Sunday, September 26, 2010

What makes the leaves change color in the Fall?

I hate Fall. Okay, not so much Fall...just everything it represents. For starters, everything is DYING. I get that the leaves are really pretty for a period of, like, 47 minutes. After that they fall, we rake, and everything is bare. And cold. Dare I mention the cold? Burrrrrrr! Hate. it. I've often said that I begin to get cold sometime in mid-October, reach a hard freeze by Christmas, and don't completely thaw out again until May. My hands and feet honestly stay freezing cold for half of the year!
I guess I can at least somewhat identify with those of you, my husband included, who spend the whole year waiting for Fall to arrive for whatever reason. For him, Fall contains everything that is good...hunting season, football, the colorful foliage, the crisp air, his birthday, football, the crunch of walking through dry leaves, hunting season, etc. Oh, and did I mention football and hunting season? There's also my friend Haley who's obsessed with Halloween (hmmm...I do enjoy myself a good costume party...), and then another friend Harmony who freakishly enjoys dancing on the edge of hypothermia. However for me, myself, I just don't get it. But it's here. So I must accept it.
I must say that Autumn gave me little to no notice this year. I arrived at work last Monday to see that the Bradford pears that line the entrance to my office building had literally changed colors over the weekend! And that was before the temperature dropped!! Which made me question what it is that signals the trees that the time has come to transition into Fall. As, clearly, it was not the arrival of anything that even closely resembled Autumnal weather.
On a related note, though, a similar change has occurred in me. Sensing the onset of cooler temperatures, I've recently been moved with a sudden urge to refresh my Fall/Winter wardrobe. Sweaters, jackets, and scarves grace the pages of every sale paper and magazine I receive. They're on display in store windows and appearing in commercials. I mean, it's still too hot for me to go running outside during the day, but get outta my way, people...I need BOOTS!!!! Seriously, what is up with that?
So, maybe the trees and I aren't so different. We know cooler weather is coming. It always does, no matter what our argument or defense. Might as well give in sooner rather than later. After all, it means I'm able to debut my scarves and leggings that much sooner!

Q: What makes the leaves change color in the Fall?
A: The same indefinable sensation that causes me to run out and buy sweaters and boots!*

P.S. Please revisit this site, once Spring nears, to read a related post entitled "It's April and FREEZING...why am I wearing sandals?!"

[*Well I really was curious about what makes the leaves change color, so I did research it. The answer wasn't all that interesting, but I feel obligated to include it. Basically, when the hours of daylight grow shorter each day the trees do not have enough light to continue photosynthesis (which literally means "putting together with light") and the chlorophyll disappears from their leaves, revealing the other colors (yellow, orange, etc.) which have been there all along but were overpowered by the green color during the warmer months of long days. The deepening of shades (reds, purples, and browns) that occurs in some trees is caused by glucose that remains in the leaves after photosynthesis stops.]

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why does hosting a shower make me feel like such a grown up?

And I'm feeling pretty grown up these days after recently hosting 2 showers within 4 days. I pondered this question last Sunday as I prepared for my second one of the week. I'd made grape salad, washed and prepared fresh vegetables, changed into a dress and out of the jeans I'd hastily worn to church that morning, and donned several things I rarely wear: pearls, lipstick, perfume, and Spanx to name a few. I had also loaded up a market tote full of serveware that I've scarcely used since receiving it as a wedding gift over 3 years ago. I glimpsed myself, my market tote, and my lipstick and pearls as I headed out the door. I sighed. And thought to myself, "When did I become such a grown up?"
It's only natural that a baby shower should make me feel that way. I grew up watching my mother do the very same. Except in a very different way than we do today. First of all, I would have never gone to church in anything other than a dress. Wearing lipstick would have been more of a regular occurrence than the SPF 15 chapstick I usually sport. Back then, all the ladies from church pooled together all of their glass plates, punch glasses, tablecloths, etc. Today, we just run to Target or Hobby Lobby, and everything's disposable! But the overall concept really hasn't changed. We plan for months. We dress our best. We cook and clean. We don pearls.
A few things definitely HAVE changed greatly, though. Their shower menus consisted of the following: cake, punch (usually seafoam green in color and containing sherbert), nuts, mints, and maybe a cheese ball if you were lucky. Ours have progressed to strawberry lemonade, petit fours, a wide enough variety of dips to blow your mind, and fruit trays containing whole watermelons carved into the shape of a baby carriage! Quite a stretch from my mother's day. I actually called her last Saturday night as I prepared one of my dishes for the shower. "Mom," I yelled into the phone. "I'm afraid I don't have enough grape salad!" Her reply? "Well, honey, that's okay. They'll just eat it 'til it's gone." Bless. Her.
I, on the other hand, could never be so cool about such a majorly important issue. If it were up to me, there would be enough of each dish at the shower so that if every guest in attendance heaped an entire serving of every single item on the table onto their plate...there would still be plenty left over. Taking home half of whatever foods I brought is more than acceptable to me if it means that my dish was eaten, enjoyed, and remained looking plentiful throughout the event!
Also of concern to me is the presentation of the foods, gifts, and decor involved. A few weeks prior to Sunday's shower, I received a gift in the mail from one of the invitees who wasn't going to be able to attend. It contained several loose items that were gift-wrapped and shipped in a FedEx envelope...only to become demolished during shipping. I couldn't bear to show up with a such a tattered present, even if it wasn't from, in a particularly violent attack of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I bought a gift bag and tissue paper and rewrapped it. And mocked myself, all the while.
Also concerned with keeping my own attitude in check at the day's events, I listened to praise and worship music on the long drive from my house to the site of the shower. Why? Because I operate on the concept of Put Good In...Get Good Out! Too many women in one room can have a tendency to become critical or catty, and...althouth I have a long way to go in this department...I can honestly say, from my heart, that I want no part of it. So I sang and worshipped at the top of my lungs throughout the entire drive. (Much, I'm sure, to the amusement of my fellow motorists.)
This, of all areas, is where I most long to be like my mother. And, for that matter, HER mother. Both shudder(ed) at the thought of offending anyone, or speaking ill of them. In that regard, and by the grace of God, I have a lot to learn. And always will. Until then, my cynicism will probably continue to triumph. (Much, I'm sure, to the enjoyment of any of my blog followers.)
This trait is not one of which I'm proud. Lucky for me, pearls dress it up a bit. Lipstick helps to cover. Perfume masks. And Spanx contains.

Q: Why does hosting a shower make me feel like such a grown up?
A: I have no idea...because I have SO FAR to go...