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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
OCT
03

Vintage October

Somehow I managed to go the entire month of September without blogging, so I'll just catch you up by saying it included a resort getaway in 120 degree weather, an attempt at golfing, an expansion of my super amazing herb garden (pesto on the menu this week!), an almost full return to my pre-injury running distance, and, of course, about a million read-throughs of the new manuscript. And by a million I mean like 4. But still. It does become rather easy to become so fatigued with your own writing that you're pretty convinced that it's terrible.

Editing really is an interesting process. I find as I get older and write more books that it does get easier to cut things out if they don't need to be there or if they make the story worse. Certain stories I've fought for in the past, sure they were good enough to include, or maybe it's just I really wanted to tell them, whether or not they fit. Certain stories it took my editor recommending I scrap them for me to realize that them fitting is more important than how attached to them I am. Sort of like the time I moved to New York and had to get rid of almost all of my possessions, in that once you make up your mind that only the best most favorite things can be kept, it becomes relatively easy to part with everything else. If I've learned anything about life, it's how little you actually need.

And now it's October, and for the first time (thanks to my sister), I put up Halloween decorations! I've got a great costume in the works and some pumpkin spice muffins ready to roll as soon as this California heat dies down a bit and I can use my sorry excuse for an oven without fraculating the entire house. Fall does make me pine for New York, and for Cleveland before it. Fall is just the best, and sometimes it seems like it would even be worth putting up with snow again for. (I know, I sound crazy.) But really, there's nothing like fall in Ohio, if you can just get past all the Ohio State crap in people's yards. I hope that however you're celebrating fall and Halloween this month, that you take a moment to reflect on simpler times and years. This picture was a nice reminder of such a time for me. There have been and will be better times for all of us, and at the very least, there will be another of my books to read in 2021! 

SEP
30

Pining for Seasons

There's a framed picture on my bedroom wall of a group of people ice skating in Central Park. It's a print actually, a creative artist's depiction of a whimsical and vibrant city. The people are thin, colorful, their limbs like sticks that dangle in front of or behind them as they glide along the ice. They are bundled, wearing scarves and jackets, a cityscape of buildings towering behind them. 

I look at this picture often, as well as the two others in my room by the same artist, one of the Brooklyn Bridge and one of the Empire State building, but today it seemed to transport me back to winter in New York. I never did ice skate in Central Park while I lived there, but New York was the last place I lived where I experienced seasons. Not that there's much to complain about here in San Diego, with its nearly year-round temperatures in the seventies, but that doesn't leave much room for seasonality, so I end up manufacturing experiences to make myself FEEL the changes of the season.

Last weekend I drove to Julian, a darling little mountain town just over an hour away. They're known for their apples, most famously their apple pie (although the bread pudding pictured in this post is the town's best kept secret), and fall is often littered with various apple-themed festivals. And so I attended last weekend's Old Country Fair, filled with a charming collection of booths, food, a pumpkin patch, and hayrides. I even paid for a special ticket that let me press my own apples and drink the fresh cider, something I'd never done before. It was delicious. Despite the 90 degree weather (shouldn't it be cooler in the mountains?), I felt like I was making fall happen. And when you live in a state of permanent summer, these things are important. I doubt there will be any ice skating in my near future, or any pie baking, but I'm sure I'll continue to stare at the print on my bedroom wall, missing that sensation of wind against bundled ears and the need to zip up my jacket all way to the top. Or, you know, wear a jacket at all.

Happy Fall, readers!

 

NOV
30

I Recall Central Park in Fall

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It's almost too late in the season to still be considered fall, but I found myself in New York City over the Thanksgiving weekend and boy howdy, it sure felt like it. Fall. 65 degrees and sunny. People out in droves biking and running, all wearing shorts and tanks. I hadn't been back to NYC since moving away over the summer, so I would have reveled in the New-Yorkyness regardless, but the weather was truly spectacular. I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish in a short time, but somehow everything else fell off the list once I stepped into Central Park. Now, isn't that always the way? Some places never really leave you.

 

OCT
14

Happy Fall! (Er...summer?)

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Things I miss about fall: changing leaves, cool temperatures, sweaters, light jackets, the smell of campfire, rainy days, and baking sweet things. I also miss all the Ohio State crap in everybody's yard. But don't tell anyone.

It's truly odd to be in this land of eternal sunshine. Because it doesn't feel like fall. It doesn't feel any different than it felt all summer. It's actually even hotter. And how odd to be sweating it out at the beach in mid-October. I keep finding myself checking the 10-day forecast in New York City, where I lived last fall, and Cleveland, where I lived the six falls before that. Temperatures in the sixties, fifties even on some days. It sounds so glorious!! I know I'll be singing a different tune come winter...something tells me I won't mind sitting at the beach in winter...but there's something about fall that a girl just wants to experience.

I can't do much about the sunny temps here in Cali, the lack of need for my jackets and sweaters, but baking? I can do something about that. And so last night I used my oven for the first time in the 4 months I've lived here and baked something sweet. It was an 85-degree day and it made my house so hot that I may never bake anything again, but for a moment, it was fall. Real fall.

OCT
02

October is for Opal

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So, remember when I was living in New York City and studying gemology? Yeah, me too. One of my favorite phases of life. Ever. I miss the city a lot and the gemstones even more. Studying them, identifying them, subjecting my Instagram followers to pictures of them. Of course, the great thing about now working for a gemology institute is that my building is not in want of gemstone displays. They are, quite frankly, everywhere. And not just the laboratory area either (where, for example, just this week I was able to meet one of the gemologists who graded the Hope Diamond), but lining pretty much every hallway, too.

Most of the pieces I've seen now, through my various explorations of the building, but every now and then I come across one that has somehow snuck past me. Like this opal stunner that literally stopped me cold. I mean, just freaking look at it! And I'm not even an opal girl. Trust me, as a gemologist, I have my favorites--diamond because it's the BEST, star corundum for the asterism, rhodochrosite because it's so unique, turquoise and aquamarine for their beautiful blues--but opals have never moved me. Until this necklace, that is. Maybe it just takes 148 carats to get me there, but either way, this was a happy way to officially ring in the month that boasts opal as its birthstone. Happy October, everyone!

OCT
14

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

My neighbors recently had the huge tree that grew in their front yard cut down. This was as shocking as it was devastating to me. Like the day I got home from work to find the city had cut down all the trees lining the street in order to prep for a construction project. All. The. Trees. Gutted I was.

But my neighbors' tree? Losing it was like losing a limb. (I apologize to anyone who has lost a limb for the inaccurate and totally insensitive use of this simile.) Because it may as well have been my tree. In my yard. Covering my house. Because it did. It covered my house as well as theirs. In the days after the Awful Thing, I felt lost in my own driveway. The sun beat down directly on the house because there was nothing to shade it. I felt so exposed, and totally without bearings.

I guess all I meant to say today is that it's now fall, and there should be leaves for me to rake. The leaves I've raked for years. When I asked the neighbor why he had done this Awful Thing, he tried to cheer me up by saying I would no longer have to rake the leaves. Consolation, my ass. I loved those leaves. And I loved raking those leaves. It was cathartic and manual and somehow gratifying to see the mounds of leaves eventually end up in a big pile at the end of the yard. To me, that was fall. And I miss it.