My mornings have been revolutionized lately by this nifty innovation called a "carpool". It turns out that some of the neighbors on our new street send their 3-year-old son to the same preschool where Grace is going. She has room in her car for Grace, in addition to her little boy and her 2nd-grader, so most mornings I walk Grace over to their house and watch them drive away for the school drop-off run. I guess it is not technically a carpool if she does all the driving and I never help, is it? (And a minivan really is in our near future, isn't it? Bleargh.) Anyway, it has been such a help, and it feels great to be making friends in our neighborhood.
I realized the other day that fully half of the new friends I have made here in Salt Lake City (I am just counting adult women in this) don't eat gluten. There is a gluten intolerance epidemic! It is a very trendy way to eat (obviously) and its trendiness makes me chuckle, but I do have sympathy for such issues since my mom has been off gluten for, gosh, 10 or so years now and it has made a big difference for her. I sometimes suspect if I myself could lay the blame for some of my (rather mild) chronic stomach issues on gluten. I have been joking with Rob lately that I sure will miss macaroni & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches and such when I discover I am lactose and gluten (oh, and probably yeast and fructose too) intolerant.
Speaking of making new friends, remember how I was saying, "Oh, I haven't really met many LDS people at all," and saying how typical everyone in Utah seemed? Well! It turns out that one of the mom friends I've made at MOPS has actually been part of a fundamentalist polygamous sect her whole life until 18 months ago! I did not see that one coming, I tell you. She is a sweet, funny woman with a regular haircut and regular clothes, and obviously very brave and determined for leaving her lifelong community with her children. She left because her oldest children (both girls and boys) started having a lot of trouble in that community in their teenage years and is divorcing her husband (she was the first wife so CAN actually get a divorce and all the legal rights that entails). A surprise around every corner, I tell you!
In much more mundane news, I think that this is the year that Robert and I finally break down and celebrate Halloween in traditional American style. I refer you to my post from two years ago to explain our feelings on the matter and my history with this holiday. Everything is changing this year, though, because a) our church here is teeny tiny and isn't doing any kind of fall festival and b) I am told that our street is very trick-or-treating friendly with lots of young families and neighborliness and fun times. (Actually, our street is just very neighborly to start with; I have already had more chats and interactions and glasses of wine with neighbors here than I did in 2 whole years in Dallas.) We are going to leave our light ON this year and give out candy and everything. This will be a first for me. Rob is still very grumpy about the whole holiday (he has stronger feelings about it all than I do, which is somewhat ironic, given the difference in our backgrounds-- or maybe that is to be expected? perhaps we all tend to explore different choices than our parents?) but we bought the candy so we are mentally committed to the whole neighborhood Halloween celebration. Violet is going to wear the hand-me-down Cat in the Hat costume and Grace is going to be a fairy. I bought the wings on Etsy and am sewing a matching dress. I must admit that part of my openness to a more conventional Halloween just might stem from how FUN it is to sew up a fantastical costume. There aren't just enough opportunities in life to sew a shiny sparkly fairy dress.