• Mary

The November List

November is here and I can hardly believe that we're coming to the end of 2020.


Election Day is in 2 days, but for more than 92 million, our votes have already been counted. I want so badly for this country to have a new leader and for this nightmare administration to come to an end. The turnout this year has been drastically increased from the 2016 presidential election, and that fact makes me hopeful. But then it can be so scary to hope.

On a personal level, at 30 weeks pregnant, I'm squarely in my third trimester now. The baby is growing by leaps and bounds and his frequent movements and occasional emphatic kicks remind me throughout each day that my body houses a person whom I've yet to meet. I’m three quarters of the way through this pregnancy and that still seems so strange.

This month we'll sign up for birth/parenting classes, have our baby shower, and see renovations in the basement begin. I'm really looking forward to clearing out the nursery room which is currently being used as a storage space in anticipation of the work downstairs. Lots of activity this month, and I'm grateful for the productive distractions they will all provide as the days grow shorter.


To the left, a picture of me this morning, with my decaf coffee and my stylish lavender back brace to help with some lower back pain lol. The morning after Daylight Savings Time ends is an underrated joy - that extra hour of sleep, while still getting out of bed at a reasonable hour, is such a gift.


Here are some of my plans for November.


Brace for a long, dark winter

It sounds grim but it’s reality nonetheless - we’re entering the coldest months of the year. If there ever was a time to embrace the concept of hygge, it’s this winter.


I’m thankful that we were able to lock in our renovations so that it’ll be finished before the end of the year. A nicer downstairs area and a more open bedroom (we’re removing a bulky set of built-ins that take up most of a wall) will make the space feel much more like our style.


But short of actually renovating your home, there are still things I’m doing to prepare for the season that could be done in any living space:

  • Taking out a couple of throw blankets. For us, it’ll be one on the couch and one in a chair in our reading nook.

  • Going on clutter patrol. For some reason, when the throw blankets are out, I get way more sensitive to clutter, and clutter makes any space feel instantly smaller to me.

  • Rearranging the houseplants. We’ll be moving the citrus trees indoors any day now, and just got new snake plant cuttings to pot from my father in law. A little shakeup in the greenery in the home will be nice.

  • Stocking up on hot drink options: my usual chamomile and chai tea, some hot cocoa, my premixed jar of spices for turmeric lattes, and fresh ginger in the fridge.

  • Treating myself to a new set of pajamas. I think this gift to myself will be greatly appreciated.

  • Having a steady stream of reading material. When stuck at home, there really is no better way to escape than to read. We’re currently both reading The Way of Kings, the first in an epic fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson. Each book clocks in at over 1,000 pages so we’ve got plenty of content to get through. I also have a little pile of New Yorkers waiting for me, which I’ve let myself get behind on.

Start the holiday season

There will be no large in-person family gatherings for us anytime soon. Holiday 2020 will be unlike any before it, but I'm still excited to enter this time of year. It'll be our first one in this house, our first one with Sunday, and our last before the baby is due to arrive. I'm going to take the next week or so to come up with a holiday plan for the family; it'll be fun to brainstorm ways to make some merry despite the year we’ve had.


Set bigger weekly goals for hand-building

I’m looking to work on efficiency and multi-tasking when it comes to my at-home hand-building practice.

Due to my full time job, which can be quite draining, it’s easy to take a couple of nights off from pottery during the week because I cannot always summon the motivation or focus after a long workday. While I still want to give myself the time to rest, I want to be more consistent from week to week about how many hours are dedicated to pottery. Working more consistently, at a faster pace, and on more items at a time will be a necessary skill after the baby comes, so I’m going to make an effort to start honing that discipline now.

Store summer clothing in vacuum bags

We purchased vacuum sealed storage bags when we were packing for the move out of the apartment in April, and they are amazing space savers. We've just taken out some of the sweaters and scarves, and will unseal the bag with all of our heavier coats soon as well. I'm going to rotate out the summer clothing in my dresser and closet and store those for the next several months just to make more space. I hear we're going to need a LOT of storage for baby stuff. These bags are great for small spaces. I love watching them shrivel and shrink as the vacuum hose sucks the air out of the bags - suddenly 10 sweaters fit in just about 4 inches of space. They can be stacked under the bed or tucked upright like books. I also love knowing that wool is protected from moths without having to use toxic (and smelly) mothballs.

Make and stick to a plan for Black Friday/Cyber Monday I don’t have a lot on my list to buy this year. Knowing that there might be some great deals, I came up with the beginnings of a plan: which shops I’ll check and what items I’m looking to purchase. Trying to be budget-conscious, I'd like to avoid spontaneous purchases at a time when most of our dollars should be going toward home and baby things. Things on my list this year include: our 2021 wall calendar, a replacement eye cream from Youth to the People, and some new bath towels.

Now, I'm off to have some breakfast and pack up for this week's trip to the studio. November, please be good to us.

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