Dee

So I have been quite the chicken. I have been procrastinating like crazy on writing this post. I think in part, it is that I am afraid that I won’t do it justice. And this one, over all, deserves to be the best.

I don’t know that I will achieve that – but please know that everything that follows is genuine, and honest, and from the heart.

See, in January, on Sunday the 25th, my dear friend Jenn and I were in our game, giggling madly while she tanked elite wolves on her shadow priest, and I did half assed dps and heals to help bring them down for trapping. We were having a great time – we hadn’t really played together one on one much in a LONG time. Her phone rang – it was her husband. She had to go away to take that call.

She came back, and typed “get to a safe place, and check your facebook. NOW.”. I was so scared, I had no idea what may be going on. So, I did what she said. Made sure my girl was in a safe place, and alt-tabbed out to facebook.

Scrolling through my feed, I get to a post from Steve, who has been thin on the site for a while. He is what Dee called her “radioactive sea monkey” – better known as a nuclear sub tech – and he had been deployed for some time. It took me a few read throughs to register what he was saying.

Our Dee – our dear and lovely Dee – had died on Friday – the day before her 37th birthday. I wanted it to be a horrible joke – I wanted it to be that someone with a nasty sense of humor had hacked the page, and had posted this for some sick and twisted reason. The post itself however, was so intrinsically STEVE – that I knew it was real.

I am pretty sure I screamed. I am also pretty sure I spent some time just saying NONONONONONONO. I don’t remember much – other than the agony that was my very being. I think what bothered me the most, was knowing that with Steve out to sea, Dee was there with her kids. It had to be one (or more ) of her kids who found her that morning, and that thought broke my heart.  We found out so late – because it does take time to surface a sub – and then get Steve back home.

I met Dee on the forums for the game I play most. (the one I work for!) I had started haunting the forum – and answering a question here or there. There was an “off topic” thread in that forum – for things not really related to the other threads. Kind of a coffee klatch/gathering place for the “regulars” and anyone else that wanted to join.

Y’all know me – and you know how I feel about groups of people I don’t know. That extends to online as well. Still – I screwed up my courage, and posted in that off topic thread. And Dee – gracious, kind Dee, was the one who first replied, and made me feel warm and welcome. I will always be grateful to her for that. She gave me – with that one kind post -a doorway that led to some of the people I love most in my life.

Dee was the best of us. As my friend Vicky said on my wall, she was what most of us wanted to be. She was just simply GOOD.

Now, that doesn’t mean she was stuffy, or boring, or anything like that. She could whip up a good solid dose of snark – and she relished doing so from time to time. She could be a bit raunchy, and had a wicked sense of humor. When teased, she would always come back with /halo!

BUT – Dee walked her walk. She lived her beliefs, but didn’t try to hold others to her views of how things were/should be. She loved everyone – and was kind to everyone even when they had gotten on her last nerve. (we saw this more than once on the game forums – she would try to help and the person would be totally resistant. She would finally just say something like “Ok then. I hope YOU have a nice day. /smiles sweetly.”) Then, she would come to our super secret out of forum group – and let the snark fly! ❤

She had total faith in her God – belief in her religion, and lived by those tenets as well. She wasn’t sanctimonious, or overbearing, or judgmental – she lived her life, and her beliefs, and was secure enough in them that she didn’t feel the need to try to sway or convince anyone of the “truth”. She trusted us to be good people, and to know our own minds in regard to faith – and loved us unconditionally, even when some of us held very different beliefs.

Dee’s other devotion was to her family. She loved them with all of her heart –  they came first. Hands down. And one can see that when they see pictures of the family. You can see how close they all are – you can see how much she loves her kids, and they love her. She had seven children – and from the earliest days, they were dubbed the “moonkinlings” for the spec of druid she played in our game..  And oh my heavens – the pictures of Dee and Steve could outright burn you with the radiance of the love shining in both of their faces.

I am so very glad that Steve has elected to keep all of us not only in his life (he has always been part of our group – but with being at sea for long periods of time, we of course had more time with Dee). – but in the childrens as well. He made a facebook page for them, so that we could interact with them without having him as the middle man. I now have to remember to try to edit myself on my page though – or change settings when I let loose with one of my more profane memes or rants. I haven’t always been immediately successful with that – but when I see it – I have always gone back and changed the settings for those posts – with an apology to Steve. And I have been working on being more aware.

My heart still hurts, and I do believe it always will. When we lost Dee, the world became a little darker, a little smaller, and a little colder. This earth lost a shining light. My life has been infinitely blessed by having had her in it, and I know I will cherish my memories of her always.  But- my days going forward have had a little less sparkle.

I love and miss my friend so much.  Even now, months after the fact, it hits me, and fills me with such an ache  – I am unable to breathe with the pain.  I want to rage and cry – and sometimes, I still do.  And once the pressure starts to subside, I know that she is up there, doing what she loved best – dancing.   Through and around and with the stars.

Little Bits of This and That

Just because.

If I am going to make it a point to get into a schedule, I need to actually do so. Am I right? Of course I am.

I have been a bit heartbroken however. The canvas print I put on this page a couple posts back? The Wicked based painting by James Hance? Yeah. That one. The prints turn out to be much too expensive.  I simply can’t justify the expense. So, no wonderful green Elphie on my walls.

There **is** art on my walls now though – a start at making my restful, lovely hermit cave!

I promised pics waaaaaaaay back in March of the Karazhan posters framed and hung, if I managed to get it done.

Finally, I deliver!

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Husband was skeptical at first. He thought that anything game related was going to go in the office. It is true that the vast majority of my swag, and my game collectable stuff will be in the office. (If it ever comes out of storage. We have been here since the end of MARCH for goodness sake, and Pete is still promising me that each month is the very LAST for carrying over the storage. I **still** don’t have my bed here! Been sleeping in my chair for FOUR MONTHS! RAWR!)

These posters though, are truly something that can be on the living room wall. He should know by now that while I am a geek, I also have impeccable taste in most things, and a fairly decent eye for what looks good. My house will NOT be completely video game oriented. That is mostly for the offce.

That’s the husband critters buzzhead in the pic. Thank goodness he isn’t a comb over type! His hair is… diminishing. Instead of growing it out, he decided to go all super military on it. He has clippers, and buzzes it all off every few weeks. I then get to play clean up on the alfalfa ‘do he leaves behind. He **always** misses that one piece in the middle back – and it sticks up exactly like alfalfa’s did in “The Little Rascals”. (And I hope like hell y’all know what I mean there.)

We do have the table and chairs here as well – and a two canvas painting that the husband critters sister painted.  When Pete went down to see her/help with clear out some stuff she didn’t need, he fell in love with it. Because he liked it so much, she gave it to him. It was the first thing I hung on the wall.

When I put it up, I decided to troll him, and hang it backwards. Because I am not very good at trolling, he missed the point, and LOVES them this way:

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Beyond house settin’ up stuff, I have been gaming a bit. Well, a LOT, actually.

All of the sudden, I have way too many games again, and not near enough time. I’ve been testing the Beta for Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn. (Square Enix agreed with the rest of the world that the first iteration of this game was NOT good, so they completely redid it.) I have been having a blast! I am enjoying this game immensely, and am waiting for phase 4 to start – the open, release candidate beta. Should be happening in a couple of weeks or so, since the launch date has been set firmly for August 27th, with early access for Collector Edition purchasers beginning the week prior, and that for those who stuck with the 1.0 version of the game two weeks before.

Civilization V came out with it’s latest expansion on the 9th of this month. A Brave New World is awesome! It added so much to the game that is already one of the best for turn based strategy (in my own opinion, of course) and made it even better! I have started a game as the Shoshone, and have been having a grand time figuring out the new stuff.
Neverwinter has been fun. Totally free to play – not even a box purchase required. It is of course run on microtransactions, but you don’t have to purchase anything if you really don’t want to. Most of what is sold is quality of life stuff. Unlike some other FTP games out there, it doesn’t hold back aspects of the game. You can play all parts of the game, with all abilities without having to pay a dime. You can purchase extras (like more character slots, bigger/more bags for carrying stuff and bank slots for storing stuff. Faster mounts… that kind of thing.)

Skyrim – still futzing around in that huge and marvelous world – and waiting eagerly for Elder Scrolls Online to come out next year! I signed up for that beta. Don’t know if I will have any chance at it, but one can hope!

Signed up for the beta for a new game coming out as well – Wildstar. This one is Sci Fi – and looks intriguing. We shall see if it lives up to the slowly growing hype it has been getting.

Still playing World of Warcraft of course.  Have my sixth maxed level character now, working on the next to get there.  WoW has been taking a bit of a back seat.  As I said in a post some time ago – it was the -only- game I played for years.  Now, it does get put on hold for a while when I want to try something different. I know it will always be there, well loved and comforting.

I have The Secret World, and can even run it… kinda. It is not what I would call a fun experience however. I need a better graphics card if I am going to enjoy this one – which also just went free to play (though it requires a box purchase) Steam had it for a steal during their summer sale though, so…

 

Besides games, I have been going through a creative phase. I pulled out my colored art stix (kinda like pencils, without the wood – the whole thing is a square colored pencil lead essentially) and my regular pencils/charcoal. Not going to show that though, at least not yet. I am super duper rusty – and want to see if I even have the stuff anymore!

Crochet though… I learned a few new methods, and had a grand time doing so!

First, is Broomstick Lace. This is pretty much what it sounds like. You use a broomstick (or appropriately sized tool – in my case, a piece of PVC pipe, as I could get my husband to give me some left over from redoing some piping on a job) to stretch rows of loops around:

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and then gather the big loops that are made as you crochet the next base row:

 

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Comes out GORGEOUS!

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And the yarn I am using here is amazing. Literally. The brand is not one of the yarn porn brands, but not a bad one – Lion Brand. The line is called “Amazing”, and the colorway for this one is called “Glacier Bay”. I have fallen in LOVE with this yarn. I adore the huge variety of colors it has throughout, and the varying intensities of those colors.

Here, I am using it again in some Granny Squares. These are about 8″ blocks, that I am considering using as base blocks to patchwork with other smaller blocks in solid colors to make a quilt patterned afghan.

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I am absolutely going to have to buy more of this yarn though! It is super soft wool with a bit of acrylic, making it very stable. It holds shape well, and won’t shrink as much as 100% wool would.

I also whomped together a homemade (and very temporary – this thing won’t hold up for any amount of **real** work on it) hairpin lace loom, to see if I would like that technique.  It is an interesting one, and very versatile.  I didn’t however, remember to get any pics. I will be buying a loom soonish though (only about $5, the problem is getting my hands on my car to actually go GET the damned thing.)  When I do, I will show you what this is and does! Super cool.

 

Cooking.

I have been trying some new things, either found on the interwebs, or shared by friends. One of the wins was homemade, baked not fried taquitos.

Assembling:

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And after baking:

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These were rather awesome. I made them the first time with flour torillas because that is what I had a metric ton of. Next time I make them – we will try with corn torillas!

Last, but not least, some cloud porn for your enjoyment! The clouds on this day were very different.  I had never seen them like this before.  The lines you can kinda see in the pics were very clearly delineated, making the entire sky look…  sculptured.

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Husband got totally exasperated with me when I called him out onto the balcony to look at the clouds – until he got there and saw them. Then of course, he was pointing out different places I should point the camera. I think I photographed the whole of the sky (that we can see from the balcony) that day. The strange, almost sculpted look of the clouds didn’t show  well in the pictures – but I picked the best two. These pictures unfortunately don’t do this very strange and beautiful sky the justice it deserves.

As I began.  A little about a lot about pretty much nothing, but it is a post, and I have written!

DAMN!  I’m on a roll!

Random Ramblings, or how I got my job.

I swear. It has been a heck of a week – and another to follow. As I said a couple of weeks ago – time off blackout, and mandatory OT. This equals cranky ME, as I am not getting the wind down time I need.

Along with cranky, I am jealous of everyone who is able to play right now when everything is new and shiny!  (extended play is what I am talking about here.  During the week, I don’t do much more than check auctions, and maybe a daily cooking/fishing quest.  Or not.  Depends on how tired I am – and with OT – I will be tired.)

Add to this the first plague to hit the office of the season, and WHEEEEEEE!!!  (NOT.  Just in case you took me seriously on the dizzy joy.)

So, with everyone around me coughing, sniffling, sneezing, what do you think is happening? Yup. And not able to even **think** about taking a day until after the madness is over.  (Seriously thinking about a day mid October though – make a long weekend to play away, even if it IS still in the seventh level of hell known as extended stay living).

There are oh so many girls to level, and gear, and so much STUFF to do this time around! While I know that yet again, I won’t be able to put the focus into learning my character/spec well enough, or gearing well enough to raid with my guild, (not to mention – the raiding times are smack dab in the middle of my work night), I will have MUCH to occupy my time, and so far, I am LOVING this one! So very beautiful to look at. Fun, engaging, and like I said – a LOT of stuff to choose from to do, with more coming as I get to level cap (again).

This “weekend” was mostly futzing around. I did get one of my Druids to 86, and the Raid Leader of my guild was kind enough to let my seriously undergeared/not played enough to know the new rotations etc girlie go with them into a dungeon.

Props to the guild mates and one pugger that were there – it was a smooth run thanks to them. AND – I got to see a little bit of the content that I probably wouldn’t have seen for a long while! (I don’t do purely random groups. Falls way WAY outside of my comfort zone.)

Of course, nothing dropped that my girl could even remotely use. Remember? Random hates me – especially in game.

I may whine about having to work, and not being able to play, but I still remember how awesomely exciting and nerve wracking it was getting this job. I don’t regret it, then or now.

Back in Massachusetts 2008 our business was slowing folding, and I was desperately looking for a job. We had just lost the chance to adopt my nephew (too little notice, and too much paperwork to do an interstate adoption before the county placed him), and were considering moving to another state.

I sat down at my computer, to read the forums of the game company that put out the game I was obsessed with. Every week or so, someone would post a “how do I become a GM?” thread. This time, there was a forum agent to answer, and he supplied a link to the job opps page for the company.

With the great forethought and wisdom brought on by a few glasses of wine, I thought “Why the hell not! Might as well.” Texas was one of the states we were considering moving to, so….

Pulled out the old resume, made a cover letter, and sent it off. Didn’t expect much. I didn’t have any customer service experience really – most of my work history had been back office sort of stuff. The only thing I had going for me, was the fact that we were willing to move to Texas without move reimbursement, and a passion for the company, and the games it makes.

This was sent in in October 2008, and when I didn’t hear anything after a month or so, I forgot about it.

Come the end of December, my phone rings, with a number (area code even) that I don’t recognize, and I almost don’t answer. I am playin’ my game, damnit, and don’t want to have to fight off a telemarketer or some other! And yet – I hit the answer button. Best thing I ever did.

“Hi there. Is Pam available?”

“May I ask who’s calling?”

“This is ________ With **game company**.”

“ARE YOU SHITTING ME?” (Yes. This actually came out of my mouth on a phone call from a prospective employer. Not my normal mode of being. I blame the fact that it was almost 9pm my time, I had had a couple of glasses of wine, and was playing/relaxing/talking trash with my guildies).

“**laughs** Nope. Do you have a couple of minutes to talk?”

“Sure. Let me just get my girl to a safe… aw hell. If she dies, she dies!”

“Are you sure? (I can just picture the googly eyes here. He had to be thinking I was a bit… unstable at this point) I can wait a moment…”

And that is how it began. I guess I somehow impressed him with the call (though I don’t see how that could be – maybe by this point they were desperate for bodies? ) because we set up an interview for me on January 21 2009.

My dad came through – lent me the plane fare (which I still owe him. I haven’t forgotten Dad! Really! If life and spendthrift husband stop messin’ with me, **or I get both of them beaten into submission  (kidding!  kind of.)  I will be able to get to you, and everyone else that I owe. I am just sorry it is taking so infernally long.)

Got down to Texas, and stayed with my Sister in law in San Antonio. Meant a bit of a drive (tech, game studios and what not tend to migrate to Austin, where the motto is “Keep Austin Weird”. Go figure. ) for the interview, but with the loan of her Tom Tom, even **I** (who can’t find my way out of a wet paper bag with a knife) was able to make the trek from city to city without a wrong turn. Interviewed, and was told that it would be a couple of weeks before final determination was made – patience!

Hubster and I had already decided that yes or no on this job, we were going to bite the bullet and move here. The interview seemed a sign. We were going to move anyway, and one way tickets are much cheaper than round trip. I would stay down here while I waited to see if I got the job (and apply for others just in case) and he would pack up the house and cart himself, the cats, and our stuff with the car and a trailer.

When it rains, it pours. I was shifting from my Sister in law’s house to an extended stay room (better than this one – I lucked into a special needs room, which are MUCH bigger – to allow for wheels and such) when I got not one call, but two offering jobs – and one was the one I really wanted.

There was a hitch however. Next training class wasn’t going to start for a while. Not sure how long – but within the next couple of months. Sigh. It was a good thing that my scouring of Craig’s list had found a job for the hubster. We couldn’t move out of the hotel, because we had to have proof of employment for both of us, (and then first/last/security) but we could afford to live.

Fast forward TWO months. I get a phone call on Friday the 17th of April, asking if I can begin training on Monday the 20th? (hows that for a good amount of prep time, eh? ) Zoom zoom zoom – called the management company we had been working with (in prep, and just waiting for proof of income) and begged. I had to sign non disclosure paper work and such before I could have anything stating my employment by the studio. Management person took pity, and agreed to rent, with the condition that I get the letter of employment to him the next week. That, combined with the loan of First/Last/Security from my friend Jenn, (mostly paid off – but still owe a bit. Making it a priority now that hubster is full time again, along with getting INTO a real place to live again!) got us in place just in time to start training.

And – that is how I got the awesome job I have. Even if it means not getting to play with everyone else sometimes. I have been here almost 3.5 years now – and am fast closing in on my five year sword. While I have stated that I wish to stay with my company until I retire, it is nice to have large goals broken down into smaller ones. For right now – my goal is to make it to five years for that sword.

Why? Because its a SWORD damnit!

Enough of my ramblin’! Reading time (Yay!) and then to bed – perchance to dream… or at least to be somewhat aware tomorrow for my Monday at work. Hope where ever y’all are, you have (or are having) a great weekend! ❤

So Many Games, So Little Time!

AH MA GAHD!

All of a sudden, I have been inundated with games to play. And not near enough time to play them all, as well as try to get as ready as I can to move, and work, and sleep…

I am still moseying my way through Skyrim.

I am still trying out different leaders to be in Civ V.

I still have the girlies in SWTOR that I am leveling.

I still have my girlies in WoW, (though admittedly, only my semi geared ‘lock is getting love right now – too tired during workweek, and too BUSY during weekend to do more than the guild “fun run” on Sunday nights…)

Now, finally, after an eternity of waiting, Blizzard has announced a release date for Diablo III. /SWOON!

I have been waiting for this day for YEARS. At least a DECADE.

O. M. G.

Back to the world of Sanctuary. Where fallen angels meet, and are defeated by heroes.

A true dungeon hack ‘n slash.

I have played on the Beta. Taken each and every one of the five classes through to the Skeleton King. (end of content released for beta.)

Multiple times.

And each time, I get more and more excited. I so very much want to see the rest of this beautiful, engaging, and FUN game! Not to mention – Collector’s Edition which will give me more toys for my WoW girls. Hooray!

My gaming started with pen and paper Dungeons ‘N Dragons. The original version. (Yeah. I have been around the block. I think of it as “seasoning”)

I was around when Atari released the first console for gaming. Remember well being SO JEALOUS of my friend Tami, who had it. We would play Pong while sneaking out to the living room to try to catch a few minutes of the burlesque show her mom was watching on that other new-fangled thing – Cable TV before being chased away.

My families first computer was the TI99 4-A – and I remember the night we got it.

My mom and I sat up ALL night, playing Space Invaders in the little “tag along” trailer that we were living in while we build our house in the foot hills of the Colorado Rockies. (I was a teenager at this time, in high school).

The look my Dad gave us, when he got up, and realized that we had been up ALL night…. would have taken paint off of the side of a building. Without thinner. He was so disgusted! (Love you, Dad!)

Mom was the one who bought me the original Nintendo for a Christmas present.

By that time, mom and dad were no longer married, but I was. The console was supposed to be for me and my husband – but I got WAY more use out of it than he did. >.>

HE didn’t get interested in video games until the PS came out. Then? Tomb Raider. Maybe he liked Lara Croft, but somehow I don’t think so. It just finally “clicked” for him. We started having “TR” nights – no TV, but he would run the controls and I would tell him where to go/look. It was fun, and the very beginning, I think, of my loss of interest in TV as a medium for entertainment. (Other than hooking the console up, of course!)

Now, I don’t console game so much. I had to leave all of my consoles (and I had several – including the Dreamcast) when I moved from Denver to MA. For a couple of years, I didn’t even have a computer. When I did get one, it was not a good one, and pretty much only the flash games, and puzzle games like those offered by PopCap would work on it.

I had dated a guy while in MA who was really into a new MMO – World of Warcraft. He would often ask me to log into his second account, and heal his warrior while he explored dungeons there. This was January/February of 2005- so just past launch.

I however? Didn’t have a system capable of that game until much MUCH later. I wasn’t dating him anymore – and had almost forgotten the game. My friend Brenda (Love you Brenda! ❤ ) suggested that I come play with her in a new game. We could make characters, explore the world, and talk in game, though we were a couple of thousand miles apart!

Of course, that reignited my love affair with computer gaming. Not only did I have a world that I could escape into when stress and pressure got to be too much – it was persistent! My girls could do what they wanted in the game, and they would remain… no save points, and unlike pen and paper DnD, if they died, I could always “resurrect” them. For a gold cost on armor durability, they would come back, just as they were before they died! HELLZ YA! DO OVERS! Without having to go all the way back to the save point!

I was faithful. For years, the ONLY game I played was WoW. My girls never had to wonder if I was out for the night with some other toon, in some other world…. never had to sit, fully rested and waiting for me to come to them. They KNEW that I would be there. As much as possible.

However. After several years, the wandering eye happens. I am not bored, really – just want to branch out. See my options. My girls, across three accounts, (five, if you count the newly resurrected, boosted to level 80 instantly toons on the Scroll of Resurrectioned accounts that were created to give mounts to my top two… ) always knew that I would be there. Day in, day out. And for the most part, I am.

However.

The call of the Civ V is strong. Cid Meyer had my heart before WoW did, and he still manages to captivate me, making me lose time in building a civilization.

My spacefaring girlies in The Old Republic are new, and young, and unsure of their place in the world. They need me to nurture them, so that they can grow strong in the force, and PWN Republic/Sith face (depending on faction.)

My girlies in Skyrim are young… needing guidance, and a strong hand to lead them through the civil war torn area of Skyrim.

And now – I must look to Amalur! The Reckoning is happening, and I have heard that it is awesome!

Add to this that this is the game that CURT SCHILLING – of the BOSTON RED SOX – Long time favorite pitcher, who pitched in an unforgettable game with the BLOODY SOCK – where he had torn his stitches from a recent surgery on his foot but still POWERED THROUGH…

FANGIRLGASM. Totally.

MUST MUST MUST have this game. I need to show my support for this up and coming company (38 Studios, and Big Huge Games). I know some people from my own company who have gone to Rhode Island to work for this company. I have heard amazing things about this game.

I just got a (very small) bonus. Looking to add a bit to my “nest” in the way of some throw pillows for the comfy, non butt eating furniture, poster frames for the Karazhan Movie Posters and DIII/Skyrim maps, and FINALLY ecigs instead of the real, lung choking ones.

All in all, looking forward to the next few months, though they are a bit scary too.

STILL haven’t found a place to move to, and it is already the middle of the month. TWO WEEKS! Need to remind hubby of that. Ugh.

Still KoA: The Reckoning. /drool.  I forsee a lot of time in a new world, with new girls.

And in two months DIABLO!  **SQUEEE**

My First Love

I love to read. Reading for me, has always been my escape. It has been my magic wardrobe, teleporting me AWAY. Away to worlds of magic, and space. Future and past. High adventure, and deep learning. When the world around seems too much to bear, escaping into a book, and being elsewhere for a bit is one way for me to calm and recenter.  Add a warm cat (or cats) on the lap, a glass of wine, and a nice rainy afternoon, and you have something very close to heaven, in my opinion.

I have been reading a lot this week. The bout of Bronchitis that I had at the first of the month? I thought it was gone, but I was wrong. It came back with a right to the kisser – complete with fevers, aches, coughs, clogged ucky blechy non goodness. I have been out of work all week on doctors orders. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I will be back to work on Tuesday. (Monday was already scheduled off. Felt the need to celebrate the birth of some presidents, don’tcha know!) Most of this week has been lived in my chair (laying down was and still is a no go – drown in my own blech). Asleep for a couple hours, awake for an hour. Only in the last day or so, have I been awake more than asleep. Reading has been filling the waking hours, when there was no energy for anything else.

Part of reading for me, is the sheer sensual pleasure of a book. The smell of the paper, the rustle of pages, the feeling of progression (and some little bit of sadness for inevitable endings, with a gripping story) as pages transfer from the right to the left through the reading, The look of a well stocked bookcase, inviting browsing and finding that perfect world to fall into for a while…

I had put off getting an ereader because I wasn’t sure that I would like it. So many of the tactile parts of reading would be missing. At this point, it would be… words on a screen.

When my Dad sent me a Kindle for my birthday, I decided that it was time to try. I am glad that he went with a basic Kindle. These have what is called “e ink”, not backlighting. This means that I need to have ambient light if I want to read, but I don’t have to worry about the lighted screen headaches. I already look at lighted screens a LOT. Reading gets me away from that.

I have been getting good use out of my Kindle. As I stated in a previous blog, my anniversary present this year was The Dresden Files collection, and I got it on the Kindle. I have to say, I had an enormous amount of fun reading these books, and will definitely be reading them again!

I read, and re read, and re re read books. I love to revisit places, and always find some new thing that I hadn’t noticed in previous visits. I don’t have any one particular genre I read. I love anything that is well written. It doesn’t have to be weighty, or full of hidden meaning. Sometimes, a good story can be just a good story and valuable for that alone, regardless of what my lit teachers tried so hard to get me to believe. So there. Pbfthpbfthpbfth. (See how mature I am? RASPBERRIES!)

One of the pluses that I found right of the bat, is how light and portable this thing is.

I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both of my hands, and holding books, especially large meaty ones, tends to make my hands cramp up, fingers get numb, and things just all round unpleasant. This is alleviated somewhat by using a book holder from Bookmatesplus.

I found these marvelous book covers when I still lived in Denver. They have thin but flexible strips of metal in them, that allows a book to be closed, and yet will hold rigid when open. Add a see through, snap on plastic strap, and the book is held open, so that if one has a place to prop it, no hands at all are needed. If no place is available, it is still easier on the hands to hold the book like a platter – resting on the palm of the hand rather than cupped between fingers and thumb.

I still have a couple of these lying around, and of course Bookmatesplus isn’t going to lose my business any time soon. I go through these things. When I say I read a lot, I mean a LOT. This does cause some wear and tear, and eventually, I wear and tear them to pieces. And while I do see myself buying books for the Kindle more often, I still love used bookstores, and still have a large collection of books that I am not going to duplicate on the Kindle. I just can’t see paying a new book price for a book I already have, or can easily get from a half priced bookstore due to popularity/age. (especially since publishers still have these electronic books priced at regular, printed book prices.)

I can see how handy it could be for traveling too. When I go anywhere, I take a mini library with me. I am terrified of running out of stuff to read. Even here in town, if I am half way through a book, I will have the next one in my bag as well – even if I am just going to work, and may only get a few pages read in the time I am gone. It is kind of a security blanket for me. Going somewhere for a week? I will usually have at least 10 books in my bags. My husband laughs at me, but hey! I am prepared!

Now, once my collection has grown a bit, it could very well be that all of my reading material for a trip will be easily stored in one small thin, light little doo hickey! It is going to be a while however, before that happens.

I am kind of anal about reading. I like to read things in order – from first to last. I will often hold off reading a series until they are all out. If the series is protracted, I have been known to read each book as it comes out, after having read all the predecessors immediately prior. (Yes. This does mean that when I read the Harry Potter books, The Sorcer’s Stone was read at least 7 times before I read The Deathly Hollows.) Laugh if y’all want to, my husband does. It amuses some of my friends as well. What can I say? I yam what I yam.

This does pose a problem for some of the longer lived series I have. Take for instance, Jean Auel’s Earth Children series.

I started reading these books back in 1980, when she wrote Clan of the Cave Bear. It has taken her 30 years, but she finally published the last book last year. I hadn’t been able to get it, but it was on my list of things to do. I finally broke down, and bought it, for the Kindle. Now of course, I have to reread the first 5 before I can read the 6th on the kindle. (I do cheat a bit. She repeats herself sometimes, and I kinda glaze over that stuff. Still, the meat of the story gets re read.) If I were going on a trip, I would still be lugging the first 5 (or however many of them I had left to read) and the 6th on the Kindle. Still, one less multi inch thick book is that much less weight. Am I right?

Eventually of course, I will have more series, like The Dresden Files, that are completely on the reader. However, I won’t be choosing books to read based on portability. As always, I will make the choice based on what world, or kind of world, I want to visit this time! If that means 10 or more regular old books, and the trusty old cover, so be it!

For now, I am roaming the Continental steppes of the last Ice Age, with Ayla and Jondalar. I am spending the winter with the Mamutoi, in agonies about who will win the girls heart? The tall blue eyed Jondalar? Or the flashing eyed, dark skinned Ranec? Of course I know. Still. I can be excited, and breathless and find myself eager to read what comes next. I can muse, in the very depths of my secret child heart that some book fairy maybe waved a wand and changed it… Even if that didn’t happen, I KNOW that I will find some little nugget, some treasure, that has been passed over, or not seen in the previous readings of the book. Old beloved friends, who even after a lifetime of knowing, can astonish and delight.

How much better than that can it get?

Favorite

So a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook today.

What is your favorite movie? And why?

He asked that it not be answered lightly, but thoughtfully.

My answer? Life is Beautiful. Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi. Awesome, inspiring stuff.

This gorgeous, amazing, haunting, uplifting and tearful movie has been my favorite since I first saw it in 1999.

What a story. A Jewish man, in Mussolini’s Italy during World War II. Falling in love, and winning the love in return, of a gentile. A description doesn’t do it any kind of justice at all.

Life, and love, and imagination, as well as the fierce protective love of parents for their child, and spouses for each other.

A serious and thoughtful story, told with humor, and hope and a joie de vivre that lifts the heart, soothes the spirits, and makes one feel!

Of course, when I wish to rewatch, the hubster doesn’t want to be around. Not his cup of tea. Not enough gunfire and explosions, not to mention sub titles. /sigh.

Oh well. I know that I have it, and can watch it any time I start to feel a bit down about life. Any time I start to slip into the kindergarten “it’s not fair!” mode that can hit. This movie soothes my soul, making me laugh while I cry, and renews faith in the good that can be found in the world.

I have been uncomfortably fascinated with World War II (the European theatre of the war) since I was a child. In part, because I still can’t understand how hatred, and mob mentality, and following orders, could reach that extent. Not going to Godwin this post, however. This post isn’t about not understanding, it is about beauty!

Guido. His “Principessa “. Their beloved son. Love for each other, and for son, and sons love for father, and mother. Just memories of this movie tug my heart. Think I need to cut this short, and go watch it for the twenty eleventh time.

What’s your favorite movie, and why? If you want to share, I would love to see!

Challenge!

So. A very dear and marvelous friend of mine, who has had a very tough time of things, and has managed to come out of it beautifully posted a challenge on her blog I’m Still Standing, I Won’t Be Quiet Now.

(For inspiration, y’all should check out her blog. Her strength of character and courage awe and inspire me.)

Thank you, Miss Kitters, for setting this challenge!

Her challenge seems simple, but in reality, can be much harder. The challenge? Make a list of 50 things that you have done RIGHT, and then share it. So, without further ado, I shall try to rise to that challenge!

  1. Started writing again!
  2. Skydiving despite a debilitating fear of heights.
  3. Learned to function better in the scary ol’ world.
  4. Realized my limits, and try to stick to them.
  5. Made a conscious effort to see the doctor about ills, and follow advice on how to minimize or be rid of them.
  6. Cut way down on smoking. (next step, since quitting wasn’t completely successful, the ecig as suggested by doc)
  7. Made the conscious decision to live in the present, with an eye to the future, instead of the past.
  8. Begun crafting again.
  9. Learned to laugh at myself in a GOOD way, rather than a self deprecating one.
  10. Made and kept some very close friends, (going on 30 years for one!), and stayed open to opportunity to make more.
  11. Planning for future.
  12. Remembered to take medicine (mostly) on time.
  13. Steady improvement at work.
  14. BREATHE! (using it as a tool instead of bolting)
  15. Created a plan for becoming more financially secure.
  16. Getting at least 5 hours of sleep a day.
  17. Writing and publishing blog posts at level/amount in 5 year plan outline.
  18. Creating 5 year plan with thought.
  19. Stopped blaming past issues for current state.
  20. Getting back in touch/staying in touch with nephew TJ.
  21. Forgave Mom for mistakes in the past.
  22. Forgave Dad for same.
  23. Letting go of guilt feelings quicker.
  24. Learning to communicate face to face better.
  25. Reading more again!
  26. Considering options for advancement at work, with an eye toward working for them.
  27. Finding a “life statement” and attempting to live by it.
  28. Treasuring my friends, and letting them know how much I love them.
  29. Treasuring my husband, and letting him know how much I love HIM. (Even when he drives me batty)
  30. Letting go of the past in relation to what has been lost.
  31. Rebuilding my library!
  32. Letting go of hurts caused by misunderstandings.
  33. Listening when someone needs an ear.
  34. Offering a shoulder for the same.
  35. Amusing my friends and co workers.
  36. My awesome sense of humor!
  37. Giving blood, when I could.
  38. Moving to Austin, following a dream, and making it a reality!
  39. Cook awesome food!
  40. Teaching myself Excel.
  41. Being co owner and office everything (not to mention, on the job work – including power tools RAWR! when needed) of a start up business.
  42. Learned that I can live on my own just fine, should I choose to do so.
  43. Being comfortable with myself.
  44. Knowing how to drive in all weathers. (don’t like to, but can do it!)
  45. I am smart!
  46. Sincere appreciation for what others have achieved, without jealousy.
  47. Learned to get past disappointments, and be contented despite them.
  48. Appreciation of beauty, in all of its incarnations!
  49. Knowing when I can let the walls down, and doing so.
  50. Getting myself to a place where I don’t need medication for depression, and staying there!

Whew! That was a tough one! I was able, however, to get it done, and I think very well!

Making this list was a challenge, but it did force me to think about all the GOOD I have done. What a marvelous thing that is!

How about y’all? You up to the challenge? You don’t have to post, but if you want to, I would love to see!