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Showing posts from October, 2012

Travels and travails

I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop, typing this post and watching "All the President's Men" on TCM. The last two weeks or so have been nonstop, and tonight, I finally feel like something isn't impending. That's false, because things are pending -- contract work, shifts at the newspaper, soccer, more soccer, registering the boys for basketball, Halloween, NaNoWriMo.

We went to Moab last weekend for a little vacation. The trip was fun, culminating with Lori running a half-marathon. As we walked to the car following lunch in Moab after her race, very suddenly, I felt a cold come on. We stopped in Price so I could buy some Cold-Eze and attack the cold, because two hours in, I knew it was going to be annoying. I got a flu shot last week, and I wonder if it was simply a residual effect of the immunization. Nevertheless, it hit quick.

Lori got a one-day break before departing for Milwaukee on a work trip. I felt miserable Monday, slogged through Tuesday, and felt…

Walk the walk

(It's been more than a week since my last post about fall. On the bright side, my Internet is finally faster. Alas, my PC is just slow ...)

This post recalling autumns past is actually about two years: 1993 and 2011. The story starts 19 years ago.

Lori and I had been dating about five, six months in the fall of 1993. She was living at her childhood house on Milwaukee's far west side, keeping it up while her parents, who had moved to northern Wisconsin a few years earlier, tried to sell it. We used to go for long walks at night in her neighborhood and nearby Wauwatosa, just talking, getting some exercise and breathing in the cool fall air. I loved these walks.

As we walked through the residential neighborhoods, I would look at the fronts of houses, some of them with the window shades open, and wonder about the occupants inside. What were their lives like? What did they do today? Were they bored tonight after a long day of work? I didn't want to think that these homeowners w…

Internet intermittent

I'm fondly remembering the days of dial-up.

In 1996, my first foray into the Internet was via America Online. We got a disk with the new computer, plugged our phone into the tower, logged in, endured 30 seconds of an annoying connecting sound, and voila, we were online with a reminder that "You've got mail!"

It all seems so quaint now. We just take instant Internet for granted. Within a couple years after moving into our new house in 2003, we had DSL installed. Double-click on the Netscape shortcut (damn, Netscape sounds so quaint too -- I must have switched to Firefox very soon after) and I was on the web much sooner. And it worked better as well. It had to work better with the arrival of YouTube and websites that ravenously gobbled data. Songs would that would take 20 minutes to download from Napster (the nostalgia continues!) took only two on iTunes. DSL was wonderful.

Eight years later, our Internet is slow again. I thought maybe it was just my older computer, bu…

Paydirt

(Click here for my last post about fall and how nice Wisconsin is this time of year.)

Football is in the fabric of every fall. No matter how much I don't want summer to end, I know that football season is one thing I will look forward to every September. And yes, the football memories abound from all these autumns.

I blogged about my grandfather taking me to a Bears game when I was 9. That wasn't my first Bears game, however -- I went with my dad to one a couple years earlier -- nor was it my last. I saw my high school's football games; unfortunately, the four years I was in high school might have been the losingest stretch in the history of the school (1-8 my junior year, ouch). I saw my first college game at the University of Illinois when I was visiting friends in 1988, then saw a bunch once we moved to Madison. I covered high school football as a reporter. I collected football cards and 25-cent helmets from gumball machines. I played Tecmo Super Bowl. I still own a Mat…

Walk and ride

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(My last post about fall was from 1983; I'm zipping ahead to 1998 in this one)

We have lived in Utah for 12 years, and though there are some things I miss about the Midwest (SuperDawg and Leinenkugel's top the list), we don't miss the weather. Winters here aren't as cold and not nearly as snowy, May is absolutely gorgeous, summer is hot but not humid, and fall so far has been sunny and warm. That said, I miss the Midwestern fall, particularly the northern Wisconsin fall. The temps here in Salt Lake stay warm into October, it briefly cools off into sweatshirt weather, and then, it's winter. In other words, true fall is truly short. I don't mind the extended summer, but if winter is going to happen, you might as well enjoy the fall.

While living in Wisconsin, we didn't get up north in the fall to visit Lori's family as much as I originally thought we did. I can remember three fall trips and that's it, and one was a weekend to Wausau in which I was a z…

Living on the edge

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(Still reminiscing about fall, still looping back in time after my last post about 1995.)

In grade school, from 1981-1984, I was an altar boy at our church. I tell people this and get some snickering, considering all the scandals with Catholic priests over the decades, but that's the (unfortunate but sadly not inaccurate) stereotype and not the norm. I didn't mind being an altar boy, and it was the kind of thing that was expected for boys at our Catholic grade school (this was before most churches switched to altar servers, letting girls help out at Mass as well). But there was one Mass assignment altar boys dreaded: the 6:30 a.m daily liturgy. You usually only got it one week a year, but it was for all five weekdays, 6:30 a.m., in a near empty church. It was so early.

In September 1983, I likely served 6:30 a.m. Mass for the last times. I woke up around 6 a.m., got dressed, and if I was lucky, either a parent or my grandmother (if she was staying with us that week while my gr…

Mad fall

(My last fall post jumped from 27 years to 2006. Staying non-linear, this one falls back to the 20th century).

In October 1995, I got a new job. I had been working at a newspaper in Milwaukee since college, but after almost five years, I was still part-time. For the last 18 months, I was almost making full-time money with extra shifts, stringing and a temporary full-time assignment. But by 1995, I was still technically part-time with few benefits. I was tired of waiting for the promotion that wasn't coming (and became less imminently likely after the two papers in Milwaukee merged -- I was just happy to still be employed). I theoretically was going off my dad's health insurance at 25, and with Lori and I not quite ready to get married, I pushed ahead with a job search.

After a few interviews, I finally was hired in Madison. Lori and I were both so excited -- she loved her old college town, and I finally had taken the big step I had coveted since I graduated three years earlier…

October

October is orange and red and yellow. The leaves are these colors. The candy are these colors. The decorations are these colors. I dare you to find blue in October.

October is a sweatshirt. A fall jacket. Blue jeans are reintroduced this month. So are everyday socks.The sun creeps lower in October, but it still feels warm on your face when a cool breeze tests that sweatshirt.

October is the perfect month to run. Run for the soccer ball. Run in the woods. Run a crossing pattern. Run into leaves.

Life seems more settled in October. The two months before and the two after are full of transitions. Not October.

The moon is simply way cooler in October. You know this to be true. And this month, it's OK to be a little scared.

October is "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls and Tears for Fears' "The Seeds of Love." It's baseball's last, magnificent gasp. It's "Risky Business" and "Pulp Fiction." It's a rake and endless bags of leaves.