning teams are yawning at our excitement and you’re certainly entitled to your cynicism, but you know yourself how fun it is to have a winning team. we just keep pinching ourselves to remember to savor the moment, because, well… this could be the one time or this could be the beginning of something.

let’s hope this halloween is filled with nothing but treats for the city of philadelphia and their temple owls!!


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Filed under college, Fall, family, football, friends, history, school, success, tradition


september’s one of those transitional months. it’s not quite fall by the calendar date but the light has changed, which makes it not feel very much like summer anymore. the once prolific blooms on the annuals have slowed, their deep emerald leaves are fading to yellow green and fraying at the edges. the geraniums are still going strong. i hate to pull them up when they’re still so pretty, but somehow they feel misplaced this time of year. it’s just too early for the chrysanthemums, though the stores are full of them now, they’ll be nowhere to be found when i really need them in november.

we’ve had a number of days previewing fall weather this summer, but the definitive feeling of fall is more about the change in light than the change in temperature.

a funny thing happens this time of year — the summer’s appropriately bright tops and ts suddenly feel garish and out of place. so too with embellished sandals. where the bright sunshine of summer welcomed the strong hues and sun kissed sparkles, the amber light of fall begs for deep, rich jewel tones, muted colors plain leathers. problem is that the more appropriate hues of autumnal clothing are in fabrics much too heavy to wear now. this is another time of year i carry an extra pair of shoes and a light jacket or sweater to work. start the day with a jacket and flats, ditch the jacket and change to sandals in the afternoon.

much as i enjoyed the herbs all summer, it’s now time to abandon the fresh basil plants and turn the leaves into pesto or process them with some oil and freeze them in ice cube trays for use in winter sauces. surprising how much of an addition of this basil will perk up a sauce or soup.

i dried a good deal of my oregano last year, which turned out to be some of the best oregano i’ve ever tasted, but it feels a little too early to pull it up for drying. likewise for my thyme. the sage will be safe and happy until it’s all cut down for the thanksgiving turkeys. my silly tomatoes are still green pellets so i have to decide whether to pick them and wrap them in newspaper and wait for them to ripen, or just enjoy them as fried green tomatoes.
there are still plenty of multi-colored cherry tomatoes in the farmer’s market for confit. i just saw what looked like an amazing recipe for a meatloaf that was roasted surrounded by these little gems. i hope to have time to try that before they’re all gone.

c and i didn’t take a full summer vacation this year but we did get to spend some time on the beach. it’s been years since we hung out on the sand or romped in the ocean waves, maybe because of being overweight and overly self-conscious. it felt so freeing to put on a bathing suit and enjoy the waves, even though i spend a pretty good part of my time getting knocked over.

our back yard is our little oasis that takes us through every single season and we were able to enjoy it quite a bit this summer since the weather was rarely too hot and humid. in fall we’ll enjoy a fire every weekend in our outdoor fireplace and sometimes c even rakes leaves by the light of a coleman lantern. the cacophony of the cicadas and crickets will be replaced by the distant sound of high school band soon, the sound that carries fond memories of our three back in the day.

but for now, while i’m planning for fall, i’m still clinging to the last bit of summer. the light will tell me when it’s time to fully move along.

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Filed under Fall, family, Food, gardening, seasons

sweet and bitter

november is a bittersweet month.  october and november the foliage in eastern pennsylvania puts on a spectacular show of vibrant reds, golden yellows, rusty browns and oranges set against deep, dark green.  the air is crisp and clean, the energy different from the lazy days of summer.  

the route i drive to and from work is a series of windy, hilly tree-lined roads that have me rubber necking throughout the entire drive (well, not just because of the fall colors, but because i never know when assorted wildlife like deer, raccoons, opossums, groundhogs and foxes might take a stroll across the road).  

and then there’s november 14th.  smack in the middle of the month (almost), a day that changes the feeling of the month for at least that day if not longer.  november 14th is the day my dad died after a long battle with cancer.  this year marked 40 years.  i would not have guessed that all these many years later i would still be affected by that date or the memory or the loss.  i’m a year older now than he was when he died, but in my head on november 14th, i’m a scared kid in a tiny family who lost a parent.  

according to a recent study done at john hopkins, 57% of adults who lost a parent before the age of 20 said that they would give up a year of their lives to have one more day with their deceased parent. i’ll take that deal.  (but i’ll take it only if i know that that day i need to find out everything about him so i have decades of memories)  i was too young to get to know my dad much and have spent the great majority of my life without a father.  

my sister tells me she has hand written letters from dad to her while she was away at college.  treasures.  i have a couple of old pictures of him, a gold coin that he collected and some scattered memories.  that’s it.  that used to bother me a lot, now it’s just a fact. 

the holy card from dad’s funeral has lived in every wallet i’ve had since the age of 15.  it was alone for many years but now it’s joined by a crystal my sister c handed out at my sister e’s funeral and the holy card from mom’s funeral.  

dad’s card is frayed around the edges and the back is yellowed, but it’s still in very good shape considering the number of years it’s traveled along with me.  every november i take out the card and just look at it for awhile. there’s no picture of him on the front, instead there’s a kind of colorful stained glass painting.  (the card was considered kind of modern and controversial at the time.  now it looks very tied to the 1970s)  it strikes me every year that he was born in 1917 and died in 1971.  dates that frame his existence.    

when my sister, brother and i are all gone there’ll be no one else left who knew him in person.  our kids will my pictures and a tattered holy card of a grandfather they never knew. 

they have two other grandparents who were a joyous part of their lives and a grandmother who still is.  

forty years is a long time to replace the bitter with the sweet.  it’s been done, but every november there’s still a twinge. 


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Filed under age, death, Fall, family