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Nepal Relief Auction

 One thing I have found is that fandom is a powerful force.  Usually, it’s a force that empowers creativity, but from time to time, it steps out of that area and becomes even more effective in the real world.  The fandom auctions for causes like relief in Haiti are a prime example of that.

The time has come to again flex our fandom muscles to help those in need.  The NCIS Fanfiction Addiction forum (NFA) is sponsoring a similar auction to give relief and aid to those who need it most in Nepal.  We are looking for contributors and bidders for fiction, fanart, beta reading services, and the like.   Come over to the forum, register and be involved.  Together, we can change the world. 

My article on the OTW and Fanworks

Here's the article I wrote about fanfic and other fanworks, and the OTW.   Tell me what you think when you get a chance.


A call for meta

My husband and I are working together on a new journalism endeavor started by three enthusiastic men in New York. The focus is 'all things nerdy.' One of the things that I am most nerdy about is my fanworks (fanfiction / fanart, etc). You all who know me know that it's a huge portion of my life. And, through it, I have met many of you. So, here's the deal. If you are as involved with fanworks and the community that surrounds them as I am, and want to speak out about your experiences, the process, or how you see it affecting the world, I have a proposal for you.

Nerdnalist.com is a small blog at the moment, aiming for great things. What I would like to do is invite you as creators and consumers of fanworks to contribute to the conversation about them. I am soliciting single meta pieces anywhere from 500 to 3000 words in length (preferring to the longer than the shorter end of that spectrum) that discuss a subject of your choosing about fanworks. Maybe you're a strong voice in your genre. Maybe you've researched why the genre does some of the things it does. Maybe you've seen fanservice or gotten blocked by an original creator. This is not a place to promote your individual works, in fact, we'll ask that you sign the piece either with your real name, or a separate pseud from any you've published works under. We are not attempting to avoid giving credit to individual writers, but we want this to be a separate safe place to discuss the issues and trends of the fanwork community.

If this is something that you're interested in, please contact me through any means you know: comment here, PM me here, email me if you have it, send me a DM on twitter, or an IM or however you choose. Thank you.


 I have seen two very divergent styles of role play in my text-based RPGs. One of them is driven by plot, the other driven by strong characters. I prefer the latter. I also write character-driven stories. The reasons I do so are myriad. However, today, I'm thinking about collaborative writing, especially as shown in RP. Read more...Collapse )

Random update because I'm bored

So, I've been feeling a little out of things, and I came to the realization why: I semi-consciously pulled myself out of communities because I didn't have time to invest in them. however, I realized that I was gettin a lot of my adult socialization from those communities, even if it was in tiny doses at a time. Between us all being sick for six weeks and getting back into the swing of things as far as homeschooling goes, I lost my rhythm.


Trying to find it again is interesting, considering the fact that things changed (as they are wont to do) and people have changed availability and how to find them. Also, because of past experience, I am loathe to go too far from familiar pastures to find them for fear I'll be accused of stalking. (Stupid, I know, but it has happened)


I have also found a couple new fandom because of friends, and don't know who of my other fandom friends are even watching closely enough to know/care.


(This sounds a lot more l like complaining than I intended, but that seems to happen at times, especially here. ) 


Anyway, my two more recent fandoms are "Sherlock" and "Bones". I started watching  the latter when my best friend mentioned how much the main character reminded her of herself. I watched, and damn if she wasn't right :-)  I sat and watched the whole thing in short order and loved it. Not sure I'd write fic for it yet, but that's mainly because I haven't been writing much at all. Other than a couple NCIS Episode Tags, I haven't put pen to paper much.


The other thing I'm doing this year that seems to take up time is homeschooling the kids. I'm only doing three things or so a day with them, but they're getting it, and that's the important thing to me.I'm not using a set curriculum, so that means more work for me, but I do like having that control over exactly what they're learning. I'm proud of them; they're smart little boogers. We'll probably have to keep going for at least part of the summer to make up the days we missed by being sick. One of the few requirements my state puts on homeschooling parents it's that we teach them 180 days every year. I went ahead and announced that we'd be doing it again next year, but I can change that fairly easily if the situation changes again.  Anyway, here yea go, have an update. You know you've always wanted one.

A first collaborative story: ThingLit

DH found a board that is used with a LeapFrog Tag pen. We don't have one of those. However, we bought the board anyway. The reason we bought the board was that it had rows of adjectives, adverbial phrases, nouns and verbs with which to make sentences. My children have taken to this like they take to sugary substances, that is to say, extremely well. Here is their first collaborative story (with a little bit of editing and editorial compromise from Mom).

The Princess and the Pig MonsterCollapse )

Motherbrain: Check your privilege

I am on Tumblr, though not as commonly recently as I had been for a while.  Today on another site, I was reminded of something they say often on Tumblr. I will preface my post with two things: firstly, I understand their point.  I get what they're trying to say.  They're trying to say that often, in many parts of our country, things are radically different for someone who is different in specific ways. And that's true.  Not universally, but in places, it's true.  Secondly, this may offend some people, but it is not intended to offend. It's my rant about what "privilege" really means. 
Rant under the cutCollapse )


Because hearing about my life right now might squick some of you out... (TL;dr=teeth issues. Maybe resolution, maybe more dental fun. Tune in when the antibotics are done) ... have a meme!

Pick a number from the list and I'll answer it in the comments.

1 - Your current OTP
2 - A pairing you initially didn’t consider but someone changed your mind
3 - A pairing you have never liked and probably never will
4 - A pairing you wish you liked but just can’t
5 - Have you added anything stupid/cracky/hilarious to your fandom, if so, what
6 - What’s the longest you’ve ever been in a fandom
7 - Do you remember your first OTP, if so who was in it?
8 - Do you prefer characters from real action series or anime series
9 - Has the internet caused you to stop liking any fandoms, if so, which and why?
10 - Name a fandom you didn’t care/think about until you saw it all over tumblr your social network sites
11 - How do you feel about the other people in your current fandom
12 - Your favorite fanartist/author gives you one request, what do you ask for
13 - Your favorite fanart or fanartist
14 - Your favorite fanfiction or fanauthor
15 - Choose a song at random, which OTP does it remind you of
16 - Invent a random AU for any fandom (we always need more ideas)
17 - A ship you’ve abandoned and why
18 - A pairing you ship that you don’t think anyone else ships
19 - Show us an example of your personal headcanon
20 - Do you remember what your first fanwork was?
21 - Self-rec: What's your favorite fanwork you've created?
22 - Are you one of those fans who can’t watch anything without shipping?
23 - 5 favorite characters from 5 different fandoms
24 - 3 OTPs from 3 different fandoms
25 - A fandom you’re in but have no ships from
26 - Just ramble about something fan-related, go go go


This will get long and rambly, probably, so I'll stick it under a cut.
Discussion (read - rant) about my eyesightCollapse )

Devious Journal Entry

Male Rain

Seven things Meme take 3

The way this works is if you want me to give you a personalized list of things to talk about, leave a comment indicating so. I'll give you some, and you can pass it along.  lin71 gave me this list.
Read more...Collapse )


Thank all of you  for the good wishes, virtual hugs, virtual gifts, promises of fic, etc, today.  It really helped.  I did want to make a note about the virtual gifts.  You all decked me out nicely. From ferneberga, I  got a bright and cheery sunshine to walk under, from hinky_hippo, I got a lovely tinfoil hat to wear, and from josgotglock, I got a yummy chocolate cupcake.  Very nice.  :D 

I've been very  tired today. Part of it is the rain, I think, and part of it is that I didn't sleep at  all last night and only got like four hours today. So, sleepy.  However, since R is gone, I didn't  have a lot to do today.  So, a nice sleepy day was  okay.  :D

Seven Things, Redux

So, once again, if you're interested, leave me a comment saying so, and I'll give you seven questions to answer in your journal. Here are the ones magdarko gave me.

1. Your top five Gibbs/DiNozzo must-read fics

This is hard.  I have a lot of must-read fics.  However, the ones I keep coming back to are these.  It might be cheating  to use series as one, but deal  with it. :D   

* This is one I read every couple weeks.  Figuring It Out series by kesterpan
* Box Steps Series by ksl
* Captain Oblivious by  taylorgibbs
* Shallow Waters  by  yzba
* "Andy" by xanthestories

There are  so many  amazing authors in this fandom / ship that I have a plethora of pearls to pontificate on ... (now I'm just being silly).  But these are my favorite authors and their favorite stories of mine. I think. With Xanthe, it's hard for me to decide. 

2. The book you keep going back to

So many.   So so many.  Again, though, the one that comes to mind right now is Xenocide by Orson Scott Card.   It's packed  full of philosophy, crazy characters (in some cases literally), and inventive thought.  I was rereading Speaker before my reader went dead, and I realized how deeply Ender feels everything.  He literally takes the weight of worlds on his shoulders.  He has sort of a social, ruthless instinct that makes him act in cataclysmic ways (the literal meaning of huge change). 

Other books I come back to a lot:  The presidential years in Clancy's Ryanverse, Lawhead's Avalon, Zahn's Vision of the Future, and several others.   

3. Your favourite Abby moment

I'm not sure specifically.  I love watching her and Gibbs sign. It might be the one where they're  communicating while she's in the office and he's on the outside. I don't even remember the episode. 

4. A habit or hobby you dropped that you'd like to pick up again

Two.  Playing  piano and crocheting.

5. A place you visited that stayed with you

In  1998, I got  to spend three weeks on the Shankhill Road  staying with a church while we were on a mission trip to Belfast.  We slept on the floor of a big warehouse type building. I loved Belfast.  I loved the lively people and the  history, the attempts my friends were making to bridge gaps, and the hospitality they expressed to relative strangers, though their lives weren't always roses.  I want to go back and show my babies Belfast. 

6. An item on your bucket list

That.  I want to take my children to the UK, visit Germany and Ireland.  Visit the lands of my ancestors, show them where their family (at least on my side) comes from.  

7. The last movie you saw

Um, I'm not sure. I haven't watched a lot of movies lately.   I watch more tv episodes than movies.  The family watched Iron Man the other night.  

Motherbrain: The Bill of Rights (pt 1)

Two posts in two days! Don't fall over, guys.

There have been comments made by politicians lately about 'amending the bill of rights'. I am becoming less of a strict conservative as I age, but this  is something every American must remember:  The Bill of Rights is the core of the American system of government.  The Constitution itself sets up the specific shape of our government, but it is the Bill of Rights that defines much of the practical application thereof. 

Read more...Collapse )

Seven questions meme

Okay, kiddos, here's how this works: comment on this post, asking for seven questions to answer, and I'll ask them to you.  Then, you post this in your own journal along with the answers.  ferneberga asked me my seven, so here you go:Collapse )

Character Meme: Letters

1. Leave a comment to this post - specifically saying that you would like a letter.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Post the names of five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter, and your thoughts on each. The characters can be from books, movies, or TV shows.

onlyonechoice gave me "D"

1. Daniel Jackson:  I like  TV Danny better than Movie  Danny.  I love the chemistry MS has with RDA, AT and CJ.  He dies too many times, though.  ;)

2.  DiNozzo, Anthony: this might be cheating since I used a first name then a last name, but  oh, well.  Tony is  'crazy like a fox' to coin an old phrase.   He's much more intelligent than he lets on, but the face of the silly schoolboy has  gotten him far, so he'll use it.  In the current season, I think  he's shown more "Wise and pensive Tony" than we've seen  thus far, and I really like it.   :)

3. Doctor Who:  The Time Lord from Gallifrey is a complete enigma.   Which is a large part of his  charm. He cares for everyone, but  not TOO much; he is confident to the point of arrogance, almost (except in those rare moments when  he's completely insecure); and he has literally a billion friends, yet is completely alone in the universe.  I think my favorite episode  ever is "The Doctor's Wife" which was  written by  Neil Gaiman.  It carries so much  canon in it, yet looks at crosswise while standing on its head (which NG  is excellent at, I believe). 

4. Dantius, Nassana:  A minor character  in ME, and ME2.  I won't spoil, but she's a real piece of work.  She's one of the  few people who made me doubt my committment to the blue bar on this first playthrough. 

5.  Marty Deeks:  He's as  cute and playful as a puppy!  But, like Tony, he wears his goofy on his sleeve.  Underneath, there's an experienced chameleon (not as good as G, of course, but who is), and a damn good cop.  (personal headcanon alert) He loves Kensi to  distraction, but if she doesn't want him, he'll settle for watching her back and  jibing  at her for as long as he can. 



Here's a little meme to see who's reading my posts. So, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the third letter of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please. Then repost so I can leave a word for you. Don't just post a word and not copy - that's not as much fun!


In the desert,
  Water is precious.

Every drop of rain that falls -- 
  A tiny prism of  beauty,
  A gift from Heaven to the world --

Is something  to be treasured.

We do not begrudge the earth her share:
  From her comes our food. 
  Our clothes. 
  Our fuel.
  Our life.

When water falls with wild and  furious abandon
  down around us, 
  We fear.  

The deep canyons that set our high, majestic mountains
  Apart from the shifting sand
  Were carved
  And formed
  By water.

However, those moments are rare.
  Like unexpected changes 
  That bring new growth.


In the desert,
Water is precious.

Writer's Block: ONTD Games Giveaway

Which video game character would you like to have as your real-life BFF? One random response will win a $60 Amazon gift card! [Full contest rules here.] Don't forget to share your favorite gamer moments on at 3 p.m. PST for Free For All Friday (FFAF).

I'd really like to meet Rinoa Heartily from Final Fantasy VII. I think she's a cool person, having sort of rebelled against her parents and joined SeeD's cause.

The fiasco continues

Originally posted by electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

POEM: Myth



We reach backward into the mists of time,

Scouring the histories for things we only vaguely recognize

With our hands shaped from our looks back,

We peer hesitantly at the world around us.

Nothing makes sense alone.

Too many sights, sounds, smells, touches,

Everything tastes the same

Nothing to compare.

Shaped by history, mystery, trickery and time,

We stride forward,

The happy, imaginative

Children of myth.


Motherbrain: My thoughts on SOPA / PIPA

I am leaving this cut-less because I want it to be visible today.

I will admit flat out that I have not read the bill myself.  However, in most cases, that puts  me in  the same league  as those men and women voting on the thing. Not sure if they have broken their streak and read the provisions of the bill themselves on this one, or just made assumptions as usual.  

Firstly, those people whose job it is to monitor the internet for trends, pulse and the like pretty much on the whole think it's a stupid idea.   I believe there are several assumptions being made that make this a very bad idea.

One assumption is that we people on the internet aren't set enough in our ways that something like SOPA will prevent us from finding ways to do what we do anyway.  I'm not touching piracy.  I'm talking about talking freely to strangers about subjects we'd never mention to our family.  Now, that's not specifically addressed, that I know of, but if the bits and pieces I am hearing are true, it would definitely change the way we could do it.  We started the internet culture when we were counting the ones and zeroes as they beeped down the phone line almost slowly enough  for us to hear them.  We discovered a wider world out there with people with different ideas, different ways of communicating those ideas, and different thresholds of politeness within our greater communities.  If I'm hearing and parsing things correctly, our blogs, microblogs and community places could suffer for very little reason at all.  If they are torn down, I predict another means would arise pretty quickly. 

My first experience with Internet Community was with my friends who ended up calling themselves "Vagrants".  We started off on another message board (or at least where I joined them).  However, we ran into two problems:  moderation of our chosen topics, and  bandwidth.  We'd 'break the board' on a regular basis.  It got to the point that we were chomping at the bit and branching out  to other services to get our messages from one point to another.  Two of our number took pity on us and decided to make our own space with fewer restrictions and more bandwidth. The Vagrant Cafe was born.  It has since closed its doors, but for ten strong  years, it  was a small community of specific members who developed their own mini-language and culture and means for dealing with life. 

The internet is full of ... 'vagrants'.  There are many different boards and places where once a person becomes fully acclimated, he or she begins to speak a whole new language.  We don't 'make friends' anymore, we 'friend' or 'unfriend',  'follow' or 'unfollow'.   Every site develops its own mini-culture.  This is inevitable and healthy.  However, if many of these sites are forced to alter their means of operation (in very real, very invasive ways), our little mini-cultures either overload or over-mod. In either case, however, our little world goes from near-democracy to tyranny pretty damn fast. 

And, yes, 'it's just the internet', but increasingly, people are living here.  There is no soil, but with the advent of 'the cloud', there may as well be. It still is -- and I believe always should be -- a wild, untamed place, built and maintained by the dreams of people from varied parts of the world. 

There are dark corners.  There are places filled with the 'evils of men's hearts'.   However, much like prohibition, this move won't clean out those corners at all.  In fact, it may well highlight them, making  them more  interesting, raising the 'coolness' factor.  This isn't something we want done to those black corners. 

At the risk of sounding too much like my father, "you can't legislate morality." A person's moral code and the code of law they live under are two very separate things.  'One size fits all' isn't going to fit with the internet, because we cover such a disparate gamut of cultures, religions, ideas, worldviews and languages. 

In other words, it's not just the execution that's pretty flawed, it's the very idea, at least in its current incarnation. 

Writer's Block: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

What is your dream for your children?
My dream for my children is for them to never know the kind of heart-rending pain that can completely shatter their worlds. I know it's unrealistic, but there you go. I know life will give them all sorts of stress, pain, terror, problems, issues, and complexes. However, I want them to be able to stride confidently through things a good portion of the time, have people -- friends and family -- they can trust, and find something they love doing, and maybe someone they love walking beside.

Beyond that, not a whole lot.

Song: Or I'll Fly

So, between worrying about friends (yes, you, don't worry about it, I'd do it anyway), reading angsty fic and a bittersweet RP tonight, I am, apparently, writing music again.  I've actually got a tune for it, but since it's recorded on a cheap logitech mic and into Audacity, I'm not sure I should post it.  Just me singing. Heh. 

Here it is:  Beware.  I think I stole the angst stick from onur6boss.

Or I'll FlyCollapse )


I'm missing you in the chat room, so here is my article on Trillian. I saved a hard copy. I'll append with a web server thing for those of you who don't want to use it, or can't. 
Trillian: How does it work? Collapse )

Author's Notes Poll

Hey, guys and gals, for those of you who wanted another A/N chat, I've been trying to set one up. I wanted to have one this week, but the room seems to be down (X is aware of it and has her friend looking into it, I think). So, I got to thinking.  Would any or all of you like to do a typed chat via skype instead? 
My reasons:
Most of us have Teh Skype anyway. 
We have options on skype that we don't on IRC.   (vice versa is also true, but those are more sparkle than substance, I think.)
I want to have this chat, and am worried about the current reliability of the room. 
We can go back to IRC any time.
Voice is an option, though I'm not sure for a chat like this. Plus, y'know, transcripts. 

I think that's most of them. The chat I wanted to host would be on 'characters', and pulling them out of the plastic, or, more clearly, how far from canon do you stray?  Other general character development could be discussed as well. 

So, having said all that, whaddya think?


So, catwalksalone put this up on  her LJ, and I thought, why not?  Here is the generator, should  you chose to get creative yourself: Pony creator!!

aaand, here is mah pony:Collapse )


2011 Meme

What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
write NCIS fanfic
Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any. I am going to make a couple this year, mainly to lose about 20 lbs (at least), exercise, eat better, spend time and attention with Things, and keep writing.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
R's best friend's wife had her third, and little sister had her fourth. sis in law also had a little one. haven't met any of them, yet.
Did anyone close to you die?
My friend Will-Anne
What countries did you visit?
none, this year.
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
a cell phone.
What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Hmm. Hard one. Probably August 12: T2's first day of Kindergarten. Rough for me. heh.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Another hard one probably getting a lot of the house clean, and then maintaining what I have.
What was your biggest failure?
giving up.
Did you suffer any illness or injury?
really sick with respiratory thing for several weeks. Not fun.
What was the best thing you bought?
ebook reader. (DH got us an xbox 360 and a PS3, but we didn't pay for them, so I dunno if they count)
Whose behavior merited celebration?
Prince William
My Kids (they're awesome, guys)
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My parents. (thanks for telling me ... not)
Where did most of your money go?
mortgage. (We've paid off a third of it in four years. Eat that, doubters. :P )
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Finding new friends on Twitter / LJ, etc. *HUGS*, girls, and guys.
What song will always remind you of 2011?
cliche, but Katy Perry's Firework. Learned to shine a bit.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
thinner or fatter? thinner, and hopefully getting more so.
richer or poorer? a little richer,I think, or about the same.
happier or sadder? Not sure.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Gotten out of the hosue with people.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
worrying, blamiing others for my stupidity.
How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent Christmas at church, then home w/ fam, including a vid call to R's mom.
Did you fall in love in 2011?
a little more, yep.
Did your heart break in 2011?
a little, yup
What was your favorite TV program?
Did you know anybody who got married?
What states did you visit in 2011?
Just NM. Didn't do a lot of travel.
Where were you when 2011 began?
Same. Home.
Who were you with?
Where will you be when 2011 ends?
At home.
Who will you be with when 2011 ends?
What was the best book you read?
Hmmm. i read a lot of great fic, but as far as ... books, I don't know what was best. Maybe Ghost Story? Not my favorite Dresden, but still awesome.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
Mumford & Sons. Thanks, Bestie.
What did you want and get?
What did you want and not get?
cell phone
What was your favorite film of this year?
I looked through a list of movies, and ... I don't think I've seen a single one made this year. I want to see about ten, but ... eh. Not so high on my list to deal with the migraine that is 3D.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 35. Spent most of it at home I think. We did a little celebrating of mother's day, anniversary and birthday at church that sunday. otherwise, it was ... okay.
Where did you go on vacation?
we didn't take our usual trip to Albuquerque or Las Cruces this year. Vacation, when he got it, was spent at home sick and recovering.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
holidays going a bit differently.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Hausfrau, heh.
What kept you sane?
Internet friends. Bestie, Nick, NCIS buds, etc.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Mark Harmon.. I even got a GetGlue Sticker of him. :D
What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably gay marriage, and the stupid lizard thing.
Did you have to go to the hospital?
How many concerts did you see in 2011?
Did you have a favorite concert in 2011?
Who was the best new person you met?
Online, I think, TG, Xena and Ace. And Tom. :D In person, not sure.
Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
I uh, can't remember. Seriously.
What was your most embarrassing moment of 2011?
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
Use tools to manage my forgetfulness. Don't post / tweet when you're PMSing and tired.
What are your plans for 2012?
lose weight, get out of the house more, mayyyyybe go to ANCon....
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"Now that we have gotten through one more fall,
I can just admit I've got it all because I do... I've got you...
We've crossed these battle lines too many times
It passes through the heart, but it never leaves a mark....
cuz your love just keeps on healing me
no matter how I bruise, if I just trust you,
your love just keeps on dealing me
one more chance that wasn't there before
in your arms no pain can harm the way I'm feeling...
Lord, your love is healing..." Healing -- Deneice Williams

Christmas pics via photobucket

My petty good, wonderfully awesome day.

A lot of times, I just get on here to rant about things that are going wrong in my life.  So, for once, I thought I'd share my pretty good day. 

First thing: a little background. Roomie and her kids left about ... two weeks ago or so?  Just as we were getting used to them being here. We enjoyed having them here and it was a good thing all around.  One of the positive things is that she cleaned for us.  Not because she had to or because I asked her to, but because it's what she does when she's stressed out.  Given that she came to spend the time with us because she was extremely stressed out, that's a lot of cleaning.  Which made me grateful. Worried about other things, but grateful nonetheless. 

So, when she left, she left me with a clean slate and a few better habits.  Which I am more grateful for than the actual house cleaning, I think.   So, today, I slept in to about my normal time, tidied up a bit and then got ready.  I decided that one impetus for keeping my house clean was inviting people over just to talk or to drink tea or whatever.  So, I invited the priest's wife over for tea and snacks today. 

I love our priest and his wife. (And I can tell that I'm a really new Episcopalian, because that is still weird to say.) And she totally understood the reasons behind me inviting her over, so she stayed around for a bit, played a game or two of a weird modified 'go fish' game with my children and I and just had a good time.

Then,  I got a large portion of this chapter I've been working on knocked out. (Yes, Virginia, I really am working on it.)  

Then, just a bit ago, I took a really hot bath.  I don't know why I always forget that baths feel so good and help warm me up on the inside.  For some reason, when it's cold, I tend to be more reluctant to bathe.  Which is totally weird.  It might have to do with upbringing: when I was growing up, on a warm day, our hot water heater had maybe two bathtubs full of hot water  at a time, and then needed at the very least a half hour to warm up again.  In the dead of winter? Complete and utter crapshoot.

Anyway, good times with a friend, the laughter of my children, Christmas music, fudge with caramel inside, a nice hot bath, getting to write....

A good day. 

Writer's Block: It’s about to get hairy

Do you like beards, goatees or mustaches? Why or why not?

I like beards and mustaches. A good portion of the reason I do is because my father had a long "Reb Tevye" beard for all of my life. He shaved it once for my sister's wedding or something, and we were all like, "Grow it back! Grow it back!!" It was just ... wrong to see him without it. Anyway. I like R better when he's got a goatee. He keeps it very well trimmed, partially for work, and partially because it would bug him otherwise, but he looks good with it. Very good. *BG*

So. Yes. I do.

Little tiny things that make me happy.

Tonight has been really really good.  Well, the whole day has been pretty awesome. 
Cut for length. Rambling about my day.Collapse )
So, my husband has had a Virgin Mobile phone for six years.  He's had the same number. Well, technically, it was mine for a while, too. I had it for a while, and then he took it when I wasn't that active and we got a home phone.  Yes, they're pay-as-you-go.  Yes, they're not exactly known for having all sorts of amenities.  But, you'd think they'd at least want to act in such a way that just might  retain their customer base.  But, apparently they're not concerned about that.  

His phone, which he's had replaced several times due to technical issues, had been resetting the Network ID number to all zeroes.  This had been happening periodically since they changed the area code in our area.  I would assume it was because they used the telephone number for the NID and when the number changed, they didn't bother changing the NID, and there was some sort of conflict.  But I'm not a phone tech (Just a geek with a little common sense).  So, to make an extremely long story short, he'd spent at least ten hours on the phone with various techs and representatives this week alone, each call ending with "Oh, we've fixed that, and it will never happen again," only to have it happen three hours later.  

My husband works in sales.  He needs his phone to make sales. People call him when they need something from him.  He gets texts from friends who need encouragement and advice.  My father used to sit in the corner of the Student Union in college and talk to people, giving them good advice.  My husband does much the same over the internet and texts.  Which is perfectly fine with me.  But when he doesn't have text or voice (let alone data) for several hours a day, he loses sales, and availability to those he's promised to be there for.   Virgin didn't seem at all moved by this.   They ought to know by now that these days, a cell phone is not a luxury.  For several months (might even have been as long as a year), a cell phone was all we had.  The other issue for us is that I don't drive. (for new readers, I have an eye condition that prevents it).  So, if I have an emergency, or have to do something or get something, or heaven forbid, something's up with the kids... I have to be able to get in contact with my husband.  That cell phone is the only way to do that, since  he's not stationary. 

He thought he'd gotten the issue fixed, but it returned, and so Virgin 'graciously' gave him a week worth of his plan. The site and the tech he worked with both stated clearly that the week was for the same thing he had: unlmited text, data and phone.  However, he got  an alert on his phone saying, "You need to top up."  He checked his balance and realized that they were charging him for the texts.  With the sheer number of texts he gets from customers and friends, the little bit of emergency money he'd put on the account lasted 3 hours. Or maybe just a hair more, but not much.  The company's idea on how to fix this?  Start charging him for the voice calls as well.  

So, we switched. I'm not even going to go into the hair-pulling drama that was attempting to port his number over to another carrier. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of complaints and problems dealing with that.  It ended up with him having lost his number five minutes after he'd put a month's worth of funds on the phone. 

However, and here is the bright side, that was the error of the people at the other carrier.  In recognition of their error, the fine people at the ATT dealer gave him a free phone and case for the amount he'd put on the other phone.  That's how you resolve an issue, Virgin. 

I completely understand that every single time you call a tech line, they have a script they have to go through. I get that.   But I still believe there should be at least some access to the history of what the heck you've already dealt with, and an attempt to actually help solve the problem quickly, efficiently, and to the best of your ability.  If they can't solve the problem, then they need to do something different.  Not the same things over and over again.  

Just glad we're done with them.  Here's to much better service.  Even if it's less than stellar, it can't be much worse. 

Grace for the ductape days

My friend B and I were chatting over Twitter, and we were discussing the care and rearing of small children. My words to her were "yup. somedays... they're angels. Other days, you look for the ducttape. :D" 

Her reply, regarding the two littles she babysits was:  "Today was a ductape day."  I understood completely.  So, what do you do when you have those days? The ones where you wish you could just affix them to the wall for a few minutes so they're not poking, prodding, pushing, yelling, screaming...

I have to hand it to my friend. I think it would be harder if they weren't my own.  She cares for the children, then  hands them back, letting them sleep while in their parents' care. She doesn't always get to see the sleepy happy momets, or get the "I love yous" drizzled all over everything else in a huge mix of things that keep you going when you just want to say, "Stop! Stop that." 

There is grace for those 'ductape days'.  There are memories of tiny hands, of small people that fit across one of your arms, the long hours feeding, cleaning, watching... time invested.  There are the silly things they say and do, that seem to increase as they get older, but also lose some of their innate baby-ness. 

I'm convinced everyone is right when they say that cuteness is the Maker's way of assuring the survival of small children.  At first, it's just time and energy. But when they're finding those boundaries to push, it's a push past exasperation and annoyance.  "Yes, the bowl will STILL fall off the counter when you push it."  Or, "Yes, momma will still get angry if you try to put your shoes on the table again." 

Some people find their grace in the thought that in years, these things will come around.  I don't.  Sure, my wish for my children includes them having kids if they want.  But my wish includes them finding every single joy in their own small kids as I find in mine. 

Sometimes, the grace is found in finding an alternative that drives you less batty.  My kid loved to drop things... move things around. So, my mother-in-law brought out some old, cheap golf balls and a basket.  My son sat there for hours, moving the balls "into the basket"   and then back "out of the basket."  Over and over again.  He was testing object permanence, and giving him something to do it with helped.   Sometimes, it just takes a little more attention to their world.  They just want to know you're still there and still aware of them. 

Sometimes, the only grace you can find is the temporary nature of the day. "Tomorrow will probably be better."  "This too shall pass."  It might have to be enough. 

May you find grace for your own ductape days. 

New Poem over on DA: Time Between

Time Between
by ~thecookiemomma on deviantART  

I've been musing about a few things, and part of it is because there are several big areas in our life that are currently in flux or will be very soon.  That scares me.  I don't like big changes.  I realize they're inevitable, and need to be taken with grace, or I won't learn what I need to learn from them.  Still scared, though.  Between that and a comment by Kruiser about fall, this poem showed up.  I actually aimed for a different rhyme scheme than I normally do -- heck, it has a rhyme scheme.


I love you?

I was reading a story, and thinking about how many times a day R and I say "I love you."  It's like twenty each, or something. Maybe more. Every time we talk, we each say it at least once. Usually lots more though.  

I had a friend who insisted that if you said "I love you" too many times, it could lose its meaning and become just these words you say.   Thing is, it hasn't done that.  Partially because well, it's been ten years, and it just is part of how "things are done."  The other part, though is that there isn't just one, flat, bland "I love you." 

There are tones.  And the kids have picked up on a couple of them.  There's the "I've done something idiotic, but I don't want you to get mad 'I love you',"  there's the "I'm having a sucky day and I wish you could make it go away, 'I love you',"  the corresponding "Oh, I wish I could make it all better, 'I love you'," etc.   So, they're not all the same.  Sometimes, yes, the words mean something MORE.  But they've never meant something ELSE.  



Just stuff

It's been awhile.  R is considering (very seriously) changing jobs again, because he is dealing with some of the same stuff that ... encouraged him to leave before.  Promises being made, and said over and over (like yeah, we'll give you some time off after you do this really huge favor for us) and then retracted (oops, no time off until maybe OCTOBER), as well as needing to get out of a driving job for his shoulders and neck and back and stuff.  

Our church just had VBS.  Right before it, I was sick for pretty much two weeks straight.  Nasty chest cold that had me coughing and unable to breathe.  I was so glad to get over that and get out of the house.

The VBS, though, was pretty awesome. Well, everything but the cirriculum.  I really did not like it this year. It was Group's  "Pandamania".   It was okay, I suppose, but it really was the lowest common denominator. I much prefered the straight through the story of Joseph we did last year.   But it worked, the kids enjoyed it, and I got to help. So, it was good. 

There have been fires here.  Not here, here, but all over the state.  There was one that was very close to us, dumping its ugly smoke into the air.  That was a bit scary. We've been very dry and with record heat, so it's seemed for a while like we were in the middle of a tinderbox.  It's still very hot, but a little more humid. 


Linguistic Meme

So, after listening to my friend do a meme, I decided to do it too. Here is the results. They are much different than his.

The meme -- well, I suppose you could call it that -- the challenge anyway, is here:  http://www.godlessgirl.com/2011/04/challenge-what-does-your-voice-sound-like/ 

It was kind of fun. 

On my milestone days

I am 35 today.    Yesterday, I was 34.  But yesterday carried its own milestone.   Yesterday I celebrated ten years of marriage.   So, I'm sitting here thinking about life, my age, the times, and what it means to have a decade of marriage under my belt.  

When I got married, I was pretty naive.   Everything fit into neat little packages.. Except for him.  He broke open my file system, dug down into the root directory and rewrote the base code.  All the information is still there, still valid, but with R's input, I saw it all in a very different manner. There's a book out there that talks about one gender thinking like waffles, and the other like sphaghetti, meaning that one group compartmentalizes everything and the other connects things in such a random manner it almost doesn't make any sense at all.  I'm not so sure it goes along gender lines.   I was the waffle and R poured spaghetti all over my compartmentalized ideas, connecting things in a way I've never considered before.  That's one of the reasons I fell hard.  That, and some seriously amazing chicken fajitas.  

I was raised to believe in the bullet points.  The exact nature of the bullet points changed almost monthly at times, dependent on the situation and the information I'd gotten that made sense. I was willing to rewrite them over and over again as required by having a Lutheran and Methodist as parents, going to an A/G church, a Baptist school, having a Seventh-Day Adventist friend, going to a Presbyterian church for two services a year, marrying a Methodist, and learning from YWAM (among other things).  I'm learning, though, that it's not the right format for basic information. I've gone from building a building with the gold bricks of knowlege I've been given to building a bridge, to building a trampoline.  And yes, those very images were involved.   It's not about walling myself in, or even trying to cross over something.  It's become more about connections to people. Relationships.  Friendships.  Love and community.  Koinonia.  

I was raised with the sword of Damocles over my head.  Doom was everpresent.  I was certain I'd escaped one form of 'doom' by taking the Master's hand and letting Him guide me toward Himself.  I still am.   The nature of my understanding of that 'Doom' has changed, though.  However, I felt the sword from another couple of sources as well. If you know me well enough, or when I was younger, you can probably piece together what they may be.  I'm finding out that though the information I had may have been correct, I can't live with the frayed string holding the sword above my head.  And I shouldn't.  Things will fall apart.  Yes. Things are not wonderful, things can get worse in the beat of a heart. I'm not going to live like it's already happened, though. I can take the information, apply it to a situation, and make decisions that are positive in nature rather than reactive and negative based.  

I have two children. My elder child is just eight, and he's a bundle of nervous, joyful energy. Just a few minutes ago, that energy was directed at making me laugh by putting two strawberries in his mouth like vampire fangs.   It worked.   He is a smart child, seeming to have my linear thought and his father's scholastic challenges.   He loves math, needing to see how the numbers work like puzzle pieces before understanding how to reshape them himself.   My younger child is five and a half. She's a (mostly) demure, quiet soul with my silliness and a touch of her father's morbid humor.   She likes to twist words, making me laugh with the connections that she makes.  She can twist the "spaghetti" around pretty well, and come up with some very unique ideas.  Both children want to go into game design. If they do, I could see Thing One designing the actual mechanics of the game, and Thing Two helping to flesh out the storyline and the UI.   But yknow. That's from far far away. 

There were times in my life I was sure I would have a whole houseful of children, and other times I despaired of ever having any. I'm glad to have the two I have.  From them, I've learned that time is precious, learning to speak another "love language" is hard but worth it, and that nothing else matters when those people you are solely responsible for are crying.  There are things you'll do to cheer up your child that you probably wouldn't do in any other situation. Faces you'll make, songs you promised never to sing again... things like that.  But it's worth it to see their smiles and know they love you, trust you, and understand you.   They've been aware of the family Darmok for years, and speak it fluently.   Which can be amusing and terrifying at turns. 

I have changed a lot in 35 years.  I have become a wife and mother. I have been to Africa and Europe.  I have become Episcopalian and probably will stay that way for quite awhile if not for the rest of my life.  I have made friends. I have written, read and sung.  I have smiled, cried, laughed, screamed, hurt, ... I have lived.  Not enough, of course. There is still much to do. But 35 years of life and 10 years of marriage seems like a good point at which I should stop, say "Oh!", and think a little about who I am now. 

And stick a few rocks in the river nearby so I won't forget. 

Compare and contrast -- Customer Service

R and I have dealt with two divergent companies this week with two completely opposite results. 

The first is a car part company called Quality Auto Parts in Chicago, IL

The second is the LEGO Company. 

I talked to Martin at QAP last week, ordering a part, reminding him that we needed it as soon as he could get it to us.  R can't drive the car without this part currently, so he can't come home without it, can't drive between the hotel and his work location... Anyway, time is of the essence, and I paid $30 extra to get faster shipping.  He said it would still take three to five days to get here. Okay. That was supposed to be today.  The man calls my husband today and says, "We have discovered that this part does not work.  We will confirm we can find another and send it to you." 

My burning question is this: Why are we hearing about this part that we were supposed to be GETTING today instead of hearing about it say... Friday?  I get that they have to test it. But if they're GUARANTEEING, and  yes, they did use that word, that the part would be in our hands at a certain date, then calling us on that date to say, "OHAI.  PARTZ IS BAD, I CAN HAZ FIVE MOAR DAYZ, PLZ?" is not good. Not at all.  

Second case:  R picked up a box of LEGO to occupy his time in the hotel since he didn't come home this weekend.   It was probably a bargain box and probably only a few bucks.  Alright.  Whatever.  So, he opens the box, and it's got the completely wrong set inside. 

So, he calls the company.  They put both him and Will on their magazine list free of charge, he gets a book of coupons and stuff, and on top of that, he got an email sent out that said, "OHAI, SORRY FOR ERRORZ."  (I'm grumpy enough that LOLspeak is intruding into my brain. Using the "Intentionally be weird to cheer yourself up" tactic). 

Night and day, folks.  Night and day. 

My eyes are made of water ...

my eyes are made of water
and my blood is made of water
do you cry to see me fumbling through
this ocean of an obstacle?
you, the bridge builder
you, who walks on water
do you cry to see me swimming in my
deep, deep wells?
my bones are made from dust
and my flesh is made from dust
do you wonder how I get so far away
from simple trust?
my pulse is born of rhythm
and my cycles turn in rhythm
is it sad that seasons change and I'm
still green?
I cry water, pray for your living water
wash my earth stained fingers
though we see things as through a glass--
this is as clear as it gets here
though we see things as through a glass--
this is as clear as it gets here

-- Crywater Prayer (Madison Greene)

It's been a hella rough week. And probably will be another rough one this week.  Just in time for my birthday, yes, precious.  

Easter was ... pretty good.  It was hard to spend that service watching the kids.  We hid Easter Eggs and had fun, but it wasn't ... the High and Holy my heart was wishing for. If we're in a better place next year, and I'm still doing the nursery, I may go to the Vigil by myself and then I'll be all ready to "serve" during Easter service.  

R wasn't feeling well, so he stayed home Monday.  I liked having him home, but I didn't like him being sick. Ugh.  Then, on the way to where he was going Mon night, he hit a deer.  Car was fine, he was fine, but the hood, driver's side headlight and side panel are toast.  So, we're working on fixing that.  Positive thing about that is that we have some money saved up to take care of that.

The downside of him staying home Monday is that he did not come home this weekend. I have gotten so used to having him here on weekends that it was extremely rough. I used to be able to go for a long time while he was on the road for like six weeks at a time. But I also had MIL with me to take me places, get me out of the house a lot... Not this time. I have a friend who got me out of the house to go to the bank, and church, and then again this next Friday to the bank, but otherwise... that's it.  

It's starting to wear on me. I realize that it's a temporary thing and that I can call or skype or chat or whatever ... several of my friends, but several others haven't been as available for whatever reason.  I don't blame them, but it's a factor in how I'm feeling.  

I'm feeling exhausted.  Partially from not being able to sleep very well, and partially just because ... there are several other little stupid things going on, like girl stuff, allergies, weather shifting migraines, etc that are all just sapping my strength. 

I know.  TMI.  But it's where I am right now.  So tired, but, yeah.  

my eyes are made of water....


New nephew!!!!   Ezekiel Jacob S. was just just just just born.   7 lbs 15 oz, 21 inches long. 

For those who care, his head was 13 1/4, and his chest was 13 1/2 inches.   He's got lots of dark hair, which means he's definitely from my side of the family.  yayayayayay!!!

Here's hoping he fits in well with his three big brothers.    Yay! 

Now I just have to figure out some way of getting them down here or going up there to visit them, so I can meet all four of my nephews.  (Those nephews anyway. I have one more, but I've met him). 

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