winter

winter

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Final NaBloPoMo Post!

Well, I did it. It was in spurts and some of the posts were rather crappy, but I met my goal. I did NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo at the same time this year. Life got in the way of my writing a second manuscript this month, but since I have just baking cookies and wrapping presents left to do, I'll probably hammer out the third book in that series that I am writing next month.

Who knows, perhaps I will manage to write a book a month and get the whole damn series finished before my kids hit high school.

We'll see, I suppose.

Friday, November 29, 2013

adorable

http://www.foundshit.com/holding-hands-mitten/

Just too damn cute.


Yule Gift List

Completed:

  • Blanket for Beloved
  • Hat & Scarf for Moo
  • Dolly and blankie for Sophia
  • Lapghan for Erin
  • Scarf for Katie
  • Kitchen basket for Tim & Erin
  • Poncho and Kindle cozy for Mercedes
  • Pony and dolly for Lexie
  • Shawl and scarf for Kendal
  • Cowl for Gin
  • Cowl for Angie
  • Potpourii jar for Anne
  • Scrapbook kit for Shaian
  • Owl Necklace and box for Grandma
  • Fingerless mitts for Bridget
  • Crafting basket for J & J
  • Bath basket for Karen
I just have to do the ornamentation on the towels for Mom and make up the cookies for Dad and my brothers. Maybe I'll whip off a batch of cookies for my father in law.

Thanksgiving

We went to dinner with my side of the family on Thanksgiving. It was good to see my niece. I just was left in shock at how grown up she is. It's hard to believe that the same little baby who played with blocks on my bed is now a striking young lady. Mom and her were cooking up a storm Wednesday.

My uncle Steve didn't make it up. I suspect that the winter storm that blew through Wednesday had a lot to do with that. My second cousin Eddie, however, did make it. He looks to be doing well, though it seems that Mr. Bean Pole has gotten even more skinny then he was the last time I saw him. Eddie, however, has always been on the skinny side.

Dad and my brothers seemed to be doing well. They were having themselves a good time chatting and laughing over the boys' antics. Beloved was an awesome wingman and was not only absolutely charming and chatted up my relatives but he also minded the kids for the most part. I lack the words to adequately express how much I appreciate him doing so.

On the whole, it went well. My poor Grandmother is sliding farther into dementia. I showed her the hat I made. It was difficult to talk with her about it. She kept getting confused about who it was for and who made it. When she had her lucid moments, she appreciated the effort and how I had incorporated the colors that Grandpa wore most of the time. Those lucid moments, however, were fleeting.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Things to be proud of

According to children. (In no real order.)

  1. Bodily functions
  2. Poop
  3. Single handedly destroying boxes (bonus points if they had stuff in 'em)
  4. Every new swear word you learn (must be repeated at full volume)
  5. Making parent's say new swear words
  6. How high you can jump on the couch/bed
  7. Block towers
  8. Destruction of block towers
  9. Chaos that ensues from no. 7 & no. 8
  10. Belches (bonus points for making them echo in a room that has none)

My LARPing career...

With the ending of Open Gaming at Baldy Hall at UB North, I think my LARPing career in the general public is going to come to an end. It has been fun. I have really enjoyed it.

At the same time, I feel really uncomfortable with some of what is going on with the LARP community that I have been a part of for the last decade (approximately). The tolerance of the same kind of bickering bitchiness that I dealt with in high school repulses me. I am finding that there are many people who seem to feel that it is better to be a terrible person to someone rather then sit down and attempt to resolve the problems that arise like an adult.

Add to this that there are many people who simply whine until they get their way and I am finding myself having a hard time justifying my role play gaming fix. Some good friends of mine still do tabletop role play games. I'm probably going to go back to doing that. If I can't, I am just going to have to attempt to live vicariously through my characters.

One of the reasons why I actually liked the fact that the events were being held on UB was because campus security was easily accessible. The times where there had been emergencies, responders were there in minutes. And UB campus security are not your sterotypical doughnut eating rent-a-cops. They are state police.

To be perfectly honest, I don't trust ninety percent of the LARP community. I will smile, be polite, and be civil. I will not, however, consent to being alone in a room with many of them. Because their behavior has left enough subject to question that I honestly don't believe I am safe alone in their presence. And there have been people within the LARP community who have actively attempted to physically or socially intimidate me into doing something they wanted.

I can accept that you may be socially awkward. I can accept that you may even put your foot in your mouth a few times and really insult people. I can even accept that you may be an obnoxious, self centered bastard.

I refuse to accept that I should be meek, compliant, and generally go along with whatever is in the situation because of two things:

1. I happen to be one of the few females in the room.
2. I may not know the game dynamics/system as well as you do.

I'm sorry, but those are not grounds to demand my compliance. And there is a LOT of misogyny within the LARP community. When the feminists are bitching about the problems with how people behave at gaming conventions, these are some of the people they are talking about. And some of these people go beyond being misogynistic morons and leave me questioning if I would be safe if I met them in a dark alley.

So, with the venues for LARPs shifting from the controlled and well policed location of UB to potentially someone's home or some other location where I have less resources to assistance, I am probably going to be forced to give up LARPing. And that makes me kinda sad.

It was a great outlet for a lot of my angst. It helped me tap into elements of my psyche that I generally work very hard not to even look at. In a lot of ways, I used it like a therapy tool and within the context of my characters, I worked through past trauma. (Nothing's more satisfying then killing your rapist in effigy time and time again in as many creative ways as you can get away with.)

I think I'm probably going to be using my artwork as my outlet for that stuff now. I have been feeling the urge to paint again. So, I am probably going to be doing a series of abstracts based on this stuff. Who knows, maybe I'll have something good come out of all this.

Some music playlists.

I have been using Youtube to put together play lists to listen to. One is full of music. When I say inspiring music, it is music that either makes me feel uplifted or serves to bring out a greater sense of genuine strength in myself. Another is focused on trance inducing music. It is helpful for meditation. There is a little bit of overlap between that playlist and my paganish one.

And then there is the playlist that I have been adding to as I encounter music that I feel pulls me towards writing in a given subject. Right now, I just have stuff for erotica and general writing. Mainly, the general writing stuff pulls towards fiction. At the same time, I have a hard time not envisioning myself writing massive theoretical works under the influence of Clint Mansell. He's a musical genius, I don't care how over played Lux Aeterna is.

To Pinterest or not?

I see a lot of folks using Pinterest. I must confess, I have found myself mightily tempted to attempt using it. The idea of collecting the stuff that I find interesting into one location sounds pretty cool. Then I look at my journals and my scrapbooks and mentally smack myself. I have a difficult enough time keeping up with my analog works.

You can tell that over the last month my efforts to keep up blogging here (and elsewhere) haven't been exactly successful. I don't think that Pinterest would be an entirely positive use of my time. I have lots of ideas but I question if Pinterest would really help me in organizing them. I envision Pinterest as being a source of a great deal of visual noise and even more of a time eater then Facebook.

At the same time, I see how other people have used Pinterest to organize and collect links to interesting things. I admit, that format is more attractive then the bookmarked links function on my browser. Some people have made really spectacular digital collages on Pinterest with their links and I have found that pretty nifty too. The artist in me looks at it and the ears perk up with interest. The prospect of conquering a new medium that is perhaps more forgiving then sculpture tickles me.

I suppose, upon consideration, I will just enjoy what other people do on Pinterest. After all, I can look at the pretty with out having to risk having my fledgling ideas fliched or feeling guilty for not updating it in a timely fashion. (By the way, I apologize to all four of you who are following this blog. I don't update half as often as I really should. After the holidays, I'm going to do my best to remedy that.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The hat is done.

Technically, the hat is correctly made.

Size is gigantic, however. I don't think I'll be giving this to my grandmother. I may show it to her, but I'm going to make another one. Because this one really isn't fit to wear.





Maybe I'll rip it out and rework it. I don't know. I'm not decided yet on what I'm going to do with it. It looked so much smaller on the needles.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tiny Home principles in an Apartment

I have to confess, I love the idea of a 'tiny home'. I see the glamorous photos of these beautiful little houses that people have built themselves or had built for them. I look at the wonderful interiors and I am instantly enchanted. I get the same kind of swooning desire that I do when I am looking at lush gardens and a cheerful and busy little room where everything is put neatly in its place. I look at all of that tidy order and the beautiful simplicity of it all and... well, I find myself having a visceral craving for it in my own life.

I look at how people have turned spaces that are smaller then my home into not merely habitable, but thriving homes. I am inspired (and a touch envious). I find myself gobsmacked at the people who have such homes with young children. It amazes me to see them keeping their homes so tidy.

I see things like what Joanna Goddard shared on her blog about how to make a small apartment work with two young kids. I then look around my home and go 'hrm, what do we have that we simply never use?'

This often leads to my doing things like purges of old books and toys the kids no longer play with. I will also go through my crafting stuff and purge things too. I try to pare back the non-essential and what we don't love. At the same time, I feel a bit guilty about excising the excess.

I tell myself that it's perfectly acceptable to give away things that you haven't touched in over a decade and don't even consider looking at. As long as they're not heirlooms or something that is important in some fashion, and Beloved is ok with it vanishing, it is ok to go. Even so, I have times where I am seized with paroxysms of guilt. I feel horrible 'throwing away' perfectly serviceable items.

I'm kinda rambling away from the point I was trying to make. Let me try to bring it back to where I was initially attempting to go. The things that make tiny homes work are all rooted in three points:
  1. Simplicity
  2. Utility
  3. Love
You don't need gobs of clutter to make things work for you. If I have learned anything from FlyLady, it is that clutter works against you. Clutter is complicated. Having 47 different things to do three things, with all of those tools overlapping, is over complicating the matter. So, I try to pare down my proverbial 47 things down to 7. That's simplicity in action.

Having the right tools for the job is always essential. Having the right tools that can be multifunctional is just plain smart. I have in the boy's room an over the door shoe sorter. It holds their shoes. It also holds the little treasures that they like to collect. (When I can get them to put them away.) I have another shoe sorter up in the kitchen by the fridge. It doesn't hold shoes. It holds my various little kitchen gadgets, which frees up counter space (something that is at a premium in my place). I try to find as many ways to make something work as I can think of. Sometimes, it is a bit of a mental stretch.  After all, there are only so many ways you can use a can opener.

I am making a point of keeping out and available the things that we love and find important. It sometimes makes it a bit challenging because we have little things that could stand as mementos of places where we have been. I have to carefully consider, is the item something that I truly value. It's been entertaining, in an odd little way, to discover how many things that simply just don't have the value that I paid for.

As a result, the three principles have been working to make me more cautious about how I spend my money and my time. It's why we are done with Yule stuff NOW. And the total sum of money that has been spent upon gifts is a bit shy of $200. That's including the cost of yarn for all my knitting and crochet. That's easily $400 less then what the average person spends.

All of that money gets eaten up by stuff like the bills, but it is something that I am pretty pleased with. And I guess that's part of the reason why I am trying to put these principles into action.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eczma.

It sounds and looks like the name of a villain from some cheezy K-pop movie or something. I have it, as do the boys. The doctor says that I shouldn't be too worried. He is confident that the boys will out grow it. I just loathe it.

Chronically dry, itchy skin is no fun. Now, I have developed red patches on my elbows and one is beginning to form in the middle of my back. It makes me rather dread when the weather gets really cold and dry. I have had the dry skin that cracks before. It is painful. I want to avoid it but I feel foolish asking Beloved to slather a quart of moisturizer over me.

Fortunately, he approaches it with a healthy sense of humor. It helps me feel a little less self conscious about it all. At the same time, I can't help but wonder if 'normal' people have to worry about such things. Heck, I wonder if 'normal' people regularly wear socks to bed to keep their feet warm.

Ah well, I keep telling myself that 'normal' is a setting on a dryer. I am trying to break the habit of judging myself versus what I see others doing. I just hope that my skin doesn't get really bad.

Weather's coming.

The wind is screaming around the corner of the house. It's blowing hard enough that I am getting a bit of a draft. The weather report today called for it to drop down cold enough tomorrow that it will snow. And on Sunday, it is supposed to be in the mid 20s for a high. I think we've officially hit the beginning of winter.

My knees are progressively feeling worse as the day has gone on. I'm thankful that I don't have a job that requires a lot of bending and such. Doubly so that I don't have a job that requires that I kneel for extended periods of time. I have a bad feeling that the next week is going to be murder on my arthritic knees.

I sit here listening to the wind howl and I wonder what it was like a mere 100 years ago when the weather got harsh. I'm guessing it was much more frigid. I am thankful that I have all the modern amenities like fiberglass insulation and such.

For my darling husband.

It's almost the end of the show.

I tried to find a video clip and failed. But, there is my nod to his Sifil and Ollie fixation. I still don't know why he has such a love for these sock puppets. I still don't like 'em. Every so often, I have to check if my tastes have changed on such things for the sake of domestic concord.

End verdict on this one:


Promoting awesomeness.

One of my Facebook friends has a cottage business making jewelery. I have a ring that she fashioned. I simply adore it. If you are looking for handmade, excellent, and exquisite jewelery, please take a minute to look her up.

Her work is excellently crafted. Her prices are amazing. And to top it all off, she's a really awesome person.

Her business is called Ivaldis Dream Trove. Here's the link to her FB page.

Benjamin Britten

Today is the day that composer Benjamin Britten would have turned one hundred. He's best known for his work The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Almost every child with any classical music in their education will have heard that one.

The work of his that I feel stands out far beyond The Young Person's Guide is his War Requiem. I listened to it earlier today because WXXI was playing it this morning. I can not help but feel awed and shaken by this haunting eulogy. Honestly, it is made all the more haunting by the fact that it was written by an avowed pacifist. I was not aware of this fact until the DJ mentioned it.

The pathos in the music is utterly gut wrenching. It literally moved me to tears. There isn't much music out there that can do that to me.

pretty music post no. 2

Era il giornochi'al sol si scolararo per la pieta del suo
fattore i rai quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai,
che i be' vostr'occhi, Donna mi legaro.

Tempo non mi parea da far riparo contr' a colpi
d'Amor; pero m'andai secur, senza sospetto, onde I
mieie guai nel commune dolor s'incominciaro.

Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato, et aperta la via
per gli occhi al core che di lagrime soon fatti uscio et varco.

Pero al mio parer non li
fu onore ferir me de saetta in quello stato,
a voi armata non mostrar pur l'arco.


(English)

It was the day when the sun's rays turned pale with grief
for his Maker when I was taken, and I did not defend myself
against it, for your lovely eyes, Lady, bound me.

It did not seem to me a time for being on guard against Love's
blows; therefore I went confident and without fear, and so my
misfortunes began in the midst of the universal woe.

Love found me altogether disarmed, and the way open through
my eyes to my hear, my eyes which are now the portal and
passageway of tears.

Therefore, as it seems to me, it got him no honor to strike me
with an arrow in that state, and not even to show his bow to you,
who were armed.

Ramblings.

I am taking comfort in the fact that my NaBloPoMo posts do not need 'good' content. They just need done. As such, I can blather about pretty much anything. I am making myself post at least a paragraph, avoiding the cheezy 1 word posts. Well, four sentences makes a paragraph, so I'll slap up another one in a few minutes. I promise, it'll be something better then this one.

Pretty music post.

Io Isabella danzando ne prati
Verdi della primavera
Girando e girando, cascando e cascando
Nel mondo delle elfi sognando
Mi prendono la mano, mi portano lontano
Mi prendono la mano, mi portano lontano

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Elbows deep in yarn...

I am working on the last of the Yule gifts for this year. Part of what I'm doing is adding more to Beloved's big afghan. My mourning hat is coming along nicely. I am going to be crocheting up some mittens for one of my nieces soon. I should slap up some pics of what I'm working on. Perhaps tomorrow after I finish running my errands and such.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Mourning Hat.

The day my paternal grandfather died, I decided that I was going to honor him by learning something new. I took out my double pointed knitting needles and a ball of brown yarn that was pretty close in shade to what he wore often. I decided that I was going to make a hat and do so in the colors that I associate with my grandfather.

I wasn't entirely sure where to begin. I knew that I wanted to knit something for my grandmother. As trite as it seemed, I wanted to somehow give my grandmother something of my grandfather that would keep her warm and comfortable, much like his hugs had always done for me. I picked knitting because of how many, many memories I have of my grandmother knitting for myself, my brothers, and my cousins. Alzheimers is stealing things away from her, but perhaps this little knitted hat would help retain something for her.

I found a video on About.com that gave terribly simple directions. I sat down with my needles and watched the video three times. A simple i-cord didn't look to terribly intimidating. I told myself that if I could do the i-cord, I could do the rest of the hat. Evening the day my grandfather died, I had reached the point where I was alternating between knitting 5 stitches with an increase every 6th stitch and knitting all stitches.

The day of the memorial service, I thought about bringing the yarn and knitting needles with me. My sons had decided that my hat in the beginning was a spider and insisted on trying to play with it. Torn between the desire to make my 'spider' bigger and the realization that my teary eyes would have difficulty seeing the stitches, I went with my default anxiety project (a crochet granny square). I struggled that day with a great many things.

The part of the day that was the hardest, however, was the sight of my grandfather in that box. I couldn't bring myself to walk up to the box. I looked at his corpse from a distance and I just couldn't shake the feeling that they messed up the makeup. I realized that they were trying to make him look relatively lifelike, as to reduce the distress of the other mourners. All they accomplished, it seemed, was to make his body look like a wax caricature of the man I had seen just a few weeks before hand.

When I got home, I put the hat away. Working on it was upsetting. I struggled with how to explain to my boys that Grandpa-Grandpa wasn't going to be at his house anymore. Strangely, it was I who had the hard time grasping that when we went and visited. I found myself listening for him in the office and looking for him at the dining room table. After we got home from that visit, I got the hat out again.

I've been working on it as we slog forward into the holidays. It is beginning to look like a real hat now. The brown yarn ran out, so I used some dark blue. Because I think of the caps that he wore and how most of them were some variant of dark blue. I also have some safety orange in there. His hooded jacket, with the stains from grease and dirt from working on farm equipment, is that color. I'm going to put in a section of a harvest gold color because one of the sweater vests he wore most frequently is that color.

It isn't much. I'm not entirely sure that Grandma will recall the meaning behind the hat. That's ok, though. I'm making it as much for myself as I am making it for her.

I have a sense of humor, I promise.

So, I'm just going to say it right away this way no one can cry foul here. I have a sense of humor. I even joke and will laugh at jokes pertaining to sex and sexuality. Some of my absolute favorite jokes are terrible examples of the genre regarding sex.

All of that said, I keep seeing this ad from Kmart that just makes me plain mad. Honestly, I lack the words to adequately express how repulsed I am by this advertisement. First, however, let me present exhibit A, also known as the offending article.


Now, some of you may ask why I (a woman who falls more to the hetero-side of the bisexual ledger and one who writes smut for fun and profit) find this ad offensive. Some of you may even wonder at the fact that I am opposed to it, because it's quite obviously turning the tables on the laundry list of ads focusing on women as sex objects.

I can summarize my offense in one simple sentence. Hold on to your hats, folks, this is going to be profound.

Reducing people to sex objects to sell a product is wrong.

Look, if your kink is such that being defined as a sex object or defining another person as a sex object is what really does it for you, that's well and fine. Provided that all people involved in the arrangement are consenting adults. Doing so with a random person off the street, that crosses a line.

It is a blatant act of disrespect to that person to reduce them down to being little more then fap material. It's wrong when it's done to advertise a bra. It's wrong when it's done to advertise beer. It's wrong when it's done to advertise clothes. It's wrong to advertise any damn thing you are trying to sell.

I know, I am being a Debbie Downer here, but I honestly can't sit here on my hands and be silent. People look around at our culture and wonder where this 'rape culture' stuff comes from. It comes from stuff like this being tolerated as funny for general consumption. The problem lies in the attitude that a person is little more then a lump of flesh that exists to titillate and amuse you. That attitude and sense of entitlement that goes with it, that is what is at the core of the 'rape culture' that people are talking about.

Stop treating people like they're objects. You want to fix the culture so that a woman can be safe no matter where she is, that's a great place to start. By the way, it makes it so that it's ok to treat men with respect too.

And that is what we need more of. Respect starts with treating yourself like you're not an object, by the way. It also comes along when we treat other people as if they're human as well. Last time I checked, personhood was understood to have some sense of inherent dignity. Or did we throw that out the window along with Miley Cyrus's alter ego of Hanna Montana?

Monday, November 11, 2013

blargh

I am trying to get my plot to move one way and it decides to go in an entirely different direction. I just want to finish this thing up, not make it incredibly HUGE.

Friday, November 08, 2013

for my husband.

My beloved husband. The fan of dead baby jokes...

Here's your sign:


WOO!

I'm within striking distance of 50K words for the total project. My total for NaNoWriMo is 46K. I am most pleased with this. I am surprised by how much food has played a role in this story. Every time I turn around, I'm discussing food. It is entirely unintentional. On a related note, I am finding that my recollection of medieval cookery is rusty and Google is my friend.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

NaNoWriMo woes.

So, I am just a few hundred words shy of breaking the 30K barrier for the total project word count. I feel like the last several THOUSAND words were just crap. I tell myself that December is for editing but I just have had difficulty getting into this. I am a maniac but I have caught myself thinking if I finish this one, perhaps I will write a second, MORE FUN manuscript this year.

I love writing fantasy. Don't get me wrong. But this one... ugh! I feel like my plot is made out of lead. I recognize that world building and context setting is important. At the same time, this feels like it is sucking the life right out of me. Ah well, 20K more words and I can write SOMETHING ELSE!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Ugh.

I feel as though my head is stuffed with wool. I have a cold, that I am fairly sure I caught from the boys. Snuggle Bug was having some difficulty with coughing a lot last night. I think if he didn't do any better today or if he wakes me up in the middle of the night, I will keep him home from preschool tomorrow. I am fairly close to 25K words for my total word count. My target is to have approximately 60K words in the manuscript as a whole.

My total for NaNoWriMo is just a shade over 10K. Not too bad. I am still fairly consistent with my production. Even with a morning nap, because I felt wretched, I come in at approximately 2300 words for the day. I am going to do more writing this evening after the kids go to bed. I am anticipating my afternoon to be filled with washing dishes and listening to the boys as they quibble over what to watch on the computer. I just don't feel up to arguing with them over if they watch videos or not today.

Harry Potter themed stuff.

So, in exchange for a totally awesome scarf, I made a Harry Potter themed scarf for a friend of mine. My inspiration didn't stop there. I made a hat to match the scarf and then I crafted a wand. I'm not entirely sure what to do with the wand. But I am thinking about throwing it into the box with the hat and scarf as a surprise gift.





I also whipped off a little bookmark. I am thinking about keeping that for myself because it isn't as nice as these things.

Gratitude.

There's this 'thankfulness' meme that is going around. The scheme is to give one thing you are thankful for each day of the month. I am a few days behind, but I am going to jump on to this bandwagon. Gratitude is a huge part of what makes it easier for me to spot the good in my life. I even keep a gratitude journal.

1. I am thankful for my devoted husband.
2. I am thankful for my children.
3. I am thankful for an extra hour for writing last weekend.
4. I am thankful for this blog.

Friday, November 01, 2013

NaNoWriMo & NaBloPoMo

So, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. And I figure since I'm a masochist, I might as well do NaBloPoMo at the same time. Currently, my NaNo word count is 2719. I'm not really feeling it for the scenes that I have written thus far. I want to move the plot along to more interesting details but I keep getting bogged down in other stuff.

I have finally reached the point where we're going to begin seeing the monstrosity of the villains. I am hoping that the psychological horror factor is well presented. I am confident that the gore factor will be easily accomplished. The part that I am going to find challenging to write about all of this is the over arching story elements of the war between the deities.

Years ago, when I was a kid, I read a series of fantasy books that set up everything where the conflict of the storyline was a game between gods. I liked that idea. Then I thought about the whole 'good vs evil' concept and said to myself, "Why not make it a long standing thing that goes through cycles?" I'm still hashing that aspect of it all out. I already know that the good guys are going to win.

I am going to make some of those victories Pyrrhic, because I want this story to have more realism to it then what I've seen in other fantasy stories.