Taking a few minutes off from tracking Sandy to catch up on the weekend.

With a deep sigh after a couple very busy weeks, things can start getting back to normal around here.

Last week was parent-teacher conferences/Fall Break at St. P’s. S. attended the sessions with M.’s and C.’s teachers and learned both are doing very well and are delights to have in class but tend to talk too much and not listen when they are instructed to rein in the verbal offerings. As I’m sure you will understand, if you’ve been reading this blog for very long, we were shocked to hear that criticism of our daughters. Talk too much? Really? I’m sure the staff at St. P’s will be thrilled to learn sister #3 may be the biggest talker of them all.

We decided to share our Fall Break with some friends who have boys the same ages as M. and C. and were also on their Fall Break. We spent some time at some sites that are more fun in summer, but still were a nice get-away from home. The kids played and had a great time. We took them to an orchard that had fun fall activities like a petting zoo, pony rides, a mini-corn maze, and a train ride through the grounds. The moms drank some wine and margaritas. The dads put away a lot of beer and watched some football. Short of going to a warm, tropical beach somewhere, it was about as fine a way to spend a Fall Break as I can imagine.

And not to complain about the weather, given what is happening on the East Coast right now, but Mother Nature sure didn’t give us any help over the weekend. Friday we were stuck inside because of chilly rain. We ventured outside long enough to get a small fire going and make s’mores. Saturday it was sunny and dry, but still felt more like mid-November than late October. We took a walk on a beach Sunday morning and braved wind chills below 40. The kids were distracted by finding dead fish, which for some reason was a huge thrill. We could have used the near-80 degree temps we had last Wednesday and Thursday.

We were so busy early Saturday afternoon, and were often out of AT&T tower range, that I put no mental energy into remembering to check on the KU score. Thanks to a text from my brother-in-law, I managed to get connected just in time to follow the repeat of the 2006 last second comeback by Texas. Only without Vince Young and a rather friendly flag this time. I don’t think Texas is all that great, despite all their future NFL players. But KU is definitely playing better than they were two months ago, and are much better than a year ago. There just happen to be nine pretty good teams in the Big 12 right now and that improvement isn’t likely to generate many W’s until the talent gets better and deeper. They’re not good, but they’re not hopeless either.

My weekend buddy is an Indiana born-and-raised Catholic. Although he is an IU alum, he has some love for Notre Dame. He was pretty excited as we watched the Irish knock off Oklahoma Saturday night. There’s still plenty of football to be played, so who knows whether they’ll be able to snag a BCS title spot. But I kept thinking ahead not to the next month, but to next fall. The Notre Dame hype is going to be deafening for the 2013 season. So not only might Notre Dame be back, but so will hating Notre Dame.

Nice win for the Colts Sunday. The first road win for Andrew Luck, a big division road win, and a terrific finish after a pretty ho-hum first three-and-three-quarters quarters. Or however long it was. I’ve tried to watch this season with an eye towards where the talent upgrades need to come over the next couple years. They need to rebuild the defense. They need someone to come in and learn from Reggie Wayne before he is done. But they’ve got to get that offensive line fixed pronto. You can’t build around a franchise quarterback if he’s getting battered the way Luck gets hit. The Tennessee defense is not good, and Luck was still running for his life all day.

So I guess we have to admit Peyton is for real, don’t we?

Speaking of Peyton, do you think he gets upset every time he sees a commercial that has either Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers in it? I wonder if he is especially annoyed by the Brees ones, thinking, “If I wouldn’t have thrown that pick six in the Super Bowl, all those commercials are mine!”

A bit of a Ho-Hum World Series. Pablo Sandoval going Reggie in game one was pretty cool. And the other three games were tense pitchers battles. But sweeps are never all that entertaining for the casual fan with little to no rooting interest.

Commercials I will not miss once the baseball playoffs are over: pretty much none of them. Between the 8 million Samsung commercials each night and the cesspool of political ads, I’m ready to quit watching live TV for awhile. The Direct TV ad with the couple in the bathroom is pretty good, though.

Time to go batten down the hatches before our 50 MPH gusts hit later today. It’s been an early fall in terms of leaves falling. But I’m pretty sure the few leaves we have left will be gone this time Wednesday.