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We interrupt Halloween candy giving (and eating) to bring you this newsletter! Halloween for me brings up some of my fondest memories of my boys growing up. I loved making their costumes (ear of corn, Blue from Blue’s Clues, Fozzie Bear, Native American, chef); I have them all still packed away in the attic! I love the creativity that this holiday inspires. For two years (2011 and 2012), storms kept us from celebrating, and I joked last year that there were a group of five- and six-year-olds who had no memory of saying “trick or treat.” I do miss going through the boys’ bundles of candy loot and begging for Jujyfruits!

I drive into the city Monday through Thursday, eschewing mass transit as I loathe being held to schedules. I have discovered a phone app called Waze that I am addicted to. It crowdsources traffic reporting to give you intel on the best travel routes, as well as what’s happening on the roadways and frequently updates my anticipated arrival time. Besides directions, you get real-time info on accidents and other obstacles that may slow you down. My favorite phrases this week: “roadkill on road ahead,” “rain ahead” and “pothole coming up.” I also did not use the same route any of the four days as “the Waze lady,” as we call her, shot me around to new routes around the heaviest traffic. It definitely made the brutal commutes in the rain on Wednesday and Thursday a lot more bearable.

For those in the New York City area who are wondering why it was warmer than usual this week, here are two reasons: 1) I put the electric blanket on the bed, and 2) We brought in most of the plants and herbs that we thought were in danger of being harmed by cold weather and the eventual frost. If we had brought in the rest, we would be having a full-on heat wave. I'll work on that over the weekend! Like last winter, I am determined to keep the hibiscus and Mandevilla plants in bloom. The challenge: I bought a ceramic planter that is in the shape of a boat that the Mandevilla is in (see photo above), and that thing is heavy. I am thinking we need a ramp and a dolly to move it. And there are three other big pots that need to come inside. Tom has challenged me next year to plant the big plants in light buckets, but if these wither over according to plan, we will be hauling them around again.

I, like many of you, love three-day weekends. There is something marvelous about the prospect of an extra day to just enjoy, especially when there is no special meal or entertaining to be done. We always close the office for Columbus Day since I think there is a huge gap of time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and the staff can use an extra day to themselves!

When we left off last week, I was headed to the Morristown Festival of Books. I was joined by two of our interns, Rebecca Munro and Matthew Burbridge, as well as Rebecca’s mom, Martha, who is an avid reader, and reviewer Vivian Payton. We had a fabulous day of book camaraderie. Rebecca wrote a blog about the day, complete with photos that we both shot, here. I have attended a LOT of book festivals, and I was extremely impressed with this inaugural program. I look forward to seeing it grow in years to come.