It’s finally over!  Summer, that is.  We’ve had glorious autumn weather these past few days — not really cool enough for a jacket, but cool enough to turn off the A/C — and signs of autumn are everywhere.

For me, one of the first signs that fall is on its way (not counting the Halloween stuff that appears at the craft stores in July, and anything related to back-to-school, which really should happen about a week after the kids get out of school), is the Golden Raintrees bursting into brilliant bloom:

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The blossoms give way to seed pods:


And soon the trees are covered in papery salmon-covered seed pods:

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Another sure sign that fall is on the way, is the arrival of pumpkins at the grocery store. It seems like each year there are more and more colors and shapes to choose from:


Soon, Halloween decorations creep into the landscape.  I always get a kick out of seeing all the ghosts and graveyards popping up around the neighborhood:

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Disco ghosts

My friend Bill and I went to the fall Herb Fair put on by the South Texas Unit of the Herb Society of America this past weekend, where I stocked up on their special herb blends, including Rosemary’s Cookies, Spaghetti Zip, and Royal Salt.  I also bought some interesting-sounding jams, and of course, herbs:

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As the parent of two high-schoolers, Homecoming is another sign that fall is here.  As is tradition, my son gave his date a Homecoming mum to wear on her shirt to the Homecoming football game — an oversized, beribboned, blinged-out craft store creation, and she gave him a smaller one to wear on his arm.  We didn’t have this tradition where I grew up in New York — heck, we didn’t even have Homecoming as best I can recall — and I am starting to feel kinda ripped off.


By the way, these mums don’t come cheap!  Next year I’m planning to host a “Moms, Mums, and Mimosas” party to make Homecoming mums, only I’m not going to invite anyone except myself, and instead of Mimosas I’m going to make Rum Rollovers and moan about how grown my kids are and wonder where the time has gone.

For my daughter’s last high school Homecoming Dance, we hosted a fajita party at our house before the dance, which the kids really enjoyed.  At the last minute, I ordered a tres leches cake from one of my favorite bakeries, Ideal Bakery.

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As the sun-faded sign in the window declares, “te encantara!” which translates to something like “you’ll love it!”

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The bakery is filled with tempting Mexican pastries of all sorts, and it’s always fun to grab a tray and pair of tongs and select a few from the cases.

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 Special for Halloween

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How do they get the sugar coating to do that?

The cake was delicious, and true to its word, everyone loved it.  One caveat — although their baked goods are delicious, spelling is not their forte:

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The couple working at the bakery were so sweet, and made me a cake on very short notice, and when they brought it out and asked if it was OK, I just had to smile and say, “It’s perfect.”  Which it was.

La Ideal Bakery on Urbanspoon


  1. Homecoming mums are really a special Texas thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad I didn’t have to take out a bank loan to make one, but I’m kind of sorry my kids didn’t have the experience of hauling one of those babies around all day long. Do they still wear them to school all day? I love that cake.

    • At my kids’ schools, they do not wear the mums all day, just to the football game and maybe the dance. I can’t imagine walking around all day wearing one of those monster mums!

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