A tiny taste of fall…

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Is it just me, or does August seem to be the longest month of the year?  I’m always so ready to say goodbye to the sweltering heat and humidity here in Houston (even though, typically, we will still be in the 90s for most of September) and to start celebrating pumpkin everything.  August is just that pesky 31 days standing in the way. This year, even though we are still suffering through ‘dog’s breath’ weather (a very appropriate term coined by a local meteorologist), I have seen some signs that relief is coming.  It may not be soon, but it’s there on the horizon, waving faintly in the distance.

First of all, we had a bonafide cool front push through town last week – this never happens during the summer!  It was nice to be able to get out and walk on a couple of cooler and drier mornings. I’ve gone back to walking on the treadmill at the gym because the weather has been brutally hot and it was nice to get a break.

Second, on a visit to Cracker Barrel for dinner, I discovered their country store was already decked out for autumn, including this goat milk lotion scented like Caramel Pumpkin Spice.  This stuff smells amazing (just like fall!) and every time I put it on I’m picturing apples and acorns.

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My favorite part of fall is Halloween and I’ve learned that one of the Spirit Halloween stores near us will open on August 9!  This is probably too early for some people, but I can’t wait! My son is also a fan and visiting these stores has been part of our yearly ritual since he was a preschooler (he’s now 22).  I’ve been watching with envy as others on Instagram discuss the earlier opening of their local stores and now I see it’s something that’s going to happen here too.

When I start seeing these signs, I know fall is right around the corner…

And the last thing that has captured my interest is the noticeably shorter days.  This is my least favorite part of fall, but I have noticed that I’m able to get to work before the sun fully rises, a true sign that I may need to break out my sweaters (ok, probably not yet) but I’m fully reveling in all these little signs.  It may be the only things that enable me to make it through this next month!!


Holiday Nerd

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“Holiday nerd”- I think this is the perfect term to describe my complete fascination with all things holiday.  And it’s not just the major ones like Mother’s Day and Halloween that I enjoy, my calendar is full of all sort of lesser known holidays as well.  World Otter Day? Yes, it’s coming soon, Wednesday May 29. Food holidays? Yes, please! Pizza day was February 9, pretzel day was April 26 and doughnuts actually have two days for celebration, the first Friday in June and November 5.  I mean, if any food deserved two holidays, it would have to be doughnuts! Even kale gets its own holiday- the first Wednesday in October, though strangely, I keep forgetting to put that one on my calendar. Hmmm.

The really weird thing about enjoying holidays so much is that I am basically a minimalist and those two things seem to be in direct conflict with each other.  Wouldn’t someone who loves holidays have tons of decorations? Easter tea towels? Halloween pot holders? Christmas shower curtain? I’ve seen all of those, but am content to leave them in the store.  Maybe that actually helps a bit? My celebration of most holidays doesn’t involve unboxing and boxing all the things, which really isn’t much fun.

I am not sure where this obsession comes from.  When I was really small, I loved Halloween (and it’s still my favorite holiday).  I remember being a preschooler and dressing up in one of those cheap molded masks that come with the plastic cape.  It was a struggle to see out of the eye holes, but I kept watching the sky, sure that I might see real live witches flying around on brooms.  And I really loved Christmas too, just not Santa Claus (as you can see).

I think part of it is my work history.  My very first real job was working in a fabric store, then I moved down to the other end of the mall and sold shoes.  My next job was as an assistant manager for a card store (also in the mall, this was the 80s) and that was where I stayed until I went back to college. I was totally immersed in all the occasions and I guess it really imprinted on me.

I’m also the type of person who thrives in routine and absolutes.  That is probably another reason I like holidays so much. The transition from one to another is hard coded in our culture, even more so than the change in seasons.  I know that winter will transition to spring, but it is less exact. Will the winter cold linger or will it warm quickly? Will the groundhog see his shadow? Will there be a late freeze?  There is really no hard fast rule, each year is different. But I can guarantee on December 26th, before all the cookies have been eaten or the clearance bins have been emptied, that the stores will be putting up Valentine’s products.  And after that will come Easter and then Mother’s Day and so it will continue in the expected cycle. No matter what else happens in the world, I can count on that.

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