October in Review: Embracing Fall in All Its Forms

Buttercup Squash Muffins with Ginger and Oatmeal
Buttercup Squash Muffins with Ginger and Oatmeal

This was the mildest October that I can remember, with many summer-like days, lots of sunshine, and extra time to enjoy the late summer harvest. I went to New Hampshire to visit my parents at the beginning of the month and noticed that the leaves there had already begun to change into vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. I kept going on bike rides by the water back in Boston, hoping to see the gorgeous leaves here, but summer hung on for such a long time!

Mums at Lull Farm, NH Pumpkins at Lull Farm, NH
Mums and Pumpkins at Lull Farm, NH

This is my first official fall in three years, so I was determined to capture it.  I wanted to see pumpkins, appreciate the festive harvest and Halloween decorations, and enjoy all the fall produce!

Fall Leaves on Walden Street, Cambridge
Yellow Leaves in Cambridge

Although most of the leaves around Cambridge have just began to change in earnest over this past week, I managed to capture some of the trees that decided to get a head start.

Cambridge Common, Harvard Square Cambridge Common, Harvard Square
Fall Scenes from Cambridge Common, Harvard Square

Sunken Garden, Radcliffe YardOne of the amazing things about fall is the way the light changes – you just look up through the trees and see the sun illuminating the leaves, all set against a backdrop of my favorite blue skies!

The fall weather encouraged me to spend time wandering around the streets of Cambridge, reading in the park, and biking along my favorite routes.

HONK! Festival

HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Animal Print Inspired Marching Band in the HONK! Festival Parade

Fall always brings the HONK! Festival back to Cambridge and Somerville. HONK! is an annual celebration of activist street bands, like the marching bands of my high school past, but now with creative costumes and a progressive message. This year, I watched the parade pass along Mass Ave from Davis to Harvard Square, taking in the musicians and the activist messages.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Celebrating HONK! All the Way Down Mass Ave

The streets were lined with people cheering for all the fun performers.  I love that such a random event happens right in my neighborhood.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Making Political and Musical Statements During the HONK! Parade

In between the bands, groups passed by with signs aimed at raising awareness of the issues facing Massachusetts and the world.  While there were several groups who emphasize the importance of the arts, others advocated for immigration reform, raising the minimum wage and providing earned sick time, protection of the native forests here in Massachusetts, and other important issues.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Celebrating the HONK! Festival with a Brass Band

After their march down Mass Ave, the HONK! Festival joined forces with Oktoberfest and a music festival to take over Harvard Square for one big party on an unseasonably warm, sunny day.

Currently

Eating

Fall Farmer's Market Haul
Fall Farmer’s Market Haul

While the summer fruit and vegetables stayed around for longer than usual thanks to the warm temperatures, fall brought with it lots of potatoes, winter squash, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.  The late harvest grapes pictured here were basically as sweet as candy, and those squash in the background were destined for winter squash soups and the buttercup squash muffins you see above!

Penne alla Vodka Roasted Fall Vegetables with Two Eggs Sunny Side Up
Kazakh Chocolate! Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Penne alla Vodka; Fall Vegetable Hash with Sunny Side Up Eggs; Kazakh Chocolate; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

I’m much more inspired to cook warm meals in the fall, like penne alla vodka.  I cooked up a batch of kabocha squash soup, followed a week later by another soup made of buttercup squash blended with roasted fall vegetables and plenty of ginger.  I’ve also been making oatmeal sandwich bread to have for breakfast, topped with sunny side up eggs.  Inspired by brunch at City Girl Cafe, I served eggs on top of roasted fall vegetables like cheddar cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and Yukon Gold potatoes.  To make the season even sweeter, one of my students brought me a special treat of chocolate from Kazakhstan, and I continued the trend by baking my first batch of cookies in a long time, these amazing oatmeal chocolate chip coconut cookies.  Feel free to come over for brunch or dinner anytime! 🙂

Professionally

I continue to enjoy freelancing through my online tutoring business and was really busy in October with all my students!  Beyond that, I’m finally recording more podcasts, which is really fun!  To celebrate my success, I ordered some colorful mini business cards from MOO! to hand out whenever people ask about my work. 🙂

I also started taking another awesome MOOC on WizIQ on how to Build Your Teaching Business Online.  I love being inspired by these successful teachers to leverage my skills in a way that capitalizes on my strengths and feels authentic to my preferred style of teaching.

On top of that, I made a big professional decision in October, which I will announce when the time is right! 🙂

Personal Projects

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge seen from Charlestown

October included visits from friends from New York and Providence, reminding me of all the awesome people I know around the country.

Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown Navy Yard

I thought I’d make more progress on my Boston bucket list, but it didn’t happen quite as planned. I did bike over to Charlestown to relax in the park and check out the big ship hanging out in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

Other than that, I have been dedicating a lot of time to writing blog posts about my backpacking adventures. I finally finished writing about my travels through northwest Argentina and Mendoza, and I really enjoyed reliving my memories of this portion of my trip, particularly wine tasting at my favorite winemarker, Catena Zapata.

I can’t wait to move on to my photos and stories from Peru and Ecuador, as this is where I can really give helpful tips on how to travel independently using public transportation to get to more out-of-the-way locations. 🙂

Of course, I can’t forget about Halloween!  I decided to dress up as a beatnik, although the nuance of my costume was lost on most of my students and colleagues.  At night, I joined 750 other people on an insane Halloween Bike Ride through the streets of Boston and Cambridge.  It was definitely an experience!

All in all, October was an awesome month; here’s looking forward to November and lots of pumpkin pie and gingerbread!

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