Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kids say the damndest things

I am one of those people who love to be scared. Be it a haunted house or a scary movie, I totally dig it. I like the idea of being scared without being in any real danger. In all honesty I giggle at scary things more often than I scream or jump these days, but it has not always been so.

When I was young, like seven, my mother took my brother and I to a haunted house at the Witte Museum of natural history in San Antonio. The idea of staging a haunted house inside of a history museum is positively brilliant. I mean come on the thing is full of actual dinosaur skeletons, how cool is that?

I can remember the haunt very clearly to this day. Somehow my mother ended up being the only adult in a group of kids who were all between 7 and 10. My brother and I were the only two kids not in costume since it wasn't actually on Halloween. We didn't really care though.

I remember there was a girl dressed as a ghost, the classic sheet over the head, as our guide. She led us through rooms where coffins slowly squeaked open to reveal vampires inside trying to get us, a courtyard where witches were brewing some smoking brew and calling for us to come taste it, and at the very end a butcher shop full of human body parts and a man with a cleaver swinging at anyone daring to leave. There were lots of shrieks of terror from the group and my mother was covered in makeup from the children who kept pressing against her in fear.

The room that stands out to me the most though was the courtyard scene. It was a long narrow courtyard full of trees. Bodies would drop down from the trees attached to a noose just as we walked by. A man dug his way out of a fresh grave clawing at our tiny ankles. Things moved in the darkness. It was all very effective.

As we approached the end of the courtyard there was a long hedgerow with a gate set into it. We all knew what was going to happen. Even at the tender age of seven I knew that a solid gate set into a hedgerow was going to fly open at the last second with someone jumping out and screaming at us. It was so obvious. We were all prepared for it and still knew it would scare us.

Scare us it did.

We reached the end of the hedge. The ghost reached for the gate. The gate flew open and a hunchback leaped out onto the path screaming at us. All of the children shrieked in terror and crushed up against my mother getting more white clown makeup on her sweater. And I screamed 'Oh shit!'.

Yes that is right, I screamed a profanity as loud as my little lungs would let me. I could be heard over all the shrieking children, over the screaming hunchback, over the eerie soundtrack that was playing. It was clear for all to hear.

The world went silent. Everyone slowly turned to look at me as it sank in what I had said. The children's eyes were as big as saucers, my mother looked mortified, and the ghost and hunchback looked momentarily shocked.

That is about the time I realized what I had said and responded the only way I could at the moment; I said Oh shit again.

My mothers hand suddenly clasped down over my mouth and she began to bodily drag me backwards away from the group. The now giggling ghost and hunchback started to usher the other children forward and away from whatever my mother was going to say to me.

Honestly I don't remember what she said to me. I think mostly she made frustrated gestures and said we would talk about it later. It could have been because our group was leaving us or that the haunters were all staring at us or it could be that it was just that ridiculous a situation.

The rest of the haunt I closely guarded myself to keep from screaming out anything else that might get me in more trouble than I was already in.

To this day that haunt stands out in my mind as the scariest and funniest haunt I have ever been to. I have so many friends who are now professional haunters and I hear the stories about how they proudly caused children to cuss in front of their parents and I can't help but giggle a little. In my mind I see that hunchback sitting at an IHop at 3am laughing with his friends and relating the story of the little girl who screamed 'Oh shit' and then said 'Oh shit' when she realized what happened.

I hope they had a good laugh at it, because I know I still have a good laugh at it to this day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The allure of confidence

Monday nights during faire season are normally very difficult for us. Weekends are long and rather exhausting. We never get much sleep Sunday night and almost always have to be up early for a long day of work Monday. So typically Monday night is reserved for take out and the DVR.

This week is Halloween though so everyone everywhere is doing something with that in mind. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday so it makes it very hard to resist these sorts of things no matter how tired I am. Which is how I found myself at Open Stage last night spending time with my favorite circus freaks.

The show was fun as always, but it was very heavy on the burlesque numbers (including one Army of Darkness themed Boylesque number which was fantastic). I don't mind burlesque at all. It is actually a lot of fun to watch, and the performers are really good.

Watching them got me thinking. The thing that really made these women, and man, so entertaining, so good, was not that they were drop dead gorgeous or perfectly built. The girls were heavier set and covered in tattoos and the guy was tall and lanky almost to the point of gangly. What made them so very attractive and so enjoyable to watch was partially their skill, but mostly their confidence.

Everything about these people screamed that they were something amazing and you should be looking at them. The energy they sent out said that you could not take your eyes off of them and what they were doing was great. They knew that they were sexy and you couldn't help but to agree with them.

That sort of confidence is intoxicating. I have been told for years that confidence is sexy, and in the case of burlesque I mean that quite literally. People who believe in themselves no matter what are always more attractive. It is almost infectious. It is something that draws people to you.

Now you must be careful not to confuse confidence with arrogance or allow the former to morph into the latter. There is a line where you go from being confident to being arrogant that you shouldn't ever step over. Arrogance is not attractive. Arrogance is more of a turn off than anything.

Still I look at people with that sort of confidence and I can not help but envy it. I don't have that much faith in myself. I could never do anything like that even if I did have the skill for it. My insecurities are far too rampant for something like that.

In the end though it makes me admire people with that confidence even more. Perhaps it even makes me enjoy people with that sort of confidence more. We are after all often drawn to things we do not or can not have.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Nine years ago today I got married. 
Nine years though it seems like so much more than that.
It has not been easy. There have been tears, but there have been more smiles. There have been words spoken in anger, but there have been more words of love. There has been frustration, but there has always been more elation.

I love that I can sit with him in silence.
I love that I can be ridiculous with him.
I love that he would do anything to make me smile.
I love that he still can surprise me.
I love that I never have to question if I love him even if I don't like him all the time.
I love that he lets me snuggle with him even when my feet are bitterly cold or he is uncomfortably hot and doesn't need the extra body heat.
I love that this is all still an adventure. 
I love that he is still by my side.

Today I do not feel like I have enough words, so I am going to use some other peoples. Enjoy some quotes on love and marriage that I found and enjoy:

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it's what you are expected to give -- which is everything.


I will remember always that marriage, like life, is a journey - not a destination - and that its treasures are found not just at the end but all along the way.


Marriage is that relation between man and woman in which the independence is equal, the dependence mutual, and the obligation reciprocal.

-Louis K. Anspacher

Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.

-Joyce Brothers

All tragedies are finished by a death,
All comedies are ended by a marriage;
The future states of both are left to faith,
For authors fear description might disparage
The worlds to come of both. . . .

-Lord (George Gordon) Byron, Don Juan

Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day.

-Barbara De Angelis

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make -- not just on your wedding day, but over and over again -- and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.

-Barbara De Angelis

When I say we've had an ideal marriage, I'm not just talking about physical attraction, which I can imagine can wear pretty thin if it's all a couple has built on. We've had that and a whole lot more.

-Betty Ford

“So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday.”
-Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert

“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
-Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
-Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making the magic

This past weekend was the opening weekend for the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF). I want to say this is my 13th season working there. I have been working behind the jewelry counter at the same shop the entire time. While retail is not something I love working, I adore working in this shop.

Part of my love comes from the environment. I mean seriously I work at a Renaissance faire. It is like playing dress up as a grown up and getting paid for it. How many people can say that about their jobs? I am really just a kid at heart.

Part of my love for it is also the people I work for and with. The crew from my shop are my friends and very much like family. We laugh like friends and bicker like family and love each other very  much. I only get to see some of them 10 weekends a year, but they are still close to my heart.

Part of it though is the magic.

Let me explain.

This last weekend was really quite wretched in reality. The weather was anything but cooperative. On Saturday it was hot. Not that it was over 100 hot, it was an average tolerable hot with about 1000% humidity. I could feel the warm wet air entering my lungs with every breath I took. It felt like we were drowning. No amount of standing under the fans and drinking ice water was going to save us.

Sunday the heat took a back seat to rain. It was raining all night and all morning. There was pretty much a constant drizzle all day long. Anyone who works faire will tell you that rain can be the kiss of death. People who aren't die hard fans typically will avoid the mud pit that faire turns into during a deluge.

Apparently there were a lot of opening weekend free tickets in circulation so there were still a steady amount of patrons wondering listlessly through the shop. They were hot, or wet, and normally tired and cranky, but for the most part they seemed in good enough spirits despite all that.

Toward the end of the day on Sunday, close to 7pm a family came into the shop. It was a woman, her mother, and her little girl who was probably 3 or 4 at most. The little blond tot was all smiles which is surprising for being that late in the day. She had no stroller so she had to have been walking the entire time. I know adults who are tired and cranky come 7pm on a rainy faire Sunday. (Heck some of them work in my shop.) Still the little girl was bubbly and happy and had obviously had a wonderful day. It was an impressive sight to see.

As they were standing at the back counter purchasing some soap I heard a sudden gasp from the little girl and then heard her mother telling her "It is gone forever". I knew what had happened without looking. You see our shop has a wooden floor, but the boards do not come flush together. There is a gap between floor boards. People drop things down there all the time, and usually there is no retrieving the lost item. 

It turns out the little girl had dropped one of her dragons tears down the crack. Our fantasy characters like to hand out those shiny glass fish bowl rocks as 'fairy tears' or 'dragon tears' to children as souvenirs. This little girl had gotten two dragon tears (because fairies were dumb according to her), one of which was lost forever.

As I watched her mom and grandmother try and console her, promising to try and find the dragon boy again or assure her that she still had one tear and that it would be alright, I could see in the little girls face it was not alright. All the happiness and magic of the day was slipping away for her as her little lip began to quiver. She was going to breakdown and this families happy day would end miserably as they carried a tired hysterical child to the car and sat in traffic to get home.

This simply would not do.

Now we don't really have much in the way of small shiny things in our shop that are not also pretty expensive. We do however have some old broken crystal points that were at one point many years ago part of a display. I had a plan.

I went and called the little girl over to me.

"Would you like to know a secret?" I asked her as I got down to eye level with her.

She was on the verge of tears and clinging to her grandmothers leg but she gave me a little shy nod.

"You see," I began speaking to her in a quiet conspiratorial way "I have this friend and his name is Magnus Krane. He chases dragons for a living. Do you know that the last time he came across a dragon that he brought me back some of the dragons horde?"

The little girls lip had stopped trembling and she let go of her grandmothers leg.

"Would you like a piece of his horde?" I asked her.

She held out her palm showing me the tiny round glass bead she still had "But the dragon likes these." she insisted.

I held out the small raw crystal point to her "But this was his as well."

The little girls eyes grew to the size of saucers. She took the point from my hand and cradled it to her chest a moment before a face splitting grin erupted. She spun about and gave her grandmother a huge hug before proudly showing off her new prize.

Her mother told her to thank me and to give me knucks at which point I was given a firm and impressive tiny fist bump from the little girl. Any signs of impending tears were well forgotten. She was busy stowing away her new treasure and was off for a new adventure already. Her mother and grandmother thanked me for saving the evening as they left the shop.

As I straightened up, smiling probably as much as the little girl was, another patron who had been watching everything that had happened looked at me curiously for a moment. He looked from me to the night beyond our doors where the little girl was dancing in circles giggling and then back to me again.

"You have the best job in the world" he said to me with a shake of the head and a mystified smile on his face.

"I really do." I responded with a nod.

See? I get to make magic.

Best job in the world. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Civic honor

I got called for Jury Duty this week. I received my summons about a month ago and was anything but thrilled. It is only the second time I have gotten a jury summons but I was about as thrilled with it this time as I was the last, which is to say not thrilled in the least. I think this is pretty much the sentiment of anyone who gets called up for Jury Duty.

I ended up being sent to voir dire for a capital murder trial. The case had co defendants so the voir dire ran a lot longer than it normally would, or at least that is what I was told. In fact we sat in voir dire for 11 hours. Not only that we had to come back two days later for final selection of the jury. So in all I spent twelve and a half hours at the courthouse on Monday and another two hours on Wednesday and I didn't even make the jury in the end.

I came to a sudden realization as I was sitting in my tenth hour at the courthouse on Monday, my backside aching from the hard wooden bench I had been sitting on all day, my knees screaming from being squished in the narrow space of the aisle I was sitting on, and my feet throbbing from the hour or more during the day I had to stand in heels while waiting to be called into the court room. I was again in the hall waiting on some decision to be made, lamenting my situation on Facebook, and I was getting comment after comment from friends sympathizing with me and assuring me how much jury duty sucked and how sorry they were for me to be stuck there. They all also told me how they hoped I wouldn't get picked.

It was then that I realized how wrong this all was.

It wasn't wrong that I was having to perform my civic duty. It wasn't wrong that I had been stuck in the courthouse for more hours than I spend in my office on any given day. It wasn't wrong that I was physically uncomfortable and tired. That was not the problem.

The problem was my attitude and the attitude of everyone else commiserating with me. What the hell is wrong with us?

Sure Jury Duty is not convenient. You always seem to get summoned when you have something else to be doing, but you can defer it up to three times so they are working with you. Yes you only get paid $6 and it costs $3 to park and sometimes your company won't pay you for missed days of work, so that sucks. No the courthouse (at least for me) is not close or easy to get to through rush hour traffic. Yes all of these things suck.

Even though it is not convenient, we should not be dreading the possibility of serving on a jury. This is how our justice system works. We have a right to be tried before a jury of our peers which is pretty cool. If no one showed up for jury service that wouldn't work. It could be argued that people who do not want to be there make for a poor jury, but I argue that the people who really want to serve might not be any better. The people who want to serve might not be all civil minded and instead have some sort of grudge they are wanting to carry out by throwing a monkey wrench into things. That is no better than a person who doesn't want to be there.

They call thousands of people for jury service every day in my county, and in the end less than 100 people will actually serve. I am told only about half of the people summoned actually bother to show up. If you get called for service there really isn't a good chance that you will ever be picked to actually sit on a jury, so most likely it will be one slightly inconvenient day out of your life.

We shouldn't dread jury service. We should look at it not so much as our civic responsibility, though it is that, but more as an honor. We get to be part of the process. We get to see how things work and make possibly make a difference in something.

Sure the system is broken. I could go on and on about the laws and the process and the sentencing, but that is not what this is about. The flaws of the justice system are many and glaring, but this is one flaw that is in our hands to fix. It is something we should fix.

So the next time you get that summons in the mail try not to groan and think of it as a waste of time. Try not to push it off or flat out ignore it. Try to look at it as a duty and as an honor that you are allowed to participate in the justice system in such a way.

I mean come on people, the government is already full of people who aren't working for no good reason. Don't add to the problem. Be better than a politician, do what you should be doing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Random thoughts on pain and driving

- I wonder sometimes if I will ever remember everything I should about the husbeast. One would think that after a reasonable amount of time I would be able to recall basic important information about him. One would think after being a couple for 13 years I would be able to remember something as simple as he is immune to hydrocodone. One would be wrong.

Last week the husbeast had all of his wisdom teeth removed. While this is not a fun event for most people it was especially bad for him. You see the husbeast is apparently part shark because he had eight wisdom teeth instead of the standard four most people have. He just can't be normal.

They only planned to remove the first set on Friday but once they got in there the plan changed. It turned out the second set was completely hollow. They were just shells of teeth. The dentist decided that since he was under already they would just remove them. This of course required them to drill out the shells.

Needless to say having eight teeth removed (five of them being drilled out) left him in a lot of pain once the anesthesia completely wore off. Of course I was good and had his prescription filled and the pills in him before the numbness wore off to help keep him from being in too much pain. Only I forgot that key fact about him being immune to hydrocodone, so in reality he had nothing in him to block the pain.

I called the doctor back in a bit of a panic as he paced around the house growling in pain. I wasn't really sure what to do but we needed to do it fast. The husbeast is a big man and doesn't respond well when you can actually cause him pain.

The nurse answered and told me that the doctor was in surgery and would get back to me later (which he never did) and to give the husbeast ibuprofen to try and cut the pain. I was not convinced that this was going to really do much but who was I to argue at this point. I was starting to feel desperate.

Thankfully a handful of ibuprofen later he was just fine. I was surprised that was all it took, though after 13 years I should probably learn not to be surprised. Lets see if next time he needs prescription pain meds that I remember to tell the doctor hydrocodone doesn't work.

- I really hate driving. I always have. When I was 17 I got my drivers license only because my brother was graduating and I didn't want to go back to taking the bus to school. I had no other real incentive to drive. I just didn't want to.

I am not a terrible driver, but I am not a great driver either. My total lack of depth perception makes me nervous and sometimes overly cautious. I drive slower than other drivers would like me to and leave greater distances between myself and other vehicles which also annoy my fellow drivers.

Also driving at night is pretty much right out. Oncoming lights blind me completely and I can rarely make out the lines on the road. Pretty much I am night blind when it comes to actually driving my car. This is even with my glasses on (which don't help my night driving no matter what my doctor said).

Rain also is a bad thing for me when it comes to driving. It is not the slick roads so much as the limited vision. There are places where the lines on the road are invisible once they get wet. I  have no idea where my car is supposed to be and it freaks me right the hell out. Can you imagine what dirving in the rain at night is like for me?

I also can't handle driving over those super tall overpasses on high ways. You know the ones in mixmasters that are four stories off the ground and are giant sweeping curves of concrete through the sky. I have trouble being a passenger in a car going over one of those. If I have to drive I typically white knuckle the steering wheel and go about 20 miles an hour while hyperventilating. I can't help it. I am terrified of heights.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wasted Energy

Yesterday was the day of broadsiding me with things that did not make me a happy shiny person. In fact they were things that filled me with a stabby rage. Honestly I don't need this sort of negative stimulation in my life just now. I am stressed, overly anxious, and a little on the depressed side most days. The last thing I need is to add partly homicidal to the list of issues just now.

As I sat seething quietly to mostly myself over the new issues at hand I realized something; being angry was just stupid. I mean I was justified in my anger, but lingering on it was just a waste of what little energy I have. I am already dedicating an enormous amount of energy to the negatives in my life, why would I add more to that list.

I realized that these things I was now angry over were really just not important in the grand scheme of things. Instead of looking at these things as bad things I need to be angry about I chose to just shake them off and look at them as things that are more pitiable than anything else. I am not going to rant and throw a tantrum, I am going to shake my head and say 'Bless their little pea picking souls'.

In the end I don't think that the people behind these slights are worth my anger. They aren't important enough and their grievances with me are petty and quite frankly beneath me. They took cowardly roads in trying to undermine me and mine, and a coward does not deserve the recognition of their actions.

This all sounds very passive aggressive of me, and maybe it is. I am alright with that. They aren't actually an active problem so why would I add to my stress level for sad jealous people? Why would I give them that satisfaction? Why would I hurt myself that way?

The answer is; I am not going to let it get to me. I am going to let it roll off of me like water off a ducks back.

Of course one should not mistake my current passivity for truly not caring. I care still. If the issue is pushed, if they actively continue to be willfully cruel to those I love or to undermine what I have worked hard for, I will not be passive any longer. Push me and I swear to all I find holy and sacred, you will regret the day you made me focus my energy on you.