Autumn Musings

Fall has finally arrived here in northern Florida. Our mornings are starting out with cool temperatures now safely under 60 degrees. The air conditioning in our home is also switching on far less during the day too, which is is a welcoming sign for my wallet. This is the time of year when I can figuratively tell the local energy utility to go stuff it. I get tired of the weekly emails I receive from them, inviting me to enroll in their 12 month average budget plan. A handful of times between now and next June, our electric bill will lower to a nearly 50% reduction from the hot months because of milder upcoming temperatures.

In practical terms, this all means that I’ll have more cash to afford vinyl offerings sold by like-minded Discogs collectors and sellers. And here you thought the upcoming season was only about the changing colors, warm cider, mistletoe, and holiday cheer, didn’t you?

Speaking of music collecting, have you heard of the revival currently happening with cassette tapes? Seriously?! Cassettes???! Good luck to that is all I have to say. What I specifically remember about them is that they were like the proverbial lone sock sitting by its lonesome in the top dresser drawer: I was always losing either the case or the tape itself, with one of them usually melting from being exposed to the hot sun while sitting on the passenger seat of my car all day. And don’t even get me started on the lousy sound quality they had even if you kept them in pristine condition.

Sorry, where were we?

Ah yes, the fall.

At the moment, the tropics are eerily quiet, giving all who live here a hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it to the end of November without a major storm.

Also currently quiet right now is the coronavirus. It’s still sadly all around us, of course, because there are an estimated 70 million people in the U.S. who remain defiantly unvaccinated. But at least here in Florida, in what was formerly the country’s epicenter for the Delta variant, infection and hospitalization rates have all plummeted. For the first time since early July, there is an illusion of normalcy again. What does this all mean exactly? I have no idea. I suspect rates will rise again, playing whack-a-mole with our collective conscience depending on where one lives.

However, with a degree of cautious optimism of late, the missus and I have been slightly more adventurous. We initiated yet another return to our gym, dined in a few restaurants, and even — GASP! — went unmasked inside a neighbor’s home. Gorgeous even joined a small weekly knitting group. Your humble blogger attended the local record fair, the first one held since prior to the pandemic. It was done outside on a beautiful sunny day with most people kindly wearing masks. Check out their cool, retro-looking advertisement for the event below.


And our adventurism apparently knows no bounds: Later this week we’ll host our first out-of-town visitors since 2019. Gorgeous turns 60 this coming Saturday (everyone in unison please shout “Happy Birthday, Gorgeous!“). To mark the occasion, I thought it would be a nice idea to surprise her with a visit from her (fully vaccinated) daughter and boyfriend. After a series of epic-sized emails from me to both of them in Chicago, where I now admit to going a little overboard, dotting i’s and crossing t’s to construct the perfect birthday surprise, we settled on agreed-upon dates and airline flight times.

Then, I had a complete change of heart and completely jettisoned the surprise element.

Why? Well, my official stated reason is that making it a surprise deprives Gorgeous of all the anticipatory excitement in preparing seeing her daughter for the first time in two years. Which does happen to be true, BUT… between me and thee, I also realized just how much work I alone would be saddled with in having to take care of all of the prep work required in having houseguests. Specifically, I’m speaking of all the cleaning on the sly. So, I actually had the chutzpah to renegotiate with said daughter and boyfriend, the earlier agreed-upon terms of their arrival. (Hi, A & D).

And I got away with it!

Gorgeous is bursting with joy, her daughter and boyfriend are relieved that emails from me have finally stopped, and I’m now only looking at 50% vs.100% of the cleaning. Pretty sneaky, huh? What I lack sometimes in actual sincerity, I make up for with unbridled charm.

In other news, fall has also brought on some small moments of discovery right in my own home. Exhibit A, the plant which sits on the floor in front of one of our living room windows. It has sat there for months now, but I only recently took a good look at it and spotted what I was convinced is disease around its leaves.

Hey!” I shouted to Gorgeous. “Did you know your plant here is sick?

What are you talking about?

Its leaves are infected. Look, they’ve all got holes in them.”

[audible sigh heard] That’s a Monstera. It’s supposed to look like that. It’s also called a Swiss cheese plant.”


Shame on you Judy at New England Garden and Thread. I count on you to teach me about plants, and you’ve never blogged about the Monstera.

Our Monstera plant. This is probably a good time for me to delete that Jeopardy application currently on my computer.

In other random news, two grocery items caught my eye recently which I feel compelled to share:

Box wine has apparently gotten high brow! I’m still dubious…

And finally, I’m really wondering exactly who buys this particular product…

I’ll pass thanks.

Enjoy your fall wherever you are. Time to finally put out those sweaters and sweatshirts, get your booster shot if you’re eligible, and please do let me know if you try any premium box wine.

Until next time…

46 thoughts on “Autumn Musings

  1. Sorry to bother you but I noticed you are friends with Cordelia Feldman. I am a fellow writer/publisher and I was worried when I saw she had stopped writing on her blog. I didn’t know who to ask – as I’m in America so I thought I would ask you if you had heard how she was? Sorry to write unannounced – thank you very much.


    1. Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m a bit behind on my blogs, so I was unaware of her recent silence. I hope all is well with her. I’ll let you know if I hear anything; please do the same for me. My email is on my “About” page. – Marty


  2. First – Happy Birthday, Gorgeous!
    Second – Fall is a most wonderful time of the year! But woe to those who wish to resurrect cassette tapes. My recollection is miles of narrow tape which had somehow found its way out of the case yet still be attached at both ends. My tapes got one chance of being wound back in. If they pulled that stunt again, it’s off to the landfill!
    Third – You have seen the swiss cheese plant before – you know, the one with the formal name, Monstera. It was featured in my post “Name that Plant!” You even “liked” it. Yep, ya did. I checked. I’d be hurt, but here’s a guy who conspires for his wife to do 50% of the cleaning for her OWN 60th birthday celebration. So, I count myself lucky I got off with just you forgetting about my post. Poor Gorgeous! I think she needs another present!
    Fourth – I don’t drink – except for a very occasional taste. I do remember drinking wine from a box, and I thought it was good! But, I’d probably like the “Winking Owl” brand from Aldi’s, too. So, what does that tell ya?
    All in all, Happy Fall! And I do hope Gorgeous has a wonderful visit with her daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, nailed to the proverbial cross! (which for a Jew must be a double strike of some kind) ;). Indeed I do recall that now, Betty! Good on your for pointing that out to me. Ten blogger demerits to yours truly and apparently an additional 20 for not doing 100% of the cleaning!

      I’m told box wine has gotten better, but I’m loathe to try it. But you campers probably like having it for its convenience, and that I can completely understand!

      Happy Fall!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy birthday Gorgeous! She really shouldn’t have to clean for her own birthday celebration. Cassette tapes? My favorites never lasted long before the tape was screwed up somehow. I was so glad to see them go. We had a taste of fall for a few days and now we are back to 70s. Maybe next week. I’m still eating apples and pumpkin! Wine doesn’t agree with me but I have friends who say some boxes are good. They probably like Boone’s Farm too. Happy fall!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have a wonderful, special time celebrating Gorgeous’s new decade with your daughter and partner … in your remarkably clean house, Marty! I was about to ask when you were getting back to the gym, and then I got to that part of your post. Hurray!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday, Gorgeous! Even though it didn’t turn out to be the surprise you once planned, I think your gift to her is incredibly thoughtful and generous. I’m sure she would have been very suspicious of you cleaning the house so your secret would probably have been outed anyway.

    Oh, and box wine… yes, please. It looks like, just below the Black Box wines in your picture, is the Bota Box Pinot Grigio we buy for our “house wine.” That particular brand got very high ratings. Since we don’t drink it that fast, the way this it is packaged (three bottles-worth in a air-tight pouch) is perfect for us. Of course, if we have guests, we bring out the bottles. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “House” wine! In one’s own home, of course. What a great concept. Okay then. The Janis stamp of approval is good enough for me. I shall incorporate the Bota Box brand for our House wine. I love it!

      Thanks for some needed cover on my pitiful cleaning contribution. You are right that would have been looking at me funny. Cleaning is *not* one of my normal activities (being messy is)! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I had such a huge collection of them at one time! I can even remember even after CD’s were already out that I started buying them again for some reason. I own none of them anymore, though I do see them regularly in thrift shops. I noticed in the current Genesis tour that they have a cool stage backdrop of all of their old albums on cassettes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m with you re: electricity deals. I know how much I use! So when I worked it all out it was still cheaper with my present plan. As I hardly use anything in Summer since I’m on ground floor thus my apartment is usually cooler than most.
    And Winter is gone. Thus I won’t need the heater or dehumidifier as much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, Vy. The electric utility here for some reason wants everyone to get on their so-called “budget” plan, which is just a way to average the year out and you end up paying even, regular amounts every month. Then they recalculate for the following year. But I look forward to the months when we don’t use as much electricity, so the bills are much cheaper.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Me too Marty. I think I pay $40-50 for the Summer months. And a bit over $100 for the Winter month.
        I have an excel sheet with all my bills on it for the year so I know exactly how much I need for each month to pay. That way I don’t freak out when all the bills come at once.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I smiled when I saw a post from you in my email last night but purposely left it until this morning with coffee to get my day started with a laugh and a chuckle. What a sneaky but loving guy you are setting up such a great birthday celebration. Happy Birthday Gorgeous, and may your visit be wonderful. Just think how clean the house will be and how long it will be before she expects you to grab that duster again. 🙂 No cassette tapes here, but my granddaughter is big into vinyl and told me there is an actual shortage so her preorders are now on hold, and my daughter and son-in-law are big into the ‘new’ versions of boxed wine. I sincerely apologize for not keeping you up-to-date on your house plants. It really is inconsiderate of me, and I’ll try to do better. 🙂 Whack-a-mole certainly describes what we’re dealing with, but I won’t be contributing to the problem. I’m a card-carrying, four-shot member of society – three Covids and one flu. Phew, not much more I can do to keep folks safe. Have a great family visit, and I’ll look forward to a few good stories in a future post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to laugh when blogger Betty sent me to the corner for a time out after reminding me that she already blogged about the Swiss cheese plant! I apparently have a mind like a sieve. 🙂 I’m going to have to wrap my head around the fact that wine in boxes are not our parents’, ‘er boxed wine anymore! It appears things have improved in that area. I agree with you: in the end, we just have to ultimately take care of ourselves; if that benefits others indirectly, then so be it. But focus on your own health first. Enjoy those fall colors up there!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy birthday, Gorgeous! So sorry that you have to now share in the cleaning up for your own ‘surprise’ party, but you know how husbands can be…
    As for the box wine: I’m with Janis in using it as the ‘house wine’ saving the bottles for the special vintages for special meals/guests/occasions.
    And – yep – I’m thrice vaxxed as of two days ago!!!
    Nice catch-up post, Marty. Enjoy that ‘surprise’ party for Gorgeous that you’ve planned with the fam!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love a man with a swiffer! My husband has one and he looks great using it. Haha! We bought ourselves a new turn-table and a CD/Cassette player earlier this year. One of our COVID projects has been to play all of our old cassettes, CDs and vinyl and purge. What fun! Some of the cassettes were shot, but we were pleased to find some were in great shape (also that between us, we also had the CD and/or vinyl version.) Happy Birthday to Gorgeous and enjoy the company!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m waiting for that phone call from GQ for an upcoming cover photo spread. 😉 How fun that you dived into all those old recordings over the last year. I’m also green with envy about that turntable combo you got. It sounds neato-keen. Thanks, Tracey!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I like your phrase “an illusion of normalcy.” That’s how I’m thinking about life right now, too. I can’t help wonder what’s next but am grooving on the nicer weather hoping that everyone around me is completely vaccinated.

    In our grocery store the Decoy wine is considered premium and would never share a shelf with the likes of déclassé boxed wines. I just don’t know what to make of it! Happy partying, regardless of which wine you drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy birthday! And…what exactly is boxed wine? Wine that comes in a box? Like…instead of a bottle? I know nothing about wine…have never even had a sip…but I did pour a few bottles of very expensive wine down the drain. We had received them as Christmas gifts, and being late January and still unopened…I figured it was old. 🥴

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I know that now and don’t think I didn’t get a proper blistering for it! I did the same thing a few years later. I noticed all this stuff in the freezer and I didn’t remember putting it in there. It looked yucky, so out it went!
        Come to find out that I had thrown away about 25 pounds of venison.
        My excuse, after another blistering, was…”I don’t eat the Bambi’s.”🥴

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Marty, You are the second person who has mentioned the revival of cassette tapes. The first person was Ringo Starr in a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel. His latest release is selling mostly on cassette tapes. My life in the 70’s was taping from the radio – issues – using a pencil to roll the tape – ugh!

    I am happy to hear how you and Gorgeous are taking in some ‘normal’ events while you can. I LOVE your phrase “Gorgeous is bursting with joy…” Says it all. Re: box wine – I have some tucked away in a closet when the pandemic first started – it is still there, unopened…just in case….5th wave?

    A big hug and happy birthday wishes to Gorgeous. I don’t believe she can get any more Gorgeous – husband points to you, Marty….spend them well 🍷🎼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that interview, Erica! Gotta love Ringo. Yep, I remember all too well that whole rolling of the tape with a pencil or pen because it always somehow got looped out of its case. What a disaster those things were!

      I’ll spend those credits wisely, I promise. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m somewhat late to the party, but I do hope that Gorgeous had a wonderful birthday. Good call on removing the surprise element, even if it did have the benefit of sharing the chores.

    Wine boxes have always been treated with suspicion chez Himself & Debs – not that we drink anymore. Everyone drank during lockdown, while we steadily got out of the habit to the point of not missing it at all. Good for the bank balance, but not having nearly enough positive benefit on the scales! My one abiding memory of wine boxes is that my brother used to buy them to take to rugby internationals as glass is banned. However, the fact that he consumed the box all by himself in one sitting, meant my sister-in-law often had to rescue him from all manner of out of the way railway stations as he’d fallen asleep on the train home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m laughing hard about your brother. My sympathies to your sister-in-law! Based on some of the earlier comments here, I guess I’m willing to take a look at some of the box selections. I have to admit that I did like Janis’ suggestion about it being the “house” wine for just her and her husband (and not company). But the whole idea of “premium” boxed wine that I saw at the grocery store was laughable to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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