The Happiness of Change

I love fall and spring.  They’re my faves because everything changes: the air gets brisk after mugginess or warm after chill, there’s a whole new season ahead which, thanks to where I live, means a whole new view of beauty.  Most of all there’s potential in the air.  Something new is coming.  

Of course, that could be disaster, but it can also be wonderful.  I went outside today, and it was chilly and I thought, “Fire in the fireplace, soup and pumpkin pie for lunch, and late this afternoon a book and cocoa.”  Autumn happiness.

How did find autumn happiness this week?

71 thoughts on “The Happiness of Change

  1. It’s Spring in the Southern Hemisphere and I have blooms. Planted seeds with the children in July and the marigold flowers are gorgeous.

    It looks so great that the detractors of the project are now asking that we receive it in other areas. Vindication. It is sweet. Other things that made me happy were – a social event around festivals, a family gathering, and a lovely twitter interaction where someone explained why I ought not to do retweet and I undid it and we went on to see our common ground.

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  2. We are having a gorgeous October. Portland is a city that likes trees. Almost every yard in our part of town has trees: locust, flame ash, chestnuts, elms, japanese maples, sugar maples, cherries, magnolias, plums, sweet gum, just all different kinds. So when I look at my view, it’s this incredible spread of different colors between me and downtown. It is like feeding my eyes with visual salsa.

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  3. I forgot the evergreens. So the whole view has these punctuation marks of dark green firs and cypress and hemlocks and pine.

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  4. What is it about brisk fall weather that makes us want soup and books and cocoa and a blankie? I’m writing at the lake today and that’s happiness because the sun is shining through the trees and landing on my chair, but man is it cold! 27 degrees when we woke up this morning and it’s only up to 39 so far. I’m thinking cocoa and a book when I get this chapter done…

    Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

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    1. I have cooked two (2) diet beef stews in the same week. TWO! What makes them diet is all the salt-free ingredients, and limiting myself to reasonable portions at each sitting. Also, I went very skimpy on the corn starch, and no flour, so its a bit soupy. Should I just call it vegetable beef soup?

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      1. I reckon. My definitions: thick enough to scoop over pasta without it flowing off the plate? It’s stew. Otherwise it’s soup. I love soup. It’s healthy and it saves me the bother of thickening the stew.

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        1. Yes. My mom never thickened stews. She just started some potatoes early in the broth then added more when she added the meat. Flour tends to flatten the taste and corn starch can give too slick (read gelatinous) of texture. Although there is the school of thought that you toss the raw meat cubes in flour, salt and pepper then brown them in shortening before you add everything else. This helps seal the juices into the meat. Of course, you can also leave the meat in one piece, sear it (I use my grill) and cook it in one piece then dice the meat before you serve the stew. This also keeps the flavor into the meat and eliminates the browning in fat step so it limits the amount of fat in the stew also.

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        2. I pour in some shredded hashbrowns in my soup. Then I don’t have to grate. Or chop. Or dice.

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        3. I love ALL the replies. And yes, there are potatoes in there, but I have to watch the carbs and calories as well as the sodium. (Growing older is not for sissies.) Thin or not, I ate both stoups. After midnight on Wednesday (which makes it Thursday morning), I baked some chicken strips ripped them up and tossed them into two pounds of chicken broth (no salt added). This one got corn, peas, green beans, carrots and grape tomatoes, a can of RoTel diced tomatoes with green chilis, 10 oz of red potatoes, diced and pre-nuked with lots of garlic pepper on ’em. Also onion and minced garlic and of course, port wine. No thickeners at all, and in honor of the bird, I call it “Foul Soup.”

          I divided it into three quart and a half quart containers – ate the half and a quart for lunch and dinner. It’s definitely soupy. I ate the first meal with a serving of Chow Mein noodles mixed in for crunch. The second meal was served with a pouch of Uncle Ben’s brown rice and some crispy fried onions. Two more quarts to go. It goes well with the weather. 🙂

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  5. After several weeks of long hours, my work team finished a big organization-wide project. I hadn’t been outside much all week, except on my way to and from work, so happily took advantage of a gorgeous fall day to do some gardening and errands on foot. A friend and I went to a clothing swap – I took a big bag of things I don’t wear and came away with a few-new-to me items. Had a long conversation with my BFF who is going through a hard time – making plans to go and see her next month. Today, it’s colder with the promise of flurries so I’m making roasted squash coconut curry soup.

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  6. I have doggie kisses and a fire in the woodstove. I’m alternately writing and planning a gathering at my house with Irish goodies to entice people to travel to Ireland with me next July.

    It’s windy and thirty-four degrees outside, but it’s warm and toasty in here. I was messengering with Carol-Ann in Ireland about what desserts I should serve at my gathering. I love Carol-Ann!

    All these things are making me so happy today. It’s lovely.

    Also, none of my children have texted me WANTING something today. I love them, but sometimes it’s good not to be needed.

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  7. I love fall! The maple tree just outside our door is glowing red. Halloween prep is done. Cookie baking. Always baking here, but it’s more fun when it’s cold. 🙂

    I went to go see “A Star is Born” with a friend and the movie was only a so-so one for me (I won’t go into all the whys here), but it was definitely good to have friends time and we had a delicious brunch beforehand.

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  8. I have lived on all four coasts, and each has something wonderful that I hope I never forget. The autumns in New Wingland were the bestest scenic riots of color, with the smell of burning leaves… not legal where I am now.

    My view from the garage apartment is… unchanging. Tall pine trees as seen through my pizza plant and lucky bamboo plants. The bamboo are lucky they haven’t died in my care (one of them is 8″ taller!) and I know the pizza plant has nothing to do with Italian pie, but the name sounds like pepperoni. There are two other plants blocking the view, some kind of succulents, and had you given odds last summer that they’d be dead by now, I’d have taken the mortal side of that bet. And still they live.

    I have plants that continue to live. That’s an enormous change.

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      1. Atlantic (east) and Pacific (west) are obvious. Gulf of Mexico is the south coast and yes, the Great Lakes are our north coast. I don’t count little inlets like the Gulf of California, or Chesapeake Bay, or the Lawn Guyland Sound, even though I’ve lived near the latter two. (Nor Puget Sound, in the Pac Norwest. Lived there, too.)

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  9. Spring and autumn are two of the reasons I love Tasmania, because we have proper seasons, and large parts of mainland Australia don’t. Autumn is my favourite, because the weather is usually very settled and the light is golden, but spring is pretty good too. The roaring 40s haven’t kicked in yet, the sun is shining, and the first lapwing chicks are teetering around the paddocks.

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  10. I have never eaten pumpkin pie. Or pumpkin soup. Or pumpkin-anything, except roasted pumpkin seeds, which are nice but probably not as nice as “real” pumpkin-dishes. Oh, and butternut-pumpkin out of the oven. Is pumpkin-dishes anything I should try to make/convince someone to make/buy? What does it taste like?

    When Fiancé and I walked to the bus earlier this week, I smelled autumn in the air. There’s something undefinably cosy with that smell, I think. I can’t really explain it. But it does indeed make me long for cocoa and a book and a blanket and rain outside that I don’t have to go out into 😉

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    1. Butternut squash is far better eating than pumpkin, which is bland and coarser in texture. I’ve only had pumpkin pie a couple of times and will avoid if at all possible in future. I found it bland and too sweet. Although I daresay the Americans here will tell you it’s delicious.

      I sometimes make a curried pumpkin and apple soup: it’s useful for using up the carvings from pumpkin lanterns.

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      1. Pumpkin is a nice vehicle for spices. My grandfather, born in October, always had pumpkin pie instead of cake for his birthday. It should have lots of cinnamon and allspice and cloves and maybe even some ginger. Trust me, JaneB, if what you had was bland it was not done right. It should be sweet, but you should barely notice the sweetness through the spiciness.

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          1. The Sunset Complete Vegetarian Cookbook has a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart that has switched 3 generations of my family off of pumpkin pie forever. It is seasoned with cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger and garnished with candied ginger. The crust is an oatmeal, walnut and coconut press- in crust that is easy and adds a nice dimension of contrast to the dessert.

            Before we tried this recipe, my Mom made both a pumpkin and pumpkin chiffon pie in an effort to please everyone, but now we all agree on this.

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        1. I agree with Mary Anne. If it was bland, it wasn’t done right. And, if you’re in an adventurous mood and want to try again sometime, Ina Garten has an amazing recipe for pumpkin pie (and the whip cream that goes on top). It’s a staple of our family holidays.

          Also, Ina Garten is my hero.

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      2. My husband loves pumpkin pie but I almost always use butternut squash. and fresh cooked instead of canned. My recipe also calls for molasses and brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. And cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg, ginger and cloves. and I put in some vanilla bean seeds. And usually he makes the pie crust with butter not lard or Crisco. He makes a very good pie crust. It isn’t a particularly sweet version. And it is always served with fresh whipped cream.

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      3. We always use squash – Hubbard is excellent – for our pies. Pumpkin lacks — something.
        You’ve mentioned the soup before, and I think, “that soup must be made by me.” We have a superior kind of Maharaja curry. Oh, yum. Thank you for the tip.

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      4. It depends on the type of pumpkin. Blue-grey skinned Crown Prince pumpkins are very good, especially if they’ve been left until after a frost to harvest.

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      5. It’s worth noting that the type of pumpkins sold in UK supermarkets for carving are not usually the same type of pumpkin that is intended to be used in baking – UK pumpkins are more generally a type used for feeding livestock rather than humans, intended for carving only. And as for getting different types of pumpkin… well, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything else for sale over here. Other squash, like butternut, yes. Other pumpkin, no.

        If you get hold of a can of Libby’s pumpkin (sold at most supermarkets) the pumpkin pie recipe on the tin is actually very good – I made it for the first time a few weeks ago and managed to impress my mother-in-law (this is something that does.not.happen. Ever.). It’s not a strong taste, but (to me, anyway) a pleasant one. 🙂

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    2. I don’t think it’s possible to say pumpkin tastes like X, because nothing really tastes like pumpkin except other squashes. Pumpkin pie may be an acquired taste, but I love it. I make it with kabocha, though, and I think it’s less watery and with a richer taste. Some people absolutely prefer sugar-pie pumpkin, though, and many people can’t tell the difference. The Libby Recipe (a brand of canned pumpkin) is a very good way to make pumpkin pie, but you’ll need other stuff, like evaporated milk. I use more spices — grated fresh ginger, and freshly ground cloves (and sometimes freshly ground cinnamon — I keep whole spices on hand for Chai, and sometimes don’t have the powdered versions).

      I guess that comes closest to describing pumpkin treats: chai with a touch of earthiness from whatever squash you use. Pumpkin and squash themselves are powerhouses of nutrition, so I think it’s worthwhile to try to acquire the taste.

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    3. I don’t think it’s possible to say pumpkin tastes like X, because nothing really tastes like pumpkin except other squashes. Pumpkin pie may be an acquired taste, but I love it. I make it with kabocha, though, and I think it’s less watery and with a richer taste. Some people absolutely prefer sugar-pie pumpkin, though, and many people can’t tell the difference. The Libby Recipe (a brand of canned pumpkin) is a very good way to make pumpkin pie, but you’ll need other stuff, like evaporated milk. I use more spices — grated fresh ginger, and freshly ground cloves (and sometimes freshly ground cinnamon — I keep whole spices on hand for Chai, and sometimes don’t have the powdered versions).

      I guess that comes closest to describing pumpkin treats: chai with a touch of earthiness from whatever squash you use. Pumpkin and squash themselves are powerhouses of nutrition, so I think it’s worthwhile to try to acquire the taste.

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      1. (I don’t know why this double-posted. I guess I should be grateful it didn’t post seven times! LOL.)

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    4. Thanks for all the replies, everyone! 🙂 I know the Dutchies have caught on to the pumpkins the last 10 years – Halloween is a fairly new phenomenom over here – so maybe there are pumpkins for sale here that could be used for either pumpkin pie or soup. I know at least one person here who used to make soup (her favourite part of the procedure was throwing the pumpkin down the stairs so she wouldn’t have to cut them…), so I suppose we could assume soup-pumpkins exist here. Canned ones, I don’t know. Gotta do some research. Curious enough now to want to give it a shot. I even bought a pie dish when my mum was here = now it’s even POSSIBLE to make pie!

      But first: recipe. Google, here I come!

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  11. Enjoyed photographing autumn colour at Powis the other afternoon, even though the pictures were poor (I’m out of practice) and it closed much earlier than I expected. It was warm enough to sit and read on a fallen willow by a pond on Friday afternoon; and then I managed to find a long stick and knock some more pears off the abandoned espaliers, which I’m now enjoying each evening. I’m planning to explore a side valley up at Lake Vyrnwy tomorrow: an inlet, a rocky stream and a wood – there should be some good colour. They’re threatening a cold spell from the end of this week, so I’m grabbing the warmth while I can.

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  12. In my area of New England there are now only seven sailboats down from almost Forty that were in the bay at the height of summer. In another week they will be all gone till next year. The only plants that have been brought in are herbs and we’ll see how they do and if the make it over winter. The pallets on the back deck are half filled with wood blocks for the stove. I don’t think we’ll start a fire until it gets really cold and space them out to last. In the winter I sit with my back at the fireplace woodstove while we’re having dinner and love the warmth it gives off making me feel so cozy. Colors are popping out all over not so much where I live (rain/wind) but when I’m riding in the car the scenery just dazzles. Pie always sounds good this time of year.

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  13. It’s spring here and a public holiday and absolutely gorgeous weather. Flowers everywhere and warmth.

    I’m going to put in an offer on a house tomorrow, which I’m a mix of nervous and excited about. It’s by a river, with a huge section and dozens of lovely trees. The house itself is rundown but we can rent it out, fix it up gradually and eventually move in. But I’m trying not to get too excited because there’s probably only about a 50% chance of us getting it.

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    1. Good luck! As someone who recently moved house after a rather unlikely coming-together of events (after 3 years of trying) I can confirm it can be done! As I informed my husband in relation to putting in the offer on our move: “if we don’t try it *definitely* won’t happen…”

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      1. I know a move is coming. Husband is waffle-ing and humming and hawing. He looks at 42 years in same house and all the stuff. So much stuff. Of course, house prices are going down now, have we missed the boat again. We’ve seen so many ups and downs and now that we (I) am feeling the move, I hope we will be able to max the equity. He had a partial knee replacement in June so not feeling it. I want to be gone yesterday. Although, his surgeon says he is the poster-boy for partial knee replacements. (It’s all about being able to ride the motorcycle, worked really hard to get full range of motion.)

        I will have to cull many books. Oh, how to do that!

        Glad it can be done, Frankie B.

        Daughter in law has sister and husband who will be away for a year, we can move into their house and take our time to find the down-sized and hopefully realize some money for retirement. Fingers crossed.

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  14. I’m happy to be quilting again after far too long! Sorted thirty years’ worth of scraps and pieced some small quilt topss (mostly cat doilies, a friend calls them — ranging up to about 18″ squares — a total of 6 of them since Thursday night!) and pieced a laptop quilt to donate to a kids hospital and made seeds (basic pieces like flying geese and Chinese Coins) for future quilts. It’s decluttering time! Will share pix on #workingwednesday pix this week. Also threw out some pieces of fabric that were either too small or too ugly or too cheap-feeling for me to ever want to work with them again.

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  15. Yesterday, my editor invited my to the opening night of Merry Widow, staged by our own Vancouver Opera. It was such a blast! Not really autumn-related, but it was an evening of pure happiness. Music, costumes, stage decor, voices – everything was gorgeous. I smiled the entire evening.

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  16. It’s spring here, too. I love that zing in the air, particularly when I’m out at night. There’s a hint of warmth and potential and stirring up, without the lethargic heat of summer or the bone-chilling cold of winter.

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  17. Friday was the day from Hell at work, but I have had the entire weekend off to spend with a friend who is visiting from Perth. Yesterday we went on a poetry walk in the National Arboretum, which is beautiful in every season, and then came home and planted my first seedlings of spring. Well, I planted. She lay on my couch and read through my cookbook collection. But both were delightful.

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  18. I finally switched out my sweaters and my T-shirts for the season, which I was reluctant to do because that would mean that the warm weather was over. Now I just have to remember where I put them.

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  19. October in South Florida is basically like any other month in South Florida. Mid 80’s with 85% humidity. Today was nice in spite of that – our (not-flooded, woo!) neighborhood had a market fair this morning that I walked with my husband and daughter after some intense slide and swing play at the park. We bought fresh tea, locally grown produce and some of the best salsa I’ve ever tasted (it’s already gone – didn’t even last the day). Is it autumn? Sure, somewhere.

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  20. Whoops. 85 degrees here yesterday for the school fall festival. We never carve our pumpkins u til 2-3 days before Halloween because they rot so fast. We had a fall-ish September and it was quite nice, but we’re back in full on October heat mode. Although it has stayed in the mid 80s, so not so bad.

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    1. A friend of mine put her classroom pumpkin into a bleach bath after carving it. It’s supposed to help slow down the rot. Not sure if that will help with 85 degree heat though.

      I and another friend are waiting for updates on if this actually worked or not. 🙂

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  21. The leaves here in upstate NY were a bust this year, due to wet wet wet conditions and a sudden shift from very hot to very cold (which my fibro is not loving AT ALL). But Friday I finished putting the garden to sleep on the last of the sunny days, and it is buried under its coat of straw to lie dormant all winter and think spring thoughts. Saturday I had a visit from a friend celebrating her 10 year blog anniversary and the 10 year anniversary of our friendship (there was chocolate cake) and Sunday a visit from not one but two Betties, with much feasting and celebration of Bethany’s life. Lots of socializing for antisocial me, but it was also a lot of happy.

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  22. This autumn is gorgeous in west-central Massachusetts, especially if you like your leaves scooting by in driving wind and rain as well as drifting slowly in the chilly sunlight.

    A porcupine was munching something along our driveway the other day.

    The mushrooms are stunning — delicate white china scallop shells or deep orange shelves growing up the sides of dead trees. I think we have so many, and so many kinds, of mushrooms this year because of all the wetness.

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      1. I texted my husband to get a lotto ticket today and he replied: “okay.”

        Then, half an hour later: “where does one go to buy a lotto ticket?”

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  23. We had a hot, dry weekend thanks to desert winds, but it appears they have buggered off now as the humidity is back up to a tolerable 46% (from intolerable 27%).

    The only real sign of autumn in my south L.A. neighborhood is the proliferation of Halloween decorations. 🙂

    This weekend’s happiness was: dance lesson; sushi; going out to water plants and discovering everything is still alive; watching the hummingbirds; more progress on Novella Beautification Project; mentally planning out the conclusion of Novella #18, which has been putting up a bit of a fight; brainstorming some other stuff for the series.

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  24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9t-slLl30E&feature=share

    This made me laugh.

    I’ve been really enjoying the past week or so because after an annoying burst of winter, complete with snow, we are having an autumn. I’ve been working in the yard and hanging clothes on the line and generally enjoying the sunshine as much as I can. We’re in for some grayer weather and cooler temps next week but for now I’m hoarding blue skies and sunshine.

    I made a simple curtain for the window on our front door, mostly just to soften the light which likes to turn 2 corners and end up in our bedroom when TB is working nights, and I was enjoying how it looked but, apparently, Pumpkin the cat is a critic and he pulled it down. Rotten beast.

    In December (which seems like a long time in the future but is actually just next week) my friends and I are heading to visit another friend and hit up some Christmas markets and the Calgary friend just found another one for us to go to which is great. It will be a rush trip but it will be fun and a nice bright spot in early December.

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  25. Enjoyed being introduced as “my mother-in-law” at a shower for my soon-to-be DIL Saturday. I’d been grumpy because the wedding planning seems too laid back for even me, and that’s saying something. But seeing how happy our son and DIL-to-be are made me feel much better.

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  26. To thread-weave, my Sunday happiness was a post-6-mile-walk day of sloth. I’ve been running full-tilt for some time, so it was great to read the NY Times and do computer jigsaw puzzles.

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  27. Moar happiness: At my voice lesson on Sunday, another student said, “You nailed it!” after I sang, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” Also, when I missed a word in “What’ll I Do?” and just stuck it somewhere else in the lyric, my teacher said, “That’s what professionals do.” (“When I’m alone / with only dreams of you” became “When I’m alone / with dreams of only you” — ‘only’ was the word I missed.)

    I’ve only been taking lessons for six months — one hour every other week and I’m a total slacker with formal practice — but I can definitely hear a difference. I sing softly to myself all the time, I sing in the car all the time.

    I started this convinced I couldn’t sing. The owner of the business said that in his experience, most of the time, not sounding great comes from not having confidence. My teacher says the same thing and it seems to me half her job is making you feel confident. Every now and again, she’ll remind me: “Don’t be afraid of it.”

    It’s entirely possible I will participate in an adult recital this Christmas. Gah! But my appreciable improvement and my growing confidence make me very happy.

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  28. Fall is for snuggles and binge watching…and I come with a recommendation that I think you will love. It is a Korean TV show called “Goblin: the lonely and great god”. Here’s the official synopsis: “A former human turned goblin is cursed to remain immortal and alone for hundreds of years. Ji Eun Tak, a girl who can see spirits, accidentally summons him, but she’s not what he expected.” and while there are some things that don’t work there are some great elements that I think you’d love. Like the goblin (a Demi god) becomes best friends with a grim reaper, the main female character is young without being dumb, there is great dialogue throughout and it’s visually beautiful to watch as well. You can see some the first episode with subtitles here (https://youtu.be/7hSeC-mHJD0) but there are some apps or sites called DramaFever or Viki Rakuten where you can watch them as well. I hope you get a chance ( I’d love to hear your thoughts on it) here you dissect them a la person of interest or black list, or at the very least – recommend a great new show for you to watch

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  29. My fall happiness is when im out in nature taking photos, whether its the color change or wildlife or a dog playing in the yard. Our days have been in the 50s slowly dwindling into the its gonna snow eventually territory. But for now just being out seeing the changes with camera in hand makes me happy..

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