morgannalefey: (Default)
2010-04-23 02:11 pm

Wretched, ungrateful little shit children

My parents weren't profoundly strict, or particularly full of all sorts of etiquette rules. They were, in fact, pretty lax in that department. We never wrote thank you cards, for example. It was simply not something we were ever taught to do.

But one thing I did learn, and I am surprised at how deeply I have this ingrained in me, is that there are -some- situations where family is important and you don't just blow off family during important milestones in life unless you have a -really- amazingly good reason for it. So over the years, I've come to recognize this basic attitude in myself. I keep being flabbergasted when confronted with examples of the families of friends, or my husband, or my own brother, who behave in ways that I thought would have been utterly unconscionable in my family.

Our best friend is getting married to a lovely woman from out of the US. He's a great guy, a great friend. Always there for us, willing to help out, run errands, play games, etc. His fiancee is sweet, funny, intelligent and also generous and willing to help out.

Apparently, though, his kids don't believe it. They've completely cut him off. His daughter didn't call to tell him when his own grandchild was born. His son doesn't respond to outreach, either. My friend finally just stopped trying. Oh, our friend was good enough to speak with them back when his daughter was getting married and she wanted money for her big fancy wedding...

But now he's getting married, and there are certain things you just DO when people get married. I'm hosting a bridal shower for his fiancee, and my husband is hosting a bachelor party. Both are being held here, so local friends can attend, though the wedding will be taking place in the United Kingdom with her family all 'round (we're going to that, as well).

I wanted to invite the son's girlfriend and the daughter to the bridal shower as a chance for them to meet the bride in a non-threatening situation (loads of family and family friends they know would be there, they'd know more people there than the bride). I also thought the son should be invited to the bachelor party.

I can't track down phone numbers, or emails, or addresses for any of them. All the information I have seems to be disconnected or out of date. I managed to find the girlfriend in Facebook, I'd met her at a jewelry party held by her boyfriend's aunt. I reminded her who I was and asked her to friend me so I could send an invite to her. She friended me. I invited her to the event via Facebook, and poof, she's unfriended me. Not even the courtesy of any sort of comment to me.

I've sent a message to the son, asking him to please do me the courtesy of responding. This not saying a word to me, and just disappearing might seem very clear. I suppose to others it is, but there's a part of me who just can't believe they're really -being- like this. I mean, what the FUCK?! I keep thinking there's got to be some sort of misunderstanding. I want them to just state things clearly to me. This all feels like a load of shitty game playing.

Ok, I could totally see their actions if my friend had been an abusive father. I don't know, maybe he was. But he wasn't so abusive that his daughter didn't ask him for money and didn't invite him to her wedding (though at the last minute she DID decide she didn't want him walking her down the aisle). I've only known him for the last, oh, four or five years or so. He's -great-. Whatever he might once have been, he's not whatever guy it was that so completely ruined their lives that they can't even do him the most basic courtesies DUE to him as their FATHER.

I have a really hard time with understanding how they can be like this. What sort of people must they be that they can be such total fucking shits when their father finally has found love again after being alone for so long? Or, alternatively, what sort of monster is our friend that I'm totally unable to see anything even remotely monster-like in him?

ETA: Ok, now that I've settled down a bit and gotten my personal nose a little less out of joint, I have to be fair to a certain extent. It's entirely possible that my friend has burned through whatever chances they'd given him in some way or other. I don't know the whole story (and it's not really my business anyway). So I'm sure in -their- minds, they're acting in their own best interest and protecting themselves.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2010-03-25 12:49 pm
Entry tags:

Ranting about health care

This was an exchange between myself and someone on Facebook that I knew from high school, and who approached me. She is JK, I am "You" and "Me" :)

Health Care Reform
Between You and JK
JK March 22 at 8:20pm Report
Hi ,

There are a few people in my circle of friends who have suffered terrible personal hardships as well, and they won't have any sympathy for someone who has a well-paying job (as I interpret from your "white collar" classification?) but cannot afford health care. Some people have trouble affording food without the complication of healthcare, and worked themselves through and out of it. We do have bankruptcy laws that are very valid for those who need them.

I am writing to you because I have sought out people in favor of this legislation to understand "why"? Obama has done a great job of convincing people this is the only option (i.e. this bill or nothing -- that is the only choice) and sadly, there are SO many ways that our health insurance system could be improved IF ONLY they would be considered. They are not being considered because the objective is greater than just "improving" the system.

And let's be clear, this is a health insurance problem -- not a health care problem. Although there are bad examples you can find (as with any industry/business) our health care system in this country is held up as a shining example in other countries. Just ask the many people who come here for treatment, or who are unable to come here, but wish they could.

I agree -- and everyone I speak with agrees -- that we have a problem. We have people in bad situations that need help. I get that. But these relatively few examples (compared to the majority of people who are happy with their insurance plans) are held up as the reason why we need a total overhaul of the system.

The marketing of this bill has been wonderful -- it has convinced many, but when I talk in details, I learn that most people tend to favor freedom and choice. I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts. If you could be shown that there IS a way to solve the problems of your friends with ANY type of health care system, would you still prefer to see the government involved to this degree? If so, why?

Thanks,
J,

Me March 22 at 10:09pm
I think about the only thing we may agree on is how well the "marketing" of both sides of this issue has been conducted. Please forgive the imposition on your time I am making in telling you this story. It is a long one, but it is one I wish you to know, so you can better understand my view of this.

I am willing to bet a great deal that the people who "worked themselves through and out of it" didn't do it alone, utterly alone. But even if they did, then they were lucky at important junctures in their lives. Their inability to see how their luck may not extend to other people in the world is their problem, not mine nor my friend's.

The example I have specifically to look at are two of my closest friends right now. J & S.

(I've trimmed this massively. The part I cut out simply details the hardships of a couple I know who are both working full time as adults with no children, who can't afford medical care or insurance and often the medicine they need to be healthy… you can find stories like this everywhere if you bother to look.)

Part 2
Aaanyway, that's the specific tale of the working couple who can't afford health coverage, and for whom there is currently no public option or safety net. At all.

I really think you're fooling yourself when you talk about our health care system being a shining example in other countries. Unless the other countries you're talking about are, say, Somalia and Congo. All industrialized countries, other than the US, provide some form of universal health care to their citizens. All of them. All. The precise details of how that works varies from country to country. For instance, in Switzerland, individuals have to buy standardized policies from insurance companies for a single price that all the companies charge for the basic health care services that include coverage for preventive health care. Then they buy some "a la carte" options on top of that to tailor the rest to their needs. For instance, a woman who is of child-bearing age who wishes to give birth might add a pregnancy policy to the standard package.

In the UK, everyone gets healthcare from the national health service. There is never any worry that you can't get preventive care, or regular care, if you need it. You can purchase special services or private service if you don't want to go through the national health service, but -everyone-, regardless of income status is guaranteed health care.

That's simply two examples of ways it can play out, but the real point here is that EVERY OTHER industrialized country has long seen the importance and value of ensuring that ALL of its citizens have the minimum health care provided to them, by whatever means it is they manage to implement it.

This isn't something you can have an opinion about, J. This is cold, hard fact. The US is the only industrialized country that does not provide some sort of universal health care to all of its citizens.

You might be able to gloss that over in some way, and claim "oh they wish they had our system", and certainly there are some people in those countries who don't have a good picture of what our system is like, and of course there ARE some things medically at which we excel, but it has been at the expense of every poor and working poor person in our country who cannot afford to buy into our "system" where access to health care is completely and utterly controlled by corporations whose best interest is served by denying anyone and everyone they possibly can coverage while milking them for every penny they can get out of them.

The insurance industry gets away with too much. They cannot be relied upon to control themselves, and it is not in their own best interest to control themselves. Their only obligation, in their eyes, is to their stockholders. They owe nothing to their subscribers and the people who are relying on them for their most basic health needs. There are a huge raft of problems with our current system (I suspect we can at least agree on that), and the status quo has been utterly inadequate in addressing those problems. There needs to be control of the industry, and they clearly must be -forced- to do what is needed to provide health care across the board. Since they won't do it, it's the governments -job- to make them or to push them out of the way.

Every industrialized country in the world except for the US recognizes that their citizens must be cared for medically, and that it is the duty of the government to ensure that happens when the industry itself fails to do it.

I don't believe that this health care bill is by any means perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. It is not a limiting of freedoms for the fortunate people who have insurance. It's leveling the playing field for those who don't, and it gives them a chance at something they should have had access to decades ago.

Let me ask you... if not the government, then -who- was going to fix this? And if they were going to fix it, why the hell haven't they by now? This system has been screwed up for over forty years, J. When the hell were they planning on making their move?

JK March 24 at 8:35pm Report
Thank you for sharing your story. Clearly, personal experiences (and those shared with close friends and family) color our perspectives and expectations of the world. I am disappointed that you discount my position as mere "opinion" and your position as "fact". My experience tells me that your friends are not typical of the American experience. Tragic and horrible, I agree. But too often these exceptions are held up as a standard for making radical changes to the laws and policies of a country that has a tradition of certain values and principles.

We are not like Europe. Many Americans do not want to be like Europe or other "industrialized" countries. Neither age, nor population, nor geographic location make any country better than another. I'm proud of the American foundation and heritage. I'm not going to judge you on your country of birth, nor anything about your past -- that is what makes this country GREAT. So please, don't judge me on wanting America to be America. We are different. Some argue that is better, some argue worse, but different for sure. I do not agree with trying to make America like other countries.

I do notice one trend with EVERYONE I have spoken with -- on BOTH sides of the issue. Things needed to change. That is why Obama was elected. Change is good, and healthy, and necessary. But not all change is warranted. Change for the sake of change is dangerous if you are not clear on where you are going. This is not going to help. You have your facts, I have mine. Like the abortion topic, this country is divided and will never agree. I understand that, and hopefully you do as well. So the big question is exactly the one you ask: Who is going to fix this? Government does have a role, and if you believe in the U.S. Constitution there are roles for the States and roles for the Federal government. The Federal govt is getting out of control, and in the end we all will suffer. Sorry, that is just my "facts", based on my education, experience, and all the same things you are basing your position on.

So, let's agree to disagree, and see what happens in the next election.

Me March 24 at 9:39pm
1) The situation of J & S is not isolated within my circle of friends and the people I know from all around the places I've lived. I know, personally, three people who are in the same situation, and know tangentially at least seven others. I suspect that it might be that you and your circle of friends have led a more insulated life than my circle has. That's not a condemnation or a judgment, just an agreement that one's experiences color one's perceptions of a situation. I suspect that if you'd spent time in the places I have, speaking with the people I have, you might come to realize that their experience of things is not so isolated as you might think at this point in time (and it is certainly not nearly as rare in the Northeast as it is in other places, like the Midwest, because the cost of living in the northeast is much, much higher than in many other parts of the country). I can, however, accept that their experience is not the majority experience for whatever that is worth.

2) Just to be painfully clear, the only thing I was stating was fact is that the US is the only industrialized country in the entire world that doesn't provide universal health care of some sort to all of its citizens. That was the only thing I was claiming as fact.

I accept that everything else is perspective.

However, that one fact is, in my -opinion-, damning. Of us. I simply cannot ever agree that embracing the idea that "everyone should have access to health care" turns us some other country.

It's =humane= to provide the most basic health care to everyone in the country. It's the right thing to do. It's got nothing to do with political ideology. It's the only morally justifiable action in a country that claims that everyone is created equal. Failure to provide the same degree of rights and protections to everyone in our country is a travesty, it's a violation of the principles upon which this country was founded, and it's a morally contradictory stance for people to claim on the one hand to actually care about humans and the human condition while with the same breath they condemn them to a half-life devoid of medical attention that every other civilized country (and some not so civilized ones) in the entire world agrees is a basic human right.

I don't give two damns -how- it happens that we make sure that everyone in our country has reasonable access to health care. The Swiss have a system that is run through private insurance companies, but overseen by the government. Their insurance industry manages to make a profit just fine. If that's the system we come up with, then fine, we come up with it. But there HAS to be SOME system in place that -actually- provides basic health care to -everyone-. There is no longer any room for discussion on that point.

The bottom line is that it's -shameful- that the greatest, richest, most powerful, and most free nation on the entire planet allows this injustice to stand, and that people who claim to love humanity and the principles upon which this country was founded defend that injustice with frothing lies piled upon self-interest and NIMBY attitudes (for the record, I'm not claiming that -you- do this, but some of the people who post on your wall -do-).

It would appear, at the very least, that you and I agree that something has to change. I accept that you can't agree that the federal government should be handling this. On that point I can certainly agree to disagree with you. But of course I can't just not try to convince you. Please feel free to not read the rest of this (assuming you've read this far already ;D), because it's me trying to convince you of... well what I'm not precisely sure, but something, anyway. :)

You strike me as someone who genuinely cares about your neighbors and the people down the street. For what little it might be worth, I want you to know that I admire that in you. It is rare, possibly more rare than you realize. I don't know what sort of life you've lead, where you've lived, or with whom you've come into contact, but it seems to me that you do have some compassion for the people who are suffering out there.

When you say things like "My experience tells me that your friends are not typical of the American experience." though, it seems to me that you're thinking the problems are small, or that the numbers of people affected aren't really significant. It is certainly true that we're not talking about a majority of Americans. But we're not talking about an insignificant number, either.

It is how we treat the least of our society that defines who we are. And at this point in history, how we treat the poor, the working poor, the indigent, the hungry, the homeless, and the mentally ill is a graphic demonstration of how warped our society is. Even if we were only talking about a few tens of thousands of people, instead of the - tens of millions- who are actually suffering, it would still be proof of how unjust our society really is.

I happen to believe that we, as country, can do better. The private sector and the states have all had a very long time to do better, and they've demonstrated time and time again that they -won't-, for whatever reason. It's getting worse every day.

Maybe it will take the threat of the federal government stepping in to get private industry off its ass to do -the right thing- but historically speaking, that's never really worked before. I wonder why you'd think it'd work now. The federal government actually has to act. Or nothing will change. That's the way it has been all along, since the founding of the country. Every single significant social change that has been for the benefit and improvement of anyone who wasn't rich, white, and/or male in this country has come because of the action of the -federal- government.

The Louisiana purchase
The freeing of the slaves
Child labor laws
Food safety laws
Women's right to vote
Civil rights for minorities
Civil rights for the disabled
Environmental protections
Clean water acts

All of these caused sweeping social changes in our country, all were fought with exactly the same arguments as what we hear now held up against health care. Yet, you benefit from having clean water to drink, and being able to rely on there being clean water to drink anywhere you travel in the US. If you end up in a wheelchair, you'll have access to public buildings. There is no formaldehyde in the milk you buy because of food inspections and regulations. Your children will know what bald eagles are, and be able to see them, because of environmental protections. Your children aren't working in factories or mills, but have a chance to be children, to get an education, and to "live the American Dream" because of child labor laws. Black people, while still struggling, have finally seen the day when there is a black president. You, yourself, are able to purchase a car, have your own checking account, and exercise your right to vote for your representatives... all because of sweeping social changes that came through the federal government acting on behalf of the entire country on issues where the entire country was impacted.

Can you name one, single sweeping social change in our country's history that -wasn't- brought about by federal action?

I put the question to you once again. If not the federal government, then who? Who should be stepping up, and why haven't they done so in the last thirty years when the health care and income gaps started back in the 70s, or at least within the last 20 years when it had become obvious that the current system was terribly broken?

JK March 24 at 11:05pm Report

Wow. Clearly, I've hit a nerve. Again, we disagree. I'm not going to change your mind, I can see that. So, I'm not going to try. Take care, and I wish you the best.

JK March 24 at 11:17pm Report

And to be clear from my end -- what you describe is a form of Socialism, and although some people think that is a better form of government, I don't want to live in a Socialist Country. I think freedom of the kind we've had for 200 years is worth it. We see things differently, and to me that is OK. I hope you feel the same.

(This is where I stopped responding to her)
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-06-24 03:55 pm

Socks the dog

Our beloved Brynna kitty died at 18.5 years old. She had failing kidneys and heart problems. She passed away at the vet's office. They took her in the back to get blood and urine for testing, and she arrested. They did all they could for her but she was just.. gone. Just like that. It hurt, and felt weird. For the first time in my entire life I didn't have a pet -anywhere-. Even when I was living on my own for a few years, my parents always had a pet that had belonged to me, too.

I started the process for adopting a dog the day she died. Well, started researching it, then putting in applications to rescue organizations. We'd decided when Brynna's health had started to decline that we were going to get a dog after she died, and I needed to be doing something that was looking -forward-.

On May 30th we got Socks. She is a black lab/Australian shepherd mix. She used to live in Mississippi and her previous owner had been an elderly woman who had to give her up because she moved into assisted living or something like that, and couldn't keep her. She's eleven months old, and very beautiful. I love her to bits. She's affectionate and friendly, and clever.

Of course we made loads of first time "puppy" owner mistakes, but we're learning. We're taking obedience training and that's paying off. It's harder having her around, and I'm always having to think ahead about her situation, but it's worth it. She brings much laughter to our lives.

It's been a very stressful time for Frank because of a MAJOR work project, so it wasn't, perhaps, exactly the best time to bring in a new family member, but we're all doing well enough. I made liver treats for her yesterday, and she loves them. I enjoyed making them, as well.

We're taking her to Maine in August, and I'm looking forward to her getting to romp in the ocean. She -loves- the water. :)

I hope people are surviving with this recession. *hugs to everyone out there still*
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-02-25 08:41 am

Oliver Twist

I have a fondness for Charles Dickens' stories. I really enjoy tales of comeuppance. Thing is, I can't stand -reading- Dickens. Ok, to be fair, I haven't tried for many years, so maybe that's changed, but in the past I've never been able to stand reading his stuff. But I still love the stories! Make sense? :)

Masterpiece classic just ran a new Oliver Twist that I really liked. Way better than the musical "Oliver" (which I usually find well... meh). It has elements to the story that I didn't realize were there because I'm most familiar with "Oliver".

I didn't realize Fagin was a Jew, for one thing. His obdurate refusal to become Christian to save his own life did much to redeem him in my eyes. That whole court scene is completely missing from "Oliver", of course, which gives a "happy" ending of sorts for Fagin and Dodger. What I can't decide is if Dickens was trying to elevate Fagin with that refusal, showing that Fagin did, at least, have -some- principles and strength of character, or if he was trying to show Jews as obstinate, stubborn fools who would rather die than save themselves.

I was much more satisfied with Dodger's ending than "Oliver" ever gave me. His becoming, effectively, Bill Sikes seemed very real to me, and it struck me that Dickens probably knew people who had such reactions to privations and abuses. It's common enough.

Nancy's brokenness was painful to see, but much more realistic, as well. I don't know how much of this was in the original Dickens or was the actress and director bringing modern understandings of abuse relationships and poverty into the delivery of it. One can't help but think Dickens must have known women like her, as well. I think in this telling of the tale, they managed to portray Nancy poignantly. She touches the heart, but you still see her flaws plainly.

I recommend this retelling. It was good. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-01-16 12:04 pm

Getting investigated by our HR folks

I had installed Vuze, which was software for torrenting video files. It sat on my computer for a while, because there just wasn't much I wanted that badly. I DLd one movie in that time, that was on my Netflix list but I hadn't wanted to wait to see. A few weeks after that, I found a TV show that I wanted to catch up with, it was up to episode 6 of the current season, so the beginning of the season episodes weren't available at the broadcaster's website any more. So I decided to torrent them.

I don't have a lot of experience with torrenting or the how the software works. The first file I went for was the wrong one, but I didn't realize that. It was a big file (I didn't pay THAT much attention to it, really). So I started downloading it late in the afternoon, and thought "well I'll leave this running overnight so it's not much of a burden on the system".

That morning when I got in, I had a call from our network person saying HE had had a call from the upper level IT folks telling him that my computer had a lot of traffic going from it to someplace in Australia, and maybe I had a virus. I was puzzled at first, I told him I'd downloaded a big file but I didn't know what could be going out and maybe something -was- wrong. So I poked around a bit, and realized in the process that people were downloading the file I'd downloaded. I hadn't really realized that would be happening while I left my computer on all night. I immediately turned it off, told our network guy what happened, and was fairly embarrassed about it, and resolved to not do any torrenting again, if I couldn't even handle the software properly.

I got a fair amount of razzing at the IT holiday party, and I was pretty abashed. It was a stupid mistake, really.

If I'd picked up my mail on the Wednesday before Christmas, I'd have had a letter from HR informing me I was being investigated for inappropriate computer use and internet misconduct. Fortunately I didn't this incredibly unpleasant, terrifying letter until the Sunday after Christmas, so it couldn't ruin my holiday. As it was, it ruined me for several days. I was -very- stressed about it, to say the least. I wasn't permitted to speak about the details of what was going on during the investigation, under pain of being fired for trying to influence an investigation. Which just added stress.

When I came in to work that Monday, my computer had been taken in for forensics investigation to see what else might be inappropriate on it, and replaced by a machine that only had Microsoft Office on it, and nothing else. I'm a software developer. I don't just use my computer for Word and Email. I have tons of development notes, documents, and software that you can't just recreate on a new machine. This was a major issue for me. They had my computer for 23 days before I got it back. I was constantly running into things I simply could NOT do because I needed what was on my computer to do it. What was worse no one could give me a specific timeline for when I'd get it back, so I couldn't know it was going to take 23 days to get it back. If I'd known that in advance, I could have done a little more set up on the system I was given than I'd done, but I kept thinking "it's just a couple of days, I'll work on this other thing until then".

Anyway, I had to have an investigation meeting with the HR person for our agency, and I had a union rep there with me. They asked me a series of very specific, scripted questions about the use policy, and what I'd used my computer for in relation to the software in question, and did I realize that having a P2P program on my computer was a violation of the policy, etc. They recorded this interview. I had been told by the union guy to be scrupulously honest in my answers because while the violation itself probably wasn't significant enough to warrant my being dismissed, lying during the interview was grounds for dismissal, and they would, very likely, fire me if they found me lying. That was scary as hell because my memory has been so bad lately, I was worried if they'd be able to tell the difference between lying and just genuinely forgetting something.

Fortunately I didn't have much problem with the questions. There were some questions about the dates things happened and I was muddy on that, and also if I'd really downloaded much. I knew I hadn't done much but I couldn't remember specific dates, etc.

Anyway, the investigation was concluded and the report was submitted to the main HR department a week after that interview. Then I had to wait another week and three days before I got my final disciplinary meeting.

THAT was a relief. I have a memo signed by my boss's boss reprimanding me for inappropriate internet use and file storage and directing me to remove the software the moment I get my computer back (I already had my computer back for a couple hours by that point). I told them the software was already gone. I confirmed that the memo would be in my file, and was told it'd be there for two years, then removed and forgotten. That was also huge relief to me. I thought it'd be there forever.

My boss and his boss both felt that this was way overblown. I'd already realized my mistake, and had already resolved not to do this again. The chiding of my colleagues was pretty embarrassing as it was, and even just my boss saying "Don't do that again" would have been plenty.

But I understand why they had to go through the procedure they went through. I understand why the big IT folks couldn't just let this slide, and something had to be done, and there's only this one procedure available. The only real complaint I had was how long it all took to finally get resolved. I mean, I -did- violate the policy, and I did make a stupid mistake. I don't quibble with that much.

But the letters… oh my god the letters they send out. You start questioning your integrity. Everything races through your head "What have I done, did I go somewhere bad? What's on my computer?" Even though I -knew- that there wasn't anything there, I started imagining there was, or worrying that I'd mistakenly copied some things that would be entirely inappropriate for work, that normally reside on my thumb drive, onto my hard drive, completely by mistake, then how would I explain THAT. I also was irked at how long all this took to be resolved. Three weeks and a bit is a long time. I get that there were holidays in there, but, man, that was a lot of lost productivity for me, and a lot of stress and worry. I'm not good at letting go of that.

I hadn't done anything like that miscopying any files (I've double checked ;D now that my computer is back). But the stark terror, and the possibility of losing my job (before I'd been reassured this wasn't a firing offense), is enough to make sure I don't ever have to go through something like that again.

So anyway, that's the story.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-01-15 03:23 pm

Knitting

I started learning how to knit back in August. I'm enjoying it a lot, and I've learned a fair amount. I'm not great, and I'm not fast. I make a lot of mistakes, but that's ok. I see so many beautiful things I'd really love to knit, but I'm still struggling with some basic techniques. Hopefully soon I'll be able to figure out knitting in the round with double point needles. :)

I've decided that I need a warm winter hat to wear under the scarf my mother knitted for me some 23 or so years ago. And I want to knit a new hat and scarf that match for Frank. But to do the hats, I need to learn to knit in the round. :) I also need stitch markers, and to learn how to use them. ;D

Lately I've been doing small projects, like knitting a mattress/pillow with matching blanket, and a sweater and tiny conical hat for my robot guinea pig. She's very cute. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-01-08 10:04 pm

Making more of an effort

I've wandered through my most recent posts and I realized I hadn't posted about my father dying last year. *sigh*

This holiday season was hard on me. It was the first season without either of my parents around (my mother died in Jan, 2002). I went through a really serious bout of missing Daddy starting in November. It got so bad I was actually poking at Frank's family (who have basically disowned us because Frank, apparently, thinks he's better than them and hates them because he moved away from Long Island in 1988).

Daddy died on March 4, 2008. He died about fifteen minutes after I'd cast my primary vote for Obama. I like to think he hung on just long enough to sense that I'd voted how he wanted me to, though I know he was unconscious at the end. Even now this is hard to post about and tears threaten.

In November I started dwelling again on all the painful parts of all this. Daddy never getting another home-cooked meal, and being disappointed when my sister-in-law had promised him she'd bring him a plate of ham dinner from her house on Christmas day, then she never showed up, and never called, never apologized. I get bitter about the circumstances that led to his death, his getting sent back to his apartment before the hospital bed had arrived, which directly contributed to the fall that eventually killed him (because of the damage to his brain when he hit his head).

I'm angry at my brother for not going to see Daddy while he was still conscious and able to respond to him, and that he instead waited until Daddy was having constant seizures to show up. I -believe- that Dad was aware Shaun was there, there were some indications that he understood.

I still beat myself up that I didn't fly down there and spend his last weeks at his bedside, holding his hand and soothing him. That he died alone in a hospice room with no one to talk quietly to him while he passed. But at the same time, we were having to fly for surgery to North Carolina, and Dad didn't want us to not do that. Dad's health situation was too vague for too long for us to ever be sure if it was the right time to fly down there, and we couldn't afford a lot of time off for both seeing him and getting the surgery. We had time limits for when we had to get the surgery accomplished... intellectually I know these are all valid reasons for not going, and that Daddy never blamed me for not being there. But still my heart aches that I never got to hug him again.

It all makes me really wish that I was certain of there being an afterlife, and that Daddy was with Mom, and looking down, and just being happy that the weight of their ill health was gone, and they could be together. I just remain unconvinced of that, though.

All of this preyed on me, and made me seek out information about Frank's Nana. I just wanted to -know- once and for all, if she was still alive, and if not, when she passed away. I just didn't want to believe that Frank's mother wouldn't actually get in contact with him to tell him the woman who helped raise him, who loved him so much, had died. She got in contact with Frank when his brother in law died. This was a man that Frank had spent a total of 12 hours of his life in the presence of (and 5 of those hours were at the -wedding-, none of this was "quality" time that entailed any real relationship). Yet his mother emailed him when Gene died, like that was some news. But she couldn't tell him when Nana died.

I managed to contact Frank's paternal grandmother, who confirmed that Nana passed away in the nursing home a couple of years ago, but not exactly when, and she had no idea where Nana was buried. I got very close to trying to call Frank's mother and/or sister, but Frank managed to head me off, because that's a can of worms I really don't want to open.

Which of course leads to this nasty little part inside of me that wishes it was Frank's mother who had died, not my father. Because MY parents would NEVER have EVER done anything as vile as refuse to tell one of their children that a grandmother had died. It wouldn't matter how estranged we'd become (though my parents wouldn't ever have become estranged like that, either), they would ALWAYS have told us.

So I just drift on missing my family, and not really having anything I can do about it. I love Frank so much, and he's home to me, always has been and of course he's "family". Still, I miss family holidays, and visiting and such. I miss the extended family.

I try to stem those feelings by taking on my closest friends as family, but that can only work so well. Especially when there are scheduling problems with the holidays. :)

This year was lovely in so many ways. I had a good time, it was peaceful and calm and restorative. That was all good. Still... I feel a little petulant. I miss my Mom and Dad and wish they were around to talk to.

Enough of this. Frank's gone to bed, and I feel silly sitting here crying about this. I just wanted to get his information out there for folks who might not realize my father had died.

I've set up a memorial site for him, because he had a significant online presence and a lot of online friends. They're moving to a new server, so it'll be down for about two weeks starting on Sunday, but it'll be back again on the 18th. You can see it here: http://normanstevenson.last-memories.com/ if you want.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2009-01-08 03:21 pm

Always forgetting

I'm going to come up with something that'll remind me that I like posting here. ;D I really do enjoy it, I guess I just don't have all that much to convey to the world in general, or myself in particular.

I've been toying with the idea of doing a dream journal for a few weeks, just to see what comes of it. Found a weird little site full of new age woowoo stuff about medication, but it's kinda cute, too and I'm finding myself liking cute these days.

I got a robot guinea pig for christmas (among other VERY cute things) and I've been knitting little things for her. Not very well, but it's still fun 'cos the stuff gets completed fairly quickly. :)

Ramble ramble.

Oh photos of the piggie girl, whose name is Fiona:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v252/morgannalefey/Gifts/?action=view¤t=100_0435.jpg
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v252/morgannalefey/Gifts/?action=view¤t=100_0436.jpg
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v252/morgannalefey/Gifts/?action=view¤t=100_0442.jpg
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v252/morgannalefey/Gifts/?action=view¤t=100_0443.jpg
morgannalefey: (Default)
2008-09-04 10:40 pm

Holy cats

I keep forgetting to post stuff. Life has been so busy the last year or so, and a lot of stressors have gone away, but I still have a fair number of them.

Problem is, I'm nodding off here at the computer. I'll try to remember to post in more detail, I'm trying to resurrect this old blog and be better about journaling. :)

*hugs to anyone still out there listening*
morgannalefey: (Default)
2007-11-15 11:43 am

Wow, been a while

I just wanted to mention that I've created a page for myself at voices.com. You can see it here:



I'll probably post more about the lack of progress towards our surgery later.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2007-05-10 01:26 pm

Philosophical ramblings about food and eating

On a sociological level, food is not merely sustenance for humans.

Most of our religious rituals revolve around food, either by the presence of special foods (like the Jewish Seder or Christian Communion), or the abstinance from food for a period of time (Lent or various traditions of fasting in eastern faiths). In many cultures, the dead are buried with items of food that they'll bring them them into the next life, and offerings of food are made to the gods (yes, even Yhwh, read the old testament). The spiritual symbology of food runs deep in the human psyche.

Our family/social connections tend to center around food rituals of all sorts: Family dinner, Pizza night, Easter Dinner, Thankgiving, Feast of the Dead, Harvest festivals, canning parties, pot latches, afternoon tea, pot lucks in the church basement, food drives, food shelters, "going out for coffee", "let's do lunch"... the examples are endless. Every human culture has myriad examples that show food is deeply ingrained, not just in our biology, but in our culture, all throughout our society.

These rituals we engage in are profound. They touch us more deeply than we tend to be conscious of.

When we lose track of these rituals, for instance the gradual decline of the "family dinner", it diminishes us individually. We're losing something that helps us connect with our families or our friends. When most of your meals are something bolted down while you're driving alone in your car, or even at home, standing in front of the fridge and eating whatever comes to hand, you're losing some of the experience of being human.

Of course there isn't always time in our modern world to make every meal something special, but recognizing the social and personal importance of sitting down to meals, and engaging in the process of taking in sustenance helps us find ways to make time. It improves our relationships, our ability to connect to the people in our lives, our need for relating to people outside ourselves. Even sitting in a restaurant alone but surrounded by other people is touching the edges of the social meal experience and is more grounding than gulping down a big mac in the car.

It's wrong to feel guilty about food, or enjoying food. When you're fat, you're always hearing about "your relationship to food", and it's always couched in terms of guilt. In Western society in general, and in American society in particular, there is a deep psychosis about food, and eating, and enjoying food.

Denying ourselves pleasure in our meals is denying a fundamental part of being human. When we actually feel guilt for such a truly human experience as enjoying food, we are caught in an inevitably destructive mindset that pits us against our own humanity and biology. We have millions of years of evolution that drives us to eat, and not only to eat, but to take pleasure in eating because we respond positively to pleasurable stimuli. Sex is pleasurable -because- it encourages us to reproduce. If people didn't enjoy sex, they wouldn't bother.

Likewise, eating is pleasurable. We don't just eat because we're hungry, we're more complex then that. Taking pleasure in our food, concocting new recipes, discovering new things to eat, all of that is enmeshed in being human, in being social, and in being mentally healthy. Setting yourself up against these profound truths about being human is as impossible/potentially harmful as trying not to breathe.

My next post is going to be about applying these thoughts in a practical way as I consider getting the mini gastric bypass.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2007-03-09 01:09 pm

Considering a Mini Gastric Bypass

My husband and I are in the very beginning stages of considering the option of mini gastric bypass as a way to reverse our diabetes. I'm trying to get my head around this stuff, so I'm posting some of my initial thoughts here. I'll likely be editing and adding to them over time as I find out more.

MGB Pros

  • Reversal of diabetes

  • Avoidance of further diabetes complications (like high blood pressure, certain eye problems, etc.)

  • Be more active and outdoorsy (camping, hiking, walking the land, biking near our house, etc.)

  • Less wear and tear on the furniture

  • Be able to sleep in smaller beds in hotels with Frank

  • Fit comfortably in airplane seats

  • Less expensive clothes I can actually try on before buying

  • More energy overall

  • Fewer aches and pains

  • Perhaps a reduction in some mood swings brought about by pain/aches

  • Sex would probably be better, more flexibility, more variety of positions

  • More stamina overall

  • Feeling better about the foods I'm eating instead of feeling like I'm cheating myself in one way in order to satisfy myself in another


MGB Cons

  • Insurance may not pay for it/have to fight with insurance to get it/might have to pay for it myself (that's a show stopper, I think)

  • I've always thought of WLS as "mutilation" for the sake of fashion (Was it mutilation to get my gall bladder out? Is this really mutilation if it reverses my diabetes?)

  • What if a better, less invasive diabetes treatment that works comes along? (is it truly reversible even ten years later?)

  • My breasts will get smaller, but would they get unpleasantly smaller? Would I start looking out of proportion?

  • Not being able to tolerate foods that I really enjoy a lot



MGB Questions

  • Are there people with Type II who still have it after the procedure?

  • What percentage of people who have MGB becomes lactose intolerant?

  • What about that acid pooling thing mentioned by Holly's nurse friend?

  • What are the long-term health impacts of MGB?

  • Why would MGB be better than RNY in the long term? Have any studies been done about this?

  • Is it truly reversible even ten years later?

morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-11-28 01:21 pm

It was too much to hope for

I just cut through the whole pile of muck and called Palmer.

Nothing has changed on our lines, so we can't get DSL at all.

Saved me WEEKS right there. :)

Of course, I'm trying to get through their phone system now, but it's not recognizing when I speak, and it just hung up on me.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-11-28 01:08 pm

When does optimism become insanity?

I'm trembling a little.

Verizon's website claims, once more, that we can get DSL. I don't actually believe them but.. part of me hopes...

I'm going to call them, to try and find out, can we get it or is it just stupidity on their part again?

The problem is, of course, they will say we can have it, but won't be able to deliver.

I still have to try.

Am I mad?
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-07-07 09:02 am

Something I wrote about change

I wrote this a while ago for another forum and thought I'd put it up here just because I was revisiting the thoughts in it.

Someone at the other forum had said: I might be able to change, but then I wouldn't be me any more.

Which prompted the following:

I've been pondering it since last night. It calls for an examination of the concept of who we "really" are.

In the end, change is inevitable. Even people who seem rooted in who they are, and who seem never to change, have actually changed over time. They are not the same person they were when they were 10, 18, or 21. And not just physically. Those stop maturing emotionally at a young age, still have changes afterwards. Unless there is something pathologically wrong with us, it is impossible for us to avoid changes in our emotions and thought processes that are related to our environments.

I should note here that I'm not talking about any sort of extreme pathology that might prevent such natural occurances (like comas, or extreme mental disturbances). I'm talking about a typical human life full of all its challenges and rewards.

It then follows that "Me" changes. "Me" is a continuum, not a snapshot. "Me" is not, and cannot be, static. It's not any one state that we are, or any one set of beliefs that remains the same over time. The "Me" that fails to change over time dies off fairly quickly because it cannot adapt to the continuous change that surrounds us.

This is so much a part of who we are that we don't even really examine closely. Sometimes we look at little bits of ourselves that we've clung to over time, parts that seem immutable. But they aren't the whole of who we are, they don't define us completely.

Like, for me it's my control freakness. As much as I would like to change that part of me, and as many problems as it causes me, I have the idea in my head that I will always be a control freak. But what if I was wrong? What if it was something I could, eventually, change about myself? Does that change "Me"? Would I no longer be Siobhan simply because I'd overcome a self destructive personality trait?

I don't buy it. I'd be a new and improved Siobhan, but still Siobhan. That's because Siobhan-ness isn't tied to a particular state of being. Siobhan-ness is a journey, and journeys are change. I've certainly changed a lot over the years. I've learned a lot. I've matured. I am very different from what I was at 7, 18, and 27. I've worked on personality traits that have been detrimental, and succeeded in overcoming them.

Trying to hold onto what we were in the past is not only impossible, it's self-defeating. Trying to be who you were at 18 or 28 means avoiding who you are today. Trying to hold onto traits that are self destructive because you want to avoid changing the essential "Me" is a massive rationalization for avoiding the work necessary to change. It's an attractive idea and it sounds slick on the surface, but beneath the surface it's really just an argument you'd expect from a child who doesn't want to grow up.

It is rational to want to improve one's situation and to increase one's chances at, if not happiness, then at least contentment. It is typical that we don't always know how to do that. It is common that people, rather than making a concerted effort at self examination to identify the behaviours that defeat them, flail about trying different versions of the same behaviours that got them into trouble/unhappiness last time.

Of course, that all being said, I have a tendancy to believe that there are individual traits we all have that are just too deeply wired into our brains for us to have the time, energy, and tools to truly change. We do have to pick our "battles" and decide if the end product is going to be worth all the pain, effort, and electroshock it takes to effect real change in certain behaviour patterns.

Which leads into the idea of acceptance and that is a long post for another time. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-04-24 08:26 am

The call I've been dreading

My brother called last night asked me to take Dad for six months to give him a break.

My father has had a couple of strokes and is disabled. His cognitive abilities have been trashed and he's got some paralysis. He's crochety, unhappy with his lot in life, hates feeling like a burden, feels trapped in his body, and is frustrated by his limitations. His health is iffy at best.

My house is ten miles outside town. The closest VA hospital (where he is able to get health care) is two hours away. I work fifty minutes away from the house, my husband is thirty minutes away (and we only have the one car, which I take to my office after dropping my husband off). We live in a cold climate, so Dad would be cold *all* the *time*. We don't have high speed internet (well, we have satellite, but it's dodgy sometimes) so Dad would have more limited contact with his online communities. He'd be alone all day long (my brother has an office at home so he's there most of the time). And Dad's feeling of being a burden would just increase, rather than decrease, by staying with me.

In all ways our house is *the worst* possible choice for Dad's situation. My brother has, of course, fixated on it as "the solution" when it's not any sort of solution.

I think the real solution that would help everyone would be for them to get some family therapy to work out the communication problems they're having, to help Dad settle better in Shaun's home (he was moved a while ago out of the house my Mother had bought for him because Shaun couldn't keep up with both that house and his house), to help him modify his behaviour and make him less of a burden on my brother, to help my brother learn new ways of dealing with my dad and to stop thinking dad's behaviour is just maliciousness or laziness, to recognize that Dad's anger isn't just coming from out of the blue... for all of them to learn better ways of dealing with each other.

But of course my brother refuses. He won't take the time, refuses to accept it might help, and thinks just "sharing the burden" by having me take Dad will fix everything. "Just give me a break for six months and I'm sure I'll be good for another four years."

So I'm trying to work out some options that will give him the respite he needs, get dad the therapy *he* needs (even if Shaun won't do it), and just put Dad in a better situation.

I wish I'd talked to Mom about this more in depth before she died.... *sigh*
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-04-11 07:10 am

Saying goodbye to Edamar

You begin walking northward, with slow, tired steps.
Hall of Ritual

Tall columns support the high, rounded ceiling of this light and airy room. A fresh breeze flows through open windows which admit air and sunlight when weather permits. Crafted of off-white marble, this place of high rituals has very few decorations; only a wheat motiff on the lengths of the columns. A raised platform with a podium stands at the end of the hall. A basin filled with water stands in front of the podium. Two small booths for private ceremonies and confessions are to the east and west, wicker screens assuring privacy. The entrance hall is to the south.

The corpse of Edamar is lying here on a raised platform, being prepared for burial.
A young man in green robes tends to his daily chores.
A young woman wearing yellow robes sees to some chores about the church.
A matronly woman stands here, smiling kindly to all who pass.

Aelwyd stands still for a moment, gazing at the corpse of Edamar.

It is the corpse of Edamar.
It has a minor bite on the left knee, a small notch on the thorax, a minor gore on the hips, a small bite on the hips, a minor tooth-puncture on the left calf, a minor bite on the right upper arm, a minor laceration on the left knee, a minor laceration on the right upper arm, a moderate slice on the right thigh, a moderate gash on the skull, a small nick on the left thigh, a minor nick on the thorax, a small nick on the thorax, a small slash on the right calf, a small slash on the right upper arm, a small laceration on the abdomen, a small cut on the abdomen, a small gash on the face, a small cut on the thorax, a small cut on the abdomen, a small cut on the abdomen, a minor gash on the left thigh, a small laceration on the hips, a small slash on the left elbow, a minor laceration on the thorax, a minor gash on the left thigh, a minor slash on the right calf, a small laceration on the left elbow, a minor nick on the abdomen, and a minor gash on the right upper arm.

Aelwyd swallows a sob and moves over to the corpse of Edamar.

Aelwyd dips a clean rag in a blue ceramic bowl containing water then wrings out some of the water and leans close to the corpse of Edamar. She gently starts washing his face, murmuring, 'Your face wants washing. You always were so messy.'

You say in Harnic, continuing dipping a clean rag into a blue ceramic bowl containing water, then washing very tenderly, cleaning off the dirt and blood,
"This is th' bowl an' the cloth I used first time I washed your face, remember? It's water from th' barrel you brought me, all filled with water from th' fountain here at th' temple. You always thought that water tasted best, you said."

Isidora is entering from the south.

You say in Harnic, speaking gently to the corpse of Edamar,
"You shoulda listened when Peoni was tellin' you not t' go up there."

Aelwyd keeps washing the corpse of Edamar with a clean rag, dipping it into a blue ceramic bowl containing water to rinse it out once in a while.

You say in Harnic, gazing at the corpse of Edamar with loving eyes, strangely devoid of tears,
"Remember when we was sayin' how many kids we'd want? An' you said... you said you wanted three. I said that sounded good... I was lyin'. I wanted t' keep havin' your babies until I couldn't any more. Dozens of 'em if that's what we had."

You say in Harnic, speaking softly to the corpse of Edamar,
"I figured six was a good number t' have. Lots of hands t' make light work, but maybe three would have been enough."

You say in Harnic, speaking to the corpse of Edamar,
"I'd give anything for jus' one now."

Isidora lingers near a tall column, standing silently as she looks towards the body.

You say in Harnic, dipping a clean rag again to rinse it and working down the corpse of Edamar's arms,
"I remember when you picked me up th' first time, how surprised I was at how strong you were. You didn't quite look like it."

You say in Harnic, speaking to *corpse,
"I bought that rosewater hopin' it'd catch you an' you'd look at me."

You say in Harnic, speaking to the corpse of Edamar,
"I never told you that."

Reb is entering from the south, walking with a mournful reluctance.
Merewyn is entering from the south.

Aelwyd finishes washing the corpse of Edamar and just gazes down at him thoughtfully.

You say in Harnic, speaking to the corpse of Edamar,
"I guess you was Scanna's all along, anyways. Maybe she really needed you."

Reb holds Merewyn's hand gently in his.

Reb sniffles and sheds a few tears at your words.

Reb walks over to you slowly, not letting go of Merewyn's hand, and hangs back a little, trying not to intrude.

Reb gets a wagon-wheel-shaped silver pin from a pale green pouch of fine linen.

Reb tells you in Harnic, holding out a wagon-wheel-shaped silver pin,
"Nate got this to give to you."

You tell Reb in Harnic, looking up at him with dry eyes,
"That's real kind of him, but he left me things in th' cottage, maybe that should be buried with him. It meant so much to him."

You say in Harnic, looking back at the corpse of Edamar,
"He's lookin' real peaceful now. Maybe he saw Scanna ... or..."

Reb tells you in Harnic, nodding, his face stoic despite his tears,
"I... I thought it should be you as chose."

Reb gives you a wagon-wheel-shaped silver pin.

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"I'm sure he's with 'er in the Meadows now."

Aelwyd clutches the pin, staring at it and turning it over in her hand.

You tell Reb in Harnic, nodding and sighing,
"He was too good for this place, I guess."

Merewyn lowers her head and remains silent as she gazes downwards.

You tell Reb in Harnic, her voice rough with anguish,
"When I went back to th' cottage I noticed he'd left some things there that weren't b'fore. I think... he was intendin'..."

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"Don't mean he was intendin' nothin'."

You tell Reb in Harnic, her voice rough with anguish,
"I don't think he meant t' come back. I can't tell what made him do this though. Don't make sense."

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"Might just be the Gentle Lady guided his hand to see to what's needed for you."

You tell Reb in Harnic, looking slightly hopeful,
"Maybe... he was jus' movin' in ... in his mind."

You tell Reb in Harnic, her voice rough with anguish,
"I hate t' think he went lookin' for ... this."

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"She knew you'd be needin' now and she'd be able to see to all his needs in the Meadows, so she'd guide his hand to see to them needs as have to be met here."

You tell Reb in Harnic, looking more at ease,
"Aye.. aye that must be it. She's always lookin' out for us, even when we need t' go."

Reb tells you in Harnic, apologetically,
"Nate said as the keys he had were gone, so you'll need to see to gettin' all the locks changed. I told Master Jere for to be expectin' you so's he could be prepared."

Isidora slips out of the ritual hall, turning from the body.
Isidora begins walking southward.

You tell Reb in Harnic, nodding and looking again at the corpse of Edamar,
"Aye, there's things t' be doin'. I got him clean, w-with th' water he brought me, from th' barrel he brought me."

Reb tells you in Harnic, brushing feebly at his
eyes,
"Well, if'n you need any help with any of it, you got friends what'll help."

A very short, green-cloaked person is entering from the south, her red skirts rustling softly.

You tell Reb in Harnic, her voice rough with anguish,
"Aye, I've th' best friends anyone could be askin' for."

Melisanna lowers a long, flowing cloak of green russet's hood, revealing her features.

Reb nods to a chocolate-brown-haired, golden-brown-eyed woman.

You tell Reb in Harnic, her voice rough with anguish,
"I'll jus' go t' see Master Jer about them locks. Wouldn't do for his work an' home t' be all .... rifled through."

Melisanna lowers her hood as she looks at the corpse her expression mournful as she nods at a large, auburn-haired man and looks down before she makes the sign of the sword across her chest.

Reb asks you in Harnic,
"Anythin' else you're needin'?"

Melisanna makes her way to the dais and kneels down making the sign of the sword across her chest her eyes downcast.

Melisanna begins quietly worshipping.

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"I told Master Elliot as you might not be a couple days. I'll tell Phaedra if'n I see 'er, so's she can try to keep things up so you don't got to worry about the Lion."

Melisanna concludes her worship.

Melisanna begins quietly worshipping.

You say in Harnic, gazing down at the corpse of Edamar once more then leaning down, placing a tender kiss on his lips,
"Sleep well, dearheart. I'll see you when we're in th' Meadows with Scanna."

Reb smiles a bittersweet smile.

Melisanna concludes her worship.

You tell Reb in Harnic, smiling gratefully at him,
"Aye, thank you. Might need t' take some time at that. There's a lot t' be doin'."

Melisanna stands up and sniffles as she gazes down at the corpse in silence.

Aelwyd sighs and glances over at Melisanna, nodding to her as she passes out of the room.

Reb tells you in Harnic,
"Well, if I can do somethin' and you don't see me, tell Dunst."

You begin walking southward, with slow, tired steps.

Entry Hall

You begin walking northward, with slow, tired steps.

Hall of Ritual

You say in Harnic, speaking to the corpse of Edamar,
"I forgot... I baked these for you... you should bring 'em with you. Scanna would like 'em, too."

Aelwyd places a chicken pie on the platform next to Edamar.

The corpse of Edamar is lying here on a raised platform, being prepared for burial.
A chicken pie has been carefully placed near the corpse of Edamar.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-04-11 07:06 am

Edamar is dead

I play on this mud that is roleplay intensive, and where death is permanent. My husband wrote a really great review and explanation for why Harshlands is such a fantastic place to roleplay, no point in my trying to recreate that here. But do go read it, it's very well thought out.

My character has had a difficult life (well who would want to play someone who was a serf, planted crops, didn't do anything, then died of old age? ok, maybe me now...).

She was raised in a farm village, daughter of a Yeoman who stepped out on his wife, but still got her with eight children (two of whom died as infants). Aelwyd was third of six surviving children, and the sister to two fantastically beautiful females, so always was referred to as the "plain one". She's not really ugly, and maybe a bit more than just plain, but she always thought of herself that way.

Early on she fell in love (or so she thought, she knows better now) with a glutton who had a miser for a father and was using her to get more/better food than he could get at home. Maybe he thought he loved her, too. She married at age sixteen, and as soon as the food portion of her dowry was exhausted and she was stuck trying to develop new and creative ways for serving turnips, he became like is father and beat her regularly. He was also fairly lustful, and would take her pretty much wherever he felt like, without any regard for what she might be doing at the time.

She didn't really have anywhere to go, and the people in her village were no help at all. So she just resolved to escape as soon as the opportunity presented itself. But the first order of business was not to have any children. Fortunately in Harn (where Harshlands is set) they have contraceptive teas. So she managed to avoid getting pregnant for the two years they were married. Her mother in law always claimed she was cursed, since she never got pregnant, despite her son planting his seeds regularly...

When Aelwyd was eighteen, her husband died from eating too much mutton stew that had just turned. The rest of the family got ill, but he died because he ate so much. She was free of him, and had discovered her father in law's secret hoard of coins some time ago. She helped herself to what she thought fair wages for the two years she'd slaved on his farm, and ran to the nearest big city that was far enough away to keep anyone from coming after her.

When she got there, she got a job right away as a cook and eventually became an apprentice innkeeper. She was pretty ripe for the picking and "fell in love" with someone unsuitable for her, because he was *so* different and offered such a different life. He ran off across the sea for two years and she spent about a year and a half feeling pretty numb when she found out he wasn't really who she thought he was at all.

She finally opened up again, and fell, again, for the wrong man. This time a monk who had sworn a vow of chastity, and who, if had been released from his vow, would still be married. Though he loved her back, they could never marry or raise a family, so they decided she needed to marry a good man, and he'd help her find one.

Edamar had been engaged to her first, and closest, friend when she got to Tashal. She'd always felt a soft spot for him. Her friend died to some wolves and Edamar had grieved a great deal for her. They'd been very much in love. In time, however, it started to fade, and Aelwyd's quiet devotion crept into his heart. Eventually, he came to realize he loved her, and sought her love.

Aelwyd had never thought of Edamar in that light, but in him she saw the solution to some of her problems. She made up her mind to love him, rather more than actually loving him at first. Eventually she settled into the new relationship glow, and it felt better than her other relationships, so she decided she was doing the right thing and that deep love would grow. She never told Edamar this, but she didn't love him as much as he loved her. She was certain she would, in time, love him more than he loved her.

She hadn't stopped loving the monk, either, and was working her way through dealing with the fact that it was possible to actually love two men.

Then tragedy struck. Edamar, either fleeing from wolves, or intent on avenging the death of his family before he married Aelwyd, got killed by gargun (orcs).

The reasons for this are pretty simple, the player of Edamar's wife didn't want him to marry anyone in game (do NOT get me started on what I think about THAT), and he hadn't checked with her on that point before he'd gotten involved with Aelwyd. Given the circumstances, we decided Edamar's death would be best all around in the long run, and create some powerful dramatic scenes to play out. This happened last night...

What I hadn't counted on was how I, the player, would feel.

I've been playing muds for over ten years now, but never a mud where death was permanent. I woke up this morning and thought, "Edamar is dead". I actually cried in the shower a little bit when I remembered the pitcher of milk that Edamar had bought for Aelwyd one morning after she'd fallen asleep on the couch in his house and he'd watched over her all night. There are dozens of examples of memories Aelwyd built with Edamar in the short time they courted that bring tears to my eyes to think about now.

If I'd been watching this in a movie, I'd have been crying as well. It was very moving, very dramatic, and I guess I'm going to need to work through the grief as much as Aelwyd will have to. Fortunately I have a loving husband who also plays, and who also was crying at the temple where Edamar's body was laid out. So at least he won't think I'm insane.

I'll post the log of Aelwyd saying goodbye to Edamar next.
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-04-07 02:44 pm

Cigna is my Biatch

The state benefits office finally came through for me. She got Cigna to shift most of the bill to medical, freeing up funds to pay for my lenses. I still have to fork over $18, but at least Cigna is paying their fair share!

Phew.

Oh, and I forgot to post, but we won trivia two weeks ago! We came from fifth place going into the final round and swept it! Goooooo Browncoats! Next week is at the Thrush, I can't wait. :)
morgannalefey: (Default)
2006-03-27 07:01 pm

Verizon - Spawn of Satan

Her perfect, red fingernails clacked in a steady rhythm as her fingers tapped restlessly on the stainless steel countertop. The clacking echoes hollowly off the white tile walls and a very faint look of discontent almost mars her perfect features.

Her sultry voice strokes her servant-engineer as she murmurs pettishly, "I am bored, Howie, amuse me."

What looked a moment ago like a pile of rumpled tan laundry laying at her feet suddenly animates, and a mousy man rises from his grovel, a frightening leer spreading across his mishappen features, "Yessss Mistressss", he hisses, "I ... have been saving this for you."

One delicate eyebrow arches upwards a millimeter and she nearly smiles as he scurries off cackling wildly. A few moments later he returns with a crisp, freshly printed invoice and kneels at her feet, holding it above his head in his grubby hands for her to read.

The smile that spreads over her face is at once stunningly beautiful, and cold as the darkest hate one finds in the bottom of Rove's soul. A chilling, seductive laugh floats from between her perfect, red lips and descends like mana on poor Howie's head.

"Mail it, Howie, mail it to them at once."

A look of contentment smooths away the threat of imperfection from her porcelain brow and she turns on a monitor that displays a pretty blue house nestled in a small growth of pine trees, anticipating with glee the howls of dismay that would soon be heard echoing from inside its walls.

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Verizon had the GALL to send us a BILL FOR DSL SERVICE!