Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SEPTEMBER MORN by CATHERINE LANIGAN and RULA SINARA

Hey everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend and are in full September swing!


CATHERINE: I don’t know about you, but September is one of the most sentimental months for me. From my own childhood to the days of my son going off to kindergarten, middle school, high school and college, September has that wisp of nostalgia and a strong dose of change in the air. It is a month of new beginnings in many ways.

Rula is going through those emotional days with her first born off to college. Right?

RULA: You're so right. Talk about a crazy and emotional end of summer! I personally never lived in a dorm. I commuted to college (as an undergrad) and slept in my own sweet bed at home, so getting my son ready for dorm life was a little tough for me. I mean, yes, they give you guidelines on what they'll need, but I had no personal experience to go by...only common sense. Luckily, I have some of that lol. But seriously, I think the scariest part was the idea of sharing a room with someone he'd never met before. Well, his roommate (and family, who we also met) turned out to be super. Couldn't have asked for better, so all is good.

On the ride home from dropping him off...after an exhausting day...I got the email that let me know After the Silence had finaled in the Aspen Gold. So it really was an emotional day from start to finish!

Rula's view on the ride home from dropping her first born off at his freshman year in college.
And looking back on the summer I'm realizing that we never had time this year to go to the beach or take any kind of vacation. I never even went to the pool! Yet, it was a great, family oriented summer and now I'm so ready for fall and crisp mornings.

CATHERINE: Once I pack up the Labor Day cooler with the picnic leftovers and wash the beach towels, I know it’s the last time until next year. Though September is one of my favorite months for the weather, it’s the knowing that summer is over and the autumn has begun that brings highlights of the summer back, to reminisce and be grateful for those days gone by.

My summer’s highlights this year were many. Hanging out with my darling blog partner, Rula, Kate James, Amy Vastine, Jen Snow and all my Heartwarming sisters was pure joy.

RWA 2016: Jennifer Snow, Rula Sinara, Kate James, Catherine Lanigan
RWA 2016: Amy Vastine, Carol Ross, Jennifer Snow, Rula Sinara
RWA 2016 Harlequin Signing: Anna J Stewart, Rula Sinara, Catherine Lanigan
RULA: Oh, I agree, Catherine! Nationals is always an incredible summer highlight! I always look forward to connecting with my Heartwarming sisters :). There's a post on my blog, HERE, with some of this year's Nationals pics (mostly at the Harlequin party ;), but I'll post a few here too...

RWA 2016: Rula and Roz Denny Fox
RWA 2016: Marion Ekholm, Amy Vastine, Rula
Harlequin Party 2016: The Heartwarming Gang!
CATHERINE: Because all that San Diego was for me, trying to top that by the end of the summer, meant I had to shoot for the stars. So, flying high is what I did. I received a private invitation from a friend to go up in an Oracle Team stunt plane, during the Chicago Air Show. My pilot was Chris Rudd. Gee, that’s a hero’s name if ever I heard one. We did four barrel rolls and four loops. Trust me, the barrel rolls were nothing compared to the loops. I didn’t do a hammerhead, but now that I know what it is, hmm, flying upside down and going back and forth, forth and back, I’m not sure---but there’s always next year. No, I did not barf, but I have to say, the way your head slams against the back of the seat during the loop will give you a new appreciation for every pilot and astronaut living and dead! 
Catherine Lanigan getting ready to fly high in a stunt plane!
Catherine and her pilot, Chris Rudd
RULA: Okay now, Catherine. You do realize that your cool factor just skyrocketed, don't you? What an amazing experience!!! You're cool AND brave! 

None of my summer activities came close to being that adventurous. Let's just say that I was a bit more...um...grounded. Literally, lol. As in sticking my hands in the ground and digging up potatoes! In fact, I just dug this bowlful up today (they're not washed yet, hence the dusty look).

Rula's non-aerodynamic organic potatoes coming up for air
CATHERINE: “Late Summer” as it’s known here at the bottom of Lake Michigan is a bountiful time of incredible vegetables. The chrysanthemums are streaming out the grocery store doors . Corn and tomatoes abound.

Catherine's gorgeous tomatoes. Yum!
 RULA: Absolutely. This is the month I really start harvesting tons of tomatoes. I love drying them to make my own sundried tomatoes for pasta during the winter. I also pickle okra and cucumbers. 

A sampling of Rula's harvest from her garden
Rula's dried tomatoes ready to have herbs and olive oil added to the jar, and what's left of her pickled okra (because you can't just have one!)
Rula's okra plants with flowers in bloom
And I love that my Mammoth sunflowers look beautiful in September. The birds love them too! I have a few flowering vines growing near them. Every morning, hummingbirds visit the red cardinal trumpet vine that looks like it's choking one of the sunflowers and every night, the giant white 'moon flowers' open up and seem to glow.

One of Rula's sunflowers
Cardinal trumpet vine looking like it's choking Rula's sunflower to death...but it's not. The sunflower is faking it. Really. Her flowers can be very dramatic.
Rula's Moonflower. In person, it's bigger than a man's hand spread out!
September also means that, while gardening, I'll find lovely caterpillars like this Easter Black Swallowtail caterpillar (we have several types of swallowtails around our yard). This fella was munching on my parsely. I let him munch away.

Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar in Rula's garden
 And finally, a definite sign that September is here. Even with the heat waves some of us are still getting and the autumn equinox not happening until the 22nd, the cool mornings are already beginning to change some of the leaf colors.

Rula's 'Jordan' Japanese Maple changing color


CATHERINE: So, as you look back on your summer and head into September, what are some of the moments that will become those bits of nostalgia, those memories that stack up to make your life the best book ever?

Happy September, everyone!

Catherine and Rula :)

PS: Jumping back in to add that Catherine's Prism Book Tour for one of her non-HW books, Web of Deceit, kicks off today! For anyone interested, it's a historical and what I love about Catherine's tour summary of it is that, in keeping with Karen Rock's post here last week, it's about the strength of women and how far they've come. Check out the tour here: http://prismbooktours.blogspot.com/2016/09/were-launching-book-tour-for-web-of.html 

38 comments:

  1. This is another fabulous post, Rula and Catherine! I absolutely love all the pictures.

    Rula, I admire your courage to follow Catherine's story/pics about her stunt-flying experience with potatoes! Joking aside, I really enjoyed reading about the bounty in your gardens and seeing the pictures.

    As for nostalgia, it was wonderful spending time with you and our other Heartwarming sisters in San Diego. Thank you for sharing some of the pictures to help bring back the memories.

    Happy September, everyone!

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    1. LOL, I knew I couldn't come close to anything like stunt flying, so I figured what's the opposite? How low can I go? Then it hit me. Make like a potato and go underground lol.

      I'm feeling San Diego nostalgia too!

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    2. Kate, you are so funny. Potatoes are a great follow up! Going underground. Ha.

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  2. What a wonderful post, ladies! I really enjoyed all of the photographs, especially the ones from RWA.
    As the mornings become cooler, it makes me think of going back school and how sad I was when summer vacation came to an end.
    Of course, all this week we'll be in the 90's, so summer lives on.

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    1. Jill, I'm so not looking forward to the heat wave we're expecting this week. We were teased by cool weather (a few days ago it was 55 F in the morning!) and now we'll be about 90 today and up to 95 or 97 on Thursday...note with our humidity, I'm sure the heat index will be over 100! Now that really does make me want to bury myself underground in the cool dirt like a potato! Of course, air conditioning is a cleaner option lol.

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    2. Yep, we are in the mid to high 90's and all I can say is..thank God for air conditioning. The mosquitoes here are horrid!

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  3. Loved the pictures from RWA. Made me wish I had more time with everyone.
    Rula, sniff, my youngest started middle school. How did that happen?
    And, all the photos of food made me hungry. Of course, I'd just read Melinda's post about not being a cook. I love sun-dried tomatoes in my salad :) And, here in AZ, where it's still over 100 degrees EVERY DAY, I can buy them at the grocery store. Here in AZ, it's would be sun-blistered tomatoes. LOL

    Catherine, you rock getting in that plane. In order for me to get on that plane, it would have to be attached to an arm attached to a pivot at an amusement park.

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    1. Pam, apart from having to be gluten free, one of my boys and I are also allergic to onions and garlic, which is in all store bought tomato sauces and sundried tomatoes (the seasoned kind at least). That's why I make them myself (like so much of everything else in my kitchen). Sometimes I'm tired and feel like Mel in her post, but most of the time I'm constantly cooking up something. It's baking that I really love.

      LOL, about the amusement park plane! I'm with you on that! I can't read or do anything in a car because I get motion sick easily, so I can't imagine holding my stomach together with the stunts Catherine pulled off sky high!

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    2. Pam! Next year we'll spend more time together. It all went so fast!!!

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  4. Heavens, you ladies are so busy that September will fly by in no time. Love the photos. I don't like heights or wild amusement park rides, so you are daredevils to me. LOL This month is already flying by. Soon to be Halloween--ha ha.

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    1. This month is definitely flying by. I can't wait for Halloween! All the decorations and costumes are already out in the stores and I can't resist window shopping.

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    2. This is where Rula excels! I adore the autumn decorations and already have the "itch" to get my cartons out and start festooning the place with fall garlands. I need new lights this year, though.

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    3. OMG, Catherine. I think we posted pics last year of your fall decor and it was amazing!

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  5. September for me has always felt like a new beginning. Our Phoenix temperatures have dropped below 100 so Fall is definitely on its way. Thanks for the lovely pictures and memories.

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    1. You're so right, Marion. That's why I love fall so much. I love that it brings with it the feeling of winding down so that I can start over fresh. It feels like more of a 'new year' to me than January!

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    2. Marion, I so remember September in Scottsdale. It was still blistering. I don't miss that. You take care!

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  6. Good morning, Rula and Catherine - and everyone else! We are shrouded in fog and it's in the low 50s, The coastal NW seems to have gone from summer to early winter! Neighborhood planned our last dinner-on-the-porch for the season and we had to bring it inside because it began to rain! Ah, well. Sunshine in our hearts, right? Love your daring-do, Catherine, and your veggies, Rula. Have to say, though, I could have just one pickled okra.

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    1. You made me laugh, Muriel! I'm telling you, pickled okra is really good lol! Of course it depends on the solution made ;). Now, my dad will go around popping raw okra in his mouth. He loves it. I did also make my kids a batch of southern fried okra last week. Delicious. It's made with a cornmeal and buttermilk batter.

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    2. I'm with you, Muriel. NO No to the Okra.

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    3. You two are cracking me up! I lived a chunk of my childhood in Texas and you can't be southern without liking okra lol. At least the fried type. I mean, anything fried tastes good, right?

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    4. Right, Rula. I fry kale. It's yum! Also - forgot to congratulate you getting a child safely to college, and on finalling for the award! That's so big! Well done, woman!

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    5. Aw, thanks, Muriel! :)

      And I love kale! I haven't deep fried it but I did toss it with herbs and olive oil then baked it to a crisp for kale chips. Yum! Oh, and when I had leftover batter from the okra, I battered and fried green beans. They were great too! ;)

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  7. Catherine and Rula, your post made me emotional! Happy memories of summer and sad to see it coming to an end. It also makes me wonder what I do with my time? You ladies are so industrious. (And adventurous - go Catherine!) It feels like my summer just flew by. But waking up to cold and pouring rain this morning in the NW makes me accept the fact that fall is here.

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    1. I'd love some of your rain, Carol! My veggie garden suffered this year because of all the heat waves we've had...and not enough thunderstorms/rain to go with it all.

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    2. Hi, Carol...I get very sentimental about September. I have to say this past summer was the most swift of my life. Maybe due to all the writing I did. Not sure. But I'm sad to see it go.

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  8. You two spend more time in your garden than I do (clearly), although it's not as fun during a drought. Great post!

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    1. I can't blame you, Mel. My idea of gardening in a drought stricken area would be rock gardening ;). Although it's not as edible. Hmmmm but what about that story Stone Soup? :)

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    2. I'm giving all the kudos this year to Rula. Mine lacked my tender care...sad, but true.

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    3. The magic of photography lol. I didn't post a pic of how dried up my poor hydrangeas look this year!

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  9. Wow, fabulous post and what a fabulous summer you both had! Thank you for sharing! :) National was definitely a high point for me, esp since I got to hang out with you two! <3

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    1. Anna, I thought of you when I came across that caterpillar! I included that pic just for you ;)! You've become synonymous with butterflies!

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    2. Anna, I loved our time together. I'm already looking forward to Orlando! Wahoo.

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  10. What a fun post. I'm not sure if I'm more excited about the stunt plane or the pickled okra. And moving a kid to college is almost as traumatic as the first day of kindergarten. Busy ladies.

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    1. Beth, if you can get excited about pickled okra, you'll have to have a talk with Muriel and Catherine lol!

      And yes, it was just like the first day of kindergarten and to top it off, after barely two weeks there, he came down with a low grade fever and bug this past weekend. Mothering from afar is tough! It was tough on his dad too. My son finally texted saying we really needed to cut back on the 'R U OK' texts lol! He's better today though. I have a few extra gray hairs.

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  11. What a nice post. I'm with you on sentimental September. I was weeping when I dropped my twins to kindergarten. I'll be a basket case when they go to college so hugs Rula. I missed seeing all my fellow authors at RWA so thank you for sharing the wonderful pics.

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    1. Oh boy, you go through double the emotion (and college tuition...cough...cough...) at once! I hope you make RWA next year!

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  12. Wait, summer happened? Ugh, it always seems to slip on by! Once I go back to school, it's like I never left. Thank you for reminding me of what a wonderful time we had in San Diego! That was a highlight for me. Now, I am in full football mom mode. That's one thing I love about September!

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