Why?

Because all experiences are valuable.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Steampunk Saloon Girl Costume

I am "off" for Christmas Break, which is kind of a laugh because of the volume of stuff I have to do (as we all do at Christmas), but I want to catch up on a few blog things.

The post with details on my Green Jeannie costume from last year at DragonCon is so popular, that I promised way back to give details of my Patriotic Steampunk Saloon Girl and how I constructed it.

First pictures so you know what I'm talking about.








the jacket I purchased. It was from the American Icon collection which came from the American Idol TV show. The hooks that are the closure are a part of the jacket, but I wanted them to show, so I pinned the lapels back with antique pins. It also allowed more of the corset to show. I have a "real" (expensive!) corset that MJL bought me at the Renaissance Fest, but I also have a lot of corsets from Frederick's of Hollywood. They are definitely more costume and not authentic, but one can also afford to have a bunch of them, as they run from $ 40 to 60, depending on the fabric and pattern.

Doing research, I found that fishnets didn't exist at the time of the Old West frontier, they actually wore cotton or wool stockings. Well...I wasn't wearing cotton or wool to DragonCon. I chose these nude hose from Target. They had a woven pattern in the nude color and then the black dots. My boots are actually a very dark brown.

The skirt I made. It starts with a pattern, which I shortened. This is the pattern. Even if they don't make this one any more, you can see what sort of thing to look for. It is a full circle skirt with a yoke (like the two on the bottom). The yoke is very important. A full circle without a yoke will make you look like you are in a poodle skirt. If you shorten it, you will look like a 60s majorette. Plus the yoke allows you to attach things and stays sleek.

Here are the fabrics used. They were all from JoAnn fabrics, so you don't really have to always spend a lot of money or go to a special fabric store to make costumes.


The patriotic fabric was a big inspiration.
When I saw that fabric, I knew I had to do something with it.
The plaid is red, blue, green and a homespun looking brown.

This is a cotton quilting print.
The red was just right, and the background was cream. I didn't want any white, because white was
very expensive to obtain back then.
Less expensive fabrics had that homespun look of
natural color cotton.


This one was a bridal fabric.
It had the scalloped edge that you see on the skirt
already as part of the fabric. I got it on clearance for 8$ a year and I only bought 2/3 of a yard, so very
cheap to add a really nice element.






 I did use a modern zipper.
One, for convenience and time savings.
Two, because I've made this pattern before as a real skirt and I like the zipper in the back. It adds stability to the yoke. I went through my collection of buttons and pulled out all the metal ones to add as accents.
 I purchased keys and chains and these accents
at Micheal's in the scrapbooking section.
In the full picture, the antique gold watch is
real and it belonged to my great great grandmother.
 The tiny hat started as a $1.99 teddy bear hat from
JoAnn fabrics. They come black made by Darice.
I spray painted it bronze gilt.
I found a belt at a thrift store for one dollar.

It was a size 2x, so it had a lot of  these square metal
pieces. After putting two long pieces with two squares each on each side of the skirt, I had one left over. I had to sew it to the top of the hat, because even metal glue wouldn't hold it to the felt.
 I did hand gathering at two points in the front of the skirt, and more to the sides.

I did it by hand with a running stitch. It looked like a girl might have done back then.

I really wanted the natural unevenness of hand work.




The ribbon tail was just something extra. Most of the time it didn't show, but I always keep adding little things on a costume till
I just feel that it is finished.












 Feathers and embellishments all from Micheal's

You can see how it is constructed.
 This natural cotton is two layers. Stiffened with interfacing. I glued on on, attached the headband with hot glue. Reinforced that with ribbon. Covered that with the second piece of natural cotton. I could have spray painted it, but with all my hair...I didn't bother.
Originally, I thought I would do something in
Red and blue that perfectly matched the costume.

In working with the patriotic fabric, it has a rosy pink element in the background of some scenes and on the cheeks.

I just decided I wanted to pick up that element in the hat and also the neckpiece, which...if you look back,
is constructed of the buckle from the dollar belt!
Pink velvet ribbon is the accent on the choker, and it ties in the back with brown grosgrain ribbon.

I have to say, I loved this costume. I felt fabulous, and I received so many compliments from DragonCon attendees. It was comfortable. My favorite comments were from fellow seamstresses. They liked the
idea, the design and the execution. That's the best feedback!!

The skirt is layered panels that are really all curtain valance treatments in their construction. I used to make a lot of curtains, so I used those techniques. The front panel is a pleated center jabot, and the back lace panels
are trapezoid shaped side jabot panels. It is easy to google simple directions for these once you see what I did. The side jabot face each other instead of facing out as the would on a window.

The rear swag is just done like a long scarf valance would be over a curtain rod. I just did the side gathering with ribbon instead of the way it would hang over a rod.

Hope this inspires you if you are looking to do a steampunk short skirt!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Track

Nothing stands alone. 
It doesn't does it? 
Locomotives run on steel rails of strength disproportionate to imagination.
What if you could be the locomotive.
What if you could be the engine of all that happens,
your essence and force steaming off the top,
magnificent weight of words and deeds trailing behind farther than sight.
Wouldn't that be powerful beyond description...
looking down at the manacles on your wrists,
imagine naked pain and youth as they melt away into leaden trails
to form your track.

And this is when you find the fuel to overcome the friction and the gravity
of your situation.
This is when you move inch by inch 
until you are flying and pulling the world along with ease.
You do not stand alone, for
you stand for too much.
Accompanied, though...and beloved.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

River Bend

She sold herself down the river
in such minute quantities
the fish never even got sleek or fat,
but simply swam away
in ignorance of what they had eaten.

The water too clear to reflect
anything but what she wanted to see;
it would remain a vision to haunt her,
of who was blind,
and who was left to see...
when she was there no longer.   



Monday, October 22, 2012

"It's Alive!" New days with GANS

Yesterday was my first day as a State Board Member of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS). It was one long day, let me tell you, in what has become a progression of extremely long days with little break. "Welcome to Nursing!" needs to be tattooed on my arm or something.

I used to say, Welcome to nursing school!" Now I realize that this is the pace of nursing in general, so I'd better just get used to it. Now one free hour can seem like an entire weekend's rest, if applied properly.
MJL and I went to see Frankenweenie late last night. I love, love Tim Burton movies. I knew it was a short movie, and I just needed to rest my brain. It wasn't as good as other Tim Burton faves of mine, but, the dog was so adorable, and the movie had real charm and quite a few inside jokes (example- the town Mayor is Mr. Burgermeister.) 

Our school is "Kaplanized, " meaning we follow a Kaplan structured curriculum (in general), and take Kaplan Integrated tests throughout our courses. Kaplan administers the NCLEX, so this is supposed to prepare us for familiarity with Kaplan style questions. It's nothing like the review sessions that Hurst and ATI put on...we get regular lectures, powerpoints, etc all taught by our instructors. It's just every so often we take one of these standardized tests which are "normalized" to the whole country. It allows our professors to see how we stack up against other schools and students at our level, and also to predict how well we are learning the material for the NCLEX. We had a big Kaplan in health assessment this morning. 

It's funny because we all come out moaning and thinking we did terribly, which is exactly what I hear about the NCLEX. 

I think this experience with State GANS board will be an education that is trial by fire, much like these Kaplan tests. Are you ready to lead as an RN? Can you take the lead in the face of little information and an incredibly short transition from past Director to...Hey! You are the Director now!  ( I got a 1.5 hour transition roughly, though I know the previous director is available to me for help...but she is a busy nursing student who has served her time.)

I had a moment of panic in the middle of Frankenweenie. I had let my mind rest in the movie, following the little doggie with the stitches and the bolts in his neck. Suddenly, I remembered what I had just gotten myself into...on top of school and everything else I do...thank goodness no one was there to record my heart rate and respiration!

In those situations, I have to stop and ask myself some questions, no matter how much I am doubting myself:

1. Is anyone else here going to do this job if I do not?  (maybe? No?)
2. Is there a reason I was given this job and not someone else? (usually yes)
3. Do I believe that anyone I can readily think of can do this better than I can-
    right now, right here?     (usually not. they have their own things to do)
4. Are people looking to me to take charge and handle this? (always yes)
5. Can I think quickly and creatively in this situation? (usually yes)
6. Do I trust myself, my incredible support system (you are all the best!!) and God? (emphatically yes)

Then everything else will work itself out. Maybe a better mantra is:

If I work my hardest; it will work out.

My hardest and best effort may be different on different days. School comes first- for the benefit of the patients. But I may sacrifice a few grades in this effort for GANS. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe I focus too much on grades. Potential future employers will not ask me much about my grades. They will ask me what things I have done to develop myself into a leader? what makes me different than other candidates? And how can I show that I am patient centered, not self-centered. 

All of us on this new GANS Board are giving up so many other things we could be doing with our time..because we want to be better leaders. Who is it that we need to lead as RNs? Other nurses and patient care personnel. And for whose benefit? The patients.

I got into nursing to care for the patients. Being an effective leader will benefit the patient every time.

One last anecdote...I remember when Jason and I brought Reid home from the hospital; he was three days old and in his little car seat carrier. We set him on the coffee table and sat on the couch looking at him.
I already had a two year old son, so I had been through this before. Jason turned and looked at me questioningly. I looked back at him and said, " Don't look at me! I don't know what to do with him, either!"

We both died laughing. It became an oft repeated phrase of ours in relation to Reid, who has always been smarter than we knew how to handle. It just serves to remind me, that even though you may have successfully done something before, or many times, each new time is its own challenge.
But I look at Reid now, almost done with high school and driving himself to Engineering orientation session at Ga Tech, and I realize I still don't know just what to do with him....hhahhahah.

I don't have to. All I had to do was my job to the best of my ability with both my sons. And the rest takes care of itself.

Just in case any of my fellow board members chance to read this post, I love you guys already.We may be a little stitched together right now like Frankenweenie, but the lightning has struck.

T. Sylace


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Filigree

I couldn't let the month of September pass by without posting at least once. I have never missed a month yet.
Starting back to school has been a huge effort. It's getting to be too funny how many people tell me they had no idea what it took to become an RN.

I'm having a bit of trouble typing because I sewed through my finger earlier this evening. hahhaha...it happens. Watched Captain America last night on DVD. Yawn. Visually stunning, though.

I have thought all month about things I wanted to write about, but honestly haven't had one spare moment.
Between class, clinicals, reading, studying and assignments, I believe I am not exaggerating to say I am putting in 14 hour days.

I always post about Dragon Con, which was over Labor Day weekend. I did not break anything this year thank goodness. Security was tighter there this year, which means there were far fewer real freak shows. What a shame. Freak shows are what make Dragon Con a blast. Ok, I'm exaggerating.

I just wanted to say I am not gone. It's important for me to keep up with this.

It's nine pm. I've been studying all day. I feel like I should keep at it till I get my clinical journal done, and I need to look at dosage calculations for insulin. I'm trying to keep balanced. I still do creative things...bake things. On that note I should attempt a poem. It may be awful. I'm just going to let the chips fall and see.
Who can it hurt? Indeed.



Filigree

"Does this hurt?" she asked and asked sincerely but the reply was muffled.
Muffled by the sleeve of a dusty olive sweater,
muted by the passage of time in diffuse pain undocumented,
an erosion of what were nerves at the ends of appendages that used to connect
to something that recorded this and cried out, but no more.
She passed him a paper cut out puppet, a flat lacy man on a stick
reminiscent of black Thai shadow shows and all the humanity they portray
with only a simple filigree human on a stick.
"Show me where it hurts...show me with the figure." She wanted to help, would have helped
but a truckload of eiderdown had grown in his throat,
and binders the weight of a hundred books kept the sounds under the quilt.
He ranged his gaze through a routine of pleading to intense disinterest,
It was all he could do, after all.
Sometimes all she could do was hold him in her arms.
"I know, baby."
I know.


-Tara Sylace

Aries Full Moon September

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Swear

time removes what stands in the way,
obstacles melting to stains of forgotten origin,
dung-beetles marking the passage of the hours
in circus rolling mnemonic pantomimes.

nothing moves so much at once as
nothing moving for so long,
then titanic length spasms down the fault lines,
and the landscape is unrecognizeable

to anyone who ever passed this way before,
feeling the disorientation that proceeds a leap,
the dislocation that follows a landing,
I swear time knows more than we do.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Star is Born

There are no words for how I love etymology.
Isn't that ironic? The very definition.
Play on words doesn't even begin to paint
the joy of a medium with no boundaries,
and no drying time- only the constraints of 26 letters,
which is none at all really, just switch to another language,
other sounds, an entire galaxy of words, more words than stars
for look at what it takes to create a star, but I can create a word
instantaneously and effortless to boot.
I wonder if you wanted that to say effortlessly...if your desire for symmetry
drove you somewhere a tiny bit off,
for once I do not have to care; this is mine.
Packed up in and amongst a catalogue of whys
and roots and prefixes 
connotations, allusions, questions always of where 
did that word come from,
whose mind, whose need- whose need to express something 
never before expressed, to someone listening
and in that moment
a star is born.

Over Coffee

seen from the corner of an eye,
maybe past a few wrinkles,
is a long view into the past.

the mind thinks
but it sees forward, and backward...
obsessively backward...

how often is one moment relived,
rethought,
reimagined.

the mind forgets the periphery,
all the eye takes in besides,
all the meat of the world unchosen.

not selected for memory, out on the fringes,
but the more real perhaps,
for all its solidity, in never being questioned, at all...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spice

my kindle fire did it to me again...reformatted my poem. So here it is again in proper form...

 Spice

 So I lay burdened
 With myriad alternate realities in which I make other choices,
 Dreams of shining salmon, corset strings just a pinch too tight,
 Fear fierce like Turkish coffee...
 Gold and trinkets for sale in a Marakkesh market,
 Brass weights, brass scale,
 And measuring up.
 Genie or gypsy, Genie or gypsy?
 As the knife thrown to the pegboard by my head says
 This is what you are.

Friday, July 6, 2012

"Free Wish"

An eyelash fell in my teacup,
     as I wearily rubbed my eyes,
My free wish sank in the blackness,
     another auspicious surprise.
I took in the bleak situation,
     I took in the eyelash tea, too...

Regardless of which sort of sorceress you are,
Some potions you cannot unbrew.


......written while on another interminable, maddening call with Comcast.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Last Comedian

Someone said I write of trees.
I am sure the last marksman in the woods is glad of my coverage,
for the news is untrustworthy
and days are dark.
No scandal lurks under the bark,
save a beetle avoiding my wrath
since he chewed a path directly through the center of my strawberry.
The resident genius here says it smacks of pioneer living,
reaping the fruit of the land, swilling it down, seeds be damned.
Tall as a tree himself,
the last comedian in the woods
is amply supplied with marshmallows...and sticks,
wanting only for his company of fellows,
to start the show.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Superman, or, How to Save a Life

I have a story to tell you tonight...
Most times I think, well, people will think I'm nuts.
But then most times people tell me that they have had very similar experiences,
so I'm going to tell you this story because something tells me that I should...

It so happens that The Fray is one of my very favorite bands. The song that everyone remembers is probably their biggest hit, "How to Save a Life," which is about the efforts to save a troubled teenager, though it is open to a lot of interpretation. It's a song of hindsight being 20/20. I'm generally very good with cliches and metaphors and such, being a language person/guru. Wink. But I remember hearing "hindsight is 20/20" when I was a kid, and I remember being at least 12 before I understood what it meant, though I knew what 20/20 meant, being rather extremely nearsighted!

So much of our understanding comes in hindsight. A scary amount. All the reading and talking and listening we do goes a really long way, but then it is the experience itself that leads us to look back and say, "Oh...I knew that before, but now I understand." Knowing and understanding are not the same thing at all, it turns out.

If I tell you that I don't really know how this all relates to the story, and yet I know that it does, I hope you will believe me. I think my understanding will come later..in hindsight of course.

Yesterday I went with Rob Clements and his two gorgeous and high-spirited daughters to Six Flags. Funny that I was just talking about Six Flags and how it smells. I can report that it still smells. I mentioned that I had worked there. Turns out Rob had worked there, too, in a much more responsible position. that was interesting because he knew weird things about the park that I didn't. Performers in the shows arrived late and left early, and pretty much stuck to our own group. Doing four shows a day in the heat was actually hard, but it didn't really mean much to the regular employees...most of whom never even saw any of the shows.

So when they asked me to go...I was going to say no at first. I knew it was going to be awful hot...I always have stuff to do...my knee is still hurting from the little rock accident at Amicolola Falls and all the working out I've been doing this week. But more than anything there was a resounding voice in my head, almost a panic, telling me not to go.
You all know I tell you the plain truth in this blog, especially my emotional truth if I can. You can hardly read my poetry and not know what I feel, who I love, and where my sufferings and joys lie.

So I thought hard about why I had that sense of panic. I listen to my inner voice very carefully.  I thought of my blood sugar issues, and the fact that I've given up sugar again right now. The only sugar I'm eating is in my hot tea, and peanut butter in the morning. (It is bizarre how much sugar is in everything!!!). Usually if my sugar plunges, I drink coke, but I really didn't want to be forced to do that. But that didn't seem panic worthy. Six Flags has no shortage of sugar if necessary. Then I thought of my foot, the breakage at last year's DragonCon that cost me a year of school. I cannot have anything happen to me again. That felt like I was on the right track...and the more I explored that, the more the panic was telling me that something bad was going to happen if I went.

I didn't tell Rob about this feeling. I didn't tell MJL about this feeling, though I certainly would have had he been home in the States. And he would have told me not to go if I felt that way. I couldn't tell if I felt something was going to happen to me, or to Rob at the park. I decided that if Rob took the girls alone, and he got hurt, it would be better for me to be there. I decided to be very cautious...to pay attention to my surroundings...just to be smart about everything. There were no problems for hours. Elsa fell and scraped her elbow, so we headed to First Aid and made sure that was taken care of and cleaned. Rob is a really good father. I'm always impressed with the devotion he shows those girls, and he watches them like a hawk...which is good because Elsa can tend to feel perfectly safe wandering off anywhere, and Esha is a major attention getter with the teenage boys.

Elsa is more squeamish about the big scary roller coasters, but as Esha and Rob hadn't ever been on Superman, and I think the Superman coaster is one of the best anywhere, we decided to brave the line. Let me tell you that there is no such thing as waiting in the Superman line less than an hour. Ever. I don't get it. Can't explain it. It just is. I've waited as much a two hours to ride it in the past. There is no shade. 95% of the line is in the broiling sun. It sucks really bad, actually. We all do it anyway, it's just that cool. By the time we reached the front of the line, Rob and I both felt nauseated from the extreme heat. It was about 93 degrees, but that is hotter in the direct sun in an asphalt and concrete park full of hot people packed together. Felt like about 98 degrees. I normally do not sweat a lot. I was soaked, and getting dehydrated. Just setting the scene for you...

As we approached the end of the line, one of the workers called for three more people to get on the ride that round. (We were three because Elsa wasn't going to ride Superman.) We skirted around a couple of foursomes, and there was something very odd about the whole thing. The staff didn't seem to know what they were doing. The row they put us in had four seats, and then they called for another threesome and put them in a row of four seats...when we had just gone around several foursomes. You sit in the chair with your legs dangling, then they lock you in. A large padded neck brace/ headrest comes over your shoulders, and your feet are also locked in at the ankles. I didn't see who came to lock in Rob, because my leg was actually caught and being pinched and I had to sharply cry out for the guy to stop cramming down on the bar until my leg was free. The male worker was being trained by a short female. It was clearly his first day. She made sure that Esha's headrest thing was clicked in, and then she turned the shiny gold key that locked her in. Then she handed it to the guy for him to do mine. I watched him do it, and knew that he hadn't turned the key, merely inserted it and then removed it! I said to the girl, "Are you sure he did that right??" The only answer I got was a withering stare. Then they both turned and walked off the ride part of the platform. I felt the panic rise...

I was jiggling my headrest/lapbar thing. It was moving up and down. It seemed "clicked," but not locked. Esha's wouldn't budge. Hers was correctly fastened. A different, taller, girl came to check Rob's, but only visually. I had been calling across to Rob that I REALLY didn't think mine was done right. The taller girl made to move away to the next chairs (they do all this very quickly, you know). Rob stopped her. He kind of shouted at her, but not at all rudely. "Could you PLEASE check hers again, it doesn't seem right."

She stopped. She checked mine, she actually looked at me for a minute in surprise. I can't forget that look... actually it wasn't surprise, it was more like a look of how-can-any-employee-be-so-incompetent.
It wasn't locked.

She fixed mine, checked Esha's, started to move off, then stopped and checked Rob's. His was worse than mine. Neither properly clicked in nor locked.

Within seconds we were off. If you're not familiar, the seats tilt forward so you are flying under the railing of the coaster. You do loops on your back, and see the ground the whole way around. It's incredible. I love that ride. We survived...and Esha declared that one more scary than Batman.

The girls played in the water park, we rode a few more things...I felt hot and rather ill for a bit and lay on my back on the rock wall by the carousel, but all in all we had a really fun day! I'm honored to be a special "Aunt" to Rob's precious girls.

But I can't let the happy outcome fool me.
I am well aware that theme parks as a whole are very safe. Hundreds of thousands go each year and very few get killed. I'm not saying this is an unsafe ride. I've ridden it many times. Non fatal injuries are actually much higher than you might think at theme parks, but driving a car isn't all that safe, either.

But Superman isn't an ordinary coaster, where you have a seat. You are only, and I mean only, held in by the lapbar/headrest.

that picture isn't even in the fully tilted position. It goes more horizontal yet.

The proportion of the disaster that might have occurred is kind of staggering. I was not locked in. Rob was in an even worse position. You like to think that engineers build in failsafes...I'd like to think that it would have been okay...but, I just know that it would not have.
The ride is designed to be safe if you are locked in. You're supposed to be practically immobilized. The gravitational forces are carefully balanced. You aren't supposed to be able to flop like a ragdoll. Your harness is not supposed to withstand the strain of the forces while unlocked, leaving you with the potential to fly off the ride...

How would things have been different had I not been there, had I not gone with them? Maybe they wouldn't have ridden Superman at all. Or maybe they would have and Rob would have suffered something dreadful. I don't know. I can't know. But here is what I do know...

Something put an unusual fear in me about that trip to Six Flags, odd for a former employee and long time season pass holder. Something told me to go even though I was worried. But I didn't save anyone.
Rob saved me. It was he who insisted she check my harness. He didn't ask her to check his at all.
He asked her to check mine.
Luckily she checked his as well.

There are things you just know. You have no doubt about them. I know a tragedy was averted yesterday.
Why did it have to happen just as it did? I don't have the answer. I hope as Rob thinks about it...maybe he will know the answer for him. Maybe something from the past has just been erased, or fixed. Maybe some Karma from ancient life is healed. My sister, who was married to Rob, believed that Rob was our Grandfather reincarnated. I always rolled my eyes at that, honestly...but Rob's birthday is the exact same day our Grandfather died in WWII (day, not year.) Who am I to say? I think I know what my beloved Dr. Libby would say...

It doesn't matter at all. I know that Rob saved my life yesterday.
I thank you. I'm sure my sons thank you. I'm glad you were safe, too.

One last strange thing...That song, How to Save a Life, was released in 2006, and was nominated for song of the year, I think. I fell in love with the Fray and am still a big fan, though their popularity has waned. MJL thinks all their songs sound the same. Maybe I'll see if I can bring him around! But the first time I heard the song, it reminded me of a huge hit from a few years earlier, by Five for Fighting. If you listen to the refrains of both songs, you can hear a very similar note progression. It happens a lot in rock music...and have you ever seen that comedian who does the hilarious bit about Pachabel's Canon?? You'll probably recognize the song now...it's called Superman.
I had it attached by youtube removed it. Oh well. It's a great song anyway.



Monday, June 11, 2012

On Reasoning

I long for the days when people stopped to understand the meaning of the words they use. Are most people even aware anymore of the difference between the denotation and the connotation of a word? Our language as it is used is becoming so imprecise that I'm finding it more and more difficult to interpret what anyone says to me.

Casual conversations go on all the time, and I recognize that many conversations do not have to be parsed or any underlying meaning looked for, but important conversations consisting of important thoughts and emotions should have a precision to their words. If one's thoughts are significant enough that they need to be understood...or in the vernacular, if you "really want someone to know where you are coming from", why would one not use the most apt and applicable words? To that end, then, why don't people know the meaning and the possible implied meanings of what they are saying????

It's just a thought process I'm going through as I ponder the fact that "a reason" and "a defense" are not at all the same thing. You can have a valid reason that you did something, or made some decision, that is completely indefensible. (Or at least mostly indefensible.) You can provide a reason that is unreasonable!

Sir, why did you kill your wife?
Because I thought her fake eyelashes were gross.

Well, he certainly provided a reason for killing his wife. But he did not provide any sort of defense.
I am also pondering the fact that many people become what most term "defensive," when asked to provide a "reason."
To be asked to explain or elucidate one's reason for any action or decision is not the same as being challenged.
Inquiring as to someone's reasoning is not inherently an "offense."
Do you see what that means? People constantly go on the defense when they are questioned...at all.
By taking the defensive position they are saying, "You have offended me with your question about my reason, or my reasoning."
There is an underlying jump made that the person asking for the reason is passing judgement, or is about to pass judgement, or that it is a judgement in itself just to be asked what your reasoning was.

To understand each other as human beings, we must be able to understand each others' reasons and reasoning. For someone to ask you for your reasons or reasoning is the branch they are handing you, whether it is a slim twig or a beautiful extended olive branch. It is your opportunity to help them understand you. Is that not what we all want? To be understood??

Someone tell me how this horrible American cultural trait of (as I see it) extreme defensiveness can possibly foster understanding between anyone?
I believe that it is most often not the questioner who is being "offensive." It is the answerer's defensiveness that is actually offensive, and usually escalates the issue into a conflict.
There is a lot to be said about "tone of voice." I know that. It's a big issue. But that issue is layered on top of the issue I am discussing. When someone asks you to explain your reason for something, they are seeking to understand something. They are seeking to understand you...in a direct and personal manner...at the core.

I'm hoping people will think about this, as I am. Pondering how we got this way?? Wild West type stuff- "Bold American spirit" brooks no questions? Is it too much testosterone as in a macho attitude? Is it not even American, as I suggest? Is it poor parenting?

I suggest a link to parenting styles for several reasons. One possible thought is that parents who do not explain their reasoning to their children (as in "because I said so") rob their children of the chance to see adult thought processes in action (hopefully good ones.) Guy lead to me listen to "Outliers," by Malcolm Gladwell on CD, and Gladwell speaks of a kind of parenting that leads to success. This style involves parents who lead their children to confidence and mature interactions by questioning their child's reasoning as a teaching opportunity, and also by prepping them before social interaction with their peers or adults in a kind of rehearsal. I'm reminded of Dr. Seuss' "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." The whole premise of that book is that the father asks the son to come home and describe for him what he saw on his trip from school. The boy imagines all sorts of fantastical things because he wants to impress his father. I remember vividly being questioned by my father, having logical and ethical dilemmas proposed which my sisters and I were expected to reason out or debate. My mom would join in with her reasoning. This is what we did on long car trips, or out to get pizza on Friday night.

In our house when Guy and Reid were growing up, we liked to play "Apples to Apples." It's a school age game that can be played by all ages. In the proper way to play it, there is a category card that the "chooser" for that round holds. Others have cards with various nouns, pop culture things, names, movie titles, concepts. Everyone chooses a card they think best matches the category. The chooser then looks through the pile of cards, not knowing which card was selected by whom, and picks a winner for that round, who then keeps that category card. That was just not satisfying enough for us. We changed the play so that the chooser would narrow down the field to two or three cards, then ask who submitted them, and give them a chance to defend their card. Everyone was playing from a pledge to show no favoritism, only the arguments held sway. Then the chooser would also explain their reasoning for choosing the card they did. Many of these tiny mock debates were hilarious, and they began to also take on an element of applying what you knew about that chooser for the round and what arguments or reasoning might sway them to choose your argument. After our style of play, none of us can sit and play the game the regular way...just too dull. My point is, it was all about how you thought and what you could reasonably explain to someone else. I think this is sorely lacking in household interaction in America.

Maybe it really is  just linked to our loss of the nuances of our language...when no one really thinks about these things any longer....
I choose to view any question asked of me as a chance to elucidate my point of view. If I don't like the tone of voice, I will likely comment on it, but still answer to the best of my ability.

Just don't ask me questions in the movies or at the theatre. Hahahahha. There I'm likely to whip out the can of snotty "hush yo' mouth." If you aren't sure what that is, just ask!! 

Black Cherry

Where I came from
we called the West wind,
called it by name.
It blew when we sang,
It ceased when we whispered.
Our fires rose in delicate, hungry sheets
and silenced themselves to cherry-pitted coals,
for nothing defied us.

Even the light bent my way,
muted, tangled...rustic,
though nothing tasted much,
but the wine and herbs-
it was enough.

My green eyes may turn blue-black,
making love in complete darkness,
fulfilling shocks of silence
witness no ravages,
save these few
I bear with pride.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Meeting for Coffee

Ashton lost her nerve in the instant that boy looked at her.
Coffee spills precisely at the wrong moment, every time...
Her jimmies were rustled, and no speech would come to her
with a mouth dry like a deadly spoonful of cinnamon.

He was talking politics and persuasion,
taller than tall really needed to be,
whiter, too, but he sounded black for some odd reason,
every few words or so...but what a vocabulary.
He looked like an angel; he looked like a slacker.
He looked dedicated and faithful; he looked a bit spoiled,
His smile was enchanting, his speech was disarming,
She handed over his coffee.
It was just what he ordered, 
One last look and she turned away, done and dusted,

But his was a wistful look at her back,
and hers was a wistful look at his, too...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Poppies to Prayers

Today I bought myself some flowers, because...well...yeah.

Cost?  $6.98   value- a lot more than that.

This Waterford vase is nearing 5 years old. It came with an arrangement from my Mother's funeral, so 
it brings me a warm feeling every time I use it. 

Maybe people would be happier if they gave up the extra 12 pack of soda in their cart and bought themselves some flowers instead...just a thought.


Fraction of Poppies

Once I was sure where the decimal point should be placed,
casually jotted among the roses, or to make a bold point in the delphinium,
but in any instance, the dividing mark between dollars and cents,
fractions and wholes,
was vividly and persuasively expressed; the register counted clean at the end of the shift,
and everything was accounted for.

Now I find I lose a dollar here and there,
pennies rolling this way and that, falling into cracked peppercorn plants,
to blossom copper-colored in the fall with the Autumn Joy sedum, 
and I am not sure if I am half-way there or if indeed I have lost a quarter,
My stride across the pasture lengthens with the sunset, for 
I must cross this field before the ratio of poppies to prayers
outstrips me.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ripening

I wish we could remember learning things for the first time
like what to call an apple and how to remember the taste as
unlike anything else, what gets confusing is all the moments that feel 
the same
but they are not.
Go back and start again, yet like I cannot remember where this path 
began, it's been so long and 
I have known what an apple is for as long as I have known myself,
how now
to decide, to relearn
that an apple is a pear after all, 
that even fallen fruit makes wine, and
where the strength comes from to wait through heavy hushed summer
until this is ripe.

Georgia Renaissance Fest Pics

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since we went to the Ren Fest. And now I'm back from New Orleans for Memorial Day holiday weekend...and Monday will be full moon in Sagittarius, my sign!

My last landlord is suing me/or I'm suing her/or I'm not completely sure...but she is suing the management company that she hired, (which is her sister)- who never caused me one problem...so I will be a party to that suit on the side of the management company. This is a big ole mess hanging over my head.

Things in my new place are fine, though. The owner got the power outlets and the doorbell fixed. Now I can plug things in on the counter finally. So, Ren Fest....

It was really warm this year. Not ridiculously hot like New Orleans, but it was hot. The black wings absorbed a surprising amount of heat, and transmitted to my person. So if you think I was a hot fairy...hahhahaha, you are correct. Grace looked ethereal, as expected. She positively glowed, evincing the perfect fairy mien.

There were, sadly, not many fairies in attendance. Just a trifle few, and a couple of tiny fairies in training. Here is a group shot. My dilemma as to what sort of fairy I was continues...nothing certain emerged...but based on this picture, I'd have to say "Fairy Barbie." Not what I was going for! I need to work on that. The later pictures that Guy took for me are much better. The Lord Mayor counted and tagged Grace as a woodland fairy. I noticed one of his categories was butterfly fairy. Based upon the shape of my wings, I may be a butterfly fairy and only becoming self-actualized now. Giggle


Guy's special gift for Grace was this custom made bow and arrows. Every part was hand crafted by Guy. I can't even describe the workmanship or effort, but seriously, his workmanship on the bow and on his chain maille garnered far more attention than did Grace and I!! (note to self...don't invite Guy next year) hahahha

I should have gotten some closeups of the bow, which he made of Red Oak. Several serious craftsmen stopped him to have detailed conversations about how he crafted it. It was the first one he ever made, and there was some jealously I must say, that he could make something so finely done on his first try.

You would just have to know Guy for this to make sense. There isn't a lot he cannot make.

I know where I'm going if there is an apocalypse.
Actually, between Guy and Reid (adding in his physics and quick grasp of things like mechanics and thermodynamics) they are sort of like the Professor on Gilligan's Island. I think they could make a coconut water treatment facility and pumping station....

more pictures, you say??

Ok, but now...see how it is...he gives her a beautiful bow, and what does she do with it?

Uh-oh!!!!!  I'm thinking she is going to catch him!!








I was right. I'm not sure which one is getting the better deal here. Equally matched!!









I have tried multiple ways to make this picture turn the right way, and none work. I think it is a blogger problem today. It has happened before, and later I was able to resolve.

Sadly, Barbie Butterfly fairy does not have a bow for catching the unsuspecting...but fairies have always had their ways, have they not?  

 Seriously, watch out for the fairies....

However, a more pleasant fate might be hard to find.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Fairy Wing Design

You can see the design process here. Check out how dreadful they looked to start with.
I got them after last Halloween for five dollars. I could see why they were rejected...the paint job was really poor. And they were ugly, too!

I started by overspraying them with "oil-rubbed bronze" paint. Then layers and layers of iridescent paint, glitter paint, and glitter gels, all applied by hand. Both sides are done to the same finish. So far, I have in about 24 hours of work. The last thing remains to be finished, which is an aqua tulle glittered bow in the middle with a black feather and aurora borealis gem center.

I work slowly, waiting for things to dry, and also letting the design develop as I walk away and come back to gain new perspective. The flame inspiration on the upper wings came from Guy.

I have two different fairy dresses I have to choose from. Whichever one I don't choose will become a new mermaid costume for Dragon Con in the Fall. More pics to come from the Ren Fest!!!

Solar Eclipse

Here on the East coast, north of Atlanta, we may see a short bit of the big solar eclipse before it sinks behind the horizon. On the West coast, there are large viewing parties...in Colorado they are trying to fill a stadium to break a record. They have sole over 39k pair of viewing glasses. I read they are made of number 14 welder's glass.

This is all part and parcel with the SuperMoon of two weeks back. Now the supermoon has reached its apogee, so it is blocking the sun with its Superness!!

I'm rather excited even though I won't see much, or maybe any, of the eclipse (I'd have to find a clear view of the Western horizon.) because tomorrow we are going to the Renaissance Fest for our annual trek into the land of knights and fairies. I've been working on my new wings for over a week.

This weekend at the Renaissance Fest is Fantasy Weekend.

I am not feeling particularly eloquent today; I'm sorry.

I have been to Ren Fests in...oh...let's see...
California, Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia and Tennesee.
Oh! And Oklahoma! The famous (infamous? lol) Castle at Muskogee.

I think Georgia has the nicest permanent set-up. Wisconsin was also an excellent Fest.

My only complaint about the one in Georgia is that
the food vendors are getting a bit "carny" in their selection and presentation.

For some reason it makes me think of the trip Guy, Reid and I took last summer to Universal Studios to visit Hogwarts. I had a blast. Just enjoyed the heck out of it. Especially the Three Broomsticks was spot on. We all thought the Butterbeer was gross. But I could drink gallons of the "pumpkin juice." (was a pumpkin/apple cider concoction).

Last year, you may recall, at the Ren fest, I was a woodland fairy. This year (I'm so excited!!) Guy's gorgeous girlfriend, Grace, is wearing my woodland wings with her take on the woodland costume (she is getting a big surprise extra from Guy for her costume...I'll post lots of pics). I'm trying to decide what to call the kind of fairy I am this year. Hmmm...maybe a water fairy? My dress is teal and my wings black, red, and teal.

We shall be the belles of the ball, I have no doubt. I've already warned Guy that he will have to be chief photographer and cannot balk no matter how many pictures I require. I'm hoping I can get a big group shot with a lot of other Fairies!! 

The weather is supposed to be perfect tomorrow, and the magical eclipse will be "on the horizon," so to speak.

Re-Queue-sition

Well, today I learned that I can't post from my Kindle Fire while staying in bed. It decided to reformat my post. Queue was supposed to be a short poem...  it even autocorrected the title!

Queue

In the box of numbers I stole
From its perch on the gas station sign,
Was the letter Q.
What else can one do,
But draw a line in the sand,
for others to stand behind.

Please get in line,
and do take a number. 

Que

In the box of numbers I stole From its perch on the gas station sign, Was a letter Q. What else can one do, But draw a line in the sand, for others to stand behind. Please get in line... And do take a number.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lily Pad

If I am out of earshot, past what you mayhaps will call me,
between one sun and the next- arrives the Scorpio moon.
Morn finds you chasing a fairy, the last of my kind that will fall, free,
Scraping dead coals into ashes, looking for strains of my tune...

It isn't the season for dirges, the lilies aren't blooming quite right,
Did I lose all my reason to urges, was it a mistake to alight?

Tiny Cubes

Possessions forward themselves readily to a new location,
Chairs arrange themselves in proper relation to friends and tables,
Furniture does not look lost,
or forlorn; it all finds a place and nestles into the carpet,
breathing in the new air,
hoping for new acquaintances, happy to welcome...
happy to be.

You can put your heart,
all the wee droplets of what you feel,
and even more, all the dreams you crush inside into tiny cubes
to stack behind the wall of beating heart muscle...
You can bring that to your new home,
hiding it again behind the many pillows,
slicing things thinly to fit between the soft sheets,
all that will come with you,
It just takes a bit more strength and,
you can't hire handy help to move your dreams.

But you can't make anyone else
move their heart into your home.
It isn't within your power to play treasure hunt behind their pillows,
What they feel in rainbowing arcs as the droplets hit the sun,
is not printed in a graphic novel, that makes it all clear,
instead is washed across the pavement like a chalk drawing 
after a thunderstorm...in colors you're not sure you even see.
And what their dreams are you don't know,
Only yours in tiny cubes,
making a home again.






Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MI / Orchid

Jack lacked a reason,
or perhaps lacking reason entirely
he found himself on a rooftop 
littered with evidence of
his inexplicable failure to commit
at key points in his life.
Under the sky, burning hot with the gasses
produced by myriad prejudices and simple distastes,
he sweated a decision,
asked himself ten questions repeatedly,
with three question marks each,
as if he could text or telegraph himself into the future,
the after, the whatever.
This time he stepped up to bat, 
decisions made in the past left passed, 
determined to act,
but his heart wasn't in it after all.

Even the paramedics who covered his face
carried him off the roof 
with a shade of disgust
called orchid.

Inchworm

Spring looks like everything
a puddle, a mess, explosions and leftovers
that didn't get used the year before.
Tempting fate and fashion,
she drags out that same green dress,
yellow handbag, phlegmatic temperament.
Men like Spring better,
they suffer more in the grey
when white leaves of frosted paradise
cloak women in halos and fur.
The plow calls to you, doesn't she?
Great and honest desire to make something.
Ask her to prom, ask her to dance,
before she leaves you again.

Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day- Go Blue!

today is World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2012.

Great monuments of the world will be lit up blue tonight, and you may see people wearing blue all day, or their Autism puzzle t-shirts. You can learn more at www.lightitupblue.org

The pictures alone are worth a check out. the Christ statue in Brazil looks incredible all in blue.

Autism is still very much a mystery with few answers, but there is no question that autism is on the rise, some say to epidemic proportions. We all need to care enough to be "aware" on this issue. These kinds of campaigns have changed the way we see and approach subjects like AIDS and breast cancer. Can you remember when
women who had had mastectomies were ashamed, told no one, or felt less than human and feminine?

Many parents of children with autism don't have the kind of support that friends and community should be giving them...and it only takes one thing- a small effort to educate oneself so that you can empathize. Almost nothing is more helpful than being understood. Even money cannot replace understanding.

Thanks for taking time to think about this, and pay attention if you see World Autism Awareness on the TV, news or web today.  Awareness never happens overnight, and sometimes it takes a long time. Colored ribbons and car decals may seem trivial, but it's never about the small battles- it's about winning the awareness war. Awareness creates significance, and significance creates support for research and brings true progress.

My mom graduated from University of Michigan, so it's always easy for me to say, especially today...GO BLUE!!!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Asclepius' Raised Eyebrow

Wisdom may not belong to one man, one person...
although it seems to spring whole from their head like Athena,
seems to be a gift, a long-spun collection of thread snippets
twisted together over years into a skein, on into a sleeve or a cowl
until they coalesce into a garment of benign protection.
It grows but does no harm.

What we may have thought was stunted and scorched,
beyond regeneration, plucked into submission and
so acutely colored as to be beyond camouflage,
that there is no way we might have missed the reemergence
for it would stand out like a goose among swans,
reasserts its life nevertheless,
never can we say what is gone, what is dead...
we have no power over the destruction of energy, or matter,
only a responsibility,
to weed, to hoe, to cherish.
After that it is out of our hands.


With the wisdom I have knitted in these years, I can say
welcome April Fools, you always have a home here,
gather on my porch and share my coat.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Year of the Cat

this was a day she changed things, you know...
"on a morning from a Bogart movie,"
side streets pop up like tickets to other dimensions
minutes there just seconds here,
one can slide in and out of this life
either clean or wistful,
She said to herself-
even if I lose I will not cheat,
the roulette is round, God damn it, it comes back around every time,
even if I lose something significant,
I will mark this side trek with strands from my head and broken twigs
like in Last of the Mohicans,
and someone will say to me, "I will find you."
It is inevitable, so I'm taking the paths that smell delicious,
not the ones that look safe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Watch

things come back
when you open your mind to them,
even when you're sure you searched there before.
things come back
that you didn't even know were real things,
like self-assurance, and safety,
knowing you are loved even when you are so confused
and freedom that is real, not a word you have to steal.
things come back
when you let it be okay
that someone knows you,
"I give you peace, My Peace I give you..."
because what is there worth hiding if you
can't sleep for the secrets under the pillow.
things come back
you never even had to start with,
like security, and things come back you can't ignore...
your intuition, that is is well, that things are Breit
and Time is now your friend.

for Arthur :-)   Ash Wednesday, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Taxing

I'm fairly pathetic.
Yesterday's little foray into wonderland and the world of what might be should I smoke the magic hookah, or drink the tiny bottle of elixir with the tag on it...
Yeah, whatever.
If I were a man I think I might say I have no...yeah those.

I say...oooh, I could be bad. Then I spend the next day...
having an awesome conversation with my former financial adviser and friend,
having dinner and great elucidative conversation with my son, Reid,
spending hours doing taxes,
balancing three checkbooks,
dealing with Reid's social security,
then studying and making drug cards....on a Friday night.

What a rebel. Look at her go, folks!
I remember when I moved back to Georgia...I said...I'm going to start a new life as a Dominatrix.
I think I've mentioned this before.
My friends died laughing.
Pathetic.


I'm already thinking about my DragonCon costumes for next year...
one is  Kermit the Frog.
Hope I pull that off! I found a kelly green dress for five dollars yesterday to work with and cut up.
Do they make Kermit green fishnet hose?  I think they make everything...
I really need to get out more.
There's a Salsa Dancing Mardi Gras party tomorrow night.

There is nothing like doing taxes to make you feel ANYTHING but "bad girl."
I'm feeling both pathetic and whiney. Lucky you.

with Brian the dog...ette!

Here's my take on Little Red Riding Hood from last year's DragonCon. Possibly "sweet" is just inescapable for me. Can't wait to hear what Ali has to say...she is saddled with the sweet curse, too. Maybe if I dye my hair black?? SIGH....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Neither Was Alice

Do we all reach a point where it seems that being "good" isn't getting us anywhere?
I'm feeling that way right now.
Now, it will never be part of my agenda to be impolite or cruel. It will never be my plan to cheat someone, or cheat at school, or steal.
I don't really think I will become unfriendly, or unhelpful...

But that leaves a lot.

If the ones who are bad, even horrible...
get the preferential treatment...
if they get chosen time and time again,
if their unending demands and needs get met...
maybe they know something I don't. Seems like it.

I have no interest in becoming as they are.
Wouldn't happen anyway. If I were capable of being as they are, maybe I would be already...
I don't know how that works.
I'm just thinking maybe I don't understand how a lot of things work.

But I could figure out how to be bad. I'm sure I could.
I've stuck my toe in the water a few times.. It's an option.
Anyone want to hop on the bad girl bus with me?
nardack.deviantart.com
I'm not even sure where it goes...but neither was Alice.
Look what a wild adventure she had.

Could it really be that much more painful?
You know...being bad looks painful. It looks
like it sucks. But if it sucks, why are so many people
doing it?

Like I said....just a thought.
And I suspect no one would even care.