It's been a weird fall here in the northeast. The leaves started turning much earlier than usual, but up until this weekend it's been mostly unseasonably warm. This weekend, finally, the weather decided to turn cooler; so cool, in fact, that I woke up this morning shivering. While it's not time to turn the heat on yet, it's finally time to stop sleeping with the windows open.
I've admitted before that fall is my least-favorite season. Living in New England, this is about as treasonous as routing for the Yankees would be, but it's the truth: I hate it. I can't explain this coherently, but it has to do with the light - it changes in the fall, and the shadows get longer, and it makes me want to hibernate. Over the years I've learned ways of dealing with it; in fact, I find the less I try to fight it the better I am at getting through it. I let myself sleep more, take longer and hotter baths, and re-read children's books I've loved in the past (the Wrinkle in Time series and Harry Potter are in frequent rotation at the moment). And, while I'm still taking guitar lessons, I just don't beat myself up if I go a few days without practicing. It sounds awfully self-indulgent as I write it, but I've learned the hard way that forcing myself to be more energetic and social during these months just makes me miserable and lands me on antidepressants.
And then there's the sock knitting. Like many sock knitters, I don't really like wearing mass-produced socks anymore, preferring to wear my comfy and soft hand knits instead. But a casual survey of the sock drawer this morning was a little guilt-inducing: to wit, there's been an awful lot of sock yarn purchased in the past six months but very little in the way of sock knitting done. And so, despite the oodles of unfinished projects littering the apartment, despite the fact that every single room in the apartment needs a good cleaning, and despite the state of my laundry, I curled up on the couch and commenced knitting a pair of socks. At this point, I have memorized the basic sock recipe from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules, which means that these make excellent travel knitting projects as I don't have to pay a whole lot of attention, just knit.
Fall is also the start of baking season. This year is not off to a particularly great start - last weekend I made bread that was an unmitigated disaster (hockey puck on the outside, raw on the inside). On Friday, armed with a 40% off coupon and the remnants of a gift card, I went to Borders and bought the Baked Explorations book, then came home and tried making the Maple Cupcakes. I was up until 11:30 frosting the suckers - and...well. Let me just say that when a recipe calls for 2 cups of maple syrup, and you only have one cup, and you are too stubborn to either a) leave the house to get more maple syrup or b) admit defeat, you should not count on spectacular results. They weren't terrible or anything - just a little bland, and the cream cheese frosting sort of turned them into cream cheese cupcakes. It's a little telling when you bring cupcakes over to your sister's house and her three kids ignore them. Later this afternoon I may break out the bread recipe again, or perhaps I'll try the red velvet whoopie pie recipe?
(This book, by the way, has reasonable facsimiles of both the chocolate whoopie pie and no-bake cookie recipes that I've written about here before. It is also so beautifully put together that I felt a little guilty bringing it into my kitchen, where it was unceremoniously christened by an exploding box of powdered sugar.)
And now, I must gather all the gumption I have to go watch my sixth-grade nephew play football...