Autumn is, hands down, my favorite season. I grew up in a part of California that lacked real, distinct seasons. We had the fog in winter, when temperatures dipped dangerously low (read: high in the 50s), and the blazing heat of summer (August was often entirely in the triple-digits...but it's a dry heat!), but not the classic divisions between the two. I never smelled the earthy, burnt-leaves aroma of real autumn until I left for college in Atlanta. In high school, I would write poems about an autumn I'd never known in person, and once I lived in a place with seasons, I was in love. That said, I adore summer. The summer of my childhood was bare feet, reaching from the cool refuge of the pool to pick grapes off the vines, walking with a friend to the Thrifty for a double scoop of ice cream, going to the lovely, air-conditioned library to get the weeks' giant stack of books, and the annual pilgrimage to the central coast, which was frigid compared to the central valley. Good times. Of course, through the dim haze of nostalgia, I do recall some pretty loud arguments about the thermostat (my dad denies this now, but in the summer, it was set to 84, which is HOT...and explains all the time spent in the pool), sunburns, and whining about boredom, but let's ignore all that. Summer is magical, and it's fun to watch Lilah enjoying it. If I so much as mention the beach, she takes off her clothes, runs upstairs, and starts looking for her swimming suit. We find sand all over the house, even if it's been a while since the last beach outing. We have squash and tomatoes to harvest. I can step just outside the house and pick enough basil for impromptu pesto. We can swing on the porch and read books, and we finally got a grill so we can cook outside. It is nice, let me tell you.
All that rambling was to distract you from a dearth of blog posts mainly attributable to a total lack of knitting progress. Hjalte is creeping along, but it's hard to knit a big cabled sweater in the summer. I'm actually further along on Tussie Mussie - I've finished the body up to the armholes, and I'm partway through the first sleeve. I finally found my size 5 dpns so I can do the part of the sleeve that's in the round. But really, it just not all about knitting right now. I did teach another friend to knit, and she's doing great and really enjoying it.
Writing: Still in the noodling phase. It's lovely to be writing again, but Lilah's sleeping has shifted a bit again, making it hard for me to get anything done early in the morning. Maybe after our trip, I can get into a routine.
Reading: I've been re-reading, as happens in the summer. I read Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, which is one of my absolute favorite things to read. I also read Twilight. Yes, I believe if you look back, you can find somewhere I wrote that I was NOT going to get sucked into Twilight. There may have been a solemn vow. But I could not put that book down. I thought the ending was sort of lame, like Meyer decided when the book was almost over, "Hey, I should probably make something happen!" But I still ordered the other books in the series. Now I'm reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, who wrote The Shadow of the Wind, which I loved. This book is beautiful and gripping and a fantastic read. It's one of those books where the translation is so amazing, I wish I could read the original. Check this out: "All I took from the pension was a change of clothes and the case containing my father's gun, his only memento. I distributed the remainder of my clothes and personal belongings among the pension residents. Had I also been able to leave behind my memories, even my skin, I would have done so." Or this: "When the first breath of dawn touched the windows I opened my eyes and found the bed empty. I went out into the corridor and as far as the gallery...I went through the whole house, which already smelled of her absence, and one by one blew out the candles I had lit the night before."
Cooking: Oh, wow, I have to blog more frequently just to keep up with the cooking news. Let's see, we went to pick blueberries and I made Agave-Sweetened Blueberry Ginger Jam and Blueberry Pinot Sauce (insanely good). With wild blackberries, I made Blackberry-Sage and Blackberry-Zinfandel (yum). We've been grilling, and pizza and artichokes are my favorites. I threw together a pesto pasta salad that was really good. Just roasted asparagus, roasted peppers, halved grape tomatoes, and pasta tossed in pesto sauce (basil, pine nuts, parmagiano-reggiano, salt, pepper, and lots of olive oil). When I make pesto, I usually just chuck some stuff in I think that's actually about it. Oh, I did make cupcakes for a birthday party. I used Martha Stewart recipes and baked them in ice cream cones, like my mom used to when I was a kid. Then a more artistic person than I turned them into microphones using black icing and licorice cords (I frosted with pink buttercream and then turned them over).