Fall went by quickly, at least for me. On October 1st I began driving students and getting up at 4:30am to get to the bus base early. I came home between shifts to rest my eyes and eat lunch, then went back out for the afternoon runs in my big yellow bus, getting home in time for dinner, an evening walk, and an early bedtime. By the weekends I was exhausted, both from lack of sleep and the stress of learning a new job.
We didn't take any big day trips this fall. A quick visit to various demonstration gardens and p-patches (like the one pictured above) was good for me.
I found these mushrooms growing on a log near where I park my car at the bus base. Every day there were hundreds more, and they grew a little bigger. I enjoyed watching them spread, and then turn to slime and disappear about a week later.
The girls were as enthusiastic as ever about the maple leaves this year, even though it never really dried out enough for them to play without getting soaked in the process.
I witnessed a crime and was called to the police station to give a statement. (Can't give any details here, because it may go to trial). I found this sign on a door there and thought it was a brilliant use of space: combination jail and firing range. I imagined how crime might be less popular if there was the real threat of inmates becoming targets on the firing range.
Big sister came for a quick visit from San Francisco.
Our favorite farmers retired, so we had to make do with grocery store pumpkins this year. Trader Joe's to the rescue!
I made a "squash bus" for the bus base Halloween party.
The girls loved my little school bus!
Mommy was too busy to make or even suggest costumes this year, so the girls came up with this on their own. They are 100 years apart in time: a city girl from 1955, and a country girl from 1855.
Our health insurance doesn't cover vaccines, so as usual I waited for flu season to heat up and the county to offer their free vaccination clinic. There was a windstorm and just as we arrived to begin our 45 minute wait, the power went out. I was grateful that the nurses just continued on, utilizing lanterns and headlamps.
Little K is smiling because she qualifies for the nasal mist vaccine. Brave A chose the needle. Unfortunately I was denied a vaccine, because I was honest on the intake form about having a reaction (bright red, hard rash) to last years' shot. I was told I needed to go to my own doctor and receive the shot under observation, in case I had an anaphylactic episode and stopped breathing. Of course, without insurance to pay for this, I'd end up not being vaccinated at all, not something I was happy about, given that I work in close contact with children, some with vulnerable immune systems.
Our neighbors invited us down for desert, which turned out to be a surprise birthday celebration for Daddy. They played the Beatles' "When I'm 64" song on a smart phone for him, and we all sang along.
November gave us some surprisingly mild and dry days, and one evening we gathered around the fire bowl for the latest-in-the-year (November 23rd!) weenie roast and marshmallow toasting ever. I love our neighbors, and how we can just gather spur the moment like this. The kids run up and down the street knocking on doors and calling their friends out to join the fun.
I made the annual Wednesday before Thanksgiving run to Costco. They had pallets full of pies, and hair-netted ladies would approach your cart asking how many pies you needed, before cheerfully placing them into your cart, to keep the crowds moving. One of the bakers (pictured above in the blue shirt) was wearing a Go-Pro camera strapped to his chest, making a documentary short about Costco's Pumpkin Pie frenzy. I wish I could have seen the finished film, but I suppose it was for internal use at Costco Headquarters, which is across the street from the Costco I shop at.
A had not seen her cousin for a few years. Now they are teenagers, and they practiced their flirting skills on each other. They also had fun with our massive boardgame collection.
On "Black Friday" we did NO SHOPPING and stayed home. Little K spent hours crafting. Above she is making a foosball game out of shoe boxes and clothespins. Note the cats working hard at relaxing.
A and I played a dozen different board games. This one is a 1980's Ravensburger game from Germany.
We did the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, as is tradition. Often we challenge ourselves to get it done in 24 hours, but we kept taking breaks for board games and card games, so this one lasted the whole weekend.
Even though I wasn't "out there" in nature, going places, and doing things as much as I had in previous years, I think it was still a memorable fall for the girls. Now that I am working, and they are in school more hours as well as dealing with more homework, things are just different.