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Happy First Day Of Autumn

September 23, 2008

It’s my favorite time of year! I love fall so very much. It’s not as nice here in the Bay Area as it is in Oregon (all orange and red and crisp and smoky and misty…) but it’s still my favorite. I’ve got to get out and take some autumn photos, maybe up in the hills.

And, in honor of the season, a list!

1. What are your favorite autumn foods and beverages?
Autumn is totally my favorite time of year for food. I can’t wait to start cooking with butternut squash, maple, apples, pumpkin, warm spices, sage, potatoes… I like all of it. I love anything butternut. I like to make Mexican hot chocolate (and I found a fancy brand I want to try this year). I’m going to try making marshmallows this year. I want to make an apple pie before September is out. I’d like to make a baked pumpkin. I can’t wait to make gingerbread men. For some reason I have wanted to make these for the past four years and I just haven’t gotten around to it. This year I will. I have to remember to buy a big package of Red Hots before they get all bought up as the holidays get closer.

2. Do you have any fun things planned for this fall, such as attending an autumn festival, going apple picking, hosting a Halloween party, etc.?

I would love to go to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, but we probably won’t go this year (maybe next year!). However, I plan to read only spooky books in October, and I want to decorate our entryway to look like a haunted library, with old-fashioned decorations like paper bats and pumpkins on the stairs. My office has a pretty big Halloween party every year and if I get my act together maybe I’ll come up with a costume.

3. What has your autumn weather been like so far? What is your area’s autumn weather typically like?
Since autumn just started, I can’t really say what the weather has been like, but all indications are for a fairly typical Bay Area/East Bay autumn, with warm sunny days and crisp nights. Which is all fine and good but I totally miss my Oregon Octobers. However, the light does do pretty things here in the fall, and Alameda trees obligingly turn pretty colors for a few weeks. Also, Alameda goes crazy for Halloween decorating, which sort of makes up for the boring weather.

4. What will you be doing for Thanksgiving this year? Do you usually have a traditional one [turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries], or do you eat out or fix a nontraditional menu on Thanksgiving Day?
I have no idea what we will be doing for Thanksgiving. Last year, we spent it at home, just the two of us, with a strange Thanksgiving ‘feast’ which nobody really felt like eating for one reason or another. Generally, we just make the traditional dishes that we like. Since we’re vegetarian usually it’s a big starch-fest, which is totally fine with me. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, a vegetable dish, homemade rolls, a salad. I really don’t know what we’re doing this year but if it’s just us again, maybe we’ll do something different. I’d like to make a really good salad, maybe a fancy pot pie, some homemade bread, and a fancy dessert. We’ll have to see how it goes!

5. Some people start Christmas shopping in October. Do you?
Oh brother. I’m starting to hate Christmas. Well, that’s not true. I just hate how it starts so early and the stress builds in the air all around us. I do try to get all my shopping done by the end of Thanksgiving, but I try not to buy very much — instead, I usually have a Christmas Craft Project that I do with my friend Lara, which fulfills all those office-gift occasions, neighbors, etc., and is a fun thing we do together every year. Then my holiday gift pool is pretty small and I generally try to only buy what I think someone would love, which makes me happy as well. I try to make the gift-part pretty small and focus on the things that I do enjoy, like trimming the tree, making cookies, looking at lights, watching old holiday movies, and designing our holiday card. Although I’m thinking of doing a Valentine’s Day card this year instead.

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