Is it still summer? Or autumn?


Well, this doesn’t look like summer! It’s September 13, still a week away from official fall. Some of you consider Labor Day the end of summer. And retailers? Ugh. It’s Halloween and Christmas already.

I haven’t packed away my white pants and flip-flops yet, and this is a wonderful time to go to the beach, even if I wear fleece and clutch my travel cup of hot coffee in those early morning hours.

These photos are from my walk today, so maybe it is autumn! I bought apples this week and made applesauce with cinnamon. I’ve been whirling up my breakfast shake with pumpkin purée, cloves, nutmeg. That’s fall, right?

Apparently the neighbors are ready for October! But I’m a lifelong New Englander, so I know the temperature could climb back into the eighties this month. That pumpkin could turn to mush.

This evening I’m barefoot but wearing long sleeves. The windows are open, but I put the big quilt back on the bed. My husband needed his sweatshirt because I won’t close the windows. Come on, it’s 64 degrees at 6:30pm!

So….are you holding on to summer or sliding happily into autumn?

Got Pumpkin?


I’ve been a poor blogger lately, but with good reason – my sixth novel is nearly finished!  I’m down to my last twelve pages of rewrites, and have devoted much of this past summer to that task, so that the book will be out by November. And here we are at the end of September, so what better way to take a break than with some pumpkin talk?

It’s here, it’s seemingly everywhere. Pumpkin-spice (insert brand here). marshmallowsIngredients: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Cornstarch, Dextrose, Water, Gelatin, Contains Less Than 2% of Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (Whipping Aid), Natural And Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1.

OreoIngredients: Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid, Palm and/or Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 3 Lake), Paprika Oleoresin (Color)WheatsIngredients: Whole grain wheat, sugar, contains 2% or less of brown rice syrup, cinnamon, ginger, gelatin, nutmeg, allspice, annatto extract color, natural flavor, BHT for freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), zinc oxide, vitamin B12.And how about that pumpkin-spice latte? This is what you might get:

DD pumpkin syrupIngredients: Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt.

How about you make your own? Here’s my favorite fall breakfast:

pumpkin smoothie

  • 1/2 banana, frozen (50 cal)
  • 1/2 scoop PLNT protein powder (chocolate or vanilla) (55 cal)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (50 cal)
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (45 cal)
  • pumpkin pie spice (however much you want)

Blend it and love it! Here’s the nutrition information: 200 calories, 5g fat, 27g carb, 12g protein

And the best part? It’s real.

pumpkin-simple-image

Time


It’s not time to change the clocks yet – that’s almost a month away (November 4th for the US). We’ll have a brighter morning (for a little while) and darkness will fall a lot sooner! On those weekends, one in the fall and one in the spring, I walk through the house advancing or decreasing the clocks. And we have a few:

Whimsical

This one is on the wall of our bedroom. We bought it in Wickford, at a shop that has gone out of business. It complements the white, distressed bedroom furniture and reminds me of Bermuda. Even though I’ve never been to Bermuda.

Alarm

This is Jim’s alarm clock. I don’t need one anymore! He sets it for 4:30 on weekend mornings, because he has two long days and hates to rush, but he’s almost always awake before the alarm goes off with its annoying, persistent beep-beep-beep.

Nautical

This little one hangs on the wall in our bathroom upstairs. It doesn’t seem to work anymore, but I don’t care. It’s heavy brass with little nautical flags around it, and I like it.

On the piano

This little battery-operated clock sits on the piano I rarely play anymore. It was a wedding gift from one of my mother’s friends, and it fits in anywhere. I just pull the whole face off and change the battery when it slows down.

This clock is in our downstairs bathroom. It looks like it belongs on a boat, doesn’t it? We bought this one in Wickford, too, probably around the time we thought we’d have a boat. Then we realized we’d need a boat guy, too. So we have the clock.

Chelsea Shipstrike Clock and Barometer

This was, I think, the gift I gave to my husband on our 10-year wedding anniversary. It has to be wound every week, and he gets a little recalcitrant with that sometimes. He silenced the chime because the dog went crazy every time she heard it.

Kitchen clock

This one came out a bit blurry. It sits high above the window over our kitchen sink, and says “Chateauneuf-du-Pape” on it, like the label from an exquisite bottle of wine. Also from Wickford (seems like every time we were there we had to buy a clock!). The clock is great, but I’d rather have the wine!

Bonnie Raitt sings in “Nick of Time” ‘life gets mighty precious, the less there is to waste.’  Don’t we know it!  A clock will let you know what time it is, but not how to spend it. Enjoy the weekend!

The End of the Week and Month


photo by Jim McVeigh

September 28th? Seriously? The calendar tells me so, as does the cool, damp day. My bare feet are cold, but I’m happy about that. Socks are good.

This week had a little of everything:

  • The plumber stopped by on Tuesday morning at 8:30 and departed at 3:00 in the afternoon. We thought it was a minor fix, and I still think it was, but the very nice guy really didn’t know what he was doing. He left at 9:00 to pick up a part and was gone for two hours. Then his boss showed up, presumably to do the aspect of the job the nice plumber couldn’t do. We were housebound. I’m used to that, spending most of my day indoors writing anyway, so it didn’t bother me all that much. We’re still better off than the neighbors, who bore the worst of it two and a half weeks ago when one of the underground pipes malfunctioned (I don’t know what happened –  it was blocked, it broke, whatever it was, it’s been a problem). They’re still not able to return home (we’re attached to each other as condo owners). How’s your infrastructure?
  • On Wednesday, we entertained my 80-year-old father-in-law all day. God love him, he’s a character. He thought it was one of the best days ever because he took us out to breakfast at the Beacon Diner (if you don’t know it, just picture your hometown diner, one you like). Heavy, salty breakfast – just the thing for people who work the fields all day. That’s not us. They do have great johnnycakes, though. Because he’s tethered to his portable oxygen tank, he really can’t do much other than sit, so he sat. All day. And we couldn’t leave him alone, so we sat with him, re-running episodes of Boardwalk Empire Season Two. I’m Nucky’d out. Then it was off to dinner. I needed a juice cleanse the next day.
  • I noticed that the person who had given my book a two-star review took it down. I didn’t really think it was justified, although I do accept that not everyone will like the book. Maybe she had a change of heart. Maybe she read my blog post about bad reviews.  Today I discovered that someone different (I hope, at least) had posted a two-star review. This woman, ‘Mommyofone,’ couldn’t even finish the book. Yikes.
  • Meanwhile, I plow ahead with my second novel and try to figure out what else I can do to get noticed. Maybe nothing. There are a lot of books out there, many of them very good, and I’m thinking maybe I need to get this second one out, have people like it (maybe I can convert “Mommyofone” to give me four stars). So, back to work.

Whatever you do this weekend to ring out September, make it memorable!