NaBloPoMo Day 8: Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho!

I do not have a commute anymore, as I am currently an SAHM, but I used to rather enjoy my daily commute, especially when my husband and I worked at the same school corp. I would drive into work in the mornings and he would nap. He would drive home in the afternoons, enjoy his IPR programs, particularly “All Things Considered”, and sometimes I would nap. Most times, though, we would talk. We have some of our best talks in the car.

Now Ben makes a 40-45 minute commute each way every day alone and I miss that time with him. No doubt about it.


NaBloPoMo Day 6: No One but “Mister”, No One But “Missus”…

Next year,  I will have been married for ten years. My husband and I have learned a great deal about each other, yet there is still much to learn. Ben works extremely hard each and every weekday (and Sunday) to make sure that I not only have what I need but that I have the means to get what I want. He frequently asks if I am okay and if he can help me if I seem stressed or tired (which is far more frequently than I like to admit). He continues to endeavor to learn my love languages and surprises me with little gifts now and again. He encourages me, tells me how proud he is of me, how glad he is that I am in his life.

I try to keep aware of Ben’s moods, ask if he is OK, if there is anything I can do to help when he is not. I endeavor to support him, uplift him, and encourage him through his teaching and pastoring work. I remind him all the time that I love him deeply and dearly, I am here because I choose to be here, want to be here, and I am not going anywhere.

We call each other helpmeet because that is what we are to each other: we are not only doing life together, we are helping each other through it, supporting and each holding the other up through times of life that are rough. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. Mine was when Ben was injured in a car wreck, his ankle in a splint/cast and him on crutches/a cane for four months. When I was pregnant, Ben took on a higher percentage of everything in life. Since having our daughter, he has taken on being the sole breadwinner for our family for the first few years of her life as I have been at home with her. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. However, that does not stop us from being grateful and wanting to make sure that we are doing whatever we can to help each other.

We have walked this road together for almost ten years. We are still growing, still learning each other as we age and grow and change along with life. We have made a great beginning together, I believe, and I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Green top, black pencil skirt, and black fascinator 2

NaBloPoMo Day 5: It’s Not You, Strawberry. It’s Me.

There aren’t a huge number of fruits that I have tried that I dislike; however, there is one fruit that I dislike in its “fruit” form and that is a strawberry.

When I was a child, my grandmother worked in the kitchen of one of the largest resorts on our island and, when I would visit her at work, she would give me either an apple or a whole strawberry. Of course, when your grandparents gives you something to eat, you’re expected to eat it. So I did. As a result, I have grown to dislike eating strawberries unadorned just by themselves. I think it’s a texture thing. If the strawberries are mixed into an ice cream (Hagaan Daz strawberry ice cream is a long-time love) or a cake, a salad, or some such thing, I am ALL about it, and I LOVE the flavor. But I simply cannot abide strawberries just by themselves.

Sorry. It’s not you. It’s me. Too much of a good thing, I guess.

NaBloPoMo Day 4: The Downfalls of Age

Honestly, I had never heard the term “ageism” until I saw the writing prompt for today, that instructs me to write on my feelings on ageism. So naturally, I looked it up and found it defined, most basically, as: the stereotyping or discrimination of a person or group of people because of their age (Ageism Hurts, This term was, upon its coining by Robert Neal Butler, used to refer to  stereotyping and discriminating specifically against the old but it can be and has been applied across the spectrum since 1969.

There is no leg on which I can stand to deny the truth of ageism, on both ends of the spectrum. The older are often considered “out of touch” or “behind the times”, the young considered “entitled”. Now some might not consider this discrimination but it lays the groundwork for the disregarding of the wisdom of those who have gone before and the strength and innovation of those who are adulting now. Denying someone the ability to work and provide for themselves because they would be in need of skills education is selfish and unfair. To disregard someone’s excellent work and ability based solely on their age or “lack of experience” is unwise and foolish.

Wisdom is not based undividedly on age, nor innovation singularly in youth. We all have something to bring to the table.

Now, I haven’t seen “The Intern” yet but something tells me that I am going to really enjoy this movie and the message that it brings:

NaBloPoMo, Day 3: Threads Spun and Woven, Though Some Are Cut

Honestly, I tend not to buy books that I’m not sure I will be interested in at least, love obsessively at most.

One such member of the latter is indeed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I was just rereading the reviews/reading updates that I wrote on this novel in my book blog the first time I read it and I couldn’t help but smile. I have passed this book recommendation on to no fewer than four or five people and have referenced it COUNTLESS times in writing for my roleplaying games, weaving into a particular character’s storyscape and drawing other characters into it like the winding circular pathways of the Cirque itself.

When I began The Night Circus, I noted:

9/22/2011 –  I bought and started this book while on a weekend vacation in New Orleans a few days ago. It has been quite a long time since I have been instantly captivated and charmed by a book and The Night Circus does that beautifully. The characters are intriguing, the world colorful and lovely and intriguing. It is a world that you want to sit and watch unfold and that is a very encouraging start to a book.

As I read  through and marveled at the story that Morgenstern had woven, I was captured and enraptured entirely. I reread and gushed and thrilled and wept and rejoiced. When I finished it a little over two weeks later, this was my final entry:

10/8/2011 – FINISHED: I finished this book in the quiet of a sleepy Saturday morning and in the company of friends. No better way to do so, I think. I have to say that I was quite pleased with the ending, with the way that the important parts of the stories were laced together and bowed, like the laces at the entrance to Widget’s dream and memory tent [my personal favorite].

This has been the first book in a long while to capture me as it has and I must tip my hat to Miss Morgenstern. She has perhaps only one grammatical quirk that could tend to annoy me, if I decided to let it. But I won’t.

Thank you, Erin, for an amazing debut. May all your future efforts be as fruitful and, if I and other reveurs may dare to hope, perhaps someday we may all return to the Circus together.

= = = =

Sometimes, books just do not turn out the way that you hope they will. When I read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange, it was at the height of the Austen supernaturals. Books such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter were huge then and so I picked up this particular volume to see if it would be any good and appropriate for my 8th-grade classroom. Throughout most of my review/reading updates, I was very pleased with Grange’s writing, her description and the lyricism of her dialogue as well as her command of the Regency and the world abroad at the time. She is a true Austenian and it composes the majority of her writing career, which I find absolutely amazing and stunning! Darcy’s story was interesting and she built up a villain in the background that left me waiting with bated breath to see what would come of this building conflict. Therein lay the rub, though. This was my final entry on this novel:

FINAL UPDATE, 10/17/09: She dropped it, right at the end! Awwwww, it had such potential but the climax came so late that Grange seemed to cop out at the end of it. It had so much meat for a wonderfully dramatic falling action and resolution. Instead, she chose the safe way, gave Darcy a way out and made it, in my opinion, far too easy. The potential that was built up disappeared into the night to lick his wounds for another hundred years (which it was just a scratch really), and I am left unsatisfied and disappointed.

Grange’s writing is lyrical and lovely but…the full meal just wasn’t there. Sorry, darling, but you missed it. By about a mile. In the end, you could have strayed from Austen’s style and done us all a great service.

I generally despise being hard on authors because I understand how difficult it is to create and be successful in this particular art medium. But, at the same time, a writer as well as a reader, I have a critical eye. And the ending of this book has colored my feeling towards it in its entirety, unfortunately. When I left my teaching job, I left the book behind in my classroom and, even before then, never bothered to pick it up again once I had finished it, sadly enough.

Novels and stories are like threads. Some threads are grasped and grasp in return, woven into a tether that never fully lets me go. And some threads are cut loose so that they may soar off like spider silk and, hopefully, find someone whose heart is right for them to tether themselves to.

NaBloPoMo, Day 2: Written on My Body (Or Not)

I don’t have any tattoos. It’s just not for me. I have nothing against anyone who does, however. In fact, I have seen some absolutely beautiful body art in my years. I have researched tattoos for roleplay characters.

My favorite of said characters is probably Daenara Heron, a circus snake/belly dancer vampire who had a cherry tree tattoo. The trunk and roots wrapped up and around her left hip and the branches spread out in full blossom over her back and shoulder blades. She saw it as strength and beauty, grounded in strong roots. She had been born Roma, her identity rooted deeply in her family and their traditions. The tattoo reminds her of them and her history, even though those near and dear to her have all long since passed away.

NaBloPoMo 2015, Day 1: Awed & Fascinated

Elen verch Phellip, also known modernly as Courtney Pritchard, has always fascinated me. The width, breadth, and depth of her knowledge, skill, and creativity constantly leave me in a delighted state of awe. She and I have known each other and been friends for about ten years and in that time, I have never failed to be amazed by what this woman can accomplish creatively. An active member and participant in the Society for Creative Anachronism, an art major, and just general overall amazing hobbyist, I have seen her manufacture (and own several) magnificent creations from pen, paint, textile, words, makeup, and film. Her journal layouts make me swoon. The beauties concocted from her needle and thread draw girlish titters. The ink samples she sends make me want to sink into their colors and write forever.

Aside from all of this, though, wonderful as it is, there is an emotional and intellectual depth to this woman that I am always plumbing, always looking further into. I am fascinated by her, her personality, her heart, her mind, her interests, the way she sees the world. This woman is become one of my best and dearest friends in the world and I am in awe of her. I do not know all of her, not by a long shot, but I have been privileged to see more and more into that lovely heart and soul. I only hope that she will continue to allow me in as she is also teaching me how to let her into my heart and soul as well. ^_^


Waxing Idyllic

I am convinced that I am a woman of fractured soul – modern and idyllic, city mouse and country mouse in one.  But, for this endeavor, I shall choose the latter. I have always dreamt of the idyllic, of rolling hills, villages, woods, streams, meadows, etc. Seriously, I would be a hobbit if I had the choice and be most happy with it, I think!

Now, I have never been to the United Kingdom or Europe, though I have wanted to for as long as I can remember. Despite that lack of visitation, I still think that I could find myself happy in a quintessentially lovely European village. Row houses and cottages with flowers blossoming in window boxes, hedgerows, and gardens. A lovely home for me and mine — me to make cozy and mine to fill with our own brand of eccentricity. Walled gardens to play, relax, and read in. Shops and the like within walking/biking distance and the city maybe a train trip away.

Yes, I definitely still dream of the idyllic life, though some would say that I already have it.

Besame! (Kiss me!)

My challenge today is to write about my first love and first kiss. At first, I thought, “Oh, that’s easy!” since my husband was my first date, first boyfriend, kiss, etc. And then, just now, as they often do, a thought snuck up on me.

“What about Michael?”

Oh, yeah. My first fourteen-year-old “love”. I truly believed that I loved this boy. A boy I only saw MAYBE once or twice a year. The son of my mom’s boss, this adorable blonde went to boarding school in Britain and so I only had the opportunity to see him during the summer when we kids worked in the mailroom or maybe on Christmas Eve when I would go to work with my mother for the law firm’s holiday half-day. I first met this boy in the break room one Christmas Eve, as I struggled with a cantankerous soda machine that refused to take my last quarter. There was a tap on my shoulder and a voice with a London lilt spoke.

“Here, I have an extra.”

And I looked up to find something altogether unusual in this office: a boy. I was usually one of the few kids that ever came to spend time at the law firm with a parent so to find him here was odd.

I was at the wonderful age, however, of being stupid around cute boys. So I just uttered smiling “Thank you”, got my soda, and quickly departed the room. Later, I saw him walk by my mom’s office door and asked who he was. She told me that he was her boss’s son, a fact that I found ridiculous because I considered my mother’s boss to be some sort of cold-hearted cyborg who worked my mom abominably hard (apologies, Mr. R, I was a silly kid). That wasn’t the truth, of course, just a child’s perception. But that was my first encounter with Michael and I was adequately twitterpated.

(And, yes, he might actually read this as he is on my Facebook feed but that’s OK. I did say I was going to try to write boldly.)

The following summers, in my mind, were glorious. I would arrive for work in the morning and immediately look to see if there was a package of cookies sitting on the mailroom desk. If so, that meant that Michael was there already and I flew through the building to find the “little Master R.” as the ladies in the office called him. One summer, we left notes for each other on the computer screen saver composed of Romeo and Juliet quotes (like that helped the twitterpation). He was the sweetheart of the building; all the ladies adored him and we hated when it came time for him to go. And for good reason: he was a boy built of a good heart. Growing up the youngest of three, with two sisters above him, Michael was no stranger to the way women worked and he was an especially gentle, kind, and sweet soul. I remember, one year, my last day of work coincided with another lady in the office’s birthday. So, at the end of the day, Michael ran around the office, fetching everyone down to the break room for a “party”. He had bought snacks and cake and it was altogether adorable.

Michael was a cyclical fixture in my life for about three or four years. During high school, of his girlfriends got into his email, read his stuff, and then emailed me, insisting that I stop emailing and writing him because she was his girlfriend, not me. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I did eventually tell him about it, though, a few years later. I watched with pride as his articles were published in his school newspaper and online. When I came home from college and worked at the office my freshman and sophomore summers, Michael would pop in when he came home and take me out to lunch.

For years, I considered Michael to be my first love, cried in my room for the missing of him, and insisted to myself that, yes, you could love someone without them ever knowing or loving you back. Now, almost twenty years later, I see it for what it was: an affection that could admittedly be selfish at times. Lowercase-l love, not capital-L Love. Not that I didn’t care for Michael then or don’t now, oh no! I cared quite a bit. He was my friend and I felt responsible to look out for and take care of him. Where I erred was the perception that he was my Michael, my responsibility. I look at him now as an adult and what he has accomplished and I am so ridiculously proud. We have completely separate lives and don’t speak or see each other hardly ever, but that’s okay. Life is still good.

But, no, I wouldn’t call it capital-L Love. I didn’t even understand that yet.

No, my first Love AND my first kiss was Ben, the young man at whose feet I fell on October 2, 2004. I was late to a Christian Campus House outing for movies and Dairy Queen and so ran across campus to get there before people left. As I arrived, I collapsed, out of breath, on the floor, only to look up and see a guy I had never met looking down at me. I smiled and gave a breathless “Hi!” and he said “hi” in return.

We hardly spoke for the rest of the evening until after the movies.

Then, something happened. We started talking. His weird called to my weird and they tangled up together so that it was hard to say goodnight later. Over the next few weeks, those connections tangled around each other (or rather braided themselves together) to the point that we spent close to nine hours together one evening – coffee, dinner, lecture, ice cream. On October 26, 2004, Ben took me out on my first official date and we have been inseparable ever since.

It turns out that, before the night we met, Ben had actually been trying to speak to me for several weeks. He sat behind me in church services in campus house but, unfortunately, he just wasn’t fast enough to catch me at the end of the morning. Being on a new campus with no friends, I saw no point in sticking around (speaking to strangers on my own has always been hard for me) so I would hurry out. The night we met, neither of us was looking for a romantic connection (God had had long talks with each of us about that right before this) but, as my devotional reminded me this morning, God’s process may be long and painful but His plan is perfect. I met this man, the man I would grow to love (lowercase-l) as the friend I deeply needed and then Love (capital-L) as the partner for the rest of my life.

And the kisses! I’ve written about our first kisses before, my very first. It was November, just before Thanksgiving. Ben was dropping me home from a date and we sat in his car for a long few moments. There were soft words exchanged, what they were I don’t remember, but then there was that moment. That moment that hangs in the air and then pulls at you from right behind the sternum.

Those first kisses were very short but very chaste and sweet and I practically walked on air back to my dorm room afterward, almost forgetting to get off the elevator at my floor. They went like this. Forehead, both eyelids, and then, after a moment’s hesitation, on both mine and Ben’s parts, finally, two short kisses on the lips. Very gentle, very loving, just like him.

I don’t think I would have had it any other way.

Casting Back Through Memory

My earliest memory. Honestly, it’s very difficult to differentiate between what I remember and what has been told to me about my childhood. But one memory that I clearly have is of Christmas.

When I was a little girl, there was a gentleman down the road from us who set up a grand Christmas display in front of his house. Lights, winter scenes, animatronic deer and Santa and elves puppets/figures that put on a show in a theatre that he built up around a wall in front of his driveway. The whole place glowed and was positively magical for me. People from all over the neighborhood would come to see this display. It was the first grandiose Christmas lights display I ever remember seeing. I remember going there after church one Sunday night with my parents. As they stood and chatted with other adults, I wandered over to where an animatronic doe with big brown eyes was and, since she was close to me, I reached out and touched her muzzle very carefully. She was soft, velvety. Then, as the Christmas music and puppet show started, I twirled and danced around in my frilly, lacy church dress. It was like a Winter Wonderland for me and I hated having to leave.

Over the years, more people on the island began to create such large Christmas displays, especially the more affluent neighborhoods on the south sound of the island. They would turn their large yards and gardens into Christmas walks full of lights and music, cottages, and displays. To this day, I can feel the awe and wonder well up in my heart at just the thought of such beautiful, Christmas-y places.