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July 30, 2010

The Big Question: Autumn Leaves Edition

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 12:12 pm

Three more months of summer.




I am not easily beaten down, but the prospect of suffering through another three months of 98 degrees and 98% humidity –it’s actually been a coolish summer, but freakishly humid– makes me want to peel my eyeballs out and put them in the freezer next to that inappropriately anatomic ice cube tray someone gave me as housewarming gift when I was 19.

Sure, in most places summer is over halfway through September and you get the gorgeous leaves and the brisk mornings and all those wonderful things Mother Nature tosses your way to let you pretend you’re in the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls, but not here.

Here autumn starts on Halloween, and the only reason I know that is because the girls all dressed up as Naughty Whatevers end up freezing drunk and shivering under the awning of some place that offers Long Island iced teas for a buck fifty — two dollars if you want them without the roofies– when a “surprise” cold front blows in. Good times.

So today we’re going to talk about what we’re doing to do in the fall.

I’m doing a few weeks in Europe and Marrakech in October courtesy of a lovely friend, and then –more excitingly because they have better barbeque– spending some time with Granny Plumcake in Nashville.

Granny Plumcake is my hero because she smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, has the sort of jewelry that makes Elizabeth Taylor look like one of those fundamentalist Mormon cult women, married the most wonderful man to ever have a resume that didn’t include performing neat tricks with loaves and fishes and generally does what she damn well pleases with the result that she looks five, maaaaaybe six years older than my father,  her son.

I’d hate her if I didn’t spend every waking moment praying I’ll turn into her.

So what are you going to do? What do you WISH you could do? What has you pining for the fjords? Miss Plumcake wants to know!


  1. Marrakech is gorgeous. I highly recommend eating dinner on one of the restaurant patios of Place Djema d Fna just after dark, so you can see the lights and people from above. Plus: buy silver (if you are so inclined). They have gorgeous silver jewelry for cheap(ish), if you take some time to poke around in the souk.

    Comment by penguinlady — July 30, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  2. Keep working on this flippin’ dissertation. We need Granny Plumcake pictures now, you know.

    Comment by GoP — July 30, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  3. I am going to fulfill a dream I had ever since I read my first Stephen King novel at 12 years old – I am doing a road trip through New England to see the fall foliage. I will spend my birthday in October in a little, posh inn in Vermont and later that week I’ll be traveling down the coast in Maine. I’ll be bringing my camera and since I am a professional (portrait) photographer, I have this fantasy of making those pictures into a calendar or postcards or best – a coffee table book and then I’ll get commissioned to do all kinds of trips all over the world to take photos.
    That will probably not happen but I think I’ll enjoy my trip regardless.

    Right now I wish I could be somewhere tropical with a cool breeze coming from the ocean and a cocktail in my hand, served by a hot, shirtless polynesian waiter with a pile of books at my side. I’d even let my husband be there. I need somebody to carry all those books to the beach after all.

    All winter long I was longing for summer but now that we have it, I can’t wait for it to be fall. This is only my second summer in Chicago and it’s been a lot hotter than last summer.

    Comment by Ali — July 30, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  4. This fall I am going to France with my family for a vacation. It will be the first time I’ve been there so I am VERY excited! Also, I will continue on my quest to finish my BA which also has me really pumped. I’ve finally reached a place where I am able to finish what I started so many years ago!

    I second the request for pics of Granny Plumcake!

    Comment by Miss B — July 30, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  5. @GoP, I’m not sure Granny Plumcake would approve of her picture being online and one does NOT cross GP without living (or sometimes not) to regret it.

    Comment by Plumcake — July 30, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  6. This eight months of summer business is EXACTLY why I won’t live in the South. I can hardly deal with three.

    Ali, don’t be one of the obnoxious leaf-peepers who stop dead in the middle of a six-lane road to watch a single leaf fall on the hood of their car (yes, this really happens). And be sure to check online foliage maps for the best viewing!

    Myself, I will most likely to be starting a new job. Right now I have to get through the interviewing process intact. This will include turning down a second interview with a school clear across the country that does not offer relocation expenses. If you want me, and you’re not the federal government, you pay for me to get to you; that’s how it works.

    Comment by zuzu — July 30, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  7. In the fall…I’m going to make soup and bread and take naps and start taking zumba classes.

    Comment by Gryph — July 30, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  8. I loathe summer. All those fall catalogs showing up that feature perky girls in kilts and sweaters are torture right now. But I’m escaping to the inlaws in the U.K for a week at the end of the August. I shall be able to sit in a park without risking heat stroke or malaria – something I can’t do in Austin.

    And I propose a Granny Plumcake fan site. She sounds very much like my fav aunt/role model who was flirting like a Southern Auntie Mame until the day she died.

    Comment by Thea — July 30, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  9. @Thea, you know, you MIGHT be safe from malaria, but just to be safe you ought to probably have a steady supply of quinine, applied medicinally via gin and tonics.

    Comment by Plumcake — July 30, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  10. Maybe you could do a Twitter feed of S#!+ My Granny Plumcake Says.

    Comment by zuzu — July 30, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  11. I HATE summer. HAAAAAAAAAAATE. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons and I hate that they are so short here in Austin. I have no special plans for fall, other than enjoying a nightly cup of hot cocoa (my favorite beverage) every evening and praising the heavens that I don’t burst into flames every time I step outside any more. This means I’ll also be able to start walking someplace for lunch every day again, rather than ordering in or bringing my lunch every day, because seriously, smelling like sweat and broiled skin all afternoon is not professional. Did I mention that I hate summer?

    Comment by Cat — July 30, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

  12. When I lived in the hot humid South I hated summer, but now that I live up in Maine I must say that the idea of summer disappearing again in a month is making me panic. I’ve loved our “hot, humid” summer (we hit 88 once! dewpoint got into the low 70s once!). Winter will be here soon. The dark, the cold, the horror.

    But Ali, your trip this fall should be super fun and absolutely beautiful. I grew up in Chicago, and fall is much prettier up here.

    Comment by Jennifer — July 30, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

  13. I think I’ll spend fall looking for that bar you mentioned.

    When my father was alive he’d rent a plane and take the whole family flying over Algonquin Park to go leaf-watching. Hard to top that for an unusual family tradition. But I think this Fall I’m going to take myself for a vacation to stay with friends in … uh … Not-Ucluelet, also known as Undisclosed Location so the tourists don’t find it. It’s a 13-mile-long white sand beach with sea lions, orcas, and the most murderous big cats in the world. And soon, one more cougar!

    Comment by raincoaster — July 31, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  14. Geez even up here in the Mitten it’s just unnecessarily hot. I mean really who thinks it’s a good idea for it to be 95 degrees with 100 percent humidity in Michigan!? To be sweating in places that frankly can’t be seen without a mirror and a flashlight that’s just craziness I say. But I digress, this fall I shall actually be headed in the direction of the apparently more oppressive heat to go to DragonCon aka Nerd-a-palooza (the ren faire geek girls will get why that’s cool) for the 1st week of September with my best friend for our first grown up vacation together.

    Comment by AmazonAngelle — July 31, 2010 @ 2:34 am

  15. We’ll hopefully be moved into a new, much nicer, non roach-infested apartment. One that has real floors instead of concrete and is also not in a basement. Because we can actually afford to move up a bit now, woo! And my kid will be in pre-school for the first time. This is also the first Halloween he’ll really be aware what is going on, and we’re going to take him trick-or-treating.

    I also plan on cooking and baking as much as is humanly possible.

    Comment by ToastBat — July 31, 2010 @ 10:26 am

  16. I live in the scorching wasteland that is Phoenix, Arizona….where summer lasts from April to October….and I hate every 3-digit moment of it (and for those who dismiss our summers as bearable because “it’s a dry heat”, come try it sometime, I dare you). I can only hope that I’ll descend into a heatstroke-induced coma and emerge in friggin’ December when it’s finally fit for human habitation.

    BOOTS. When it is fall I will wear my boots. Beautiful leather knee-high boots in various hues with skirts, dresses, you name it. Can’t. Wait. Oh, and when it’s fall I plan to go outside, period.

    Comment by lazydaisydays — July 31, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  17. @lazydaisydays: only people who have never been in “not that bad because it’s a dry heat” say things like that! I always reply “yes, and you cook roasts in a dry heat!”. It tends to make people think. We have a dry heat here, too, and I hate it. (I grew up in NJ without air conditioning. I know from humidity and heat and you know, dry or wet, it sucks.)

    Fall? I am looking forward to jackets and long pants.

    I will say one thing for this unusually hot summer – it’s gotten me over my phobia of going sleeveless (because when I was growing up Big Girls Did NOT Go Sleeveless EVER) because I’m just too darned hot to care. And you know? I look pretty good!

    Comment by TropicalChrome — July 31, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  18. That kind of heat was why I returned to the Great White North from Louisiana.

    People keep saying, “Oh, you must miss the climate.”

    Nope. Not. at. all.

    We have approximately another month of summer here in Calgary, 6 weeks at best. Winter will be nipping at us by mid-October.

    Comment by Geogrrl — July 31, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  19. I should also say I’ll be spending the first two weeks of October in London, with a side trip to France. I’ll be looking forward to my first time off this continent.

    Comment by Geogrrl — July 31, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  20. This fall I am breaking in a new roommate, going back for another year of nerd school, and auditioning a new candidate for Man in My Life! But autumn will start in mid-September here in Maine, and already we’re having a nice spell of 75-degree weather.

    Comment by Jane — July 31, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

  21. Um, I wish. We get three months of summer here in Copenhagen and so far the July month has been rain, rain, and more rain. Crap! Here’s hoping August will behave, because September IS autumn, and then we get, just like Jennifer in Maine, the dark, the cold, the horror. (As well as: the wet, the grey, the wind.) Until May.
    So come autumn I will be tearing my hair and gnashing my teeth, tuning up my head-to-toe rain gear (have a bicycle instead of a car), and upping the happy pills.

    Comment by Rebekka — August 1, 2010 @ 2:01 am

  22. As a birthday wish I wanted a change in the weather. Less heat, way lower dewpoints. My birthday was Friday and, though I had to work, my wish came to be. I can actually move without breaking out in a sweat. Woo hoo!

    I’m looking forward to fall mainly because it will kill all these damn mosquitos who look on me as a 24 hour buffet.

    Comment by Constance — August 1, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  23. This fall I intend to be back in improv classes, with at least one stage performance during that time. I took too long of a break after moving cities and having a baby and my creative muscle is atrophying.

    Comment by Meg — August 2, 2010 @ 12:42 am

  24. Plumcake – I’ve been administering oral quinine with Hendricks gin (thank you so much for that tip!) for several years now, strictly preventative measures.

    Raincoaster – WAAAAH! I pine for Ucluelet in August, it’s my mental happy place when the 7 day forecast for Austin is simply 100 degrees.

    Comment by Thea — August 2, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  25. Come autumn, I will come out from hibernation from the heat and be seen outside, possibly, in the middle of the day.

    I hope to take my beloved husband to Italy for a couple of weeks.

    Comment by Christine — August 3, 2010 @ 8:20 am

  26. We’re going to Canada for 3 weeks – Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa. I can’t wait! Also, Plummy Marrakesh is AMAZING. I recommend the fresh squeezed orange juice in the Djemma el Fna and buying yourself a bag of freshly roasted nuts. Yummmmm. The Jardins Majorelles are simply fantastic…and were designed by Yves St. Laurent so you can’t go wrong there.

    Comment by Casablanca — August 4, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

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