Ooh–it’s Halloween, and that means spooky times, friends.
Strange children will come knock, knock, knocking on your door demanding candy.
People in the community will wear creepy or inappropriate costumes. (Did I ever tell you about that time the teacher at my Boy’s Catholic elementary school dressed as a Dominatrix for Halloween? Seriously–she had a riding crop and a shiny leather bustier.)
Even the pumpkins, normally so jolly and orange, will get in on the act with menacing faces glowing in the night.
In short…it’s a Stephen King world!
Today, the word is BOO!!!
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been a bit down lately.
It’s hard to meet people in this new town. The cottage has lost its appeal. The new job is both busier and newer than I expected. (Don’t get me started on the technology challenges!)
And the divorce…
It’s like a threatening shadow looming over me, hiding the sun. It’s making me wilt, and I worry that I’ll never bloom again.
What’s a sad and lonely bookworm to do when things get to be too much? Scour the self-help shelf of the nearest book shop, of course.
I ordered a Brene Brown book.
The lady at Talewind Books recommended Why Not? by Cathy Code while I wait for it to arrive.
Why Not? is an easy read. I finished it in one afternoon.
Cathy Code, who went through her own divorce (along with a catastrophic fire, traumatic childhood experiences, sudden death of a beloved partner…) is relentlessly optimistic. She shares her personal experiences and includes “think positive/it could be worse” exercises at the end of every chapter.
I like the message. I just don’t know if it’s really me.
I’m not as optimistic as Cathy Code, so a gentler approach would probably resonate more with me. (Think: “Your life might not be a total disaster” rather than “Everything’s going to be wonderful and you will survive and thrive!!!”)
When I reached the part about Code’s fabulous post-divorce social life and the two amazing men with whom she had deep and satisfying relationships, I felt like a loser–not the outcome I was hoping for when I went the self-help route.
Sigh–back to the drawing board.
One is the loneliest number, but I don’t care anymore.
I just enjoyed a hot date night! (No doubt the first of many!)
It was a happy day when I discovered my local grocery store sells sticky toffee pudding!!!
It comes in an adorable itsy bitsy microwaveable bowl. (The package obviously had a typo as the nutrition label claimed this was TWO servings.)
Mmm–it was rich and dense, languishing in bath of smooth, buttery toffee sauce. In other words, it was everything this classic English date cake should be…
…everything except English.
A closer look at the label revealed it was imported from…Austin, Texas???
The Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. should probably hire better proofreaders. Their bakers, however, are top notch.
Since I made a meal out of my sticky toffee pudding, I had it with unsweetened, low fat Greek yogurt. (A girl’s got to eat healthy, right?)
My tummy is so happy even the storm tonight isn’t getting me down.
I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship!
I’ve been captivated by beautiful gates lately. The photos I’ve taken inspired me to do some research on the interwebs.
According to Freud, a locked gate may symbolize a problem to which you haven’t yet found the key.
Interestingly, the final gate I photographed is wide open.
Maybe I’ve found my psychological key!
I’m still not sure where the lock is, but it’s progress, no?
Ugh–I woke up with the kernel of one those “special” headaches pulsating in my brain.
Left to their own devices, these headaches take over, and for the next eight or so hours I’m down for the count, puking…again and again.
Fortunately, there’s pharmaceutical help. I have a prescription for tiny orange pills that are literal miracles. They’re not perfect–after taking one, I need to sleep for a couple of hours. Afterward, I’m fragile for the rest of the day (no other way to describe it)..
Once the crisis was averted and I was feeling (more or less) like myself again, I decided fresh air was in order, so I took a gentle walk downtown.
Seeing the usual crowd at The Basted Baker, I stopped in to see what all the fuss was about…and ordered a breakfast bowl with good things like kale, avocado and a beautifully poached egg from a happy chicken.
Kale was the star of this show. (I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much kale at one sitting.)
Walking home, I was overcome by a feeling of wellbeing. Although the day had started on a horrific note, I was content…even a little happy.
It was the kale! They don’t call it a super food for nothing. I made a mental note to buy a bunch and learn how to prepare it.
Then I licked my lips and tasted a crumb of the delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I’d bought at The Bakery after choking back my kale.
Just as I suspected…the key to contentment has chocolate chips, not thick veiny leaves.
So I got home from work after one those days…
We had gusting winds, torrential rains and a power outage because a tree somewhere fell on something electrical somewhere else.
The power outage meant no internet–I guess they’re like some old married couple who show up together or not at all. I did as much as I could, but with a day of meetings to prepare for, and everything I need on the Ministry of Ed’s website, I saw my to do list growing longer and longer.
On the bright side, every teacher had a shiny new name sign on her classroom door–surprise! They’re really nice…too bad my name’s spelled incorrectly.
Driving home, dodging all the downed branches still littering the highway, all I wanted was my cozy pajamas and wine (big wine) with a Netflix chaser.
I pulled into the lot outside the cottage, narrowly avoiding a big blue Conservation Officer Service truck on its way out.
It took me a minute to register what I’d parked beside…
Friends, the word of the day is yikes.
Fruitcakes have arrived!
(And not a moment too soon–after all it’s only nine weeks to Christmas.)
I have to admire the optimism of grocers who continue to stock this unpopular item, year after year. Other than my Welsh mother, who died almost thirty years ago, I can’t think of anyone who eats these leaden blocks of dried fruit, flour and fat.
I’m partial to the thick marzipan layer on top, but that’s as far into fruitcake territory as I’m prepared to venture.
My mom, who was a truly loving and generous parent, used to cut off the marzipan and give it to me EVERYTIME she “enjoyed” a slice of fruitcake. It’s not that she didn’t like marzipan herself. (Who doesn’t???) She shared the best part of her fruitcake with me because she loved me.
Seeing that fruitcake display brought back such fond recollections of being cherished that I almost bought one so I could take the feeling home with me.
Maybe those grocers are smarter than I thought. They’re not selling fruitcake. They’re selling memories.
So I met D in “the city” yesterday for lunch and some light shopping.
It was just what I needed–giggles, wine, sunshine and two glorious ferry rides through ridiculously beautiful scenery.
D, who is camera shy, was official photographer, recording the highlights of the day. (You’ll have to trust me on this–I did actually spend the day with a friend. For once, it wasn’t just me and the dog hanging out.)
In the giddiness of being in “the city” with an actual pal, I let my hair down and had some fun.
I may have gotten a little too friendly with a sea-going fella (what is it with me and sailors???)
I photo-bombed myself in Sephora (who knew I could be such a ham?)
…and did I mention the Lamborghini? I’m not a car person, but that Lamborghini–even the name is spectacular! (I did check to make sure the driver wasn’t sitting inside before I posed next to it.)
I meant to snap a picture of my lunchtime wine (“I’ll take a large, please!”)…but I drank it before I thought to get out my phone. Instead, I took a photo of the glass I had when I got back to the cottage…along with my super pretty N mug from Anthropologie.
It’s good to hang out with friends. I wish I got to do it more often.
Staff at my new school do themed Halloween costumes.
This year they’re doing The Wizard of Oz. Everyone, repeat everyone, must choose a character.
A fun idea?–perhaps.
Will the kids like it?–maybe.
A pain in the ass for someone who bought a costume back in September?–definitely!
I thought I was being clever by avoiding the annual Halloween “what am I going to wear” panic when I purchased my lovely, handmade Victorian-style gown last month.
I should’ve remembered planning ahead never works.
Grumbling to myself about the money wasted on the first costume, I signed up for a character–the Wicked Witch.
I thought I was being ironic because, well, I don’t think I’m really wicked or witchy…
…then someone said, “Wow–your hair is perfect for the Wicked Witch!”
Yep–I can’t wait to see how Christmas goes down at the new school.
So…Monday was Thanksgiving.
I love Thanksgiving.
It’s the first long weekend of the school year (yay!), we’re into cozy sweater weather (cardigans–yippee!), there’s government-sanctioned family time (stat holiday–woo hoo!) and…turkey!!!
This year I was alone…for the first time ever.
My boy was going to come, but decided to wait for Reading Break next month because it’s a couple of days longer.
It’s fine. I get it, but it did make for a long and gloomy holiday weekend.
I had to dig deep to find things for which I’m thankful. (Other than a roof over my head, food in my tiny bar fridge and living in a safe and peaceful community…)
Here are the things that make my life a little brighter during difficult times:
The dog, for sure. Her anxiety has been a challenge, but after a turkey, she is the animal I most want to spend Thanksgiving with.
My friends. Do I wish they lived locally?–of course! But for once, technology is helping, rather than making my life more complicated, and it’s fairly easy to keep in touch. (Last night N and I Skyped for two and a half hours! It was a flashback to our multi-hour high school phone calls.)
And…that’s all I’ve got this morning.
Maybe it’s enough for now?