NaNoWriMo Eve

When I was a kid, we didn't celebrate Hallowe'en, because it was the devil's holiday. Instead, we went to church dressed up as saints and/or bible characters to celebrate All Saints' Eve. I am not making this up. I still don't know why it mattered to them; we're not even Catholic.

As a result, I have trouble getting on board with Hallowe'en. Nothing against the day itself; I just don't always remember that it's important to the rest of the world. Only moments ago-- when I walked out the door and saw the neighbors' yards all decorated-- did I realize I have zero candy for any kids who might come knocking on our door tonight. We didn't even carve pumpkins this year. I forgot all about the holiday.

My first college boyfriend was appalled to discover I'd never been trick-or-treating, and insisted not one more year should go by un-treated. He explained at every door about my childhood deprivation; I don't think many folk believed him, but we scored a decent amount of candy anyway. And I wore these awesome multi-colored checkerboard thigh-high stockings that I really wish I still owned even though I haven't owned thigh-highs in years. 

When Miss G was just a little thing, we got dolled up and I took her out to the college dorms for the evening. The last few years, we've gone out as a family. (Dan makes the perfect Abe Lincoln, by the way.) But now, with Miss L gone and Miss G old enough to get to and fro the haunted houses on her own, it's back to being just another regular night. 

But wait! It's not just another regular night!

October 31 is NaNoWriMo Eve! Tomorrow, I start writing my 50,000 word novel... in just 30 days. 

I've downloaded Scrivener, poring over it with the dedication others devote to their zombie make-up. I'm squirreling away post-it notes and plot bunnies like they're mini Snickers bars. And Dan, god love him, promised to keep me stocked in Outrageous Ginger Ale, in amounts to rival any Hallowe'en haul.

It's like a fabulous, nerdy, month-long trick-or-treat. And I plan to eat myself sick.


Hobo Code

I was reading the Wikipedia on hobos the other day (because I am a cross-referencing junkie, and had just finished a particular episode of Mad Men... you know the one). This led down a rabbit hole of intriguing information about hobos. Like: in spite of the common assumption that hobos are lazy bums, one of the articles in the Hobo Ethical Code is to always seek work, and work willingly. Also: there is an official Hobo Ethical Code.

The Mad Men episode touched briefly on a different hobo code-- not their morals, but their written signs, the guiding symbols left by transients traveling through the countryside.

Most of them are pretty straightforward and make good sense: “Food for working” or “Nice lady lives here” or “Can sleep in barn.”

Then there’s one that looks like an infinity sign, with the caption “Don’t give up.”

Of all the things to leave behind for fellow passers-through, this one touched me the most.

Hobos were around for decades prior to the Great Depression. They consciously chose that life, preferring flexibility over predictability. They were their own masters, not bound to any city or employer, but instead lived as citizens of nowhere and everywhere.

Then came 1929.

Men were forced by necessity away from families and homes into an isolated and isolating existence. They looked for hope where there was none, searched for solid foundations and met only shifting sands. The life they knew shut hard behind them, trapped them inescapably in a railcar corner.

You could travel to find work, but you risked ending up thousands of miles from home and still jobless. You couldn’t call home. If your family lost their house while you were gone, you had no way of finding each other again except through dumb luck.  

These were the new brand of hobos. Long, grey months lengthened into years, then into many years. It’s not hard to imagine hope as one of the first casualties of the Great Depression. For these new, reluctant hobos, there was nothing but unceasing, interminable struggle.

Unemployment in 1930 was 8.9%, slightly less than it is now. In just a single year, that number doubled. By 1932, it had nearly tripled. Not just no jobs but no hope of jobs. Unemployment stayed higher than 20%  for four years; higher than 15% for the next ten. Ten years. Imagine our current unemployment rates, right now, but doubled in potency, and quintupled in length.

But for those who still believed, those seeking more, those convinced a pocket of hope still existed somewhere.. for those, the true hobos left word:

Don’t Give Up.


Really, really cranky.

Remember how in my About Me page I give the disclaimer that I might not post if I'm really really cranky?

Playing that card this week.


Version 3.6

It was my birthday on Friday; I turned 36. Getting older never bothered me until this year, this number.

If I were having more kids, I wanted it to happen by 35. It hasn't. I thought I'd be settled in a home and a career by now. But we're moving twice in the next twelve months and I don't have a job, let alone a whole career. At the very least, I should know what I want to be when I grow up, but I don't. I don't even have a daily routine. The only consistent thing in my life is the inconsistency.

It's easy to feel like I'm falling short of whatever 36 was supposed to be. But then I remember, 36 was not a deadline for any of this. There's still plenty of time to do everything I want to do. I am not 36, concrete and finite. I'm in constant evolution, just like every other human. This year, I'm on Version 3.6 of myself.

Version 3.6 has impressive upgrades from Version 3.5. Not to say v3.6 is the best I can do; I've got some serious plans in mind for v3.7. And beyond.

Human beings, by nature, want measurable, definable results. Quantitative over qualitative. With that mindset, it's easy to get discouraged partway through, when goals still seem so far away. It's only when you look back at the beginning that you see how far you've actually come.


Before & After


New IMPROVED entry!


"Tropicana Cabana" kitchen!

Boring corner (the husband is not boring)

Fun corner!

Another boring corner

Another fun corner!

Sad closet

Happy closet!

Dull wall

Magical wall!

Yuck bedroom

Yay bedroom!