Category Archives: Non Sequitorial

Autumn! Where the eff are you?!

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Sigh…oh my–when? WHEN?!

No lie, it was freaking ninety degrees in Jersey today. Like it’s the middle of July, I’ve been blasting the air conditioner inside my house and on the road. What’s worse, here it is three days from October, and I’ve yet to see anyone cradling Pumpkin Spice coffee yet (not that it’s any great loss to mankind). But how would you when the only thing anyone still wants steaming is the hot fudge atop their sundae? Really, I’ve had it with summer already.  I want the temperature bearable. I want a frost to finally get rid of these bastard mosquitoes who’ve  been chomping my legs all summer. But let me give you a few more reasons why I’m so much more about Autumn than the hellacious  weather this year passed as summer. (And if you think you’ve read some of this before, well hey, you can’t plagiarize yourself, and dammit, some things just bear repeating):

1. Apples – Gala, Cortland, Mac, Granny – sure you can get them at the supermarket all year ’round, but this time of year, you can pluck them right off the tree. Here in the Northeast there’s no shortage of apple farms, and luckily enough, no shortage of Apple Festivals and Hard Apple Cider samples either. This abundance of apples leads to the inevitable apple cakes, apple muffins, apple sauce, fried apples, apple fritters, apple dumplings, apple doughnuts, applesauce, apple lasagna…

2. Cooler Nights – Seriously, I have nothing intrinsically against summer, but I also like to get a good night’s sleep. And I don’t care what you say about air conditioning – the only difference it makes to my downtime is I get a bit of Sinus Inflamed Fitful Sleep instead of wallowing the night away in a pool of sweat-soaked sheets. Big difference from leaving the window opened a tad and tucking the covers under your chin. Plus you can snuggle up with the person next to you and not have your skin go phwhuck! from the contact. So much pleasanter. And quieter!

3. Better Movies – With the summer blockbuster season behind us, the studios finally roll out their “serious” films, as we get closer to Oscar time. Goodbye car chases, blue screens and dick flicks, I can finally revel in some meaningful dialogue and decent acting. Now if I could only find a theater that’s actually showing one I would be happy.

4. Boots! – And tights and leggings and socks. Look, there’s nothing like freeing your feet for sandals and walking barefoot. But with that comes a lot of leg and foot maintenance. I mean seriously, pedicures aren’t cheap–$35, $40, $50 a pop, and you wouldn’t want to see what my toenails look like when I do them myself. It’s worth every penny, but sinking your tootsies in knee-high boots and zipping them over a tight pair of jeans has merit, too. Not to mention skipping a time or two with the razor or wax job. Invaluable.

5. Scarves Are Back – Love them. LOVE THEM. They make you look artsy and dramatic, and keep your neck warm at the same time. What other article of clothing can you buy at Target that says so much for so little? Plus they keep the collar of that wool jacket you look tres chic in from itching so bad you’d like to rip your skin off. Ah, the price of fashion…

Let the leaves fall!

 

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If it seems like you’ve waited 250 years then yeah, you’ve got it bad

I’ve been told that several “Easter eggs” have been planted throughout Outlander Season Three premiering this Sunday, September 10 on Starz. So what’s an Easter egg? It’s those little hidden gifts the producers like to plant in various scenes that only true fans will know the significance of. Sounds like fun and I can’t wait to look for them. But you’re an old-time devotee of the series, then you’ve already noticed quite a few pieces of coal as well. What I mean is we old-timers have been on the Claire/Jamie team for well over twenty years now since the Diana Gabaldon’s first book of the series, Outlander, debuted in 1992. And as readers of the books–sometimes two or three times–there’s certain things that have veered from the texts. Personally, I’m not complaining, as many variations have either had no significance or even improved the story. And since Diana Gabaldon has had such an active part in the production, she must approve of the changes. Plus ultimately, showrunner Ronald D. Moore is certainly entitled to his own vision and for the most part, I overwhelmingly approve. Still, there are some things that have veered from the written text that stand out for me (and if you don’t want to know what they are, if you think I’m a spoilsport and should just shut up and watch, then stop reading right here):

  • Claire, unlike the very talented, blue-eyed Caitriona Balfe, has brown eyes. In the book they are described as very unusual and “sherry-colored.”
  • The wedding ring Jamie gives Claire is a silver band decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center.
  • Jamie gets violently seasick, so bad he’s literally unable to come on deck when a ship is in motion. After he is liberated from Wentworth Prison in the book, he’s mostly unconscious and it’s not until France when he’s taken to the monastery to recover. The fact he’s unconscious is a lifesaver. Gabaldon deals with this quirk of Jamie’s in an inventive way with a novel character in Book Three and sailing on a ship becomes pivotal to the plot. Not that I’m telling you here!
  • In the books, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, is described as tall and big-boned, size 16 and six-feet tall. There is no doubt that she is Jamie’s daughter, with her height and flaming-red hair. She was also born and raised in Boston, and there’s no doubt in my mind she pahks her cahr in Ha-vahd yahd.

Don’t get me wrong–I love-love-LUFF this series, and I can live with any of these changes and enjoy it tremendously. But I’m not going to deny the fact as a tall and big-boned woman, I would have loved to see an equally tall and big-boned woman playing the part of Jamie’s daughter, especially in this year of Wonder Woman. But if that would mean living without Jamie each Sunday night at nine, well, come on. Life is all about compromise, isn’t it?

Sunday night at eight.  You’ll know where I’ll be.

(Un)Totally Awesome

That’s me in all my hefty glory staring up at the sun (yes, it’s true the camera adds ten pounds. Or it’s what I choose to believe!) I was staying at a hotel in Smithville, NJ, and as it happened our room had its own deck on a pond (or “lake” as they chose to believe), which gave us a great view of the moon slowly chipping away at our local star.  Okay, so it was only at approximately 76-80%, and the sky didn’t really darken, and the birds didn’t hit the trees to roost. But it was really, really chill looking at this cosmic event. Or as Neil deGrasse Tyson  tweeted, “The divided United States of America will unite today, sharing a cosmic event predicted by the methods and tools of science.”

So why is this important? I mean beyond the expected scientific significance? Because of all the rampant divisiveness lately, this was one instance where we all came together as humans, as like the setting and rising of the sun itself, the eclipse affected everyone. Everyone had a chance to revel in or marvel at it, as even complete strangers, caught up in their glee over it, were willing to share their solar glasses so those unequipped could have a peek. Although I and my husband didn’t view it in a group per se, we were at a public place (the hotel we stayed at is in the middle of a little commercial village of shops and cafes), with people walking by, kids fishing in the pond, or employees milling about, with everyone ready with a comment and the willingness to share their eclipse glasses if you didn’t have a pair. We had three pairs and gave away two, one before and one after the peak, both of them to kids.  Both were delighted.

So what’s next on the nature extravaganza schedule? Welp, we’re now officially in hurricane season, which is supposed to be more active than normal, which is apropos as this October brings us to the five year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Not only that, but current studies are showing us it’s not only the West Coast that should be worrying about earthquakes, and we’re way overdue for one on the East Coast. Really? Now I’ve got to worry about that?

Maybe I’ll just wait for the leaves to change. As the eclipse just showed, some nature is much more passive than aggressive.

 

The Stink of Spring

Spring, thy name is hyacinth! Why, you can’t even pass a supermarket, convenience store, discount joint or firehouse without noticing the noble flower, potted in spring-colored foil and perfuming the air with its scent. What you see pictured here is bloomed bulbs of Easters gone by, tucked between two trees in my yard. It’s the stink that keeps on giving.

And then, there’s this other little delight that I discovered between the slates up to my front door. Where the hyacinths were once force-bloomed and purchased from a grower, these little violets are nature’s own, carpeting my yard in a profusion of purple wherever there’s grass. But these teeny guys decided they wanted to push up between the walking slates, and who am I to say. They’re the real homies, after all.

Happy spring, and breathe deeply, aahhhhhh….

Spring Sinkers

Potholes in New Jersey is a better harbinger of spring than robins, than croci, than those marshmallow peeps poppin’ up at the corner grocery.  Those pervasive little asphalt assassins never fail to creep up on you around every bend and over every hillock, disguised like shimmering little macadam birdbaths until you hit one and bam! there goes the hub cap, spinning away like a frisbee.

On my way home tonight I counted no less than thirty-seven of the replicating little suckers. And that didn’t include the ever-widening fissures that form due to the expansion from the left-side/right-side paving, the winter erosion of the softer shoulder, the gully driveways develop as it cracks away from the road and of course, the always wonderful frost heaves. And that was just on my side of the road. Which, oddly enough, quickly becomes your side when you swerve into my lane to avoid them.

But if all this isn’t bad enough, the cure isn’t much better. How many of you have driven smack into a fresh pancake of cold patch, that municipal quick-fix of asphalt the town boys tamp down with shovels and their own boots, to shut up the one irate taxpayer that doesn’t quit calling until it’s fixed. Ahh…the lovely ping-ping-ping of loose tar as it plies itself to the undercarriage of your car. You’ll be scrubbing that off until nigh on August. Soon those road patch patties will be as ubiquitous as dandelions, and just as hard to get rid of. Because if you’re betting on highway dollars on high to get them gone, you can just forget it. The bank is broke, and staying that way for a while.

For the meantime, take your comfort where you can get it. After the winter we’ve had here in Jersey, just seeing the road means it’s only a matter of time until we’re burning our bare feet crossing it. And that, my dears, could only mean a day at the beach.

My Midwinter escape

jan-beach-11-4Yes, this is what the beach looks like in the winter, and being a Jersey Girl from the Shore, it’s a sight I’ve seen many times. Still, it’s no less strange, seeing snow on the beach, and it’s something that I’ll probably not see soon nearly as much as I’ve seen in the past. We’ve put the old homestead up for sale since the ‘rents have passed on, though if you live in Jersey, you’re never too far from the coastline. It’s where I grew up and it’s what has sustained me all these years, but change is good, and I’m looking if not for greener (or sandier) pastures, but different ones.

Like where? Well, I’ve always loved the mountains. My father’s side of the family comes from the Catskill region of New York State (though their roots are in Iowa and South Dakota). I have friends in Vermont, and having only been to the Rockies once, I’d like to see more of them. My sister is contemplating moving to a house on a lake, and at least if I swam in it (which is a given), I wouldn’t have to think about sharks. Not that I worry too much when I swim in the ocean, but it’s one less thing I have to worry about.

Anyway, we still have the beach house a bit longer so here’s one more pix. It’s a hell of a lot better media than I’ve been gawking at lately anyway.

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