pumpkinday_03.jpg October Sundays are so beautiful. My favorites, in fact. Jon and I have been planning for today for a long time. It's a tradition of ours to drive out to Half Moon Bay to pick out our pumpkins. There's a pumpkin patch on the way into town, a darling little one called Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm. We go there every year and find the perfect pumpkins, eat candy corn, pet the fuzzy farm animals... get ready for the big day! Halloween!

I'm sure I'll write more about October and Halloween this month. For now I'm just going to talk about today. Today was Pumpkin Day 2005.

pumpkinday_05.jpg We got a late start this morning, leaving the house around noon. Lunch was at Red Robin (again, yummy fries!). Traffic was horrible! Apparently everyone was out to get their pumpkins... their October fun. So we detoured.

It was a beautiful day at the beach. We kicked off our shoes and jogged in the sand, played in the ocean, took lots and lots of pictures. The warm October sunshine washed over us, we blinked into the glint of the sun off the water. After forty-five minutes of winding through the oak-covered hills of the California coast, the splash of icy water on our bare feet was refreshing. I dug my toes into the wet sand, relishing the gritty softness on my skin.

pumpkinday_06.jpg Jon's love of photography is always encouraged by our day trips to lovely, local locations. Today I saw him kneeling in the sand, twisting the lens to get focus and contrast perfect. He snapped shots of seagulls posturing and crying in mid-air, of the cliffs fading into mist at the horizon, of me.

And then it was time for the pumpkins!

We braved the traffic a little longer and smiled at one another when the pumpkin farm came into view.

pumpkinday_02.jpg When I was little girl my parents took me there. We have some great pictures of me playing a water-balloon game with my dad, cradling a pumpkin I'd chosen (easily weighing as much as my 3-year-old body) with my mom, and pointing at the "Aunt Audrey's Pie Shoppe" sign hanging above the snack shack near the gift pavillion. That sign is still there, which is part of the reason we go back now. Jon is helping me keep this October tradition alive.

As Jon played Ansel Adams all around me, I was on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin. Too small, too lumpy, too yellow, too tall, too flat, too icky, too big... OOOOOH! I found it in the middle of the patch, between thousands of other mediocre pumpkins (that's where you should look, because other, lazier, distracted pumpkin-pickers tend to stay on the edges). My selection was a perfectly round, bright orange pumpkin with an adequate stem handle and enough of a face for a terrific jack-o-lantern.

Jon annexed my pumpkin.

Or, he attemped a hostile takeover. But no one should ever underestimate the seriousness with which I take the choosing of my pumpkin. Once a year, folks. That's all I get. Jon backed off and found a pumpkin of his own. His was too bulbous for me, onion-shaped. But my Jonathan is creative. His jack-o-lantern will surely be unique (no pressure).

pumpkinday_01.jpg After we'd purchased our lucky pumpkins, we picked up some candy corn for me (Jon hates them... ALL MINE!). Yummy. Inside the store we enjoyed the displays of Halloween figurines, quilts, autumn leaf wreaths and garlands. Everything about this holiday, this season, I love.

We're home, ending the second gorgeous October Sunday of this year, looking forward to the next one (when I will hopefully be recuperating from Half Dome 3). Now we're two pumpkins richer and only 22 days from Halloween! BOO!

By the way, all the great pix we took today have already been posted in our Gallery .