So here I am again with a million things on my mind.
1. The kids are better. So is the dog. Three of the six of our family were sick over the last few weeks. Partway through, I realized my anxiety was rooted in a thought: if I can't figure out what's wrong/if an illness lasts more than a few days, it must be something concerning. Once I decided that wasn't necessarily true, I relaxed significantly. It made me remember how much our thinking affects our experiences.
2. Halloween approacheth. We may be the least ready we've ever been. My daughter got her costume -- a cute Cookie Monster -- in mid-September, but Son #1 is not going out for the first time ever and Son #2 says it's all about the candy this year so he plans to throw something together at the last minute. How times have changed since the year I made him a giant spider costume or even last year when he was a hippy with an awesome Afro. As for me, I generally figure out something fun and simple -- a wig, a mask, false eyelashes, a full Sarah Palin costume -- to accompany the kids with. This year, I haven't found something that tickles my fancy. I had considered a Storm-from-the-X-Men costume, until I found out that Storm is always a black woman. (I'd love to be able to control the weather!) My latest thought is that I will make myself cat ears and will bring the dog with me -- and we will be a cat and a dog who get along. Pathetic, I know. We've abandoned thoughts of decorating the dog.
3. Speaking of Halloween, we visited Goderich last weekend for the first time since the tornado two months ago. What devastation. So many venerable old houses looked like they had war wounds -- mostly boarded-up windows that looked like patched eyes. It's the Square that is completely devastated though and all the shops around it that look like a war zone. It was more cleaned up than people had led me to believe it was -- and the clean-up continued even on a Sunday afternoon -- but what struck me was that there was far too much light. Which means far too few trees. But, the spirit of this town has been strong, and so too, apparently, is their Halloween spirit. I wished I had my camera for the one house on the highway that had Gone All Out for Halloween. Their porch in particular caught my eye: it was decorated with strung up, bloodied Cabbage Patch kids. If we lived in that town, I'm pretty sure we'd skip that house on our trick-or-treating route.
4. In a freelance world that is nearly always feast or famine, I need to report that I have a Just Right amount of work this fall. I'm really grateful for that. It's good, interesting work and it keeps me busy but not stressed out.
5. When things were really crazy this spring, I told Dave I needed a new outlet and that I was going to become a baseball fan. And then I promptly forgot about the idea. Until the World Series began. I've been obsessed with the team with the nice little red birds on their chests. Who kept me up until the wee smalls last night watching them come back from behind -- five times.
6. I learned a new word last week in the weirdest way. The Internets told me that Justin Bieber had released a lovely new Christmas song. I listened to it and was charmed, but there was one word I couldn't quite understand. Here it is in context: "Imma be under the mistletoe with you, shawty, with you." Imma, I got. Actually as much as it's technically an abuse of the English language, I really like the syncopation of "Imma be under the mistletoe." It was 'shawty' that threw me. My first thought was that it was a girl's name but then I thought of all the young girls who would be disappointed by not being able to see themselves in the song. It had to be something more. I went to the trusty (and dreadfully rude) Urban Dictionary to look it up. Lo and behold, shawty derives from shorty and is apparently a term of affection a guy uses with a girl. Honestly I was amazed. (Remember though that I was the last person to find out that hosiery was out of fashion.) I checked in with my resident teen and he knew how to use shawty in a sentence.
7. Our leaves are the very last to fall in our neighbourhood. Most of them are still green. We have four massive maple trees in our front yard. The city promises to come by once to suck up raked leaves at the curb. They came by earlier this week, when we had about seven leaves in trhe gutter. Now the perennial race is on: will our leaves fall before the city finishes their sucking? will the snow fall before the leaves fall? will the city have time to make a second pass at our street? will we have to resort to filling hundreds of bags? Stay tuned.
8. I've written about this before but I'm starting to like this time of year. Not for one moment do I like short days, but I like bare branches and golden-leaved trees. There's something noble in the stark beauty of this season. I like the silhouettes of leafless trees against brilliant early sunsets.
9. I've been talking with a newlywed friend lately about where we get our pictures and expectations of marriage. I know that, as a writer, there needs to a plot arc and compelling characters. I know that I want to live and love with passion. At the same time, aren't we all just amateurs doing our best to be kind and honest with one another? And don't the glamourous images we get from magazines only make us discontented and filled with unrealistic expectations, even in the face of what is a pretty great life?
How about you? What's on your mind these days?