But now it's fall, and today I had a lot of leaves to rake into piles. I didn't get around to putting them into the wheelie bins, but the feral cats will be pleased at that. They enjoy jumping onto the heaps, and sometimes make little napping nests in them.
Tonight the air is redolent of someone's dinner. It reminds me of the autumn dusk in the neighborhood I grew up in, when the air was always scented with cooking smells from the houses that were more closely packed (and more intensively occupied) than are the houses in this neighborhood. For an hour or so each evening there would be the smell of meat loaf, hash, fried chicken, hamburger, macaroni and cheese, and the other dishes favored by the low and moderate income working class that occupied the area.
The place then had little ethnic diversity, so the smells were overwhelmingly American, though a couple of houses emitted the aromas of chiles, frijoles refritos, and fresh tortillas, and a couple of others produced the Garlic and oregano-heavy scent of Italian cooking. Years later the area became saturated with the aromas of Asia, also often pungent with garlic, but now I'm once again in a place that smells typically Anglo-American. I think what I'm smelling tonight is some sort of meat loaf or hash. Despite the childhood nostalgia the smell of my current neighbor's dinner evokes, I find that I miss the exotic scents of Los Angeles in my later years there.
I also miss the food itself. The handful of mediocre ethnic restaurants with which this town is endowed can't compare with the places I used to go in Southern California. I honestly think I'd give up a month's worth of English people killing one another on PBS for a plate of lasagna from Angelo's in Alhambra, or a horneado burrito from Campos' in Santa Monica, or an assortment of Cantonese delicacies form Nam's in San Gabriel, and I don't even like to think about my loss of the varied (and very economical) Japanese dishes on the lunch menu at Masa in Pasadena. Ah, well those places are probably all gone now anyway and I'd have to track down a whole new assortment of restaurants were I to return to Los Angeles. I'm sure they'd be better than what I can get here, though.
Speaking of English people killing one another on PBS, they will be doing so at nine o'clock tonight. I should get started on my own dinner so I'll be ready to watch it. I've got a frozen Caribbean entrée tonight. It's a poor substitute for the real thing, but at least it's easy, and it will smell good. The neighborhood air could use a bit of livening up.