I grew up with rain. Lots and lots of rain.
The Seattle I remember from my elementary school years was the Seattle of the stereotypes. Starbucks, rain, Pike Place Market, REI or Columbia hiking wear as casual wear, and months and months of gray days. I didn't know anything different, and as a kid, I just assumed that that was what "non-vacation" life was like.
When you went on vacation, you wore shorts, T-shirts, and jelly shoes. When you were at home -- except for the month of August -- you wore clothes with hoods, jeans, and rain boots. That's how life worked.
Around the time school started in the fall, the days would start getting so short that by the time I got home from school, around 4:00pm, it would already be almost dark. Again, this, I assumed was how "normal" people lived. Normal life was dark, wet, and chilly most of the time, but it was okay -- warm was what vacations were for.
People who lived in Arizona, Florida, or California (the three places I remember my family visiting when I was kid) weren't "real." In fact, I wasn't entirely certain they continued to exist after the Hung Family made their departure. As a 10-year-old standing in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, smiling for a picture next to Pee-Wee Herman's hand prints, as a stinky-looking Batman posed with a very busty Michael Jackson just over my dad's shoulder, it's no wonder I questioned the reality of such places.
But I never remember being unhappy with the non-vacation life. I think it's because when it got cold and rainy, and the days started getting shorter, that's when all the good things would happen in rapid succession: the first day of school (I LOVED elementary school, not to mention NEW SCHOOL SUPPLIES!), my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.
Sure I spent 75% of my childhood with my sweatshirt pulled down over my hands, and the bottom of my pants soggy, but I also had dark, chilly Halloweens, and a few white Christmases, and big chunky, snuggly scarves.
Oh how I miss the scarves.
Really I miss all the fall clothes. I miss how, aside from all the stores spewing forth orange and black, and red and green (which I love), everybody looked different too. I know I'm getting a little Precious Moments-eyed and nostalgic here, but come one! Even if you're just throwing on a parka, a hat, and a scarf to run to CVS, you look adorable all bundled up, with your mittens and rosy cheeks as you scurry like a snowflake across the CVS parking lot! Look how cute you are!
Way cuter than the cut-off jeans you've been wearing for three days and one of the 20 tank tops you own because it's so damn hot and/or humid ALL YEAR LONG.
Wah wah wah. I know. Grass is always greener. Cold is always better when you're not in it (I was a most supreme baby about the cold when I was working in St. Louis this past winter). Hawai'i is fairly decent place to call home.
But I miss the fall.
All over Facebook, Twitter, even on television, all I see is, "Fall is here! Brrrr! It's getting chilly! Hot cocoa anyone?" and I am jealous.
So after two years of near constant "perfect weather," I decided to take things into my own hands this year and do my damndest to make it feel like fall -- yummy, comforting, "Yes I'd Like Earmuffs With My Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte," fall.
Ways Louise Does Fall When It's 90 Degrees Out and Wearing Her 6 Foot Long Hot Pink Cable Knit Scarf, Though Snuggly, Would Appear Desperate. And Sweaty.
Make it Sound Like Fall
You know how there are summer anthems? To me there are fall ones too. These are some of the songs that if I close my eyes I can see the leaves changing and almost feel the nip in the air. They are keeping me in the Cold Weather Spirit.
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go -- Madeleine Peyroux
This version of the Bob Dylan song feels like something that would be playing in a warm, dim coffee house on a blustery day. I used to get all my cold weather work done in a smoky little coffee shop, and this, or something like it, I suspect would be whispering in my ear.
Young Pilgrims -- The Shins
This song was what I was listening to when, on the first frosty days of the year in St. Louis I slipped, feet up in the air like a cartoon character, and fell on a patch of ice. I bruised my tailbone but it was such a ridiculous moment that I laughed and laughed like a lunatic. It actually turned out to be a good day.
Black Breeze Night -- The Ditty Bops
Aaaaah, it's all delightful nighttime fall things rolled up into one song:
Falling leaves hit the ground
Silent still without much sound
Rustle rustle crackle pound
Pound pound pounding
Distant TV noise it's drowning
Their vocals are a little drowsy, a little sad, a whole lot comfy. Makes me want to curl up in the shadows with an addictive book and just the reading light on.
I Got Coal -- Deathray Davies
A weird little song from one of my favorite Dallas bands. Sure it's a Christmas song, but it sucks up all the memories of driving around Dallas in the winter after a late night in a dark, cramped bar. It sounds like the holidays to me.
The whole "Under the Pink" album -- Tori Amos
I religiously listened to Tori Amos all through high school, and this album was permanently stuck on repeat one winter. Music best listened to on a bright, cold, gray, day -- that's what this is. A lot of Tori's piano playing literally sounds like little snowflakes falling to me. (Then there's "God" and "The Waitress," but a little rage highlights all the coziness, no?)
Make it Smell Like Fall
You know those pinecones that are scented with that apple cinnamon shit that's probably giving me cancer? I'm a sucker for those. Add a pot of coffee brewing and I'm in heaven.
A few weeks ago, I got kind of down and homesick, and dragged my ass to the store to buy all things warm and cozy smelling. Of course the apple cinnamon scented candles were a must, but "Autumn Wreath"? "Pumpkin Pie"? A candle that smells like a sweater? SHUT UP.
Freakin' "Treehouse Memories"?! (I never had a treehouse but I'm sure I would have had some really fantastic memories in one).
My house smells like the third circle of Yankee Candle Hell.
Make it Taste Like Fall
I'm not a big baker, but when I need a jolt of all the good fall feelings, I have a recipe for this Spiced Raisin Pumpkin Bread Thing (gluten free), that is akin to munching on "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Plus it makes my apartment smell like happiness.
I'm also not above fixing myself a mini "Thanksgiving Dinner" of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and green beans. Get the mulled wine going in the slow cooker, and I'll believe you if you tell me it started snowing in Honolulu.
And as soon as I perfect my sugar cookie recipe I'm buying ALL the frosting.
So that's where you'll find me. Camped out in my fire-hazard-but-delectable-smelling home, with music gently wafting around the place, and something spiced cooking in the oven.
How do you make it fall if you live in a less than "fall like" place? Even if you do live somewhere in the ice and cold, how do you get into the season?