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"Did You do Something with Your Hair?"

For many, many years I was a member of a very conservative fundamental, evangelical Christian religion. For several years, I've been moving away from the faith little by little. Not long ago, in a fit of logic (as fitful as logic can be), I happily committed myself to atheism.

The faith I followed had a particular uniform to it, so that its members could recognize each other almost without fail in public places. Men dressed conservatively - always in long trousers and usually in shirtsleeves. Their hair was cut in an almost antique fashion that looked more appropriate in an episode of "Leave it to Beaver" than in the 21st century. Women were more strictly regulated. On pain of hellfire, they wore long skirts, sleeves past their elbows at all times, and no jewelry of any kind. They did not braid ribbons into their hair (this was a big deal, believe it or not). Above all, their hair was to remain uncut at all times. For a woman to trim her hair was a disrespect and dishonour to not only the woman herself, but to her husband, her father, her priest, and her God. This point was driven ruthlessly by traveling evangelists who preached testimonials of girls with cancer. Those who had never had their hair trimmed were spared the baldness often brought on by chemotherapy. Of course, those worldly wenches who cut their hair were doomed to bear the witness of their sin in their time of pain and illness.

My first deviation from the religion was to begin wearing leggings beneath short skirts, and sleeveless shirts. This was enough of a change to feel somewhat giddy with the excitement that only breaking well-established rules can give, but at least I was not guilty of the "abomination" of wearing the "garments of a man". That was to be my next sin. I bought two pairs of jeans, and began wearing them daily, around the house at first, and then in public. Then I started taking my husband's shirts (various items he had outgrown --Thank goodness for my beloved pack-rat!) and altering them to fit me. Now I was in direct violation of Deuteronomy 5:22!

The euphoria was like a drug. I felt so free! For the first time in fifteen years, I could do a cartwheel! I could wear a bathing suit to the beach, and not be disgusted at my body! I could climb a tree!

But still, I had one chain binding me to that old religion. The strongest of all. My uncut hair. I used to cherish this reminder of my devotion to God - lovingly combing it, creating elaborate, yet conservative hairstyles, treating the split ends as a badge of honour... but after my loss of faith I had given up on caring about it. The roots were oily, the ends completely fried. I did everything in the world to make it look acceptable, but usually ended up throwing it on the back of my head in a messy bun and hoping no one would look to notice.

My 24th birthday was this past Sunday, 27th December. It marked twelve years since scissors last touched my hair. My dear friend "C", who is days away from her cosmetology license, offered to give me a cut.

My new hair feels wonderful. My head is light, my hair is soft and healthy. It moves when I move, and I haven't touched an elastic to it yet. I can run my fingers through my hair without tangling, and I was able to sleep without the Great Octopus choking me in the middle of the night.

The best piece of all, is the feeling of the final shackle falling from my leg, and the resounding "Chink!" as the chains hit the floor.

I am free...



Below-the-Knee Panel Skirt w/ Lace Trim

My dear friend Michelle gifted me with a few pieces of fabric last week. Two pieces went to my own apron of her design, and two more sat around for a few days, staring at me, wondering at their fate.

Here they are - two very masculine fabrics, sewn into a bell shape with a little lace, become pretty!

He he... forgive the bed shot. One of these days I'll get me a full-length mirror.

This was easier than I thought it would be to make.

If you'd like to make one for yourself, here's a simple three-step Tutorial:

**NOTE: I totally forgot - it's 1/4 waist and hip measurements PLUS ONE INCH - gotta leave room for those seams! **


The Fate of the Foreskin

"The worst foreskin problem most intact males ever have is that someone thinks they have a problem."

- John A. Erickson

As the proud "attached parent" of a natural baby, I asked a slew of questions to more doctors than I care to count before choosing my son's current pediatrician. I covered the "I'm not circumcising. That cool?". This doc passed the "We believe in extended breastfeeding. That cool?". He was the only pediatrician I found to okay the "No vaccinations. That cool?" question.
Apparently, I forgot one. "I want a doctor that's read a relevant journal on infant anatomy written sometime after 1950. That cool?"
The pediatrician actually instructed me to force back my son's penile foreskin once a week until it is fully retractable - and stated that it should be completely retractable by the time he is five years old. Now, I'm no expert on the human body, but I'm fairly certain there's no evidence to suggest the human genitals have evolved in such a way as to require forcible manipulation in order to develop properly. After yesterday's appointment, I did some research. Here is what I found.
It was a journal published 24 December 1949 that stated all but 10% of boys in a particular study (that wasn't sure whether it studied 150 or 200 boys) were fully retractable by five years of age. Since then, numerous studies have been done in several different countries (notably Denmark and Japan, where circumcision is not considered "normal" or "routine") that claim the median age of full retraction is 10.4 years, and it's not abnormal for retraction to be impossible until puberty or even young adulthood. In fact, 2% of adult males are considered "non-retractable". Many of these adult males live full, healthy lives with no problem whatsoever. Those that wish to do something about it have several non-surgical options to explore. Why, then, the push to force back an infant's foreskin - which at this point is attached to the glans much like a fingernail is attached to a finger?
The following is a quote from National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), a non-governmental organization in Roster status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations fighting the process of routine circumcision and myths surrounding the care (abuse?) of the intact penis:

How do I care for my young son's intact penis?

The intact penis needs no special care.

The foreskin should never be retracted by force

During the first few years of a male's life, the inside fold of his foreskin is attached to his glans, very much the way the eyelids of a newborn kitten are sealed closed. The tissue that connects these two surfaces dissolves naturally over time - a process that should never be hurried.

The foreskin can be retracted when its inside fold separates from the glans and its opening widens. This usually happens by age 18. Even if the glans and foreskin separate by themselves in infancy, the foreskin may not be retractable then because the opening of a baby's foreskin may be just large enough to allow for the passage of urine.

The first person to retract a child's foreskin should be the child himself. 

Forcible retraction of the foreskin can cause pain, swelling, and adhesions that can cause permanent disfigurement and a lifetime of problems. Also possible are acquired phimosis (The foreskin's narrow opening sometimes tears when the glans is forced through it, forming scar tissue that may prevent it from widening later on its own.), and paraphimosis (its narrow opening may "get caught" behind his glans, and, like a tourniquet, trap blood in the glans and make it swell).

What should I do if my son's foreskin is forcibly retracted?

Regardless of your son's age, first explain that you didn't know anyone would do that to him, apologize, and tell him you will do your best to make sure no one ever does that to him again.

If your son's penis is swollen, sitz baths will help relieve the swelling and discomfort.

If it hurts your son to urinate, put him in the bath several times a day so that his urine will be diluted by the bath water, then rinse him off. Do not use soap on his penis.

Even if you have been told to retract your son's foreskin, don't. He has been hurt and traumatized and his penis needs to be left alone to heal.

Watch for infection.

Your son may develop adhesions when his foreskin and glans heal but you might not know whether these have separated by themselves or will need to be separated surgically until he has completed puberty.

No one except your son should manipulate his penis to check for adhesions or to see how far his foreskin will retract. A narrow foreskin deserves the same respect as a tight hymen. Both openings will enlarge with sexual maturity.

What legal and/or regulatory action can I take?

David J. Llewellyn, J.D., of Atlanta, Georgia, states:

"Generally the law does not permit a physician to carry out a non-emergency invasive or damaging procedure on a child without the parent's permission. If an infant's foreskin is forcibly retracted, resulting in tearing and pain, and the parents have not given their permission for the procedure, the law of most states provides that the parents may bring a suit on behalf of the child for assault and battery against the physician. Parents should be aware of these facts and should consult competent counsel if their child has been forced to suffer unnecessary pain without their permission."

Parents of boys whose foreskins have been forcibly retracted may want to consult competent, knowledgeable legal counsel about initiating litigation to recover money damages on behalf of their son.

Parents can also file a complaint against the doctor with their state medical licensing board ( Information about reporting physicians is available at Circumcision: Legal Issues (

The Federation of State Medical Licensing Boards ( advises that filing complaints against errant physicians improves the quality of patient care and is a service to the public.

Please report all incidences of premature retraction to NOCIRC.

Super Simple Taco Dip

An instant staple in my house, and SO easy to make.

1 10 oz package Vigo Spanish Rice
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 can black beans, drained.
1 8oz package Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 jar of salsa (I like Newman's Own "Hot" salsa)
4-8 oz (as desired) colby-jack cheese, shredded.

Prepare the rice according to the package instructions, leaving out the oil/margarine.

In a deep skillet (I use my big electric monster. If you don't have a big skillet, use a stock pot instead - a 10-inch stovetop skillet won't be big enough.) Brown the beef, and drain. Return the beef to the pan, and add the beans and the cream cheese, stirring until all the cream cheese is melted. Add the salsa and heat through.

Spread the rice into a 13x9 inch baking pan, Spread the meat mixture over the rice, and top with cheese. Pop under the broiler just until the cheese is melted - about 4-5 minutes.

Eat it immediately with corn chips. For an extra kick, try it with Doritoes. I like Nacho, Hubby likes Cool Ranch.

Leftovers taste great wrapped in taco shells and warmed in the oven for a few minutes.

Done With Pumpkins - Time for Presents

'Tis the season, after all.

My husband and I talked recently about how we want to treat the holiday season. We have an interesting dilemma, as both of us have a background of traditional fundamental Christianity, as well as cultural mainstream America's propagation of the Santa Claus myth. Neither of us wish to indoctrinate a belief in Santa Claus to our children, so that is settled enough. The religious aspect isn't quite as easy. I no longer hold any real religious belief. My husband still considers himself a Christian, though not a practicing one. He wishes to teach the "true meaning of Christmas", whereas I'd rather celebrate the holiday season as more of a celebration of our cultural identity (we are Irish-American) and follow those traditions.

I think we have made a decent compromise. A secular celebration of the Yule season, with the addition of heartfelt gift-giving (my favourite part of Christmas) at our home, and taking part in the American traditional Christmas with our family elsewhere. Will we have a tree? Perhaps. Last year we hung pine boughs on the walls and strung them with lights. It looked plenty festive, and we maintained use of our living room. Will we tell the story of the Nativity? Why not? I plan on teaching the myths of Zeus, Odin, Ra, Cu Chulainn, and Pecos Bill to my children as well, and a diverse knowledge of world cultures is never a bad thing.

That said - we come to the difficult part: What to give as gifts? How many? How can I give the best gifts for the least money? Should I make something or buy something?

Recently, I was perusing the forums of's Frugal Living section (those ladies know how to pinch a penny until it screams for mercy!) and came across an interesting solution to the perceived NEED to fill a floor with presents on the morning of 25th December. Several ladies implied they give four gifts per family member:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

I am intrigued by this. By limiting the children right away to four gifts, and allowing them to know that the gifts are financed by Mom and Dad (as opposed to falling from a reindeer-drawn carriage), we just might prevent the attitude of "That's ALL?!?" I grew up around in my childhood home. I would much rather give four meaningful gifts than a truckload of junk for the same price.

And now, the search begins. This year, I have two to shop for - and thus, eight gifts. Make that seven - I found my hubby's "Something to read" at Borders last week. Wish me luck!

For the lulz - HALLOWEEN AND Its HORRIBLE ROOTS Introduction

By popular demand, here follows the complete, unedited text of the flyer handed to me by the representatives of the Iglesia De Dios Church of God, as referenced in my last blog post.

Please note that all grammatical errors and formatting are exactly as appear in the pamphlet. I did not change anything.



Many today have no ideal about the truths of Halloween.  For many it is just another National Holiday that is celebrated. An occasion for children & adults to
Dress up and portray characters of EVERY Kind. To display pumpkins aglow with candles, tell scart storyes. Dance around bonfires, and go door to door yelling "TRICK OR TREAR, or smell my feet, give me something good to Eat!", As we shall see Halloween and it's characteristics is not something that has arrived this Century. But has Diabolical Roots that reaches far back in history! Halloween is something a true child of God cannot participate in. Read 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 as well as 1st Thessalonians 5:15-23 what is Halloween? All around the world on the 31st of October many children are turned out into the streets to parade door to door asking for candy. While in all reality, Halloween is a major satanic ritual day. A religious holiday, for the underworld. On this night world wide Satanist are performing sacrifices while true witches are in prayer circles summoning demonic personalities! According to the FDLE statistics on Halloween night, more missing persons reports are filled than at any other time of the year.
More bazaar murders are investigated that night than at any time of the year. Many have evidence of occult activities, ie. Grave robbing is a popular activity on that night. (Digging for Skulls) the police dread this night more than any other occasion of the year. How and where did it begin? We need to realize that everything in this world has a beginning and an end. The only thing that has never had a beginning and shall never have an ending is the God Which made haven and earth! (He has always been.)Therefore, it would do us well to know the history of those things that may come our way in our lives! As I endeavored to research the history of what we know now as Halloween. I was somewhat surprised to find that my search took me back to the period shortly after the flood!
In His book "The Worship of the Dead", J. Ganier suggests that celebrations can be traced back to the acnient destruction of the human race. Not celebrations of life but of suffering and Death! Read (Genesis 6:5,11,12) so we can see that wickedness abounded! The Jewish Encyclopedia says Nimrod was He who made all the people rebellious against God. Alexander Hislop (A Noted Writer), has written in detail of how Babylonian religion developed around the traditions of nimrod, his wife Smiramis, her child Tammuz. When Nimrod died his body was cut into four pieces, burnt, and sent to various parts of the world. The people of Babylon greatly mourned his Death! His wife proclaimed him now to be the "Sun God" (keep this in mind.) Therefore, Babylonian worship was carried on through mysterious symbols. Paganism was born! The Golden Calf was symbolic for Nimrod son! (What was made out of the jewelry of the Jews in the wilderness?) You got it a Golden Calf. The Dun god was symbolic for Numrod who later became Baal! Therefore, fire became his earthly representation. (Candles and bonfires were lit in his honor) (Keep this in mind.) Other forms of Nimrod; (Sun images, fish, trees, pillars, animals. Read: (Romans 1:21-26) Centuries later Paul gives a description. which perfectly fits the people of Babylon! The system of Idolatry spread from Babylon to other Nations, for it was from this location that men scattered over the face of the Earth (Genies 11:9) As they went from Babylon they took they're worship & various mystery symbold with them. So paganism and its Rituals were flourishing in the World. Note; from that time until the days of Christ the whole world was in spiritual darkness. With the exception of the Jews! Note; many people read the bible with tunnel vision and don't realize that there was life beyond the Middle East! The British Isles: Now we want to direct our attention to the region of the British Isles Scotland, Ireland. A time when the Roman Empire was in full rule. This was one of Satan's greatest strongholds. This certainly gives new meaning when Jesus said in 1st John 3:8 for this purpose was the Son of God manifested that I might destroy the works of the devil. Conclusion: What we know of the Druids comes from the recordings of Caesar and Roman Historians. Greek records from about 200BC and very early records found in Ireland in 47 AD the Romans finally conquered the Druids in England and outlawed human sacrifices. The Druids celebrated October 31st with many human sacrifices honoring the "Sun-god" (Nimrod) and Samhain ("Lord of the Dead")! They believed that sinful souls went to a place of torment and if Samhain were pleased with the sacrifices then he would release them! At the birth of our Natjion Historians tell us that the founding Fathers forbidder Halloween to be celebrated or observed by anyone! (Look at history records and read it for you.) And it was not celebrated until around the 1900's! Now our Nation has embraced this diabolical celebration whole-heartedly! In A USA today article it quoted Washington witch Bryan Sardan as saying, "They don't realize it but they are celebrating our Holiday with US...We like it!: But the True Child of God is not. My friend this is why we do not want you to have anything to do with Halloween! How about you have you touched the Unclean Thing?

Dear Religious Extremists: THIS is the True Story of Halloween

It seems we can no longer swing a dead cat in this country without hitting a religious extremist littering our public gathering places with poorly-written propaganda in an attempt to remind us any fun we may accidentally be having will send us immediately to the Flames of Hell.

Indeed, the family's most recent outing to the county playground was interrupted by a swath of these kind-hearted souls making a Sherman-esque march arm-in-arm across the fields, a ream of obnoxious orange flyers in tow.

I won't bother amusing you with the complete text of the pamphlet entitled "HALLOWEEN AND Its HORRIBLE ROOTS Introduction" delivered with such loving care by a representative of "Iglesia De Dios Church of God" (we can all-too-clearly see their grasp of the details through the redundant name), but suffice it to say the majority of the flyers hardly garnered a glance from most parents before joining the mulch at the foot of the curvy slide. To be honest, the vast majority of the paper has nothing to do with Halloween whatsoever. Yes, I managed to read it all, though it took every fiber of my being to endure the "lesson" which proclaimed that "Many today have no ideal (sic) about the truths of Halloween".

Well, I'm here to give you an ideal. Or an idea, whichever you prefer.


Halloween's roots are traced back to the Celtic festival called Samhain (SOW-in).

The Celts lived in pre-Roman Ireland, Britain, and parts of greater Northern Europe. On November 1st (of our calendar - the Celts used a lunar calendar) the Celtic Wheel of the Year turned. Samhain was the night prior - the day the old year died. On this day, the Celts believed the veil between this world and the "other side" thinned. This had several important effects. The otherworldly spirits, in all their omniscience, could aid in divination rituals. "Magic" was a daily fact of life for the Celts, and these predictions were no fortune cookie curiosities - they were an important source of drive and comfort, helping them get through the long winter. In addition to this, there were less-desirable spirits from the Otherworld that could cross over to meddle with the villagers and destroy crops. In order to dispel these angry spirits, the Celts would light sacred bonfires - usually two, as they would walk between them to cleanse their bodies and spirits of the bad energies of the past year - and wear costumes of animal skins and blue or black dye in order to look more like a spirit, and thus not attract attention. Crops and animals would often be cast into the fires as sacrifices to the Celtic deities in thanks for a bountiful harvest, and in hopes that the goddesses and gods would protect the remaining crops from the angry otherworld spirits. Other animals would be slaughtered, their bones cast into the fire, and the meat cooked in order to store for the winter. At the end of the night of festivities, they carried home coals of the sacred fire in hollowed-out turnips to light the new years' flame in the hearth that had been extinguished the night before.

Around the year 43 of the Common Era, Rome made it to the Celtic lands. In the 400 years that they ruled, many of the Celtic tribal festivals were merged with Roman festivals - both to appease the Roman citizens in apparent exile, and to somewhat mollify the conquered tribes. The two that concern us immediately are Feralia - the festival observing the passing of the souls of the dead, and the festival honouring Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees (her symbol was the apple).

By the year 800, Christianity was taking influence. In this century Pope Boniface IV designated 1 November  a day to honour saints and martyrs. This was a deliberate attempt to replace the pagan tribal/Roman festival with a Church-sanctioned holiday. The festival was called in Middle English "Alholowmesse" or "All Hallows Day" or "All Saints' Day". The night before - the night of Samhain - became known as "All Hallows Eve" and eventually "Hallowe'en". 200 years later the Church would add "All Souls' Day" to the list, a festival on 2 Nov that was celebrated similarly to Samhain - with parades, fires, and costumes of saints, angels, and demons. The three festivals together became known as Hallowmas.

The modern tradition of Trick-or-Treating comes from the Christian English tradition of "a'souling", or handing out "Soul Cakes" on All Souls' Day. Poor citizens would knock on doors and beg for food, and these pastries would be given in exchange for the promise to pray for the souls of the homeowner's dead relatives. This was encouraged by the church as a replacement for the Celtic tradition of leaving out food, wine, and milk for spirits wandering between the worlds during Samhain.

As Europeans immigrated to the Americas, their Hallowmas traditions blended with the Native American harvest traditions, and the result was a community-based celebration of the Autumn season and the harvest. Families and communities would get together for "play parties" where they would sing, play games, and tell stories of relatives passed on. Many would tell ghost stories, tell "fortunes" using smoke, mirrors, and swinging thread on a string, play pranks and make mischief of all kinds. The influx of English and Irish immigrants in the early 19th century brought traditions of costume-wearing and a'souling to the colonial parties.

In the mid-18th century, a move was made to make Halloween more about children and community than mischief-making and ghost stories. Newspapers encouraged parents to do away with anything ghoulish or frightening, and festivities focused on parties with fun games and festive costumes.

After losing most of its superstitious and religious overtones, Halloween spread as a secular community holiday, and by the 1940s trick-or-treating was revived as a child's game, as this was an inexpensive way for the entire community to participate in the festivities.


I'm sure this comes as a shock to the Iglesia De Dios Church of God, who claims that Halloween is a Satanic holiday that has something to do with the Babylonian god Nimrod's body being cut into pieces and shipped around the world, Samhain is a god of the underworld who stole the souls of the dead and demanded blood in exchange, and collectives of pagans are laughing their diabolical heads off that they have the whole of Christian America tricked into celebrating their day of human sacrifices and grave-robbing.

Perian Elvellon Dilthen

My little halfling elf-friend.

October is without a doubt my favourite month. Even Florida is almost TOLERABLE this time of year - the air cools, there's a persistent aroma of well-seasoned wood burning in fireplaces and backyard pits around the neighborhood. It's cool enough to stand being outside for more than five minutes without risking third-degree burns and heatstroke, yet shoes are still optional. And the best part of all: Hallowe'en! Who couldn't love a day in which you can be, quite literally, anyone and anything your heart desires!? Hallowe'en is one day of the year dedicated to fun and frivolity - without the awful pseudo-sentimentality of Christmas!

This year, E is old enough to have a bit of fun! Of course, he's not old enough yet to tell ME what he wants to be, so this year it's all about what Mama wants! And Mama wanted to be Galadriel, Lady of Rivendell, this year, so E gets to be... a Hobbit!

This was my first major sewing project. I can't really consider the T-Shirt surgeries "major"... they were just too easy. The one dress I made for myself was pretty simple, in retrospect. It seemed much harder because that's what I used to learn how to use my machine.


The handmade portions of this costume are the waistcoat, the trousers (both made from fabric I received in a huge batch of quilting scraps and sundry via Freecycle [Thanks, Ann!]), and the cloak, made from the leftovers of the aforementioned halter dress. The leaf pin (which I ADORE) was found at the local Goodwill thrift store.

E's favourite part? No hat, no shoes! And Mama lets him play in the dirt. ^_^

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

A hit all around! The whole dish was gone before I finished writing down the recipe. No seconds for Mama. *sigh* Next time, I'll make a double batch.

--2 chicken leg quarters
Boil in water until falling off the bone, then remove from water, skin, bone, and chop. RESERVE THE BROTH - you'll use it to make the stuffing.
--1 16 oz package frozen chopped broccoli - rinsed and drained.
--7 oz sliced mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
--1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
--1/2 cup (give or take) sour cream

Mix it all together and spread into the bottom of a 13x9 in pan.

--1 box Stove Top cornbread stuffing, using the water you boiled the chicken in INSTEAD of water and margarine.

Spread stuffing on top of casserole, sprinkle with a little extra broth, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


$5 Dinner - Part the First

I *love* One-Skillet meals, and I particularly love them when they cost less than a footlong sub at your local sandwich peddler.

This was dinner a couple of nights ago :

1 half-pound (1/2 inch thick) sirloin tip steak ($1.47 on sale! w00t!)
1 onion
1 tomato (All I had, otherwise, I probably would have used two.)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of thyme and/or Italian seasoning (I used both)
1 lb Rotelle, Farfalle, or other fun-shaped pasta - we are cooking for toddlers!, cooked.
Oil and your favourite vinegar(s) (I used red wine and balsamic)

Roughly chop onion, tomato, and garlic, and throw them all in the blender with spices and a little oil and vinegar. We're looking for a thick sauce-like consistency.

Chuck the steak onto your favourite well-seasoned big skillet for about a minute on either side, then slice it into about 1/2 in strips. Put the meat back in the skillet, and pour the sauce on top, and let it simmer for a couple minutes.

Mix in the cooked pasta, and heat through.


This was a big hit with E. I think he likes garlic as much as I do!

Writers' Block since 2003.

Writing has always been important to me. Taking the time to put pen to paper was one of the few things that kept me sane during my adolescence. Within my stories - some realistic, some completely fantastic - I could escape to a world where things simply made more sense. Bad guys were bad guys, good guys were good, and the invariably angry, confused, motherless heroine had plenty of people along the sidelines, fighting to correct the injustice done to her throughout her life. This escape became such a necessity throughout my high school years that I became known for carrying my small worn, soft leather briefcase stuffed with three or four equally tattered marbled Composition books and pens in several styles and colours. The "Extension of [my] Arm", I believe my Dramatic Arts teacher called it.
Eventually, Senior Projects came around. At that point my parents had just informed me there was no chance they would support my attending college, and with those hopes crushed, I found myself lost. The immediate difficulty was the Project, of course. How could I possibly torture myself studying the career paths of a history teacher, when there was no way I would be able to become one without a college degree? Well, I was spending so much time involved in my "own world" that I focused my senior project on the profession of "Fantasy Novelist". Now the time I spent sketching character profiles, detailing the map of Aravest, drafting deities and calendars and cultural festivals for my characters to attend all amounted to 60% of my yearly grade in two classes. My book, "The Sorrow of Calameth" (Calameth being the Elf-God who carved the hills of the world with his Dagger of Power) was cut short at 115 pages, as I was forced to draft SOME ending in order to have a bound copy available to the Judges of the project. I hated the end. I swore the day I printed it that I would go back and show Austeth Windhorse and Derdriu Ravendale some true justice.
Soon after graduation, I fell to the judgement of the cult I once called my home church, and by their bidding I destroyed Aravest - my beautiful planet. The maps, the gods, the calendar, the drawings I worked so hard on... but the book itself I gave to a friend for safe-keeping. Someday I hope to get it back, though this girl and I haven't spoken much at all since school ended.
Since, I have escaped the church, my so-called-family, and all those things that drove me to create Aravest and its people. Still, I miss the hours spent writing letters to Austeth Windhorse by candlelight, in the persona of Amnestia Moonwhisper, on tanned paper with my old scratch pens, and sealing them with drops of wax. I miss escaping - as Derdriu Ravendale - to the Temple of The Lady Moon, staring over the Sacred Lake in meditation as the stars glittered in the sky and over the rippling waters. The characters I have created recently are much stronger than those women: Culatre, another priestess, but one who chose to leave station and security instead of giving up the child she carried to the Gods. Qolqo'tar, the son of Culatre, a vast and powerful Dark Elf seeking adventure in distraction from the revenge he wishes to seek against the Priests that disfigured his mother when she refused to conform.
Characters I can create, yes. Small anecdotes and scenes mere moments long... but the hours of creation have gone from me for a long time.
Perhaps, just perhaps, a change of scenery? Surely internal conflict is not the only thing that can drive me to write? Am I doomed to this writers' block as long as I have a happy life?
Aravest is gone, this I know. Her characters will not return (all but my beloved Austeth have been killed). I have begun a new land, whose name has not yet come to me. The inspiration of this place was (don't laugh) algae growth I viewed from the tower at Lettuce Lake Park. I took pictures, and layered them atop each other in Photoshop, and it is serving to be a most useful planet! I have borrowed two place names from Aravest - the twin cities Qas'arr and Qer'aran - because I don't feel they were explored enough in "Sorrow". And I am still hoping beyond hope that Austeth can return to my writings.
Now, all I need is a plot.

See my new planet here

My Best Friend

That is all.

Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes

I was unsure what to submit as my first blog post, but lo and behold, E delivers.

I hope this blog will be at least mildly entertaining to someone - though it is truly set up as a release for me. I've never been good at keeping a diary, but with the sudden loss of a social site I am a longtime member of, I had to turn somewhere. Here I am!

This morning, after waking early to pick J up from the shop and realizing I was too wired to go back to bed, I decided it was a good morning for pancakes.

Then, it was a good morning for CHOCOLATE CHIP pancakes - because I'm really a five year old trapped in a grownup's body. Bisquick (yep, I cheat. Pancakes are NOT my forté) eggs, milk, chocolate chips. I set the bowl on E's high chair tray and let him stir the mix a little. Like a little chef, he stirs, lifts the spoon, tastes it, then starts throwing in the strawberries I had previously used to pacify him.

At first, I thought "Oh, no!" but then, Mom-brain kicked in. Aww... my little man's helping. So what if the pancakes are kinda mushy in places? these are E's pancakes.

And he rather loved them. ^_^