Tastes Like (One of My Former) Home(s)

Yesterday was utter rubbish.  I'm super glad I'm past the worst of the illness, but I'm still feeling more or less like a wrung-out rag.  I probably pushed a little too hard today, even tho' all we did was go down to REI to try out hiking packs to carry Neeps in (turns out my torso is so ridiculously short that only one of the three models could be made small enough to fit me, and that one was not actually comfortable for me to wear.  The search continues.) and then head a little further afield to get some delicious Chick-Fil-A.

I say "further afield" but that's almost ludicrous when you realize that, until today, we would have had to go all the way down to freaking California to get any.  And now we just have to drive like 45 minutes!  And soon we'll only have to drive like 20, because it's coming to our very own town!  Whee!  But it's good that it will be on the other side of town, because otherwise I would be eating it entirely too often, and since eating it requires me to take one of my Special Gluten Pills, I really should keep it a treat rather than a staple.

Still.  It's nice that it will be a more frequent treat than once-every-few-years-when-we're-in-Alabama.


We All Fall Down

I was inspired by the Horrible Plague currently making its way through my friends and family (and me) to play with and old nursery rhyme, and this is what I came up with:

fallen rose petals
strewn in a bloody circle
we fill our pockets

ash drifting like snow
warming bodies through the night
none of us will rise

Of course, as I was reading more about Ring Around the Rosies, I discovered that what I "knew" (that it was a sort of garbled description of the Plague) is not necessarily accurate, and in fact wasn't even a theory until halfway through the 1900s.  As such, I felt compelled to write another version, one which hearkens back to other, older understandings of the rhyme:

sweet beneath the blooms
our elder will protect us
ring within a ring

six hands joined as one
silent as death in a cup
they will not find us


Turns Out It's Take-Your-Child-to-Work Day

...which is awesome, because Neeps's nanny was knock-down-drag-out levels of sick today, and since The Captain is out of town and I didn't have any appointments scheduled, I went ahead and brought The Little Gentleman in with me to the office.  I was feeling a teensy bit guilty about it the unprofessionalism of it all, but then I learned that the Universal Committee for Making Every Day a "Thing" had my back, and I embraced it as something totally planned and on purpose and kicked that guilt to the curb.

Going over some reports.  On Elephants, apparently.
Really it only worked because a) he's such an easy-temperament baby b) he's not mobile yet and c) I was able to work on stuff that was easily-interrupted, like non-sensitive admin maintenance and Continuing Education courses.  I did have a few client calls that required more/all of my focus, but thanks to the aforementioned a) & b), it was all okay.  I have so much respect for those parents who work from home and watch their kids, because I would not excel at that in the slightest.
Puzzling out some data.

 All in all it was a pretty good day, right up until my Katie came by with Rabbit for an unexpected late-afternoon visit, and then it became an awesome day.


Odd End

Whilst out on this afternoon's walk, I came across a tree stump that someone had, well... embellished?
Nuts to you.  And washers, too.
It was so random that I (obviously) had to take a photo of it.  And if I wasn't so tired, I'd make up a story to explain it.  Hell, maybe I'll still make up a story... just not tonight.


A Message From the Universe

Sometimes the Universe sends me exactly what I need:
Will do.

...and sometimes what I need is a dead possum with a balloon tied to it.  Strangely, this was one of those things I didn't realize I needed until I was presented with it.

(I truly wish I could have gotten an actual photo of it, but you'll have to accept this artist's rendition, as I was driving when I saw it on the side of the road, and there was no time to stop.)


A Pig and Her Boy

Neeps can sit up on his own, these days, but who among us could pass up the chance to lounge upon a pigbull haunch?
Not me, that's for damn sure.


The Going to Bed Haiku

before the wolf's howl
echoes into sad silence
the light has vanished

we swarm like mayflies
reborn in silken tendrils
of steam, soap, and scent

our skin clean and soft
we wrap, unwrap, wrap again
protecting ourselves

scoured gleaming white
the blade of a crescent moon
smiling in the dark

a heavy lantern
swinging low among the stars
we move to her song

slowly we spiral
fallen leaves in a deep pool
we drift towards slumber

our whispers weaving
like a wind-born lullabye
wrapping us in love

how high the moon climbs
how deep her watery twin dives
caught between, we sleep


Lilian's Mother

Lilian wasn't sure when she first began to suspect that her mother didn't actually love her.  It had never popped into her brain in so many words, not until she was already quite certain of it.  It was just sort of a feeling, a feeling of... not-quite-right.

It would have been easy enough to discern, if her mother had beaten or neglected her, or been cruel in word or deed, or even been coolly indifferent.  But Lilian's mother had never done any of those things- had always been very careful, in fact, to praise and support Lilian, smile at and pet her, and generally find that perfect balance between strict and fair.  Lilian's mother never lost her temper when Lilian was around, never yelled at her for something that was not her fault.  Lilian's mother was always very, very correct in her actions towards Lilian, exactly as a loving mother should be.

And perhaps that's what finally tipped her hand to Lilian.

As Lilian got older, and realized that most humans erred at one point or another, she began to be unnerved by the fact that her mother never seemed to.  Not emotionally, at any rate.  And so Lilian began paying closer attention.  And that's when she began to notice what she privately thought of as the "cold flash" in her mother's eyes.

The cold flash always, always preceded Lilian's mother being especially kind or loving.  If Lilian saw the cold flash, she nearly always found herself enveloped in a long hug shortly thereafter.  There was nothing menacing or threatening about those hugs, no hint of underlying violence... but it seemed to Lilian that there was a certain sense of desperation.

And so Lilian began to observe more closely still, until she came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much that her mother didn't love her in particular, as that her mother didn't really seem to love anyone, or even anything.  So why was she pretending?  If Lilian's mother didn't love her, why was she trying so hard to make the world- to make Lilian- think she did?

This insight- and the questions it spurred- bothered Lilian right down to her core- but she could never quite bring herself to ask her mother about any of it.  After all, her mother might not have loved her, but Lilian still loved her mother, and she couldn't bear the thought of disappointing her by calling attention to the charade.

There came a day when Lilian's mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and, as so often happens in the end, Lilian found herself keeping vigil by her mother's deathbed.  Lilian's mother sleeps often now, eyes moving rapidly beneath parchment-thin lids.  Every time those eyes close, Lilian wonders if they will re-open.  And every time, the wondering hurts.  Now Lilian sits, holding her mother's withered hand in her own, and she thinks how strange it is that her love for her mother makes this so unbearably painful- and yet also gives her the strength to keep coming back, day after day.

"You can ask me," the voice is soft, but there is no tremor in it.  Lilian's mother is meeting her death with the same calm acceptance she has always met everything.  "I know you've wanted to, for years now.  I could never quite understand why you didn't."

"Ask you what, mother?" says Lilian, smoothing her mother's denuded scalp.  She had had such beautiful hair, before: always braided and pinned so precisely.

Lilian's mother turns her face to her daughter, and opens her eyes.  "Ask me if it's true."

"If what's true?" says Lilian.  Her heart jumps, begins to race, but Lilian tries to keep her fingers light on her mother's, careful not to betray the adrenaline now surging through her system.  She knows, of course, exactly what it is her mother is talking about.  Lilian's mother flutters her hand beneath Lilian's in encouragement.

"This is your last chance to ask, my darling.  And I don't want you to have any regrets in life that could have been so easily prevented.  You already know the answer, I think."

Lilian takes a shaking breath, then looks deeply into her mother's night-black eyes.  "If I already know the answer, why would I ask that question?"

The corner of her mother's mouth twitches with amusement.  "Alright then.  Ask the question you don't know the answer to."

For a long time, Lilian is silent, searching her mother's eyes for the cold flash, or for anything that might explain without her having to ask.  All she gets back is her own reflection, small and haunted in a distorted hospice room.  At last Lilian breathes, "Why?" and she isn't even certain which why she means.

"Because you were mine," the answer is immediate and fierce, and suddenly Lilian sees something uncoiling in the depths of her mother's gaze.  This is not merely a cold flash- no, this is a burning cold so deep and terrible that it carves mountains into nothing; kills entire species; remakes entire worlds.  Lilian gasps, and the mini-Lilians in her mother's icy eyes do the same, unconsciously recoiling.  Abruptly the  eyes close, cutting Lilian off from her reflections, and from whatever it is that Lilian's mother has never allowed herself to be.

"I couldn't love you," her mother whispers.  "But I could protect you.  And I did."


Karial 02

It's my turn again!


The day-to-day rituals of the Rift Priestess are not so mysterious as a young novice might imagine, and do not make for a fascinating chronicle- but chronicle I will, as is required.  For if I do not record the mundane, how will the daughters to come have the proper context in which to place and understand the extraordinary?

I rise as the light dies, to fulfill the first and most sacred of my duties; consulting the [oracle?].  This is no difficult task, in fact it does not even require I leave my bed, as I wear the device on a chain around my neck, always.  In this way, if the wheel begins its tell-tale whirling during the day, I might be woken to react appropriately.  It has remained still since my arrival, however, be it during the long hours of bright daylight, or the more comfortable darkness of night, and yet I examine it carefully every time the tide shifts, for that is what the Rift Priestess does: watches the [oracle?] for signs of a coming traveler.

The sister who served before me mentioned that she never was called on to receive a traveler during her time here.  She said it almost apologetically, and I have to wonder what Winial’s reaction to such news would be: relief that travelers are not that common, or concern that surely one must now be due.  I tried to accept the information as I have been taught: to make it a part of myself without spending undue time worrying over the implications.

The consulted, I tend next to the body of the temple itself, scanning carefully for signs of erosion, cracking, or other weakening.  Twice now I have had to coax the [living flame?] to make repairs, although neither instance was more than a hairline fracture.  Still, as my mothers are so fond of saying, even kisses hatch in time[idiom?], and if the temple falls the Rift becomes more unstable still.  Best not to chance it.

After the temple I turn my attention to myself, for how can I guide travelers if I fall ill?  I must be sound in body, mind, and spirit, and so I train each in turn.  I practice the forms, I read the chronicles, and I meditate.  Depending on what my food stores look like, I will hunt, or tend the garden, or perhaps both.  And if I have time enough left before the day grows too bright, I explore.  Sometimes the surrounding areas, but more often the temple itself.  You never know where a traveler might appear, or wander into, and I feel it prudent to be familiar with all potential paths.


Good Job, Girl

I got cat-called, today.

I know I got cat-called not so much because I heard exactly what was said, but because I heard the tone, and I definitely know it ended with the word, "girl".  Lack of clarity, ladies and gentlemen; just one more peril of leaning out a car window to yell at someone on a bike...

At any rate, my brain turned it into "Good job, girl!", even tho' I knew that probably wasn't it, given the aforementioned tone.  And as I was grumbling to myself about lame-ass catcalls, and how people should have some standards, I suddenly thought,

"But what if it was, 'Good job, girl!'?"

And then I said out loud, with Ryan Gosling hovering beatifically in my brain,

"Good job, girl!  I know things are hard right now, girl- you're stressed out and pressed for time, and don't get enough sleep, but here you are, making the bike commute like a boss, being healthy and awesome.  So good job, girl!  Keep it up!"

And damned if that didn't encourage me to dig in a little deeper, and get up that long-ass hill a little faster.

So thanks, random Scrub.  Thanks for bringing out my inner RG.


Back in Blood

I have officially re-upped my link with the moon.

It's kind of weird to be menstruating again, after more than a year away from it (we're not counting lochia.  That was... it's own special categorization.)  I have had a somewhat adversarial relationship with my cycle in the past (haven't we all?) but I find myself feeling more or less at peace with it, now*.  At least insofar as I'm not like, "Aw crap," about its return.  It's certainly nice to know where I stand from a fertility perspective, anyway.

So no, I'm not upset about the return of menstruation, per se... but I do find myself feeling a little wistful.  Wistful because it's as much a milestone as Neeps's newfound ability to sit unassisted (more or less): a marker that we are slowly/too rapidly moving through this special time where I can meet all of his needs on my own.  The fact that I could now (theoretically) conceive and carry a second child is just another tiny wedge in the ongoing process of separating him from me, and me from him.  The next one will come when he goes to daycare, and then when he starts solids, and then begins to wean; when he is able to crawl and then walk away from me... plus thousands of other little things that will pull us further and further apart, and get him closer and closer to being his own independent human, with whom I will have to establish an entirely different, and more equal, relationship.  And these things are necessary, and good, and I would never try to stop or even slow them... but I will allow myself to feel a little wistful at their passing.

*(maybe ask me again in another year...)


Dead Baby Roses

In fine form this year.  I think they like the forget-me-not we planted around their base.
and then I put them in a tiny vase to adorn the table


Raising a Feminist

Once upon a time, when I was still a child-free individual, I had this vision of what it would be like to raise a little girl, a fierce little feminist.  It was going to be so awesome- she wasn't going to take shit from anyone, and she was going to wear whatever the hell she wanted (pink and sparkly or blue and covered in trucks and footballs) while doing whatever the hell she wanted (playing house or playing helicopter pilot), and be a strong and smart and confident and did I mention not taking any shit?

Other people bought into this vision, as well- like without me even bringing it up in the first place.  I heard from more than source, "Oh my god you'd be such an amazing mother to a little girl!"

But I didn't have a little girl.

At first I found myself puzzled- what the hell do I know about raising a little boy?  But then I reminded myself that strictly speaking, what I "know about" is being a little girl, not actually raising one, and thus I was starting in the same place regardless of sex.  Except that I hadn't really put any thought into raising a boy.  So I put some thought into it, and the immediate thought I had was,

"Don't raise a rapist!"

This is the quip I trot out for laughs when talking to people about my child-rearing goals, but it's also not really a joke at all.  And honestly, it's a damn short step from "Don't raise a rapist!" to "Raise a feminist!" which works just as well for a boy as a girl.  After all, raising up a feminist girl is, frankly, easy, if for no other reason than all you have to do to get them to buy into it is look around at how awfully they get treated by the world.  Raising up a feminist boy, on the other hand?  A boy who will enjoy undeniable privilege due to the accident of his chromosomes, to the point where he might not naturally pick up on the fact that the patriarchy is screwing pretty much everyone over?  Well, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.  But "easy" is for suckers, and so I say, fish accepted!  No wait, I mean challenge.  Challenge accepted!

Which means that all that stuff I was going to do for my kick-ass daughter?  I'm doing it for my kick-ass son.  Because that is hard-core the spirit of feminism.  I'll point out inequalities, and talk to him about what he can do to make the world less shitty for him and everyone else.  That he doesn't have to be limited by society's expectations of him, and that if he does something coded as "feminine" it doesn't make him inferior, and more than him doing something coded as "masculine" makes him superior.  That he should use his privilege to give a hand up to those who could use it, because that's what real men do.  Real men behave like decent human beings.

And they don't rape people.


Dragonscale II

Auruna grew rapidly in those early days, as I knew she would.  The afternoon she put on her first coat of scales I could hold her in the palm of my hand, but by the end of the week she stretched, nose-to-tail-tip, from the crook of my elbow to the end of my middle finger, wings hanging down half again her length.

As she grew the metal she had laid on cracked and pulled apart, much as a parched stream bed might do in the river.  It must have itched terribly, but she never scratched at it- only took endless gold dust baths to fill in the gaps that exposed her tender pink hide.  I began mixing in actual flakes of gold, to see how that would affect her habits.  She seemed to appreciate the larger bits, and began hunting out the part of the pile where they lay most densely.

Gradually the growth began to slow, about the same time that the gold shimmer of her skin began to look less like skin, and more like scales.  By that point she was a month old, and about the length of a wolf, not counting her tail.  She was more than large enough to attract attention, and I decided the time had come to change her nesting material.


Tripping on Guilt

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you may have begun to pick up on the fact that I'm a pretty big fan of my mother's parenting style.  Sure, if it was just me that came out so well, it could have been a lucky accident, a fluke- but as it turns out, my younger brother's even more awesome than I am, so obviously my mom knows what's up, when it comes to rearing a non-sociopath*.

My mom has given me lots of good advice down through the years about how to handle children and relationships (of all stripes), but I realized the other day that one of the most important lessons I learned, I didn't learn because she explicitly told me- I learned it from years of watching her behavior.  And it wasn't until the other day that I realized it with utter clarity;

My mother has never, in the entire time that I've known her, used guilt as a weapon.

Oh sure, she used it as a tool to deal with us (guilt can get a kid to confess to a wrongdoing real quick, if they're of the correct personality type), but she never used guilt against us, to coerce us- or anyone.  We make our decisions, and even if she doesn't agree with them, she supports us.  This is an incredibly healthy relationship to have with another adult, and having had it modeled for me throughout my childhood and into adulthood surely has something to do with how good my marriage is- as well as my relationships with the rest of my friends and family.

The only downside is that lack of practice has left me a bit unprepared for when people do try it on me.

I shouldn't say "people", actually.  Because the vast majority of the population could try it on me and I would laugh in their faces, and cold-logic along my merry little way.  But when someone I care deeply about does it, it leaves me frozen like a deer in the headlights: taken unaware, not totally sure what's going on, and with no game plan for how to escape the horrible monster bearing down on me.

I still generally don't give in- primarily because nothing makes me so viciously stubborn as another person's passive aggression- but it leaves me feeling resentful that I was put in the position in the first place, which is never a good place to be with a loved one.

In conclusion: let's all agree not to use guilt as a weapon, and hopefully within a few generations it will be bred out of the species, anyway.  And think how much healthier the human race will be for it!

*(for the record, I did in fact clarify with my mom whether or not she ever feared she was raising a sociopath.  She was quick to reassure me that she never thought that about my brother.  And after a long pause for consideration, she said she never really thought it about me, either**.)

**(I may have paraphrased that conversation just slightly, to make it a better story.  Don't shoot me, Mom.)


Filling Up My Heart Tank

An Old Friend of mine came to town recently, and when he asked if I was "able to do anything this week", I replied:

"Should be- if by 'anything' you mean 'hang out at my house'."

Because honestly it is hard to get "out" to places with a baby, if you plan on spending a good chunk of time at said place (and I did want to spend a good chunk of time with my friend).  Infant schedules complicate life, you guys.

But then I remembered that I had today off!  And so I suggested we go out hiking, instead, because a) I haven't hiked on a weekday in a while, and it is such a treat to be on a less-crowded trail; b) I was craving some good Forest Time; c) I need more miles; and d) honestly I think hiking is one of the best possible ways to spend quality time with someone you care about (it also works as a good first date- it's a pretty quick way to weed out the ones that aren't going to be worth your time).

We ended up doing one of my favorite hikes, the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, which meant that all told we got in more than five miles worth of back-and-forth catching-up, and since I was schlepping an 18lb kid (plus a backpack) that was a good chunk of time, indeed.

So pale.  So very, very pale.
I've noticed over the past year or so that there are some breezing-through-town Old Friends that leave me feeling exhausted after our "catch up" sessions, and not in a good way.  Other Old Friends (such as today's companion) leave me feeling energized and happy.  I think I'm now in a stage of my life where I'm going to try to gently disengage from those people who deplete my energy, the ones I tend to see out of a strange sense of obligation to the past, and instead save myself for those who leave me feeling better than I did before I saw them.  I need to embrace opportunities to refill my Heart's fuel-tank, and avoid those that drain it, because I just don't have the time to recover like I once did.


Baby's First Double Rainbow

My Katie and I went out a'walking with our babies today, and since it is April in the PNW we definitely did end up getting rained on.  That's okay, tho', because we also got to see a double rainbow- Neeps's first!  I must admit, I haven't been that excited about that particular phenomenon since Ireland.
Neepsm however, was Unimpressed.
Honestly this spring has been just magnificent- sun and storm and all-around loveliness.  Probably the best one we've had since 2011, and I hope the rest of the year keeps it up.


And Cherry Blossoms

I love that time of year when cherry blossoms get confused and think they're snow: falling softly on my hair as I walk, whirling in playful flurries on the passing wind, piling up in drifts so deep that the pavement is completely obscured, dreary gray giving way to optimistic pink.  Making things lovely, soft, and new.
Maybe I should have made a Blossom Angel


I Love Tulips

And there were so very many of them on my walk with Neeps today.
I think I'm going to plant a bunch in my garden this autumn, because they really do cheer me up.


Ice Cream Feast

Six friends, Anton, Bradley, Carlton, Devon, Ellis, and Frank, go out to eat together at an all-night diner.  At the end of the meal they're presented with a dessert menu, upon which is listed two options: peach ice cream, or pistachio ice cream.

"Dude!" says Anton, "I love peach ice cream!  It's my favorite.  But man, pistachio is not for me.  If they're out of peach I'm just going to have to go to bed without dessert, because I'm not having anything but peach."

"Wow, really?" says Bradley.  "That's so crazy- I'm the exact opposite!  I love pistachio ice cream!  It's all I ever want.  And you couldn't pay me to eat peach."

"You guys are insane," says Carlton."Ice cream is ice cream, and you're crazy to turn down any sort.  I mean yeah, I prefer peach, but no way am I going to say no to pistachio, if that's all they have on hand.  What about you, Devon?"

Devon shrugs.  "Eh, I don't really have a preference.  I'll have whichever's easiest to get."

Ellis politely hands the menu back.  "I don't do dessert."

"I wonder," says Frank with a grin for the waitress, "if I could possibly get a double-scoop?"


And that, my friends, is how I used ice-cream preference to explain the spectrum of sexuality to a friend who didn't understand how a bisexual man is not gay.  I'm pretty sure he gets it now.



I did not sing
To lure them
I sang for myself alone.

I sang for myself alone
And yet they came
Claiming I called them.

Claiming I called them
They dashed themselves
Upon the sharp rocks of my heart.

Upon the sharp rocks of my heart
A scattering of broken shells
Tossed about by the tide.

Tossed about by the tide
Souls adrift in the cold uncaring sea
I could not leave them there.

I could not leave them there
And so I pulled them deeper
But I did not sing.


Straight to the Heart

It's been over twenty years since I've done this, she thinks, taking a wide stance. 

And technically, she corrects herself, I've never actually done this.

She breathes out and pulls the trigger slowly, as she's been told, and a small hole appears at the outer edge of the neon yellow bullseye.

A handgun feels very different from a rifle.

She takes another steadying breath.  Fires again.  Breathes.  Fires.  Again.  More small holes appear, and she's cognizant, now, of the luscious tang of hot metal in the air, accented by the low-slung pungence of gunpowder.  She hadn't realized she knew them so well.

The scents settle into the pleasure centers of her brain so easily, so comfortably, that she understands they must have carved out their dens when she was still a child.  They must have been waiting for years to come home again, to twine about her heart like a pair of contented cats.

God, it smells like safety, like comfort.  Like belonging to and adoration for the man who first handed her a gun, taught her to respect it as a tool and a thing of beauty.  Didn't teach her nearly enough, before he was taken from her.

She fires again.


Another Day, Another Letter

Have the main character in your novel (or short story) write a letter to you. What would they say? Have them write whatever you want.

"Dear Jenny O,

What the actual hell.  I have been in your brain for what, twenty years now?  And you started the most recent iteration of my story almost a year and a half ago.  Sure, I don't expect you to have finished the entire multi-arced thing by now, but you should at least have a rough draft of the first book!

Maybe you should just scrap what you've got, and start over.  Just rewrite everything, but without looking at your notes.  Then maybe you wouldn't feel so paralyzed about 'making it all work'.  And once you have that rough draft, you can compare it to the unfinished one, and bring in any elements you've forgotten about.

Just... let's not take another twenty years, okay?  I want to know how my story unfolds.

With affection and annoyance and anticipation,



Dear Me

Amalia sat, as she always did, at the far edge of the far table of the lunch room.  And, as she always did, she sat alone.

She was never quite certain if she was isolated because the other children didn't like her, or because she didn't like them.  Probably a mixture, if she was honest with herself.  And if she was really honest with herself, there was probably some pride involved, too.  Reaching out brought with it the chance of rejection, and she certainly wasn't going to bother reaching out to people who would reject her.

She eyed her plain black lunch bag with resignation.  She knew exactly what it held, because it held what she always packed: an almond-butter-and-honey sandwich, a small baggie of baby carrots, an apple, and a glass bottle filled with tap water.  Sometimes the apple was red, and sometimes it was green.  But other than that things stayed as they always did.

She opened the bag and reached in for the water-bottle- but her fingers closed on nothing.  Frowning, she groped further in, until her fingers brushed the bottom of the bag.  Empty.  She pulled the bag towards her and glared into its depths.  Had someone stolen her lunch as a prank?  But how could they have-

The bag wasn't quite empty, after all.  A small, neatly folded sheet of paper lay tucked into one corner.  A ransom note?  Amalia grabbed it between her fingertips, frown deepening into a scowl.  Should she even bother reading it?  Or should she just throw it out, to keep from giving the perpetrator any satisfaction?

In the end curiosity won out, and she unfolded the paper.  It was pale green, her favorite color, which only made her more angry.  The message took up half the page, but before she even read them she was struck by how similar the handwriting was to her own.

In fact, it was exactly like her own, when she took her time and wrote neatly.

Amalia felt a chill go down her spine.  Wasn't handwriting supposed to be unique?  She glanced at the signature, but it wasn't a name: it only said "You", and so she started from the beginning.

"Dear Me,

I'm sorry about taking our lunch, but let's face it, it was the same boring thing we always have, and I needed to get your attention somehow.  Plus it gives you the perfect excuse to go talk to Melissa.  Her mom always packs her too much food.  Trust me- I have your- our- best interests at heart, and Melissa is the key to everything.  Go talk to her!

Good luck!


Amalia re-read the note, and then re-read it a second and third time.  It stubbornly refused to make any sense whatsoever.  Who thought she'd be dumb enough to believe there was a note from herself that she didn't remember writing?  She sat back in consternation, then glanced over at the table where Melissa sat, laughing with a few other kids.  Melissa wasn't exactly one of the Popular Kids, but nobody really seemed to actively dislike her, either.  She didn't seem like the sort to play a prank like this.  And she did seem to have a lot of food on her plate.

Amalia sucked in a deep breath.  What should she do?  She was hungry.  And, more importantly, she was intrigued.



nothing good comes quickly

(i have nothing but quick moments
these days)

of course
taking too long to begin
can lead to nothing at all

this is what i tell myself
as i sit
at this unbroken field of white

i long for something wonderful
(i long for anything at all)
to issue forth from my fingers
from my soul

i dig in deeper
trying to throw off the block
that's weighing down
my unresponsive muse


Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens

Not only are these a few of my favorite things, they also make appropriate gifts for the seventh wedding anniversary!  Woo!

It was perhaps our most low-key anniversary yet, although that's partially because going to Silver State Falls was probably our actual anniversary "thing".  Today we settled for gift-exchange in the morning (bright copper necklace and warm woolen gloves, actually) and take-out from our favorite Thai place after work, eaten while curled up on the couch with our favorite Little Gentleman.

All in all, a damn good way to celebrate the day we established our household.


Karial 01

I'm playing a writing-game with a friend, and it's my turn.  I've decided to share my entries on the blog, because it's basically a two-fer, as far as writing goes.  (His character is reading a translation of what my character has written- hence the few words that are not-certain.)


I begin my chronicle as the Ancients require, with the Song of Ancestry:

I am Karial, begat of Sarial, begat of Saria, begat of Naria, begat of Narial, begat of Larial, begat of Larian, begat of Lanian, begat of Ranian, begat of Rania, begat of Ania, begat of Nia, begat of Nian, begat of Enian, begat of Inian, begat of Kinian,begat of Kanian, begat of Kanial, begat of Anial begat of the Stars Themselves.

I come as my mothers taught me, humble before the gods in my role as their handmaiden, honored to have been chosen as the Rift Priestess.  May I do Their will and none other.

Rift Priestess.  Did I ever imagine I might one day take up this infamous post, the one the initiates call Lonely Guardian in such hushed tones, torn between intrigue and horror?  Because it is lonely here, so far from my sisters in the the teeming city.  So far from any scrap of civilization save my own thoughts, hearing no voices but the singing of the distant [animals?].  I find I do not mind the solitude, however- at least not yet.  It has been less than a [unit of time?] since I arrived, so perhaps the reality of my ‘banishment’, as Winial called it, has not yet had time to take root.

But I do not feel banished.  I feel… right here, as though this is what I was always meant for, as though my whole life was spent waiting to come home, home to the graceful pillars and soaring archways of this enormous, echoing temple.  Further proof, I suppose, that the elders know more of our true spirits than we do ourselves.


An Afternoon With My Self (and also a Friend)

I pedaled on down to the Source this afternoon to get my climb on with my buddy JT.  Not that I can climb particularly hard at the moment, but I did well enough on slab (screaming feet notwithstanding) to feel good about myself.  In fact, we had such a good time that, once we'd both worn ourselves out (entirely too quickly- pesky Real Life getting in the way of regular climbing), I suggested we saunter over to my favorite bar for an afternoon libation.
This is weirdly reminiscent of what it looks like when I stand next to Nathan.  Except I'm shorter.
It had been a long-ass time since I'd been out for a drink with a friend (let alone a spontaneous one!), and I reveled in the freedom of it all- the leisurely cycling, the challenging climbing, the carefree walking, and the raucous(ish) drinking- and none of it with a "gotta get back!" time crunch.  It was amazing, and so freaking healthy for my psyche that you guys don't even know.  Especially coming on the heels of yesterday's glorious hike.

Once I got home I washed the car, then took Neeps for today's walk, during which ]my mom and I had our latest Mother Daughter Book Re-Reading Club Discussion (Dragonquest, for the curious).  At the end of the day, as I catch up on the blog, I find I am left feeling like maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to find true Balance between Self as Parent, Self as Self.

Fingers crossed!


Falling Silver

We've wanted to hike at Silver Falls State Park for a number of years, now- Nathan even attempted it one day when I was otherwise occupied, only he made the mistake of bringing Isis along, and as it turns out, dogs aren't allowed on the trail (not that this seems to stop people- but we're actually responsible dog owners).  Anyway, we decided that for our April Family Hike, the time had at last come to make our dream a reality!  (and Princess Pig got to spend the day on the couch: win-win)
South Falls started our loop off right!

And from the other side!

Basically there were a LOT of waterfalls, you guys.

Double Falls
 At about 4.5 miles into our hike, Malachi decided he needed a snack (and so did we), so I obliged.  After all, I'd already learned that nothing beats nursing in the forest-
...unless it's nursing in a forest with a freaking WATER FALL TO GAZE AT.
We had planned to do five miles, yet somehow ended up doing a little over eight- but that's okay, because it gives me a nice fat cushion for this month's Hike It Baby 30 challenge!


Great Grainy Granola, Batman!

Back when people were still giving me food because I'd recently squeezed a human out of an orifice no bigger than- well, a seven pound baby, apparently- one particular friend brought me the most amazing granola bars.  They were perfect for a new mother: dense in calories and easy to eat one-handed at 0300 during yet another session of breast-feeding.  Plus they were delicious.  I went through them more quickly than I'd have liked, and before too long I was begging her for the recipe so I could make my own.

She pointed me towards Smitten Kitchen, I immediately got to mixin', and was soon rewarded with a brand new (double) batch.  Hooray!

But as we all know, I like to tweak and fiddle with recipes to better suit my personal tastes, and soon I was tweaking and fiddling away at this one.  I won't bore you with all the iterations it's gone through, but I will share with you today's version, which is not quite there in my estimation, but at least has the proper fruit-to-chocolate ratio I was craving:

mmm, millet seed
Dry Ingredients:
2.5 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. oat flour
1.5 c. shredded coconut
2/3 c. uncooked millet
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 c. dried blueberries
1.5 c. craisins
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients: 
1/2 c. sunflower seed butter
1/2 c. coconut oil warmed to liquid
1/2 c. honey

Heat Oven to 350

Line 9"x13" pan with parchment paper

In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In small bowl, whisk wet ingredients together until smooth.  Pour wet into dry, and stir until combined.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread evenly, then cover with parchment paper and use heavy book (and heavy husbeast, if handy) to press until it can be compressed no more.

Bake 30-40 minutes until top is golden and edges light brown.  Let cool completely (this takes near an hour) before cutting, or it will crumble.

Store in air-tight container, if it lasts that long.

I'm not totally sold on using sun-butter (mostly due to the sugar content), but I also wasn't sold on purely almond butter (mostly due to the fact that too much almond = sad times for my belly).  The best results I've gotten was doing half sun-butter and half almond-butter-sweetened-with-maple-syrup, but I think for my next batch I'm going to go with straight up tahini, to see how that goes.  I may still end up doing a blend in the end, but we'll see.

Whee!  Experimentation can be both fun and delicious!