Tis (just about) the Season

While I am a fairly untraditional girl by some standards (I prefer the gritty to the cheesy, jeans to jewelry and The Sopranos to The Real Housewives), there is a time and a place for tradition in my adult female life.  That time is now and the place is a pumpkin farm in Half Moon Bay.

For the last four Octobers, Nathan and I have visited a pumpkin farm (it has to be a farm, not a patch) and that farm has to be in Half Moon Bay.  This visit marks the start of fall for me, and the home stretch to Christmas.  Not only do I stock up on all my pumpkin and gourd needs, I also treat myself to something deep fried at Cameron’s pub, our traditional lunch stop.

This year, Thaomy, Paolo and baby J joined us.  Although I must say that I don’t need a two year old as an excuse to make the trip, J’s cuteness was definitely a highlight.

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How cute is that picture of J trying to push the wheel barrow?!  Thaomy dressed her up as the Morton’s “Salt Girl” (go check out the image on the container) so she would be photo shoot ready at the farm.  Last year J was a piece of sushi for Halloween.  Loving Thaomy’s creativity!

Once home, I set aside the pumpkin I picked for carving (which will be placed on my stoop when ready) and proceeded to officially introduce fall into the apartment.

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I absolutely love seasonal decor, especially in a city like SF where you never know exactly when you are. Since the weather in SF does not change much year round, seasonal decor nicely marks the passage of time. It serves as a visual marker of the season but it also releases in you all the memories you have of that season.  The bowl of gourds is really just the first stop on association lane.  It reminds me of the way my mom decorates our home for the holidays and the way she literally lives in the kitchen my entire stay at home, making sure I have all my favorites to eat.  When I was growing up, every holiday it was always my mom and aunts in the kitchen all day and all night, and now when I go home, I join my mom’s side as we make our traditional favorites: stuffed eggplant, hummus, tabouli, roast duck, leg of lamb, almond rice…

Now that I have my own home, I love carrying on her tradition of decorating the place only at Halloween and Thanksgiving, and then Christmas and New Year’s Eve, always leaving the tree up long enough to be enjoyed on my birthday on January 5th (and when we had a fake tree, sometimes long enough to be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day). My mom was never one for Easter or fourth of July decorations. One of the cool things about being an adult is combining the traditions you inherit from your parents with the new ones you create with your own little family. Since the Half Moon Bay tradition is the first one Nathan and I started together, I hope that wherever life takes us, a pumpkin farm is just a short drive away.

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Reason #12 I Love Being an Adult: Not Being “Cool”

Fully embracing not being cool. Even though I’m 32, thus at the very beginning of this decade, I am already enjoying my 30s more than my 20s (and I enjoyed my 20s more than my teens).  A major factor in this phenomenon that counters a youth obsessed culture like our own is that I no longer feel the pressure to be “cool.”  I like myself and I like my life.  I matter to those that matter to me (Dr. Seuss echo) and that’s all I need to be happy.

I’m no longer trying to catch friends or lovers with my “cool” net.  I leave the house regularly with no makeup and messy hair.  I no longer buy things that are uncomfortable to wear just because they are cute.  I’m not exactly walking around with pre-dreads, covered in a potato sack.  My priorities have just shifted. My leisure time is more limited thus it won’t be wasted in the bathroom getting ready.  Fifteen minutes is my limit, 30-35 if I’m washing my hair.  I also have standards that I apply to shoes and clothes that I didn’t when I was younger.  For example, I no longer put up with shoes that pinch my toes.  I leave the store shoeless with the knowledge that I will find another pair that I like that doesn’t pinch.  Nor will I put up with being cold because I’m dying to wear the new dress I just bought.  Dresses now stay in my closet for months with the tag and surface only when it’s sunny and 70 degrees (mid-60s is acceptable if it’s a sweater dress).  Jeans and a sweater is the appropriate and reasonable wardrobe response to cold weather.  Logic trumps coolness.

I will even go as far as to say, not being cool saves friendships – as in you keep the real ones.  The lame friends drop out of your life much faster because their car, their good looks, their perceived popularity, their parties, are not substantial enough to maintain a relationship.  These types of friends talk about you behind your back, flirt with your boyfriend, flake on you at the last minute to hang out with other people they deem cooler, and demand that the conversation consistently revolve around them.  I think youth is much more willing to put up with these fake friends to gain entrance to certain social circles.

It is kind of amazing how freeing not being cool is.  It saves my time, it saves my comfort, it saves my money (I no longer buy things I hardly wear because they pinch my damn toes), and it saves my heart (friend breakups can be just as messy as boyfriend breakups especially because the fake ones tend to be the most dramatic).

Reason #11 I Love Being an Adult: A Christmas Inspired Post

Decorating Christmas trees.  Not only do I get to decorate my own tree, but when invited over to tree trimming parties, I take over as head tree decorator.  Luckily, at Tommy’s, no one else was as interested in the tree as I was thus I had no one to conflict with my vision.  Tommy’s also ensured that I would have a three tree year.  The third being my parents’ tree.  I may not live with my parents but I still decorate their tree every year!

The tree on the left is at my parents’ house in NC.  The tree on the right is the one in our apartment in SF.

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Ten Things I Love about Adulthood

1. Owning a dog.  She’s mine.  I only share her with the man I love and nothing is cuter than seeing my dog curled up in Nathan’s lap.

2. Decorating my apartment.  The art on the walls are a combination of my photos, Nathan’s photos, and Nathan’s father’s photos.  There are also various pieces I made myself using mixed media like wood, fabric and postcards.  Nathan and I chose every piece of furniture, every pillow and every plant.  There’s something so soothing about coming home to a place that I find aesthetically pleasing everywhere I look.

3. Knowing my path in life.  I found a career in education that inspires, energizes and feeds me.   Plus when the revolution comes, I’ll have trained an army!

4. Finding a partner in life.  Each day and every aspect of my life is richer because of him.

5. Attending classes in higher education.  I loved many of my college and graduate professors.  They reshaped the world for me in so many ways.  They introduced me to Karl Marx, Gloria Anzaldua, Nella Larson, Slavoj Zizek, Leslie Marmon Silko, Virginia Woolf, Tahar Ben Jelloun and countless others.  They taught me how to be a critical thinker and a better person by exposing me to ideas and perspectives different than my own.  It is because of them, I teach today and teach many of the texts I fell in love with in college and grad school.

6. Moving to a city of my choosing.  I moved around my whole life but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I got to choose my destination.  There have been cities I loved (New York, Paris, San Francisco) and cities I couldn’t wait to leave (Windsor, Irvine, Cary).  My environment has a huge impact on me and I love living in a city that I chose as home.

7. Waiting to get married and have kids.  What’s the rush?  I took my time in finding a partner that loves me the way I want to be loved and supports me the way I need to be supported.  I have loved others, true, and I’m so happy that I walked away from those relationships.  Yet, I’m still grateful that Nathan wasn’t my first boyfriend.  I learned and grew so much as person from past relationships.  They also gave me the perspective I needed to understand what I was looking for in a relationship and to grasp the full potential of what love could be.  In terms of waiting to have kids: there is so much I want to experience and explore in life without having to put others before myself.  For the first and only time in my life, I can be selfish.  Once I have kids, my life stops being about me completely.   Three weeks in Switzerland this summer?  Yes, please!  Two-week creative writing program in Portugal?  Why not?!

8. Drinking a cold beer.  Be it after work, on the weekend, or on vacation.  I never thought I’d be a beer drinker when I took my first sip of the stuff.  Now I think it is the most delicious nectar of my leisure time.

9. Cooking for myself and for loved ones.  When I have the time to spend a few hours in the kitchen, I do love the release I get from focusing on creating rich flavors and trying new twists on old family recipes.  My love of eating helps too.

10.  Traveling without a chaperone.  You’re not following someone else’s itinerary.  I love day trips with Nathan outside of the city and weekend camping trips with Nathan and Lolita.   I even enjoy traveling for work when I get to go to conference in a city I’ve never been before like Philadelphia and Houston.   I love traveling for weddings and for the holidays.  There’s something so revitalizing about leaving a city I love to explore a new place or return to a familiar one, only to come back to a home I’ve missed.