The photo above was taken in Louisiana. They have some pretty spectacular trees there. Lots of places do, really. Los Angeles is no exception, either. We have some mighty fine examples spread about town.


But yesterday my next door neighbor had his trees raped. He would probably say they were trimmed, but those poor trees would surely say otherwise. And until they’ve had time to fill in and grow, those trees are gonna appear pitiful.


The construction project that’s going on in our neighborhood led to the recent death of a grand old tree. The scrubby shrubs and spindly specimens meant nothing to me. But that giant, beautiful old tree – that was another matter. I about cried when they tore it down.


It’s funny that I’m nostalgic for trees at this time of year. Leaves are falling, leaving nothing to appreciate but bare branches. And a lot of varietals are nearing winter slumber, where they’ll stay until spring’s buds decide to show their fresh faces, like young girls wearing lip gloss for the first time. Maybe I’m not nostalgic for trees. Maybe it’s the change of season. Or rather, the time when there should be a change of season.


The other night at a party, I was talking with someone about our extended southern California summer. She said that if she complains about it to anyone outside Los Angeles, she’s reprimanded for not appreciating what we’ve got here. She and I went on to discuss how challenging our “perfect” weather can be. Maybe that’s what’s weighing on my soul today. That and the knowledge that there’s one less majestic tree in the world. I really could just about cry.

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.

Thursday Memories



This is one of those old photos that leads me to wonder, “Who was that smiling girl?” I guess I sort of recognize her. Maybe. But for the most part, she was another person. In another life.


That end-of-summer sunset occurred in Dallas, and Mister and I were on the verge of moving to Boston. A new season began, and so did a new life.


There have been multiple new seasons since the taking of this photo. I sort of feel like many lives have been lived, too. And you know what? I’m still ready for more…




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!

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.

To Everything – Turn, Turn, Turn



I look for them every year. Sometimes I miss them, short-lived as they are. But I never forget to look. And when my timing is just right…


Champagne Grapes are in. I don’t know the varietal’s true name, but that’s okay. If I say “Champagne Grapes,” everyone knows what I’m talking about anyway. And they are spectacular. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but they’re tiny little dudes. The largest is barely the size of my thumbnail, and y’all, I have girl hands. They come and go so fast, it’s easy to blink and never catch a sight. So when I scored some at the market this week, I was downright giddy. They’re such a treat, I fully expect to breeze through this bunch in only a couple of days. If I’m lucky, there will be another round waiting for me at the market. If I’m lucky.


Mister’s Mama told me she’s been eating Olathe Corn as much as possible. And now her markets are getting Colorado Peaches in, so she’ll be adding those to her line-up. Most of us food dorks have our calendars in mind when we shop. We know when strawberries are in season. We know when to search for favas. And speaking for myself, I don’t get too down about a fruit or vegetable moving through its growing cycle, as I know something else will soon be ready for harvest. That’s how it works. Turn, turn, turn. And it’s beautiful.


In the meantime, I am so happy to be snacking on the sweetest little grapes around. And I’m so grateful I spotted them this year. Lucky me.

In The Garden



This big little dude has been residing in our tomato patch for quite a while now. Mister and I have watched him grow into the hearty specimen you see in the photo. I’d like to think of him as the Keeper of The Garden, but I know he’s actually the Eater of The Garden. He seems to have an affinity for basil.


Even though there’s close to 2 months of summer remaining, the ugly heat is taking its toll on our little plot. We used to have a sun-shade rigged over our tomatoes, when we lived at the old house. That contraption has yet to be built here at the new pad, so the toe-mates are suffering.


Some days I feel akin to those tomatoes. It seems as if there’s no escaping the Los Angeles heat, save residing by the ocean. We did manage to ride out the broken A/C this past month, and I will be forever grateful to the conditioned air gods for coming to our rescue. And we are able to jump in the pool to get our core temperatures down, so I can’t complain on that front.


Maybe what’s gnawing at my brain is the fact that there is so much heat to go. August in L.A. is typically unattractive, temperature-wise. September will probably be the same, if not worse. And then you know what’s gonna happen? October will show barely any improvement. Heck – we’ve had to run the A/C on many a Thanksgiving, and that’s all the way near the end of November, for cry-eye.


I miss Seasons. If the promise of Autumn was made and kept where I live, I would surely embrace the droop of Summer. But that just isn’t the case. Instead, we’re gonna have to ride out the thermometer’s reading of “Satan’s Butthole” for some time.


Don’t get me wrong. I love summer. I also love L.A. I love home and I love our pool. And for now, I’m loving what may be the last of the season’s tomatoes. I even love the Eater of The Garden. I think I’ll call him Petrarch.