Three a.m. found me outside, talking quietly into a cell phone while the cicadas traded stories with the crickets about the end of summer. Beneath me, the concrete gathered chill from the still, silent air, as clouds played peekaboo with a gibbous moon.

The celestial switch has been thrown; we woke up one morning this week instinctively burrowed deeper into the covers, cats snuggled closer, trading body heat like cards. Our bodies always seem to know before our minds realize; without thinking we find outselves reaching into the closet not for t-shirts and shorts, but perhaps for a long-sleeved shirt or light sweater.I sat outside, sweater-girl, sandals forsaken for warmer sneakers and a mixed drink dangling delicately from restless fingers.

Excepting Februaries, months are essentially repetitions on the same seven-hundred-hour theme. Many of those hours are spent in activities ranging from the forgettable to the somnolent. Our choices regarding the remaining hours color our impressions about the length of the month.

September, plus the first breaths of October: eight concerts, six lengthy road trips, and an astonishingly fractured sleep schedule. A quick whiffle of finger-counting tells me that I spent more than a full calendar day in my car during September, a number which both startles and amuses. I could complain - and mind you, this sweater-girl most definitely has this month - but the fullness of September's hours was by choice.

I spent a good chunk of the single-digit hours cross-medicating. Caffeine to get me home, an after-arrival celebratory drink to tamp the caffeinated fidgets, and a long talk with a friend to coast me down through the last of the wakeful hours until a sleep that came near dawn.

On my calendar, the days of October lie quiet and uncircled. Jeff's collegiate homecoming. An as-yet nebulous trip to Atlanta to help a friend with a while-you-were-out house-painting job. Birthdays - both mine, and my spouse's.

("You and Jeff have birthdays that are four days apart? That's just weird." - C. "What's weirder is that we still manage to forget to buy each other birthday gifts.")

I make it a policy to try to spend my birthdays in some new, interesting place. See someplace unusual.

This year, it might just be my living room.