Posts Tagged With: Fall

That Annual Fall Longing


It’s that time of year again when everyone else is getting blissful fall and it’s in the 90s in Southern California.  The only fall we’re getting is in the merchandise in the grocery stores.  I will admit that the Roger’s Red is turning brown. I’m pretty sure that’s not fall color, though, but instead it’s being scorched by the sun.  Until about 2 weeks ago, it was over 100 almost every day.  And almost 110 about half of the time. I guess we could pretend?

It’s worse this year because my mother is in Maine and posting pictures of fall colors.  She even has gourds in her planter boxes and mums on the outdoor deck.  There’s nothing prettier than fall in Maine, even after the colors fade and it becomes this stark brown and gray gorgeousness.  It makes me wish California was like that.

Instead, I’ll be putting up the Halloween decorations this weekend.  And maybe thinking about bean soups and squash for dinner.  It IS getting colder at night, I have to admit.  I’ll be crossing my fingers for cold days, with hopes that by the end of October we might be able to have the first fire of the year in the fireplace.  If I can’t have real fall I’ll have the manufactured variety, thank you.

Fall means that this kid is almost here.  We’re just under 2 months now until my due date, and we’re all but ready.  I’m 100% ready.  This pregnancy just gets harder every day with all the joint pain I’m experiencing, although my other symptoms aren’t terrible.  At least I’m sleeping well.

This kid is getting BIG.  You don’t even always need to touch me to feel him moving now.  Especially at night, his strong arms and legs make my stomach visibly ripple.  He’s still measuring exactly in the middle on everything he should be.  He’s already head down, and likely to stay that way.

It makes me think that maybe he’s a more cooperative fellow than I thought he was, after hiding behind my belly-button during ultrasounds and swimming away from the wand all the time.  We’ll know soon enough, though.

I’m eating dates, pondering Caster Oil, raspberry leaf tea, and pineapple juice, and crossing my fingers that this kid is ready a few weeks early.  November 12 would be just about perfect, sir.  Especially because then it would mean that I could get one of those adorable turkey onesies and you could wear it at Thanksgiving.  More fall for all of us!

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A Smidge of Fall. Maybe.


Fall in California is a precarious thing, because it’s never quite right.  I have a giant deciduous tree in my yard, and I planted the Roger’s Reds specifically because they observe the seasons.  You would think that would give me enough Fall to go on with.  Well, we’re well into October and the grape vine is still mostly green, with about 2 leaves starting to go red around the edges.  The tree is still verdant.  The purple and red sages on the walking trail Brian and I traverse every morning are blooming bright like it’s still full summer.

But if you pay close attention, we’re getting a little bit of Fall after all.  Brian and I have turned off the AC and have opened the windows, blowing the cold in with a box fan.  There aren’t any screens on the bedroom window, and that means that the kitten likes to hang half of her body out the second story if I’m not careful about closing it during the day.  Otherwise, she’s sitting in front of the screen door downstairs and chittering at the moths as they dance around the porch light.  The other two cats don’t care; they’d rather snuggle on the couch.  I have put up all the Halloween stuff, and the living room and dining room are awash in black and orange.  Just the way I like it.

Brian rolled over on Sunday morning and realized I was awake.  “If we get up now, we can probably catch the sunrise at Caroline Park,” he said.

Caroline Park is a tract of land that was left to the city in the 1930s.  It features about a mile worth of trails in a recreated sage brush environment, with a huge grass meadow on the Eastern side that isn’t connected to the other, natural park.  Brown bunnies hop through the bushes, and thousands of birds trill in the trees.  In the distance is a stunning view of the Redlands valley with mountains and sky as a frame.  It’s surrounded by a neighborhood, but it’s still exceedingly quiet.

So I threw on workout clothes, and we arrived at the little park just in time to watch the clouds over the trees turn from deep pink to bright yellow.

As we walked the trails in the new morning, I realized that it was officially Fall here, if nowhere else.  The California Buckwheat had turned black and willowy, with the auburn buds of dead flowers blooming on the entwined branches.  Some of the trees had already dropped their leaves, with only drooping yellow figs still clinging to the white bark.  We sat on a park bench, and the tree above us fluttered a speckled leaf of red and black onto my lap.

We sat there for a while, listening to the birds shout at each other in the morning, and watching the bunnies hop around, their little white tails disappearing into the bushes at the sides of the trails.  And then I went home to my green, green house.

It’s supposed to be 95 again by Friday.  One of these days I’ll get to turn on the fireplace, I hope.  I just know it isn’t going to be anytime soon.

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Fall Dreams


It’s a weird time of year in Southern California.  The kind where I’m ready for Fall – for sweaters and boots, plenty of tea, rain dripping from the rafters, the Roger’s Red turning scarlet on the front of the house, cooler temperatures, fires in the fireplace.

But not likely to get any of it.

Well, I suppose I am getting cooler temperatures if you want to go with semantics.  Today it was 85 and not 100+.  But still, no sweaters, tea, fires, or rain.  I won’t get any real “Fall” until December, probably, the way things work around here, unless I decide to go to the pumpkin patch for the manufactured variety.  Christmas is about when the Roger’s Red decided to turn last year, and the giant tree on my lawn to drop its leaves.  Sigh.  It seems deplorably far away.

So instead I’m looking at pictures on my Tumblr feed and feeling envious.  I’m trying to think up stories that are Halloween themed.  I’m pulling out the spider earrings, which I can wear despite the temperature.  I’m contemplating fall jams.  Last year, the nutmeg persimmon jam I did was really good…  And there has to be something that can be done with the Ichabod Crane story that hasn’t been thought of before, right?  Maybe?  Maybe not.

In the garden, I’m taking stock of all the plants we lost to the heat.  The lemon tree made it through and so did most of the front garden, though the Butterfly Bush is traumatized and we lost a Sweet Pea hedge and a rose bush.  Don’t worry, the umbrella plant I abhor took its place.  And speaking of things I want to rip up, it’s time to get the tomatoes out, too, in prep for next year.  They’ve officially given up the ghost and aren’t fruiting.

That’s all from home.  I hope that wherever you are you can enjoy the flannel I can’t.

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Finally Fall


I’m feeling fairly unable to write this week.  Probably because I’ve been keeping up a 3,000+ words a day schedule in order to catch up with Nanowrimo (it’s going okay!).  But maybe also because I’m always of the opinion that you shouldn’t be that political on the internet and this week is all about politics of the angry, screamy kind.

So instead, let’s talk home stuff.

This is the season when I get to be more of a homebody than ever.  Brian and I upgraded our couch to a new one (it was more than time), and the new thing is nail head-studded, linnenish, and has these shiny round furniture feet.  Best of all, it has a chaise so Brian and I can lounge all over each other when we’re watching TV.  It matches the dining set we bought last year pretty well, too.  So, basically we’re looking stylish.  I’m already drooling over curtains.

We re-arranged our bedroom last weekend, too.  It feels bigger and more cozy simultaneously.  This house has so much more room than our last tiny apartment, so I raided everyone’s art stash when we moved in (and by everyone’s, I mean my mother’s), hoarded any frames I could get my grubby fingers on, and got creative with fancy paper, posters, internet print-outs, and cut up calendars.  It still wasn’t enough to fill the bedroom.  I remedied that this weekend.  My favorite is a print of a boat on a lake with a starry sky behind it that says “It was beautiful, but difficult, to sail it.” It’s a Tolstoy quote, from Anna Karenina.  I can’t seem to find the translation I used now, but here is the whole quote from a different version:

“At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy motion of a boat on a lake, he finds himself sitting in it himself.  He found that it was not enough to sit quietly without rocking the boat, that he had constantly to consider what to do next, that not for a moment must he forget what course to steer or that there was water under his feet… it was pleasant enough to look at it from the shore, but very hard, though very delightful, to sail it.”

It makes me warm every morning, waking up to it.

I have the ukulele out, and I’m learning new Thanksgiving songs.  I’ve been madly scouring the internet for chords to “Plenty to be Thankful For,” from Holiday Inn, but can’t find anything I don’t have to pay for.  We’re having dinner at my house, and I’m making pickles (among other things – but the pickles are new – from Jack-At-A-Pinch’s recipe).  The Roger’s Red grapevine is just starting to turn a little pinkish around one or two of the leaves.  The oranges in the grove across the street are turning bright again, and this means that the stand down the street will have them for sale again soon.  We had the first fire in the fireplace last weekend.

Now if only I can manage to serve the turkey on time this year, my contentment will be complete… (I should clarify that by “I,” I mean I’ll be helping Brian with the timing.  I have large amounts of freak-out when I try and prepare the dead bird for roasting, or attempt to carve the thing, so he’s the official cook, because he’s awesome).

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Fall, Daylight Savings, and Exhaustion


Oh man, it’s Monday and time for a blog entry again, isn’t it?  I’ve been a bit out of it, and Daylight Savings doesn’t help…

Last week I presided over a huge extravaganza of events at my work.  2 days of a cadre of complex stuff.  It all was terribly exhausting, but went well.  I also got to work from the President’s kitchen on Thursday.  That was definitely the highlight of my time at Scripps so far.  Her house is BEAUTIFUL, and we used it as home base for our event guests since we’re between presidents and no one is actually living there right now.  It’s an understatement to say that it was lovely. Catering had left fresh flowers everywhere.

In the middle of that crazy was the Chapman Pumpkin Carving Contest.  Brian’s department had won for 3 years in a row, but everyone was SO BUSY this year.  They usually get planning about a month before everything happens.  This year they had a few days.  On the nights I wasn’t working late, Brian and I stayed up and made Memorial Hall (where the President’s Office is located) out of poster board so a mini-DeLorean could time travel onto the campus and they could pass out “Save Memorial Hall” pamphlets.  They defended their title, so they’ve now been winners for 4 years running.  I’m officially married to an award winning fellow, several times over.

Prizes were Harry and David pears… Brian brought me 2 of them as a thanks for mini-buildings.  I do not know why those pears are the best things in the entire universe, but they are.  I ate the second one for breakfast this morning.

I am now smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo.  It’s going well – so far, I’m ahead.  Crazy, right?  I’m never ahead.  I think the fact that the book is all in Epistolary form is helping me.  It’s easy to write several billion letters.  And if I need to cut out half those letters in the future, it’s also easy to do.  I’ll tell you right now, though… I’ve been doing one Scrivener chapter for each letter and my sidebar looks NUTS, it’s so full.

That’s about all from the realm of Caseyville.  I have not had nearly enough cuddle time with the kitten lately.  The weather is finally cooling off a bit here, though.  I have optimistically bought firewood. I’m determined to have a fall, whether the California drought lets me or not…

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Is it Fall Yet? How About Now?


I am so ready for the fall that it is obscene.  It was 109 last weekend in Redlands, and that makes me a very, very unhappy camper.  Basically, I just hibernate in the air conditioned house while panicking about the electric bill and trying not to turn on the stove. That’s no way to have a weekend. This summer has been so hot and weird.  At this point, cold might have been a myth we all imagined we experienced last year.  It’s hard to believe it will ever come again.

I have discovered the full amazingness of Riley’s Farm this weekend.  Brian and I went to their big band dance Saturday night and had a wonderful time lindying in the barn to their mock Andrews Sisters band and eating the best green beans I have ever had.  There was a costume contest, and some people looked really authentic.  I was SO impressed with the couple that had on perfect 1940s air force/WAC uniforms.  They won the giant pie.  But there were plenty of high-wasted pants, wing tips, and short, stumpy ties.  Brian and I did the pseudo-forties thing and didn’t enter.  He wore suspenders and a trilby (not period); and I wore a lovely polyester dress from the 1980s that is a decently 40s-esque blue print and twirls nicely when I dance.  We haven’t been out in so long that we spent most of the evening laughing as we messed everything up and tried not to step on each other.  I made a failed attempt to Shim Sham to “God Bless America” which may have been slightly inappropriate.  We WILL be back next year.  Maybe even in better costume.

I found out that Riley’s also does a “Christmas In the Colonies” dinner during December.  You HAVE to come dressed up to that one (big band was optional).  We probably won’t attend, but that hasn’t stopped me from planning out my entire 18th century wardrobe, and Brian’s too.   I’m not a crazy history nerd, you’re a crazy history nerd.  But seriously, colonial garb has me salivating just thinking about it.  I want to make Sense and Sensibility Patterns’ Portrait Dress (the brown version on the website: in forest green velvet with a cameo on the cream satin sash.  Because that’s not likely to cost a fortune or be way above my skill level or anything…

But that doesn’t stop a girl from dreaming.  I am also dreaming about fireplace temperatures, and the Roger’s Red grapes turning color.  I’m looking forward to getting out the Halloween decorations next weekend.  I WILL be wearing spider earrings.  Oh, weather, won’t you cooperate?

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Maine (!!!)


I should be deliciously happy that I’m going to Maine in only a week. And I am, in theory. There is something about Maine that is healing. I get to longing for those gray shores and crisp nights. I dream of the smell of fresh cut grass and the waving umbrella tops of Queen Anne’s Lace in the fields. The hole in my heart grows bigger the longer I’m away, but it’s become something I just bear. I can’t ever get to Maine as much as I’d like to. One trip will tide me over for another few years. My roots will have tasted home soil and I will feel much better, I’m sure.

This is the first time my sister and I have been sans fellows on a family trip in a long time. They’re nice to have around, of course, but it’s a different kind of trip without them.  I’m looking forward to it.

I have big plans to finish draft 5 of the novel, staring at my laptop screen until all hours of the night. I will be inside, but I will know that the stars are shining brighter outside my window than they ever do in California. In Maine you can see the Milky Way cutting across the dark sky. In California I am lucky to pick out Orion. My sister and I will also visit with my grandmother’s sister and see what Salem is like the week before Halloween. I plan to eat lobster, watch the boats chug by out the (new) French door, take lots of pictures, and follow my whims in all things. The Queen Anne’s Lace will be frozen into submission and the fields will be brown, but the forests will be full of color and the fierce, reedy beauty of Fall in Maine will be out in force.

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That is why I am not yet deliciously happy. I want it too badly, so surely work will rescind their permission for me to take time off. Or Brian will find that he cannot spare me for a week. Or something unseen and crushing will conspire to ruin it. Until I am on that plane…

But, no sense in being a total pessimist. I have bought brown oxfords and have dug my sweaters out of the depths of the bottom drawer. Maine, here I (most likely) come!

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