Every year we undertake a maddening endeavor: a Halloween party of such magnitude that only those with questionable sanity would attempt it. Okay, maybe it’s not quite elaborate enough to be a product of lunacy, but it’s a ridiculous amount of work: sewing costumes, decorating every possible surface of two floors of our house, buying and wrapping prizes, organizing games and contests. Preparations start months in advance and cleanup takes weeks if we are diligent and months if we are not. If you can’t imagine how putting on such an event would take so much time it’s because you have never tried it.
Jason converted the boxes in our basement to this graveyard. I had my doubts about how it would turn out but I was pleased with the results.
I dressed-up this year as the Greek goddess Aphrodite; Jason went as Ares, the god of war. As usual, I sewed both our costumes.
Here are my goddess locks. Not too shabby considering I did the “do” myself.
Lee as a Chinese organ thief.
This is my friend Robyn, I mean Leia, and her kiddies. Robyn won the best costume prize this year.
These decorations aren’t too impressive but I like how this picture turned out.
Jason and Drew A.K.A. Ares and Mark Antony. And yes, Jason does have a giant helmet.
Decorating for this party is the most time-consuming task. Our Halloween decorations fill over 20 giant Rubbermaid containers. Just locating and organizing the items we want to use is quite an ordeal. But the hardest part of decorating is trying to arrange the same decorations into something different every year. Coming up with good décor ideas for each area in our house is hard; coming up with distinct good ideas every year is nearly impossible.
This little mouse, peaking out of a teacup, is my most favorite of the decoration ideas I came up with this year. For some reason I really dig it.
Jason’s parents, Keith and Sue, dressed in 50’s attire. The stitches on Sue’s nose are not part of her costume. She fell a couple of days before our party and broke her nose in two places.
This is our fireplace transformed.
Jenn as Alice and Strider the Mad Hatter. Jenn made these fabulous costumes.
Jason’s brother Jeremy and our friend Jacob shared a sweet moment in Jeremy’s creamed crap can together. You’d think this special moment was the result of some punch spiking but that was not the case.
My brother Drew came as Mark Antony and his wife, Simone, came as Cleopatra, Antony’s lover.
I created this pirate’s lair to hide some basement boxes.
We love Halloween, which is why we take on this arduous chore year after year. All the work is worth it (in theory) when our friends and family show up decked-out in their costume inventions ready for some fiendish merriment. I especially enjoy watching the little kids, at least the ones that aren’t absolutely horrified by the Halloween paraphernalia, go from decoration to decoration muttering “wow” and “look at this one”. We’re glad to be part of the magic of Halloween even if it’s a lot of hard work, not magic, that makes it happen.
This is my nephew Miles with lots of loot from the pinata and treasure hunt.
These are the costume contest winners…and Jacob.
I did a pirate treasure hunt for the kids this year. This was the pirate booty.
Here are my parents in their Halloween attire.
Jason and his brother Matt goofing off.
Jason did a great job on this ceiling. He hooked up all the lighting to a color box, which made the lights flicker to our Halloween music.
This is yet another of the many areas we decorated for the party.
Jason and I love experiencing our world, whether that’s through a bike ride in the mountains or a concert in the park. Last week we did a lot of experiencing.
Snow Patrol was sweet!
For starters, we went to a Snow Patrol concert. It was awesome! Of course, if I didn’t absolutely love Snow Patrol in the first place I wouldn’t have drug Jason to their concert. Although I wasn’t surprised by how skilled the band was live, I was surprised by their size: 2 drummers, 4 guitarists, and a keyboardist. I guess with all the layers in Snow Patrol’s music I shouldn’t have been too astonished that that many musicians were required to create their unique sound.
My favorite part of the evening was their performance of “The Golden Floor”. This song’s haunting melody and catchy rhythm made it an instant favorite of mine when I first heard Snow Patrol’s new album, A Hundred Million Suns, but seeing it played live exceeded all my expectations. One of the band’s drummers pounded away on some giant metal drums throughout the number. The intensity of his beating gave the song a primal feel and made the experience unforgettable.
Plain White T’s, the opening band, also put on a great, but extremely short, show. Their lead singer, Tom Higgenson, was sick and so they only played a few songs. Even though Tom was barely able to talk he managed to sing without sounding very strained. Since I really liked what little they played for us, I’ve decided that I need to purchase their CD.
This is me at the Real game. I was a bit cold but I was very grateful I wasn't wet.
Our second cultural event of the week was a Real SLC game. We won some amazing tickets for this game at a silent auction event for a charity. Our seats were right on the sidelines, behind the team benches. Sweet! As fate would have it, the day of the game was an incredibly rainy one. Blast! We loaded up for the match with lots of rain gear and garbage bags – everything we could think of that might decrease the soaking we assumed we were about to receive. And then the miraculous occurred: as we were traveling to the game the skies cleared and the night turned into a beautiful autumn evening. It was still cold enough that hats, gloves, jackets, and scarves were needed, but with that bundling it was pretty pleasant and, more importantly, it was completely dry.
Anakin told me he was going to use an old Jedi trick called "wrappa armaround". He must be strong with the force because he pulled that one off.
Two days later we headed up to Salt Lake City again, this time for Star Wars: In Concert. Fantastic! A giant LED screen, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) in the flesh, a live orchestra, actual props from the Star Wars films, and more geeky fans than you could possibly imagine made for a splendid nerdfest!
I think Jason was ready to join the dark side at this point.
Hooray for three memorable evenings!
A few weeks ago I posted about my ankle’s willingness to let me resume my status as a running fool, which is extremely exciting to be sure, but I didn’t give any details about how my ankle is doing in general, now that I have successfully survived my first year following peroneal tendon repair surgery. So for all you people out there with an ankle that currently looks like Gumby’s, here’s my eagerly anticipated, highly celebrated, one-year update.
Functionality? My ankle functions marvelously compared to how it used to, but not so great compared to my other foot. It’s much sturdier and more stable than it has been in years but still a little on the unpredictable side. I can now pretty much do anything on it I want, however, that doesn’t mean it won’t complain. My ability to do whatever I desire, not it’s whining, is what concerns me most though, so I’m pretty content with its current performance. I still have to wear my brace for the next couple of months while doing physical activities; I am very curious about how lefty will do when it doesn’t have the brace anymore for support and stabilization. I guess I’ll see in 8 weeks.
Mobility? My ankle’s mobility has improved greatly over the last 12 months but it’s definitely not as flexible as it was before surgery. There’s a limit to how much I can twist and angle it before I start feeling that unnatural tug of the tendon and its unwillingness to stretch any further. It’s not bad though, I don’t notice this inflexibility during most normal daily activities.
This is what lefty looks like now. My scar is still quite visible. I'm hoping someday it will lighten up a bit.
Swelling? Still swollen, though less so than a few months ago. But, since the doctor told me to expect some swelling for a year or two, I haven’t been anticipating much progress on that front just yet.
Stiffness and Achiness? Unfortunately, my ankle is still a little cranky. Every morning when I take my first few steps out of bed I can feel it resisting the movement. Some days it will hurt persistently for no apparent reason, which makes me feel like an old lady who can tell in her bones when a storm is approaching. But, although it is prone to fits of moodiness, most days it behaves relatively well. However, I am in no danger of ever confusing my good ankle with my reconstructed one.
Heels? Yes! I don’t don my highest heels much anymore but I can wear 2-3 inchers without any noticeable issues. So don’t worry ladies, you won’t have that sadly limited shoe selection forever.
In conclusion, my ankle is doing well. I don’t know if I can ever expect it to feel exactly like my normal one, probably not. For lefty, I suspect life will permanently be a little tricky. I’m sure it will continue to improve over the next few years but it will most likely always have some complaints. Honestly though, who cares? Now I can run, I can bike, I can board – I can do all the things I love. If that means having to put up with my ankle’s occasional temper tantrums that’s alright by me. So for all of you out there in your first year of recovery from ankle surgery, there is hope at the end of those initial terrible months. Maybe a perfectly blissful ankle doesn’t await you at the end of that road but, if you are like me, a pretty darn good one seems practically just as fantastic.