Fall on Me. Please!



It’s been hot and muggy and if I lived some other place, I’d swear we were in for a tornado or something creepy like that.


But I don’t live some other place. I live in L.A. and summer has been holding on for dear life, desperately trying to keep autumn at bay. That hasn’t worked, of course, as today is the first day of autumn, no matter how hot it is.


Part of my soul struggles a bit this time of year. I expect signs of fall. Like crisp days and yellow leaves. I expect to need a sweater now and then. I expect these things and I miss them, as they’re simply not part of my Los Angeles experience. I’ve spoken to folks who grew up here, and they’re mostly fine with what passes for autumn in these parts. Sure – it’s warmer than it used to be, but L.A. natives never knew football weather growing up. For them, all is well.


Mister and I have lived here for decades now, and I suppose I should try to let go of my childhood dependency on season changes. If that’s even possible, I mean. Because maybe I’ll always feel a bit out of place when autumn rolls around. Maybe I’ll always feel out of step with nature.


Maybe I should just learn to love the damned palm trees. I can try, but I’m not making any promises.

Fading Light



The light is changing faster and faster. Morning darkness lingers and evening darkness hurries. It’s beautiful really.


And I daresay it’s our only indication of a season change. You see, friends, we’re expecting 90-degree temps for the next couple of weeks. Heck – some are predicting we’ll hit 100 this weekend. That’s so messed up I can hardly stand it.


But back to the light… It’s lovely. It’s slanted and it’s angled and it’s tinted like autumn. And I love it. Truly.

You Have Got to Be Kidding



This week promises more 90+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles, right through the end of the week. That would be the start of October, for those keeping track.


Yesterday I read a report about “Indian Summer” wrapping itself around parts of the UK, and how folks there are soaking it up. I saw photos of people in shorts, grabbing some sun, as well as pics of kids running along rocky beaches. When the article got around to telling the expected high temperatures, I about fell off my chair: 68 degrees F.


A lot of us around these here hills would give part of a pinky toe for 68-degree weather. We don’t have to do that, however, as it wouldn’t matter anyway. The heat is here for a while longer and that’s all there is to it.


Even though the azaleas by the back door have gotten so discombobulated that they’ve bloomed as if it’s spring, other parts of nature are right on track. Our tomato plants finally looked at us, threw up a few spindly branches and said, “No mas.” So yesterday Mister ripped them all out and cleaned the area. (I would have helped, but as I have a few days left of The Crud, it seemed prudent to avoid inhaling all that dust.) As I watched through the window and saw Mister remove all signs of our abundant garden, I felt a little sad. I know I go through this every year, but for some reason this year tugged at my heart a bit more. Maybe it’s age. I don’t know. But each passing season seems to chip away at this sweet life. And though I hope to live for a long, long time, I am all too aware that everything comes to an end.


But I digress. Yes – summer is officially over. And yes – it is still Satan’s-Butthole-Hot here. But there are also subtle indicators of the autumn that is yet to come. And it surely will. For now, I can’t believe I’m still getting in the pool. You have got to be kidding me.

Scratch That



I thought last weekend, being the true final weekend of summer, was the end of pool time. Well scratch that.


See – when I think I understand the weather, it goes and flips things around and stymies me to no end. Take this week, for example. Here we are, a few days into autumn, and Los Angeles has hit mid-90s temperatures all week. Not only that, but it isn’t cooling down much at night. That, friends, makes for a mighty inviting pool.


So Mister and I are indulging ourselves – getting in a last blast of float time. Even with The Crud, I’ve taken to the waters to help me feel a little less fever-y. That cool pool is doing the trick. And it’s almost October, for cry-eye. That weather is such a show-off.




It’s been hot here. H-A-W-T hot. And that, friends, does not make for a proper segue into autumn.


But I can’t really do a danged thang about that, so I’m going to make like an ostrich and put my head in the sand, and pretend it isn’t hot outside. (And yes – I know that whole ostrich-head-in-the-sand thing is a myth, so please don’t try to school me. Thank you.)


The temperatures may be suggesting otherwise, but autumn is here, nonetheless. The morning light is changing, and the evening sunset is bowing sooner and sooner each day. My internal shift has occurred as well, and that is controlled by nature and not by the weather. And if all that isn’t enough, I now have a change-of-season sore throat. Right on schedule.


Still – I’m excited for autumn! I’m excited for change! I’m excited for life! Hallelujah!

Summer’s Last Weekend



Wednesday will mark the first day of autumn, which means yesterday was the last Sunday of summer.


As yesterday hit 103 degrees in my neck of L.A. (I kid you not), it was prime pool weather. Mister and I jumped in together and hung out a while, getting our core temps down. The good ol’ pool did the trick, and we felt nice and cool the rest of the day.


This week we’re slated for temps around 90, but the nights should be cooler. That means the pool temperature will continue to drop. Because I’m too much of a wuss to get in a cold pool, yesterday was probably my last swim of the season.


I’m not gonna lie – I nearly shed a tear when I thought about that. I’ve ruminated on “lasts” before, so doing now isn’t new for me. Being aware of it, however, is rare. Usually our “last” experiences carry no fanfare, no announcement. Knowing yesterday’s pool fun was the last of the season made it special. And I loved it.


The pool will still be pretty to look at, and I will surely appreciate having a view of water outside the rumpus room. But my next swim will probably be next summer. Which is crazy, but true.


Stay cool, pool shark. Stay cool.

Cheers to Summer!



The other night I was outside, grilling some grub. I decided to have a sit-down and a little vino.


This weekend is sort of the unofficial end of summer, and I for one am not quite ready to let go. I know the kids have been back in school for a few weeks now, and that doesn’t make a lick of difference. This kid is still enjoying herself. Still wanting a bit more pool time. Still wanting to cook outside. Still wanting to relish daylight as long as possible. I’m not ready for early sunsets or winter food or a change of season. I’m just not.


But I’ll ride it out, just like everyone else. And when the time does come, I’ll transition into autumn. If I know me at all, I’ll probably be grateful and excited and all smiley about it, too.


But for now, cheers to summer! It’s been pretty fabulous, and I’ll take every drop I can get.

Fall Back



This weekend marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. (Set your clocks back one hour late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.)


I, like a lot of folks, look forward to falling back and “gaining” an extra hour. It’s a ludicrous idea, of course, but I still see it that way. Always have. And if it hasn’t quite felt like Autumn around here, waking to utter darkness certainly will boost the feeling.


I happen to love Autumn. I happen to love sweaters and scarves. I also happen to love sleep. And this weekend I hope to savor every precious second of that gift of an extra hour. Hope you do, too.

I’m Jealous



I’ve talked to folks (or read blog posts of folks) who live in other parts than these here and I keep experiencing the same feeling: I’m jealous.


Y’all have crossed over into Autumn and we clearly have not. Mister and I spent Saturday doing our best to be perfectly still, as any movement would have only added to the heat of the day. And in case you don’t know, that day’s heat was over 100 degrees F here in Los Angeles.


I know I bitch about the heat more than I should. And I hope that in a month or so said heat will be far enough in the rear view for me to forget about it for a while.


But that ain’t how things were on Saturday. Nor today. (Nor this week…) So for now, I’m simply letting you know how terribly jealous I am of you and where you live. Feel free to keep that knowledge in your back pocket, in case a challenging moment finds its way into your day. You can tell yourself, “Hey! Someone in Los Angeles is jealous of me! So there!”


Now that I think about it, I’m sure my being jealous of your Autumn makes absolutely no difference whatsoever in your life. I guess that means I’m jealous and delusional. How pitiful.

London – The Weekend



“When I was a child, running in the night

Afraid of what might be.

Hiding in the dark, hiding in the street

And of what was following me…”

Kate Bush

Hounds of Love” from Hounds of Love




When I woke Saturday morning, I was still floating from the joy of the previous day’s Harry Potter adventure. I was also still dragging from the London Croup. Mister had kept quiet so I could sleep in a bit, and I greatly appreciated that. But I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I was willing to try and muster up the energy to tick a few items off our to-tourist list, so I bucked up and put my big-girl pants on.




As it was post-breakfast and I knew I couldn’t handle one more day of skipping meals, I practically begged Mister to go out with me for a nice Indian lunch. The way I saw it, some hot, spicy curry might help the symptoms of my evolving London Croup. It was worth a shot, right? So we made our way to the Covent Garden area to Dishoom. When we walked in to find nearly half of the customers resembling folks of Indian descent, we knew we were in the right spot. After feasting on a lunch of amazing food, we were incredibly happy with our restaurant choice. If you’re ever in that area, I highly recommend Dishoom.




After lunch we walked and talked, taking our time. There was no place we had to be, so we simply roamed. At some point we decided to refer to our list of things we wanted to do in London.



Our next agenda item was The Courtald Gallery, located in Somerset House (which has a fairly interesting history in and of itself). This is one of those places we would never have known about, had my art teacher not recommended a visit.



It’s not as vast a gallery as The National Museum, but it’s still impressive. Now that I think about it, maybe the fact that it’s more manageable in scale is part of its attraction. We saw the whole joint and it was pretty danged cool.



From there, we walked in the direction of our hotel.



As we neared the hotel, Mister’s curiosity could wait no longer. You see, each day we would pass a pub called Bag O’ Nails and each day Mister wanted to go in. I wasn’t completely against the idea, I just thought it would probably be a little too touristy, as it was across the street from the Tube. (I do realize we ourselves were tourists.) As we were still fairly full from lunch and would not be ordering food, I said okay. So the Bag O’ Nails it was. Mister ordered a pint and I ordered tea – London Croup and all.


By the way, have I mentioned that I had my last drinks after the Harry Potter experience? I tried, thinking a bit of alcohol might serve a medicinal role. That didn’t hold true, however, and I was therefore off the drink. Sad. Sad, I tell you.


Back to the Bag O’ Nails. Mister had his pint and I had my tea and by then we’d both had quite enough. It wasn’t a terrible place, but it wasn’t grand, either. It was, however, checked off. And that meant a short walk to the hotel and sleep.



When Sunday morning arrived, I was more rested. I was also more ill. I mean really, London Croup! What the hell? Anyhoo, against all odds, Mister and I woke during breakfast hours. And we actually had breakfast! Can you imagine?



We ate and then walked around a bit before heading back to the hotel, via Buckingham Palace. Food had helped, but I was beat. I encouraged Mister to head out on his own, so as not to waste the day, but he’s not that kind of guy. He stayed in with me and we did a bunch of nothing. For reals. Just - nothing. We read a bit. We watched telly. We chilled. And it was awesome. By early evening, I was more rested, but also tired. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how I felt. And I couldn’t have appreciated Mister’s willingness to let me off the hook any more than I did. Honestly, that day in felt like it saved my life.



At some point we thought to go out for dinner. It was one day before the official start of Autumn, but London seemed to have already crossed over. The air was crisp and the temperature dropped. We walked around the corner to our “local” – The Phoenix – for one last meal. As it was Sunday, we ordered The Roast (for 2) and dug in. For those of you keeping score, that meant we ate 2 meals that day. A record!



After dinner, it was still fairly early, so we opted to walk a new-to-us route back to the hotel.  There were some interesting sights along the way.



Back in our room, we made plans for the next day, knowing it was to be our last in London.



With full bellies, we settled in…



To be continued…