Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Month in Reviews -- October

October was a whirlwind of good and bad. It was here and gone like a flash and here we are, entering the mid-range portion of November and I'm trying to wrap my head around that.

I took a bit of a hiatus on the blog during October because I wanted to focus my mind elsewhere. The month began with a lot of bad news: my mother needs heart valve replacement surgery, we were evacuated from our home in the middle of a cold and rainy night because there was a massive gas leak in our neighborhood, and we had to take one of our cats to the vet for an emergency procedure. It also was the start of one of the conference seasons at work, which is always pretty exhausting but this was the busiest yet. Add to that, I had graduate school class with lots of homework and a week-long trip to Louisiana to prepare for. Whoa. Just writing all of that makes me feel exhausted. Obviously, October was a busy time.

Despite everything, the fact still remains that October is one of my favorite months. With everything going on, with trying to get ahead with school work while also desperately needing breaks, we still managed to have fun on weekends and enjoy the autumn environment.

We went pumpkin picking at our favorite farm (I talk about that farm down below!) and visited countless farms for autumnal enjoyment. We were able to dive head-on into a huge corn maze and when that wasn't enough, we worked on a fancy costume that I planned to wear during Halloween. All of this plus lots of school work--I was so busy!

Then the end of the month finally arrived--the time I had been waiting for--my trip to Louisiana.

Two years ago I went to New Orleans to achieve a dream of sorts. Back when I was a teen I was a die-hard fan of Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles. I wanted to visit New Orleans, the location for many of her books, and see the restaurants and buildings that she so lovingly described in them. I fell completely in love with the Crescent City and I was so excited to return to it. This time, it was even better. When I was a teen and all involved in the Anne Rice community of the Livejournal days, I met a number of girls my age who loved the books just like me. We became friends through the Internet and over many miles, years passed, and some of us were even able to meet each other.

Ten years later, we're all still friends and over a year ago we thought, "Why don't we go to New Orleans together?" A girls weekend. I've never had one of those but this seemed the right time and for the right reason. So for over a year we pinched our pennies and planned our trip; finally, after all that planning, we were off to NOLA.

It was so fun getting to meet a bunch of book lovers that I've known for so long. When you're friends with people online for so long, you expect it to be weird that here you've known each other for a decade and you're only meeting each other now. Surely, it'll be uncomfortable, but what's odd about it is just how comfortable it is. Here you are, finally face to face, but it's so relaxed and normal--as if you've done this all the time. And you sort of have, it's just been online.

We dressed up and celebrated a rain-soaked Halloween on Frenchman Street. We ate a lot of great food, toured the Lafayette Cemetery, and adventured through swamplands and old plantations. It was a wonderful trip with great people. I can't wait to return to the city and I can't wait to see these friends again.

Now I'm back in Virginia and gearing up for the next few months. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two of my favorite holidays (Halloween is the third). I really love Thanksgiving because I'm able to be surrounded by family and friends. I also love the traditions it brings. In my household, we cook the turkey carcass after the holiday into a soup that lasts us for awhile and is the right fix to the chilly incoming December weather. For the past few years, it's meant seeing my boyfriend's family, which is always a good time. For the holidays, they've been unique and crazy since I moved out of my parents' home. Last year was an insanely busy day: Christmas gifts in the morning, lunch at my boyfriend's parents' house, and dinner at my aunt's home in Maryland. This year may be much of the same but with a friend joining the fun. All of this but also my mother's upcoming surgery and the end of one of my classes (and the start of the next one).

But what happened last month on this blog? Let's take a look.

Book Reviews:

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Other Posts:

Homestead Farm in Maryland

So here we are, it's November and I have a lot to get done. Posts are ready for December but not as much for this upcoming month. Bear with me as I get back to the swing of things and throw more reviews at you!

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