The leaves are falling — here’s how we did on the Fall Fun List

This past weekend may have been the last of the peak fall color. The weather has turned cold for sure, with night time lows flirting with freezing. The kids have pulled out their winter coats, and the leaves are falling fast and furious.

So we’re settling into wintering. It was an appropriate time for the All Saints service I sang in this weekend. I had mentioned another song in my Friday post, but in my worry about that tricky second soprano section, I forgot to report the truly cool part of the service: We performed the world premiere of a David Bennett Thomas setting of Psalm 121. He came to listen to it. Performing a choral work for the first time, and seeing a composer hear his work performed in person for the first time, is an experience you don’t get too often in a lifetime. So I tried to pause and notice and appreciate that.

Because it was not exactly the world’s most relaxing weekend. One kid had a Boy Scout camping trip in New Jersey, which meant my husband was driving him around both mornings, and I was shuttling kids to other things, plus getting out of the house for showings and an open house. We did family photos, which will be beautiful, but involved a lot of toddler shenanigans. The toddler also had a major sleep regression over the past few days, taking hours to settle at night and last night he was awake for an hour in the middle of the night.

Anyway, since the leaves are falling, I thought I’d go ahead and report how I did on the 2021 Fall Fun List.

Visit the beach. Done! I went to Cape May for my 2-day editing retreat. I was a bit ahead of the peak fall color, but it was beautiful nonetheless. I walked around the state park by the light house and saw an eagle perched at the top of a tree.

Go to Hawk Mountain. We went hiking a few weekends ago, and saw many gorgeous fall vistas (though, alas, not any hawks). This took some squeezing in with all the kids’ sports, but I was very glad we went.

Do fall puzzles. Well, I did most of one. (White Mountain’s 1000-piece Friends in Autumn) I got stuck with about 150 pieces of blue sky to go. Then I needed to either move or disassemble it for showings and I decided to go with the latter. Oh well.

Enjoy some fall-themed art. I found a lovely fall village scene in the Suzanne Valadon exhibit at the Barnes, which (if I remember correctly) she painted while visiting her much younger husband while he was recuperating from war wounds. I had been on the hunt for fall children’s books, and I can report that Fletcher and the Falling Leaves is a real winner — especially the moment of wonder on the last page.

Take a family bike ride. We did!

Do the family photo shoot and print up some photos. We took the photos. I will work on printing some up soon. I have been snapping a great many photos, including the one illustrating this post. Fall fading light is just spectacular. Even in the parking lot at my kid’s tennis lesson!

Do some morning runs. I did a few and they were great, such as on the beach at sunrise in Cape May. Now that I’m thinking about it, I also ran a half marathon in September, and did two AM long trail runs with Jane. I was thinking I wasn’t doing good on this one because I’m not running at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays (close to impossible with the current kid school schedule) but I should probably give myself a bit more credit here.

Decorate with mums. We did buy a few to make our house look nicer. But the key part of this Fall Fun List entry was to also learn the names of several fall-blooming wildflowers, which I did! There is white snakeroot (clouds of it everywhere), goldenrod, pokeweed (that’s the one with the berries that look vaguely like little grapes in a vineyard…), Black-eyed Susans, and a wide variety of asters. So many asters. I can’t keep them all straight, so “asters” they are.

Go leaf-peeping in upstate New York. We did this when we went to my little brother’s wedding at his home not too far from New Paltz. We did a gorgeous fall hike at Lake Minnewaska, stayed at an adorable farm house, and picked apples as well. Taking a fall trip made me feel like we got a real fall, so this is a nudge to take a similar trip in future years (and hey, my brother will still be there, presumably, so we have a reason to visit!)

Procure adorable Halloween costumes plenty in advance. Well, everyone had Halloween costumes by Halloween. And they were cute. We did two Halloween events (Boo at the Zoo and went to Dutch Wonderland) and had fun trick-or-treating. So I’ll call that a win.

NaNoWriMo…? Nope. I did turn in my Tranquility by Tuesday manuscript at the end of October but I just can’t do the novel thing this month. Maybe 2022. Or a NaNoWriMo in February or something…

How was your fall?

5 thoughts on “The leaves are falling — here’s how we did on the Fall Fun List

  1. My original list updated with success/failure:
    1. Get to the Jersey Shore for a solo beach day one more time. Done!
    2. Do more trail walks in local parks. Did one, and wish that I had done more.
    3. Head to Florida for 5 weeks if husband is medically cleared. Done! We are in Florida now.
    4. If we go to Florida, I am thinking of staying near (but not at) Disney for 3 nights and doing Disney things that do not involve theme park entry. While I love Disney, we would be there at the start of the 50th-anniversary celebration, which is predicted to draw huge crowds. No thanks. Doing this tonight and in the next 3 days. Here’s the plan: Monday-Frontera Grill at Disney Springs for lunch, then do takeout dinner from Kona Cafe at the Polynesian, watch the Electric water parade and then get Dole Whip at the Polynesian food court. Tuesday: Fantasia Mini Golf, ride the amphibicars that go into the water at Disney Springs, “linner” at Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs. Wednesday: Alien mini golf at Universal and lunch or dinner at the Cowful Sushi bar at Universal City walk We’ll also veg at our hotel pool or walk around Celebration, FL. where our hotel is located.
    5. Bake something with the lingering canned pumpkin in the pantry. Not yet. Will try to get to this when we get back from Florida.
    6. Buy fall mums. Done! Found some pretty tricolor ones at the farm stand that our CSA runs.
    7. Continue wading through my TBR stack on the nightstand. Recent progress has been made-reading large tomes makes a difference! I read, “The Time In Between” and “A Little Life.” The former was a really great historical fiction saga about a woman living in Spain and Morocco during the Spanish Civil War and WWII. The latter was a very beautifully written book about the lifelong friendship among 4 friends who met in college. I loved it, but it is very dark. Now reading “In the Unlikely Event” by children’s book author Judy Blume. Still working on my list. Currently reading “The Paris Wife,” which is about the relationship between Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.
    8. Conjure up uses for the acorn, butternut, spaghetti and delicata squashes that we managed to grow on our deck this summer. Working through the squash.
    9. Visit my mom out of state for a delayed 93rd birthday visit. Done!
    10. Locate my all time favorite apples (Macoun) to either buy locally at a grocery store or pick myself. They are more of a New England apple, so it may be challenging to find them in South Jersey. Done! Picked a peck at Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ. Also found Stayman apples, which I also like.


    1. @Beth C- wow, great job on the list! It’s great to be an apple connoisseur and find places to get the perfect types (and at the right time!). Enjoy Disney!

  2. I’m so glad you could have the experience of a world premiere with the composer there to enjoy it. I had a similar experience three weeks ago at the chapel where you were married. Organist Alcee Chris played four short trio sonatas by his colleague at Wesleyan University, Neely Bruce. During our brief respite from masks during the intermission I was able to tell Mr. Bruce how delighted I was to hear his music and to know he was there to hear the world premiere. The joy of live performances after months away from them!

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