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Posts Tagged ‘random’

The Next Series

Well, I finished my re-watch of Star Trek The Next Generation. All SEVEN seasons!  I think I drove Andy crazy with all my references to warp nacells (sp?) and space anomalies. It was fun to see a couple of episodes in the final season that I didn’t see as a teenager due obviously to the fact that I was getting too cool for Star Trek and didn’t watch it all the time. The acting seemed really bad at first (aside from Picard), but I sort of got used to it. Well, now it’s over and I’m going through my typical end of series melancholy. I get that way at the end of things. See, when I get into a story, I lock down into it and I’m not much good until I get to the end. Therefore, Harry Potter, LOST, X-Files, any fantasy trilogy, and even the dramatically over-rated Twilight series had me all tied up in knots from start to finish. Obviously, my next series needs to NOT be a seven season show.

Sometimes I hesitate to talk about watching a long series like that. You know, perception management–I don’t want anyone to think that I spend all my time in front of the computer when I should be doing something more spiritual like reading my Bible or listening to a sermon series. Well, Duh! We could probably ALL spend more time reading our Bibles and listening to sermons! In my defense, I do most of this watching while folding laundry or working on my dreads. And that’s a LOT of time! 🙂 See? Perception management. You guys aren’t going to judge me though, are you? Are you???

Well that leads me to ask for input on my next series. What story is worth the investment of my brain energy during all those long hours folding and palm rolling? I’m thinking about Mad Men and I just might join Andy on the Arrested Development train.  A broken down Lord of The Rings marathon in also a possibility. Any other ideas?

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This was a fun exercise in creativity. After you read mine, head over to Dear 18 Me and write yours. Do it today and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 iTunes card!

18 Year Old Me

18 Year Old Me

Dear 18 year old me,

I (you) recently watched this episode of Star Trek (yeah, a day will come when you think it’s cool again, even though right now you roll your eyes whenever it comes on) where Captain Picard was mortally wounded and Q offered him a chance to go back to his youth and make changes that would keep him from dying in this particular accident. He made the changes, played it safe, and ended up not dying in the present. The problem was that his now present self was this pansy version of his real self, and he wasn’t anything like the successful, courageous and ambitious captain we all know and love. I guess the moral of the story was something like, “don’t be too hard on yourself, because your mistakes are what make you who you are.” Well it was a pretty predictable episode, not too profoundly presented, but I kind of have to agree with it a little in that there are a few mistakes you’re going to make that will change your life for the better. They’re going to really suck, but they will be used in a huge way to change who you are and what you believe.

That being said, here are just a few tiny pointers:

1. You still need to go to PCC. You’re going to meet your husband there. Go, try to complain less about the rules, and try not to get so bitter about the hypocrites or the legalism. You’ll learn from that too and realize that you’re one from time to time. Enjoy the beach more.

2. Call your folks more while you’re in college and be more honest with them about your struggles and why things are so frustrating. That dialogue could be very helpful. Call them more in general just to say “I love you.”

3. When you meet a crazy red head wearing Buddy Holly glasses and are strangely intrigued, go with that. You two are gonna make some cute babies! (Although you might re-think having him come live with you and your family for the summer BEFORE you get engaged-just sayin’.)

4. Work harder at maintaining a few of those college friendships-there are some good people you’re really going to miss.

5. Stop making statements about how things are going to be when you have kids. You’re clueless.

6. You’re going to have to work out a lot after the kids, so you might do yourself a favor and start earlier.

7. Enjoy your little debbies and coke a cola, because you’re going to learn about all sorts of nasties in them and won’t let yourself have them anymore.

8.  You really aren’t going to listen to Celine Dion forever, so you might as well stop now.

9. Don’t worry about being cast in the roles of little girls–you’re gonna get to fly!

10. Theater isn’t everything. That’s going to be a tough lesson to learn, I’m just telling it that you’ll learn it someday.

11. You aren’t a very good listener–you could avoid a lot of misunderstandings and awkward moments if you’d work on that.

12. Pay more for your wedding dress and less for your flowers–they aren’t going to be right anyway.

13. Don’t take your grandmas for granted. See them as much as you can.

14. Work harder at staying in touch with your brother–you guys won’t see each other much over the next few years.

15. Keep at it–He’s worth it!

PS. If you read this and were part of my life when I was 18 and you DID try telling me some of this . . .  sorry. Hey! I was 18!!! Who listens to anyone when they’re 18???

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A Slice of D&D Nerdiness

This is just for fun, and also because I haven’t posted anything in FOREVER!  i’m just not good at fitting in everything I want to do!  And there’s so much I want to do!!!! 🙂  One of the nerdy things (although I’m only calling it nerdy in that self depreciating way you call something nerdy to make it seem less nerdy even though you think it’s completely AWESOME!) I’ve been up to is a monthly D&D game with Andy and some friends. I wrote a back story for my character and thought it would be fun to post it here. If you’re into fantasy novels, read on, but if not, you may want to skip the rest of this post all together. 🙂 I’m also secretly hoping that one of my friends may read this and say, “Beth! I LOVE fantasy novels!” and we’ll figure out a new connection we didn’t know we had.

Anyway, here’s the backstory for my Elven Fighter, Elissadi Dreadwyn. Think of it as picking up a book you’ve never read and starting right at the middle.

 

In all my years of training, in all the battles I’ve fought, on every road my journey has taken me, never have I carried so heavy a weight as guilt. I thought I had moved beyond my guilt. I thought that my deeds of late, the evils encountered and slain, had washed it away. I thought I had begun to change. I found out too cruelly last night though, that I have not changed at all. My lust for blood had merely lain dormant, satiated by our encounters, but when asked to stay my hand and spare the life of one I’d marked a foe, I found I could not. Now three men are dead that might not have died, and no matter how I may try to justify my actions as being for the sake of our safety and the completion of our task, the guilt has returned ten-fold. Moreover, I feel as though I have lost the trust (if there ever was any at all) of my companions. I must explain myself to them, explain my actions and the demons I fight. Will they forgive me and allow me to stay with them, or will they cast me from them as a charlatan, on a journey of redemption that is nothing more than a sham?

I must tell them everything. I will start at the beginning.

It was a Divine warning. I know not what else to call it. A Divine warning that would set forth the course of events that would shape my life–events that would change the customary fortunes of an un-extraordinary elven child from a simple, secluded village. It was the night before summer solstice of my eleventh year. My father, the elder of our small forest community was offering prayers of thanksgiving for the bountiful season we’d had thus far. As my father offered up his solstice prayers, he was struck with a vision–a terrifying apparition of a Drow warrior, one of our most-feared enemies. He was carrying in one hand a bloodied sword, and the head of an elf in other. The dark elf looked up and with menacing grin spoke my father’s name. When his mind cleared, my father knew that God was warning him. It was this warning that allowed the elders to hide me and the other eleven children in the village before the coming attack. Even with the warning, none of the adults survived. When the other children and I crawled out of our hiding places to behold the carnage that littered what was once our home, we noticed three dark elf bodies–certainly a feat our skilled, but simple elven elders could not have performed had the Drow been able to execute a standard surprise attack.

There is was that we sat, crying and alone in our wrecked village, wondering what to do next. I was the oldest of the children, and while I had been taught to use a sword–was quite adept at it in fact–and all of us had been taught basic survival skills, we were broken, unable to pick ourselves up in the face of the murder of our parents. The Divine Hand was on us still, though some might think it was an ill fate that then befell us. The vultures’ revelatory circles above had attracted a small band of Orcs. Had Orcs a more sophisticated palate, they would have eaten the lot of us, but the thought of the gold that twelve young and healthy slaves would bring, with a large meal merely a couple of days old sitting right at hand halted their wicked blades, and once again, our lives were spared.

After couple of terrifying days marching with the Orcs, we were sold to a rather degenerate human slaver who then took us to the port city of Calimport in Calimshan. There, we were sold to various pashas. I and one of my companions went to the palace, to work in the service of the reigning Emperor, Noralain el Pesarkhal.  It was thought that my nimble fingers would serve well for the Empress’ tailors working the delicate embroidery for her gowns. Needless to say, I was less than cooperative. I managed to get a hold of a poker from one of the fireplaces, and I held the head Tailor hostage until they would agree to let me do something I considered more dignified. I received a severe whipping for my trouble, and in truth, might have been killed if not for one of the guards who had been called in to bring this feisty little slave to order. He had liked my tenacity and noticed how comfortable I was wielding my make-shift weapon, so he took me to the weapon master, Willamin Tarmikos, who quickly decided that I was more suited for fighting than fineries, and my training began–not, of course, until after I had been sufficiently “broken”–they couldn’t start training me until they were certain I wouldn’t turn on them again. It is hard to explain what a person can bear in the fight for survival. I knew that I would not survive if I continued to rebel, but I knew that that to really survive, some part of my will had to stay intact, buried deep within. I would have to convince them that I was loyal, while protecting the “true” me? Did I fail? Have I lived these many years believing that I’d salvaged some part of my soul, only now to find that it died in a dark cellar when I was eleven, leaving nothing but a murderous wraith? I’m forced to ask myself this question not for the first time tonight.

The training halls of Norlain el Pesarkhal became my home. The years that followed were relatively pleasant considering my slavery. Mastar Tarmikos was tough, but not unbearably cruel and I excelled in my studies with the various weapons. By the time I reached adulthood, I was one of the best fighters Willamin had ever trained, and I was given my freedom in exchange for accepting a position as one of the captains of the Emperor’s army. The idea of a female captain wouldn’t sit well with most of the great armies of Faerûn, but in Calimport, the city of spies, where females number among some of the deadliest assassins in all of Toril, my gender proved to be of little consequence.

For most elves, living a simple, secluded life in a remote settlement, the time passes smoothly and evenly, as the water in a lake–predictable, if not calmly, with only the surging and tumbling of the inlet and the outlet. For an elf living among humans though, the waters are indeed a tumultuous and ever changing river. Many years passed and many of my former masters, teachers and comrades fell, if not in battle, to time itself, that ever undefeated foe. When Willamin Tarmikos died, no longer my teacher, but now my friend, with my past as a slave all but forgotten, the mantle of House Pesarkhal’s weapon master fell to me.  I served in that role for eight score and three years, training the soldiers of Calimport, defending the city from invaders, protecting a few generations of the nobles of house Pesarkhal, as well as often carrying out the unsavory assassinations ordered by my powerful masters.

When Ralan el Pesarkhal, a vindictive and truly evil monarch,  assumed the throne, I could no longer bear the weight of my duties, ever increasing in their vile nature. I knew not what guided my conscience, I knew only that I could no longer live as I had.  I stood up to the most powerful Pasha in all of Calimport and had to flee the city with no little price on my head. (Almost two score years later, I still watch for daggers aimed at my back or poison in my cup. The Emperor is not a forgiving man, and Calimport, as I said,  is known for its skilled assassins. I fear it will only be the death of Ralan el Pesarkhal that will free me from this constant pursuit. Yet, the short life of a vengeful human is not so long compared to that of an elf, and I can remain patiently vigilant a little longer.)

Where then does that put me now? One night, not long before I left Calimport, my eyes were opened in a dream. I saw my father and mother, the elders of my village, and the eleven children who had been sold along with me. I saw a company of Drow warriors descend upon them and strike them down, all the while my father’s hands remained raised to the heavens in eternal praise to the true God, the Creator of the Universe. I then saw myself standing next to my father, blades wet with the blood of the many foes I’d killed. I dropped my blades and my own hands went up, reaching out for forgiveness and peace.  After so many years of suppressing the painful memories, I remembered my father’s vision, remembered that I was spared for a reason, and I knew that it must be greater than this meaningless, violent life I now lived. For that reason I could no longer carry out the Emperor’s vile bidding. No longer could I raise my blades in defense of the corrupt and dissipated city of Calimport.

I am no longer a weapon master. I belong to no people. I travel now with only my blades and a hope that I can put them to a more noble use, a hope that I can somehow atone for the evils they performed in the service of the Pesearkhal family. I am ever waiting for the God who spared me as a child to guide me. Back to the elves? Back to a heritage long forgotten, to find a home and raise a family? Or I am to forever travel this road, an unending stream of monsters and rogues, with endless goodly folk to be protected, liberated and avenged? I am finding it an easy task to defend the good, but not so easy to have mercy on the evil. This journey perhaps will take much longer than I had hoped.

 

That’s it! If any of you stuck it out with me, thanks for reading. Any thoughts?

 

 

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A day away from home that is.

A much needed day.

A gift of a day.

Many of you know that my parents have lived in AZ for many years, and in the almost nine years now that Andy and I have been married, I’ve only gotten to see my folks once or twice a year. Ugh! It’s so hard to be away from family, isn’t it? To my delight though, due mostly to God’s leading them in new directions, but also I think due to the grandkids, Mom and Dad have moved back east and are now living in NC, only about an hour and half drive away. Yay! Day trips! We’ve been able to see them a lot more often now! They are actually going to get to have a real relationship with their grandkids. We’re pretty excited about this.

This weekend though, I took a day for myself to be with them, leaving those grandkids behind. The past few months have been increasingly difficult just in all those mommy ways. SO many of you who read are moms, many of you with several children, so you understand those dips along the way when you forget the value of what you’re doing, forget the reasons you’re doing it and just want to find a quiet hole where there aren’t toys with dying batteries singing “Twinkle Twinkle” slowly and somewhat demonically.  You long for a place where there aren’t toddlers screeching, questions pummeling or endless thudding noises followed by dramatic wails of “Liam made me bonk my ______________!” (insert random body part here). You wonder if there will ever again be a place where your name isn’t repeated a thousand times in succession, or even a place where you are known by a name other than “mom!”

Yeah, so you guys know what I’m talking about. You know about needing a break. I was eager to get away to my parent’s secluded cabin in the country and enjoy some peaceful grown up time. It wasn’t until I got there that we realized the three of us hadn’t spent a day together in at least six years!  The days was needed for so much more than my own relaxing and de-stressing. I took a few pictures of our time together, as well as a few of their place so you could see how peaceful and lovely it is. Love you Mom and Dad!

 

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1-4. Berry picking.

5. My sweet Mama, stringin’ beans for supper. I’d have shown a picture of her blackberry picking, but that wasn’t a pretty sight. She spent most of the time swatting mosquitoes and getting tangled in the briars. The things grandmas will do to get a bowl of fresh berries for their fruit lovin’ grandbabies.

6. Playing with antiques. More crafting ideas!

7-10. I’ve always been amazed at how quickly dad can beautify a place. A lot of the landscaping was there, but he’s just got a knack for making it shine. (Sure wish I’d inherited some of that!)

11. The view from the hammock

12. The other view from the hammock

13. Uh . . . ME . . . in the hammock

14. Playing in the stream

15. Me and my $4000 walking stick.  (You have to leave a comment if you want to hear the story)

16. I think I hear something!

17. Me and Dad

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. . . have got to be one of the trademarks of summer. Kids wearing the same pair of shoes sweaty day in and blustery day out. Wet feet going in, trekking through dirt and tall grasses, watermelon and icee juices dripping down into them. You’re unaware of the stench until the fateful afternoon you’re wrestling on the floor with your kidlets and . . . . .

BAM!

A clammy foot smacks into your face, sticking for a moment, it’s stench robbing you of your breath. Your gaze blurringly glides from the foot, up the leg until you see the face of the child, so beautiful and sweet, so unlike the assault your senses have just suffered. Not my sweet child, you think to yourself. She cannot be the cause of such foulness.

The shoes.

          

It MUST be the shoes.

You vow to find them, to eliminate them quickly and painlessly. Then, to your dismay, your eyes fall upon the offending shoes, only to find that they are not the greasy, grimy jellies you imagined.

They are not the soggy, soured sneakers you had expected.

They are the dainty little red slippers that your angel treasures more than her pillow pet, more than catching fireflies, more than licking cake batter from the spoon. The little red shoes you paid a dollar for two years ago at the Safe Harbor thrift shop. Shoes holding deep with in them the grime and grit of how many other dirty little angels?

THOSE SHOES!

What do you do? Do you scoop them up in the night and throw them out, hoping she won’t notice? Not a chance.  Do you try to replace them, only to find that the shiny new counterparts are looked on with distain and pinch at the pinky toe? I think not. Do you throw them in the washing machine, telling her how dirty they are, knowing that the cruel spinning and tumbling will rip apart the threadbare footwear, leaving technology the bad guy rather than yourself?

Truly, what does a mama do?

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Oh Good Grief

It’s a Charlie Brown day. It started out with so much promise, a nice big breakfast, house all clean, diapers washed out, worship music playing. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to end up missing the ball altogether, ending up flat on my back. It’s one of those days when giving thanks isn’t even a consideration until you realize it’s two o’clock and you’ve not given thanks for a single thing. Is that what happened? Or is that a result of the other things happening around here? I berate my children for complaining about everything. All they want to do is watch movies and play video games. I force them outside and into the kiddie pool. Fighting a headache I search through the messy, ungratefulness in my own heart and try to remember how to pull myself out of this muck–try to remember the truths that I know so well but seem to so easily forget. Some excuse comes to mind involving “dog days of summer” or some such trite expression and I kinda just want to go back to bed. I am grateful the computer is working today. There’s something. It’s about to die I think and many days my browser won’t work. So yay! I’ve got internet and I can post on my blog! I’m only wishing I had something useful to post rather than a gloomy diatribe.

Uh.

Continuing gloomy diatribe. . .

I need some ideas for getting motivated during these hot summer days. It’s hard to go out and about with a one year old who still sits in everything messy, still puts junk in his mouth and makes a bee line for every set of stairs he can find. So I feel sort of tied to the house, but I sit here looking at the homeschool shelves and get overwhelmed at how much harder this next year is going to be and I wonder how I can do it. Or I look at my neglected pile of sewing ideas and my eyes cross at the thought of actually reading those tutorials I’ve had flagged for months now. And I watch Gillian having an emotional breakdown in the back yard and wonder what part of my discipline is slipping so badly and how will I catch up and fix this awful behavior? Why so many “I can’t” thoughts today?

I think I’ll go jump in some cold water or something, take a couple Tylenol and read some Psalms.

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My last post talked a little bit about the whys of the dreads, but a lot of people are asking me some hows and whens, so I thought I’d post a little bit about the whole process. Well, mostly just the pics. If you want to know how to make them, check this out, and if you’re wanting to know if I can keep them clean (short answer is “yes!”), go here.

BEFORE

Started off the day at 7:30 am with clean, dry hair. I’ve been thinking about a funky short cut, so I’m prepared to have it all chopped if the dreads go badly or I hate them or whatever. Bye bye hairbrush!

MARIA (MY “OFFICIAL” STYLIST) SEPARATING MY HAIR INTO 49 LITTLE PONYTAILS (There’s not really any significance to the 49, that’s just what we ended up with.)

1ST SHIFT: These most awesome gal pals worked from 9:00-12:30. I’m so thankful for all of them and their help. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken without them.

I Took a break at 12:30 to feed my children, which is just about all the attention they got from me Thursday, the poor dears, with the exception of a couple of diaper changes for Eliot. Daddy took them out for dinner while I teased and palm rolled, teased and palm rolled, teased and palm rolled, teased, and . . . . . you get the picture. I could tell it was going too slow though and I desperately started calling everyone I could think of to help. The problem is, a large majority of my friends have a hoard of children to tend to, and can’t just up and head over to my house at the last minute.

2ND SHIFT: Eight o’clock rolled around and was still barely half way done. Jody and Lynn sailed in and saved the day, working on it for about three hours. True friends? I think yes.  It was about this time that the style was starting to take shape and I was getting pumped. They were coming out much longer than I’d expected, which was very cool. The time had come to break out the Bob Marley.

     

NIGHT SHIFT: Sadly, my stalwart recruits had to go home. We still had a long way to go and it was just me and Andy, teasing and palm rolling, teasing and palm rolling . . . . see, the process isn’t  really all that exciting.

Eventually, my arms gave out and he was on his own. The last four belong to him alone. Now isn’t that love? What I lucky woman I am. We waxed and palm rolled the last dread right around 2:30 am. You’re probably wondering how in the world it can take so long. It took an average of 18 minutes per lock to backcomb the hair tightly enough to for it to lock up. We were both exhausted by the end, but a short burst of energy followed as we took some pics and stood back to let it sink in that I had actually just spent about 14 hours (not counting break time) tangling and gooping up my hair on purpose! Knotty Boy (people who make dread stuff) does have a removal kit, so I might not have to do the chop when the time comes, but it looks like it will take me just about as long to get them out. SIGH. I’m not going to think about that right now, I’m too psyched about my locks! I do plan to keep them for at least 6 months though, just to give them time to start growing well on their own. We’ll see after that. Hopefully in 6 months I’ll have me some killer dreads that won’t be going anywhere!

   That’s about it. I’m having a blast with them already. Liam says “they’re better than your first hair.” He’s such a supportive little guy! 🙂 Gilly’s not sure. One minute she says they’re beautiful, the next she says she liked my old hair better, so who knows. Eliot likes to pull them.

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