Many of you know that I love to feel like I've been helpful. Sometimes that manifests in untraditional ways. After a fire damaged the house of an aquaintence, I made sure to be a more frequent patron at her business. After the expected passing of a friend's father, I talked to a few colleagues and we put together the funds for a spa gift card. A trip to the spa is the last thing on someone's mind after a loved one passes, but I knew she had spent several of the preceding months caring for her sick father and her husband and her children and working a full time job...I felt like she needed some peaceful time to feel pampered.
The point is that the ways in which I find to be helpful are sometime a little unconventional. But I hate feeling heartbroken for someone and not being able to do anything to help them. And while the things that I do aren't earthshattering, major things, I like to think that they bring some small level of comfort or reassurance to the person in question. Halloween is an odd day to feel especially thankful for anything in particular...but over the course of the past few days a few unexpected opportunites to be helpful have presented themselves.
1. While I'm getting craftier...I've never really considered myself crafty. A few weeks ago, my mom started telling me that she needed to think of a Halloween costume for work since the staff were encouraged to dress up. My mother has never dressed up in a costume for Halloween before....so this was a bit to overcome for her. The parameters were that the costume should be rooted in one of four decades: the 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's. Being a fan of the 80's and the Wedding Singer, my mind when straight to Holly and the 80's jewelry and lace, funky hair and blue eye shadow.
My mom was not jazzed about this idea. But, to humor me, we had started buying a few key pieces of jewelry. Then we went to dinner. There was young girl dressed in a Twister costume and I looked at mom and said, we could make that! And so we did. When I got home from class last night, she was still elbow high in iron-on pieces that weren't working and Sharpie paint to fill in the letters that the craft iron would not successfully transfer. I was able to help her finish her costume last night and get up early this morning to help her with her makeup (I still got the blue eyeshadow in there)!
2. The reaction of coworkers to the crocheted hats I (in conjuction with coworkers, family and friends) have been working on. A colleague was so appreciative when I was willing to make a hat for her friend who is journeying through life with breast cancer.
3. There was a group of students facilitating small service projects on campus today. When I saw "write a letter to a soldier" on the list of activities (on Halloween) I was reminded of playing with my dad's Army camo face paint as a small child. I knew that I had to go write a letter to a soldier. I shared that story and that I used to wait until my dad fell asleep to get out my mom's crazy palette of 100 eye shadow colors and "paint" my dad's face like the Ultimate Warrior. I hope it makes someone smile when they read it. It made me smile remembering it.
And on a much more light-hearted note...
4. Starting tomorrow I'll officially be insane....if there are still one or two of you out there not yet convinced of my insanity. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. This will be my second attempt at the National Novel Writing Month compettion. Yes, amongst the full time job, thesis writing and crazy queue of crochet projects, I will be attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Check back here periodically during the month to see how many days in November I'm thankful for having reached my daily goal of 1667 words!
5. I just found out today that my corrections for my second chapter of my thesis aren't due until December instead of the middle of November! Best news ever! Now I just have to crank out chapter 3 in the next few days (yes, for those paying attention, as I start my NaNoWriMo word counts, I'll also be writing one of my thesis chapters)! Needless to say, friends and family, if you see me staring intently into the eyes of my computer screen AND typing at a feverish pace...don't break the mojo. If, however, I'm just staring blankly at my computer screen....you might want to throw something at my head and tell me to keep writing!!! :)