It's been a crazy couple of weeks. My moods have been all over the place. I have an appointment with the shrink in a couple of weeks, and I'll make sure she hears all about it. Trigger warning: this brain dump may be depressing rather than funny. Mr. Bill Evans, could you please start us off with something melancholy and beautiful?

1. At our church's Trunk or Treat, the whole family went as minions, and I did my best to be Gru. I even had a bald cap, although I didn't get the witchy-poo nose I saw at the Halloween shop (I wasn't sure if we still had any spirit gum and, more importantly, spirit gum remover. We did). For actual trick or treating, Ph.BigBro decided to wear his fuzzy monster costume (it's โ€” ugh โ€” store-bought, but it's more for dress-up than Halloween anyway). I did a crazy costume idea that didn't really work out like I planned. Mom, LittleBro, and baby were all minions, and very cute.

2. Trick or treating is a special kind of hell when you have a kid with a peanut allergy. Of course, BigBro was very upfront with candy-givers, stating bluntly "I have a peanut allergy!" the response to which was almost always a blank stare. I did my best to intercept, and we had to go through the bag before he could.

3. LittleBro didn't quite get the concept. He would stand there and give everybody a confused look, as if to say "Am I supposed to go inside? What gives?"

4. My storage room nightmare continues. I really do want to tell the whole story, but I can't right now. On the plus side, the labeling of the boxes has a found poetry feel to it: "Old Small Stiff Bear," "Mexican Christmas Candlestand" and "Ugly Plates."

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5. Some of the labeling oddities are due to the labeler being Ph.Mom's youngest brother, who is a 21-year-old burnout. He frustrates me to no end, because he is not only a burnout but completely oblivious to his situation. His current plan is to move to Virginia (he knows a total of 3 people in Virginia) and get a job (he has never held a job) as a delivery driver (he doesn't drive).

6. This is the writing month thing, I guess. My goal is to get an article ready for publication. I haven't done anything about it other than think about it. My original plan was to submit to a smaller journal published in Leeds, but someone recommended I try for the Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), which is kind of a big deal as journals go in my field. I like the thought of trying for a stretch journal first. What I really want to get published in is what I consider the top journal in Medieval Studies. Unfortunately, then name of this journal would make it hard to brag about. "Guess what," I would say, "I got published in Speculum!" [awkward silence ensues. I slink away and eat two bags of powdered sugar donuts in the dark while watching Star Wars]. It's Latin for "mirror" and comes from a time where people didn't talk about gynecological instruments so much.

7. If you were an enforcer for a protection racket, would it be really hard for you to earnestly express your appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of some object, along with some concern for unpredictable calamities that might befall that object?

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8. I'm writing some fiction in my head, but I can't seem to get it written out. I feel as though I don't have any time to write (and yet here I am) and that I'm just overwhelmed with school responsibilities and family stuff (and yet here I am).

9. However, I did write a sonnet about headphones the other day while sitting on a bench in the middle of campus. So, yay?