Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Define "Work"

My husband came home from work tonight (which caught me off guard actually - he's been forced to work so many overtimes lately that I forgot that he could come home on the same day he left for work) and asked "What did you do today?" Not in a accusational way, not in a checking up on me to see if I was useful way. Heavens, if my hubby actually requested that sort of daily commitment from me, he'd have left me years ago.

But even though he meant it in a purely positive, "how was your day honey" sort of way, the interesting thing was that after a second or two while I attempted a quick mental retrieval of the requested info, and finding I couldn't come up with much of a physical list, I felt defensive. I thought of a few things I "did" today - I had done some required shopping. I'd helped our homeschooling son complete his schoolwork, I'd had a long phone chat with our daughter (falls under the category or work, subcategory of parenting), and I'd taken the dog outside to pee and poop about a half dozen times (which unfortunately didn't coincide 100% with her actual need to do those two activities). Hmmmm, that sure didn't sound like a day's worth of work!

Until hubby had asked me that question though, I'd felt really happy with my day. I'd felt incredibly productive. Because although the aforementioned tasks don't appear to be seriously taxing on someone's time and energy, the most of the work I'd done had been done inside my head. There was no freshly stocked refrigerator to show for it. No piles of fresh laundry to admire. My main accomplishments for the day were invisible ones.

You see, I'd spent the day fighting a battle of doom, despair, justification, procrastination, rationalization, and a whole bunch of other "-ations" too, which I'm too tired to think of write now. Ha. That's a good one. I meant to say "right" now. But it all has to do with writing, or not writing, but the word "write" was one of the major generals on the mental field of battle today, so it's funny. It's after midnight as I write this, and so lots of things that aren't funny during the day are utterly hysterical during the dark of night. And even if you aren't reading this until later, when the sun might possibly be up wherever you're at, it counts more when I wrote it then when you read it. So, don't try to figure it out. Trust me, it's funny. Just go ahead and laugh.

Anyway, back to my general theme, today (or, since it's after midnight, technically I mean yesterday) was all about trying to convince myself to give up/don't give up this whole nanowrimo business. It felt like being a multiple personality. Give it up, it's hopeless! If you give up now, you'll never be able to face yourself come December! What, are you crazy!? You can't write a novel in November! November is a time to clean house and bake pies and turkey and prepare your home to be warm and inviting for your children! You could get kicked out of SMUG - Selfless Mothers United Guild! So, you're gonna spend an entire friggin' month cleaning and cooking so that the family can sit mess it all up and eat it all up in less then 48 hours?! You're a total wimp! Your story is garbage! Your characters are completely faceless! Your plot is so thin even a toddler could figure it all out in the first chapter! Hey, uhm, you're a stinky poo poo face! Phbbbt! Oh just go ahead and quit! You know you're gonna eventually. Get it over with. Then you can't possible fail! Then you can stop stressing. Yeah, that's right! Go ahead and fail before you even tried! I don't want to go the dentist tomorrow! Neither do I!

Well, hey, at least they agreed on something!

But what my hubby didn't know, and I couldn't explain to him in a way that sounded like it could take all day to accomplish, was I WON my battle. This is even harder to explain when I think about the fact that I just told you that I was fighting MYSELF, so if I won then didn't the part of me that I won against be a part of me that LOST and so did I really win or was it just a draw? Too confusing. The important point in all this is simply that I felt good about how I fought my way through all that to and fro mental awe and shock crapola and came out feeling like I'd kicked my own butt.

The analogy still has some serious flaws, doesn't it?

But back to the important part of that important point I'm trying to make. The "I felt good" part of it. And that there was a whole bunch of what felt like hard work preceding getting to that ephiphany. Maybe not a real authentic ephiphany. But at least it's a real authentic naugahyde.... nagahyde.... nauguhyde.... IMITATION LEATHER ephiphany.

Even though I can't explain it very well, at least I know I've had a very productive day. I just wish it generated some mountainous stacks of fluffy, clean laundry piled about to prove it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why is it that......?

.... no matter how many times you vacuum and sweep, no matterly how thoroughly you clean, the next time you move the couch or sweep under the rug, you find ANOTHER of those metal hooks that one uses to hang holiday decorations on the tree? It's like there's an infinite number of lost decoration hooks and when you pick one up, another one pops out of a small wrinkle in reality and replaces it. It can be March, July, Sept, even November. I've found two of them just this week while rearranging and shifting decorations and furniture.

There are lots of things in the universe like that of course. Some of the more common ones are:

Why is it that... no matter which lane you pick (at the market or on the freeway), it will always move the slowest?

Why is it that.... your mother always calls when you're just about to head out the door and your kids always wait to call until your favorite t.v. show begins?

Why is it that.... if your cat has the choice of yakking on the floor or the rug, they always choose the rug?

Why is it that.....the first pancake never turns out edible?

So, what other "why is it that..." can you all think of?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I've been challenged to a Tri-Meme

Apparently a "Meme" is the name of all those silly questionaires that float about the cyber-verse. The hi-tech version of driving along on a long highway with your friends or kids and asking each other questions like "If you had a million dollars... If you could only have three wishes..... If you could meet anyone that's ever lived...... If you had to only wear two colors for the rest of your life....." and so on. So, always up for a challenge and a good procrastination task (I have OTHER things I should be doing), here are my answers, to the best of my ability, which is currently caffeine free, so we'll see what I come up with.


Three screen names that you'íve had:
Originally I just used the name of my birth certificate, Linda. Lately I've gone by my "online" name, although it's developed into simply my "other" name as I use it offline as well, Laume. I don't think I've gone by anything else. I guess my Yahoo name is Uppitymom, that might count as a screen name. And then there's my e-mail "name", Granny Weatherwax.

Three things you like about yourself:
I'm funny, kind, and optimistic. And smart. Geeze, anyone who knows me knows I can't follow rules, like having to list THREE things.

Three things you don't like about yourself:
I have a tendency to start things but not finish them. I can be impatient and/or impulsive (comes from having my moon in Aries methinks). I'm a bit of a clutterbug.

Three parts of your heritage:
Lithuanian (1/2), Irish (1/4), French (1/8)

Three things that scare you:
The current federal administration, something bad happening to someone I love, an asteroid wiping out our planet (my husband gave me that particularly phobia - THANK YOU - NOT!) Okay, so maybe number three would be having to work at some stupid job like Walmart greeter or a file clerk at the county office or something BORING like that.

Three of your everyday essentials:
Coffee or tea, the internet, telling my family I love them

Three things you are wearing right now:
A long-sleeved floral tee with beads and sequins on it (Yes Deb, just like yours, I'm sure. This one is in tan and blues), black and blue sneakers with little skull and crossbones all over them and bright white laces (they're new), blue jeans with a liberal number of holes and worn spots plus a couple of white paint stains.

Three of your favorite songs:
Songs!? I have to narrow it down to SONGS? And only THREE songs!? Yeah, right. Okay, sheesh. Off the top of my head and not necessarily my three favorite songs half an hour from now.... What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, Our Town by Iris Dement, Geronimo's Cadillac by Michael Martin Murphy. Hmmm, I must be in a sentimental mood. We were just listening to Bob Dylan. I was gonna say Popular, sung by Kristen Chenowith from the soundtrack of Wicked, but my friend Deb had that on her list so I was trying not to be a total copykat.

Three things you want in a relationship:
a sense of partnership, trust, laughter.

Two truths and a lie:
I like to play card games
I like to play video games
I like to play board games

Three things you can'ít live without:
Books, my family, nature

Three places you want to go on vacation:
England, Thailand, the rest of the US I haven't seen yet (basically the south and east coast)

Three things you just can't do:
Lie about something important
wear a bra every day
care about the lives of movie stars

Three kids names:
I obviously can't just list three kids without getting in really big trouble with the other two so - Joseph Peter, Samuel Paul, Joshua Wallis, Noel Neff (hey, I didn't give her that middle name!), William Sawyer. I can't tell you what Joshua or Noel would have been if they'd been the opposite gender, but I can tell you Joe would have been Jessica (Jessie for short), Sam would have been Katherine (Kate for short) and William would have been Chloe. Three names I never got a chance to use but would have liked to, Henry, Amery, and Nashua (Nash for short)

Three things you want to do before you die:
write and publish at least one novel (hopefully more), get my house all clean and organized again, see all my kids married and all my grandchildren arrive and spend lots of time with them all, live in the country again (I know, that's four)

Three celeb crushes:
I tend to have "crushes" on characters that celebrity actors play more then I do on the celebrities themselves but I guess Johnny Depp because I am really enamored of how he tackles so many different roles and makes them unique (and yes, he's hot, okay, I said it), I'll admit to having a teensy bit of a crush on Jon Stewart recently. How embarassing, but there ya go. And if you really want embarassing, I used to lay awake at night when I was 13 or 14 or so and try to choose between Captain Kirk and Spock. Now you know and can tease me unmercilessly. HAPPY!?

Three of your favorite musicians:
Loreena McKennitt, Green Day (or if I have to name the musician and not the band,Billie Joe Armstrong), and hmmmm, let's go with John Lennon or maybe Michael Stipes (R.E.M.) or Neil Young or Jerry Garcia or Tom Petty or Iris Dement or .... I give up. I refuse to answer this one. It's too hard.

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
Nice hair, muscular arms or legs, a sexy voice

Three of your favorite hobbies:
Reading, writing, gardening

Three things you really want to do badly right now:
Catch up on my nanowrimo word count
Finish all the quilt, sewing, knitting, and art projects I have deadlines on (or HAD deadlines on if I've already swooshed past them)
Have my house (including garage and yard) completely decluttered, clean, and repair free

Three careers you'íre considering/you'íve considered:
Writer, midwife, herbalist

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy:
I don't really like shopping malls
I love football
I'm pretty geeky

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl:
I'm always right
I love to cook and sew and keep house
I like babies, kids, AND teenagers (I know, amazing) (and I'd like to point out that I don't think only girls like children, it's just that you asked for a "stereotypically" answer)

Three people that I would like to see post this meme:
Hmmmm, tough one. My mom. Definitely my mom. My kids (although I don't think they really read my blog). Probably Joshilyn - because I am always up for laughing - but i don't think she reads my blog either.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What other amazing inventions have I somehow missed?

I've recently discovered the most incredible time saver. Well, I didn't discover it exactly. I mean, I knew about it. Even used it on a rare occasion. What I didn't do before this is utilize it to it's full potential. I didn't realize it could be a life changing phenomenon. Are you ready for it? It's called.......

Frozen Food.

Yes, food that is already grown, harvested, sliced, diced, sauteed, cooked, or in some other way combined and processed to be completely prepared and ready to eat with no other effort then a) putting in a shopping cart then b) bringing it home and storing it in a freezer, c) opening the freezer at some other point in time and selecting one of dozens of tasty and, did I already mention this, COMPLETELY PREPARED entrees, and finally d) popping it into the microwave and using ones index finger to heat. I mean, that sounds like a lot - a through d (and I was gonna add another letter that explained how one has to take the entree out of the decorative cardboard box, read the instructions on the back, slice a hole in the top of the plastic cover, or perhaps uncover half of it.... I was going to mention all this but then I realized that after a week or so one does all these steps instinctively, and with no need to reference further backs of the individual boxes.)

It sounds like a lot, but trust me on this one, it's a lot, lot, lot less work then all those other shorter words but actual longer processes - like the growing food part or anything that involves the kitchen stove or sink. Oh! And, all these products come in their own disposable plastic trays, so you also the time ordinarily spent on dishwashing!

Not only that, but for some reason my family seems to prefer frozen food to my previous efforts to lovingly prepare homemade meals from scratch. I'm chosing to see this as a GOOD thing because if I really thought about this last bit, I might have to be sad or at the very least annoyed enough to stomp around the house and pout for a few days. And I really don't have time for that.

Why? Well, the whole frozen food purchasing came about as a result of two simultaneous events. One, I ran out of freezer room in the little top freezer section of our refrigerator and that led me to finally researched and discover that big storage freezers no longer cost $2000 a month to run. In fact they only cost about $34 a YEAR to run. So we raced out and bought one.

Secondly, I entered this write-a-novel-in-a-month contest and decided that it would be a good thing to fill up the aforementioned new freezer with frozen burritos, corn dogs, gardenburgers, t.v. dinners, and so on, so my family could feed themselves if I discovered that the only time I felt inspired to write was every day about the time to make dinner. Not that I could be accused of making dinner on a regular basis lately - like, say, the last few years. (BUT THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I COULD HAVE BEAT BETTY CROCKER AND MISS SUZY HOMEMAKER BOTH, WITH ONE HAND TIED BEHIND MY BACK AND AND A BABY TIED TO ONE HIP!!!!)

The frozen food was supposed to be for the family, not me. But do you know how TEMPTING those entrees are? Noodles with sauces. Chinese veggies all only minutes away from being lifted to ones mouth. Mashed potatoes that require no mashing. I can't help myself.

And while we're on the topic of food, I'll mention that three weeks late but better then never, our small town theatre finally saw fit to premiere the movie I had been waiting to see for a year now - Serenity. (why does this have to do with food? DU-UH! Popcorn is involved. And a coke) I hate spoilers, so I won't give any out here. But I will say this - oooooooh, it was great! It was sad! It was funny! It was as good as I thought it would be! And now I've watched it and it's all done. WAH!
Until we buy the DVD. To go with the set of DVD's we bought of the television show.

And now I have to go to bed and either a) start a new book (to read, not write) or b) write some more of my book. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stumbling towards a goal

So, I'm doing this Nanowrimo thing. I'm taking it SERIOUSLY. So that meant I worked on a plan most of October. Of course October 31 I was spared too much worry about the next day being THE DAY because of course I was completely absorbed in fighting off zombies and battling for the last Snickers. But I was excited. Yes, I was. Looking forward to the next morning with innocent enthusiasm.

The morning of November 1 even started out the way I'd planned, with a smile on my lips and my enthusiasm jet pack still firmly in place. I had ALL DAY. And nothing else much on the schedule. Well, no, that's not right. I had lots of things on the schedule. But I had carved out time for writing as well. So I could start out slow, warm up my fingers by reading and writing e-mail. Then get a my few errands out of my way. Stop for lunch. Try to order some corduroy pants (unsuccessfully, I might add - they were all out of stock in my size - damn that David Sedaris!). Go to the cemetery and talk to dead people for a few hours.

Did I mention that every time I thought of starting, I'd get this small but very real panic butterfly in my stomach? More like a small HERD of butterflies.

Got home about dusk from the cemetery and forgot that those hours, when William was at football practice and my home world would be relatively calm, was the time I had picked out to write. And I'd forgotten. REALLY! I"m not pretending I forgot. I really, truly, cross my heart and never eat chocolate again if I"m lying forgot! It's amazing how incredibly cunning and chickenshit ones brain can be when dealing with herds of butterflies.

So then it was almost time for my show. I can't miss my show!

Finally, 9 pm, my embarassment at having avoided starting all day grew large enough to rise up, butterfly net in hand, or perhaps it WAS the butterfly net....hmmmm.. well, anyway, I forced myself to march into the bedroom and start. Because that's where I was going to hide from my family.

So I took a shower. And then I sat down, fingers poised above the lit computer screen..........

and I realized I hadn't named my characters.

So I went to the computer in the diningroom that has internet access and started looking up references and symbolisms for names I was considering. But before you know it, The Daily Show was on. And I have to keep up with current events now, don't I?

Finally Jon Stewart gave us his moment of zen, my family all went to bed, and I did go back online and find all the names I needed to start out fresh and more importantly, READY, the next morning.

Yesterday was even more interesting, if ultimately productive. I got going around midday, again sitting cross-legged on my bed, door shut to keep the animals, children, phones, husbands, and any other monsters out of my space. Bedroom doors make really crappy life filters. In fact, they're pretty much worthless. Sigh.

My daughter called. My mom called. My husband each time, instead of telling folks I was WORKING or NOT AVAILABLE or BUSY, said "Oh, hi, do you want to talk to her?" and then proceeded to walk through the aforementioned bedroom door and hand me a phone.

Then I realized I had absolutely no familiarity with my new laptop. So that was a struggle. At one point I realized that there was still a bunch of CompuUSA crap in there (I bought the floor model and that was all supposed to be erased). Most frustrating was a demo that kept threatening to shut down all programs and start if I didn't move a key, any key. I tried to trash it but couldn't figure out how. Eventually I went into the other room to find the book that came with it, needed to figure out how to make an accent mark in one of my names - stupid me chose two names that have accent marks - what was I thinking!!!! - and I didn't come back and move a key, any key, fast enough and it erased all my hard work. Which consisted of opening up the right program and typing both the title and the words "Chapter One".

So then I decided to call CompUSA and ask for them to help. A nice man walked me through completely erasing and putting back all my software. That took about an hour. While I was waiting for all the disks to finish up, William came in, Rosie the puppy came in, several cats came in, finally by the time I was ready to start working again, hubby came in. By this time William was asleep on the bed. I took my purse, my laptop, and my keys and went out the door.

Next scene: Starbucks. I ordered a vanilla latte grande half caf and spent several minutes debating table choices. Eventually sat in the corner by the window with my computer screen facing the wall so I'd have a sense of privacy.

The music was too loud. I noticed folks walking in. My DIL called the house and my husband told her to call me on my cell phone, so she did. (Not that I mind talking to any of these people, mind you, but you are figuring out that my husband is totally NOT getting the whole "WORKING" part of this, right!? What part of "Do Not Disturb" is he not understanding? Does this phrase simply not translate into husbandese?)

But finally the words started coming. Slowly at first, then more easily. The only ongoing struggle then was the continuing newness of the keyboard and finger mouse pad set up. It easily doubled the time it took me to write anything. ARgh. But I have to get used to it because obviously writing on the family computer will not allow me the privacy of space or mind that I need.

I worked for over three hours. Once I got into it, the time seemed to fly by andI was surprised to look up and notice how long I'd been sitting there completely engrossed in my work. I have all but a paragraph of two of the first chapter complete! Now the trick is not to look back but instead keep moving forward. Rough draft, remember, rough draft.

So that leads us all to day number three. It's midafternoon and I've gone out to breakfast with my family, read some e-mail, had a friend help me figure out how to do some html on my blog, struggled once again unsucessfully to get my blog to accept photos, and written this blog entry.

I guess that's enough procrastination for today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


This post is just a blatant journal entry of "What we did on Halloween". I can't come up with anything more creative to say about it because I'm feeling a bit manic somewhere inside about this being November 1 and theoretically this is the first day of the rest of my life as a professional writer. That whole Nanowrimo thing, that is. Don't have time to explain it. Google it if you want to know more (www.nanowrimo.com)

Anyhoo, we had a lovely Halloween. I wasn't sure we'd have a Halloween at all this year. I was afraid we 'd be traveling yesterday. But it all ended up working out at the last minute so we didn't have to and I was so happy about that, that happy energy carried me all the way through lots of activities yesterday.

Well, first I went to the dentist to have him check on a tooth I recently lost an old filling out of. I'm gonna have to have a crown, first appointment in a couple of weeks for the work and the temporary. DRAT. Although, crown work for me has never been any worse then cavity filling work, and bizarrely enough, my insurance pays 100% for crowns and very little on cavities. So I guess that's the silver lining (or would that be silver filling - ha!) about the situation. As far as frightening experiences for Halloween, going to the dentist would be up there on my list, so I got the worst of it over early in the day.

I did a bunch of errands with the boys. Jeff found the perfect Halloween costume. William didn't know what he wanted to be and settled for the same old black cape and hood costume that all my boys have fallen back on for year after year at the end of their trick-or-treating careers, being that it's long enough to fit them, it's not goofy, and in any case it covers their face completely so no one can tell it's them even if it is goofy. I found some hoop earrings and a nifty dagger (that collapsed inside itself so it looked like you were really stabbing someone, and then screamed - like a girl apparently according to William) for the pirate outfit I was planning on working out. We finished off with lunch out for some "real food" so we wouldn't get too sick from eating nothing but candy and cookies all night.

I wore my witches hat out of course. My winter weight one. William wanted to know why I didn't dress up completely like I usually do, with my black skirts and capes and what not. I said I was going to try something different this year and in the evening I was going to be a pirate. Without missing a beat William said "So, you're going to dress up in a costume this year?" Hahaha, that's by boy!

We got home with only a few hours before sunset. I worked on doing more outside decorating. It looked quite spooky for such a last minute effort, if I say so myself. We carved pumpkins. William attempted one of those pattern ones but quickly discovered that without an official pattern (the one he wanted was just an image, not a "cut here" type pattern) and the proper tools, it a recipe for disaster. After ending up with a big HOLE, I suggested he turn the pumpkin around and do a more traditional JOL face on the other side, which he did. Jeff went straight for the quick and easy standard three triangles and a ragged mouth. I haven't even managed to carve my pumpkin(s) the last few years, letting the family do it while I ran around cleaning up after them, but I got inspired this year and tried two pattern ones. Nothing as amazing as I've seen other folks do, but since I also lacked real patterns or good tools, I was very pleased with the outcome. I carved a tiny portrait of Rosie into her tiny pumpkin. She thought as I was drawing her that I was going to give her a treat, so she posed for me very sweetly and patiently. Gee, duh, I should have actually given her a treat afterwards, huh? Oh well, she gets treats all the time. My large pumpkin I made a triple moon design with the full moon in the middle carved into a pentacle. It looked really awesome.

William waited until minutes before he was out the door to plan if to go t-or-t'ing, when to go t-or-t'ing, where to go t-or-t'ing, and who to go t-or-t'ing with, and then changed his mind again as he walked out the door. There was a bit of a challenge over whether or not he'd wear something like reflective tape on his costume. That was shot down as completely lame. Jeff suggested a flashlight. William said he's wear those glow-in-the-dark thingies. I knew I had some, but where were they? In the Halloween stuff which was still sitting around in boxes unpacked. I dug for them frantically, which accounts for 80% of the mess in my house this post-holiday morning, but thank goodness I found them.

This is, AND DON'T LAUGH AT ME!!!!!!, the first time William has gone out alone trick-or-treating. I guess the other kids went out alone at this age, but I don't know. Maybe they never did. We're a strange family and trick-or-treating has always been a family activity, along with a gaggle of the kids friends. So letting William go out, in the dark, in ALL BLACK, with no adults, was a big deal for this anxiety attack prone mom.

So off he went, and came back with James (costumeless) and Jake (dressed as a wonderful Oompa Loompa!) in tow, trick or treating at our door. We had candy bars. And Skittles. We insisted James must wear a costume and outfitted him in William's white gorilla mask with a glow in the dark halo. Took pictures of the three of them. And THEN off they went.

I dressed up as a pirate and answered the door to a few trick-or-treaters. Rosie thought children coming to HER door over and over again was the coolest thing ever! Unfortunately after a small spat of young kids, it trickled down to... uhm, no one else for the rest of the night. We watched t.v. I checked my e-mail. We ate a bit of candy. I went out and lit up the pumpkins and the pumpkin cauldron decorations in the front yard, plugged in the lights on the Halloween arch, and went out fifteen minutes or so to stand back and enjoy it all.

A few minutes before check-in time for William, he called from up on Main Street asking me to pick them all up and would we take them to a haunted house Jake knew about up at the casino. So we did. We blew out all the candles, turned off the porch light and went off. First we stopped at the haunted house that I'd taken William and Brandon to the night before. It was really good, with lots of skeleton pirates and zombies, even a real old hearse. Then we went to the haunted house at the casino which was done up in a big circus sized tent they have set up permanently in their parking lot. It was all done up in black plastic and relied heavily on scenes of blood and guts and lots of volunteers dressed in black and jumping out at people. The black plastic made meandering "rooms", divided by more black plastic cut and hung in strips. I figured out right away that the volunteers waited to the left or right of these strip dividers, so I waited and watched for a glimpse of them and then I jumped through and scared them!!! It was too funny. And they got really creative and ganged up to sneak up on me sneaking up on them and it was all hilarious. Also bizarrely funny was the couple with the little girl, about three perhaps, who was completely enchanted with all the hatchets and blood and gore and screaming and large hooded creatures and even more frightening, teenagers, running around. I remarked to the couple that they undoubtedly had a future goth girl on their hands, and they both shook there heads vehemently no. LOL.

Afterwards we took the kids to the other side of town and handed them money and headed them to Taco Bell. They were starving. Jeff and I went in costume to Starbucks. I called the non-costumed employees (some of the employees were dressed up, some weren't) "losers" and the barista almost didn't make me my latte! Just kidding. I convinced him that if he could do a trick that would negate the non-costumed loser status, so he wiggled his ears for me and all was well. While the kids were at Taco Bell gorging themselves on burritos with hot sauce, we sipped our lattes and watched the stream of costumed teenagers walk through the door.

We went home and brought the pumpkins in for our own enjoyment, lining them up by the television and relighting them. We replaced most of our costumes with p.j.'s and settled on the couch where William commandeered the remote to watch the end of Monday Night football and then we just vegged out until it was time to go to bed with a plate of iced cats and moons and leaves and Terry Pratchett.

This morning dawned sunny and windy. The leaves are at that wonderful midway stage where there's enough off the trees to make a crunchy, kicky carpet, but there's still enough still attached to make a glorious canopy of gold and orange and streamers of sunlight. The wind is making swirls of flying leaves out my windows that make the day picture postcard perfect. Jeff was inspired to drag William outside to rake up some of the accumulation from our two big maple trees in the side yard.

This afternoon I hope to pull together, or at least plan for tomorrow night, a modified, less effort attempt at a dumb dinner for Dia de Los Muertos. I also want to go to the local pioneer cemetery to walk around, take some photos, reflect on those who have passed on before us. I've been waiting for all the silly spookiness of Halloween to be over before going, and today seems like the perfect day for it.

So that was our Halloween, or most of it anyway. I didn't write about other haunted house we went to or the photos I took that had all sorts of orbs on it or how the orbs seemed to vanish out of the pictures when I went to look at them again today. OoooooOooooooooh! I've gotta get a move on. There's lots to do. Cleaning up the mess. Planning our family dinner. Helping William with some school work. And most frightening of all, starting the first pages of my novel. ACK! That manic shaking inside me is back again.