October Recap

Seriously, where did October go?? It seems like only yesterday we were packing for our trip to Canada and now, Halloween is over and we’re sitting smack dab in the middle of November 2nd!

When I looked at my bullet journal last night, the month of October was pretty sparse. We didn’t track much of anything during our vacation, except for miles walked. We went “off leash” on our eating…meaning, we enjoyed a bit of bacon with our oatmeal breakfast every now and then, sank our teeth into a lobster roll in Maine, and had a real soda…a blueberry soda at that. We also gave ourselves permission to enjoy afternoon froyos from the ice cream machine on the cruise ship. I suppose, we might have gained a few pounds this trip if it weren’t for all the walking. We walked 196.2 miles this month, bringing our total for the year to 797.8 miles.

A few other milestones for October include:

Having dinner with Angie’s grandma and aunt in Toledo, OH. This was the first time she had seen either of them in more than 20 years!

Taking Ticky (and her parents) to Trunk or Treat at Bledsoe Creek State Park. This was our first family outing since my niece moved back in with Ticky’s father. Everyone had a great time, though it was hard to keep the little one in costume.

We made 1.5 year’s worth of laundry soap. That’s 320 loads of laundry. At 4 loads a week (which is generous around our house – we usually average 2-3), that’s enough soap to last 80 weeks or more.

We had our first frost, but not before harvesting our last eggplants. My mom planted two eggplants in late June just to “see if they would grow” and lo and behold, they did. We ended up with 6 late season eggplants.

I finally started writing about our trip in our experience journal. The first entry is called Glamping in Niagara Falls. I always mean to write about our trips in real time but I’m usually too tired at the end of a fun day (or too far removed from the Internet) to do that. And besides, it’s probably better to focus on enjoying the experience rather than worrying about chronicling the journey anyway. There are plenty of cloudy days (like today) for writing. Or reading.

Speaking of which, the craziest thing happened last week with our library. I’ve been on a waiting list since July for Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and since September for At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe. When I checked the queue, I was still weeks away from checkout for either one so I checked out two other books I wanted to read and started both of them. Somehow, the very next day, both of my books on hold automatically checked out to me. I have 4 books to finish (now 3) in the next 2 weeks! Challenge accepted! I suppose this means I won’t have time for other people’s drama…I mean requests for my time…this month. Oh well 🙂

Ah, drama! Avoiding drama was the key reason why we wanted to do a happiness project this year anyway. The goals we set were specifically geared toward sharing experiences with one another; experiences that nourish our souls. And for the most part, we’ve done well with our project .

  • We’ve already read 54 books, exceeding our goal of 26 each.
  • We’ve cut back on eating meat, averaging 13.5 completely meatless days per month.
  • We’ve gone outside a lot more than last year to camp, hike, paddle, letterbox, garden, or just relax.
  • We’ve traveled to new places and experienced new things.

Though the year is not over, I can’t help but start to reflect on what all of this has meant so far. Has it decreased the amount of drama in our lives? Not at all. In fact, the drama is worse than ever. The holidays are approaching, after all. What it has done though is to help us better respond to the drama…and even that is still a work in progress. I’ll talk more about this in the remaining months of this year but in the meantime, we’re thinking about and planning for a new project in 2018. Stay tuned for more on that front too!

How was your October? Are you still on track with your goals for the year?

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September Recap

Fall is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the cool crisp air that makes me feel alive and I want to spend every possible moment out there enjoying it. I want to hike. I want to camp. I want to sit around a bonfire with all my favorite people. I want to decorate pumpkins and get lost in a corn maze. I even want to rake leaves. Oh yes, I love Fall.

As much as I try to relish every day of this magical season, it also seems that Fall is the time of year that flies by fastest for me. October is just around the corner and I’m still wondering where September went. What did we do with our month?

We celebrated Caesar’s 15th birthday with a trip to the vet for his booster shots. He got a clean bill of health and the new vet couldn’t believe he’s a senior.

We started thinking about a tiny house again. 

We walked/hiked 41 miles and enjoyed 5 picnics.

We found 2 ride-on toys in the dumpster and repaired them for Ticky to enjoy.

We took Ticky to a kid’s festival in our community. She and Angie even made the newspaper! This was Ticky’s first time to ride a pony and she did not want to get off when the ride was over. The entire festival – food, rides, and prizes – all FREE! We had a blast.

We decluttered 21 items from the front hall closet.

We earned $65.65 from Easy Shift, made $30 selling on OfferUp, and $160 from extra grant work.

I think this was the first month this year that we’ve actually felt unhurried. Summer was a blur of food. Between gardening and picking up 2 CSA baskets a week, it seemed we were always up to our eyeballs in preparing or preserving fruits and vegetables. It was fun but exhausting and the result is probably more than what we can actually eat by next Spring. The lesson learned for next year – just one basket and a few tomato plants in the garden (not 32 of them!).

On Sunday, we set off for our road trip/camping adventure in Canada, followed by a 7-day cruise along the New England/Canadian coast. We are very much looking forward to this time away, unplugged, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t somewhat worried about being away from home for 1/2 of the month. My niece is still homeless (for more details on thatsee the I am grateful section of this post) and my mom is still nursing a new fracture in her spine. I know deep down that foregoing this trip would not fix either of those things but the thought did cross my mind…as did taking Ticky with us.

The thing that we’ve struggled with all year (and what prompted our Happiness Project in the first place) is this vortex called “family drama” that we continually get sucked into. If you’ve ever been there then you know how hard it is to break free, even when breaking free is what’s best for everyone. When we sat down to write out what a year of happiness would look like, travel was a priority for both of us. So this trip is important. My mom is tough. The fractures are a recurring condition that she has lived with for years now and she assures me that she will stay off of ladders and out from under things while I’m gone. My niece, well…she doesn’t think homelessness is a problem in the first place and whether we are here or in Canada, that is not likely to change.

So we’re going to go and have fun. We’re going to keep worry in its proper place and we’re going to return all the better for having stayed true to ourselves and our goals for happiness this year.

Happy October!