Only 94

autumn coffee Today’s projected high is only 94, which is cool for early September in Texas. Break out the parkas. At least it’s not terribly humid.

Still, the softer light of waning summer makes 94 feel less intense at this time of year than it did a month or two ago. Autumn here isn’t the cool, crisp experience it is in New Jersey or Colorado, or even northern California. It’s more of a gentle glide from brutally hot, through comfortably warm, to kinda-sorta sweater weather.
The leaves still fall. The light still changes.

But until November we’ll be wrapped in golden warmth.

Welcome Autumn

autumn coffee

Autumn has always been my favorite season, and even though it doesn’t technically begin until tomorrow night, I wrote about it for Sunday Brunch over at All Things Girl this week. You can read it THERE or you can listen to it on my podcast HERE.

I’ve been a bit off-kilter this last week, staying up too late writing, waiting for updates from my parents who live in La Paz, BCS, Mexico and weathered Hurricane Odile last weekend (they still don’t have power, but Los Cabos is nearly flattened, so it’s all relative).

I pre-ordered the new iPhone 6 plus and it arrived on Friday, and I’m already in love, but I spent a good chunk of yesterday downgrading my iPad Air away from iOS 8 because iOS 8 breaks Audiobus, which means that podcasting apps don’t work.

I have lines to record for two different projects, but my voice is icky. Tomorrow is my studio day. Someone hold me to it.

It’s hard to believe September has just zoomed by and we’re almost into October.

I love fall.

Also? I’m ready for the mosquitoes to die.

Thursday 13: Falling for Fall

Autumn Running from

I haven’t been blogging lately – the need to do so ebbs and flows, and that’s okay – but I woke this morning to the sight of frost on the neighbor’s rooftop, so thought I’d share a list today in the grand old Thursday 13 tradition.

  1. Onomatopoetic Environments: Crunch! go the leaves beneath our feet. Creak! go the trees as they are pushed by the wind. Groan! go the pipes as hot water rushes through them. Hiss! says the heater when we cave in and turn it on.
  2. Sweater Weather: We’ve settled into the time of year when we can wear long sleeves or a light sweater during the day, and bundle into comfy cotton-flannel pajamas in the evening.
  3. De-bugging: Okay, we still have a few mosquitoes here in Texas, but there are fewer of them, and the stragglers are sluggish. If only the fleas would go away, as well.
  4. Cozy Mornings: Birdsong, soft light, whuffling dogs, fresh coffee, oatmeal with craisins, lingering over coffee…
  5. Guilt-free Baths: I might still take bubble baths in summer, but in fall I don’t feel like I have to justify the need to soak in steamy, sudsy, lavender-scented water. Also? I love the tingle on my skin, when I step out of my warm bath and into the chill air of the bathroom.
  6. Frost: Frost counts as a “weather event” here, and we’ve just had our first glimpse of it. I love the way the sun melts it away, oh, so slowly, as warm light replaces cold.
  7. Fall Produce: Yes, our modern society allows us to have squash and apples year round if we really want it, but food tastes best when it’s actually in season. Pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, root vegetables, and apples – fall foods, all.
  8. Soups and Stews: Fall is soup weather. Rainy days, cool nights, and the need for easy lunches all mean that my crockpot gets a workout. A recent favorite? Chicken and sweet potato soup. So delicious.
  9. Quilts: I have no desire to step back in time and live on the prairie with the Ingalls family, but I do love the way a warm quilt doesn’t just serve a purpose, but is also a piece of art. I have books on quilting, and all the required materials, and yet, I never take the leap into making a quilt of my own. Must. Fix. This.
  10. Lamplight: This is a frequent theme with me, but I love the soft light of lamps, as opposed to harsh overhead lighting. I also love streetlamps, and fall is when you get to enjoy deep twilight and glowing streetlights in prime form.
  11. Figure Skating: I’m not a big follower of sports. I’ll watch the occasional baseball or hockey game. I like seeing soccer players in those tiny shorts. But the sports that I actually look forward to are horse racing (in spring) and figure skating. Skate France is on tv this Sunday. Guess what my plans are?
  12. Festivals: I’m a sucker for a good small-town festival, and fall is rife with them. Apple festivals. Pumpkin festivals. Craft fairs. Harvest fests. Even the state fair. Some are cheesy, it’s true, but it’s good to embrace hometown corn once in a while.
  13. Antici…pation: Even without the knowledge that Christmas is creeping ever closer (or we’re creeping closer to it, as the calendar is fixed), fall always fills me with anticipation. For holidays, for seeing family, for favorite foods. For the first local performances of Nutcracker. For the first time I see my breath when I take the dogs out in the morning. For the sense that all of the dying leaves and dwindling greenery isn’t an ending, but a Great Preparation for all the things yet to come in the next week, month, quarter, year.

For more of my thoughts on autumn, check out last week’s Sunday Brunch post, Sunday Brunch: The Light in Autumn over at All Things Girl.

Delicious Autumn!

And so summer has ended, and autumn has begun. It seems a bit of an anti-climactic beginning, however, since today’s high temperature was a distinctly summery 97 degrees. Autumn Running from But then, it’s not as if the earth can read a calendar, and even if the day was warm, by five-thirty the light was pale and thin, and there was an edge to the heat.

Autumn is my favorite season. I love crunching through crisp fallen leaves when I walk the dogs – hell, I love that it’s cool enough to walk the dogs without their feet burning or their owner melting into a puddle of sweaty goo. I love the different vegetables that come into season, the weather that begs for soups and stews. I love the way my creativity increases as the nights grow longer, and I love that my ritual Saturday evening baths don’t make me feel like I’m wasting hot water because it’s hot outside.

But autumn has another side, too. The side that reminds us that all things eventually wither and die, the side that reminds us that such death is a normal part of the life-cycle.

I was watching the 2006 production of Company on Netflix earlier today while folding laundry. (Raul Esparza is brilliant, by the way. His version of “Being Alive” is chilling.) There’s a line uttered by the character Joanne that goes something like, “We’re too young to be with the old people, but too old to spend time with the young people. We ARE the generation gap,” and that line really struck me today. Okay, I’m older than Robert’s 35(ish – there’s a throwaway line which suggests this is not his first 35th birthday), but our whole population is living longer, so it’s reasonable, I think, to feel similar. (Anyway, Joanne was older than Robert).

They say the unexamined life isn’t worth living. My recent examinations have taught me that I have young energy, despite being 42. (My dentist had my birthdate in front of him, and he and his assistant both thought I was barely 30). I’m not even close to my own autumn yet. If anything, I’m just entering mid-summer.

I may not be ready for the autumn of my life any time soon. But the autumn of the year? Bring it on, in all its colorful deliciousness!

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
~George Eliot

Cafe Writing: Feels Like Fall

No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.
– Samuel Johnson

In improvisation, one of our exercises is a game called “Seven Things,” in which we go around in a circle giving each other the challenge, “Give me seven things that [whatever].” We are not going to go around in a circle here, but if you’re drawn to lists, this prompt is for you.

So, give me seven tastes or scents that define autumn for you.

  1. Ozone. Autumn rain smells sharper than the rain we get in summer.
  2. Smoke. It’s not quite time yet, here in Texas, but once the evening temperatures dip lower than 63 on a routine basis, fireplaces are put to use once more.
  3. Squash. Fall brings pumpkins into vogue, of course, but it also means a return to hardier squashes: acorn, butternut, spaghetti, instead of crookneck and zucchini. I love both the scent and the flavor of harvest squashes.
  4. Apple cider. Sure, it’s available all year round, but it’s only in autumn that you can visit a fair or festival for freshly pressed cider. Sweetened or not, hard or not, with or without cinnamon, chilled or steamed, cider is the one thing that really means that summer is waning, at least for me.
  5. Soup. I love soup. Once the weather begins to turn, it becomes my habit to make soups and stews on the weekend. There’s nothing like something warm and spicy bubbling on the stove or in the crockput, available whenever either of us takes a break from whatever project we’re puttering with.
  6. Heat. I know heaters and furnaces aren’t supposed to have scents, but after a summer of disuse, there’s still a dusty musty smell the first few times we have the heat on in the mornings. It should trigger allergies, but somehow it smells comforting, instead.
  7. Caramel corn. I don’t eat it very often, but there’s something really warming about the buttery/sweet/salty scent and flavor of caramel corn, especially when it’s combined with a rainy day and a great movie.

Written for the Anniversary Project at

Feeling (Almost) Like Fall

Yay Rain? It’s no secret that I love inclement weather, as long as it’s rain and not snow. Even cold rain. I just don’t do “serious winter.”

It should be obvious then, that I’m excited about the weather projection shown in this image. Now, please understand, as much as I want that rain to be “scheduled” and not merely “predicted,” I’m most excited by the projected overnight low on the last two days being below 70 degrees.

Ah, it’s the little things.