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Thursday, October 29, 2009

When October Goes

My! How quickly the view from my windows has changed. Just a week ago in a half-hour span I watched as three people stopped their cars in front of my house to take pictures of the tree in our front yard. It was brilliant orange, full of its leaves and making all the rooms on the north side of my house seem candlelit. Now, on a dreary late October afternoon I see so much more of the neighborhood to my north than I have for months. I can even see the oddly shaped branch several blocks over which is undoubtedly a forever reminder of the awful ice storm we had a few years back. It looks like a broken wrist with its leafy hand hanging down awkwardly.

Robert Frost had it right, I think. "These dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be." Indoor recesses aside, I have savored the gray skies we've had of late. It only makes the trees that much more lively. And, it is the week of Halloween after all. You need gray skies now and then.

I was thinking the other day that God blessed me with the kind of autumn this year that I've always dreamed of and never seem to experience. I always have this deeply felt desire for fall to be long, though as a transitional season that is hardly a fair expectation. This fall, though, lingered long. We had cooler weather earlier on and the leaves have turned so gradually that there always seemed to be some tree on the street at its peak all the time. The drizzle, the gray, the cool - they haven't bothered me. I just put on a pot of chili and say, "Let's stay in tonight." We've done a lot of staying in lately. Home is a wonderful place to be. I guess I'm about as Norman Rockwellish as a person can be. I'm truly, truly blessed. Nattie's on my knee, watching the words progress across the screen. For once she's not trying to help me type. Even she seems content.

If you haven't yet, be sure you do some October things - some are absolute musts as far as I'm concerned.

1. Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
2. Take a deep breath near a yard where the leaves have been on the ground a few days.
3. Collect a few acorns from the yard and sprinkle them on your table runner.
4. Light candles.
5. Make chili.
6. Listen to the song When October Goes (I love it on a Barry Manilow album - Paradise Cafe')
7. Go one day with little or no make-up or, if you can swing it, spend a whole day in your pajamas.
8. Bake pumpkin bread - splurge and stir in some mini chocolate chips.
9. Walk around the block near twillight - slowly - and take in the coziness of lights on in homes and glimpses of families gathered around tables (it's a rare sight and worth watching for).
10. Read Robert Frost - especially My Novembr Guest, Ghost House, and Nothing Gold Can Stay.
And for good measure - take a bubble bath - there are some lovely autumn scents available now. Talk about luxury!



Friday, October 9, 2009

On the Shelves

Suddenly things are moving fast. My official publication date is two weeks away. My launch party is November 7. I have a book signing scheduled at Borders on November 14. On Sunday the News-Leader will be running an article by Juliana Goodwin about local authors and she included me in the piece. Tonight I just made a trip to Barnes & Noble where I saw twenty or so copies of No Penalty for Love on the shelf for sale. My mind is officially blown. How many people get to actually realize a dream? I'm so blessed. As if this great autumn weather wasn't wonderful enough on its own - I get this, too.

Right now, though, it's Friday night. I have a loving, supportive husband in the other room and a little black dog begging for my attention. I'm going to just go love on them for a while, because of all the dreams I've had and all those I've been blessed enough to have realized - these are the most precious. Home and family.