Satisfying my obsessive compulsions through the pursuit of creativity and personal betterment

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Preview: Elf and Zara in 4 years

I've got this little epilogue-type piece that I'm working on, that is not likely to ever be posted anywhere public as it is very personal and will most likely turn very *ahem* smutty.  But the beginning is sweet and tells a lot about their relationship and how it has blossomed over the years.  I am in a sharing mood, so I'd like to post the beginning here for you to read.  Elforen is husband's and Zarabethe is my WoW characters, and I've been dabbling in writing their story for the past year or so.


Zarabethe paced back and forth outside the small cottage. She could hear Elforen putting Brekke back to bed inside. The 4 yr old night elf was crying: she had had another night terror. Zarabethe kicked the dirt in frustration as she marched: she imagined him scooping the anxious little girl up in his arms without a second thought. She would bury her tear-streaked face into her father's shoulder, wetting his shirt, and throwing her arms around his neck. He would talk patiently and soothingly to her as he carried her to her bed, and by the time he tucked her in with her loveys and her blanket, kissing her forehead, she would be calm and curling up to go to sleep. Zarabethe paused at one edge of the yard and leaned her forehead wearily against the tree there. The summer was so hot this year: the humidity was oppressive, and even a brief foray outside was enough for rivulets of sweat to run down her back, the sides of her forehead, and between her breasts. It aggravated her usual aversion to touch to an almost unbearable degree. How she longed to be in Elforen's place, lovingly tucking their daughter in without flinching from her clutching arms. She had tried today, she really had: but Brekke was especially needy lately. Everything was scary, everything was a danger. Spook had gotten a small splinter in her paw, and although Zarabethe had patiently let the child help clean and bandage the wound, she was beside herself with worry. What if it got infected? What if Spook got sick and died? What if she died? How would Spook take care of herself if she was not there to wash her paw? And then the tears; great big sad tears that only being held would cure. So she did. She tried to pace it, seeing if she could distract the 4 yr old with games and badly sung songs, but that only worked so long before she had been toting her around the house and gardens on her hip. Which, at full-term pregnant, was very hard to do, touch aversion or no. By the end of the day her back ached and she was completely exhausted. When Elforen walked in the door after being at the smith all day, he found both night elves in tears: Zarabethe trying to scrape a burnt supper out of a pan, and Brekke sitting at the table hungry. He had brought home a large basket of fruit, which he sat on the table in front of the hungry child, and ordered his wife to sit down and rest while he took the pan outside to dump the ruined meal and then opened the windows to let the house air out. She had never been more happy to see him home, covered in sweat and grime from work or not. But while usually she would be content to put her feet up and tune out the world for a bit, recharging so she could face it again, she found herself too restless to sit still. After only a few minutes of sitting, changing positions, closing her eyes and opening them, she was up again. The bookshelf was out of order. Her husband returned from bathing to find her up to her ears in stacks of books, obsessively rearranging them by date, then alphabetizing them, then starting over and sorting them by colour. He had gently tried to discourage her, she'd snapped at him, and he threw up his hands and left the room. Finally, she got them placed how she wanted, heaved herself off of the floor, and sought him out to apologize. But the task had done little to soothe her mind and she had flitted about all evening straightening and cleaning things. She even sat down and sorted the basket of little things that was sitting in their room almost out of sight. As tiny shirts, hats, diapers, and blankets were placed in neat piles, she remembered Brekke in her earliest days, which made her simultaneously wistful and nervous.

When she first felt the stirrings deep in her belly last year, she had been anxious, and her first thought was to ignore it or hide. But instead she had confided in her husband, and they had spent many late nights talking about the possibilities. In the end, it was the yearning in his eyes that had convinced her: he had missed so much of the beginning of Brekke; the pregnancy, her birth, even her first few days, and it felt cruel to deny him a chance at that. It had only taken a few months for the nausea and dizziness to assault her again, and she knew that she was carrying their second child. It had been so much easier this time around; Elforen was ecstatic every step of the way, doting on her to the point of ridiculousness, and her body seemed to know better what it was doing this time, and she was able to pace herself more. Brekke required so much work though, so much patience, time and energy, and she found herself frequently running short on all three. When the baby got here she knew it would be worse as breastfeeding would require her every last effort; she only hoped it would be easier this time, as she was prepared for it. Even so, the upcoming addition to their family constantly weighed on her mind and distracted her. Finally as she and Elf took turns tucking Brekke into bed (which of course took multiple trips) she sat down and started stitching again around the fabric she had traded for to make a baby blanket. It was very similar to Brekke's, only little blue flowers edged it instead of soft green leaves. Even that couldn't hold her concentration tonight, and she kept stabbing the tips of her fingers while sewing. When Brekke had cried out yet again, Zarabethe threw her stitching into the basket beside her and stalked outside. There she was now, only her pacing had quickly turned to an awkward waddle. By Elune was she uncomfortable. Giving up on her walking, she carefully eased herself down on the wooden bench in the garden. Their house was an anomaly in Elwynn forest. While it was mostly human in architecture from the outside, the inside was completely furnished in Night Elf furniture. Bit by bit, she and Elforen had worked to add little bits of home to the garden areas: lanterns to light the path, swooping archways that led to the animal area in the back. Enlarging the windows to let in more light and air. Native Kalimdor plants in the garden. She and Elf sometimes jokingly called it, “Ashenvale-by-the-Waterfall”, but it still fell far from the silence and peace of the trees in Nightsong Forest. It was for the most part secluded though, and they didn't get many visitors.

She was grateful for this fact as she attempted to stretch her aching legs. Her belly made everything awkward, and she didn't bother much with modesty the last few weeks. She was wearing a plain cotton sleeveless dress; it was too hot to wear much else. In a temperature less than that of the Burning Legion homeworld, it would probably be attractive: it was low cut, with thin straps holding the top up. Soft white cotton gathered under her breasts and stretched across her belly, feathering out at mid-thigh. As with most of her clothes, it had fallen victim to her embroidery habit, and a row of tiny leaves adorned the bottom hem. It was a garment that, under normal circumstances, she would have only laughed at, but today, it was too much fabric. It damply clung to her back and sides and she lifted her violet hair off of her neck to let what little breeze there was to her skin. Like everything else, even braiding her hair and pinning it up was becoming a challenge, and today she had not had the patience for it. She stayed there, head back, eyes closed, legs outstretched in front of her, trying to relax, until she heard Elforen's footsteps on the path in the garden. When the sound stopped, she opened her eyes and saw her husband crouched in front of her. His eyes held only concern as he held out a damp cloth to lay on her neck to cool her down. Her defenses and aggravation melted, and as she took the cloth she was not surprised to feel tears well up in her eyes again.

“I'm sorry,” she whispered as she pressed the cool cloth to her face. It felt like heaven. “It's just too hot today, and I can't get my mind to settle.”

Elforen reached to brush her hair back from her face, and she instinctively jerked away, regretting it even though she couldn't stop it. He pretended to only be brushing an errant leaf off the back of the bench. Tears spilled out of her eyes again and she looked away, trying to get control of her voice. Elforen diplomatically changed the subject.

“How are you and the baby feeling today?” he asked lightly. Zarabethe swallowed her tears away and couldn't help but smile. He asked her every day.

“Uncomfortable, but fine,” she said. “Still in there.” She sat up straighter, smoothing her dress down the best she could.


aaaaaaand that is about all I'm comfortable sharing :D.   If you are confused, feel free to visit my deviantArt to see their beginnings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Kerfeet Enter the Fair

UPDATE:  They all did great! Logan and Gryphon got blues on their swords, Lilith got 5th on her chicken and blue on her cookies, and Ivy got blue on her dolphin.  I got second on both of my entries.  Overall, a good showing I think :).

Logan made a replica of Anduril, the Sword of the King from Return of the King.  Mark cut the general shape out of foam, Logan sanded it to get the right look, then painted it.

Gryphon made a Medieal Falchion (I think it ended up looking more like a cutlass, but that's the shape he wanted).  Same process.

Lilith made cookies (cinnamon oatmeal raisin) and a potholder loop chicken.

She burned her finger taking the pan out of the oven and needed a picture of it, too :)

Ivy and I made a dophin sock puppet.  I will freely admit, it was not one of my better works :D.  I think I completely forgot what a dolphin looked like while making it.  She was pleased though, so I guess that counts.

It's the grey thing in the bag behind her
I had all these plans for making things for the fair, then I hurt my ankle :(.  So not only did I not get to start on any fancy sewing fair projects, I didn't get to finish some other projects either.  So at the last minute I took the failed dress I made for Seraphyna for Ames Day, made the neckline smaller, added an elastic waistline, and made a matching hat.  It turned out so cute!  I can't wait to get it back so she can wear it :).   I also (about 15 minutes before we left for the faire) decided to enter Mark's Medieval Faire shirt, which I am inordinately proud of.  It was a little dusty from hanging since April, but still in mostly immaculate shape.  I'm hopeful for it. 

dress and hat

Mark's shirt

My lovely model in her dress

Tomorrow evening we'll go and tour the entire fair, and see if we placed in anything. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clean, my minions!!!


Gryphon and Lilith wash dishes in stockpots in the bathtub, freeing up the sink.

You two are awfully chipper for being forced to clean

Logan and Ivy fold the laundry

Lachlan helps by laying all over it

Rowan is helping by staying out of my way and not hindering the other kids.
I'm just teasing, they are not being punshed.  But we have quite the round of chores going on right now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In Which I Talk About Myself Again

Anxiety is only endearing to cute, childless girls, and being mercurial only attractive in sexually deviant millionaire men.

It has come to my attention, through indirect means, that I do not like the person I have become in the past few years.  In all honesty it started when we moved back to Oklahoma:  two years of separating ourselves from our unhealthy attitudes seemed to slip away alarmingly fast once we were back in our comfort zone.  It was once we were back in Oklahoma that I began to really pay attention to and be hindered by my anxiety.  It grew to an almost debilitating peak December 2010, when our family went through a breaking down and rebuilding period.  Those months were hard.  There were weeks when I was barely able to leave the house, even with Mark.  I did not leave the house by myself for more than three months.  I remember the day because I was very proud of myself for taking the kids and going to the grocery store to get a few needed items and a craft for us all to do, with no breakdowns.   It was at that point that I started trying to get myself under control again, whatever the cost.  I was wound too tight to even try and be polite, patient, and accommodating.  Couldn't my family see how much stress I had going on all the time?  They could handle it, I couldn't. 

Sharp, sarcastic, demeaning remarks are unfortunately my default.  That's how my father dealt in life, and although I despised it and hate him for it, it became ingrained in my head as a show of strength, dominance, and control.  What I needed most in my life was control:  control over my anxieties, control over my surroundings, and the ability to focus and do my job of raising and homeschooling the kids, keeping the house livable, and taking care of outside issues that arose.  I have for the most part taken control of those things.  I can take all the minions and go grocery shopping for the month with no issues.  We go to the library and homeschool group.  I kindle the relationship with my husband, and have even started expressing myself with writing and drawing.  Most of the time the house is livable.  Things aren't perfect but they are a lot better.  I don't freak out much at all. 

But the sacrifice for that is my attitude.  Mark thought I was just miserable, because I was never happy.  I griped at the kids first and asked questions later.  I could be very sarcastic and/or dramatic when provoked.  I had NO IDEA that I was acting this way.  In my head, I was proud of myself for holding my stuff together for once.  I was happy, but I guess I never showed it. 

The turning point was when I was writing a chapter in my story sometime last week.  I was writing a scene, which in my head, was dramatic, over the top, and a look into my character's head and why she was that way.  In my opinion, this made her very unlikeable.  She didn't enjoy being that way, but it didn't change how she acted, and very few people were comfortable around her.  She was not a good mother.  She was not a good wife.  She was not a good friend.   She was not even good at taking care of herself.  Her only good friend was her husband, who was in love with her.  She wasn't even that connected to her children.   As they got older, they understood she had issues, and they loved her, but they were never close.  I got nearly done with it, and handed it over to Mark to proofread.  He read it, handed it back with a slight smirk, and said, "lt's you." 

He was completely right.  Except for minor details, I could have written out our evening any day of the week.  Wake up calls, however necessary, are never easy.  I was angry.  I was sarcastic.  Then I hated myself.  Finally, I reached the point where I saw the truth of it and was simply apologetic.  I was turning into my father, and I was in complete denial of it. 

I have done a lot of thinking these past few days.  I am learning to really look at how I react to things, and try to change them.  My knee-jerk reaction is seldom the appropriate one.  The upside is it's been more pleasant around my house.  The downside being that I'm seeing a return of my anxiety in force.  I realize that my caustic nature is directly related to the tough outer shell that I have built up to allow myself to function as a normal human being.  In order to make myself a better wife and mother, I am going to have to take myself down to a level where I am very vulnerable to outside attack.  My social anxiety is at an all-time high.  Example:  last night I did not have something planned in time for supper for when Mark got home.  Ordinarily I would fuss and fret, tear myself up for not being a good wife, gripe at the kids to help me clean kitchen/watch baby, and generally be unhappy and make everyone else unhappy.  Instead, I kept myself zen, told Mark what was going on, and we decided to go out.  I managed to have everyone (including myself) ready with minimal grumpiness and we went out.  It's tax-free weekend so all the restaurants are crowded.  We ended up at taco cabana.  We ordered food, got everyone sat down, and the girls helped me get drinks for everyone.  I noticed a line building up behind us as we filled up 8 different cups.  The grumpy looks of the patrons behind us just completely made me lose my cool.  I was terrified of those unapproving looks.  I tried to settle it down, after all, we were paying customers, and we had just as much right to get our drinks as them, but it set my mood for the entire evening.  I hyperventilated through the entire meal.  Every ill-tempered person in the entire room was obviously angry at us.  A litany of accusations and angry words that I was imagining them thinking bombarded my brain.  I was self-conscious over everything from how fast I ate my food, to how loudly the kids were talking, to Lachlan pitching pieces of rice off the table, and everything else.  I was shaking by the end of it, even though nothing had been said and the kids had been relative angels.   I have not been able to shake these feelings off like I usually can.  I knew it was going to be tough to change some ingrained habits, but this is much worse than I imagined.  Somehow, I have to break myself down again to a base level, then build up my defenses again, only without being mean, sarcastic, or demeaning to others.  I don't really know how to do this, but I'm going to try.  And in the meantime, I realize I'm going to have to prepare myself for a few months of mental torture as I sort things out. 

My husband is a saint as usual for putting up with me.  Hopefully he won't strangle me in a process that, with any luck, will end up with a much happier, calmer Melly.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Again

So I told myself after the last writing contest, that I would not enter another one on that site.  Not because I was upset at not winning, or that I felt that the quality of writers on the site was poor, but because the method they used to shortlist the entries I felt was a popularity contest, and people were padding their stories with fake accounts and likes.  Writing should never be judged by how many friends you have. 

I have, however, been keeping my eye on the writing prompts for ideas to expand my comfort zone beyond just my own World of Warcraft characters.  I knew there was a fantasy contest coming up, although I've been busy with other things (imagine that!) and haven't checked it in a few weeks.  I happened to think of it today, and found the contest had been posted a few weeks ago.  The interesting part though, is who the judge is going to be.  I've had a few friends mention the upcoming book "Seraphina" to me, and I had already made plans to purchase it when it came out, as the story sounded decent, and well, who can resist with such a lovely title :).   But it turns out that SHE is the one judging this contest, and by reading the excerpt that she posted for inspiration for the contest, I am really excited about the prospect of this book, and really inspired to giving this contest a try.  My distraction has lost me precious few weeks in writing:  the shortlist is made by how many people "like" your story, and that takes time if you're not artificially padding your votes.  So tonight I will set aside the birth of Zara and Elf's second child, the sexual tension between Maerciless and her former paladin partner, Aeschlie, and Nimuelle the ditzy hunter's fatalistic mistake in animal identification, and try and come up with something completely original in as little time as possible. 

I also have two dresses for my niece to make, matching outfits for the girls for Ames Day to pull together, at least one entry for the sewing portion of the county fair to make, and two slings as gifts to complete, all by the 18th as well.  I am nothing if not overly ambitious :\ .

Contest details:

I leave you with a happy Seraphyna Ninja.