Well, I, For One, Could Have Used 30 More Days of September.



Fall here on the north shore of Long Island is a very beautiful time of year when you are in the right frame of mind. That frame of mind makes you eager to wear your favorite sweaters again; happy to sleep with soft blankets pulled up to your chin and to get up in the dark to pull on wooly socks in the warm pool of light cast by your bedside lamp; cheerful when the afternoon chill sets in at 4 o’clock and that means “toast and tea time” with a cat on your lap; feeling invigorated by the crispness of the air every time you step outdoors and excited about the drama that comes when Nature undergoes its most radical change of the year.

But that’s not me. I’m not that girl. 

Here are pictures from Autumns Past that I took back when I was the type of person who didn’t equate Fall with gloom and boredom:

Taffy and Bibs on the kitchen patio.

On my morning run in 2020:

On Long Island Sound:

A mile from my house:

Typical Fall morning:

Taffy, contemplating Autumn :

Arrangement of leaves in my front yard:

To answer a question that Dear Reader Christine asked last week, Yes, I think I will be able to get out of my funk in time to do an Autumn Leaf painting this year. 

The colors peak in very late October or early November, so we have a few weeks for me to turn this situation around and start hunting for the Perfect Fall Leaf.

But let’s not rush it. I have one final, fantastic story to tell you that proves how special the Summer of 2021 was for moi.  

Top Cat and I packed a picnic dinner on Saturday (September 25), a day that still felt like Summer, and headed to Morgan Park to watch the sun set and celebrate the Autumnal Solstice. Morgan Park is a 40-acre site on a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound with a landscape that was carefully designed to look “natural” by architects hired by financier and Gilded Age robber baron J. P. Morgan in 1926 to build an environment in memory of his wife and gifted to the citizens of Glen Cove, Long Island, because that’s what billionaires did when they were born at a time when they couldn’t blow their wealth by going up in space.


Top Cat and I have a favorite picnicking spot in Morgan Park but on this day we discovered that it was taken up by a large children’s party complete with bouncy castle (which we are sure can’t be legal in a public park). So we hiked around and found a place that was quiet and had a decent view of the horizon and we unpacked our dinner and poured two cups of champagne (which we are sure is absolutely not legal in a public park) and we toasted the arrival of Fall.  Top Cat, in a mood to generate ideas about what we can do, where we can go in the waning months of 2021 so we can have something to look forward to,  asked me, “So, what do you see in the future?”

And I said, “Nothing good.”

I explained that the main thing that I see in the future is that one of us will die before the other and that it’s going to suck if you’re the first one to go, because you’ll be dead, and it will suck if you’re the second one to go, because you’ll be left behind.

(As you can see, I am a joy to be around these days.)

That said, I then took a big swig of champagne and pointed to something in the grass about 12 feet away.

“Does that look like a feather to you?” I asked.

When you are a collector of feathers, a lot of things look like feathers — twigs, leaves, shadows, bits of trash. I’d been eyeing a sliver of something sticking straight up in the grass, a suspicious silhouette that appeared to be almost black, something that was much darker than the green grass surrounding it. The sun was in our eyes, so I couldn’t get a good look at it.

Top Cat said, “I can’t tell.” He wasn’t really all that interested in the issue and, well, neither was I, really, because Blue Jay molting season is over and it had been 21 days since I’d found a feather, but what did I have to lose?

So I put down my cup of champagne and I strolled over to have a look and this is what I found:

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is exactly how the Universe tells you that this is a delightful planet full of beautiful things to discover if you shut the fuck up and stop whining. 

While I was pretty much flabbergasted to find this, my favorite kind of Blue Jay feather, I could tell that Top Cat wasn’t as awe-struck as I was at the audacity of the Great Spirit to gift me this one final harbinger of hopefulness. I couldn’t understand how he could be so calm about it, but then, he was the designated driver and had not guzzled two Solo cups of California’s finest brut.

With that, I was ready to close the 2021 Blue Jay Feather Collection and I mounted my finds all together:

In total I found 41 Blue Jay feathers, by far the most I’ve ever found in a single season. The feather in the top right corner was a birthday gift from a friend in Kentucky — all the others are local. I arranged them so that all the wing feathers are on top, tail feathers in the middle, and special feathers on the bottom: I had three days when I found three feathers, and of course the Morgan Park feather deserves its place as the coda of a memorable Summer.

And speaking of memorable, my friend , author Janet Lea, sent me this photo from her book launch — The Gentleman Jack Effect —  in Halifax last week:

Janet’s book sold out in the UK! That’s her, above, in the blue shirt, talking with none other than Suranne Jones, the star of the hit BBC drama Gentleman Jack, who came to Yorkshire to add her star power to the events that commemorated Anne Lister, of which Janet was a featured speaker and honored guest. How’s that for coming into your own??

Buy the book here.

It looks like, if things go according to plan, that I, too, will be traveling next month, the first time I will have left home since March 2020. 

They will be at SoFi Stadium . . . 

. . . which is a brand new — opened in November 2020 —  high-capacity venue seating 70,000 (but can be expanded to 100,000 for events such as a Super Bowl or a BTS concert), but I don’t think it’s big enough to hold four days’ worth of BTS ARMY. 

As it happened, on the same day that BTS announced their LA concerts, I went to my GP for my annual physical. I had to do the thing where a rubber sleeve is wrapped around my arm and inflated until it feels as if my fingers are about to fall off and, for the first time ever in my life, I registered as having high blood pressure. 

My doctor was very concerned about this sudden development and quizzed me about life style changes and my eating habits and asked me if I was depressed. She wants me to come back in three weeks so we can do the test again and consider behavioral or pharmaceutical therapies.

I couldn’t tell her that I have high blood pressure because I’m stressed out about getting tickets to see BTS.  Now, I was holding tickets to their cancelled shows in 2020, so  get the chance to buy in advance of GP sales, but I’m only in the second-tier of VIP advance-sales queue so even thinking about having to get into the scrum, once again, for extremely hard-to-get BTS tickets makes my heart pound. The Hunger Games happensfor me on Oct 6, next Wednesday, so by October 7 I will know whether I’m back to normal blood pressure of if I have lost my will to live.

So that’s what’s up with me. Let’s see how the rest of the U. S. is faring:

Congress had to OK a new debt ceiling so the United States wouldn’t go into default, and the Republicans threatened to block the action and shut down the government just to make Joe Biden look bad. They eventually caved, but. . . 


Arizona Republicans announced the result of their bulllshit “audit” of the 2020 Presidential election, a process that was in the hands of an iffy Florida outfit called Cyber Ninjas, and the count was:







COVID news:



















P.S. A fork would work, too, but extra points for the stylish chopsticks, dude!












For $5, the Second Chance Animal Rescue will write the name of someone you hate on the bottom of a litter box.


















Have a great weekend, everyone. If you want to have a calm, relaxing Saturday and Sunday DO NOT, under any circumstances, watch Squid Game, the No. 1 show on Netflix, the first Korean series to make this rank. This is great TV, with superb social commentary, breath-holding suspense, and non-stop thrills.  

However, if you can’t resist tuning in, be prepared to ruin your plans for a completely uneventful and snooze-filled weekend.  

Or, sleep late and put an old Temptations record on and bake a loaf of bread and eat it while it’s warm with a slice of cheddar and a glass of Pinot Noir because it’s October and that’s good, too.




5 Comments, RSS

  1. Rachel Scott

    Thank you for the first Friday of October laughs! That last feather is gorgeous and worth waiting for. Hope you are able to overcome your October-phobia and enjoy a bit of fall. It’s the NY winters that I always dreaded. Looking forward to some leaf painting!

  2. Kirra

    That is a great blue jay feather! Maybe it was the champagne that helped find it. I don’t blame you wanting another final month of summer, you get really cold winters!

    My ‘The Gentleman Jack Effect’ book arrived Friday, so I’m going to have a fun weekend reading it. That was a great photo of the author with Suranne Jones (who is an excellent actor).

    Good luck for getting BTS tickets, I’m not surprised you are stressed about it! Also means you’ll get to go on a trip somewhere.

    Thank you for sharing each week that anti-vaxers are not immune to death by covid, it’s just so logical to get vaccinated for covid along with all the other things we are vaccinated against if you have the opportunity to of course – some people in world do not have a ‘choice’ at the moment.

  3. I’m actually about ready for fall. Maybe you’ll warm up to it as the leaves begin to change. I LOVE your framed feather display! It’s making me think I should do something with the random feathers I have lying around.

    And of course, the cats are great, as always. I had a cat that used to love hiding in the box spring when she was a kitten. 🙂

  4. I love the feather collection — and remember, your finds added to three more than that, thanks to your kind generosity is sharing several of your beauties with me! I think that’s a splendid way to welcome the equinox — finding a feather while drinking illegal champagne on a picnic and watching the sun set. Sort of ideal, if you ask me.

    Good luck with the BTS tickets. And I can’t wait for your next leaf painting. I haven’t done mine yet this year — I haven’t found the right leaf; it’s still a little early for the really good ones. And thanks for the cat grins! Lizzie and I appreciate them!

  5. Susan

    The September blue jay feather is a very lucky find. The end of the season bringing cool weather and shorter days is hard. Waking up in darkness and seeing darkness at 6 PM is never welcomed. The anti-vaxers are beyond belief. 700,000 have died yet they continue on. Your picnic with champs sounds perfect. The concert will be great.

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