Oct-blow-ber, or Fun With Produce! YESSS!!!

It’s already the middle of October.  Time is blowing by.  Yes, I am reminding you all of this, and I know there is a divided audience.  Whatever the ratio may be, several of you will sarcastically thank me for the reminder, and the other portion will give me a high-five.  With any luck, the days surrounding Halloween will probably determine the type of winter we are going to have.  As a Syracuse resident and native–although, I do not fully comprehend the idiosyncrasies of upstate New York weather, and do any of us really understand it?–the amount of snow at the end of October will give us insight as to our having a white holiday season or not.  However, I do stress, this only factors into the remainder of the year.  January and February are free game for Old Man Winter’s wanting to mess with us. 
Even if the world ends, zombies–brain dead or not–will not be able to survive in the cold temperatures.  Poughkeepsie, Westchester, New York City, Long Island, and anywhere south:  you’re screwed.  While you’re all running scared, we’ll be up here targeting The Frozen Dead with snowballs, and killing them with icicles.  Hear that, folks?  We can finally look forward to playing with icicles.  Just be safe and don’t run with them; I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of you.  Also, we’ll be seeking refuge in a pirate-themed dining room.  If you haven’t realized it yet, zombies loathe pirates and vice versa. 
I am on the pro-snow side of the spectrum.  I have grown into enjoying winter activities, because winter flies by much faster when you occupy yourself.  The gym is one thing, but it’s more regimented.  Scheduling a day to snowshoe, hike, or ski gives one something to look forward to.  However, I am getting ahead of myself here. 
However, speaking of zombies and pirates, we are currently anticipating the return of Halloween, the night–or shall I say nights–where we can extend ourselves to certain limits and become someone who we are not.  For some of us, actors included, it’s nothing new when it comes to not being yourself.  I am not going to continue this post, regretting or whining about not having a costume in mind, because I do.  It’s amazing how a great idea comes earlier in the year, and then it’s quickly forgotten about.  However, I am bringing a costume back this year, which should be a hit.
I probably won’t dress up for Halloween night, maybe, but it will be fun handing out candy to kids.  That’s something I never would have thought would be fun, being on the other side of the fence come Halloween.  Yet, that’s all a part of growing up.
We adults have to enjoy it.  After all, come November 1st, we’ll be listening to Christmas music until January.  Yes, that’s right.  By a show of hands, how aggravated are you readers with my jumping the gun about jumping the gun?
By this time in years past, we kids weren’t doing anything except spending time in classrooms for thirteen years.  We had our nights to do homework, and the weekends to procrastinate completing the homework.  Looking forward to summer vacations kept us going.  What kept us going to summer were the weekends.  And, yes, what kept–yadda, yadda, yadda–the nights after school.  Yeah, you got it, I hope.
Autumn was probably our parent’s favorite time of the year, primarily because they really didn’t have to do any raking.  We’d do the dirty work for personal gain.  Somehow, we’d even transfer leaves from one neighbors lawn, speaking of the Malone and Volles households, to the Collins’ via red wagon.  This work had to be done in order to make a gigantic pile of leaves.  We would then sit in the wagons and ride down the hill in the Collins backyard, into the pile.  For a dramatic effect, we would bail out at the last minute.  We’d build the pile back up after each ride, and at the end (in case we wanted to come back to it).  It was fun, but we could only focus on the activity for so long.
We’d then break out the air rifles and fake weaponry, battling aliens and monsters. 
The leaves would–they still do–have a magnificent smell to them.  You could smell the crispy nature of the brown leaves, the uncertain temperament of the yellows and oranges, and the greens and reds would have that confident poignancy about inevitable death; they accepted their eventual becoming one with the earth.  We’d bury ourselves with the leaves, and there would be no fear of suffocating as opposed to the overbearing heaviness and cold of the snow.  We’d come home smelling of nature and our parents would often look at us with leering eyes.  This wasn’t because they’d want us to take a shower, but because the flecks of broken leaves, ranging in size, would be carried and dropped throughout the house.  Those flecks are as irritating as fir needles.  The best was when you would get leaves in your shoe, and they would crumble; not only did it feel like little bugs tickling your feet, you had multiple instances to traipse the flecks around the house after you removed your shoes.
Then we had the woods, and nothing was scarier than taking a walk through a makeshift path with confidence and determination.  The leaves masked the path, but we were all to familiar with where we headed.  The geese were gone, and so we could safely walk around the ponds when and if we chose to get there.  As a side note, of all the years of hanging out in the woods, no one ever fell into the water–by choice or by accident.  Who knew what lurked, or still lurks for that matter, in the water. 
Although, the woods ended at certain points, our wandering never brought us to them.  There was one known exit, which lead out to a farm, but that was the only definitive end that we acknowledged.  Many times, purposely getting lost was a priority.  I remember instances where three hours flew by faster than five minutes.  That’s all a lovely part of thinking we can control time, stopping and speeding it up.  Fortunately, we can, but we just can’t focus on it.  We need to focus on not focusing. 

However, isn’t the latter comment relevant for everything in life?


Due to life’s inconsistencies and busy scheduling, I have not done the crucial autumn necessities of picking apples or pumpkins for consumption, gutting, baking, carving, or otherwise.  I have done the hikes and the walks here and there, but not to the extreme or number that I am normally accustomed to.  There is only myself to blame, but time management isn’t necessarily the issue.  Let’s take take my current position of sitting in a coffee shop, typing up blog posts instead of doing participating in the listed activities. 

However, that’s besides the point, because I am being productive with doing something that I truly enjoy.  One can sit comfortably in a coffee shop, where the majority of people–presumably–are not comfortable picking apples or pumpkins out alone.  Those are friend activities, and you need two or more people to play.  By all means, you  can even sit at a chess board opposite seat with a mirror upon it, but that still doesn’t mean your reflected self is willing to play.

It just doesn’t make sense, and it’s silly.  That’s why there are stores for your convenience.  I’m not talking about convenience stores, because I probably would not buy apples or pumpkins from those places.  People, onlookers, do not think twice at Wegmans.  People watchers think:  Wow, that’s a bushel of apples.  Hell yeah, apple strudel!  I say apple strudel, because I had some of mom’s the other night, a la mode, and it was phenomenal as usual.

I just don’t bake.  I haven’t really tried, so you can tsk-tsk me all you want, because I am avoiding something that I should at least try.  It’s the whole precision thing.  I’ll cook up a storm, but if and when it comes to having to bake something, I’m already down the street, running.  Yeah, one can always pick up the boxed stuff, but that’s essentially cheating.  If you’re going to make a cake, you may as well start it from scratch. 

Oh, yeah.  That takes time.

So, with the remaining days of “tolerable weather” as some may refer to the snow-less days, I have been occupying my time with hikes… err, well, strolls.  Carl and I hit up Ithaca a few weekends back, and the following weekend I drove over to Clarks Reservation.  This weekend I ventured to Pratt’s Falls in order to keep the streak going.  It’s calming, and it’s constructive instead of going into stores (i.e. Marshalls, Kohls, Target, Michaels, etc.) to burn some time.  There is, also, a great chance that your wallet would burn as well.  Nothing like the smell of hot plastic zipping through a piece of plastic and a scanner to create some brief dissatisfaction.  I say brief, because we all know once the purchases glow when the bag or box is opened at home. 

I haven’t had too many of those experiences lately, the glowing purchases.  However, I do get excited when I open up the clear produce bag to hold a crown of broccoli or some peppers.  I hold those veggies high and yell, “Behold!”  Little do they know, they will be prepped only to be consumed.  I pick up my steamer to place it in the pot, and add water.  I look at the veggies, grinning, and tell them:  “I’m going to steam the shit out of you, but not too much.  I need you to have a little crisp.”

Oh, the fun we have when we’re alone. 

I was just thinking.  I would be quite entertaining to make stuffed peppers one night, but carve a face out of the peppers to have the meat and cheese push through. It’s like those pumpkins people set up, carved, and puking or doing some other despicable act, but with your food.  It’ll make meals that much more appetizing for Halloween. 

I digress.

I know the pictures I have posted on Facebook aren’t that great. I am still trying to perfect my camera skills, playing with the manual settings rather than opting for a general automatically fixed shot.  I do, but do not apologize for the multiple shots of similar settings in my albums.  I couldn’t decide which shot I liked best, but at the same time I’m essentially developing a portfolio I will never utilize.  The more shots the better.  I don’t plan to make photography a job, because it is more of a hobby.  However, I do like to pretend, or prepare just in case.  I am pleased with the pictures, however.

The walks were perfect, and the weather these weekends has been fantastic.  I love getting out and enjoying the fresh air.  The individuals I have come across, especially today, are always friendly and wanting to have a quick chat.  These interactions keep me going, because it helps me not doubt my choosing to live in Central New York.  Geographically, within the state, we have a perfect central location, and we get to experience all four seasons.  It’s reassuring I don’t have to travel a half hour in order to get to several hiking/walking places, or shall I say parks. 

However, I can go on, but I’ll end here for the time being.

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