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It’s Autumn, or as the leaves call it, Fall.

Slyly, it begins at different times for different folk. Everyday seasons.

For some, the American Holiday Labor Day signals the end of summer, ergo Autumn begins the day after Labor Day.

Purists cling to the Autumnal Equinox as the beginning of Autumn. This year it happened on September 22, 2017.

Others say October marks the beginning of Autumn. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole festival named in honor of the month. Octoberfest celebrates the coming of the autumnal season and is officially held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Oddly enough however, Octoberfest begins in September there. AND, the Germans even spell it Oktoberfest. It’s like they’ve got a whole different language or something.

A few things I notice more about October now than I did in years past.

Pumpkins. They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere. Not just the big spheroid orange squash family things you carve, but myriad derivatives of pumpkin products presently proliferate.

There’s Pumpkin Spiced Coffee, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Pie and even Pumpkin in a can.

AND, the pumpkin is indeed seasonally autumnal. Try pawning off a pumpkin brew or a pumpkin pie on the 4th of July. Somehow, our tastes are seasonally conditioned.

Haunted houses. So many many more of them. Not the REAL haunted houses, but the “for profit” ones that proliferate the area now and charge $30 to $50 bucks for the privilege to be scared. Every day, I get Groupon offers. People, I live in Chicago. There are streets I can visit every single day and get scared for free. Taking a pass on the “for profit” haunted houses.

Apples. Who hasn’t gone apple picking if you live in the American Midwest? It’s a tradition. It’s fun reaching and plucking the fruit, filling the bag full with apples. Then, when you arrive home your very first thought is, “What the heck and I going to do with all these apples?”

When you buy pumpkins, your choices are small, medium, or large. Ah, but with apples, there’s: Blondie, Braeburn, Gala, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap, Macintosh, Corlands, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp, just to name a few. (Watch out. The honey crisp cost more in Michigan.) Oddly, I have found no apple variety named Bob, but yet we bob for apples.

A fun fact from sixwise dot com. You could eat a different apple every day for more than 19 years,

Many proclaim Autumn to be their favorite season; the colors, the refreshing weather, the apples, the pumpkins, the beer are all reasons why. I happen to be among the many and will celebrate the season accordingly.

Original inspiration for this post was in 2013. Here’s the post:


For the past three years or so, I’ve happen to work in an “elevator building.”

As fate would have it, I’ve recently moved my residence to an “elevator building.”

Therefore, based upon sophisticated and scientific observations, the method of which I cannot share here, I feel infinitely qualified to share some of my thoughts on elevator etiquette.

Here we go:

Always stand about 5 feet from the elevator door when waiting for the elevator to arrive. Believe it or not, there may actually be people ON that elevator awaiting to exit. You will impede the exit process if you are any closer.

This may be obvious, but believe me, some idiots do not heed this. Let the people exit the elevator before you try to enter the elevator. It’s a lot easier to get ON the elevator AFTER those who want OFF the elevator exit. It only makes sense.

People REFRAIN from any cell phone usage while ON the elevator. Please. This one is an obvious. There is nothing THAT pressing happening that requires you to check your e-mail and text messages on that 30 second ride. As if, the instant you arrive at your floor, you need to JUMP into action like Wonder Woman ready to save the world when you hit the 3rd floor.

And even worse, don’t make OR answer a call while on the elevator. NOBODY wants to hear your trite and boring conversations AND even IF it’s an emergency, just what are you going to do? You’re inside an elevator! Likely miles away from anyone needing your help.

If you are standing right in front of the door ON a crowded elevator, just exit when the bell rings. Yeah, I know you want to be gallant and let the ladies exit first, but if in fact you are feeling chivalrous, exit first THEN hold the door for them. It’s a confined space. Get off it as soon as you can and help accelerate the process for others anxiously awaiting an exit.

On the off chance it is just you and another person sharing the same lift, I’d suggest using the moment to share a little happy small talk instead of riding in awkward silence. If you don’t know just how to do that, here’s some suggestions:

Whew, hot one out there.
Boy, that traffic was BAD today.
Wow, Wednesday already.
How bout those Cubs?
Can’t wait until tomorrow. Why? Because I get better looking every day.

Never underestimate the power of human interaction. The next time I see these people in the lift, they usually smile at me. Perhaps because they think I’m crazy. Perhaps because they enjoyed the prior exchange. Perhaps because they thought I looked NO different.

So there you have it. Some VERY simple suggestions for “living it up while you’re going down.” Props to aerosmith.


I’ve been preparing for the big eclipse that’s coming August 21.  For the past week, I’ve set my alarm for 2:00 AM, then I take a look out the window for three whole minutes trying to replicate experience and take in the total darkness.  Yep, it’s dark, very dark.

The solar eclipse of 2017 has been all the talk for at least the past month or so, even more if you’re one who is totally eclipsed by the impending moment.  For those of you living under a rock, or the dark side of the moon if you prefer, a total solar eclipse is about to pass through the contiguous United States.

The last time this happened in the USA USA was in 1979, however, this eclipse only passed through five north northwestern states on a February morn, barely visible in the winter sky before crossing the border into Canada.

The last time a total solar eclipse passed through the US of A from sea to shining sea, from the Pacific to the Atlantic was in 1918.

In other words, this event is ALMOST as rare as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

Dearly beloved, there hasn’t been this much excitement about a naturally occurring event since New Years’ Eve 1999 and the Y2K scare. Remember that?

We were all duped into thinking the Cyber world we created would explode and everything computer generated would disintegrate because the years on computers were supposedly configured with only two digits. Once the clock ticked to 2000, bang, everything would revert to 1900 and life as we knew it would crash.

It didn’t, but come on, admit it, you still have a jug of water and a jar of peanut butter tucked away in a safe place, just…in…case. Someone made money off that, I’m sure.  In fact, as I reflect on Y2K, I become more convinced the bottled water people and the peanut butter people conspired to contrive the plan.

Speaking of making money off a natural phenomenon, hats off to Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, Illinois, one of the premier spots to view this eclipse in the ”path of totality.”  (I love that term, path of totality.)

SIU sold out their football stadium at $25 a pop for the event.  Spots in the on-campus grass parking lot are going fast for $20 a place.   Perhaps I am pointing out the obvious here, but the eclipse is IN THE SKY, visible for free to anyone who cares to experience it.  Yet, SIU sold out seats for the viewing. Kudos to you, Salukis.

There is actually a Royal Caribbean Total Eclipse Cruise and get this, Bonnie Tyler will be singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the exact moment the path of totality passes overhead.  If you miss it, “It’s a Heartache.”  In fact, for an added treat, Bonnie’s back-up band is call The Path of Totality!

Enjoy the event however you choose to do so.  Just remember the advice of Manfred Mann and the Earth Band, ‘Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun.”   And really, a burned out retina is not where the fun is.

Me, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

FOOTNOTE: Photo credit to my daughter, Taylor for the cover pic circa March, 2016. And yes, I know, this is not a “solar” eclipse. It was quite the different world when a photo op existed for that.