1. Not a small grace note but a BIG grace note: my mother has been visiting us for the past week and having her here makes living so far away suddenly seem manageable.   It’s both extraordinary that she’s here and…completely ordinary. Of  course she’s here; Grandma always comes to visit in the fall.  The fact that she flew fifteen hours to do so…well, that’s just logistics.

2. Grandma brought candy corn. The genuine original high-fructose orange-and-white pyramidical “corn.” Bags of it. Five bags, to be precise.  Which should be just about enough—for me.  If my children are very, very nice to me, I may share a few kernels with them. Maybe.

3. Henna. We got henna tattoos, even though we weren’t guests at a Mumbai wedding. My very blue mother, who lives in a very red state, joked that now her neighbors (who were aghast when she voted for Obama) will be certain that Barack has converted her to Islam:

4. The team uniforms of the soccer club that organizes the teams Liam and Caleb play for: they look like human candy corn. Or McDonald’s workers. Or escapees from a Where’s Waldo book:

5. The fact that an actual reader of my blog (a reader! I have an actual reader who is not my mother, is not a relative, and who found this blog through…well, I have no idea how she found me, but I’m glad she did) saw fit to email me with the name of the woman here in town who cooks and delivers real Mexican food.  Muchas gracias, Tracy!