Monday, October 13, 2014

Thank you, Columbus.

Columbus Day is that holiday Monday in October that just cannot be ignored in Massachusetts. Even if it's cloudy. 
Mid October = PEAK foliage.
On Columbus Day, there's NO excuse for staying put.
You must drive. And LOOK all around you.
But, as the woman who said the prayer at church this week put it when she sent her words Heavenward, "Thank you, God, for this beautiful Fall Foliage. BUT. I would ask all the drivers: PLEASE. Keep your eyes on the road. AMEN."
Yes. AMEN. But DO look. Safely.
If you haven't visited our neck of the woods this time of year, put it on your bucket list. NOW. And call ahead for reservations. Or you might have to settle for the overflow guest accommodations in the basement. I'll be HAPPY to host a Fall foliage tour!
As we were running errands (ALL.DAY.), I would look out the window and gasp, and point, and find myself saying things like "Who gets to drive around in this colorful place doing mundane things?--Oh right.  WE DO."
And so we did.
Taxiing students, shopping for wedding apparel, repairing eye glasses, picking up contacts, visiting the barber shop and BEST of all, delivering our UMass student Enrique, back to his place in Amherst; with clean laundry, some honey crisp apples and a few tupperware containers of food.
He hadn't been home since this summer.
We love him!

 And we love his wheels.
We also love his taste in food...
He introduced us to some Syrian Falafel sandwiches.
Falafels are a traditional Middle Eastern food--they looked like mini donuts, but are deep fried balls of ground chick peas.  The man who ran the shop gave us the FULL verbal history of the Falafel, and insisted that the Syrian version is the best. He kept giving us samples with his signature cucumber yogurt dressing (with mint) that was DELICIOUS.  The Falafels were then wrapped in Syrian bread (YUM) with a choice of fresh ingredients inside.  DOUBLE YUM. If you haven't tried a Falafel, I am happy to heartily recommend the Syrian version.

 I am also happy to heartily recommend the drive home from Amherst. We stopped no less than six times to take pictures.

 And, as a reward for his patience, I took my traveling companion to Kimball's, where we purchased our LAST ice creams of the season. They always close up shop on Columbus Day. For that one tiny thing I am not so grateful, however, the whole Columbus Day package in this area is pretty fantastic.
Come SEE!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

the college girl is thriving

People have been asking me about how our Sweet Mesquite is doing since I dropped her off in Idaho, oh, about a month ago now.  Here's the first-day-of-school picture with her room mate and partner-in-crime she texted me:
Truth is, she's making college two thousand miles away look like FUN.
She cooks/packs her own meals, likes all of her room mates, plays in the University Band, was asked to be the Choir Director at church, has joined an Ultimate Frisbee team/league, and goes Country Dancing for fun.
 I think she likes it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

running cross country

It's been a Fall of running across the country. In the space of two months I will have flown across the United States and back again three times. I'm about to gain a daughter and officially don the title of Mother-in-law. I'm getting ahead of myself. Meanwhile, here on the home front, Morning Boy of the fourth grade has been running almost everyday for the Middle School. He was excited to run on the cross country team and has been happily engaged in this activity without a cheering section for almost a month: life has been competing for my attention. This week I was finally able to see him race.
 He's pretty serious, and tries to best his time from previous meets.
 I'm a big fan.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

#latergram : apple picking

A few weeks ago we went apple picking.
It's one of our very favorite family traditions.
 Our fake adopted daughter (REAL friend) Ellen met us there.
Ellen and Leeli are BFFs.
They can't wait to get the party started whenever they're together.
The thing is,
there are a lot of RULES at this orchard we love...
we joke about the challenge it is for this particular group to have to follow so many rules.
(they climb each other instead of the trees)

So there we were, 
minding the rules and enjoying tradition,
when what to our wondering eyes should appear, 
but our fake FAMILY!
They may or may not have had plans to pick apples on the very same Saturday, 
and decided to surprise us in our happy place.
We like to call them the Swiftcombs.
That's what they call us, too.
There was frolicking in the apple orchard
On the hay ride
and racing through the corn maze.
It was the most REAL fun to be had on a Fall Saturday.
Thank you Mr. Dub, 
for ensuring that tradition 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October Photo Walk

I love my walks.
October has sure come into herself... showy bursts of color every where you turn. I'd love to have you alongside me so I could point and exclaim "Oh look! Isn't it beautiful?!?"
Yesterday I took my camera with me to preserve some of my favorite colorful spots.
 Even the poison ivy looks good in October.
 It will be good to look back at the glorious departure from summer when we're enduring the long cold winter ahead.
 Fall in Massachusetts is just stepping off.
The days are filled with mostly mundane (although important) tasks, but we can perform them for the next two months in the most glorious of settings.
 I'm grateful for the awareness that it's good to pause and acknowledge the beauty all around.