Let's leap straight in and start with a number: the number 4.
Today marks the 4th consecutive January I've summarised with stories and statistics here on my blog ... and so begins my 4th year of My Month in Numbers.
And now it's a habit. A ritual. A reliable, searchable, online journal which I can refer to when I want to reminisce or remember the date of a specific event. Because this journal has documented - using numbers as a starting point - many of my notable moments be they big, small, happy, funny, strange. In fact, it's better when they're strange.
Knowing that, month in month out, I'll have to find something to fill the next Month in Numbers post has made me take notice many of the smaller pieces which go towards making up the jigsaw of a month.
And in doing so I've recorded so many small, ordinary and out-of-the-ordinary events, incidents and everyday oddities over the last 3 years of counting that would otherwise have been diluted by the flow of daily life and lost.
And, while my monthly jigsaw may be a strange shape at times ... but there's no doubting that it certainly has colour!
And so ... if you're joining in for the 1st time today, perhaps inspired by the lure of a fresh new year, or for the 10th time or more ... then welcome, welcome, welcome. What say we make a start on our '2013' jigsaws right now?
Here's how my first few pieces have dropped into place ...
11 = the number of days after Christmas I gave and received gifts from friends. This was fun. It gave us enough time to recover from the initial official round of receiving to catch our breaths and to start to feel like another gift round about now would be just the job. And it was.
And then the gifts kept on coming ...
16= the number of days after Christmas I received a lost Christmas gift from my parents. And, believe it or not, the gift was ... appropriately ... a roll of number-design sticky tape!
Location: Mam and I were wandering around our local art gallery gift shop ...
- Me [holding up a roll of number-design tape]: 'I love this'
- Mam: 'I know you do. That's why I bought you one'.
- Me: 'You didn't. I haven't got any.'
- Mam [confused and concerned for the sanity of at least one of us]: 'I did! I knew you liked it from the last time we were here so I came back and got it. Ask your sister, she was with me.'
- Me [emphatic]: I don't need to ask Jo. 'I believe you!! But I definitely didn't get it'.
- Both of us: 'I wonder who it was who sat there on Christmas morning wondering why on earth someone had randomly bought them sticky tape!'
- Mam [walking down stairs clutching a small, distinctly roll-shaped gift-wrapped bundle]: 'I can't understand it. It was on the floor where all the presents had been. It wasn't even hidden. Just sat there, all on it's own.'
- Me [tearing at the wrapping paper]: 'Thank you! I wonder what it could be ....'
17 = the number of days after Christmas I received birthday gifts. Mainly because it was my birthday ...
Do you remember last month's Month in Numbers where I detailed how I was going to be spending much of 2013 drinking Root Beer and filling out puzzles? [Visit December 2012 for an explanation]. Well, you now need to picture the same scene but with the addition of crisps, because ...
30 = the number of packets of Monster Munch crisps inside the wholesale bulk box I received as a birthday present:
I feel better now.
3 = the number of library books read:
- The Girl With the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw - this one really is a case of 'it does what it says on the tin'. It's about a girl. With glass feet. As you might have guessed by that it's not a true story ... but rather one from the magical realism genre [I can only ever really read fantasy when it's sprinkled on top of reality!]
- The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd. I really enjoyed this. It was everything that Ripper Street [BBC1s new unappealing and slightly objectionable drama] could have been. With history, more magical realsim and some Sherlock Holmesian touches thrown in. A great read.
- And Astray by Emma Donaghue. Which I admit, I only partly read. Based on snippets of true-life these short stories felt a little more gritty than what I'm looking for in my fiction at the moment.
Now let's move on to accessories ...
2 = the number of bowler hats played and posed with just after midnight at New Year:
And one of them was even donated to James as a gift and so it came back home with us.
A bowler hat that is. Not a bus.
Now let's move from hats ... to scarves ....
2 = the number of grey zebra scarves I now own:
Turns out she'd bought + wrapped the one on the right for me without realising I already had one. However ...
... upon closer inspection ...
I realised that the new one is a completely different shade of grey so, you know, it's actually an essential part of my grey zebra scarf wardrobe. And a girl can't have too many zebra scarves!
And yes ... it's already been pointed out that there are 48 shades of grey left to go before I've got a full set ...! ;-)
OK then, those were mine. How about yours?
If you want more details plus tips on how to join in if you haven't already - those things can be found here.
And ... if you're just happy to read my vital statistics for January 2013 then that's grand too!
But .. if you do want to join in ... and you'd like for me to pin your post to the Month in Numbers Pinterest board [currently followed by 535 people] then ...
Here are the usual notes to consider:
If you write a Month in Numbers post of your own and want to leave a link for myself and others to come and visit [then please bear in mind it's more fun if it's a shared experience.
- When you swing by my blog to drop off your link then please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
- Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
- Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too.
Right then, I'm going to go and get comfortable with a nice chilled glass of root beer and a packet of Monster Munch and settle down to read what you've all been counting ...