Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

memorial church red leaves blue sky

In mid-September, I posted a fall list (as is my habit). Here’s how it’s been going:

apple trees blue sky

  • Drink chai and bake something with pumpkin. I’ve been mainlining chai, and I’ve baked pumpkin bread and mini pumpkin whoopie pies.

chai journal pencil case darwins

yellow leaves boston blue sky

tealuxe emily deep valley maud hart lovelace

corita kent be of love

anne of avonlea dahlias

  • Read a few “deep TBR” books. I’ve read a few and gotten rid of several more.
  • Try three or four new recipes. I’ve tried five: a Mexican vegetarian lasagna, spiced Moroccan chicken and baked spaghetti and meatballs (all from Real Simple). Plus Jenny’s new favorite weeknight chicken, and her butternut squash pizza.
  • See Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella onstage. Abi and I had a lovely afternoon.


  • Sip the occasional glass of Cabernet with a friend. Yes.

What have you been up to this fall?

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one day hh 2015 graphic

Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children.

We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.”

—Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

On Tuesday, Laura hosted her annual #OneDayHH challenge– a simple call to document the details of our everyday lives. I participated last year, and enjoyed playing along again this year. I thought I’d share my photos, because I like having a record of it here on the blog.

quilt morning light

My morning began with the snooze button, and the muted grey light coming through the window. I always make the bed. Since the nights have gotten chilly, we are sleeping under this quilt my husband’s grandmother made him, years ago.

yoga mat leggings

I’m still starting a lot of my mornings with the yoga app. Often that means I go straight to the mat, in my pajamas.

dish rack kitchen

After a hot shower, I put the kettle on and tackled a pile of dishes from Monday night. (We had burritos, hence the rice cooker, cheese grater and guacamole bowl.)

anne of the island scone mug

Breakfast was a scone (one of Molly’s) and tea, with a few pages of Anne of the Island. I love Anne and her college adventures so much.

laptop kitchen table

The hubs had a mid-morning break and came home to drop off some groceries. We sat at the kitchen table, talking, for an hour. So rare these days, and so good. Then I spent a while longer at the table, writing and editing and answering emails. (With more tea.)

weird sisters novel flowers

I’m participating in #NaNoReadMo this month, so I took a break to share my glowing recommendation of Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters.

soup crackers notepad book

Lunch was leftover butternut squash soup, with cheese and crackers and The Art of Travel.

train platform book

I headed into Cambridge after lunch, waiting for the T in a chilly wind (with Alain de Botton for company).

leaves boots bricks

The leaves are falling in great piles, and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo on the way to Darwin’s.

laptop darwins chai

I spent the afternoon here: chai, emails, writing, more emails. A little noveling.

rainy beacon st boston

I put my phone away for the evening, which included an overdue catch-up with a friend. We took a long walk, ate our favorite pizza, talked for hours. Later, I walked through the rain to catch the subway home.

jer apple cider

The hubs got home from rehearsal right after I did, and we drank apple cider at the kitchen table and debriefed on the day. (And then we collapsed into bed.)

I love Goldberg’s words about saying “a holy yes” to the details of our lives. And I love this project – capturing my own details and seeing those of others.

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harvard yard fall golden leaves

November is often a tricky month for me. The days are abruptly shorter after the fall time change, the long twilights of September and October suddenly snipped off like a ribbon. There’s a chill in the air most mornings, and I have to adjust to a different seasonal rhythm, the angle of the sun somehow melancholy even when the sky is vivid blue.

golden leaves sunshine

This week, though, has been one of almost unreal perfection: a glorious stretch of Indian summer, wherein (to quote L.M. Montgomery) “November dreamed that it was May.” I have spent hours in Harvard Yard, on the wide south porch of Memorial Church, perched on a bench or the concrete steps, sipping chai and scribbling in my journal or typing away at my laptop.

Every few minutes, I pause to look up as a breeze sends a swirl of golden leaves fluttering down from the trees. It’s like living in a postcard, or catching a glimpse of an enchanted forest.

harvard yard path trees light

Sometimes I think that if I watch hard enough, I can almost see it happen: the sun’s angle shifting gradually, the golden leaves falling one by one from the trees. The slow, elegiac turning of the year, the bright flaming out of orange and gold before the bare branches emerge to line the sky through the winter months.

orange gold leaves blue sky

Every year, it is a challenge for me to savor these last weeks of fall without dreading what comes after: the long, dark New England winter, which requires every bit of courage (and snow gear) I possess. I love the light, and like Dylan Thomas, I rage against its dying.

yellow leaves dormer windows harvard yard

But this week, I have felt cocooned in this quiet golden world, nourished by these bold blue skies and mild breezes and glowing, fire-bright leaves. I have stopped in my tracks so many times, looking up (and sometimes down), marveling at the colors, snapping pictures, soaking it up.


It all feels like a moment of grace, a gift. And for that, I am grateful.

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katie shaw hill cowl purple

“I haven’t felt like knitting for months,” a friend lamented last week. She has an excuse – after all, she had a baby this spring – but I agreed with her. After an absurdly long, cold winter, I couldn’t wait to exchange my heavy knitted cowls and hats for lighter scarves. I put down the needles in May and never looked back.

Recently, though, I’ve pulled out a few handknits as the chill in the air has grown more pronounced. I’m not ready for heavy-duty winter wear yet, but I’m enjoying the chance to wear fingerless mitts, or snuggle into a scarf or cowl with my favorite green coat. (I knitted the purple wrap above this winter, but had forgotten how soft and cozy it is.)

Also, as ever, the good folks at Innocent Drinks are sponsoring the Big Knit, encouraging people to knit wee hats for their smoothie bottles to raise money for Age UK. I’m easing back into knitting with these tiny hats – a few at a time while J and I watch football or catch up on Modern Family of an evening. (Bonus: they are so quick and satisfying!)

All this talk of knitting also has me browsing Ravelry for new patterns, and dreaming of bigger projects to knit for others or myself. My favorite yarn shop in Boston closed a couple of years ago, sadly, but I’m thinking I may have to order some yarn online soon.

Are you a seasonal crafter, like me? Any patterns you’re dying to knit (or crochet) this fall?

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anne of avonlea dahlias

I’m not going to lie, y’all: October has presented a few challenges around here.

I adore fall in New England: crisp air, bold blue skies, vivid leaves, fresh apples. But the days suddenly grow shorter in October, presaging the difficult winter ahead. The seasonal shift, as Christie has so eloquently articulated, leaves me feeling a bit raw and vulnerable. And the daily struggles have been piling up.

I’m job hunting, as you know if you read this recent post. That ongoing strain is starting to tell on me – and on my husband. I’ve been fighting what I think (hope) are season-change allergies, and as we turned our heater on to combat the first few cold nights, it kept sputtering and switching off. We have made six service calls in three weeks, and though the repairmen are always prompt and polite, I just want it to be fixed. (Preferably before the snows come.)

As if that weren’t enough, I lost my wallet – a beautiful red Kate Spade wallet I adored, full of vital bits and pieces that had to be canceled (bank cards) and/or replaced (driver’s license, subway pass, health insurance cards). And on the way to church recently, my husband and I were in a fender bender. No one was injured, and the other driver readily admitted his fault, but still. We can’t seem to catch a break.

While the big stuff is driving me insane, I’ve been taking refuge in small triumphs: the little tasks that, once completed, give me a (sometimes disproportionate) rush of satisfaction.

something good mug porch

The button-down shirt, crisply ironed. The broken curtain rod, reattached. The perfectly brewed cup of tea; the vase of flowers trimmed and arranged. The book review, written and polished and sent off on time. And, related to my wallet loss: the phone call made, the paperwork dealt with, the brand-new account opened or ID card replaced.

I’m hoping some of these big challenges will smooth themselves out before long. But until then, I have to say: tackling a sinkful of dirty dishes or finishing off a few knitted smoothie hats can feel awfully rewarding.

What kind of small triumphs give you a rush of satisfaction?

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red yellow leaves autumn light

“The climate changed quickly to cold and the trees burst into color, the reds and yellows you can’t believe.

yellow leaves boston blue sky

“It isn’t only color but a glowing, as though the leaves gobbled the light of the autumn sun and then released it slowly.

red leaves blue sky light

“There’s a quality of fire in these colors.

memorial church red leaves blue sky

—John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

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tea makes everything better sign

As the days grow gradually shorter and the temperatures continue to dip, my tea consumption has shot up alarmingly.

This happens every fall: after a summer of drinking blackberry sage or ginger peach tea with breakfast (and a very occasional cup in the afternoon), I start mainlining flavored black tea like it’s my job.

I stock up on certain blends when the weather begins to feel fall-ish: Boston (cranberry almond) and Cranberry Autumn (cranberry orange) from Harney, pumpkin chai from David’s Tea, lots of Earl Grey. I love the chai lattes at Darwin’s, but I mostly brew my autumnal favorites over and over again when I’m at home.

This season, I’ve been enjoying a few new teas from a company called Plum Deluxe in Portland, Oregon.

Andy, the founder of Plum Deluxe, emailed me recently to ask if I’d like to try some of his blends. I was especially intrigued by the Reading Nook tea (what a great name!), but told him I also like Earl Grey and other flavored black teas. He sent me three samples (in a purple envelope):

plum deluxe teas

The Reading Nook blend has a black tea base, but it’s very floral: it involves lavender, rose petals and chamomile. The Vanilla Latte tea (a black tea base with honeybush tea) has the sweetness of vanilla and the spice of cardamom. And the Mindful Morning tea is my favorite – it’s a twist on Earl Grey with vanilla and an extra hit of citrus.

I’ve been enjoying all three – at the kitchen table, or on the front patio when it’s warm enough.

something good mug porch

I love my standby teas, but it’s fun to try something new once in a while. And I’m always happy to spread the word about a small business that’s doing something I love. If you’re a tea drinker, I’d encourage you to check out the Plum Deluxe website.

Happy sipping! What kind of tea do you like to drink in the fall?

I received free samples of these teas in exchange for an honest review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post.

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