Life of an Imperial Barbarian
|Basileus Basileon Basileuon Basileonton|
|Apr. 20th, 2014 @ 09:14 am It's the little things|
Current Location: dinning room tableSome posts out of order because I've been overly social and then overly sick.
Current Mood: contemplative
Current Music: suspicious silence
A few days ago I decided to get Sera out for a walk, as my most feral child hates being cooped up in the house and I cannot be long away from the computer for ever growing work detail. I had decided she needed chalk for the driveway and we needed a color kit for Easter eggs. Both, I figured, could be obtained at the CVS a few blocks away since I couldn't - strangely enough - find any at the Jewel last I was there.
A short walk and back and a box of big blocky sidewalk chalk for Sera. Nine colors. I presume the big and blocky had more to do with providing substantial amounts for excessive drawing rather than bulky for awkward toddler hands, but whatever. At a mere $5, I though the deal fair. After all, it was a substantial amount of chalk. It amused me, as I carried Sera home (she can walk as far as CVS, but not all the way back) that in the few moments of childhood the I could stand touching chalk (which was not often) I bemoaned we never had colored chalk. Mom would have no problem buying us the white stuff, but the colored stuff was always "too expensive".
Too expensive. What sort of penny pinching childhood we had that a few extra cents was too damn much?
A quick trip to Amazon shows that the price difference between white stick chalk and colored stick chalk (not the bulky bricks I bought) is a mere three pennies. Okay, okay - I'm also looking back some thirty years and maybe there was a bigger price gap back then for whatever manufacturing reasons in the early 80's, but then you could also probably get a box of chalk for 50 cents. If not less.
It makes me wonder, am I better off than my parents were (current economy notwithstanding) that I can buy $5 chalk for my daughter and have it last barely a week (Liam ground down the red the moment he got home)? Or am I relentlessly financially irresponsible that I would drop $5 on colored chalk that lasts barely a week? Possibly I am both and we'd even more financially secure if I didn't buy $5 chalk?
Whichever it is, $5 seems a small amount to pay to have a few days of scribbling, even if it does mean that Liam grinds down colors just to see how fast they grind away.
|Apr. 9th, 2014 @ 08:38 am That was odd|
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: weird
Current Music: Sera singing
Woke up this morning with my dreams scattering like fog and confetti with no clear memory of what happened.
|Apr. 3rd, 2014 @ 08:56 pm Ex libris ad nauseum|
Current Location: dinning room tableI hate school book fairs.
Current Mood: demoralized
Current Music: suspicious silence
There. I said it.
I'm pretty sure in some super seekrit cult of the Library of Alexandria, I just had my membership revoked.
As an avid reader myself, someone who would in moments of literary desperation find herself reading the ingredients on her toothpaste tube for just a glimpse of the printed word, I feel as if I have just mouthed rank heresy.
But they're annoying as fuck.
The boys do have some small amount of purchasing power. There are enough holiday and birthday cards scattered through out the year that they generally have a twenty in their wallet for events such as theses - so I am inclined to allow them some measure of within-reason-independent choice. Given that Liam weeps and carries on as if he was walking the Stations of the Cross every time I make him do his 20 minutes of reading homework, the fact that he anticipates Book Fair day with the throat punching anticipatory enthusiasm of his own birthday makes absolutely no sense. Why buy books if you're not going to read them? Or be resentful of the fact I make you read them? Xander loves book fairs, but considering he's the type to carry a book wherever he goes in case he gets bored and can read for five minutes, I'm not so bothered by his carrying on and counting down the days until book fair.
But book fairs are like the fast food of book stores. Sure, Scholastic has a collection of some good kid titles - the Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious, all the Wimpy Kids and Big Nate, or the big hits like Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. You know what else they have a lot of? All the Lego books. They're basically big dictionaries of Lego sets that you'll never collect in your life time because they're either a hundred bucks a shot or they only made them for one year and now out of production. Possibly they were never even sold in this country. I feel there's a difference of getting a book that gives diagrams and specs of every ship found in the Star Wars universe and a book of all the Star Wars Legos that ever existed.
You know what else they have? Books about Minecraft. Books about Skylanders. Books that detail every item or person or thing or upgrade or mystic power that could possibly be obtained. I'm less bothered by Skylanders - there's actually a mythos and plot going on there, but as I asked the boys - "You already have all the upgrades on all the characters you have, why get a book that tells you about them?" I mean, the way the boys play, they've unlocked all the upgrades practically the first day they own the new figures. Not a whole lot of mystery for the ones they have, just the ones they don't. I only manged to talk Xander out of a game book today. Liam got one and then was butthurt that it only talked about two of the eight Skylander elements and I told him that it was to make you buy all the books. I never understood why - when they started the Final Fantasy franchise a life time ago - why you needed a cheat manual, something that gave you where the stuff was hidden, what powers you needed, and the most effective combat armor. I mean, wasn't that the whole point of the video game? To play through and to find all the things.
So what happens when we go to these goddamn book fairs is that I get accosted by every Teacher, Teacher Aid, and Mom Volunteer on the way to the fair to ask if I'm there for whatever other program they might be hosting at the school and when I say no, did I want to be part of whatever other activity they have going on, not hesitating to mention whatever food/craft bribe they have for the kids. I actually interrupted a lady (who was blocking the hallway so the kids couldn't get past her) "Look, I'm just here for the book fair" as she was trying to lure us all into another classroom for some sort of Junior Volunteer Police thing.
Then I end up in a gym where kids are using it as an excuse to run around like maniacs instead of perusing the meager bookshelves and its echoing in my head like a mortar attack. Oh hell no, you wanted some fucking books, you get your ass over here and pick out some fucking books and no, Liam, you can't have one of each of the cheap-ass tchotchkes they pile up near the register because you don't need another dozen novelty pens/erasers/key chain doo-dads/posters. We're here for books. You want a book? We buy books. You want cheap vendo-land crap that you're going to forget about and ignore up until the moment I try to throw it away/put it in the Goodwill bag? I'm saving myself the head ache later by having one now when you cry that you can't get get another cheap fanboy wristband for some tween actor on a show I won't even let you watch.
Then comes the trying to keep track of three kids, one of them inclined to wander off or rip open something she wants, negotiating with boys on what books I don't want them to buy for being a waste of money, and then fielding whatever random mom who wants to make the chit-chat small talk about the kids or whatever small inane thing moms accidentally sharing the same social niche talk about. I get it. Trust me I do. You're probably up to your eyeballs all day with the kids and here's your chance for adult interaction. So. Not. Interested. To busy for pleasantries. I wish we were a bi-lingual house (not Spanish) so I could pretend to not be able to speak English so no one would want to try to chat me up. It would be more polite than wearing a shirt saying "Don't fucking talk to me" to a grade school event.
Maybe every time they have a book fair, I should just take them to a real bookstore instead.
|Mar. 31st, 2014 @ 05:44 pm That was nae so bad.|
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Radioactive by Imagine Dragon
We just had Regional A&S here in our Barony. For the non-Scadian - think of it as Science Fair. Each state in our kingdom (IL, IN, OH, MI) runs an art/science competition and the best in the region (state) goes on to compete at the Kingdom level at Crown Tourney (an event that happens every spring/fall). It was sorta a last minute kind of event and one that our Baroness wasn't totally unhappy to have to host it. We're far from the unofficial capital and so any event held out this way gets very little attention and we don't often get the "important" events. Moderate turn out for a fringe territory with no royals attending (royals = rock stars who bring in the crowds), but it was a very nice event. I had been asked by our most gracious Baroness to teach and so I sketched out three classes and then turned to the Regional A&S Officer (who's in charge of running these kind of events) to inform him. However, he said don't teach, since I'm Baronial A&S officer, I needed to be his minion/deputy for the event. Oh, okay.
This was not what I expected. There was a tiny kitchen off to the side and I idly wondered if I left a fiver on the counter as a donation to the good reverends (fathers?) if they would mind over much if I helped myself and my students to a pot of coffee. I felt like maybe I needed to have a platter of cheese and other snackables for anyone who might show. Poshy digs like this are normally reserved for royalty rooms. I probably rated only because there was no royalty, but the fact I rated at all was rather flattering. I had plenty of room for myself and my anticipated two students. ;)
|Mar. 31st, 2014 @ 03:32 pm And so it begins|
Current Location: dinning room tableI found myself wandering to the basement at some point - probably for the endless ritual of laundry and saw Xander standing in the middle of the room with the Xbox controller in his hands. It is an amusing effect of the video games - all the boys start on the couch and as they get more emotionally vested in the happenings - they stand and eventually migrate closer and closer to the screen, until they're clustered around the flat panel like moths to a flame, frantically mashing buttons and yelling.
Current Mood: uneasy
Current Music: the wind, she blows
At any rate - despite the cool weather (and the basement is always a good 20 degrees cooler than outside until about July or so) - Xander was there shirtless for being too hot. I would think if he'd stop wearing the stocking cap, he wouldn't be overheating, but what do I know about anything?
I was struck, momentarily, about how wide his shoulders were. He'd always been a little broader in the shoulders than one would expect of a child, signifying potential growth much in the way a puppy's over sized feet would indicate the massive dog he might one day become. Prior to this event, my sister had seen a photo of Xander at the Blue & Gold Cub Scout event and was shocked at what a little man he had become. Seeing as how Katie doesn't see the boys on a daily basis, I believe her when she notices "sudden" changes. I suppose that seeing him shirtless and yelling at Minecraft was when I finally picked up on it. I could see the Polli behemoth that he might evolve into. I always expected Xander would get Jimm's height - there is too much Polli in him for him to be a short Matras or an even shorter Martin. But Jimm's brothers are wide as well as tall and I never thought much of him being turning into the full on Urukai. I suppose this was my warning.
He's been pushing for playing football. I am concerned about long term injury. More crippling knee issues than repetitive blunt force trauma to the head, but that's my secondary concern. Only marginally am I worried about him joining Jock Culture where footballers are kings and awful behavior is permitted. Girl jock culture was a little different in my oblivious experience, so I have only the usual cliched high school frame of reference. Also, since soccer was one of my many interests not my life, I probably was not as prone to the tribal be-part-of-it-at-any-cost mindset as some others. Looking back on it, the swim/dive teams were way more sorority hazing than soccer.
But, perhaps with that burly promise I should not be so a-feared of football. I would rather him play soccer because I played soccer and thus I enjoy watching it and know what's going on. Football takes too goddamn long with all the lining up and talking and negotiating. Like get out there, grab the ball, and run like a mutherfucker. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars he's got no interest in baseball.
|Mar. 25th, 2014 @ 06:01 pm I don't remember signing up for this|
Current Location: dinning room tableI passed on the puppy.
Current Mood: put-upon
Current Music: Freedom! by George Michael
It killed me. He was so. goddamn. cute. I was fully aware this would end up my dog and I was planning on going forward with that in mind. However, Adult Responsibility reared its ugly head and I wrote the shelter that I wanted to come visit the puppies, but since I couldn't commit, I shouldn't go. I hope that it doesn't blackball me in the future from potentially adopting from them. They're one of the few shelters that doesn't get fucking insane in regards to their questionnaire, hopefully meaning they're not run by a bunch of insane Smeagle type freaks where nothing is good enough for their precious.
I'm feeling quite butthurt about it. Not even the consolation prize of feel-good done-right grown-upness.
Not even a sticker.
So now its Spring Break and I get to figure out how to balance Phone Work with demanding children and getting this house in some semblance of order. Was going through a plan in my head on the type of schedule I should implement to get a little at a time done every day in a rolling-ball kind of fashion. If dog is ever on the plan for these kids before the boys up and leave the nest, things need to start now. Somehow. Its not the cost keeping me from a dog now. The aggravation of keeping everything shipshape.
I'm really thinking of just not doing fuck or all for the rest of the week, but I know how quickly the house will fall apart if I do that.
I need to get back to the tapestry now that my sister did a drive-by the other day to draw me up three more panels. In an unprecedented move, I have skipped over year 41 for lack of any concrete story and will start in on 42 until I can decided on an image. I have no doubt this is how the last ten will be finished - slightly out of order as I race the clock.
|Mar. 22nd, 2014 @ 09:04 am Leveling Up|
Current Location: dinning room tableI am contemplating complicating my life.
Current Mood: quixotic
Current Music: We Can't Stop by Miley Cyrus
I know, I'm an idiot.
The kids want a dog. They really want a dog. Cousin Patrick bringing his/girlfriend's puppy to Thanksgivanukha didn't help. Terry & Terry bringing their boxer every Thanksgiving doesn't help. Of course, my sister's little furbaby doesn't help either.
I love dogs. Specifically, I loved Renegade. I was only home for two years with him as he found me the summer after my high school graduation. In talking with Amy and the notion that I should wait until Seraphina is the same age as either of the boys before actually investing in a pet. The theory, of course, being that they would be old enough to care for themselves as well as an animal. However, if I wait until Sera is 10 before we get a dog then Xander is 17 and on the cusp of leaving the house (overlooking for the moment that the economy is encouraging pre-WWII family living situations). That shocked both Amy and I with a "holy fuck Xander will be an adult in less than a decade?!?" That is decidedly unfair to Xander who so desperately wants a pet. More than his brother. Probably more than me.
I'm slightly afraid of getting a dog for the tear-inducing probability that I will one day have to put him down. I still cry when I remember putting down Renegade. That was 11 years ago. April 11th, 2003. Loosing him was like loosing the babies. Going through it all again (either loss) would be more awful for anticipating it. I would rather have a baby than a dog, quite honestly. It is a notion that my Judgmental Career Childless Pet Owning friends scoff at. A pet is so much easier, a child is a chore which is why the chose not to have any. Well yes, if we had no kids a dog would be much easier. First for the extra money to kennel it when we went on long trips. Ma Polli will not watch a dog. My mother will. She watches Peanut when Katie & Fabry go out of state. But kids and a dog is a different level of chaos. I think my mother would rather I have another baby.
I stay home from a lot of SCA events because Kid Activities + Fight Club as it is. Adding a dog to that mix? Even if the site allows it (like some camp grounds) now we have to pack gear and kids and dog and dog gear? A trailer is on the eventual plan just for our stuff as a necessity. Dog makes it extra necessity.
Summer is coming (theoretically) and it was advised that's the best time to adopt under the theory the schedule is less demanding and the kids are home to help. Our summers are way to chaotic with swim lessons, Boy Scout Camp and the few SCA events we do as a family. Plus my plan for a week long trip to the E. Coast. Granted, Jimm will be home that week and my trip is projected to overlap a weekend so it would only be a couple days the puppy would be home alone all day. I don't know what to do about the three weekends that we're suppose to go camping. I know that Border Skirmish had dogs last year (the kids couldn't leave them alone). A puppy could ride on Xander's lap this year. Next year when it's nearly full grown? Maybe I'll have to start trading dog sitting with my sister.
There's a possibly that this highly and completely irresponsible. Financially we're on the edge of being able to do it. My modest income is starting to cut into the debt. Responsible Adult Carrot knows that I should just start dumping it all on credit card for as many months as I can before it starts becoming the Car Payment. There has to be a serious uptick in the state of this house from its perpetual teetering edge of dusty organized chaos. I think I'm fixating on the puppy as denial-fear for there never being a baby #4 as well as giving the kids that childhood pet that Jimm and I never got. A dog would forever be a baby, even when he's 14. The doc says there's no reason I couldn't have a #4 - baring age and continuing the trend I'm already on. No one takes miscarriages seriously until there's three in a row and since I started off with three with no complications, they already rule out all the problems any medical investigation would be looking for. Simply a matter of luck of the draw. A bad and very unusual luck of the draw what with the way my success vs failure lines up, but there it is. Meddling too much and the equation of ambitious science + last fertility surge before menopause could be that litter everyone jokes/fears. If I thought my Kid Intolerant friends were douche bags before, this would certainly winnow the friends list down a bit. After Jimm left me by the side of the road with a "free to a good home" sign around my neck.
Of course there's already a puppy I have my heart set on. I had thought to go with an older dog - already housebroken, already socialized, already partially trained. Border Collie, of course, 'cause they're smart (sometimes too smart) and smart dogs are preferable to dumb dogs even though the smart has its own draw backs. I hadn't even thought about looking at puppies because it is an added aggravation of training and chewing and peeing everywhere. I can barely potty train Seraphina right now. But its Springtime and the shelters are full of puppies now. This puppy is a Border Collie mix - part Blue Heeler. Blue Heelers are essentially the Border Collies of Austrailia. Bred to herd cattle - descended of some unremembered (to me) breed and Dingos. Yes, Dingos could eat my baby. It doesn't have the Border Collie coloring - but the weird spotted coloration of the Blue Heeler. I didn't think I'd find it cute (never much grooved on calico/piebald/non symmetrical color patterns) but I did. Everyone thinks it looks cute (except for Jimm - he called it a were-badger muppet) and at only 8 wks old, he's still got potential.
I still would rather have a baby. I'm starting to recognize this is a desperate substitute for my thwarted maternal impulses.
|Mar. 12th, 2014 @ 09:35 pm Remember once, remember twice|
Current Location: dinning room tableBecause I forgot write it down this morning, and then forgot to write it again when I was suddenly reminded - I dreamed I was going to be the President of the US. Like there I was, hanging out with Obama, learning the ropes and getting the tour. He seemed like a nice guy. I kept wanted to ask him what is he going to do with the rest of his life. What does an ex-President do with his life? Not like he can get a normal 9-5 with a Secret Service guy in his back pocket. What - go back to practicing law and have his bullet catcher be sitting on the bench with him while prosecuting a case? (I actually have no idea what kind of law he and the missus do). Most Presidents were so old that retiring seemed to be the thing to do.
Current Mood: distracted
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
I wasn't nervous about taking on the job, just didn't know when it was supposed to start.
|Mar. 12th, 2014 @ 04:19 pm Drifting|
Current Location: dinning room tableI find myself at loose ends right about now. Phone Boss is at a conference for the next two days, so I've only a few tasks set before me and to occasionally monitor the in-boxes. This free time will be short lived but I find I don't know what to do with it now that I have it, even though I've been wishing for it. I've been spending a lot of time on Minecraft beause it's mindless and takes up time. I recognize it for the the avoidance behavior it is. Despite not having a dishwasher and epic loads of laundry - I actually have downtime between waiting for the rack of dishes to dry and all the cycles to run through. That gives me enough time to dig down to a cave and find some iron ore. Or chop down an entire forest in prep for the next leg of my arduous blocky journey.
Current Mood: puzzled
Current Music: suspicious silence
I suppose I could just clean the house - there are pockets in sore need of de-grunging/organizing. I can't find the motivation for that sort of intangible reward. Not enough free time between kid-shifts for me to make headway on it and then it'll just annoy me that I have to put the project on pause.
I fished panel XL on my tapestry a few days ago. I'm not loving it. I'm not hating it. I don't think I feel anything for it now and I'm not sure if I've just hit true apathy or some Buddhist enlightenment. Aside from the pressure to find something for year 46, I don't know if I'm sweating anything at all. I just really want it to be done. I barely make twenty hits on my webpage when I post a finished panel. I think the rest of the Known World want it done as well so they can stop hearing me chatter about it. When the tapestry hit it's peak for people discovering it (and I'm still mildly boggled I run into people who've never heard of it) - there was routinely an avalanche of people going to see a finished year. Its very weird.
Anywhoo - Katie won't be able to draw any more for at least another week or two. I suppose it gives me time to work on other projects.
What other projects?
With the bees dead, that took a major time suck off my schedule (mostly for the drive time to get to the hives and back). I finished the boys' marble bags that I started forever ago and needed to finish. I suppose I could lace up the slate frame I got for Christmas and do something seriously period, but that means getting either a different kind of silk or filling out the color range for the stuff I already have. And stuff for lacing it on the frame. And pounce to transfer it to the fabric. Do I even have the right kind of fabric for this?
Never simple, I tell ya'.
I suppose I should work on some garb - get some things started. I just spent an hour looking at opening ceremony photos from Gulf Wars. Granted, they are Royals and on average Royals have the best garb 'cause they're made by Costuming/Embroidery Laurels/Guilds. Its seriously intimidating to see all those fine fine clothes and think the last time you made something new and shiny was nearly four years ago, never mind the fact it's the only nice thing you have in the garb bucket. I've got designs on a really awful plaid cotehardie that I've been dying to make. Cotton flannel, so obviously not very period. However, I don't have the lemon yellow linen I want to put underneath it. I should just get to patterning. If nothing else, I'll get a jump on outfits for when I can start doing the serious sew.
I just don't know what to do with myself.
|Mar. 9th, 2014 @ 10:10 pm This is my point, he's a moot.|
Current Location: dinning room tableSeems as though all my eggs were in one basket and it done got dropped kicked.
Current Mood: disappointed
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
I attribute Alpha Hive's demise to a perfect storm of negligence, infestation, and killer cold. As an old friend pointed out, I should have known the cold was coming and insulated appropriately. Well, they survived last winter and I don't see a lot of pro-insulation hype on any of the forums I read, so I didn't really think much of it. Perhaps I don't pay attention enough to news reports, but I did not expect polar voretxes, regardless of the fact we barely had summer this past year.
Alpha hive's ghost town was a little creepy. Whatever had gotten in last year got in this year. At first I thought it had ate all the bees, 'cause were where their crunchy little corpses? Just a dozen dead little bees clustered desperately around a couple of queen cells. My stupid phone camera didn't record any of that video, I'm quite cross with it. The ghosts of a thousand bees wrecked technological vengeance. But, apparently varroa mites chase bees away from the hive. Or, rather, they flee the hive to escape the mites. I don't know when they might have fled. They were flush and working hard when last I saw them. I harvested in July - saw them at least one more time near the end of August and then got too ill to do the end-of season check (the madness of holidays and Neal's wedding not helping). I should have dragged my sick ass down there for one last autumn check, I might have seen evidence of the mites and done something about it. I had thought that the surplus of honey I left in the hive and the high population would have been enough for to keep them straggling until spring. Did not see mites in August and am cursing myself that I should have gone again. They might have been saved.
Of course, since insulating wasn't going to be a thing I was planning on doing - there's still the cold snap. Snaps.
Beta hive had all the dead bees that Alpha hive lacked. Just piled up at the bottom of the box like the trap of a mosquito zapper. Maybe they froze. There were a few frames with dead bees head down in cells - looking for food and starving to death - but a whole lot bees not in starvation position. In fact, they seemed to be dusted with pollen. Like they had their saddle bags full from a day of foraging and just dropped dead and scattered little piles of granulated yellow. Enough frames still had honey on them - bees still clinging to their wax-capped surface - that starvation doesn't seem likely. Tons of cells open and never capped at all - you could still see the sugar inside. Were it not the back of Meg's yard and she embracing the no-chemical lifestyle, you'd think someone came and sprayed them with something deadly. So, we'll go with froze to death.
It is very disheartening. Its too late to order bees. They're sold out for the year. It means a year with no bees. No honey. I guess I do not have to worry about re-homing or expanding or getting million dollar insurance policies. For now, anyway. There's nothing to stop me from trying again, but the year lag time makes me fret and chomp at the bit. I suppose I could make sure the hive bodies are cleared out and sterilized and bait them with some bee hormones and hope a swarm wanders in to take residence. If Alpha hive did ditch infected ground (as evidenced by the amazing wealth of honey left behind) in order to escape the mites, maybe they're still alive somewhere to swarm back home. Of course, I don't know if they would have had enough honey to make it through where ever they ended up if they ditched out late. I'll have to make a point of going down there next Sunday to bring home some more boxes to work/fix/clean them and prep for lure season. Fingers crossed for a swarm.
I suppose I don't need to come up with an excuse to go talk to Grandpa Honey down Rt 20, buying honey is now a necessity if I were to try a brewing project. I wonder if I could still throw myself on his bee wisdom and get an apprenticeship.