Monday, September 23, 2013

The ABCs of Autumn

Remember when you were a kid and October would roll around? You'd just be starting to really feel the weariness of the school year set in, when all the sudden you'd walk into your Social Studies class and see a beautiful sight: a rolling TV stand in front of the chalkboard.
The teacher would seem unusually relaxed. There would be no dreaded stack of worksheets on the desk, but something else: a plastic jack-o-lantern with a black handle. 
You'd feel a little tingle, thinking: there's candy in there. (All children have candar.)
Everyone would sit on the floor, the lights would go out, the candy would get passed around, and a Halloween movie, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, would enthrall you.
That's the day you knew the holiday season was unofficially starting. From now on there would be cool weather at recess, and extra little something - a delicious combination of festivity and laziness - in every class, lasting all the way up to the Christmas break.
As you get older, it gets harder to conjure up that feeling. But when I woke up today, two things were happening:
1. There was a "South Park" marathon on Comedy Central. In anticipation of the new season beginning this Wednesday, the station decided to bless my life with literally an entire day of Cartman & co.
God loves me.
2. The other thing happening when I woke up? Gorgeous weather. It's not exactly cool out, but it's almost there.
These two signs of fall- new "South Park" and good weather - inspired me to inspire you with the Chronicles of Radness ABCs of Autumn.


A is for Ass

Mine is about to get bigger. I am committed to a zero carb diet, but I fully admit I will cheat on the following days: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I know it's only four days, but every gram of carb will become a gram of ass. Mark my words.

B is for Broke

Even if I'm not broke in the fall, I feel broke when I contemplate coming up with Christmas gifts for all 433 of my friends and relatives. It would be so helpful if I didn't love people and want to give them things.

C is for Cartman

Speaking of sociopaths, like I said, the new season of "South Park" premieres this Wednesday! There is once again a reason to turn on the TV. (Besides "Friends" and "Orphan Black" reruns.)

D is for Dipshits

This is my favorite time of year, but my how the stores and malls and everywhere else become clogged with assholes. November is when they really start to crawl out of the woodwork, but it won't be until mid-December that people start shanking each other in Bed Bath & Beyond over the last electric foot spa.

E is for Eating

I've said goodbye to carbs, but this time of year I become obsessed with all the shit I can't eat. Having recently read all the Harry Potter books, I am now obsessed not only with existing foodstuffs, but imaginary ones: how fucking good does a pumpkin pasty sound?

F is for Fall Fashion

Finally. Finally. Leggings, tights, scarves, sweaters, cardigans, knee socks, boots, hats... After spending months schlepping around in the lightest knits you can find, layering is finally back in your vocab.

So it's time to head on over to Pinterest and feel that feeling I call "pinspiration," which is a combination of soaring creative inspiration and abject despair. All those outfits I totally appreciate and deserve cost more than my truck and are intended for people who land in a very different body fat category.

G is for Guns

Fall is the best shooting weather. Don't be a sissy. Strap up and get your bang-bang on.

H is for Home

The best part of the holidays is seeing family, but the worst part is figuring out how to divide a very small amount of time between Mom, Dad, and in-laws, who in an apparent effort to make everything complicated, insist on living in three different states.

I used to have this dream that everybody I love would live on the same street. Better yet, all together in a giant house with various wings and whatnot. Oh, and a room made of trampolines. And a heated pool with a glass dome for a ceiling.

Not everything works out like you imagine.

I is for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Those classic Peanuts cartoons are still hilarious and poignant, and the story of the Great Pumpkin is one of the best. If you were to put on some knee-high orange-and-black-striped socks, curl up on the couch with a blanket, and drink a pumpkin spice latte while watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, you might achieve nirvana.

J is for Jackets

Outerwear, baby. Bust it on out.

My goal is to find and afford an authentic vintage black leather motorcycle jacket. So if you wanna buy me one... You just go ahead and feel free.

K is for Keeping Warm

Fireplaces, hot chocolate and cider, cozy clothes, coffee... All the various methods of staying warm are most of what make fall so magical for those of us who live in places with really hot summers.

It really is like a magic trick when those first cool days show up. "How is it possible that I'm turning off the A/C in my truck?" I thought to myself today. That first time I turn the heater on... It's a beautiful moment every year.

L is for Lattes

Breve lattes, to be exact. If you've never had a latte or cappuccino made with half-and-half instead of milk, go directly to your friendly neighborhood coffee shop and ask for one. You can thank me later. Then put on an adorable fall outfit and have someone take a photo of you with your to-go cup and put it on Pinterest, because apparently that is required by law now.

M is for Martha Stewart Living

Does anybody else want to murder Martha Stewart while she sleeps? Here is what happens in your brain when you look through an issue of Martha Stewart Living:

1. Wow, look at how gorgeous this pumpkin-related project looks. And it's so easy! I'll just turn down the corner of this page...
2. Wait, this project looks cool, too. Ooh, and these party decorations... I should have a party... This recipe would be perfect to make if I just had coriander seeds...
3. *Bzzztzzztzfjfhghfjfh OVERLOAD OVERLOAD OVERLOAD*

N is for The Nightmare Before Christmas

The truth is, I always get bored like an hour into this movie and quit watching, but the imagery is perfection, and Jack Skellington's voice is like buttah.

O is for October

Quite simply the best month of the year: it's just turning cool outside, so it feels like it'll be years before you're tired of jacket weather. There are Halloween decorations everywhere, and you realize Hobby Lobby wants every penny of your paycheck. You have all the glorious anticipation of the holidays and none of the disappointment... yet.

Oh, and my wedding anniversary! Speaking of which...


P is for Pumpkins

As you already know if you attended or have seen photos of my wedding, such as the one above, pumpkins are pretty much my favorite.

Q is for Quidditch

At some point between now and Christmas, do yourself a favor and have a Harry Potter movie marathon. Better yet, read all the books. I did this at age 33, and it was a fantastic idea.

All the stories start at the beginning of the school year - i.e., the fall - and most of the films include a gloriously festive Christmas celebration. When you add all the pumpkin-related goodies and butterbeer, not to mention the magic, you have the perfect fall and winter entertainment.

R is for Recipes

For every major holiday I swear I'm going to make some incredible recipe from scratch. How do you think that turns out? If you guessed "hahaha yeah right," you are correct.

S is for Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, that is! Bare branches against a big white moon, pumpkin patches, and spooky music? Yes please. Unfortunately, that classic cartoon is hard to find unless you want a $50 VHS tape. While I'm not a huge fan of the Tim Burton version from 1999, starring Johnny Depp and his cheekbone hollows, it's pretty satisfying on a cold October night.

T is for Trick or Treating

My friend Brooklyn and I used to go trick or treating together when we were in elementary school. Her mom would leave the door to the mini-van open and just roll from block to block, and the whole big group of us would hop out and back in repeatedly. (Brooke's mom would also take us out in that same mini-van to wrap houses with toilet paper, but that's another post.)

There is very little in life more magical than being a kid on Halloween, dressed up like Elvira Mistress of the Dark and trick-or-treating with your friends. As an adult, it seems like Halloween never quite lives up to the hype, and I know deep down it's because a 34-year-old trick-or-treating is frowned upon.

U is for Up Yours, January

January is the worst month of the year. It means the holidays are over. It means the cold weather will stop feeling refreshing and start feeling like Seasonal Affective Disorder. But it's not January yet! It's autumn! Rejoice!

V is for Viggo

'Tis the season for curling up with some fam or your best mates and watching The Lord of the Rings. If you've never seen the extended versions, do it. Want one good reason? Aragorn sings. Yeah. You're welcome.

W is for Winter Is Coming

As the Starks so simply and eloquently tell us, winter is right around the corner. In my part of the world, that means blessedly cool (and occasionally even cold) weather, and all the badassery and beauty that is Christmas.

X is for X- ray

October is the only month of the year you can walk around in X-ray clothing without looking like you listened to too much Nine Inch Nails as a teenager. Enjoy it while you can.

Also - if you're pregnant in October and don't wear the maternity skeleton shirt, I don't want to know you.

Y is for Yams

Cut up some yams and boil them with the skin still on. Mash them up. Mix in real butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar. Put a big pile in a bowl. Now crumble some goat cheese or feta over the top. If you want, add grape halves and chopped pecans. Then drizzle with honey. You owe me money for this.

Z is for Zombies

I know, I know. You're sick of zombies. So am I. But they're a part of our culture now, and 'tis the season to be undead. Embrace the zed word and watch at least one zombie-related movie or TV show this year.

Here's wishing you an autumn literally crammed full of radness!

What's your favorite letter of the Chronicles of Radness ABCs of Autumn? What would you add?

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