I am a hustler. Like the aptly named Ginger in Casino, I want my end. So when the Christmas season takes a full 21 days off my beloved Autumn, I look out for me. No it isn’t really Fall yet, but I snagged 16 days from Summer. Post-Labor day is Betsy Autumn. I am sipping a pumpkin spice latte as I write this. My year goes something like this: Autumn is Post Labor Day through November 30. Christmas is December 1 through December 29 or 30. Winter is December 31 through April 1. Spring is April 1 through May 31. Summer is June 1 through Labor Day. I used to try to adhere to the actual seasons. But tell Chicago it’s spring on March 21. When I lived in Oxford, Ohio perched so very close to the American South, it was quite easy to respect the seasons and their dates. I now reside near a giant inland sea that makes it’s own weather decisions. So I had to start interpreting them for myself. If Chicago had it’s way the seasons would look something like this: October 10 through June 25 = Winter. June 26-30 = Spring. July through September = Summer. October 1-10 = Fall. I cannot abide this.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. We live in America. There are five seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Christmas. I begrudge none of them, save for their respective pollen counts and shoveling requirements. Each have their own delights. Still root vegetables, squashes, spices, sweaters, beautiful leaves, crispy air, cider and myriad other seasonal delights are more than a few of my favorite things.
I let fall take right over in every area of my life. I change my wardrobe, my cooking, my reading, my movies, and even the way I approach my career. In lieu of Back to School, since I no longer attend one, I sort of make my own. I buckle down to the basics (new monologues, songs). I try to pick up a class. It gives me a back to school feeling without actually pursuing another degree.
Here are the ways in which I celebrate Fall:
- I switch the bathroom and kitchen handsoaps to a fall scent. This year, I picked up the Bath and Body works selections. Last year, I grabbed a pretty one from Marshalls called “Autumn.”
- I grab the seasonal shower gels from either Ulta, Bath and Body or something similar.
- I pick up fall scented candles and pull out the fall decorations. Usually I make a trip to Jo-Anns for more puttering.
- I put away my summer aprons, and hang up my autumn ones.
- I do a big seasonal scrub to clean up the sand and pollen of summer and make way for the coziness of the season.
- I make lots of teas, chais, hot ciders, toddies, and autumn-themed cocktails.
- I start out the season with a big batch of Three Sisters Soup and usually close it with my Fall Stew and/or some cassoulet.
- I pick up the October/November issues of Cooking Light, and sometimes Martha Stewart.
- I change the table linens to an autumn theme.
- I put autumny throw pillows on the couch.
- See previous posts. I put away my summer wardrobe and pull out the fall/winter wardrobe.
- I search through the September issues of fashion magazines and make a big shopping list for trends and classics.
- I wean myself off of flipflops. But first I do a deeper colored pedicure.
- I get a haircut, and often deepen the color a bit.
- Autumn is knitting season. I usually pick out a pattern to trudge through.
- I like to sew this time of year. This year I have three aprons to make for various people.
- Having grown up in the country, picking apples just sounds like (and is) work to me. Instead, I go to the library and pick up a bunch of cozy and spooky books.
- I like to stock up my pantry for those cold rainy nights.
- I try to go to Ohio because the leaves are so beautiful.
- I stop by Starbucks for a pumpkin latte.
- Usually I make my yearly pilgrimage to IKEA. They have great candles and it’s this time of year I like to do a lot of home improvement.
- While I am not a fan of picking produce for “fun,” I do like to grab a pumpkin or two.
- I like to visit places in the area that are rumored to be haunted.
- Pumpkin ales and spicy brews are so much fun this time of year.
- I like to visit my favorite speak easy, The Violet Hour, for their seasonal selections.
- Shopping for new clothes, and maybe even a school supply or two for old time’s sake.
- I have a list of movies I watch every year.
- Halloween planning!
- I love a fall get together with warm appetizers and autumnal cocktails, and mulled cider.
I’m not big on missing my junior high and high school years. And I CERTAINLY don’t miss church youth group. But with youth group, you had a guaranteed hay ride every year. Living in the third biggest metropolis in the United States, hayrides are few and far between. Sure I live in the Prairie State, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. At home, you have to narrow down the damn options. I also wish someone would put Disney’s Halloween Treat on DVD so I didn’t have to pathetically huddle in front of You Tube to watch it in 10 minute segments. I absolutely still dress up for Halloween should the right party come along, but I miss that in-school-and-in-costume feeling. I don’t work in a workplace that encourages any sort of holiday festivity. And I’ve never been a dress up for an office job kind of person. You see, my night job requires I dress in costume. It just feels creepy in an office. No, that elementary school costume joy is long past. Something else I miss with a vengeance is the annual field trip to The Garden Patch. The Garden Patch was a gardening center on State Route 66 in between Defiance and Archbold, Ohio. Every year, my class would hop the school busses for a field trip. We would pick pumpkins, go on hay rides, have apple cider and donuts, walk amidst gorgeous chrysanthemums and play in the leaves. It was grand. There was also the Apple Butter Festival at Sauder’s Village in Archbold. You could watch them press cider, make apple butter, pet the Clydesdale horses, ride the miniature train, buy candy at the General Store and generally have a grand old time. Nobody is stopping me from going to the Festival, per se, it’s just that “kid” feeling is a bit lost. Still, that “kid” did not enjoy trips to places like Jo-Anns and Homegoods. Now, she delights in it. I try not to dwell on the past. Especially since I turned 21. Heh. No childhood joy can beat the ability to legally buy liquor.
So off I go into Autumn sprinkling cinnamon-scented fairy dust in my wake!