All Hallow’s Eve

At home Halloween will be a snowy one — this past weekend the Mister (in Boston), my parents and in-laws (in NH) and my brother-in-law (in NYC) looked out their windows and saw the first snowstorm of the season.

Here in London, the weather continues to feel autumnal — leaves are changing color and falling to the ground.  Perfect Halloween weather.  On my way to the British Museum this past weekend, I passed this very stylish bookshop of the occult in Bloomsbury– very seasonal:

I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my little nephew this Halloween – he’s due to make his entrance in the world today!

More School

I admit it: I loved school.  I’m one of those types of people. With the exception of a few pre-adolescent years, I was very happy to march back to school every September armed with new books, pencils, etc., meet up with the friends I hadn’t seen all summer and then enter a new classroom.  And it wasn’t just the promise of new office supplies!  In college, I still loved sitting in the quiet of a lecture hall, tapping away at my computer keyboard and recording my professor’s thoughts on a new subject to learn.

(An aside — humorously, the Mister hated returning to school every September and being shut in a classroom all day, and yet he is the one who pursued many years of post-graduate education and is several advanced degrees ahead of me.  Hahahaha!)

Anyway. I was thrilled to come across an organization here in London called the School of Life, which offers lectures on very diverse topics such as , “How to Have Better Conversations”, “How to Thrive in the Digital Age”, “Why We Lie”, “On Storytelling”…the list is long.  And interesting! And well reviewed by Time Out London. Definitely up my alley.

Living in London – Sidewalk Survival Edition

Painting credit: Danny Maloney

Believe it or not, walking down the street takes me a great deal of concentration (especially on Saturdays in the city center, or evenings on the way to the tube).

Why?

Well, you share the sidewalk with a bout a jillion people, and they are walking every which way — towards you, away from you, cutting in front of you, blocking entrances, slowing down, speeding up, walking three abreast on the sidewalk.  I am totally, utterly impressed by the folks who stroll leisurely through a crowd, as if the crowd didn’t exist.  Honestly, their obliviousness protects them against “sidewalk rage” and I envy them.

Anyway, it requires a bit of mental attention simply not to bump into anyone, to keep my body from setting a collision course with all of the other bodies around me.  It’s difficult, especially since my tendency is always to shift towards the right of the sidewalk to move out of the way of an on-coming person, and most British have the instinct to shift towards the left.  I’ve had some near-misses, for sure.

Luckily, London is a city of fairly good “queue -ers” and at least in places like underground escalators, nearly everyone, save the few overwhelmed and confused tourists, manage to stand on the right, walk on the left.  (PS — why can’t EVERY escalator user in the world abide by such a simple rule?)

Whenever I am able to cut down an empty side street or a park or walk in my front door, I breath a sigh of relief.  No crowds.

 

Bookmark this TED Talk

Do you listen to TED talks?  Their speakers have a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.  I can’t listen to a talk without jotting something down in a notebook.  Last night, I discovered the work of Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet who gave this amazing TED talk last March.  Her poems are honest, familiar and heartfelt, and without a trace of pretense or artifice that often make me cringe with traditional beat poetry.

Her work  made me re-recognize what I so love about poetry and the alchemy that occurs when words turn into life-truths.  And boy, do I love people/words/places/music/art/things that make me think in a new way.  A quick shot of adrenaline to your inspiration muscles. Take a listen to the talk!