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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Why it takes so long to get anything cut out:

Lachlan throws himself in my lap.
Seraphyna tries to put a puppy to sleep in the fabric. 
Lachlan tickling any spot of bare skin nonstop.
Wrinkled fabric.
Lachlan climbs on my back.
Seraphyna needs a diaper.
"Hey Momma I memorized my lines! Wanna hear? Oh wait I forgot, just a minute" x5
Seraphyna wails from the other room.
Lachlan throws a Thomas book in my lap.

Organize the older kids on making lunch: bark directions while pinning and folding.
Text from Mark.
Drop a pin from my mouth into my cleavage while telling Lachlan to STOP PLEASE
Unusual cutting diagram
Seraphyna wails from the other room.

This is why when everyone finally goes to bed for the night, I stay up just a little bit longer, to revel in the QUIET.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day Six: Sung to the Tune of "Carry On My Wayward Son"

First a Disclaimer:  These Days of Thankfulness are in no particular order, simply how they occur to me as I'm writing them at the time.  I don't want anyone to think I am more grateful to anything as inane as a television show than my husband, who I have not featured yet (but will!).

That being said, I have recently been granted access to a Netflix account (THANK YOU MY SISTER) and out of all the choices laid out before me like a buffet, I broke my netflix cherry on Supernatural.   I'm not sure why:  I have several things on my list that I'm interested in, like Doctor Who, or Sherlock Holmes, or even Firefly (here's my geek card, I'll have to hand it in now).  I don't even LIKE scary things anymore.  It triggers my anxiety like crazy and I stay up all night staring at my open doorway, expecting a silhouette to darken it and for me to lose my mind in terror.  But I have always been interested in science fiction, fantasy, and the supernatural.  Things that can't quite be explained, or makes you think about the world as a different, more fascinating place.  I remember having a ritual in high school of watching certain shows with my mom and sister, and the two I remember most are Star Trek: Voyager, and The X-Files. So maybe it was a bit of nostalgia breaking through when I started watching Supernatural.  And surprise surprise, I really liked it.

When I sit down and think about, I think the thing I like the most about the show is the incredible acting and the realism brought to the show by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. You really, truly, believe these two are brothers.  There's nothing forced in there at all:  they annoy each other, they pick on each other, but they would hand over their lives for the other without thought.  You see although the show is named Supernatural and there is a laundry list of various strange creatures and urban legends, and later religious mythology and epic battles, the show is, plain and simple, about the relationship between these two brothers.  There's the younger, sometimes naive, brooding brother of Sam, who tries to get away from the Hunter lifestyle and maintain a "normal" life, and there's the never-serious, childhood-stolen-from-him, older brother Dean, who drags him back to help find their father.  The way these two interact is hilarious, poignant, and more than that, believable.  These two characters were made for these actors.

There are many other things I love about this show.  I am never disappointed by the music choices.  I like how they manage to mostly tie off loose threads at the end of a season (mostly, there's only so much you can do).  It is absolutely hysterical in some place and rips your heart out in others. There are times when you're crying from laughing so hard and in the next moment, you're crying again because it's so emotional.   There are some kick-ass female leads and they are not only the victims to monsters.  There are romantic relationships, but they are always brief, and everyone knows they are doomed from the start.  It never takes the focus away from the two brothers, the hunters, road-tripping through Hell and back, to save lives and find their own redemption.

I am right now nearing the end of Season 4, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do.  But I know it's going to be a fun ride, no matter how long it takes.

Days Four and Five: Community

Thankful Day Four:  Online Community

There are those among us, particularly of the older variety (I may or may not be in this category) that do not believe that a community that only exists online can provide a fulfilling relationship.  I tend to disagree.

It's true that the Internet is fraught with peril.  You are more likely to encounter a troll (someone who insults others purely to get a rise out of them) than a sympathetic ear. Between trolls, hackers, and people with their filters removed by anonymity, there hardly seems a point.  But the one advantage the Internet has is that it brings people together from all over the world.  Interested in a certain anime?  There's a forum for that.  Passionate about birth? There's a facebook group for that.  And every now and then, you find a group made of exceptional men and women that you connect with and lifts you up better than anyone IRL, because you only have to travel as far as your computer or iPhone to find them.  I in particular am grateful for the community of my two online mothers groups, one that has been together for almost 12 years, and one that has been together for almost 11 years;  and my splinter freebirthing group that broke off from a larger, dysfunctional one.  It is rare that you find such a safe haven of like-minded individuals that will willingly reach out across the ether and extend a hand to sister that is in need of advice, of comfort, or to share a joy.  To someone who has social anxiety and sometimes can't stand to be physically around other people, this is a unique blessing:  friendship without pressures.

Thankful Day Five:  IRL Community

It's been a long time since I had close friends that I could visit regularly in a physical form.  I don't reach out to people often, but I have had really good luck lately opening up to people and finding kinship with them.  For day five, I am grateful for my community that exists here around me, and my good friends.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Writing Madness AKA Do I Still Have This Blog???

Hello and welcome to the month of November Dear Readers! (all two of you.  don't get rowdy).  Although I'm already two days behind, I am still determined to get to my 30K word count goal that I usually set for this month.  I have lots and lots of Scepter chapters to go, and I'm starting a new saga of Maerciless and Shirelle.  It's going rather well, although it's no where near to the point of posting yet.  I have managed to keep the different tones of the pieces up instead of blending them together into a homogenized style, so I'm happy about that.  Maybe this time next year I will be able to focus on something that's not WoW related??  Time will tell.

I will be keeping a word count update on my blog, and going for my November Thankfulness as often as I remember (once a week?  once a day? who knows!).  I took the entire month of October off from writing, and although it was needed to be able to get my Halloween Crafting on, I'm a little out of practice from churning out as much writing as I would like to each week. I will still have Holiday Crafting to work on this month as well, as I'd like to get my sewn and crocheted gifts done before the first of December, I have found I am most happiest when I constantly have a lot of projects going on.  It keeps me busy and useful, and creating makes me happy.  Which makes me create more.

Now for my days of November Thankfulness.  Although I will be doing the usual and listing off family and basic ordinary blessings, I am going to try and dig deep to find subjects that really make you think, things that you might not always find happy.  It's a challenge really:  to find happy in the least likely of places.

Day One:   I am grateful for the love of reading.  My eldest daughter is sitting on the couch right now re-reading a book that I bought with my own money as a teenager, that somehow made it back to this house.  My kids have different reading speeds and levels, but all of them will happily sit down with a book and escape reality for a brief time. I have always learned my most important lessons from books, and I am glad to have passed that down to the minions.

Day Two:  I am grateful for Cosplay.  I have always been really into costuming, ever since I was little.  I liked to pick obscure characters and re-create them to the best of my ability constantly.  I dressed up every year for Halloween and was the spearhead for my group of friends to follow me around and trick or treat, up until we turned 18.  I never really understood my fanaticism for costuming, until a couple years ago I fell into the world of Cosplay on the internet.  I no longer feel ashamed of my intense love of creating costumes and characters, and instead go for it with all the enthusiasm that I've always wanted to.  Everyone has their little obsessions:  some are about sports teams, some about movies, or videogames:  one of mine is costuming and there is nothing wrong with that.  I have found community in costuming and feel that I am an encouragement to others who want to costume and craft as well.  The husband has entered into this world as well, through the making of props and his constant support.  It's a world I am happy to be a part of.

Day Three:  I am grateful for insomnia and the madness it creates to craft, write, and exercise my brain.  I am grateful for the extra time it makes for me to be myself and not solely exist as a wife, mother, and homeschooler.  Now if I could just not crash every few days, it would be a lot more convenient.
Bonus Picture:  A Lachlan in a Box

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I started listening to this lovely song by Pink, that someone did a music video to (I am not sure of the original person).  I was admiring how their relationship was so innocent and unassuming and quickly blossomed into something more.  I was considering using this as an inspiration video to write about Elf and Zara when the end of the video BROKE MY HEART IN HALF.  I mean really.  If you stop it at 2:00 and forget the rest, okay, but otherwise, NOPE.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When Art Imitates Life


He pulled a corner of the blanket off his face and peered into the faintly lit room. The shadows indicated the light was from within. He rolled over and saw a candle burning on the small nightstand by Zarabethe's bed. The night elf was hunched over a pile of scrolls and two open books, scribbling furiously on a separate parchment. He sat up and glanced outside: it was still full dark, although the dawn would be upon them soon.

“Zara, have you been up all night?” he mumbled, his mouth still full of sleep. She didn't even glance his way.

“No.” She stopped writing long enough to run one finger along a line of words in one of the books, her lips moving silently as she read them to herself. “There's still night left.”

He groaned and flopped back down on the bed, pulling the blanket over him again.

“Go to bed, Zarabethe, you can do that in the morning,” he grumbled.

“I will shortly,” came her distracted answer. Giving up, Elforen stuck his head under the pillow and sought sleep.  


This scene has happened so often in our house I can't even count it anymore. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dream Sequence

I really don't have anything inspiring to put on here right now, so I'm going to share a dream sequence I'm messing with for an original story I'm working on. Maybe it will motivate me to pick one of these many projects swimming around in my documents folder and actually complete it o.O .


Solid grey walls assault my eyes. They are meant to be neutral, impartial, completely forgettable in a time of dire distress. They are my clearest memory of that day. Plain grey cement walls, grey with grey paint, no trim, nothing to break up their monopolization of the hallway except plain grey doors with silver handles. Light grey tiles on the floor slightly longer than my foot, arranged into squares like my grandmother's quilt. It is amazing the thoughts that flit into my mind in this impossible task. I am awash in the lack of colour, I am adrift in the surreality of the moment. The soft click of my boots against the floor is the loudest sound in existence. It almost drowns out the sound of weeping in one of the closed rooms. Is it to my left or right? Does it matter?

The detective in front of me is Hispanic, with a kind, intelligent face, today set only to grim. He walks at a normal pace, that I match easily, but the hallway seems to go on into infinity. In the ignorance that exists in living through a memory, I start to feel uneasy. The hallway is too long. The doors are too wide apart, in too large of number. I try to take bigger steps, but I feel resistance against my legs, and I don't gain any distance. I try to look down to see if my skirt is perhaps caught on my legs, but I can't move my head. I can only look forward, walk the same pace, follow these footsteps again. Again.

The uneasiness blooms into a flower of panic in my head. I've done this before. My breath seems to be the only thing I can directly influence, and I start to breathe too fast. I look ahead, and finally I see an end to the hallway, a door that I am intended to pass through. A door that I cannot pass through. The sound of my footsteps echoes so loud in my ears that I want to slap my hands over my ears. The muffled crying increases, seeps under the cracks of every room. The grey of the walls presses into me oppressively. I am sweating. The detective is oblivious to my discontent: he seems to be trapped in this repeating scenario without self-awareness. The door slowly grows closer, and inside my head, I start to scream. I yank, pull, wrench with all my might to force my body to stop walking, to end this torturous slow-motion parade. I might as well throw feathers at a steam roller. I continue to shriek in my head: nonsensical, mental manifestations of terror, a last resort after all efforts to free oneself have failed. I am hyperventilating, and tears start to gather in my eyes from the rebellion I am waging against my body. We have almost reached the door, and the detective turns towards me with concern on his face. He can see my wet cheeks, my too-fast breath. He gently pats my arm, but cannot do anything. We are both locked in this nightmare.


 It all runs together as one word, a holy chant to ward off evil. Evil is indifferent.

 Don'topenthedoordon'topenthedoordon'topenthedoordon'topenthedoor DON'T. OPEN. THE. DOOR.

The detective swings open the door silently to a room filled with more grey. The wails of suffering, having reached a crescendo, are abruptly cut off as the door shuts behind us with a dull thud. There are different kinds of grey in this room: the dull metallic grey of steel. Dark grey plastic bags. Grey cotton scrubs, even grey sprinkling the heads of the technicians as they mill around a table set up in the center of the room. There appears to be some kind of arguing going on, but my attention has zeroed in on the zipper in the middle of the bag on the table. There is something wrong with the bag: it seems too loose and empty for the devastation it contains. Now that I am through the door, I am ignored, and I am as trapped in the sequence as the detective was before. I watch in gaping horror as I step behind the personnel having a terse discussion and put my hand on the zipper. I draw it back, and this time my scream rips apart the veil between all worlds and shatters the night.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Les Miserables

Sometime in high school, (right around the time I started performing with American Kids) I became obsessed with musicals. I had many favorites (one of the top ones being Phantom of the Opera) but by far the winner in my book was Les Miserables. I was so enamored with this musical that I checked out the dilapidated 1000 page text from our tiny school library and bullied my way through it. Let me tell you: that is a hard book to push through, even as obsessed as I was with the story. There were beautiful parts, yes, but there was also a lot of French Revolution politics that I had no clue about, and French is not really my language anyway, and a lot of the context was hard to understand. But still, I made myself finish it, and as a reward for being the first one to check out the book in decades, the librarian let me keep it. (I still have it. Used it as a prop in a musical I was in)

As everyone is likely to do, I picked a character I identified with. Not the love interest, of course, that was too easy. Too pure of heart and unrealistic for me to model after. No, no one but the tragic Queen of Unrequited Love would do, Eponine. I lived and breathed the words of every bit and major part she sung, but especially On My Own. It was an anthem of sorts: I never expected to be anything but lonely anyway, and at least she had someone to dream after, and later give her life for. What can I say, I was a teenager, and Eponine was a self-centered teenager's tragic heroine. All she wanted was love, and she gave everything up for love, only to briefly glimpse it at the end. Beautiful and poetic.

There were other songs that I dearly loved as well. The rallying notes of Enjolras and the other revolutionaries stirred by blood, and Thernardier and Mme. Thernardier were delightfully sinful. And of course, I Dreamed a Dream was heart-wrenching as well, but I realize now I just never really understood it. Intellectually, I could imagine having loved, and lost, and regretting having your innocence stolen, but it was a concept that was as distant to me as playing the Leading Lady. I had never before experienced first love, childbirth, or even sex before, and how devastatingly powerful each of these is on the heart. Fantine's story was sad, yes, but I was convinced Eponine was the true tragic heroine.

Tonight I watched the movie of Les Miserable for the first time. I hadn't really listened to or thought of this musical in 11 or 12 years. After all, I was living my own, very real love story and there was no need to bury myself in borrowed emotions. I went in with high hopes: I knew the downfalls of the original musical (really, does anyone just talk in this world? Without bursting into song?) and was prepared to just immerse myself in the story and fall in love with it once again. Maybe even relive a bit of my adolescence.

What happened took me by surprise. The character of Eponine had lost almost all of her glamour. I still indulged in singing along with On My Own, and the actress herself did a decent job, but the part of Fantine just absolutely blew me away. Part of it I'm sure was the talent of Anne Hathaway. I have yet to see her fudge any role that she has taken. More than anything though, I viewed her character through the lens of age and experience. Now that I have children, I could feel the pain and desperation as she gave everything she could to ensure the life of her child. A child, that most likely drove away her first love, that she gave up her entire life to give everything to. A child that she loved unconditionally because she was innocent. I knew without a doubt that I would give everything that Fantine gave and more if it meant that my children would live one more day. No matter how much pain she was in or how she was humiliated she was steadfast and true and her heart was directed solely at Cosette. The sacrifice of Fantine brought me to my knees, as it should everyone that sees it, and it took years for me to realize this.

This tale is another medium that shows how deeply strong and profoundly humbled one is by giving birth. You tear off a piece of your heart and you nurture it to grow, and you are changed forever by it. As pretty and poetic romantic love may be, a mother's love is steadfast and unbreaking, it never gives, it never hesitates, it never regrets. It is a mature love that is equipped to weather the storm of life and come out on the other side. It was a reminder that I needed to see tonight.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kindling a Fire of Music

Today, I picked up a recorder and blew a few notes.

A recorder is a very basic, beginning instrument, requiring little skill and talent to produce a simple tune. They are usually used in classrooms around 4th grade to introduce children to the fundamentals of creating music. For some it is nothing more than a past-time, and simple thing to learn and reproduce the sound asked of them. They put it down and carry on, continuing to appreciate music at a distance . For others, it is a trigger. A small glance into a world of possibilities. A fire maybe, and a desire to learn more.

I have not played music in over 10 years. I was able to participate in a choir in church for a short time a few years ago, and that was a small slice of heaven in adversity. Singing was once my passion, and I was reminded of it as I lifted my voice, in however small a way.

I have wanted nothing more than to have children that had talent to sing. I have wanted it so badly that hearing other children sing instantly brought tears to my eyes and I couldn't listen anymore. I have been trying very hard not to project my own desires on the children and just let them grow and be themselves. I would never want them to think that they had disappointed me by not having musical talent. I know it's something that is inborn more than learned, and I don't want them to think that they would ever be not perfect in my eyes. So I have waited. I know that I taught myself to sing, and taught myself the beginnings of music and theory. I have always played music, and we have sung silly songs together, and I try to not be nervous to sing in front of them. Always listened, always paid attention, trying to catch snatches of them singing to themselves, hoping that I will one day hear one of them lift their voice in song and feel that fire as well.

I think however, that I am approaching this wrong. I have been able to ignore music for years without it bothering me, but as soon as I was able to reproduce a simple tune on a simple instrument, my heart ached for 11 years of silence. It took a great amount of effort to return the recorder to its box and continue with the nightly banality of supper. I think I need to take that fire, and start it. It will be up to them to kindle it within themselves, but I think we need to jump in and try it out and see if it catches.

For all my love of homeschooling and curriculum and gathering materials for the kids to learn both from me, and themselves, I have not even once tried to plan out music lessons. In fact it was my husband that insisted we get the recorder for the kids to try. I have almost no resources at my disposal besides that recorder, a box of percussion instruments, a dilapidated piano, and a guitar that I can barely play. And my voice. But I have decided not to ignore that need to create music. I will take out my guitar, and however long it takes, get it tuned. I will print out music and practice and teach them and show them, and we will sing together and feel the exquisite conjunction of notes sounded at the right time, in the right order, and the right pitch.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Invincibility, or How We Grow Braver As We Age

Last night I was reading the latest flavour in Young Adult Dystopian Romance literature on my library list. (Yes, that is a genre now.) It was Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie, by the way. It was pretty decent, not the best I've read, but enough to pass the time. As my littles fell asleep one by one and it was time to put the book down for the night, my mind buzzed with several questions. They were not, I'm sure, the ones that the author wished to stir in my brain: I was not pre-occupied with nanny-states, how much control is too much, or what freedoms would you give up to be guaranteed comfort and moderate happiness.

My thoughts, as I was turning the lights off and tucking blankets around little snoring bodies, were dancing around the idea that once you hit your teenage years, (approximately the ages of 15-18), you feel invincible. You are finally starting to understand the world, and the little knowledge you have, plus an amazing confidence that you can do anything you set your mind to, explodes in your body and nothing can get you down. You can be faced with a life or death situation, and you can confidently make a choice, knowing that somehow everything will work out. This is the only time in your life that you can be this bold. You are convinced that the world is made for you to experience it. Naivete can be a very dangerous thing, but in this time it is an advantage. You have not truly met failure yet: in fact sometimes you wonder if it even exists.

You don't start off this confident. As a baby you are completely dependent on your parental figures with no abilities of your own. Slowly you become more independent, but only in your own little protected world. Yes, at the age of 11, you can probably fix your own (if meager) meals, amuse yourself with various media (books, tv, games, etc...), dress yourself, put yourself to bed, clean up your own mess, even briefly watch over a younger sibling or a pet. In your small world, this is utter independence. But it is when you grow into a teenager that you start to gain your confidence in the outside world. It's your first trial run as an adult, and you can't lose.

The invincibility is imagined, of course. Teenagers die every day: some from accidents, some from bad choices, some intentional. But in some ways, believing is doing: there are stories every day about teenagers who do amazing things that no one could have survived. I personally follow the idea that if you believe something enough, it is real. Either because your faith made it exist, or because it existed all along. But I digress.
Sometime as you stumble along in this bubble of awesome, a person usually experiences their first love. Not just a crush, but an actual love requiring interaction between two individuals, no matter how brief. And this is where the first crack appears.
Imagine your heart in an idealistic fashion for a moment. A red, 3-dimensional puffy heart, completely encased with a golden, glowing shield. This is a teenager's heart. Your heart is strong, whole, proud, but it is also slightly immature. The first time you love, you have to open yourself up to vulnerability. You can't experience love if it is locked away inside a golden orb. You have to cut open your shield. As the shield is so closely connected to your heart, you end up cutting your heart a little, too. This wound, although painful to the touch, also allows you to love, and to bond. Your partner's heart, which has also been cut open, presses up against yours, and between the two they staunch the flow, and eventually tissue grows over both hearts and together you are invincible.
It is a different kind though: you are dependent on the other. Being alone reopens the wound. Together it grows back together, and you are strong, but you now have a weakness. Now let's say this love is not meant to be, and both hearts permanently rip apart. Your heart does eventually heal. Your shield is mostly intact, but there is a scar running directly down the middle. You feel a little weaker, a little more vulnerable, but a lot more wiser than you have ever been. You know pain now, internal pain that no medicine but time can touch, and you can deal with it. You can be brave about your weakness, and act in spite of it.
Time marches on, and your heart beats strong. Maybe it meets up with a few more hearts, connecting and then ripping apart. It hurts, it always does, but it heals into a scar, and you keep going. One day you meet the heart that matches perfectly with yours, and they connect in a new and solid way. But for the first time, you feel your invincibility is truly compromised: there will never be a time again when you only have yourself to worry about. You will always keep an open wound held tightly closed with someone else's heart. You need their love like you never needed anything before. So you take your weakness, and you accept it, and you grow a little braver about it. You know you can be hurt, but you step forward into life anyway, knowing that it is a little more precious now that you have someone else to live for.
For some, that is the pinnacle of the story. It is enough to love someone and to be loved in return, and walk hand in hand to eternity. But for many, it doesn't end there. Your heart changes again.
You take your heart, and out of the strongest, purest part, you cut a piece off of it. You bind it with a piece of your partner's heart, and it grows into a child. Their heart blossoms, new, innocent, beaming with love and beauty. Your heart is permanently missing a piece, but it is not gone, just moved. To compensate, your heart swells bigger and more brilliant than before, but it always strains towards the missing parts. With each new child, you cut one more piece out, and create more love. But never again will you play with the idea of invincibility. Your shield has vanished: your heart outgrew it when it pushed past its borders to protect and love the piece that had flown away.
As a result, you are more brave than you have ever been. You willingly put yourself in front of objects, ideas, or people that would harm the little pieces of your heart that have broken free to live on their own. Even when you are the most vulnerable you have ever been, and you stand to lose more than ever before, you are a soldier, a warrior, a surrogate shield and protector. You do not take so much as a minute to consider your bravery: your actions are instinctual, and as old as the oldest soul born into the world. But even as you step more cautiously through life, careful to keep watch on all your scattered pieces, guarding their own vulnerability until their own shields grow, you live with more love, compassion, and emotion than you ever thought your little heart could handle. That's because it has grown, through its experiences, into more than you ever could possibly be alone.  Your strength lies not in your defenses, but in the sheer power of your love.  It is this love that carries us up and over the scars and wounds torn in our heart and sustains us, and by default our family, through the ups and downs of life, until it is time to lay your heart to rest.  It rests depleted and sated, and having given its all, now lays down and slumbers with no regrets.  The pieces, now grown into mature hearts of their own, are possibly bonded with others, or even creating their own pieces to carry the love on. 
They are the legacy of your first injury, the first time you questioned your invincibility and cut your heart open to allow another in.  They are the progeny of your first act of true bravery.