Dear Dear Diary
Monday, October 30, 2006
did most of the quilting on the UFO. Will bind it and "finish" it probably today.

NECRO STORY (continued)

Lily smiled. She held open the door, led the way through a door and down a series of labyrinthine corridors, picking up a backpack on the way. She stopped when she got to a small grating on the floor. Lily glanced at Tyrrae’s belt and recognized the stones in the buckle setting. “Good,” she said, “I thought you had the traditional glowstones in your belt. You will need them. Some of these tunnels will not have your kind of ambient light, and you would not be able to see otherwise.”

With a small grunt of effort, Lily lifted aside the grating. Then she moved gracefully to a small table which held a knife and cup. Lily help her arm over the cup, and quickly carved an intricate design with a sharp knife, allowing the cup to catch the blood. She stopped bleeding more quickly than the depth of her cuts should have allowed, and Tyrrae watched the wound’s scabs turn to scars.

“Quickly now!” Lily said, and grabbed Tyrrae’s hand, pricking her finger with the knife. Lily caught the drop of blood in the cup. She then dipped a finger in the cup and ran a drop of blood on Tyrrae’s lips.

Tyrrae without thinking licked her lips, tasting the salty crimson. She felt oddly more vibrant than before, and hummed with anticipation.

Lily knocked back the glass and drained it. Then she led Tyrrae down through the hole in the floor. It led to a very old tunnel that may have been smooth at one time, but was now covered with the mineral trinkets of the centuries. They had to be careful where they walked on the slippery floor.

Tyrrae heard a scuffling sound to their right. A large spider roughly half a man across scurried to block their path.

Lily addressed it. “I have permission to pass as granted by the Spider King many years ago.” She showed the spider her injured arm, and the wound looked like a very old scar. “This one, however, has no such mark. She must go and return to this spot in 4 weeks. Will you grant her that leave?”

The spider leapt at Tyrrae, and she raised her arms to defend her face. The spider bit her left arm painfully, and she almost cried out.

Lily winced, as if she could feel her pain.

The spider jumped down and scurried off. Tyrrae looked at the swollen wound. The pattern matched the cuts Lily had made on herself.

“I heal too quickly for such a mark to stay permanently,” Lily explained at last. “So I must carve it fresh every time I pass through these tunnels. And we have traded blood, you and I, so we will stay connected. Should you find yourself in extreme danger, call upon my blood, and I will do what I can to protect you. I never offer such a bond lightly, but I feel my trust is well placed.”

Tyrrae bowed deeply to this strange lady, and acknowledged the honor.

“You must continue from here on your own. Here is your pack.”

Tyrrae slipped it on a shoulder quickly.

“Go straight at every juncture unless you cannot, then turn left. This will also get you home safely, albeit on a different route. Show your arm to any challengers. When you return to the grate, call upon me, and I will come let you in.”

Lily placed a swift hard kiss upon her lips, and Tyrrae tasted blood again.

“Good by, child, and good luck,” she said, and was gone.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006
More necro story

Later, she rapped her knuckles on the work room door. Her mother bid her enter, so she pushed her way inside. Her mother smiled lightly and closed the dark skin covered book which must be her own Grimoire, and set it on the work table.

“Did you at least take a nap, child?” she asked.

Tyrrae nodded and bowed.

“Good,” her mother said. “We have a walk in front of us. Come with me.”

“I am not to leave the House,” Tyrrae said, knowing the rules of seclusion.

“You may if I deem it necessary. Come along, child, with no arguments. And you must leave your veil behind. No one will look at you without one, but a veil where we must go would be too inviting.”

Tyrrae followed her from the house and out into the city streets. She tried to keep her eyes downward so none would recognize her, and longed for a veil. All women wore veils until their Firstborn, and she felt naked without one.

“I am taking you where my mother took me. We needed new servants after my brother married - half the servants with him as his dowry. While Darque may bring you a few, you know that having more adds to the consequence of a House, and Darque's family is not known for our type of power.”

“There are more types of Power?”

Of course, child!” her mother exclaimed gently. "I will introduce you to the most powerful person I know, and she will show you where to go for more servants.”

Tyrrae wondered if there were many older people waiting for the kiss of death and the quick touch of the blade across the throat. Most families had a small touch of Power, and nothing ever went to waste. Those that had no power often sold their elderly when they could afford to keep them no more. When one needed a servant, one called upon the saved bones with a pinch of dried blood and ceremonial words. One's relatives only died truly when one ran out of bits of bone and blood - and by that time, few remembered anything but their name. It took a long time to happen, but most Houses were around for a long time too. Tyrrae wondered too what Power this person could have, to arrange for more servants. They approached a large building that housed a collection of shops. Mother led around to the rear of the building and a door marked only with a pink L.

“I should not be taking you to this sort of place,” her mother explained. “It is simply not proper for unmarried people to come here. Half the time, the Queen will ban or raid such places. They are horribly immoral and corrupt.”

“Please tell me more, so I can prepare myself for what I may see within.”

“Some people are not content with the spouses negotiated for them. While I am certain you will be happy with Darque and grow to love him as is proper, I am not sure your sister will ever be so content. That is why I have held off on her marriage. I fear she will seek out such a place as this, if she has not yet already. Within, love is freely exchanged without commitment or bonds of family. Any child born of these frolics is without the benefits of a Household, unless acknowledged. Physical love can be pleasurably addictive, but it only serves to distract from one’s true duties to one’s House.”

Mother led down a narrow staircase and through a short hall. On this door, the L was even larger and fluoresced brightly. This door looked solid, like a troll might be needed if they wouldn’t let you inside. Only then did Tyrrae notice the cracks in the wall’s plaster – where it might be conceivable that pieces of plaster would be easily removed from the other side. She noticed the grill in the ceiling and felt they were being watched. This place had to be acceptable If Mother was bringing her but why was it so well defended? What was this place?

Mother gently pushed on the door, and it swung open easily.

Tyrrae heard music. Delicate soothing sounds, barely audible over the constant hum of conversation. There were people everywhere- Tyrrae had only seen this many people when the whole school gathered for some important demonstration of Power or a formal punishment – the latter being more common. These people were smiling, and some even forgot themselves to laugh! Laughing publicly! Tyrrae stood still for a moment and stared. She had to be given a hard tug by her mother. There were lots of little tables where two or three people sat – sometimes they even sat on each other’s laps. And several couples had their faces so close, their lips were connected. Tyrrae did not know what to make of that at all. There were counters around the walls where several men were serving refreshments. These men weren’t wearing very much, to her way of thinking. She could see way too much skin under those leather scraps.

One wall was dominated by a large platform and had an open area in front of it. The platform held musical instruments and she thought this must be one of the oddest places for a concert she had ever been to.

Her mother led on to a small door by the platform. There was no handle on this side of the wall, but there was a bell. Mother rang. Tyrrae looked at the wallpaper. It must have been hand painted and therefore very expensive. It was a non-repeating pattern of nothing but small pale ladies with feathered wings frozen in expressions of horror. Tyrrae lightly touched the one closest to her. She could feel an overwhelming sensation of the figure begging her for mercy, to be released, to be killed outright, anything as long as the figure could be removed from that wall. She could tell a great deal of Power had been expended to create the wall.

“Very realistic,” she murmured as she took her hand away.

“Greetings, ladies,” a smooth male voice said. “May I buy you a drink?”

Tyrrae appraised him and thought he was not as aesthetically appealing as Darque. He did have an edge to his stance that made her distinctly uncomfortable. Her mother made a gesture indicating that Tyrrae should not speak.

“I’m sorry,” her mother said politely, “but we’re just here to see Lily. We do not have the leisure to spend time with those whom we know not even their names.”

He bowed his head to acknowledge this hit. “My name is Vlent,” he said, “and I will be waiting for you after your business is finished.” He bowed again, more formally, and took himself off to one of the counters.

“Such impertinence!” her mother said. “I may never understand the purposes of this sort of place, and I pray that you never shall either.”

Tyrrae nodded. This place was disconcerting. She glanced again at the room, and tried not to notice several more young men and a few young women were trying to capture her attention.

The door swung open. An older woman dressed in a casual silk robe beckoned them inside. “Miss Lily will see you in her office,” she said, and led the way.

The hallway was covered in various sheets of paper that had a sameness, but each appeared to be unique, and those nearest the door appeared quite old. There were pictures in the center of each featuring either a lady dancing or the same smiling face. The words on top seemed to be locations like The Palace at Guunstad or Owl’s Head Theater, and the bottom was a date. And there were different names in large print on each of them. It was the row upon row of smiling faces that unnerved Tyrrae. Hundreds of smiles. It was probably the most frightening thing Tyrrae had ever seen in her life.

The older woman opened the door marked OFFICE and invited them inside.

The back wall was covered with painted portraits of young men. The large wooden desk filled most of the floor space, on top of which two candles in silver candleholders burned. The bright light caused Tyrrae to squint a little, but her eyes adapted. Only then could she the woman sitting behind the desk. She was unnaturally pale with dark yellowish hair and clear blue eyes. That was startling enough to make Tyrrae gasp. But her ears! Her ears were round on top, not gracefully pointed. Tyrrae wondered what sort of accident had happened to her to clip her ears so shamefully. Nor was she wearing any sort of robe; the white and black fabric clung to each leg separately and to her figure in a way no proper robe ever could. Tyrrae could not imagine how such an outfit could ever be comfortable. She realized the frank examination was mutual.

The blue eyes sparkled with contained emotion as she examined Tyrrae. “You intrique me, little one,” the musical voice said. “You managed to connect to my angel scarelings, and no one else has ever come to my bar has ever noticed that they were alive.”

Tyrrae hid her surprise.

Her mother was less successful. “Scarelings? I have never heard of such creatures. Where?”

“On the wall. You may have felt them to be merely decorative. But I can assure that each of those flattened figures were once very energetic indeed.”

“But there must be thousands of them!” She was obviously impressed.

“There are only 859. But I try to add more when I catch them. The miners find them in the quarry where they can be quite pesky. They do not like their rocks disturbed, or to be exposed to air. They have enough magic in their systems to play havoc with the mining equipment, and any of your servants that come near are immediately destroyed. So you can see why they would be grateful for my assistance in their removal. They have little power left when I am finished with them.”

Tyrrae nodded.

“They are empaths, as you have noticed. And I find they can amplify my singing here, whether they will or no. The songs I sing here are not suitable for the outside world, and the scarelings usually echo any emotion fed to them by the crowd. Perhaps some day you’ll come to hear me sing, hrm?”

The friendliness in the gaze was just enough to help Tyrrae relax. But then she realized that this was the same face that smiled in all of those pictures in the hallway, and she wasn’t sure how she should respond.

Lily turned to her mother. “Well, Kepress, it has been many years since your mother brought you here. It must be a bit of a family tradition, yes?”

“You have not changed at all,” Mother said. “Yet, I do see the hall is completely papered now.”

“Yes, I think I’ll fill the ceiling next. One must hold the memories somewhere.”

For the first time, Tyrrae felt her mother was actually nervous. Something about this Lily got under her mother’s skin, and that only roused Tyrrae’s curiousity. It was not polite to pry into other people’s lives though, so she merely waited and observed.

“Yes,” her mother said, “well, this is my secondborn, Tyrrae. She is brothed to Darque, second of N’Cean, and must therefore form her own House. She will bring with her three servants and whatever Darque’s family will spare. In truth, she must have a way to provide her own dowry, which she cannot gather simply hiding in the shadows of my House.”

A thin smile touched the corners of Lily’s lips. “N’Cean? You have ambitions, child! You do well for the girl.”

Tyrrae was startled to hear her mother referred to as a child. What sort of woman was this?

“What offers have you for your First, assuming she has not yet been betrothed or wed?” Lily continued.

“M’Shrak’s First, or Tenan’s Second. The girl is beginning to get ideas of her own, so I must act soon. It is not easy to see a younger sibling wed first.”

Lily nodded. “If I were you, I’d make an offer for D’ke’s Third. The girl may be insulted initially, but the breeding of Power is essential to your Line. I am not sure if the M’shrak is even fertile.”

Mother bowed her head in thanks. The Holm that Lize apparently favored was M’shrak.

Lily came around the desk and approached Tyrrae. She lightly traced her jaw line and looked into her eyes. “But what to do with this one. She has, how long? A month before the ceremony? You’ve not given us much time. That limits our options. She is glowing with new Power.” Her next comments were addressed to Tyrrae. “You’ve made your first servant just this week. Good for you! You have a supply of components with you?”

Tyrrae nodded.

“You will need it. Hrm. Let me think.” And she turned to face the wall of portraits, as if asking them for assistance.

Tyrrae stood on the edge of waiting. This woman did not vibrate with the Power she knew and understood but she throbbed with a strange energy. Lily didn’t need servants- she simply spoke and it was so.

“You were sensitive to my angel scarelings. You have found your own Power. Yes, I think I will send you to those you call the Hated Ones. Perhaps when you return, you may tell me why you call them that.”

“The Hated Ones! But they will kill her on sight!” her mother protested.

“Will they?” Lily returned her gaze to Tyrrae. “I think not. I am willing to risk that she will come away unscathed and richer for the experience.”

“Tyrrae,” her mother commanded attention. “These Hated Ones live in the Outer World. It is a very dangerous journey and a completely different place than our Homeland. The legends told of the Hated Ones! But there is no time to go into all of that now.”

Tyrrae had turned to look at her mother. “And where were you sent?” Tyrrae asked. They were the first words she had spoken.

Lily laughed.

Tyrrae started at the sound, and turned back to Lily.

Lily laid a hand gently on Tyrrae’s arm. “My dear child, you must never be too curious about where I have sent others. I have helped many lives in many ways and do not share my secrets lightly. When you return, you may speak with your mother about her journeys, but it has been pointed out that we are short on time. Right now, all we are concerned with is you.”

Tyrrae glanced at the hand on her arm. It felt unusually cool.

“You will wait here a moment,” Lily said. “I wil have Milne pack a bag for you.” And she disappeared through the door.

“Lily is right. Where I was sent does not matter. I must give you an idea of what you are up against. A long time ago, we lived with the Hated Ones. Or rather, our King and Queen did. The Spider God came to them and taught them the myriad ways of Power, which the people rebelled against. They did not understand the gifts of the Spider God, and kept the ways of the forest spirits. Soon, the people rebelled and forced the King and Queen to find a new home. The Spider God led them here with their devoted followers to the Underdark, and here we have lived with our knowledge of Power ever since. It is said that they have changed over the millennia, but few have ever returned from exploring the Outer World to tell us of the changes.” She looked at the wall of portraits. “Only Lily goes to the Outer World often. Of course, very little there can harm her. She could tell anything, but she never says a word.”

The door opened and Lily returned. “Are you ready for you adventure, Tyrrae?”

Tyrrae was as composed as she ever was. She simply bowed goodbye to her mother, and nodded to Lily.
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Look! More knitting for a good cause here! Can you knit a hat? How about 2? One for this contest/good cause, and one for your own local homeless shelter? I think I may try to combine it with the "Get Felted" thing going on with Romancing the Yarn and try to make a couple of hats and felt them. I have 4 skeins of pure wool... they'd work very well.

I have another unafforable bout of unemployment approaching very fast, but it will hopefully be a short one. This should give me time to do something around here. I hope. It really feels the harder I work the more behinder I get.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006
(Necro story - I probably ought to have a better working title!)

Tyrrae read the book in one sitting – the discipline ingrained within her ignored all hunger pains and the need for sleep. Nor did the habitual movements of the skeletal servants disturb her- only Jokna and Hrok were allowed within her quarters.

Her mother looked in on her during the second day, as the servants usually had some fashion of keeping her informed of Tyrrae’s doings. She had recognized the object as a Book of Power, and murmured something about being glad to see her studying. There may have been an inquiry as to where the book came from, but Tyrrae paid no attention. Tyrrae had inherited all of her Power from her mother’s line, and surely, she could always find out for herself with a small bit of effort. Since she had requested Tyrrae speak with Grandfather that fateful night, perhaps she already knew. Tyrrae’s mother smiled, and closed the door softly on the way out.

On the third day, she snapped the book shut, and went straight to her mother’s workroom. A basket tied with a ribbon sat on the worktable. Tyrrae approached and read the card. “While I shall miss both of you very much, please consider these tools a wedding gift. I am proud of you, my secondborn.” Tyrrae raised her eyebrows in surprise, briefly. Then she shrugged, checked the basket’s contents, and carried it off downstairs to Grandfather’s room.

“Grandfather,” she said firmly, putting the basket down and locking the door, “it is time.”

“Praise the god!” he rasped. “Make it quick, child, and I will thank you for it later.”

She set a basin to catch the drips, smiled as she kissed his forehead, and efficiently slit his throat.

She had almost 12 hours alone with Grandfather when Lize broke the door down. To be more accurate, she had Nurgh do it- he was the bulkiest skeletal servant that they had. Lize looked at the pot of boiling bone and blood in the firepit and watched Tyrrae smear a coating of something grey on the stretched out skin. “How dare you!” Lize exploded.

Tyrrae did not even look up, but concentrated on using all of the grey matter evenly on the stretched skin. Tanning isn’t ever easy and this was her first attempt. “Do go away, Lize,” she said. “I am trying to focus on the task at hand.”

“You are trying to usurp my Power in this House, which is something you have no right to do! I am the firstborn, and it’s my privilege to sacrifice the old! I would have at least had the decency to wait until after your wedding before I killed him! How dare you go through this ritual here!”

“You would have let him suffer too long. He was glad of the knife at the end.”

“It should have been me holding that knife! Not you! And where did you learn…” Lize spotted the open book on the table.

“I wouldn’t touch it, if I were you. It hasn’t been given to you.”

Lize ignored the calm, tired voice and snatched at the book. She screamed as the smell of burnt flesh added to the stench of the room. The words were not very clear, but Tyrrae could tell they weren’t flattering to her.

Tyrrae rubbed in the last of the grey matter, and then pulled the book from her sister’s badly burned hands. “As you can tell, Lize, it is my Grimoire now. It was a gift of Grandfather’s the night I was betrothed.”

“He should not have given it to you! It should have been mine!” Her face was contorted with rage.

“Not everything in this house belongs to you, Lize.” Tyrrae was too tired to comment on her sister’s coarse behavior.

“It will be mine. It is my birthright!”

“Over my dead body,” said a voice from the doorway, with an edge of steel.

Both girls whirled to see their mother standing there, her face as impassive as ever.

“Over your dead body can always be arranged,” Lize hissed.

“The Council will intervene in suspicious deaths,” Tyrrae said quietly.

Lize whirled back on her. “Maybe the Council should look into this death! You’re in betrothal seclusion! You aren’t supposed to do anything but prepare for your wedding. Instead, I find you killing the old man- they’ll look into it- I’ll see to that.”

“They’ll find his letter filed properly last fortnight,” their mother said. “With Tyrrae properly listed as dispatch. I filed it myself.”

Lize had the bad manners to drop her jaw in shock. “But... but… seclusion!”

“She IS preparing for her wedding. She needs servants for her House. Jobna and Hrok are not enough, and you know it. You make yourself look foolish with this immature display of petty jealousy. You will return to your studies and forget about your sister now.”

“But why must she marry before me?”

“Your match requires more careful negotiations. The future of my Line depends on it. If you wed a Second, he becomes of this House. If you wed a First, which I prefer, we must not dissolve the House, but negotiate which House is Ascendant. I married a Second, which did simplify things. But it brought no glory and few allies. It only brought me you two.”

Tyrrae wondered for a moment what would have happened if there had been a Third or a Fourth. Privately, she thought it would have only increased Lize’s possessive nature. Perhaps a younger sibling may have had an interest in Father’s eccentric hobby of botany.

“Has Holm spoken for me yet?” Lize brazenly asked.

“You are not to know of such things!” Mother replied sharply. “The negotiations are strictly between parents, as you well know, and when they are settled, you shall be told. Meanwhile, don’t act so foolish as to pin your hopes on a favorite. The last thing any of us need is a dispute over your firstborn! Go to your studies.”

Lize bowed her head slightly to her mother, ignored her sister, and left the room.

“Unnatural child! She shows too much emotion and reveals too much. I can only think a long seclusion to be good for her.” She looked back at Tyrrae. “When you finish organizing your things here, seek me in my work room. Even with the addition of Daner to your staff of servants, you will need more.”

Tyrrae bowed deeply to her mother, and returned to the grisly business. When she finished, she was not to think of him so fondly as Grandfather, and instead by his true name, Daner. He would be her most trusted servant.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006
(The necro story)

I don't want to be shown the flat of the blade and told it's harmless. I want to see how sharp the razor edge really is.

The bed curtains draped the supine figure on the bed in comfortable shadow. The familiar smell of death and decay set the household on edge by sheer anticipation. Grandfather was dying but only he was sure of what that might entail.

Tyrrae sat on the stool beside the bed. She still wished to keep him informed of the family’s daily life, and her nightly visits were ignored by her parents. Tonight she was later than usual, and Grandfather was eager to hear all.

“Tell me of the Ceremony, child,” he rasped. “What do you think of your Betrothed?”

Tyrrae recalled the slim well-muscled youth in the incense filled chamber. “He is pleasing enough as far as looks go. Darque comes from a good family closer to the Queen than our own. Yet, we are known for more Power from the Godhead, so it is a good alliance for both families, and better than most secondborns. As to what I can think of him further, only time can say. We had little time to speak, and none alone.”

He shifted in his equivalent of a nod, recalling his own Ceremony decades before. “I barely got to see your Grandmother. They did not allow us to even speak, and veils were required.”

Tyrrrae recalled the formal introduction with the long lines of the family trees being recited by the hired Heralds. There was careful scrutiny between parents and heralds for no interlockings- this should be the first union between these two Houses, and would hopefully allow the founding of a new House. In Grandfather’s day, the bride and groom would have stripped veils from their faces only upon the announcement of their full names. Tyrrae and Darque had only moved in a graceful controlled bow with impassive faces. He had sworn first, by moon and spidersilk, pricking his finger on the sacred knife and smearing the blood across her forehead. And she too had sworn- that they should soon marry and uniting their Houses in blood, wiping her own smear of blood across his forehead. Then, for a delicious moment, they sucked delicately on the wounds of each other’s fingers, and Tyrrae caught a glimpse of things yet to come. Perhaps it would not all be bad to become an adult, and move into her own household, with this man Darque.

Grandfather interrupted her reverie. “When does the wedding occur?”

“Oh,” she smoothed down her robe and shifted her weight on the stool. “In two months at the next full moon. It is to be in the Rock Temple.”

“It would have better portents to be married at moondark,” the old man grumbled.

Tyrrae nodded. “I tried to speak with Mother about it, but she had read the bones. She will not be changed. She then reminded me of my usual visit to you, and has gone off into the tunnels. Father is seeing to arrangements, but dares not balk her.”

Grandfather laughed. “It is typical of them. But they have left the most important work to you. And six weeks is not much time.”

“What do you mean? I can do nothing for planning the wedding. It’s not like I do not know what I shall wear or who shall attend. Custom demands I be naked except a veil, and the Houses will declare the guest list. All I must do is remain secluded until I leave this House.”

Grandfather patted her arm with his withered hand. “You forget, my dear, what you shall bring to your new House. Power. And it is time for you to learn how it should be wielded.”

She brushed off his hand in dismissal. “I can already command any of the household servants at will. And Mother has promised me Jokna and Hrok, over my sister’s objections.”

He chuckled again, which turned into a coughing fit.

Tyrrae waited patiently for him to finish.

“How will you create others? Or defend yourself? My dear, you need to learn all of this Power that you have.”

“I have had my lessons at school…”

He cut her off impatiently. “The stuff you learn at school even your father can do! No, that is but a baseline to learn upon.”

“To truly learn anything more, I need to have a Grimoire, and that belongs to Lize, as firstborn. It is her right, and I may not touch it.”

“Aye, she may have your mother’s Grimoire. But who said that was the only Book Bound in Black Leather in the family?” He coughed and smiled at her astonishment. He reached under his pillow and pulled out a book bound in dark leather with silver embossing. He traced the word T’Nyl fondly one last time before handing it over. “Here,” he said. “I obviously do not need it anymore. This was my grimoire, given to me by my grandmother. The direct line of books is always entailed. But I may give my book where I see fit. You may, given time, wish to copy it for your secondborn.” And he smiled even brighter.

Tyrrae cradled the book protectively. To have her own Grimoire was more than she had hoped. It was still warm from hiding in his bedclothes, and she wondered how close it had come to being found by anyone else. As it was not entailed, it could have been claimed by anyone- even by one of the servants! She glanced at the skeleton by the door, but that one was Hrok, and could be trusted. She tucked the book into her robe, and said a fairly distracted thank you to Grandfather.

He smiled as he watched her leave. He was old enough now not to care who saw his emotions, and this blessing for his granddaughter greatly pleased him. He settled in to his most comfortable position and waited for her return.
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Monday, October 23, 2006
Halloween decorations infuriate me.

I don't mind the pumpkin, the occasional styrofoam tombstone, or even the odd bat hanging off the porch, but lately it's worse than Kissmoose. Who came up with the blow up lawn ornaments of ginormous size? They need to be shot. The Kissmoose ones are bad enough, but no one needs an 8-foot Vampire on their yard that lights up. Really. Any real vampire would be simply mortified. There's halloween *tinsel*. It's like all of the decorations are the same, only instead of Santa, it's Dracula. Intead of Reindeer, it's spiders. Instead of snowmen, it's carved pumpkins. Lighting up and dangling and glowing in the dark. The Halloween decorations are also slightly more expensive than the Kissmoose decorations too. You can really only tastefully leave them up for about 2 weeks. Kissmoose, you get 6 weeks. Put them on Dead Bird Day, and you can take them down whenever it thaws in January. Or just staple them in and leave them all year round. Use an orange lighting scheme and you can use the same lights for Halloween AND Kissmoose.

Maybe I'm infuriated by the money wasted on this useless stuff. The Goth in me adores it, but it's just getting terribly cheesey and altogether too chibi. That's Japanese and kinda sorta translates to Cute, but infers more of the Cult of Cute. Goth should not be Cute. Halloween should not be rendered harmless. The veil is thin, and we all have a chance to face the evil of the world and of our own natures. Warning: Political analogy. I suppose it's apt in this Double Plus Ungood Country that we have become that Halloween should become Cute. What is scarier after all than thinking you could love and trust someone who could turn to be using you and hurting you? The face of Evil smiles just as warmly as any loved one. And that perhaps is the true horror of Halloween.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jazz and I had an argument last night. Excuse me, discussion. I told him I wanted to do NaNoWriMo again this year, and just *finish* something I've started. He offered a counter challenge. Write a screen play. Or a series of shorter screen plays that will total 50,000 words, so that I get the needed word count for NaNoWriMo.

Why screen plays? Because his new hobby of late (since last spring) is movie making. For samples, check out here. And now you can find out what I look like, because gosh, it's easy to pick me out of a line up when I'm the main actress for his films. Those more interested in our cats should look at Feline Obesity Warning. That's Spider initially, Sassy at the end, with a bit of a walk on role by Pepe, featuring my feet and hand to con Sassy into her acting. The funniest factoid about that film was that none of the cats wished to eat the cheeseburgers, so Dog got to enjoy them.

Jazz complains that he cannot write a script. Since he's made me do the dialog for the films we've done that had dialog, I can understand this. I have tried to be supportive. He's learning a lot and having fun, which I appreciate. But I'm not sure if I can be a good scriptwriter. I suppose I'll have to give it a try. He wants murder mysteries- mainly because that and horror are easiest with the materials we have to hand. But after this newest film is released (next week, I think), we'll be fairly horrored out. The new film is a wee more involved. We got my neice and one of his dart buddies to be in the film too. We also filmed at the local bar as well as various locations. It's harder to film outside of the house, but gosh, there's probably only so much of my living room people want to see. :)
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Saturday, October 14, 2006

My apologies to the two faithful readers who commented any time in the last 2 months- I'm still trying to figure out comments that a. work and b. don't have spam side effects. I finally looked at the moderate comments tab and realized someone had actually made some. Um. Oops. I'm sorry. I'll try to better at this sort of thing.

Today, healthwise, is slightly better than yesterday. I smelled the weird smell again starting at noon. I put a fan in my "cubicle" and we took Kenya Dog for a walk in the woods instead of me taking a nap. It did help. While there is still a faint metallic tang in my mouth, the edge of the world isn't fuzzy and that's a very good thing. I am also getting fresh hip stabs, but that may be unrelated because I exercised.

I'm going to try NaNoWriMo again this year. Only, I think I'll cheat and start with a story I already have, and write 50,000 words to finish it. Since I'll likely post it all here, you'll be able to see how I do... The necro story was started with a NaNoWriMo... let's see if I can finish it. Or maybe I'll finish Dear Dear Diary (the story). I know the ending of that one, and I have roughly 35 pages of text for it. Either way, it's 50,000 words that need to get written in the month of November. A good challenge, I think.
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy anniversary honey!

This morning went really well- my sweetie and I traded carded that both featured a puppy and a kitty snuggling. :) I got the good news that my temporary gig was being renewed, so I have as much job security right now as I have ever had... which is far from reassuring but better than being completely unemployed, like I feared I would be.

But around 11, I started smelling something like burned plastic. My mind went on vacation. My perceptions are kinda fuzzy right now, and I'm trying to avoid a headache. I took Tylenol and aspirin and caffiene, the triumvirant of migraine conquerers, and then went and took a long nap. I woke up feeling better, but hello fuzz is slowly creeping back.

Nutbunnies. Not the way I wanted to spend today. If you need me, I'll be the one on the couch avoiding pointy things and thinking clearly. The awful part is the smell is worse outside and the worst place for the smell inside is sitting at my computer. I have no escape, and no clue what causes this and how long I'll smell it. I can only think it's a wind shift from something IBM or another local factory is doing. Glad I don't have a deadline.
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tom is feeling better.

He had to go have his anal sacs expressed again today for his check up. The right was clear, the left not quite as much, but so much more improved. He doesn't need his medicine any more, so he'll eventually forgive me for this week's torture. Basically, we need to keep an eye on him. We have to peek once a week, and if he doesn't let us peek, then there is likely something wrong. He's normally a Rising Butt Syndrome cat (pet along the back and the hind lifts), but this week we could watch him fighting the instinct, "No! Bad human! Leave my tail alone! oh that feels good- pet me again! No tail! No tail!" Poor boy. Still, I did get a little bit of purr out of him at the vet's.

Every pet has their own comfort choice on how to be at the vet and what I can do to help them feel more relaxed. Kenya Dog does best when I sit on the floor with her. Sassy does best when I cradle her in my arms. Tom, I've only last week discovered, needs to sit on my sweatjacket. It's a sweatshirt I've modified into a cardigan and quilted. It thoroughly smells like me, and I wore it to the office and took it off when I got there, so I warmed it with me. I noticed the counter was cold and the floor was colder, so I spread it on the counter and let him lie on it. He thought that was comfy enough to offer a purr. So I'll keep doing that every time I take him there. Of course, when the vet is finished examining, he likes to run into the carrier. "No touchie butt in here!" But I leave the door open until it's actually time to go, and keep myself visible to him.

Some cats are more traumatized by the carrier, so sometimes I confess I don't like to use it. Colin was very bothered by the carrier. He showed more stress being in than out. So I took him to the vet and trusted him to stay in the back seat while I drove, and he did so. Sassy also does the same- but Sassy is the perfect lump. She could get a job in theater if you want a prop cat. She'll stay where she's put until hunger or the result urge her to move. It's all the same to her if a carrier is used or not, and because of her size it's easier to carry her on a shoulder than a hand. Spider *needs* the box. She will hide in the car if allowed. The only time I allowed her to win the going-into-the-box argument, she crawled under the driver's seat of the vehicle and would not move for 3 hours. I will win the argument instead of enduring that again. Fortunately, that was on the way home from the vet and not on the way to, so I didn't disrupt their schedule. Pepe is going in the box simply because I cannot depend on him not to crawl all over me while I drive. He'd do that all the way there... and on the way home he'd be such a nervous wreck he'd be clawing at all the windows. He needs the confinement for his safety and mine.

But Tom is the first cat I've had who views the carrier as comfort. Nothing bad happens *in* the carrier. And he will hide in it when he feels he needs to. Even if he behaved well enough in the car to be out of it, and I think he would be, I'm still going to use the carrier for him. He needs that comfort. And I'll bring my jacket for him too.

Of course, safety wise, all pets ought to be restrained in some way for travelling, I know this, but I don't do this, any more than I consistently wear a seat belt when in the back seat. The vet's office is 2 miles away on streets that are all 30 mph, which is no excuse.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is anyone as pissed off as I am by the rampant abuse of apostrophes?

Yesterday I used a coupon advertising "dart supply's." In large friendly letters, encouraging one to read the rest of the coupon, which of course identified the coupon as from a store specializing in "Billiards, Spa, Pool, and Dart supplies." So obviously someone knew how to spell supplies and just gave up in the heading.

I was rather surprised I didn't give the young man behind the counter a piece of my mind about it, since he was the one who had handed me the coupon initially. He even told me he was the proud author thereof. But then, this was a pool supply place and it reeked of chlorine. So I kind of had to make my selections and get out of there fast.

It never fails to amaze me that Jazz will ask about "Did you even look at Y while you were at the Dart store?" He's been there, though not with me. If I didn't react to chlorine, I'd probably have kept my YMCA membership and would likely still be in that pool. I *love* swimming. I just like thinking clearly more.

Another disjointed insomniac rant. Sorry. It could be worse- I could be posting all of this here.
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Monday, October 09, 2006

I heard a lot of barking in the back yard this evening. It wasn't just the Baroooou of the Basset... it was Kenya Dog's Bark too.

So far, this has been heard before, when Rascal decides to be rude and demand Kenya's food too, which we've done our best to prevent. But they were in the back yard. I ran, fearing something serious.

It was the opposite. I saw happy wagging tails, butts airborne, front paws outstretched, then barks, and dashing about the yard. I choked back any yells. They were PLAYING. It made me so happy I had to call the sweetie immediately.

Maybe they may end up good friends. :) I can but hope. At least it's gotten beyond the "I'm going to pretend you don't exist" stage. We just have to be careful about who we acknowledge as Alpha- it must be Kenya Dog, or Rascal gets rude and pushy about his Dogginess. So when we greet them on coming home, She must be petted first, and her dish has to hit the floor first. And when possible, let her through doors first. That works. Happy pack, happy home. Will they ever snuggle on the couch or a dog bed in the bedroom? No clue. But we don't ask it of them either.

Give it another month for more bonding, I think. Then we can see about fostering.
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

I really liked the Treasure Hunt reality TV series this summer. The main contestants that stick in my brain were the Fogle family. They were born again Christians and the father was a preacher. They were very in your face about their religion and sadly horribly hypocritical. I am hypocritical too, I admit, but I know it's a flaw and I'm working on it. They were content to use people for information, and then got very upset when others did the same thing to them. I really hope their daughter lets it sink in what a whiner she was shown to be on the TV and learns a lesson or 6 from it.

But it entered a word into my vocabulary- to fogle someone is to lure someone in with absolute trust and use that trust against them.

So now when I type a medical record, and I have to send a report to Dr. Fogle, who is probably absolutely no relation, I am still reminded of the Fogle family. I sincerely hope they are better off for the experience of being on the TV show, but I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth, and I'm ashamed to say I'm glad they did not win.
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Friday, October 06, 2006

I didn't know cats had anal glands. I wish it wasn't necessary for me to know this.

I am grateful our vet has tiny fingers. I'm pretty sure that Tom is grateful too. The words "texture like ear mite wax" fell from our vet's lips. Tom even purred afterwards, so I imagine he's rather more comfortable now.

However, the argument will begin tonight about the antibiotics. He will not like that.

Nor will he enjoy a repeat of his Very Unpleasant Experience this Thursday, which must be done to ensure he is recovering nicely. The last thing we want is another explosion.

Poor Tom.
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Thursday, October 05, 2006
Story #3

She woke slowly, which was in itself unusual. The smells were different. Less urine, more musk. She could hear soft voices in the background, but none of them were clear to her. No, there was definitely a woman and a boy and an occasional male. They were clear, but they were speaking a foreign language. The aches began to remind her of the terrible beating, and a heavy weight pressed on her chest. She felt the covers lightly on her and what must be a bed, but she was no longer tied. She opened her eyes.

Two yellow inquisitive eyes looked into hers. Whiskers twitched, and she realized it was a very large cat on her chest. It began to wash her nose.

Movement beyond the cat, and the woman's voice exclaimed something. The cat was forcibly removed. The woman was covered in fabric that draped and hid her figure, but her face was still visible. Only that and her face showed she was female. She said something to her, but she did not understand.

She debated how dumb she should play. No threats had been offered to her yet, but that did not mean they would not come. "I don't understand you," she finally said.

The woman's lips pressed together, and she replied in her own tongue. She felt her forehead and moved her head to look at the wound on her scalp, lifting the wrap.

She remembered the last blow from the flying rocks. She did not understand why she had been surrounded by men yelling at her and throwing rocks. She defended herself, but it only made them angrier. She hit several, possibly killing a few, but they only threw stones- they had refused to touch her even to block her blows. She did not understand.

The woman's touch was gentle, and she spread some ointment and then replaced the wrap. She then brusquely checked her other bruises, applying balm where necessary.

She was surprised to realize that she was completely naked under the covers. It had probably been necessary to treat all of her bruises however.

When the woman finished, she pointed to herself and said, "Anna." Then she pointed at her, with an eyebrow raised.

"Delia," she replied.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The advantage of working from home is nobody notices the cat hair on your clothes any more.

The disadvantage is you stop noticing the dog drool on your clothes any more.

Rascal has defintely made himself at home. Per their natures, the others have adapted or are adapting.

Pepe is still on edge, but Pepe lives on edge. If he were human and lived in Victorian times, he'd be termed as having a "nevous condition" and perhaps feature in one of Poe's nicer works. However, he has been downstairs more in the past week than I have seen of him before. He has learned sleeping basset is a basset unlikely to Bark or Chase.

And Kenya Dog positively hates being hit by happy basset tail. It's a very solid tail. It amuses me that another dog doesn't like being whapped by dog tail.

Tom is adjusting. He's learning goofy basset isn't attack terrier. And maybe some day Rascal will learn not to try to get a big sniff of Tom.

Our other girls, Sassy and Spider, simply walk away when they've been sniffed too much. They are too smart to run. They don't like him, but they don't hate him either. It's working. It's a good thing.

Dammit, my lap's damp again.
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Sunday, October 01, 2006
First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller
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This rather schizophrenic blog was started as a fictional blog, written by a character of a story. I've since taken it over for writing personal stuff I don't mind sharing with anyone who cares. I am also writing thoughts about writing and stories that move me.

Other places I go:
Georg's Research
Help local kitties
I have relatives. Be afraid
Blessed is the One True Tami
Tata the Bodacious
Obligatory Yarn Harlot
It is impossible not to love Sandi Wiseheart once you've met her
The Tsarina
Holiday Yarns
I like the name Twiggi
Who to blame for my sock addiction
Maybe the cleverest blog title
Romancing the Yarn
Why I read Romancing the Yarn
Get an ab work out with laughter
My Kitty Obsession
You meet the nicest people playing video games
I'm such a fanboi
One of my stalker targets
The other stalkee
I just love Josh (the cat)
Josh the Cat and friends
Pet politics
Pet Care
If I were a sheep, I'd be Delores
I live here now
Not Your Mama's Crafters
Make a Lily Pad

Anything not marked might be just me, Georg, posting as myself.

It's just this blog, okay? Some of it is story. Some of it is animals. Some of it is knitting. It's a blog.

For story #1, I do recommend starting from the beginning of this blog if you haven't read this before. Please start at the beginning.

I did mean it to be for - but I never got quite got it done under the wire.

Jeannie is the author/main character.
Frank is her husband. Poor man.
Tony is musician/singer.
Angie is a teenager, who was Jeannie's best friend. Now currently dead.
Honestly, there is no connection between Jeannie and me and Frank and my husband.

Story #2
Frank and Ether. This will be much weirder than Frank and Jeannie. I like the name Frank. No one expects a Frank to lie.

Story #3
A desert story. Anna is the main character. Currently there is only her little brother and an old servant, and a mysterious redhead.

Story #4
The necro story. A young necromancer heads off to the Hated Ones to find her trousseau.

Story X
Reserving this for one-offs, poems, etc.

09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 / 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 / 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 / 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 / 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 / 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 / 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 / 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 / 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 /

Marriage is love.

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