As of today, I have written seventy-nine blog posts since July 19th. That's when we started the #30daywritingchallenge. That first post had to do with Five Problems of Social Media, and we've covered a wide range of topics between then and now.
You know what keeps coming up, though? Special memories. I have a lot of special memories, but I'm feeling a little drained right now. It's not a bad thing, really. It's actually quite good. I think it's because I have so many projects on my plate that are taking up a good portion of my energy. I guess I'm just not willing to dip too far into the emotional pool today. I'm feeling comfortably calm. Level. Content. I'm happy not moving from this spot I'm in.
I came up with an idea ... I decided that I would write about a few memories I have of this month. October. I love October. I really love this whole last quarter of the year, actually, but October means autumn, and that's my favorite time of the year. Special memories of a special month. Yes. I like this. I'm going to go with this.
I went several years back. I'm going to start with this one from 2003 ...
This was Scotty's first Halloween. Maya was planning on dressing up as Snow White. She'd been talking about it for months and was very excited about it. She was four and a half, and very into Disney princesses. My mom - master seamstress that she is - was at the fabric store buying the material to make Maya's costume the day I introduced her to The Wizard of Oz. Maya decided right then and there that she was ditching Snow White and wanted to be Dorothy Gale. When I called Mom, she was in the checkout line with everything she needed for a princess costume. As you can see, we caught her just in time. Scott, of course, dressed as the Not So Cowardly Lion. This was the one and only time my kids dressed together for Halloween. Scott wasn't quite a year old yet here. He was warm. He was happy. He was too young to choose a costume on his own.
In October of 2007, my family suffered a bout of clumsiness - or bad luck. I'm not sure what to call it, really. Scotty kicked it off by breaking his arm. He didn't just break it, either. He broke it right in half. He was playing on the stairs. More accurately, he was climbing the outside of the stairs, you know, around the railing? It was a Saturday night - yes, I remember it vividly - at about nine. The kids had been bathed and were snuggled up in their warm pajamas. It was bed time, and I'd already scolded Scott half a dozen times for playing on the stairs. When I saw him climbing again I thought to myself, "No more scolding. Let's go upstairs and head to bed." Not five seconds after this thought flitted through my brain, I saw Scott lose his grip on the rail and watched him fall - right on his left arm. He let out a horrible squeal of pain ... then nothing else. (Now I realize he was in shock.) When I ran and picked him up, his enormous blue eyes were filled with tears, and his arm was dangling at a horrible and incredibly unnatural angle from beneath his Lightning McQueen jammies.
I think it was a couple of weeks later - it might not have even been that long - I got a call from my mom. She and my dad were vacationing in Maine at the time. When she told me she'd fallen and broken her ankle, I laughed thinking it was a joke. I'd already gone through taking Scotty to the ER, riding in the ambulance with him from one hospital to another, then waiting for him to go through an early morning operation so that a pediatric orthopedic surgeon could put a pin in his elbow. For some reason my brain decided I'd already dealt with one too many broken bones.
Of course what Mom told me was true. She had a spiral fracture in her ankle - and she was going to need surgery, too. My dad put her on a plane, and while she was flying back to Colorado, I moved Maya to the top bunk in Scotty's room and got Maya's bedroom ready for Mom.
Our home turned into a convalescent hospital ... and come to find out, I'm a pretty damn good nurse.
The following October went a whole lot smoother. No broken bones. Yay! Mom even went with us to a pumpkin patch in Evergreen - and no one suffered any injuries.
I included this memory because this is one of my favorite family pictures of us. Also, Maya is wearing her Nutcracker sweatshirt. (You can't tell. You'll just have to trust me.) This was the first year she'd auditioned for a part in this ballet - and she wound up being the cutest mouse anyone's ever seen. When this picture was taken, she was already hard at work in her regular dance classes, plus extra practices for the upcoming performance. That in itself is a very special memory.
Ah ... now we're going to skip a couple of years and go to October of 2010. We were living in North Carolina then, and Mom and my aunt Donna had come for a visit. I'd never been to a state fair before. At least not one that I remember. The North Carolina State fair was held during Mom and Donna's stay, so we went and checked it out. Talk about memories.
This was a huge experience in people watching - and fried cuisine. Wow. I never knew you could fry so many different kinds of food. I had a blast at the fair, but I'll be honest - I think one of these in my lifetime was plenty. It was an event I won't ever forget.
Two October's later found our family in Germany. Here we were in a village called Kusel visiting Burg Lichtenburg. This was a beautiful spot, especially at this time of the year.
October 2013 found us in another one of my favorite German cities. I'm actually writing about this specific cathedral in an upcoming novel titled Red Beard and the Ravens.
This is my hubby walking across the lawn at the back of Speyer cathedral.
And here is the front.
My book is about Frederick Barbarossa, who was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 until his death in 1190, and his family. It will be historical fiction, but with a twist. There will be a bit of a ghost story thrown in as well. Barbarossa's wife, Beatrice I of Burgundy (France) and his youngest child, a daughter named Agnes, are buried here in the crypt below Speyer Cathedral. We got to visit their grave site during this trip. Barbarossa's nickname was Red Beard, hence part of the title.
Sorry. I got all caught up. I'm one of those dorks who actually loves history and research. Now that the educational part of this post is over, I'll move on to October of 2014.
We're back in Colorado again. This was a really fun day. It definitely wasn't Germany, but memorable all the same. We'd taken a Jeep trip along La Salle Pass to get some fall colors.
And who wouldn't enjoy hanging out with a couple of goofballs like these two?
October, 2015. Well, I'd like to skip last fall and winter altogether ... but I won't. I was sporting this last October:
This was one of about eight casts I wore from June until February. In November I had the first of two surgeries, so in October, I still had no idea what was wrong with my wrist - only that it hurt like hell.
I believe it was in October that I was taking prednisone. I'm a friendly girl. I get along with just about everyone - but prednisone and I, we are not friends. My surgeon had me taking it because it did help with the pain, but it made me dizzy. One afternoon I was in the kitchen. Both Steven and Scott were with me and I was attempting to crush a pizza box to put it in the recycle bin. I bent to step on it and totally misjudged. My depth perception was off - or something, I don't know - and I managed to smack my head on the counter. Hard. I hit the edge against the bridge of my nose, and nearly knocked myself out. I don't think I've told that story before. I think I'm trying to block it out of my memory.
So, there you go ... a whole collection of special memories. They aren't all good ones, but special in their own way. I need to prepare for post number eighty now, but first I'm going to get away from the computer a bit - maybe go make another October memory.