Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy that November is here

Not for NaNoWriMo. As usual, I am too busy to make much headway on fiction. (Why can't we have "Write a novel in March" month? Nothing much happens in March.)

But November and December are my favorite times of year for several reasons. One is the weather. September and October should be considered Autumn, but Southern California still thinks those months are Summer, so you have a lot of hot, dry, nasty weather. This is a problem not just because I'm sick of the heat, but because I'm sick of grilling and want to roast something or make some soup.

October is an improvement on September, but not by a whole lot. Yes, there's a holiday but it's Halloween. This will come as a surprise to those of you who know that I like horror movies and books, but I really don't care much for Halloween. I don't like dressing up in costume, and hate having to come up with a costume for the kid. Yeah, candy's cool, but the last thing I need right now is a bunch of candy sitting around tempting me.

But November and December? My time.

For the most part, the weather finally starts to realize that it's Autumn, or as close to Autumn as we get in these parts. This means I can leave the grill alone and fire up the oven. Just last weekend it was cold and blustery and rainy, and I made French onion soup (with my home-made veal stock). Lovely!

The weather also means I can change my reading habits. Some books are more suited to warmer times of year, and some are best suited to cooler temperatures. Ditto with music - call me crazy, but I cannot listen to k. d. lang's album Drag when it's hot and sunny. It's a rainy-day record.

The best part of November/December is, without a doubt, the holidays.

Thanksgiving is an overlooked holiday these days, mostly because it doesn't lend itself to merchandising the way Halloween and Christmas do. Also, the traditional Thanksgiving feast is considered to be a duty rather than a pleasure, at least for the cooks. Well, not this cook. I've done the feast often enough that I've got it pretty much down (though the final coordination and timing can be tricky, especially the mashed potatoes). It's a busy day but I take pleasure in the cooking, and in knowing that at the end of my efforts we'll have a big feast the whole gathering can enjoy.

As for Christmas, I've talked before about my affinity for the season. All that I talked about then still holds true, and let's not forget planning the feast. (The Christmas feast is a bit more fun than Thanksgiving, as fewer set-in-stone traditions mean I can play around with the menu more.) I am sad to see that traditions like Christmas cards seem to be fading away, but the month of December always has a special place in my heart.

And the best news for my Constant Readers? Once the holidays are done, I should be all fired up to get serious on a new project. Anyone interested in a murder mystery set at a cheesy theme park?

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