I’ve given up being a Texas apologist, but there are a few things that this state gets right, like barbecue, Tex-Mex, and Shiner Bock.
One thing Texas does not do, is seasons. I’ve put up Christmas lights in shorts and a tank top, and I maybe wear my winter coat a dozen days a year, and those are non-consecutive.
But we do have October. Here are some of the things I honestly love about the tenth month of the year:
If the first cool morning brings a promise of fall weather, October fulfills it. Enjoying my morning coffee outside when the humidity is low and the temperature hovers around 65 degrees is a rare and special pleasure.
Spring has bluebonnets, which are nice, but it also has tornados, which are not.
By “Halloween,” I mean the commercialized scary/funny holiday. Decorated houses, candy, festivals, and terrifying creatures that don’t include Santa Claus. I love spooky movies (ghosty ones, not so much the stabby ones). And scaring ourselves for fun makes a nice change from, you know, all the other stuff to worry about.
Also, there are mini candy bars. And everyone knows minimizing things makes them more delicious.
If you don’t know, Oktoberfest is kind of like St. Patrick’s Day— a celebration of heritage (in this case German) used by guys named something like Chad or as an excuse to drink to excess. (See also, Cinco de Mayo.) And while I do love some Shiner beer, I also love food.
So, why are there so many Oktoberfests in Texas? Americans weren’t the only ahem immigrants ahem who came here when this was a colony of Spain and then Mexico—there were Irish, German, Czech, Polish… That’s why San Antonio dyes the river green on St. Patrick’s day, why West, Texas has the best kolaches, and why Tejano music has a polka beat.
And if you want to know the right ice cream pairing to go with your beer, the Ben & Jerry’s website has got you covered. Which, speaking of…
Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Look, I know I roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of Pumpkin Spice everything. After working at Starbucks, if I never see another pumpkin spice latte, it will be two soon.
But as soon as this shows up in the freezer section, I know that fall has truly arrived. The world keeps turning. Sunrise, sunset.
Not an ice cream fan? How about Pumpkin Tacos? (Seriously!)
The Sirens Conference
I learned about the Siren’s Conference when I was invited as a keynote speaker. (The theme that year was “Hauntings.”) I’ve attended every year since. I’ll be there this October 21-24, despite the fact that the DFW Writers’ Conference is happening (online) the same weekend.
The official description of the Sirens Conference goes like this:
We are dedicated to discussing and celebrating the remarkable work of women, nonbinary, and transgender people in fantasy literature and other speculative spaces.
We are as smart as a scholarly conference, as passionate as a fan convention, and as ambitious as a networking weekend, with just a bit of the respite of a personal retreat.
It does feel part retreat, a little bit summer camp, a smidge college, mixed with a con, but minus that guy on every panel who thinks good SF died with Robert Heinlein.
The presentations range from deep to insightful to inspiring to fun. There’s always some idea I end up looking at in a different way. Most of all, I’ve made friends who feel like family. I know that sounds hokey, but people come back every year for a reason.
This year’s theme is “Villains,” but everything about next year is still a closed guarded secret and stays that way until the big reveal on Sunday morning at the conference breakfast.
*sigh* I thought I’d get through item five without mentioning food, but I blew it with the mention of breakfast. I think my subconscious is telling me I need to eat something.
Do you have a favorite thing about October or about fall? An event or activity that you look forward to every year? A delicious recipe to share now that I’ve made you all hungry with talk of pretzels and bratwurst and pumpkin cheesecake? Leave ‘em in the comments, and if I try any of your suggestions, I’ll be sure to take pictures for us to laugh at later.