Falling In Love

It finally happened. The day I had been lusting for since mid-July arrived. Last week, the temperature mercifully dropped to 49 degrees. My joy was boundless, my enthusiasm unrestrained. I celebrated in the traditional fashion of my Nordic ancestors by running naked in my backyard screaming “Jeg elsker ikke sveder!” (I love not sweating.)

Okay, I didn’t run naked (I was wearing my p.j.’s) because besides violating some city codes I’m sure it’s against a HOA covenant. I can see right it there next to fence height and width of pickets – “no person(s) shall run a lap around their back yard while donning nothing but their birthday suit.”

You see I have had a life time love affair with chilly weather. It completes me. All you summer lovers can take your clinical strength deodorant, your moisture enriched body parts, flimsy flip-flops, and your triple degree temperatures and go sit beside a dozen Costco space heaters because it’s the fall dang it and we should glory in it.

No, you know what that’s not even good enough. We should respect not just fall but the seasonal change in temperatures. This is a major beef of mine because we live in the Midwest. We’re not Gulf of Mexico or plain old Mexico adjacent so why do we grouse when the temperature finally reflects the wonders of autumn?

As I was driving to work on that chilly October morn with the windows slightly down so I could be blasted with nippy air thus making my car’s seat heater even more delicious I was in my element – cold and cozy. If fall was a food it would be Kettle Corn because it delivers a ying and yang of temperate experiences.

My euphoria was doused when some fools, yes fools, on “news” radio began complaining about the “freezing weather” and wondering when would summer be back.

That was it for me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled my car into the nearest parking lot, found the stations number and gave them a ring-a-ding- ding. I felt duty bound, in the name of seasonal equity, to let these goofs have it.

As I waited for my call to go through I couldn’t decide which way to approach the topic of “hey idiots.” Should I be very motherly and explain in no more than two-syllable words what fall is? Surely they should have learned that in school.

Hmm, maybe I needed to go scientific and discuss with them that 49 degrees is not technically freezing and that perhaps they should put on a sweater and get over themselves.

Or would a public shaming be more appropriate? The duo on the radio were long-time residents of Kansas City. They were supposed to be hearty Midwesterners that can swagger walk through epic snow storms and endure the ravages of ice without so much as a pair of mittens. Not, cry babies who were upset that had to wear long sleeves and perhaps closed toe shoes (gasp!) for a couple of days in October.

Since I couldn’t figure out the best way to make my case for fall I was going to go full cornucopia and just blast them with all three. First, a quick primer on what fall is, followed by a basic science lesson on what constitutes freezing and then a no hold barred scolding (I consider that my specialty).

Finally, my call was answered and I was ready to go. Ugh. It was a recording. I had to resort to text which is not nearly as satisfying, but as autumn’s unofficial champion I was not going to be deterred. Fall repaid me for my effort by soaring into the 80’s three days later.

Sigh.

I Love You Fall!

I’m glad summer is over. 00b41e4efd6fb742f647b26aa76be188There are only so many bad hair days one girl can handle. Plus, I’m beyond excited to cover up my arms.

This Armageddon thing is new for me. Before last week I had really never thought about my arms, but there I was in Nordstroms “helping” my daughter shop for a homecoming dress (ie keeping my opinion to myself and trying to stop from rolling my eyes while she proclaimed every dress “grandma.”

I wanted to say, “and by grandma do you mean an article of clothing that allows you to exhale without a body part trying to escape?) when I caught the quickest of glimpses of my arms in a three-way mirror.

Good Lord, what hell hath time wrought? The back of my arms looked like Pillsbury braided breadsticks with extra “popping fresh” action. And there was this roll of dough doing a whole swing low sweet chariot thing and swaying.

It was a little hypnotic. I couldn’t stop myself from lifting my arms and just staring at the to and fro action. In the cup half full department I think I could take my arms to Vegas and do some sort of hypnotism act on the strip.

I can see it now. I’m standing on stage in a sleeveless dress and ever so slowly I raise my arms and chant, “You are getting very sleepy.” The next thing you know I and my let’s call them gifted, upper appendages have managed to hypnotize a crowd of gamblers into giving me their $5.99 all you can buffet coupons.

But enough about my Armageddon. Let’s move on with my love affair with fall that trumps summer in almost every way. The biggest win for fall is no more time spent at the pool. It’ not that don’t like water. I love swimming. I think in a former life I was porpoise.

I was about to say dolphin but then I remember a porpoise is basically a dolphin’s portly doppelgänger. So porpoise it is. (I don’t know much about the porpoises fins, but I’m sure they’ve got a little more meat on them. Hmm, maybe I should add a porpoise to my hypnotist act if I ever do the Vegas thing. Just a thought people don’t get overly excited.)

Sadly being at the pool isn’t all about getting wet. You’ve got the hot mom squad to navigate (or splash). These are the women that go to the pool in bikinis, high heels (note a 4 inch wedge flip-flop qualifies as a heel) and makeup. Then they spend their time not in the water (you know because that would make sense) but strolling the pool area like it’s Fashion Week in New York. Ugh.

Here’s fun fact for you. Any mom who gets all gussied or tarted up (I’m channeling my Grandma Stella there) to take her kids to the pool is not to be trusted. Think about, now think about it some more. Uh huh, I’m right. You’re welcome.

To make matters even sadder some of these moms, who do look amazing I’m not going to take that away from them, have on smaller patches of lycra than their teenage daughters. The only bit of gratitude I received from my daughter this summer was a “I’m so grateful you’ll never look better in a swimsuit than I do.”  For sure she’s got nothing to worry about on that front.

One of the reasons I may not be a swimsuit model can be blamed directly on fall. It’s a delicious season that celebrates stuffing yourself. How great is that? From Halloween candy to the Thanksgiving chow down it’s one big yum.

Summer is not so yummy. It’s all about watermelon and cucumber fasts. In the fall you get to reap the mighty health benefits of a pumpkin cleanse. (In the did you know department pumpkin is one of nature’s richest sources of alpha-carotene. Take that kale detox smoothie .)

My typical cleanse features pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cheesecake and a pumpkin cinnamon roll which may be as close to heaven as I’ll ever get.

Who cares if all that alpha-carotene leads to a muffin top? It’s the fall just throw on a hoodie and stuff that extra pumpkin roll into your jeans.

You know your special “fall size” jeans. The ones that are stretched to capacity and ready for all the autumnal bounty you have to offer. Then tell yourself you’re going to burn off all those calories raking leaves. You know just as soon as there’s no more football to watch.

Alpha-Carotene Nutritional Squares (aka Pumpkin Bars that will make you go weak in the knees) I first tried these bars at Williams Sonoma a couple of years ago and I kept going back for samples until I was aggressively scolded by one of the sales associates. Was I embarrassed? Hell no. A girl’s got a right to get her pumpkin on. 

-1 package of yellow cake mix; set aside 1 cup

-1/2 cup butter, melted

-3 large eggs

One jar of pumpkin butter (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)

-1/8 cup milk

-1 T. flour

-1/4 cup sugar

-1/4 cup butter, softened

-1 t. cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Mix the jar of Pecan Pumpkin Butter with two eggs and milk. Pour this result over the cake mix. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into 2″ squares. (Or 4 inch or maybe throw caution and your daily calorie intake to the wind and just eat half the pan.)