Friday, December 21, 2007

It Was There After-All!

I think I was just a little late in blinking the grit out of my eyes. Once I finally got them clear I realized that it really IS Christmas-time---and also that I have yet to send the gifts I have for the people I love who are far away. So they will be late.
But, if I may be trite for a moment, it is better to be late than never. This is certainly true, at least, in the case of non-perishable gifts.

It seems like the want of loved ones is more keenly felt at this blessed time than at any other time, but I am finding that I am instead realizing how lucky I am to HAVE these loved ones, be they down the street or across the country. The miles have ceased to matter to me mainly because I can hear their voices anytime I please thanks to the marvelous technology we have been given, and their faces are as fresh in my mind as if I had seen them only yesterday.

Distance is a small thing to those who have much to love and much more, even, to be grateful for.

There are boxes wrapped in my paper under the tree and I have no idea what is inside them. In fact, I only "asked" for one thing for Christmas--a pair of slim black leather gloves I could use for driving--so I have no idea what delights await me in their nests of vericoloured paper and glorious trappings of curled ribbon and shiney bows.

My mother spoils us rotten.

That or she decided to wrap all the socks seperately this year to ensure the prolonging of the festivities.

My dear older brother said he can never read my blog posts because they're just TOO LONG. Well, pooh to that. I hope it was sufficiantly short this time.

As for the creative offering--I did this in the summer and there is A LOT wrong with it, but there're still things about it of which I am very fond. It was a gift to a friend I met online and it's both of us as characters done in the style of "Fire Emblem" a game of which she and I are both very fond. I'm the one with the purple hair and the book (Fire Emblem is a strategy game in which you control a small army of various units belonging to certain classes, each of which have various strengths and weaknesses in battle. I'm supposed to be a shaman--a user of arcane ancient magics, a scholar and a bookworm. I thought it was appropriate!)

Just click on it to make it big once it loads up!

FE: Gift--Coloured by *Chajiko on deviantART

Monday, December 17, 2007

Somewhere in the Middle

I seem to have lost track of Christmas.

I've been saying for months that things just seem to be slipping by, and it holds true here as well.
I've been sick and working and playing World of Warcraft and keeping track of money and saving and hanging out with my family and my friends--all things I do all during the year. We decorated the tree, cleaned the house,decorated the house, put up and cursed at lights, made ornaments, had a party, ate things that were bad for us, etc etc. Somewhere in the middle of it all, though, I have lost it.

You know that feeling that you have when you're a kid and you just CAN'T wait for Christmas? Every day is an agonizing eternity of waiting, but it's still wonderful in spite of it because the eternities are made of hard yellow sugar-cookie stars, sprinkled with green sugar and spangled with lights seen dimly through drifts of fallen snow.

I worked in video game retail for the last two Christmases and it is really easy to loose track of that feeling in the midst of the grasping, shoving, swearing, covetous throng. I thought it would be different now, but I think the problem lies with my heart. Even putting together boxes of magical things for the neighbor children that I love dearly failed to move me, and I kept my ill humour, as a sad reflection of Scrooge's nephew Fred, to the last.

This is very possibly my last Christmas at home, when I think about it. Murph will most certainly be gone next year, Gin and Kris have their own life back East, Cam and Lorri will be likely doing their own thing and I may not even be in the country, when it comes to that. I can hardly imagine that coming home to an empty apartment on Christmas Eve after teaching school will bring me to feel any holiday cheer.

And yet, knowing this, I still flounder. I can't seem to keep up--the days just whisk by and I find it now to be the week before Christmas and my hands are empty. They're NOT--not by a long shot, and still I guess I just can't see it.

Maybe the sad truth is that the sugar-cookie feeling is something that fades with age and it's not something that can be caught at anymore as we lose track of the green sugar sprinkles in the fac of paying bills, going to work, worrying about tuition, cooking and all the other thousand things that seem so inconsequential and yet, all together, consume the adult life.

As I've said before, I cry more and more at Christmas the older I get. It seems to me, though, that it is not indeed for those golden groves that I shed tears.

It is for Margaret and myself that I weep.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not Much to Report

 Really, not much.  Thanks to the "Share and share alike" germ policy in my family I now have a bone fide cold and am slogging through this week in misery.  

I drew this and I think I'm funny: WoW: Playing the Part

Blogger's apparent inability to copy/paste is driving me batty.

Mum and I have finished our initial draft of THE BOOK.  I am now going to do a hardcopy stylistic/copy edit and then we should be ready to really send it off.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Getting Somewhere, Maybe?

Things seem to happen all at once, both the good AND the bad.

These last two weeks have been quite full, and I'm a little befuddled as I look back on them.
My teaching application is IN. The die is cast and fate's fingers now play cat's cradle with my future.

I also have hit my target weight by just changing my eating--which shocks me to no end. I was eating well and working out the majority of this year with very little noticable result. However, once I started to make sure I was sleeping more, did not eat after six thirty and strictly monitored what I took in during a day, I lost 20+ pounds. I wasn't eating badly to begin with, you understand, so you can imagine my shock. I haven't even really worked out since september because I felt so lousy, so...go figure. I am now down to about 115 lbs, which I have not been since my senior year in high school. And I fit in my wedding dress again.

My room is a mess. I keep cleaning it and within ten minutes it is back to its comfortably entropic state. I think the problem is lack of dresser space and not enough bookshelves--despite the three in my room, parts of which are alread double-stacked with books on just about every subject under the sun, as well as sundry DVDs and video games.

Then there are things like the fact that the government has decided that doctors HAVE to charge certain amounts for certain things--no more, no less--which spells disaster for the working poor like myself when we run up against things like sinus infections.
There's also the new information being released that talks about how Zoloft (one of the damned anti-depressents an irresponsible doctor put me on in college) is soley responsible for suicides, nightmares and all sorts of terrible things in otherwise healthy people. I am recalling those years of nightmares, loss of sleep, suicidal thoughts and anxiety attacks in a whole new light. Lawsuit, anyone?

But life keeps rolling on. Roofs leak, dogs make funny noises, cars spin out on wet roads and new installments to book series never seem to come out. The whole last three months have just sort of slithered by, and I'm left staring out the window at a wet, dreary december wondering why I don't get to wear my halloween costume again.

My World of Warcraft Guild is amazing. I know that sounds really silly, but the whole reason why I stuck with that game instead of giving up after my two month's subscription that I bought it because I met those guys. It's the people, not the silly grinding gameplay that make it so worth it.
We're a role-play guild--in other words, we are the nerds of the nerds. The nobility among dorks; the diamonds in the rough of all gamer-dom. I can spend hours happily staring into my computer screen, playing out the life of a character to whom I have become absurdly attatched. Behind the public /say and /emote commands there's an underlying stream of Out Of Character chat in which we discuss everything from politics and minimum wage to the things we love to do in our spare time (aside fro WoW, of course). Girls and guys, people of different ages, backgrounds, beliefs and physical appearances all gather on this intellectual playground of sorts to enjoy the most direct kind of mental socialization.

This is not to say that there aren't idiots there, because there are PLENTY of them, but when you find a group as good as mine, it's something you really want to hang on to.

Here's the creative feature of the week:
Once again, this is a piece about Celune, my WoW character and newest roleplaying creation. The last story bit I posted on the blog is hers as well, just for the sake of the background. This one takes place in her 21st year, right after the death of her teacher. I'm really quite proud of it, so I hope you enjoy it. :)

Celune did not stop at the elven settlement as she would have done before, but pushed straight on through to Ælfwine’s tower. It was quite dark by the time she arrived—but she’d only gotten lost twice on the way, and once she’d gotten to the settlement she knew the way as well as she knew her own room in the tower.

She mounted the stairs and stared at the ancient wooden door for a long moment before pulling the worn keys from her pocket and fitting them in the lock, speaking softly the word of power that would free the tumblers and open the ancient mechanism. The door made not a sound as it swung inward, and the consuming darkness melted away as the torches Ælfwine had enchanted flared to life on the walls.

There was only a thin coating of dust on the floor and no foot-marks showed more recent than the ones she herself had left on her last visit. The tower had seen generation after generation of mages, and now it was hers. She would die in time and it would go to her children, or her student—or it would wait in empty silence until someone came along to possess the secrets of the library within.

Her footsteps echoed hollowly in the vaulted ceiling above as she strode through the central chamber and climbed the stairs that would lead her to what had once been Ælfwine’s study. Her own chambers were in the top of the tower, but there was nothing there now for her, only the accouterments of a life to which now she could never return. The steps beneath her feet were worn in familiar places and the wood of the hand-rail under her fingers was smooth and comforting, gleaming darkly burnished by age and use in the flickering light of the torches.

Ælfwine’s door was battered and scratched by years of importunate pets and careless students, but the old wood was solid as stone. Celune pushed it open and breathed in deeply the familiar scents of old leather, dust and parchment. The fire in the grate sprang up eagerly as she entered the room as if in ecstatic greeting, then died down again as if disappointed at recognizing a face other than what it had hoped.
“I know,” she said into the silence. “I-I miss him too.”

The desk was as he had left it before he had taken to his bed that final time. The ink in the bottle was as wet and dark as ever and his griffin-quill lay across a sheet of parchment, half filled with Ælfwine’s neat, ordered hand-writing. It had grown a little spidery in his old age, but was legible as ever. This was the first time she had been able to bring herself to enter his rooms after he had passed, and so this was the first she had seen of this particular missive. She sank into his battered chair, her eyes running over the lines of text.

Celune— the letter began,
My child, daughter of my heart, I am writing this to bid you a last farewell.

Celune could not read for several long moments. Dashing the tears from her eyes, she continued.

I know that Kenric’s messages will not reach you in time—and even if they do, your abominable sense of direction will ensure that I will be long gone before you set foot in your home again. I leave all of this to you, child. All the learning of my long years, the learning of your mother’s life, and the collected wisdom of the Masters before me. I know your contributions will equal, if not eclipse mine, and so I have no fear for the secrets with which I have entrusted you.
I was serious, child, however when I told you that I did not wish you to return to this ivory tower of sorts until you have seen all that you may in this world. Your prodigious talents were not meant to be locked away, but rather used for the good of the legacy to which you were born. Travel is in your blood, my dear, though you may not be able to read a map. Your knowledge and wisdom can only increase as you seek understanding. Trust to your heart and to the Light that has ever guided you—and remember to chronicle your experiences that they might do you and those who come after you the good for which they were intended.
I am going to a well-deserved end, no matter what that end may be, and you need have no fear for me. I fear for you, rather, daughter. You must trust others and yet chose your friends with the utmost care. I regret now that I did not give you the chance to become acquainted with many outside of this cloistered existence. However, you are bright and quick to learn, so I trust that the harshness of this world will not bruise your spirit.
Remember child, the love that your parents and I bore for you in our lives will linger with you as long as you can recall us to your thoughts. It is as real as the magic with which we have surrounded ourselves and is more powerful than any spell I have encountered in my long years.
Peace, my daughter. I go to my rest.

Celune sagged back into the chair, her fingers running over the parchment as if seeking the last lingering warmth of his touch. After a long moment she got to her feet and walked to the first of the bookshelves that lined the room, towering up into the dimness of the high ceiling. They were by no means the extent of the learning locked in the tower, however. These were simply the notes and specific concerns of Ælfwine himself and Celune hoped to find what she sought here, rather than having to descend into the dim archives below the ground, catacomb-like in their convoluted secrecy. Soon she would have to move much of her master’s work there to make room for her own, though, and then he would truly be buried and gone.
But not yet, she though.
Not yet, for the love of the Light.

She was unsure where to begin—Rem’s condition was delicate and likely almost unparalleled in her experience with magical maladies. There were a few mentions in some of the more ancient texts, but those were accounts of states of being that had been chosen by a caster or inflicted intentionally. Jethillak’s unique problem was all the more vexing because she had run across nothing like it in all the years of her studies.

“Of course,” she said aloud, “those years are not so great.” The fire flickered as if in laughing response, and Celune smiled to herself. “Jeth is a Warlock,” Celune reasoned aloud. “He deals everyday with powers I would not care to touch and those powers also appear to be a fairly guarded secret. It stands to reason, therefore, that his problem has something to do with those powers themselves and I am unlikely to find an answer in my arcane pursuits.”

Mentally setting that particular problem to the side for the moment, she turned to the question of reuniting Rem’s spirit with his body.

She pulled several volumes off of the shelves, standing on tip-toe to reach the highest of such, and took them back to the massive oak desk. She opened the top drawer and carefully set her teacher’s last letter and quill inside. She extracted a new sheet of parchment from another drawer pulled her own quill from her scrip and began to write.

The sun had crested the trees and was streaming in the high window before she finally sat back with a ragged sigh and massaged her sore fingers. She frowned down at her palms, critically examining the two identical sets of gashes. They were finally healing, but they would scar. Even the kindly priest she had met in Stormwind had been unable to erase the traces of her ordeal completely.
“It will remind me,” she said softly, watching the dust motes dance in the late morning sun as it pooled over desk and floor. “That I must not trust too easily.” Her thoughts strayed then to those she had met since leaving home—her fortuitous encounter with Raskolnikov and successive introduction into the Revolutionaries. Enteris, Sunja, Gilther and the rest of them passed before her mind’s eye. So many had showed her kindness, even Zytonis had, in his bluff and unpolished fashion. Then there was Sangerath—silent and grim and yet so kind to her in her hour of need. Jethillak and Lorelynn and a paladin she’d never before met had come to her defense when she found herself in over her head—so many who had been total strangers had proved themselves ready and willing to extend a hand to such a small person as herself. It was her duty and obligation then, as well as a pleasure and honour, to do all she could to help them.

She folded her arms across the desk and considered the fire, burning impossibly low now in the face of the morning sun.
Yes, I will do all that is in my power.

Her eyes drifted shut and Celune slept at last.