Friday, May 9, 2014

This thing still on?

Good morning, my minions!

Yeah, so, I've been busy.  Truly busy, in fact.  Let me tell you what's been going on!

  • I have a new job!  (Yay!)
  • It's volunteer! (Ohhhhh...)
  • I finished my Associates!  (Yay!)
  • I still need to apply for graduation! (You dip.)
  • I have almost finished my Event Planner Certification (Yay!)
  • I should be doing my homework instead of writing this! (And like that, you ruined it.)

So, yes, it has been all the hectic in my little world lately.  Add to the above list things like my son being in track again (which is good, just time consuming) and my daughter having her own list of extracurricular activities like choir and (most recently) Irish dance.  And of course there's Beasty, who requires love and attention and video games.  Which is fine, I need those things too, I just can't give them to myself.  Except for video games.

In spite of all the frantic activity, I've actually felt a strange clarity recently.  I feel very clear on what I need to work on, where I need to be extending myself, and what I need to back away from.  I'm going to make an actual schedule for writing, and share it with others and encourage them to hold me to it.  I'm going to apply to an editorial position that I don't quite fit all the qualifications for, but I'm pretty close.  I have a plan for rearranging the structure of the household, giving responsibilities to children that are more than old enough to start taking them on, and then I'm going to let go and count on them to get their stuff done.  That last one is going to be particularly difficult.

This does translate to changes in yonder blog.  I think I'm going to make Adventures of the Gray Goth it's own thing.  I like being able to write about my life on occasion, but I also want to keep The Subculture Empire to pontificate on games, music, fads, geekdom, and all that.  Now, the more cynical of you will be thinking, "So you'll just be barely updating two sites instead of one?" but in theory that is changing.  Have faith, my minions.  Or at least, continue to be patient with me.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On being fat and attempting to wear black

Hello, my minions.  Today we're talking about fashion.  Because I want to, and it's my blog.  Mwa ha ha ha ha!
And now we make...da magikz!
Worth clarifying - we're talking about a very specific genre of fashion.  This one is for my friends who wear black, as the saying goes.  Specifically, it is for my heavier, less conventionally shaped friends who wear black.  And - oh, who am I kidding, I'm just going to pontificate about my gripes with trying to express myself fashionably.

During a recent conversation with family, I admitted that I dislike about 75% of my wardrobe.  And by that I mean my daily wardrobe - special occasion clothing shopping is a longer, more selective process.  I own a few adorable dresses and one damn versatile LBD that has been my go-to for a few years now.  But my every day, roll-out-of -bed-and-go ensembles typically leave me feeling pretty damn frumpy.  They also are a poor representation of my preferred aesthetic and personality.

"Then why do you wear them," the confused reader will no doubt be asking at this time.  Because I can afford them, and they fit.  Seriously, these are my options.  I don't sew (not well, anyway), and I don't often have the funding to have my clothing tailored outside of special occasions.  Now, those of you with a more "normal" body type will be very confused by all this.  Why do I need clothes tailored?  Sure, it's nice to have a better fit, but aren't I being picky?  I'll try to break this down for you.

I am somewhere between an hour glass and pear shaped, if you want a visual of my figure.  I'm busty, with wide hips, and a significant backside.  However, my waist still tapers in.  As such, pants/skirts/etc that fit my hips don't tend to fit me in the waist.  Additionally, I'm about a size 14/16 up top and a 18/20 down below, so anything that fits my chest and shoulders doesn't sit well over my hips.  Likewise, dresses that fit me in the hips tend to be baggy in the chest and shoulders, and ultimately unflattering.  There are, of course, exceptions to this.

I can find pants that fit, but they're expensive.  Finding them in black is even pricier.  NYDJ is the ONLY place I have found that offers black (not dark rinse, dark wash, deep denim, bullshit-color-that-isn't-black) jeans that aren't skinny jeans.  You have no idea how much I hate skinny jeans.  The last thing I need is something that accentuates my butt.  My backside draws attention to itself without any assistance from cheaply made, overly tight, glorified leggings.  Additionally, NYDJ tend to have a higher waist, which I appreciate.  However, at $100+ a pair, they don't really fit into my budget.  If I'm very lucky, Macy's will have them on sale for around $80.  I have one pair of black NYDJ right now, that I saved up for, and I wear them as sparingly as possible.  Which means the rest of the time, I'm in blue jeans.  Oh, joy.It's not that I hate blue jeans, per se.  I just dislike them being my only comfortable everyday option.

Acceptable skirts include skater, full, circle, and a tailored A-line.  With the exception of the A-line, I can purchase the previously mentioned styles based on my waist and 90% of the time they'll lay well over my hips.  However, I don't wear skirts.  I would need, like, cargo or utility skirts.  Which I haven't found.  I've found a number of skirts that say they're cargo skirts, but the pockets are largely cosmetic.  Which leaves me wondering what the point is, exactly.  I could try utility kilts, but then I risk the wrath of men for impinging on the one skirt they can wear publicly without risking social acceptance.  And those bitches are expensive.  Seriously.  I could get two pairs of pricey jeans for one utility kilt.  Which I would prefer to wear anyway.

So the quest for clothing that doesn't make me twitch continues.  Lane Bryant and Torrid have occasional good finds, but I find myself largely dissatisfied with their selection.  I did recently discover that stores such as Love Culture, Wet Seal, and their ilk have a number of plus sized items on their websites.  If you're willing to sift through the pastel, 70's inspired horrors, you can find some real gems.  Granted, you can't try them on, so get ready to ship back and forth until it fits, but it's a start.  Some of the shirts I love and wear most are actually from Victoria's Secret, of all places.  Their XL is supposedly a 16/18, and if the material has a little stretch, it tends to fit really well.  Also, they have a number of shirts with elbow length sleeves.  You know, for days when the arms feel flabby.  I like that.  It works for me.  Although they recently started making their shirts out of a cheaper, thinner cotton.  That doesn't work for me.

And on that note, my minions, I'm off to clear out my closet again, and attempt to throw out anything I haven't worn in six months.  Well, you know, except for the stuff I'm saving.  For that day when fairies come in the night and give me back the figure I had in high school.  Or something.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Live from Seattle, Letters From Traffic

Good evening, minions!  Tonight, we're gonna talk about music and kick ass.  And I'm all out of ass.

So music being an important aspect of my little existence (and the cornerstone of more than one subculture), it is likely not surprising that I get out to the odd concert when I can.  Sadly, with recent trends in the music industry, it's not as often as I would like.  But we're not here to talk about that!  We're here to talk about Letters From Traffic.
So I only brought my phone.  Sorry.
Saturday night I headed over to Chop Suey in Capitol Hill to see the Band In Seattle concert.  It was my first time in that particular venue, and I will say that it has character.  I am also tempted to say they overcharged for the Malibu & OJ I had, but I also just got back from Colorado, and so I need to readjust to Washington State drinking prices.  But I digress.
In one of the stalls, ladies room, Chop Suey.
I must admit straight out that this is not the type of music I usually go to see.  These days the music I frequent is typically a little more synthesized.  That said, rock can be deeply satisfying.  We were running a little late, so we got there in time to catch the last couple songs of the Nicholas Russel Band's set.  They were pretty good.  I understand they boast a brilliant guitarist who is only 13 years old, but the songs I caught didn't really emphasize that.  The crowd was a little thin when we first arrived (it would more than double before we left), but it was far from empty, and they enjoyed a nice round of applause as they finished their set.

Next up was Gunn and the Damage Done.  Or as I dubbed them, Four Guys Off the Street.  Because that's what they looked like when they took the stage.  Seriously, maybe my standards are off or something, but baseball hat =/= appropriate front man ensemble.  In their defense, they knew their way around their instruments, and played well together.  Competent musicians, certainly, but they didn't really groove with me.  My favorite part of their set was their drummer.  I liked his enthusiasm and energy (even if I suspected he was a little drunk).

And then we had the reason I was there!  I knew of Letters From Traffic because I know their front man, Scott Concinnity.  I actually had the privilege of performing with him once a few years ago - he stepped up for me when my accompaniment left me high and dry.  Sadly, I did not get the chance to work with him again.  All that said, I had never seen his band, and so when it was brought to my attention that they had a show (and a CD release party, no less), I was all for it.  I have not met the other band members, but I have the internet at my fingers, so I can also tell you that they have Dennis Hart on guitar; Chris Couvillion on trumpet and flugel horn; Alex Gee on slide trombone; Bradford King on tenor & alto sax and vocals; Matthew Miller on drums; and Jacob Doss on bass guitar and vocals.

First impressions are important, and I will admit that one of the things I really liked about Letters From Traffic was they looked good taking the stage.  They didn't look like they'd just rolled out of bed five minutes ago, which I appreciate.  I mean, come on, I've seen bands go casual, and that's fine, but only if it looks intentional.  You can't look like you grabbed whatever wasn't stained off the floor. They were also comfortable in it - they had presence.  No awkward posturing or milling uncertainty.

LFT's brand of rock is soulful, bluesy, and animated.  What do I mean by that?  Well, they move with their music, and you will too.  You will doubtless argue that all bands move with their music, and you'll also be completely missing the point.  There are seven men in LFT, and they are into their music in a way I wish more bands were.  Scott took the mic with an impassioned fervor, his soul ringing in his voice.  Dennis and Jacob bent to their guitars like lovers.  Alex, Bradford, and Chris sent brilliant, brassy notes out into the audience and it was ecstatic.  I couldn't see Matt, but I like to believe he was pouring his heart into those drums.  My hips swayed, my feet tapped, my back arched, and for a moment I felt as if the ardor they brought to the stage washed over the rest of us.  Out of all the performances I have ever been to in my just-shy-of 35 years, I have only felt that way two other times.

As previously mentioned, Saturday was also when LFT released their new CD, Icarus Iterations.  I picked up a copy (like you do).  So far, I think my favorite song is Dirty.  Nothing can make you love a band like seeing them live, and I think I love Letters From Traffic now.  They're not my usual cup of tea, but there is definitely a place in my heart (and my hips, apparently) for their sound.

Two more bands followed LFT - The Dolly Rottens and The Bend - but I have to confess I didn't stick around for them.  The Dolly Rottens had taken longer than I liked getting on stage, and having already seen the band I went there to see, I allowed myself to be fickle and went in search of tea and comfortable places to sit.  Which led to leaving the bar, you see.  Anyway, I missed it, but I'm sure they had their own moments of magnificence.  Or not.  The world may never know.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Adventures of the Gray Goth: 2014

We are four days into the new year as I begin this rambling, and I can almost guarantee that we will be five days in by the time I post it.  Not because I will be burning the midnight oil to write it - quite the opposite in fact.  It has been a long day, I am exhausted, and I still have much to do before I can sleep.  Nothing serious, just the small yet necessary things that accumulate during the hours of the day, building in the corners like particularly obstinate dust bunnies.  Things like digging my bed out from beneath the pile of laundry and notions which I kept leaving on it.  Trivial tasks, but not lacking in significance.

I feel a bit odd, my minions.  2013 was a pretty good year for me, overall.  It was not perfect, but nothing is.  However, a lot of good things happened.  It was the first year in our new house, and while that brought its own challenges it also made those challenges worth it.  I love having a home that's mine.  I love feeling like what I do to it matters.  I love being able to paint the walls any color I damn well please.  In addition to the house, Beasty got a promotion this past June that saw him in a less mind-numbing line of work that paid better, so that was also quite good.  Still the same company, but what can you do.

2013 was also a rewarding year as a mother.  We got the not-so-wee demon into Track & Field, and then later Cross Country, and it was very good for him.  It was work, but worth it.  The still-a-bit-wee demon got to see a specialist, and so got the assistance she needed for school, and is now doing so much better than she did last year.  Her first quarter report card almost made me cry, I was so heartened by her progress.

The point I'm making is that I wasn't in a hurry to shove the old year out the door like I have been in the past.  Granted, it's been a few years since I muttered the infamous phrase of "I'm so glad 20-- is over," but 2013 in particular saw many good things.

I think part of my problem is that the last week of 2013 brought news that colors the coming year.  You will have to forgive me, but I'm going to be aggravatingly vague about what the news was.  It is not my story to share.  Like most people, though, I am a character in others' stories, and so the news affects me.  Let us just say that it took a bit of the shine off the new year before it even began.

And so I sit, a bit pensive, very thoughtful, and I consider the year stretching out before me.  It's a bit tarnished, but if the Steampunk fashion movement has taught us anything it is that tarnish can enhance a surface to make it something grander than it was before.  On that note, let's look at resolutions:

The Empress's Resolutions for 2014:

1.  Be a better friend.
I think this is going to be a resolution for the rest of my life.  There is always room for improvement.

2.  Be more intentional about my career.
I've been sitting in a holding pattern that has largely consisted of waiting for life to be more stable.  Now, I haven't just waited - I am in school, and I am the mother of two children, one of whom is autistic.  I'm reasonably busy.  But if I'm going to call myself a writer, I need to start acting like it's my job.  Which means schedules, and due dates, and submitting my work to whomever is accepting as well as a number of people who aren't.

3.  Keep working on being less estranged from my family.
You may also recall this resolution from last year.  I put a bit of work into it, but not as much as I should have.  Time to get back in the saddle and all that.

4. Exercise, dammit!
This isn't even about weight loss.  I mean, yes, I need to lose weight, but this is just about how sitting on your rump all day isn't good for you.  I'm not talking about PX90 or Cross Fit or whatever other suicidal fad is out on the market.  I'm talking about taking walks, buying a bike, taking a class, and just getting myself out of this chair a few days a week.

Happy New Year, my minions.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Adventures of the Gray Goth: Memoirs of a Fat Dancer

Good morning, my minions!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving?  Mine was a little chaotic - I hosted two dinners, because I'm crazy and I have weird, obsessive hostess tendencies.  I was going to post the menu for the second dinner - it was all Polynesian and, if I must say, fairly impressive - but time wasn't with me.  Trust me when I say it was lovely, and aside from learning the hard way that Okinawan sweet potatoes are dryer than regular varieties, a good time was had by all.

However, this is not why we're here today!  We're here because I came across the following picture in my Pinterest feed recently:

I tried to find the original image, and was taken through several Tumblr accounts and a British porn blog, but no luck.  So I cannot credit the original photographer - my apologies.  The image search is not what I wished to discuss.  I wanted to talk about why and how this piece spoke to me.  In order to do that effectively, however, I should give you some background.

I was in my first dance recital when I was four years old.  I have the picture floating around here somewhere - a very small me in a pink leotard with a silver sequin bandoleer sporting fluttering chiffon scarves in a variety of pastel colors.  Since then I was in and out of dance classes for a hefty chunk of my childhood.  My favorite was ballet - I thought ballerinas were so pretty, and so graceful, and I wanted to be on stage in a beautiful, sparkly tutu and do all the things they did.  I took ballet, and later jazz, and while I would often stop for a while (in part because we moved a lot) I would always go back.  It continued like this until my freshman year of high school.

We had recently moved to Stow, OH and as part of the on coming holiday festivities we went and saw "The Nutcracker" at The Ballet Theatre of Ohio.  I adore "The Nutcracker" (as I believe I've said before, but it bears repeating), and fell in love with it again at that performance.  I was electrified to learn that the studio which performed the ballet was nearby, and there was much cajoling for classes.  My mother, being a good mom who wanted her children to follow their interests, signed me up.

All went well, until it came time to audition for the next production of "The Nutcracker".  When I went to secure an audition slot, I was taken aside by Madame Kristen and informed that there wasn't much point in auditioning.  Confused, I asked her why, and she told me that I wouldn't fit the costumes.  They used the same ones every year, you see, and little size 12/14 (at the time) me wouldn't be able to squeeze in.  Madame Kristen proceeded to tell me that most of the girls had a 19 inch waist, and the only outfit she thought I might have a chance of fitting was the maid from the opening scenes.  Yet even that was doubtful.

Having moved from confused to more than a little hurt, I went home.  I think I went to class once or twice after that, and then never went back.  I have given a lot of bullshit excuses for why I left ballet over the years, my favorite one being that I wasn't enough of a masochist to do that to my feet, but the truth is I left ballet because at 14 I was told I was too fat to be in "The Nutcracker".

I didn't dance for years.  Then, at age 24, after two children and a lot of life, I went back into the studio.  Pikes Peak Community College had a dance program, and the teacher Danika was smiling, encouraging, and never once said I shouldn't be there.  I did modern, and very much enjoyed my return to that fluidity of movement.  I thought about ballet, but didn't do it.  Even still, dance did wonders for me - I felt better, I started losing the weight I'd gained from having kids without even really trying, and my confidence (which had been shattered by a broken marriage and a number of life mistakes) began to inch its way back up.  I also took belly dance, which was fun and felt very natural to me on a number of levels, though it wasn't as satisfying as modern.

Two years after my return to dance, I dislocated my left knee.  I spent a year or more needing a cane to walk anywhere.  Trips to the mall or grocery store required a wheel chair or one of those scooters.  I did not have insurance.  An X-ray was taken, but never an MRI, and there was no physical therapy.  There was certainly no more dancing.  Almost ten years later, the knee still gives me trouble, but I do what I can.  I can't run, and I certainly am not capable of the movements required to get back into modern or ballet, but I have taken a couple belly dance classes, and that at least is something.  It also doesn't help that I've regained the weight I lost (plus a little extra, ain't that always the way?), which is hard on my knee.  Yet I also can't manage the sustained movement for aerobic exercise to lose said weight.  It's cyclic and frustrating.

So, background out of the way, let's go back to the picture.  I was just stopped by that image, of a heavier woman en pointe, all done up in an artistic shot.  If you really look at the image you can see she's got some cellulite, she's not at all what a ballet academy would consider ideal, but I bet she doesn't care.  She's up there anyway, going "Damn right, I'm sexy", and I know from experience that holding your leg like that long enough for a photographer to get a good shot takes strength and determination.  She is what 14-year-old me needed to see, but sadly didn't.  But maybe 34-year-old me can take something from this anyway.

I don't know if I'll ever dance again.  I can almost guarantee I would need surgery to repair my knee, and I would certainly need to lose a fair bit of weight so as to not hamper the healing process.  I have medical insurance now, but it's not very good, and certainly won't cover something like knee surgery without meeting the rather high deductible.  I imagine I'll continue to look for a belly dance class that I like (not that I don't like the one I took, it's just a bit of a drive), and that will be a good way to get some exercise, but the way ballet and modern feel cannot be matched by ATS.  And it certainly doesn't build muscle the way other dance styles do.

So I don't know if I"ll ever be the girl in the picture above.  But I could be.  And for some reason, that makes me smile a little.  It reassures me in a manner I hadn't realized I needed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Adventures of the Gray Goth: Being Mom

Good evening, my minions.  I actually had a humorous bit about the Fall Sports Banquet that I had been wrapping up to post tonight, but things change.  I'll still post the other bit - it's pretty funny, and gives a nice example of how I tend to interact with other parents.  However, I need to write about something else first.

For those who haven't been paying attention, I have kids.  Two of them.  They are beautiful and precious and all the things you expect a mother to say about her kids.  Except mine really are.  I could write about them for hours, until the hours turned into days.  Tonight, though, I specifically want to talk about my son.  Not that I don't have anything to say about my daughter - she's wonderful, and infuriating, and sprinting towards puberty like it's an Olympic event - but tonight it's the boy's turn.

If my daughter is the shining sun of our family, then my son is the North Star.  Ever-fixed, easily outshone by his sister, but you will always find yourself looking to him.  He loves chocolate, Legos, pizza, and dogs; if Beasty had the sense and patience to join forces with him, they'd probably punch a hole in my "no pets" policy pretty quickly.  He is also autistic.  He's about mid-range on the autism spectrum - limited communication and comprehension, mild self-stimming, but very social and loves people.  I mean he really loves people.  He's physically affectionate, he adores parties, and nothing makes him happier than having all of his important people together in one room.  Well, except maybe Legos.

He is thirteen years old, turning fourteen in January, and already 5'11".  Possibly taller at this point, he hasn't been measured in a bit.  It's causing some small problems - mostly from people expecting the behavior of an older child from him, but also him not understanding how his size and the strength that comes with it changes interactions.  He really likes younger children - after all, they'll play tag and chase with him - but I see other parents get nervous when he tries to interact with their much smaller (and they're presuming much younger) kid.  He also has boundary issues.  As in he doesn't understand them.  Personal space is a foreign concept to my son.

We had a boundary issue tonight.  My daughter is twelve going on OMGTEENAGER, and is wanting more privacy than she ever has before.  My son wanted to play with her, specifically with a bouncy ball she had, and so he was looming outside her closed door waiting for her to let him in or give him the ball.  She shouted for him to stop "stalking" her, and I told him to just leave her alone.  It isn't the first time we've directed him to back off when she needed space, though her reaction was perhaps a bit dramatic.  He went into his own room, and I stopped worrying about it.

A half hour later, I came around to tell everyone to get their pajamas on.  My son was in his room still, with a blanket over his head, and I figured he was just being quirky so I turned on his space heater (the bedrooms in our house don't heat well) and told him to get his pjs on.  That was when I heard the sniffling.  I paused, and gently pulled the blanket off of his head, asking what was wrong.  He had taken his glasses off, so it was easy to see that his eyes were shiny with tears yet unshed.  I asked again, and sat down next to him.  At which point he turned to me and wrapped his arms around me before proceeding to sob into my shoulder.

I held my son and rubbed his back and asked him again what was wrong, not understanding what could have moved him to this.

"I a bad guy," he finally said between choked sobs.

I said no, he wasn't a bad guy.  Assuming this had something to do with the earlier exchange, I tried to explain that his sister just wanted to be left alone sometimes.

"No, I am.  I a bad guy," he repeated, still crying hard against me, and clinging to me in a manner that has become increasingly more rare as he's gotten older.  At this point his sobs had attracted his sister's attention, who left her room to satisfy her curiosity.  I asked her what she had said to him, thinking there must have been more to it, but she just repeated the exchange I had overheard earlier.  Through all this my son just keeps crying, holding on to me as if for his life, as I rock him and rub his back and continue to tell him he's not a bad guy.  My son understands what bad guys are, and it has crushed his soul to think he might be one.

After another minute (and a quick head jerk from me), my daughter stopped standing awkwardly in the doorway and sat down next to us.  She hugged her brother and repeated that he wasn't a bad guy.  We both held him, and the crying slowly stopped.  I told him how sweet he was, how kind and thoughtful, and that he was a good boy; he just needed to listen when people wanted to be left alone.  Once the crying had become little sniffles, his sister started tickling him, and the moment had officially passed.

Now everyone is in bed, and I'm sitting at the computer, and now I'm crying.  Because my heart broke under the weight of his sorrow, and because I have no idea how to keep it from happening again.  I do not know how to explain to him that his sister is probably going to get worse before she gets better - it's just a part of growing up.  I've tried to explain that the looming thing is annoying/creepy, but the behavior has persisted despite my best efforts.  I don't know how to explain that life is going to be eternally unfair to him, even more so than the average person, and that we'll just have to keep doing our best.

But I can tell him that I love him, and I know he understands.  He understands that I love him, and his sister loves him, and Beasty loves him (and his grandmother, and grandfather, and a great many other people).  He may not know the depth of my commitment to him, or how hard I will fight for him, but he knows that I love him.  And maybe that will make it okay when all my explaining cannot.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crushed by Pumpkins

It is fall, my minions!  I'm sure you've noticed this already, provided you live in the Northern Hemisphere and in an area where the seasons actually change.  I know, I know, the first day of fall was close to a month ago, but I've been busy.  There are various different signs that autumn has arrived which appeal to us more or less depending on our area and interest.  School starts, football is rampant, the leaves are changing, stores are preempting all over holidays by putting out their Christmas displays, that sort of thing.  And, of course, from coffee shops to candle stores, we have pumpkin EVERYTHING.

I'll admit, I like pumpkin.  A lot.  Not just in pie.  I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, my friend Eve's pumpkin soup (which is not sweet at all and very tasty), and I'm a pretty big fan of pumpkin candles.  Also, I confess that autumn does not truly begin for me until I have my hands on a non-fat, no water, Pumpkin Spice Chai (3/1 on the Chai to Pumpkin Spice ratio, with sprinkles, but no whip) from Starbucks.

Special thanks to the Downtown Edmonds Starbucks.
I love you guys.

That said, I think we may be over doing it just a bit.  And the number of pumpkin-y products seems to be growing with every year.  In fact, just last week USA Today was remarking on the rise of pumpkin-related sales, noting that breakfast foods have been seeing a big increase.  To demonstrate my point, I'm going to subject you to my personal pumpkin run-down.  As of today, I have had:
  • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice syrup - Obviously I'm a fan, but it's easy to use too much of it.
  • Pumpkin Spice M&M's - A vile mistake if ever there was one.
  • Pumpkin Cereal Bars - These were a nice idea, but they don't really taste like pumpkin.
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - Quite tasty.  Go have one.
  • Pumpkin Scones - Also delicious.
  • Pumpkin Cookies - Best if moist, and if not moist you made them wrong because there's PUMPKIN IN IT for pity's sake.
  • Instant Pumpkin Spice Chai - This was disappointing, I am sad to admit.  While it tasted all right, the smell was off putting.  Too much anise, maybe?
  • Pumpkin Spice Truffles - I see chocolate and pumpkin in the same light I see chocolate and bacon.  Both are delicious, but if you combine them their powers of deliciousness cancel each other out.  I had both dark and milk chocolate truffles, and while I felt the milk chocolate better balanced the heavy, rich intensity of the filling, I'm not going to buy them ever again.
  • Pumpkin Pie Bagel - Oddly heavy and dry for something that should contain a moist, pulpy squash.
  • Pumpkin Yogurt - This failed on so, so many levels.
And that's where we're at just as of mid-October.  Pumpkin-product season isn't over until at least mid-December, and even then it will linger through the winter holidays.  I am sure I will eat and encounter many more pumpkin-y things.  I'm sure I will regret about a quarter of them.  And then, at the end of the winter holiday season, when I cannot bear the thought of having one more thing with pumpkin in it, they'll take all the products away until we're all just rabid to have them back.  At about mid-September.  Like they do every year.