Shoutout to my dawg October

There are only six days of October left, people! The last day is Halloween and then the day after Halloween, we’re in this, “Now what?” kind of mode. “Now what” being November.

I have posted before about one of my favorite months, that being the month of May. It’s not just my birth month but has some of the best weather (depending where you are in the country) and is, overall, a happy sunshiney type month.

In the aforementioned post I just referenced, I mention that it’s one of my two favorite months. However, I misspoke. I actually have three. Originally I was only referring to May and December (because I do love me some Christmas and the start of winter) but I was completely and totally overlooking October. My humblest apologies to October because I absolutely love it.

Zoe Says her reasons for applauding October:

  1. It’s the tenth month of the year. As a gal with a May birthday and lover of symmetry and all numbers being multipliers of five, its place in the calendar year is tops. 5+5=10? We get October!
  2. It’s full-on AUTUMN (okay and usually Indian Summer, too). It’s when the weather finally turns from summer to cool, crisper days. The leaves turn stunning, brilliant colors of yellow, orange, and red. They flutter to the ground in a lilting dance, aided by Mother Nature’s breezes.
  3. The leaves on the ground turn crisp and make a lovely crunching noise when you walk through them.
  4. As the weather gets chillier, especially at night, the smell of woodsmoke permeates the air, whether it’s from people conducting weenie and marshmallow roasts, folks staying warm by their fireplaces, or groups of people having a good old-fashioned bonfire.
  5. One word: hoodies.
  6. Pumpkin comes back with a vengeance and we begin consuming it fervently. It’s in our drinks, it’s in our desserts,  there’s something called pumpkin butter, we toast the seeds, we carve them for fun.
  7. Orange is really in.
  8. Halloween. Candy. Trick-or-treaters. Decorations. Ghosts. You get the idea.
  9. Apple orchards are prime for picking fresh apples, which will also become many desserts from now through December.
  10. Hay rides, scary or non.
  11. Beaucoup de autumn photos! Seriously, Tumblr this month has been crazy with posting all these glorious fall pictures. Guilty!
  12. Last but not least: another month with TONS of birthdays, including my brother’s! I’m in May, he’s in October – it’s pretty fantastic.

And because I have absolutely been taking tons of pictures of anything related to autumn this month, I am posting a handful of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. I hope October has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me! Make these last six days count.

Last of the blooms

At the end of the path

Dappled leaves

Leaves on bokeh

Serene autumn landscape

Driver’s Ed 101

Now that I’ve been back in the driving world for over a year, I have started to add up some observations on common driving mistakes. I don’t believe that these are inherent to just the drivers in my city but there is one in particular which I’ve noticed that really shouldn’t be a problem if you are an experienced driver.

Let’s talk about backing out of parking spaces, shall we? Take this woman, for instance:


I can’t believe that the person waiting for the woman to figure out how to park waited as long as he did. I do admire him for finally asking if he could park the woman’s car for her. I DON’T believe this woman should be a licensed driver.

What I don’t appreciate is that there seems to be this misapprehension that women are terrible drivers. There are plenty of horrible male drivers in this world, as well. For some people, driving is instinctual – you just GET it. I am one of those people. My best friend has never learned how to drive and isn’t interested at all. She placed herself in a city where she has reliable public transportation. Kudos to her!

I yearned to learn how to drive at a very early age and by the time I turned nine, I started counting the years until I turned sixteen and I would finally get my license. I’m not even kidding. The day I got my driver’s license was one of the happiest in my entire life. I remember it fondly. My mom was nervous about me “tooling around” on my own but quickly realized what a boon it was to have a daughter more than willing to run errands, just so she could drive the car all by herself.

Now that I have been a licensed driver for over half of my existence, I can safely say that it is one of the best gifts a person can have. I thought about how fortunate I am to be able to own and drive my own car the other day as I was on my way to work. I still get a kick out of driving each and every day. And I think road trips are as fun as they are therapeutic.

While there were plenty of times I liked riding the subway when I lived in New York, I have an even fuller appreciation for being able to drive to work now. It doesn’t hurt that my commute isn’t a one-hour, clogged traffic jam everyday, either. Still, until you’ve sacrificed your personal space on a crowded rush-hour train in New York City, you can’t know how freeing it feels to be able to throw your things in the passenger seat, blast heat or air conditioning as you see fit, be able to sit the whole time, and listen to music as loudly as you want (or not). It’s a serious sigh of relief.

However, I do believe that having a license is something that most people take for granted; there might be many fewer accidents otherwise. I still maintain my position on minivans, by the way, as just this morning the light turned green but we all waited for the minivan flying at 50mph to plow through the intersection on a red light. (And it was a man driving.) Driving is as much about courtesy to others as it is a convenience for us to get ourselves around.

Backing into and out of parking spaces is a necessity of a driver’s life and yet, so many people can not seem to figure this out. There is a very simple rule that has served me well since I was 15 years of age and in Driver’s Ed. The coach told us it’s a 75/25 rule: back out straight three-quarters of the way before you begin turning your wheels. You will not scrape the cars on either side of you if you stick to this rule of thumb. And it really works! I frequently see people in my office parking lot turn their wheels the moment they’ve hit reverse and I’m amazed more cars aren’t stripped lengthwise of their paint. I cringe every single time.

I could probably go on for longer than most people would prefer with driving safety tips so I’m going to leave you with the one tip for today and hope it changes your life or someone else’s you may know.

Because if you are anything like this other woman below (who requires the help of yet another woman guiding her), you need to re-evaluate whether you should be driving, stat:

Arachnophobia or just being a girl?

I don’t know about you guys but I love to self-diagnose via the Internet.

WebMD anyone?

If something goes wrong, whether it’s mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whether I simply need to know when Johnny Depp’s birthday is, the trusty World Wide Web is there at my service.

After today’s incident with the Spider From Hell, I am on the edge of declaring myself as an arachnophobe.

Hear me out.

Here I was, minding my own business at my desk at work, tra la la, and suddenly from behind my desk against the wall crawls a huge brown spider. This thing had a long body and creepy legs and caused me to choke at first sight. I really started to panic because I didn’t know if I could kill it with a paper towel because it was so big. (Because squishing them gives me the heebie jeebies.)

It crawled up towards the ceiling but then it started rappelling down on its silky strand things. I really started freaking out that it was going to decide to jump either on me or onto my desk, also known as the Forbidden Land, as far as it was concerned.

Practically putting a fist into my mouth to keep from screaming, I went down the hall and I asked a male coworker (who is very busy) if he could help me with a girl problem I was having. I said, “Are you afraid to kill a really big spider?”

Mercifully, he was so nice about it and happily obliged me. He came around the corner and said, “Whoa, that is a big one.” So I’m not being irrational. It was huge. It didn’t belong in an office, hovering over me and watching me with all of its eyes. And legs. And possible fangs.

In trying to smash it with my recycling bin, Big Scary Spider decided to do the equivalent of what would be committing suicide for us humans and simply let go of the wall and dropped back behind my desk. My coworker even went so far as to look for it with a flashlight but it had disappeared.

So far, it hasn’t reared its ugly head again.

Yet.

My weapons are Kleenex and a can of electronic duster spray. I know that from the movie Arachnophobia, they used fans to get the spiders to move where they wanted to, so my thought is, if it decides to pull a Terminator and comes back, I’ll be ready. I also don’t think I could keep myself from screaming for a second time should it rear its ugly head.

After I calmed down and I checked behind and under my desk no less than thirty times to make sure it wasn’t there, I decided to Google “common spiders Illinois.”

Big mistake. Big. Huge! (Sorry, channeling a little Pretty Woman there.)

I can’t even LOOK at the enlarged photos of spiders while trying to read about them. I start to shudder and get goosebumps. And, I forgot to mention this, but if I think about the spider long enough (especially if I were trying to eat), I could easily make myself throw up.

Then I decided to look up arachnophobia and while I’m not having a panic attack, I am still looking for it as I write this.

So what do you think? Am I just overreacting and being a total girl about this? Or do I qualify for my Arachnophobe Card? 

Daniel Stern's reaction is what I would do.