I love September. Firstly, it’s my birthday month. 🙂 But secondly, September is a gorgeous time of year in Massachusetts. Maybe that explains why this month was a balance of indoor activities (the new WIP, reorganization / decluttering projects) and outdoor fun. There were a couple lows (ongoing anxiety, plus a dishwasher leak), but in short September was joyful and productive, with much to be thankful for.
In fact, it was such a good month, I had such a hard time narrowing down my list of joys for this Happy post. But that’s not such a bad thing, right? In the end, I settled on five that best represent the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences that made my heart sing. And as always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments!
September 5th Was My Birthday
I celebrated my birthday by taking the day off from my day job and doing what I love most. So, I had my favorite breakfast (asiago cheese bagel from Panera Bread) and spent most of the morning working on my WIP. In the afternoon, I ran errands and (since it was hot and humid) enjoyed a late lunch of ice cream. (Peach ice cream mixed with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries at Coldstone Creamery, if you’re curious. Yum!) I also learned that Doctor Friend (the friend whose wedding I was in a year ago) is expecting her first baby! So overall it was a happy, productive, and rewarding day.
The best part of this year’s birthday, though? It came right after Labor Day, so I made a long holiday weekend even longer. Speaking of which…
I Spent Labor Day Weekend on Cape Cod with My Family
September really is the ideal month to visit Cape Cod. Towns, beaches, and other attractions become less crowded; and though the weather is cooling down, it’s still warm and pleasant enough to spend time outside. So I was thrilled that the holiday weekend coincided with a trip to visit my family, and I was happy with how it turned out.
Here’s what we did over the Labor Day weekend. I took a heapful of photos, too, so you’ll see some of them in the slideshow above.
- Friday: After driving down in the morning, I spent the afternoon with my parents at Scargo Tower, a cobblestone observatory tower in Dennis, and Grays Beach, a beach / salt marsh in Yarmouth with a long boardwalk with spectacular views, especially at low tide.
- Saturday: Unfortunately the whale watch we’d hoped to do sold out. So we opted for a cruise of nearby Bass River instead, and I really enjoyed it! The 90-minute tour took us downstream to Nantucket Sound and the Dennis Fingers; and we learned a lot about the history of the beautiful homes along the river, their residents, local beaches and wildlife, and boating. We also celebrated my birthday that night with gifts and a homemade chocolate cake.
- Sunday: Thought it was rainy, I drove over to Market Street Bookshop at Mashpee Commons and bought – what else? – more books. (I’d gotten a gift certificate for my birthday, so how I could not? *wink*) This indie bookseller is small but well-stocked on every genre imaginable (including science fiction and fantasy). So if you’re ever in Mashpee, I recommend Market Street Bookshop wholeheartedly.
I Met Up with DIY MFA Colleague Elise Holland for a Day in Boston
Elise and I had already met at Writer’s Digest Conference back in August, where we shared a hotel room. We enjoyed our time together so much that when she said that she and her husband (who live near Houston, Texas) would be in Massachusetts during the first week of September, I promptly marked it on my calendar. So on the Saturday after Labor Day, I took the train into Boston and spent the day with Elise while her husband attended a conference for work.
First, we went on a tour at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. And it’s no ordinary museum. Rather, it’s a lively, engaging series of interactive exhibits and re-enactments where visitors learn and experience what led up to the Boston Tea Party and how it eventually ignited the Revolutionary War. Then we had lunch at Abigail’s Tea Room (also at the Tea Party Museum) and tasted samples of the five Chinese teas that were destroyed during the event in 1773. (Fresh samples, I mean – not the 240+ year old ones in the Charles River!)
After that, I showed Elise around the Faneuil Hall area of Boston, including Quincy Market (a.k.a. Faneuil Hall Marketplace), Boston Public Market, and parts of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We had so much fun between all the sights, sounds (including some surprise street musicians!), smells, and tastes – and having gorgeous weather helped, too! Even better, it was great to spend more time with one of my DIY MFA colleagues outside of a literary conference.
I’m Listening to For All We Know’s New Album Take Me Home
If you’re familiar with symphonic rockers Within Temptation, then you might recognize Ruud Jolie. He’s one of WT’s guitarists, and the mastermind behind the progressive rock project For All We Know. And thanks to a very successful IndieGoGo campaign earlier this year (to which I was more than happy to donate), Ruud was able to release For All We Know’s second album Take Me Home this month. Yay!
Style-wise, Take Me Home is guitar-driven, melodic, and nicely balanced between the heavier and atmospheric moments. It’s also brighter and more cohesive than For All We Know’s self-titled debut album, though I do miss the darker, edgier sounds they experimented with on some of those older songs. But my favorite thing about the band’s music is still Wudstik’s voice. Gosh is he good, no matter if he’s belting it out or floating on his sweet falsetto.
Check out the above YouTube trailer for Take Me Home to get a taste of For All We Know’s music. If you like what you hear, I highly recommend the songs “Take Me Home,” “The Big Wheel,” “Colours,” and “We Are The Light,” which features Anneke van Giersbergen, one of the Netherlands’ most well-known rock singers.
I’ve Been Sipping Be You Teaful White Tea from For Tea’s Sake
When Elise and I visited the Boston Tea Party Museum’s gift shop, guess what we found LOTS of there? 😉 So I treated myself to two new teas, including this gentle beauty from For Tea’s Sake.
Be You Teaful (a play on the word “beautiful”) blends rosebuds and rose petals with ginger pieces and white tea for a delicate, soothing cup. I wasn’t sure how well the ginger and rose flavors would complement each other, but they actually don’t clash too much. In fact, the ginger is an undercurrent to the more dominant rose. Plus, look at the photo! Isn’t it pretty? 🙂
You can check out Be You Teaful at For Tea’s Sake here. It comes in 0.7-ounce tins as well as taller 1.6-ounce tins.
What were some of the things that made you happy in September? Have you gotten any new books, music, or tea lately? Traveled anywhere special? What are some of your favorite tours or museums, either in / near your hometown or elsewhere?