Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall in the Desert

As a child growing up in Pennsylvania, I always loved fall and all the normal “fall” things that went with it: changing leaves, cool crisp days, sweatshirts, pumpkins, apple cider. As an adult, who lives in Arizona, I’ve sometimes missed these things. We don’t have the changing leaves. And we don’t get those cool “fall” days or sweatshirts until at least December.

But what we do get in the fall, mainly in the month of October, is some much anticipated relief from the summer heat. Yes, after four straight months of 100+ temperatures, where I often ask myself why, why, why (do I live here?), right as October hits, I start to remember. Just as my friends and family back in Pennsylvania start bundling up and getting ready to grin and bear a few bone-chilling months, I can finally go back outside again.

Now, fall for me means morning walks outside and taking the kids to the park because finally, finally, finally it’s back into the 80s again. (Yes, after a long summer we rejoice when it’s in the eighties. We may even pull out our jeans again and complain about it being cold at night when the temperatures dip into the sixties.)

I always find it interesting how the different weather creates such different feelings about fall for me. Back in PA, fall always felt like an ending – the last few days of being able to be outside and enjoy the world before it grew cold, frozen; watching the beautiful colors of the leaves just before they died and fell away. But here, in Arizona, fall always feels like a beginning – the start to a season of gorgeous weather, outdoor exercise, sunshine, and fresh dry air. Last week I felt positively cheery and invigorated because I got to start my day off with a morning walk each morning. I got to eat dinner outside on the patio. I got to wear jeans for the first time in six months.

And I love new beginnings. More than I love crunchy leaf piles and sweatshirts. I love them so much, in fact, that after ten years of living in the desert, I actually don’t even really miss all those “fall” things of my childhood anymore.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaves Crunch Crunchin'

My husband refers to Autumn as "football season." For him, September-October-November mean hooded sweatshirts, chili and the NFL. For me, it means apple cider, herb tea, beef stew, pumpkin farms and my favorite holiday: Halloween.

Although I'm always sad to see summer go (especially this year, since my son is a toddler and playing outside is the best activity for letting out some of that crazy energy), Fall always brings a kind of anticipation and child-like quality out in me. Maybe it's because as a kid, my grandparents would take me apple picking at an orchard each year. Or maybe it's because Fall is always synonymous with a new school year--new opportunities, friendships, teachers.

I love this quote by Sue Grafton: "I've never known anyone yet who doesn't suffer a certain restlessness when autumn rolls around...We're all eight years old again and anything is possible."

She says it much better than I ever could!

Each year, when winter rolls around, I whine and complain to my husband that we need to move south. Winter in Chicago lasts from about November-March--a good chunk of the year. And while I would certainly love beach weather every day, I think I would really miss this time of year. I can't imagine living somewhere where the leaves don't change color and the air doesn't have that jagged edge of crispness that promises to bring bone-chilling weather in just a few short months.

Just yesterday, I was in the middle of a particularly harrowing chapter of my work-in-progress. I hemmed and hawed over a particularly difficult character development, getting frustrated with each word I typed.

Then, suddenly, I heard faint voices out my window. I leaned over and peeked out and saw school-children getting off the bus, their feet crunch-crunching on the dried leaves scattered around the sidewalk. In their arms they carried pumpkins, ready for the carving. I smiled and remembered the kid-like joy of falling leaves and jack-o-lanterns. And then I turned back to my computer.

And you know what? That chapter turned out pretty good.

Oh, and congrats again to Parisa for winning the $100 Amazon gift card! Parisa, if you could please email us at Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Falling Leaves and Apple Cider

I talked about this last year, but I am totally an autumn girl. I love this time of year, when the temperatures drop without getting *too* cold, when the leaves begin to change color and are breathtaking to look at, and for me living in Ohio...this time of year also brings about fresh apple cider at the local orchards.

Can I say yum? Hmm, I think I just did.

I love, love, love this season. Well, except for the fact that I tend to have one cold after another from here on out, and that pretty much bites. But this year, I'm taking my vitamin C like a good girl, so I'm hoping to avoid too many colds this year.

Whereas summer seems to be about getting out and doing things, fall is more about staying at home and hanging with your family and friends doing indoor stuff. Whether that's baking the year's first apple pie, or playing board games with your kids, or getting ready for the holidays by doing crafty stuff (yeah, we do that in my house), or watching movies on DVD that were overlooked in the summer with all the outdoor stuff, fall--for me, anyway--is about home and family. And that's probably why it's my favorite season.

I suppose I could say the same about winter, but I tend to get tired of being indoors sometime around mid-January, and I definitely get tired of the snow after the second or third big snowfall, and then I start looking forward to spring.

But right now, January seems a long ways a way (shh, I know it's just around the corner), and I'm enjoying cozying up with my family, with good books, good movies, and everything else I like to do inside. What are your favorite things about this season? I'd love to hear!

And HUGE congrats to Parisa for winning the $100 Amazon Gift Card! Way to go!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contest Winner!!!

We've tallied up all the entries from our Blogoversary celebration and used to pick the winner for us. And the winner of the $100 gift certificate to Amazon is. . . Parisa! Parisa please send us an e-mail at with your contact info.

Thanks so much to all our old and new followers and to everyone else who entered and commented on our posts all month long!

The Novel Girls