It has been a week of firsts.

I’ve had it in my mind to make pumpkin bread for the longest time. Not until I had all my ingredients and reading through different recipes and comments, did I think to myself: what better time to bake pumpkin bread than the weeks leading up to Autumn.

I decided to double the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, since it seemed a waste to bake one loaf for an hour. I also had to buy muffin tins.

The aroma of warm pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon filled the house. Autumn scents on a hot summer day mingled with the warm breeze pushing through our open windows.

I think the bread was successful. It tasted delicious, but when I packed the slices in a plastic container, it began to sweat and get sticky. Next time, I may need to bake it an extra 5 minutes and keep it unsliced in its pan with a towel over the top.

On Tuesday, I made meatloaf. I had always loved it when my step-father made meatloaf with roasted potatoes. This was my first time making it. I laughed at myself as I molded the loaf in the roasting pan, realizing that these two first-time cooking experiences, in our new home, were loaves. Was it a coincidence? Was there some subconscious activity at play here? I surrounded the meatloaf with small red potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and carrots.

I also had my first experience pulling weeds. I’m sure I’ve pulled a weed or two here and there, but I haven’t had a backyard since my childhood home. It’s a yard with dried grass that looks like straw, dried dirt, rocks, leaves scattered here and there, two trees, and small patches of green that I cannot tell yet if they are weeds or ground cover. The yard is peaceful to me. It has potential. I have ideas, but I have to take it slow. Grass is not an option, with the cost of water, this being a rental, and being conscious of our budget, I have to be realistic. I bought three potted plants. The first flowering plant that I knew I would buy first was a geranium because geraniums remind me of my grandmother. We will get a piece of cactus and grow it in a section of the yard. I’ve checked out several books from the library to get ideas on low-water gardening. One that has potential is The Low-Water No-Water Garden: Gardening for Drought and Heat the Mediterranean Way. So many wonderful ideas!

I’ve always loved succulents and I think they will do perfectly once I figure out where they might go.

It’s a wonderful realization and mind-opening experience when you can come to something with fresh eyes and I’m glad to have that opportunity. On car rides or walking, I always admire gardens, but now I’m looking at the gardens I pass with a new lens, with a focused lens. It reminds me of when I’ve taken art classes–coming away with a heightened perspective on how to view the world.

To firsts, new experiences, memories, change and being aware of the many lenses that either we choose or that choose us.