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I love November.

Cooler weather doesn’t really arrive in Dallas until now. After withering for blistering weeks on end in 100+ degree temperatures this summer, we have been blessed with two solid days of cloudy, cool, rainy weather. The temperatures are barely out of the fifties, and I’ve had to turn on my heat for the first time this season. Over the next week or so, we’ll gradually warm back up to the low 70’s, but there’s no doubt that fall has made its appearance.

November also signals the holiday season. There are those of us who go trick-or-treating in shorts and flip-flops on Halloween night, only to wake up the next morning to don sweaters and start whistling Christmas tunes. I don’t fall into either of those categories, but it’s amazing to me how we can so quickly leap from one holiday frame of mind to the other.

For me, the holiday season brings our annual trek to London (in 3 weeks and 5 hours, but who’s counting?). This will probably be our last Thanksgiving trip and possibly our next to last  ever U.K. trip. The United Kingdom isn’t ADA friendly and it’s a lot of stress on my feet, ankles, knees, and hips. I love London and a lot of what I love is that it’s such a walkable city, but that feature is slowly slipping out of my repertoire. As I’ve told my husband, we can always go stretch out on a beach somewhere when we’re in our 70’s, but we need to be taking the walking vacations while I’m still up to it. So a trip to London and Oxford for Thanksgiving this year, and probably one more in warmer weather next year, then …. well, then we’ll see.

But as much as I enjoy the cooler weather, it doesn’t always like me. My Sjogren’s, which retreats during the spring and summer months, comes out of hibernation for the winter. Driving, while holding a cold steering wheel, is the worst. My fingertips are white and numb when I get to where I’m going. Not even gloves help that much.

And the cold, rainy weather points out the new aches and pains I’ve picked up over the last year. This morning my right shoulder, where I had the biceps tendon and rotator cuff work done, was painfully miserable — making it hard to even drive.  Some gentle stretches helped a lot, but I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t used to do that.

I go see my rheumy in a couple of weeks — right before we leave for London. I’m doing okay on Enbrel, but I’m not doing outstanding. While I don’t whine going up and down stairs anymore (well, hardly anymore), I can see and feel the gradual deterioration in my joints.

But I’m ready for the new season, even if it does bring its downside. I love the smell of wood smoke from fireplaces and the sound of leaves skittering down the street. I like the unsettled weather with hints of both the lingering summer and the approaching winter. November makes me imagine the Earth as an old restless bear rustling around, trying to get comfortable before the longer winter nap.

I hope that November, and the season, bring you comfort and happiness.

Thanks for checking in.