This time of year especially, it seems like everyone’s all about seasonal things. Food, activities, decorations, scents, clothes…everything’s about fall- and holiday-specific stuff.
Pumpkin spice lattes and red cups.
Sweater weather candles.
Blanket scarves and boots.
Watching football and decorating with gourds (and then trees and all things red and green and sparkly).
All the holiday music and movies (I love that a December movie marathon can feature Christmas Vacation followed by Love Actually).
And yet, I find myself thinking about the things I do that aren’t seasonal. The constants. The year-round rituals and activities.
Aside from the really obvious basics (you know, eating, sleeping, working), here’s what I’ve come up with:
Der. This wasn’t always the case — in high school, I mainly ran during cross-country and track seasons. The months in between, the off season? I was off. Way more than I should have been, and I always spent the first couple weeks of each season kicking myself for not being more dedicated. Now, my running certainly ebbs and flows throughout the year, depending on if I’m training for a race or injured or my motivation level, but it’s always happening.
I include this one in part because for a lot of people, reading seems to be a seasonal activity. All through May and June, we hear about “this year’s best beach reads” and people talk about “finally having time to read” when they’re on vacation (my mom, a second-grade teacher, being one of them). I certainly do that; reading on the beach is pretty much the best. But reading also happens on any car or plane trip, before bed, on the occasional lazy, unplanned weekend (which are also pretty much the best).
Because as much as I sometimes try to make an effort to “eat seasonally” — I don’t bother buying “fresh” strawberries anytime other than May/June and buying tomatoes in the winter makes me sad — most of our dinners are pretty standard. We make pizza about once a week and our “go-to” is whatever marinara or tomato sauce we have on hand, a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and little dollops of pesto. Sometimes we go crazy and sprinkle feta or chop up some fresh basil. I make a huge batch of spent grain pizza dough and freeze it after we brew or, when we haven’t brewed in awhile, use Elise’s recipe to mix up a batch around lunch so it’s risen and ready by dinnertime.
Seriously. We’ve been eating this exact meal almost once a week for at least two years now and I’ve yet to get sick of it. A handful of times we’ll try different toppings but honestly, this is my favorite lazy meal because we almost always have all the ingredients on hand and once the dough is prepped, it takes all of 20 minutes. Really.
I drink hot tea in the morning all year, even when we’re in our miserable stretches where the temperature never drops below 80, not even in the middle of the night, for days on end. I might have just one mug and then switched the iced tea or iced coffee, but yeah. I filter different flavors in and out (right now I’m all about Teavana’s white chocolate peppermint and in the summer they usually have more citrus and fruity blends), but I also make sure my standards (the blend of white ayurvedic chai and samurai chai is heaven) are well-stocked.
So, I have sort of quietly been doing a 365-photo challenge this year and I’ve only missed three or four days. I have never done anywhere close to that on any previous attempts at photo-a-day challenges and I’m pretty amazed and proud of myself. Even though most of my pictures are of Onyx, I’m loving that this has become more of a constant habit. Next I want to lug my “real” camera out more…and get a DSLR…
Initially I thought I’d include a lot more — and I could — but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that certain activities, while they might happen year-round, are heavily influenced by the seasons. Hiking, for instance, looks way different in summer vs. fall or winter (trails that would be very bad ideas in July are suddenly accessible in November and December). One day, homebrewing might happen year-round but right now, it’s really tough to brew in our non-temp-controlled apartment in July and August (and September, really). Oh, and beer drinking? Sure, but I’ve been gravitating more and more to seasonal styles (ahem, pumpkin beers) so to some extent, that changes throughout the year. Sort of.
Oh, and what about writing? Well…let me get back to you on that.