RN: October is probably my favorite month of the year, 31 days so glorious that they dare me to ask you, Mr. Glass Half-Empty, if you could recite something -- besides our friendship, of course -- that's currently making you happy.

CP: Unicorns and rainbows, silly. The color of sunshine on maple leaves. Owl City.

RN: To that I'd add the return of "The Good Wife," a show that I sometimes wish would be renamed "The Good Wife's Impossibly Sexy Friend Kalinda."

CP: Meh. Still not watching. I did thoroughly enjoy the recent NorthernGrade men's market. Let me count the ways: free artisan coffee served by bowtie-and-suspenders-wearing baristas who look like they leapt out of a 1918 bicycle advertisement; the mid-century dining-room buffet I'd been prospecting for several years, vintage denim, handmade belts -- all in a rustic antiques warehouse on a sunny Saturday.

RN: My current mood-elevating retail experience is Cultural Cloth, the Maiden Rock, Wis., fair-trade importer of one-of-a-kind, women-made textiles. By the way, your man bag has more hardcovers than the average bookmobile. What are you reading?

CP: Junot "The Genius" Diaz. And Thoreau. Am slow-reading the Journals. That transcendentalist was one deep mamma-jamma.

RN: I just had the opposite experience with Lynn Povich's "The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace." I picked it up for a long flight, and couldn't put it down. Ditto Jeffrey Toobin's equally page-turning "The Oath."

CP: His prediction of the Obamacare ruling notwithstanding, Toobin is a regular Supremes savant. What Nina Totenberg?

RN: Indeed. Then there's Ballet of the Dolls' superstar Stephanie Fellner. Oh, and my new, super cushion-ey Lululemon yoga mat, which is advancing my side crow from Semi-Pathetic to Not Entirely Embarrassing.

CP: Grabbing a blanket and hitting the "snooze" button.

RN: Chris Kluwe.

CP: Ginger snaps.

RN: Or the ginger cookies at Fika, the fabulous cafe inside the equally fabulous Nelson Cultural Center at the American Swedish Institute.

CP: Spotify.

RN: This week's fifth anniversary of Minnesota's smoking ban. I baked a cake.

CP: The scent of the Seward Co-op.

RN: The growing number of microbrewery tap rooms.

CP: The Nan Goldin photos at the just-closed '80s show at Walker Art Center.

RN: The end of this year's political advertising tsunami, in just 30 torturous days.

CP: The heated seat.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib