brownie bottom pumpkin cheesecake squares

I sometimes can’t help but laugh at myself. Well, “sometimes” is a bit of an understatement. Usually, though, it’s due largely to some sort of public embarrassment or Noosh publicizing my frequent foot-in-mouth slip-ups in the form of Facebook statuses for all of our mutual friends to shake their heads in dismay over.

(I’m sure many of my readers can attest.)

But other times, I put my hands on my hips, take a glance around the absurdity of the knick-knacks lining the walls and littering the floor of our apartment, and I can’t help but grin. It’s a caricature, really, of all the things Noosh and I have been obsessed with over the course of our time living together. (We’ve known each other for 12 years, and we still find ways to surprise ourselves with incredulity. The testament of a true friend.) Scrolls of Hogwarts houses sitting above the sofa; a gloriously life-sized, 6’2 cardboard cut-out of Tenth Doctor; TV shelf piled high with video game cases and movies from the ‘guy section’ of our cabinet, topped with the occasional chick-flick for good measure.

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life of {pecan} pi

The stage is set: a 9-foot-long island covered in plates of heaping mashed potatoes and buttery green beans, pies scattered between a tray of not-so-canned yams and jars of homemade cranberry sauce, apple cider spiced fresh off the stove, all surrounding an enormous plate housing a beautifully golden-brown turkey, after having spent the past 5 hours roasting in the oven and permeating the house with smells of autumn nights and Claude Debussy.

And then, of course, family arrives, and the display goes from something straight out of a Taste of Home magazine to a raucous event of Modern Family proportions.

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pumpkin bars with maple cream cheese frosting

It’s a nice time of year. And not even because of the wool coats and bright scarves, coffee mugs and Louis Armstrong blaring merrily in every cafe, and time off from classes for a few days’ respite with family fast-approaching.

Those are all nice too, of course. Sensory manifestations of why I adore autumn and the holiday season. But even more than all that, it’s a nice time of year.

I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday, working on a paper after my excursion downtown, a cup of pomegranate tea in hand as uni-student-occupied-tables covered in Macs and textbooks littered the Starbucks cafe (a common sight).

And behind me I heard a mum and child walk by – a son around 5 years old, 6 at most – talking about Christmas presents for dad and going to the grocery store to buy ingredients for gingerbread cookies and “how about this nice new book for your sister?”

I hadn’t even realized that I had stopped typing, trying my damnedest not to look too overt in my eavesdropping. I caught the eye of the woman sitting next to me – alone, save for the latest copy of the Times and a plate of biscotti – and she gave me a knowing smile. I returned it, heart unexpectedly lightened.

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buckeye balls

I’m quite the expert at losing things. It’s pretty unbelievable, actually, since I’m so type-A about organization, but there you have it. The list is extensive: one out of two socks (seven and counting), hair clips (hundreds), chapsticks (at least twenty), water bottles (three; one last week), German textbooks (one, yesterday), iPods (one, last year).

Usually, the things I lose don’t come back, lost in the abyss of where-the-hell-did-I-put-that-damn-cellphone-again for all eternity. But sometimes, they do.

And sometimes, it’s an iPod playing on the speaker system of one of your favorite cafes that makes you realize that one person’s lost $150 mp3 player is another person’s treasure.

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salted caramel cinnamon cake

After September all but flew by, I was hoping to savor October. Weekdays spent at the Market, weekends out at the orchard, coffee dates and movie nights, windbreakers and sturdy boots, bright buckets of Halloween candy and gourds adorning doorsteps. All the makings of a good autumn month.

And funnily enough, all the above came to pass. I just seem to have missed my chance to savor it.

Now we’re well into November, and I feel like each day slips through my fingers before I even realize I have a hold of it. So when Zach told me he would be out of town on Friday for nationals up in PA – on his birthday no less – I decided I couldn’t let the day go by uncelebrated.

Even if it is still a bit early.

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chopped pistachios and bowls of distractions

I’ve decided transfer some more of my old recipes over, primarily because I didn’t want to have to flip through blog v.1 for some of my favorites, but also because, after 4 days and too-little sleep, I’ve finished Assassin’s Creed III and have found myself needing to keep busy as not to fall into a tragic depression from withdrawal and emptiness.

My priorities are golden, quite obviously.

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