Sunday, November 8, 2015


Halloween is barely over but if you're within a mile or so from my house right now you'd think it's Christmas. No, I haven't dragged out the decorations. I'm a steadfast Not-til-after-Thanksgiving kind of person: Alison has created a Christmas playlist that she's playing at a deafening volume.

I've been referring to her as a demon child lately whenever she gets to bedeviling me more than usual. I suspect it might have led to her Halloween costume. Now, she's deep into the sounds of the holidays.

Jeff lost his hearing aids at a Purdue tailgate outing so I'm the only one who's ears are bleeding. I'm sure they're thinking it's payback for me playing country music. They're enjoying it so much I don't have the heart to complain.

I have, however, retreated to my bedroom and closed the door. It's vibrating a little bit, and I can still hear the tunes but my ears aren't ringing anymore.

These are the sacrifices a good mom makes, right? I do like the Charlie Brown songs, though. And when we all three -- in different rooms -- sang, "Merry Christmas, my friend!" during Snoopy & the Red Baron, it was an indication that we have at least a little in common.

It's not a bad thing to be hanging in the bedroom. Both Jeff and I have been really busy at work. I had two fundraisers that required some work -- and heels -- Ali had acting class, Jeff had his trip to Lafayette. And there were something like 6 billion leaves in the yard that weren't going to leave on their own.

I read a gardening column this week where a guy claims that you shouldn't bag your leaves, but instead mulch then and put them on your flower beds. Every fall, Jeff and I argue over when it's time to address the leaves.

His preference is to wait until the last leaf falls before we start to think about where the rake might be.

If we ever did that (which we won't) we'd have leaves deeper than I am tall. I love our neighborhood in large part for the huge trees that are glorious autumnal bouquets this time of year. There's no need to drive to Nashville to go leafing.  I can just step outside and revel in the color spectrum.

Then they fall.

They're not as pretty on the ground, and they're not fun at all when they sweep into the house. From the magnolias and their elephant-ear sized leaves to the oaks, the maples and the ones with tiny red leaves, they just drown us in crackly debris.

So I got the mower out and start plowing through them. Initially, I was thrilled. Instead of huge piles all around the yard, there were just minuscule
leaf parts everywhere. By everywhere, I mean the yard was brown. No hint of green anywhere under that carpet of leaf guts. I think I even exploded a few tons of acorn parts.

But no raking or bagging, right? Instead, the leaf blower gets fired up. It takes a looooong time  to blow tiny leaf parts into the flower beds. It's kind of like vacuuming in reverse. And on a bigger rug.

It's better than raking and bagging, though, and as long as it rains before it gets windy, the yard should be in good shape.

There are still some leaves in the trees, but the maple and one of the magnolias have given up their bounty, so I may have to do this again. But maybe only once more.

Good eco work, right? And no back pain. Of course my arms, knees and legs are screaming but I prefer my exercise to have a purpose.

Speaking of purpose, Jeff and I had great times supporting two organizations this weekend: Meals on Wheels and the Indiana Recycling Coalition.  They both do important, great work and I'm proud to say I have great friends leading in both the efforts. If you have some extra money or time that you want to give to someone/thing, check out either. They'd be investments that help your heart and help others, too.

I have great friends who do great things. I'm lucky they put up with me. Of course Vicki made me dress up like a cowgirl and Carey made Karin and me wear recycled candy wrappers on our heads, so they may owe me more than I owe them.

I'm seriously grateful that my crazy journey has led me to not just meet fabulous people, but to count them as true friends.

Bobby and Helen Small are among that group. Both have made huge contributions through their family, their professions and organizations.

As many of you know, Bobby collapsed last week and has been in ICU ever since. He's getting a little better but he's not out of the woods yet. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He's a wonderful man with a wonderful family and it's awful to think of any of them in pain.

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