Friday Footnotes


After the warmest September in 82 years, fall arrived this week, windy, cool, and bright. Golden yellows are spreading through green leaves, and the sound of the treetops is changing too—their familiar rush replaced with a dry crackle. Last year I was so reluctant to let go of summer I nearly missed out on fall. Here’s a post I wrote about an epiphany that shifted my perspective. I’m making up for it this year. We visited an orchard last weekend (despite the heat) and I’ve returned to some of my favorite fall recipes. Boots and hats, however, will have to wait. Here are things I made, liked, did, or read this week.

Apple Picking: When you live in a city surrounded by forests and farmland, an orchard or pumpkin patch is never far away. This year we visited an orchard we had somehow missed in previous years. After filling an obligatory bag of Honeycrisps, we tried some unfamiliar varieties and found a new favorite: Crown Empire. It’s an all-around perfect apple whether you eat it by the slice or bake it in a pie.

Braided Apple Strudel: A friend introduced me to the world’s easiest apple strudel recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup: This year, Starbucks changed its pumpkin spice syrup recipe to include actual pumpkin. To be honest, the news made me wonder what on earth was in it until now. If you ever want to make a PSL at home, try this recipe for homemade pumpkin spice syrup courtesy of Annie’s Eats.

Kindness on Social Media: “I’ve never regretted loving or encouraging or celebrating something,” writes Shauna Niequist. “I have often regretted slamming or dismissing or criticizing something, because when I do that online, it’s outside of relationship, outside of shared understanding, outside of context.” Niequist, a popular author and blogger, wrote a thought-provoking post for Storyline about choosing kindness online. This was a well-timed read for me as I’ve finished listening to Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. (An admittedly difficult book to process because of its focus on the ugly and cruel sides of human nature.)

The Myth of Quality Time: Frank Bruni recently wrote a beautiful column on quality time. The article’s main point is that you can’t exactly plan moments of connection and meaning between people. The only way you can witness these things is to keep showing up. As Bruni writes: “[But] people tend not to operate on cue. At least our moods and emotions don’t. We reach out for help at odd points; we bloom at unpredictable ones. The surest way to see the brightest colors, or the darkest ones, is to be watching and waiting and ready for them.”

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