Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn and Cider Doughnuts

Two more weeks until my sojourn to Massachusetts.  Baby boy will be born in 1 week, but Katie will be in the hospital for half of it, so the MIL is going to keep the household running and orderly.  Her cooking is to die for - I sort of wish my visit could overlap hers...



Katie says that the cider doughnuts are in the doughnut shops, and the air is crisp and cool.  (I can hardly wait to get there for those doughnuts!)  I see from pictures that leaves are turning, and it's really Fall.  Here in California, conversely, it's still 88 degrees, and hot and dry.  Fall here largely means fire season and high winds.  But we dream our dreams of colored leaves, and pumpkin pies anyway.  L and I went to Trader Joe's this past week, and stocked up on pumpkin EVERYTHING.  We now have pumpkin pancake and waffle mix, pumpkin bread mix, and some really tasty pumpkin cereal bars called "A Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar."  Love it.  I even bought a can or two of pumpkin, in case the urge to make a pie hits me.  Not likely, if it stays this hot, but who knows?  Baking is a serendipitous thing.

I'm getting anxious for those cooler days.  Sweater weather.  At least I'll have it when I go to Massachusetts.  Seven glorious days wrapped in sweaters, boots, and jackets!  Bright blue skies, brightly colored leaves, and likely some rain.  It rains a lot there, which is why its so beautiful. 



Possibly best of all, there will be a few hours when the girls are in school, hopefully baby will be napping, when I can spend time with just my own little girl.  That hasn't happened for quite a while, and it's one of the things I miss most about her growing up.

Until then, I'll content myself with my pumpkin everything - I forgot that I also got Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal.  I'll deck the house out in Halloween finery.  We've got jack o'lanterns, black ravens, and skulls all over the place.  And this weekend, the pirate skeleton comes out to play!  L has to hang him up - it's too high for me.  I usually have everything up and decorated by this time, but this year I've been a little slow.  There are still 2 more weeks to enjoy in October - such a good month.  I hope we get some trick or treaters on Halloween - sometimes we do, sometimes we don't - but I always miss having masses of kids roaming the neighborhood, like when my kids were little, or especially when I was young. 

It's kind of a different holiday now.  Thank you, crazy perverts...  I remember when I was about 13, I was living in New Jersey, and my friend and I really wanted to dress up and trick or treat, but we knew we were a little too old.  Joan could sew, and so she whipped up a couple of bustle skirts, and we went out as ladies from the 1800s.  We came to an old house in the area, knocked on the door, and an old man answered.  He invited us in, and in we went.  Without a second thought.  (Now THAT would never happen now!)  He had owned and operated one of those river steamboats for years, and he was showing us a lot of pictures of his happier days.  In his living room he had a real pipe organ - the kind that has a million stops (one was a jingle bell sound!) and the massive pipes.  He let us play on it, while he talked and reminisced.  I know that all sounds slightly creepy-ish, but looking back (and it was a much more innocent time) he was a lonely old man, whose wife was an invalid.  But to all you kids out there: DON'T TRY THIS TODAY.  Today, he'd turn out to be a lonely old child molester.  But that's my one good Halloween trick or treat story.  That, and the time I was about 5 and I walked up to the door of a house where there was a large form covered by a sheet... which turned out to be a vacuum cleaner that was turned on as we rang the doorbell, making a huge noise and causing the sheet to billow out.  HOLY CRAP!!!  I was back out to the curb in 2 seconds and booking it home , with the man running after me saying "I'm sorry sweetheart - come back!"  I just ran right past my dad and didn't look back.  Ah... nostalgia...good times...

Work has been extremely busy, which is good for my paycheck.  It's been good to get back and up to speed, and it was nice to realize I was missed.  When you're 2000 miles away from the Mothership (Minneapolis), it feels very lonely sometimes, but I've forged some nice relationships despite the distance.

It's hard for me to keep up with children and grandchildren with just these few sporadic visits, but it's the best I can do.  I was in Denver just 2 months ago, and already my memories of the little ones are outdated.  It'll be the same thing here.  One short week of snuggling a tiny new one, silly times with 2 giggly girls, celebrating Hayden's 4th birthday, and some quiet time with Katie and it will be over for another several months.  Next time I'm there will be in June, and L will go with me for Mia's 8th birthday, just like we'll both go to Denver for Lexi's 8th birthday in April.  Almost 8 years already... If you think your kids grew up fast, try grandchildren.  It just flies by.  But who can resist the tug on your heart, when you have something like this waiting for you:

In my mind, I'm already there.  Two more weeks, and my body will catch up.  Hugs and whispered little girl secrets will be plentiful.  And so, I hope, will the cider doughnuts. 


24 comments:

  1. Hi Karen! I loved your memory of trick or treating. It's such a vivid image that stands in contrast to how some children are able to celebrate today. We try to believe in the best of people, but even when I was a girl, there was this one house that we dared not approach. The young man who lived there was always in trouble with the law, and was also a social outcast. I was afraid of him, afraid of what the inside of that house was like. My parents were kind to his family, visiting the aging grandmother even when the house was rank with a dog who wasn't properly cleaned up after. My father even gave supportive advice to the troubled boy, but I stayed as far away as possible. I think we were able to go trick or treating and feel mostly safe because we knew everyone in our neighborhood. But even that safety could have been an illusion. We were a little more ignorant, less connected and exposed to the reality of evil that still existed despite the friendliness of our small town atmosphere. Despite all that negative stuff, we are still going to take our son trick or treating with friends. Fear will not stop us from celebrating our traditions! P.S. Mia and Hayden...oh my gosh they are beauties!

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    1. I'm jealous that you still have one to take trick or treating. So miss those days!

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  2. Austin's first Trader Joe's opened a month ago about 15 minutes from me and I've been there quite a few times now. I also got the pumpkin pancake mix! Forgot to put the egg in the first time, but they came out okay anyway! I mean, really, how did I do that? The recipe isn't that complicated! hahaha.... we get a ton of trick-or-treaters in my neck of the woods. I am pretty sure the kids get bused in! I get mom's trick-or-treating for their babies in strollers!! Crazy! I guess my neighborhood gives good candy! It's fun though.....

    Have a great trip to MA! Take in and give out all that lovin' and make warm and wonderful memories!

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    1. Have fun with your bands of trick or treaters - it sounds fun! And aren't those pancakes GOOD? Next time: waffles!

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  3. You had me at cider doughnuts. How exciting that in one week a new life will be in the world :)

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    1. I know we really are excited - both for the baby and the doughnuts!

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  4. LOL I'll be sure to stock up on the donuts before you get here ;) this post had me giggling out loud as I sit here by myself.

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    1. See ya soon, sister! It's going to be wicked cool!!

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  5. Hi, dear karen! Here in Central Florida we're still enduring steamy 90 degree days and I for one am so over it. I envy you preparing for a trip to refreshingly cool New England, land of colored leaves and pumpkins and grandkiddos. Knowing you, you'll consume dozens of cider doughnuts while there and not gain an ounce. In fact, I predict you'll LOSE five more pounds! (LOL)

    In the relatively short time I've known you I have witnessed your beautiful grandchildren growing up rapidly. God bless them all.

    I have many fond memories of childhood Halloweens. In those days it was fun to be scared by imaginary monsters. As you pointed out, today there are real monsters to worry about. It's regrettable because for every lonely old pervert who invites children into his domain to hurt and exploit them there are countless lonely old people who only want to share a bit of their lives with a younger generation. In today's climate of fear and suspicion there are few opportunities for the type of experience you enjoyed in the home of the riverboat captain. Positive, innocent interaction between strangers of different generations is part of a healthy society and having to shut it down in the interest of safety is a tragic loss for our society.

    Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend karen, and keep day dreaming of your upcoming journey back east!

    Feel I'm goin back to Massachusetts
    Something's telling me I must go home
    And the lights all went out in Massachusetts
    The day I left her standing on her own

    I will remember massachusetts...

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    1. I wish these little ones could experience the Halloweens we did - so much fun!

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  6. We also stocked up on pumpkin stuff from Trader Joe's! We got pumpkin ice cream, cheesecake, waffles, cream cheese and tea. Mostly we got the unhealthy stuff. And my mom and dad are coming for a visit today!

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    1. I TOLD LaMar to get some pumpkin ice cream but he pretended not to hear me and got peanut butter cup ice cream instead. Not cool... Have fun with your mom and dad!

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  7. You'll enjoy your family and I hope the weather is good, but having a cider donut...or cider and donuts...is the best Fall activity! Those grandkids are adorable! We don't get any trick or treat kids here so we usually head to our son's neighborhood and join the fun with them. Trick or treat is always done the Thursday before the 31st here...Don't ask me why..nobody seems to have an answer!

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    1. We've done the same thing some years - just migrate to where there's more trick or treat action!

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  8. Your Halloween memories are so sweet. But today would be a no no. It really is sad, isn't it? Some creeps and sickos have taken the fun out of so many childhood activities. Have fun in Mass. October is really beautiful in the East.

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    1. I know - it is a little sad. Since our particular neighborhood doesn't have a lot of kids anyway, I try to have really nice candy for those who do stop by around or on the holiday.

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  9. OHHHH exciting you are going to visit with daughter and new baby and all the sweeties waiting for you! I KNOW what you mean about how fast the grands grow up before your eyes. Sad but we do so enjoy each moment spent with them don't we? Have a fantastic time and enjoy the fall weather! Big hugs!

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    1. Yes, I'm getting excited now! Her baby will be born this Friday, so I'll have a whole other week to anticipate seeing all of them. I think it will be a fun trip.

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  10. Can't believe how much those darling girls have grown up! And aren't you lucky to be going to spend time with them? Hope all goes well with the birth of your new grandson. I admit to being a trifle envious, but so, so happy for you!

    I, too, miss the old Halloween. But at least we still have the wonderful fall smell in the air. And it has arrived in Northern California. I am eating it up.

    Have a good time, Grandma!

    =D

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  11. The girls are wild with excitement over their brother's impending arrival. Hayden will seem like such a big girl next to him! I'm looking forward to having fun with them all together, and hopefully a little one on one too. It'll be a busy week!

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  12. What wonderful blessings are awaiting you in the upcoming weeks! So happy for you. And I LOVED the story of dressing up like ladies from the 1800's. You're right- it would never, ever fly today, but what a fun memory, nonetheless.

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    1. It really is a good Halloween memory - kind of an odd one, but I'm so glad we did it. Plus I think we cheered that old man up a bit by listening to his stories. It was an amazing house.

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  13. Cider donuts! Where have I been? I made a pumpkin pie out of a real pumpkin yesterday and it was divine.

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  14. Oh yum - I've had pumpkin everything except pie. Yes, when I think of Massuchusetts in the fall I think of cider doughnuts - much the same way I think of malasadas when I think of Hawaii, or New Orleans and beignets. I think I have a doughnut fetish.

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