Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Birthday musings

So I had another birthday. That's right, another year successfully going around the sun for me. It was a very good birthday for me, which I am always pleasantly surprised when that happens. I have had enough birthdays where that was not true that even vaguely pleasant goes into the win column.

This year, as it is most years, my birthday fell on a faire day. I have discovered over the past 11 years that birthday + faire day = nothing terribly special. My characters never share my birthday so it isn't like I get to celebrate it in the lanes. Most people are busy working the faire and afterwards they, much like me, are far too tired to do anything really celebratory. I am alright with this.

If I really want to do something for my birthday then I will plan it for a week night either before or after the day. Considering my birthday history though, I rarely plan anything. A nice dinner, maybe a movie, but nothing really fancy or exciting. So having an uneventful faire day as a birthday doesn't bother me.

I do have to say though that it is very nice to be around the majority of my friends on my birthday. It is so nice to see people face to face to wish me well. I mean I am totally happy with floods of texts, emails, and Facebook posts wishing me happy birthday, but a good old fashioned face to face 'Happy birthday' can't really be beaten.

I also get the loveliest most unexpected gifts for my birthday when it falls on a faire day. This year my prizes included a beautiful gypsy poppet, a basket full of inspiration, and a bonsai tree. I am not sure I can exactly explain my basket full of inspiration, but suffice it to say it was one of the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts I have gotten in a long time. I did well not to burst into tears when the final piece of that present was handed to me.

I did my best to celebrate the day by eating all the sweet things in the world. I started my day with orange cream cake from the bakery, went on to have a couple of cheesecake brownies and lemon squares at gypsy lunch, and of course I had the better than makeup sex cake from the bakery at the end of the day. Come final cannon I was having a wicked sugar crash. I was gifted a lovely slice of cheesecake and another better than makeup sex cake in the parking lot, which I could not force myself to take one bite of either of them. I made everyone else eat it in celebration of my birthday, which made me just as happy as if I had eaten it myself.

So all in all it was a good day. The weekend itself was long and incredibly emotional, something of which I am sure I will write about when I can do so without sobbing like an idiot. My birthday though was very good. It was a happy one, and it was a good one.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I was driving in to work this morning, bleary eyed and pretty much completely on auto pilot. Mornings of late have been a huge struggle for me. Long nights of restless sleep and days that seem to be filled with everything and yet nothing at all make for a very tired me. I go through daily routines such as my morning commute like some sort of zombie. I am comforted to see that my slightly slack jawed, blank eyed stare, is reflected back to me by the drivers in other cars.

This morning though I was snapped out of my haze as some very familiar and well loved chords came piping out of my cars speakers. It was the opening to Santa Monica by Everclear. I love this song. Without a second thought my finger was pressing the volume control on my steering wheel as fast as it could so that soon my car was filled with the almost deafening sound of my youth blaring out at me.

I sang along poorly to the lyrics that I know ohh so well. There was head bobbing and awkward car dancing. I totally was rocking out to a tune that put a nostalgic smile on my lips and in my soul. I didn't care who saw or what they thought. It made me happy and that is all that matters.

Everclear holds a special place in my heart. They are the only band I have ever seen in concert. Well technically I saw Fastball and Marcy's Playground too, but I was there to see Everclear. I was a junior in high school when So Much for the Afterglow came out, and the concert tickets were a present for my 17th birthday.

I am not going to say anything like their lyrics spoke to me, or their music defined me, or any of that nonsense. I am not that musically based. Quite simply put; I loved their music. I listened to all of their albums until I knew them by heart. I watched every one of their music videos (back when there were still music videos on). My best friend and I just gushed over them. It was typical teen fandom.

I remember though that I was a little ashamed of this. It is hard to explain why. It is not that I felt ridiculous for how much I liked the band, I didn't care about that. It was the fact that I liked THAT band so much. Saying that now sounds so incredibly stupid, because Everclear was very popular at that time, especially with people my age.

That was the problem though. They were very mainstream popular and that is never really cool. I remember one day one of my brothers friends, who were so much cooler than I was (in my head), rolled their eyes and made a derisive comment about the band when it came on the radio. They referred to them, and all music of that kind, as cock rock. It wasn't real rock. It was rock for posers and wannabes. It was better than things like the boy bands that were running rampant, but only just a little better.

I remember being more than a little mortified of this revelation. I didn't want to be one of those people. I didn't want to be seen as some poser. I don't even think I really had any idea what the hell that guy was talking about. I do know that after that point I kept my opinion on music to myself so as not to be judged.

Man was I dumb back then. I mean that guy really wasn't cool. I wasn't cool, but neither was he, or any of my brothers friends really. My brother wasn't even cool, my brother was infamous, that is very different. They benefited solely from being my brothers friends. Otherwise I can say, looking back on them now, they were just as uncool as I was.

The thing is I can't say I am any less dumb now. I don't think any of us can say that. I mean we all have those things that we love and don't talk about for fear of being judged on it. No matter how much we claim to not care, there is always that one thing that our friends won't understand.

We have all made such strides in the last few decades of embracing our weirdness. Letting your freak flag fly is something you do with total pride. You play table top RPG's? Cool. You love Star Trek? Awesome. You do historical reenactments on the weekend? Nifty.

I mean if I can say things like I love Doctor Who, and Star Trek TNG, and Sailor Moon, and Firefly, and Buffy, and any number of other geeky shows, why is it I can't say I love American Idol and Duck Dynasty too? I mean I do. Those crazy bearded rednecks are hilarious. The husbeast swears he has family like that.

As for American Idol? Yea I watch it and enjoy it. No I am not trained in music but I know what I like, and I like some of it. I didn't watch this season because there was no one special on it, but there have been some seasons where I never missed an episode.

So why do I hide it? Why do I never talk about it? Because I don't want to be judged by my peers for it. I know that if I say anything I will get looks of horror from people and then they will feel the need to list all the reasons why it is such an awful show. They will tell me all about how the music is bad, and the producers are corrupt, and how it is ruining tv/music/future artists and so on, and I just don't want to listen to it.

Here is the thing guys, I like it and that is all that matters. We all have things we like and don't like, and they won't always line up with what other people like and don't like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is sort of why there is such a wide variety of stuff in the world.

I have one friend who is notorious for loathing movies. I mean it is to the point that we won't sit with him in a movie theater and pretty much have banned talk on movies around him because he always hates everything we like. He has a million reasons from hating the writing, the acting, the continuity, to the breaking of cannon. He can go on and on and on about why they are terrible movies. Even when he says a movie is good he will still say something like "It was a great movie except for the fact that they said it was part of <insert popular franchise>".

The thing is he doesn't actually hate all movies. He actually likes some movies. What I find funny is that the movies he says are good I can't stand. I mean he likes some stuff that makes me want to stab out my eyes. The  movies he enjoys I would typically describe as being as intellectually stimulating as wet vermicelli, and a humor level appreciated by simpletons and drunk frat boys, with insipid juvenile story lines, wrought with over acting, poor plot development, and no redeeming qualities.

In the end I sound like him which is why I don't discuss movies with him. I hate what he loves and he hates what I love. I can totally accept that. I mean obviously some portion of society enjoys that drivel or they would stop making it. He can say the same thing about what I like (and does).

My point is, that I think you should be unapologetic about what you love. I think if you love American Idol, or Star Trek, or Will Ferrel movies* you should feel free to scream it from the top of your lungs and not care what anyone thinks of you. People will agree with you, or they won't, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that you love it. You are not wrong in what you love.

Also remember when someone starts talking about what they love don't discount them. Don't be that guy who comes back and tells them that their choices are invalid because that just makes you a douche canoe. Be able to look at them and say that it isn't your cup of tea but you are glad they like it. Appreciate that people like different things and that is alright.

Embrace diversity.
Be unapologetic for what you love.

*For the record I can only think of one Will Ferrel movie that I like; Stranger Than Fiction. I love that movie. If I enjoyed anything else he was in it was because he was only in a small part that I could ignore. I think he is wasting his talent. Of course if you like him, which obviously is a lot of the world since they keep letting him make movies, then more power to you. I am glad he can entertain someone. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Supporting habits

One of the things that I attribute to having a strong and successful marriage is having separate interests. No matter how much you love someone you just can't spend all of your time together doing the same things. I am not saying you shouldn't have common interests and hobbies, but I think it is important to have things that are your own. It is good for you to have some form of individuality within your union.

Lets face it we all need space. We all need things that are ours. I love the husbeast more than anything in the world but I love him more for having things that are his and don't exactly involve me. We have lots of shared hobbies and interests, but an equal number of things that are separate. I am fairly certain that if I were forced to like and do all the things he does all the time I would either have long since been divorced or be in prison for suffocating him with a pillow in his sleep.

He has all sorts of things that interest him that I either don't understand or have very little desire to be involved in. He is part of a paintball team, he does Highland games, he paints miniatures, he plays warhammer 40k and other games of the like, he does English wrestling, and a number of other things that are his and not mine. Of course I sew, write in online RPGs, refinish furniture, and bake. None of these are things that really interest him (except the results of the baking, he loves that).

Of course part of being married is also showing some sort of interest in the things your spouse loves. I may not be directly involved in any of these enterprises but I have to support him in them. I mean none of them are illegal, intentionally dangerous, or nefarious in any real fashion so I might as well support them.

Through the years support has come in many forms. I have traveled across state lines and woken up stupidly early and sat for long hours in intense heat to watch him throw in Highland games events. I have gone to countless practices and watched him work. I have gone so far as to learn the rules and watch other gamers so I can help critique his form. I am always the one in the back telling him to 'suck less'. 

I have bought him countless minis for his warhammer habit. I have bought paints and brushes, have bought display cabinets and paint racks, I have helped him choose colors, I have based minis for him so he can be ready for tournaments, and I have listened to him talk about the game for hours even though I have no idea what it is he is talking about. I even went so far as to at least remember the names of some of the different units and types of minis and their basic functions so that I can contribute something to these conversations.

The latest obsession of his is English wrestling. At faire we have an English wrestling show that was started by a friend of ours a few years back. The show is wildly popular among the participants of faire as well as the patrons. This year the wrestling master handed the show over to the husbeast which was a huge thing for him.

To say that the last few months have been filled with wrestling talk is an understatement. We do not go to a meal with friends where wrestling is not discussed. Most Friday nights you can find the husbeast and the kid going over new moves in the living room. There are so many nights of him just sitting sifting through videos online that I can't count them. It is his thing.

This past weekend, in an incredibly touching moment that left no dry eyes in the crowd, our friend who started the show and has always been the wrestling master, handed title of master over to the husbeast. It was a fairly epic moment that the husbeast will be glowing about for quite sometime to come. It also means that the obsession has ramped up a little.

As the good wife I have seen this and am doing what I need to do. While wrestling is still not my thing, and never will be, I am doing what I can to support it and him. I know just going to his show and listening to him talk about it is not going to be enough. I am now actively helping him in searching for locations where they can practice out of season. I am helping him form plans for a better show. I am letting him bounce ideas and pro and con lists off of me. I am looking into logistics that never crossed his mind.

I do all of this because I love him. I do all of this not because it is something that excites me, but because it is something that excites him. I do it because I want him to be happy. It is still his thing, and he still spends plenty of time doing it by  himself, but I am there to help him when I can.

I know that when the time comes he will follow me through a five hour fabric shopping spree. I know that he will sit and listen to me spew out design ideas at him. I know that he will listen to me go on and on about stories I am working on. I know he will put up with whatever project I dive into next and help me find solutions to my road blocks. I know that he will happily eat try whatever I have experimentally thrown together in the kitchen.

Separate but together; happily doing our own thing but supporting the other even if sometimes we are just smiling and nodding and waiting for the obsession to wane.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dear diary

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Dear minions,

It pains me to say, well really more annoys than pains, that today I can not tell you all the things I want to say. There are a myriad of topics that are just aching to be written about and yet I can not write about a single one. I can not even really tell you the topics and let you guess as to what my rants would be like.

If you my minions, and you oh great blogosphere were indeed  more a diary I could write to my little hearts content. I could tell you all the horribly frustrating events that have of late unfolded in different areas of my life and I would feel so much better. You would sympathize with me, and you would comment with anecdotes of your own to make me feel better, and you would voice your general rage on my behalf, and all would be good.

Sadly that is not the way the world works. The world we live and work in does not allow you to really say what it is you want to say. Well at least I can not say it until I become independently wealthy and don't have to worry about being fired for breaking my companies internet social media policy. Not that I am saying my rants have anything to do with work, I am just listing that as an example.

I can't ever say anything defaming about my job. Most of you don't even have any idea of what it is I do or where I work, and I am not just referring to my internet friends. People I see face to face on a weekly basis have no clue what it is I do or who it is I work for. Still I can not say anything about my job if I want to keep my job.

I also have to accept that I do not live or blog in a vacuum. There are other things and other people in my world that my words effect. I can not and will not stir the pot and make things potentially worse for those I care about no matter how much I feel the need to rail against the injustices that are being perpetrated upon them.

Anonymity and the internet do not exactly go hand in hand. Without that cloak to protect me, I can not ever completely say what it is that is on my mind. It seems like I will forever have to censor myself to avoid the consequences that lurk around the corner for me if I do not monitor my content.

Nothing we do online is safe or sacred. We have come to live in an age where employers think they have the right to look at our Facebook accounts in order to keep employment. If you had suggested a decade ago that your employers would be able to scrutinize your private social life like that in order to gain and maintain employment people would have been appalled that they would even consider it.

Now we are still appalled that they are considering it, but it is becoming more and more of a reality. The more we put ourselves out there, the more we can not avoid being scene. We have to think very hard about what it is we say and do in cyberspace, yet so many people fail to think about that.

I really feel bad for kids in high school and college who fill their Facebook and twitter feeds with ignorant foul language, inappropriate and incriminating images, and content that in retrospect may cost them a lot more than they think it will.

Telling the world about your less than scrupulous but perfectly age appropriate adventures seems like a great idea at the time.  That is what social media should be for. Sure you might be embarrassed when your grandmother stumbles across a picture of you letting frat guys do body shots off your stomach with that Mickey Mouse belly ring showing up clearly above the border of your oh so visible thong, but that just makes for an awkward Christmas dinner.

Reality is moving more and more toward that incriminating photo being thrown back into your face five years from now when you are standing, degree in hand, in front of a potential employer of a conservative company who doesn't feel you are the right fit any longer.

While my college partying days are well behind me (and no mom I  never had any photos or moments like the one described above) I still have to be careful and am so very aware of it. I know better that to point out the really bad aspects of work or personal life. I know to delete pictures that can be viewed in a less than favorable life. I know to keep the content of my blog neutral on certain topics and completely silent on others.

So that is where we sit oh minions of mine. It just proves we are all minions here; you to me, and me to the man. Take heed of my words and watch what it is you say. I am not saying it is right or I like it, I am just saying for now it is better to be safe than sorry.

Your fellow minion,


Monday, May 13, 2013

Averaging my way to exhaustion

I have been staring at a blank screen for about three hours now. I want to write something, I need to write something, and nothing is happening. My mind is as blank as the computer screen. It is nothing but a blinking cursor mocking me.

I have felt like this a lot of late. It is apparent in the lack of posting that has been happening. Between faire and life I have just been completely wiped out. I am so incredibly tired that writing is one of the harder things for me to do just now. Writing and cleaning. Writing and cleaning and sleeping.

You would think that with as tired as I am sleep would come more easily. You would think wrong. I recently got a FitBit and one of the things it does is monitor your sleep. It tells you how long you were in bed, how long you slept while in bed, how often you woke up and for how long your remained awake.

After two weeks of logging my sleep I can tell you that on average I wake up 11 times a night. The worst night I had I woke up 26 times in a 9 hour period. The average length of time I remain awake is 7 minutes. On average I spend 8 and a half hours in bed. On average I only sleep 4 hours and 45 minutes a night. I normally do not sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time and I normally only get three long stretches of sleep in the night, the rest are short bursts between waking up.

No wonder I am always so damn tired. I don't even sleep when I manage to sleep.

I am not sure that there is anything for it. I am not a fan of sleep aids as I have never felt rested after using any. They also effect me more than they should. Eight hours of solid sleep you say? Try nineteen hours of unconsciousness followed by feeling exhausted and hung over. No thank you. I will take my scattered 4 and a half hours of sleep any night over that.

Once faire is over I will be able to rest more and hopefully will not feel quite so exhausted. That would be nice. I will really enjoy not feeling so run down all the time.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Cleaning

The time of year has finally arrived when the sun has begun to shine and we are beginning to believe winter is truly over. Curtains are being pulled back, windows are being flung open, and we are all taking in long deep breaths of fresh spring air.

Shaking off the dank musty shackles of winter is the first order of business once spring dawns. Too long have we been cooped up shivering in our homes waiting for the weather to be more amicable. We have spent the last few months like shut ins, and now at last we can go out and play.

Most people go about greeting the spring by cleaning things up. It is called spring cleaning for a reason after all. Something about having been stuck indoors all that time makes us feel the need to open everything up and clean it out. Clutter seems suddenly stifling, and as we let the fresh clean spring air in through our open windows it is time to throw out those unneeded things and give everything a good scrub.

I find that this time of year not only makes people want to clean out their physical cupboards, but their mental and emotional cupboards as well. This is a time for renewal and the shelf paper in the kitchen cabinets is not the only thing that needs replacing. We have cobwebs in our mind as well as the high corners of our house.

I have witnessed of late a good number of my friends going through cleanings such as this. They are taking stock and inventory of who and what they are. They are scrutinizing themselves and attempting to discard the parts that are no longer needed and update the things that are woefully out of date or in disrepair.

Of course doing such personal repair work is not simple. It is a process that may begin in the spring but might not come to fruition for a long time to come. Mopping the kitchen at least has immediate tangible results, even if it is just in the form of wet cat paw prints across your clean floors.

I started my own spring cleaning a little over two years ago and I am still working on it. There have been more than a few cat paw prints on wet floors and other obstacles along the way. I have retreated in the winter and come out in the spring feeling lethargic and lackluster. It is inevitable I think that the process must be repeated continually. You can not start it once and then be done with it forever.

While my actual house will have to wait until the first weekend in June to be scoured from rafters down to the baseboards, I can start my spring cleaning now. It is time to open the windows of my mind and soul and let in the fresh air. It is time to take stock and inventory of what there is. I must find what is in disrepair and begin to fix it and find what is obsolete and throw it out.

It feels good to breath in the fresh air and bask in the sunshine again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Little White Lies

I think every child in the history of ever heard their parents tell them multiple times 'If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all'. I know I heard it quite frequently being said by my frazzled mother to myself and my brother and sister after we had gotten into yet another verbal sparring match.  Believe me there were ample opportunities for my  mother to use this phrase on us.

All in all it is a fairly good rule to live by. Saying ugly things really doesn't get you anywhere. It is normally not constructive and though it may feel good to say it at the moment it rarely feels all that great in retrospect. Hindsight can be an ugly ugly thing. 

At the same time though I often find myself, and hearing other people saying things like 'don't they have any friends' when confronted with someone doing something very poorly in public. I look at people every weekend at faire who have made their own costumes or obviously put a lot of thought into what they are wearing and all I can think is that their friends must not like them very much to let them go out in public like that.

I have the same reaction when watching things like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance auditions. Some of the people are genuinely talented. Some of the people are good but not great. Some of the people are just down right bad. All too often these people who are really bad are accompanied by family members, friends, and loved ones who insist up and down that they are an amazing singer/dancer and that the judges have to be insane not to see it.

Every so often I think that the judges got it wrong, but that is coming from a slightly tone deaf girl who has no sense of rhythm. What do I really know about music and dance? Not a lot. So I am not as qualified to say what is really good for shows like this. Most of the time though it doesn't take a musical based lifeform to know that these people are bad.

Still these people are told by people who care for them that they are amazing. They are told by people who have their best interest at heart that they should go out in public or onto national television and display the hot mess that they are for all the world to see and judge. That doesn't sound like good friends to me.

I would want my friends to tell me the truth. I mean I know I can't sing or dance so I am in no danger of putting myself on a national platform to be ridiculed, but if I were delusional I would want someone to tell me that it was a bad idea. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself like that just because my friends didn't want to hurt my feelings. 

We just aren't typically raised to tell people things like that. We are raised to be nice and to spare peoples feelings. We are raised to tell little white lies in the name of kindness. We all do it most every day. We tell people their hair looks great when it doesn't. We tell them they are looking thinner when they aren't. We tell them that what they have baked tastes wonderful. What they made is lovely. What they performed was brilliant.

It is a slippery slope.

Telling your kid that their song at the school talent show was good when in reality it was a pitchy mess that would make dogs run is not a bad thing. I mean you don't want to discourage them from learning and trying. But you tell them they are brilliant today and in five years they are asking you to drive them to American Idol auditions, and how are you going to say no? I mean you have always told them they are great but suddenly you don't want them to step out there and try for something big? Yea that conversation won't go over well.

Of course as much as honesty is considered the best policy, and we want people to be honest with us, no one likes an honest person. Honest people are labeled as cruel bullies. We call them bitches and assholes. We think that they are just mean spirited. We don't appreciate them or what they have to say in the least, no matter how good their intentions are. Society wants to be lied to.

I am lucky in the fact that I have several friends who are brutally honest and I love them for that. I know that they are never blowing smoke up my ass. I know that if I honestly ask them their opinion I will get it with no sugar coating. It is sometimes hard to swallow, but I do appreciate it.

I wish I could say that I am good about being honest with people all the time, but I am not. I am as guilty as anyone else of telling people the little white lies to spare their feelings. I have eaten food I hate and smiled the entire time. I have told people their new hair cut is cute when it makes them look bad. I have told people their babies and dogs were cute when they are anything but.

Still I would like to think that these small indiscretions are kindnesses that will not hurt anything in the long run. I am not letting my friends go out in public dressed badly, and I am not letting them put themselves on national television only to be ridiculed and torn down.

It is a delicate balance that we all have to maintain. I just have to keep hoping I am good at this balancing act.