Confession time. I started Christmas shopping in October. Looks like this will be a regular thing – we travel to visit Link in the late Fall and bring along gifts for Christmas. I did find it put me in a receptive mood for the season, even though it was before Hallowe’en! I am now one of “those” people who is scouting out Christmas gifts just past the “Back to School” sales. Despite everyone complaining about retailers displaying their Christmas wares too early, I was unable to find any Christmas wrap or gift bags in the stores, so I had to leave behind generic looking gifts – I will have to buy extra this season to take along for next year!
We have two celebrations in October – Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en. Thanksgiving is always just a family meal/feast but we are surrounded by natural beauty at the lake. Every year my Dad collects foliage and flowers to make a display.
Hallowe’en was an atypically warm and clear night. We usually get about 35 kids at our door, but this year we had about 75! Before the clocks changed, it was getting dark around 6:30, so the younger kids were taken around the neighbourhood starting at 6, while teens waited until 7:30 or later. Knowing this, some households only give out candy early to the little ones, and then turn out the porch light (indicating they are not home or have run out of candy) – while others give out fun stuff such as Skittles and Twizzlers to the young ones, and break out the much cheaper chips for the late crew!
There is a sentiment that teenagers should not be trick or treating because they are too old and it’s for children. I disagree. They want to maintain an innocent and child-like tradition and cause no harm! The days of trick-or-treat pranks are long over. Communities support few to no activities for teens other than sports teams. When I worked with teens at the public library, they would gather there in large groups because no one’s parents allowed them to have several friends over at once. Outside of school hours, they didn’t see each other.
I used to let Link have Hallowe’en parties with 5-10 friends. They were ecstatic to be allowed gather, dress up, do each other’s makeup, take photos, eat junk food and watch scary movies. I miss those times, and I’m happy Link still does that with friends now!
October marked another celebration. Some readers may remember that last Fall, blogger PK’s brother came from Kampala (Uganda) to Halifax as an international student. We met up regularly throughout the year. He has just graduated with his Master of Finance and will begin his new career in Toronto in January. I am a beaming proud friend! Meanwhile PK has settled in Halifax in the past 6 months, obtained a more career-track job, and is ready to move to their next, better apartment. These things gladden my heart! On the flip side, whenever I hear anyone complain about immigration levels in Canada, I just want to say f*** off 😊
Every October, our city hosts the Halifax Pop Explosion, a music festival that uses multiple venues, in the style of SXSW and NXNE. We go to enough shows that we buy wristbands each year, then take our pick of shows. We saw Jeremy Dutcher, Bonnie Trash, and Justin Nozuka, among others. We love to support live music since it’s one of the only ways musicians get paid now.
We made our annual trip to Toronto to visit Link. Of course we would like to see each other more often but it is cost prohibitive, we have limited vacation time, and Link has a complex job schedule. Working around all of our jobs, we carved out a few days of family vacation. We saw the delightful musical Come From Away, saw the last concert in Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree tour, visited the beading display at the Textile Museum of Canada, and enjoyed our favourite Toronto foods (AYCE sushi for Link, Chinese dumplings, macarons, and flavoured hot chocolate – I had lavender!)
I watched the movie Loving Vincent, the one in which every cell was hand painted in Van Gogh’s style. It was an amazing achievement. The story is heart-wrenching and so relevant to the way we treat “eccentric” people today.
I read a 1000+ page book! I had taken home a copy of Neal Stephenson’s Reamde and it was sitting on my home bookshelf for about a year. So this book was the one to actually kick off my new Reading Down the House project. The title is a deliberate misspelling of a computer “read me” file. It was a technothriller about a video game developer whose creation was afflicted by a virus made by teenage hackers in China. Some Russian mobsters take it upon themselves to hunt down the hackers, and they accidentally attack a cell of jihadists. Much mayhem ensues. I loved the detailed background story on video game development and was much less interested in the action, which seemed like it was written for a future film (the rights were picked up for a TV series, but I don’t think it happened). I stuck with it because of the strong female characters and just wanting to see the loose ends tied up. I would be hard-pressed to recommend it but I liked the geek theme and humour.
I hope October was good to you.
What was the last music concert you saw?