Saturday 4 November 2023

October in the rear view mirror

My one wish for November (so far) is that it is quiet and boring.

October was not boring. The notable events:

Last summer AJ expressed a wish for a combined Halloween / birthday party. She felt very passionately about this so we agreed to embrace the project. It finally came to fruition the last weekend in October. We had Gothic lace, a big hairy spider with a strong resemblance to Dani, mini pumpkin painting, and an escape room in the basement with puzzles designed by Mr. Turtle.

Spiderweb lace:

How things looked before guests arrived:

How things looked after the party:

It was a great success. AJ said it was her best birthday ever and her friends enjoyed all the activities. The kids were great at socializing and nobody was left out. Some new friendships even appeared to form between guests. Having hosted parties at other locations and parties at home, I have to say there is something more friendly about home parties. You share something of yourself with your guests when they come to your home that you don’t share in other places. It was also exhausting. I’m not sure exactly when we will finish cleaning up, but maybe next week when we have some extra days off.

Also at the end of October: the new car was delivered. In the big picture of things, of course I was happy we could buy a new, reliable car, as my second hand 2006 car was coming apart bit by bit.  But I still wished I could have become the old lady driving her 40 year old car. I’m just not excited about change and leaving my comfort zone when it comes to cars.

But, though the first few drives were tense, I am (fingers crossed) adjusting to the new vehicle (a small SUV) and even liking it. It’s a cyborg car, which I’m not used to, but all the new features don’t seem too bad. I like the funny dramatic music it plays at the beginning and end of every drive. The lane assist and blind spot alarms make me feel like I’m driving with a nervous robot, but I’m a nervous person so we get along. My car is now in a relationship with my smartphone, which I don’t really see the point of, but humans are not consulted about these things. The most amusing feature is the  dashboard notification “The leading vehicle is driving away” which pops up if I don’t accelerate within a couple of seconds of the car in front. I laugh but we all know why this feature was invented, although I don’t text and drive.

Other events:
  • AJ passed another swim level
  • Dance and music classes continued. Girls appear to be enjoying themselves and so am I, mostly.  So far I’ve only missed 2 stepdance classes due to my illness or other people’s. I have a good time at my classes once I get there. But I sometimes dread the commuting.
  • At school, things have settled into a routine and the start-up work is completed. I’m very happy with my team and we are very organized and responsive to our group of learners. Students and teachers are learning and enjoying themselves, most of the time. What a difference from last year, when I had completely given up on collaboration and was reduced to asking for a work divorce. It makes a huge difference when the right people are in the right jobs.
  • The aches and pains I had during the summer finally seem to have gone away, and I feel pretty good in my body. Yoga might have helped. Exceptions: another bout of bronchitis, which has become annoyingly common (last one was beginning of the summer). Also, the darkening days of November make me want to find a warm hole to crawl into with a pile of snacks and just sleep.
  • Books/reading: I’m re-reading and enjoying Jennifer Homans’ history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels. This had to have been a very challenging project for her as it's not like there are recordings of ballets from centuries past, so she has to do a sort of combined social/political/artistic history and look at many facets of life and culture. But as a lifelong amateur dancer I relate to her writing: could easily be a whole other blog entry.
  • Media: I read several bloggers regularly, the most interesting of which avoid easy categorization. While not a blog, this recent article is an engaging analysis of the sort of topics that I typically read about, and goes some way toward explaining decisions I make in my own and my family's life. That is, in so far as such things are explainable (I think one should never over-estimate one's own or other people's power to explain anything).
  •  I’m also listening to my regular podcasts, but my most regular listening these days is the verse by verse reading of the Bible on The Whole Counsel of God. I have not had much success reading the Bible on my own but I really like the reading and commentary together in Fr. De Young’s enthusiastic, nerdy style.
  • It snowed a couple weeks ago and my streak of  getting the kids to school on time was broken. I will try to get back on top of it next week; between the party and the new car and coping with each day I had no extra energy and I was not giving up my ten minutes on the couch with a cup of coffee for love or money.
So, basically, it’s all good, but I’m going to aim to be under scheduled most weekends in November. Less plans, more spontaneity, just less in general. If that continues into December, I think I’m good with that too.


  1. What an epic party! I LOVE the spider lace. So cool. I also love the transparent "all set up" and then "pretty much destroyed" after photos... :)

    I'm glad you're having a better school year. It is terrible when there's people in the wrong roles and kids suffer (and adults too). I'm glad you've got a great team now!

    1. And I love all the beeps and boops in my new "cyborg car" (love that!)! I feel like the lane alerts are so helpful for me as I get lost in my thoughts and the boop boop boop keeps me pretty much on target. :) Far less accidental curbing, I'm embarrassed to admit.

    2. "It is terrible when there's people in the wrong roles and kids suffer (and adults too)." Gosh, you can say that again. Yes, I am extremely grateful for where I am now, and I hope it continues (though I know nothing is forever, either).

      I admit it's part of my "stance" on life to be a bit suspicious of AI and cyborg technology, but on the other I get older and more preoccupied and (probably) lose a few more brain cells I have to admit the idea of a little technological augmentation doesn't sound too bad. Plus driving is not one of my top 100 favourite things to do so a little help is not unwelcome. Still I wonder if and when and how all that data the car is (potentially) collecting about my driving is going to get used.