Midterms ate my October! But now that those are (almost) out of the way, I’m hoping to enjoy a bit more free time. Even so, the days leading up to Halloween are some of my most favorite of the year, for a multitude of reasons:

1. Bake Sale! Every year the student organization from my department holds a bake sale, with the profits going towards our conference, social events, and invited speakers. I always love an excuse to make decadent goodies or try new recipes. This year a recipe from the latest Vegetarian Times caught my eye: sweet onion, apple, and rosemary foccacia bread!

Gloriously fragrant, the right combination of sweet and savory, and the texture was just dreamy. This was my first time making bread from scratch, and all told it took about 3 and half hours! While at the time I may have been cursing how involved the whole process was, after that first warm slice straight from the oven I was singing a completely different tune. This bread is making it to my weekend to-do list on a semi-regular basis, and I can’t wait to try out all manner of toppings.

2. Pumpkin Carving! I grew up in a world where you used whatever rusty knife was no longer deemed kitchen worthy to whittle away. For the last few years, we stuck with painting our pumpkins, as no rusty knives are allowed anywhere near my kid. This year, though, we had a pumpkin carving potluck, and boy oh boy, times have changed! Those little kits with plastic tools and tiny metal serrated blades? They are fantastic! Still not really appropriate for young children, but I sure had a blast with them! Not the best snapshot, and maybe not high art, but I love our My Neighbor Totoro inspired pumpkins.

Totoro! Catbus!

3. Playing dress up! This year Miki decided to be Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. For those of you keeping score, that is the second Miyazaki reference. The entire household happens to adore his movies. It’s not an easy task to find films that we can all enjoy together, but Miyazaki just makes animated magic!

4. Anniversary! Casey and I started dating in late October (the exact date is a little hazy, 27? 26?), and each year we both completely forget about anniversary. One of us remembers a couple of days later, and then we have a very low-key celebration. This year, because we had been so busy lately, we decided to have a day full of nothing but lounging around on the sofa, ignoring the outside world and all impending deadlines. It was pretty blissful, and I am happy to have met someone as quirky, silly, and strange as me. Mandatory ridiculous photo, which I believe is the first photo of “us” ever taken:

Yes, that's faux fur 🙂

5. Black cats! Did you know that black cats are less likely to be adopted from a shelter than cats of other colors? So terribly sad, as most black kitties I have met are as sweet and loving as can be. And my dear Mo Vox is no exception. I adore my little rescued cat, and with her penchant for sitting in window sills, she makes my home seem a little more Halloween-y all year ’round. She was also recently diagnosed with mild cerebellar hypoplasia. We had always just thought clumsiness was a quirk of hers. She’s completely fine, and this won’t affect her life, but many cats with CH aren’t high functioning, and usually wind up being euthanized. Any future cats that make their way into our home will definitely be black and/or special needs. Because look at her! How can you not fall in love?

Seriously! Could she be any cuter!?!

Have a happy Halloween, everyone!