Wednesday, September 28, 2005
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
We were under the castle hill and just left of it. Fire was writhing from a tower and there were hundreds of men fighting on both sides as well as elves. The only dwarves I saw were short and thick and had the King’s colors upon them.
Horses lay dead here and there and the smell of blood was thick in the air. The moans and cries of wounded men were everywhere. I thought “men” because I didn’t have name for what mass of men were before me.
The king, in armor and raising Excalibur, shouted something I couldn’t understand and his forces poured from the castle and fortress. Peasant from below suddenly rushed in from behind to fight for their home and king. Cappa’s frightened mewing made me look for her. I didn’t see her at all for several seconds until Kolbar reappeared and in his vest, at his right vest, Cappa was tucked unceremoniously, and each time she tried to break for it, Kolbar’s large hand tucked her safely inside his vest again. I saw a trickle of red blood on his chest from where she had scratched him.
Kolbar whistled and horses came thundering from a thicket to our right. Kolbar climbed aboard one bareback and unbridled and motioned for Dremor, Fredrick and I to follow. Packs were slung unceremoniously over my saddle and Fredrick was seated in front of Dremor as our mad dash began away from Camelot, the ring and clash of metal on metal in our ears just before a blaring blast made our bones shudder inside our bodies.
“I need to go back! He has a wizard!” Fredrick screamed as he tried to get down from the galloping horse he was on. Dremor held him in place and reminded him the king knew what he was doing. I didn’t think Fredrick was as certain any more.
“Don’t look back!” Kolbar yelled from his place ahead of us. He bent low over the neck of his horse and the steed picked up speed. I leaned forward and to the right of the horse I was on and it too headed for Kolbar. It seemed our horses were rivals because they loved to run. Dremor, his horse encumbered with Fredrick but no packs, was lagging behind slightly, perhaps to help keep Fredrick seated where he was.
We rode like that until the sun was directly overhead. I had never known horses could run like that, and suspected plain earth horses from my time did not. Kolbar slid from the back of his mount and stretched. Cappa mewed weakly. I dismounted and went to retrieve her. She was damp from Kolbar’s perspiration and very unhappy. She didn’t want to be held, but I was afraid to let her go because if she ran away I was uncertain whether or not my guard would let me look for her until I found her.
With Cappa in my arms and Ella and Enyo roaming about close to me, I slowly came to see we were in the beginnings of a deep wood. In the distance, behind us, smoke rose from Camelot I presumed. How had the battle gone? Was King Arthur still alive? Sadness slowly crept through me, because I had not gotten to look through Camelot or meet more knights and see the truth behind the legend. Cappa mewed again and I stroked her damp fur lightly.
“Good, you have come. Here, let me assist you.” I jumped at the sound of the strange feminine voice who was addressing me and looked up to see a beautiful elven female with long silver hair that reached her feet swaying slightly in the breeze. She was taller than me by several inches, and, in fact, everything about her seemed silver: her eyes were a dark silver and her skin was very pale and had a silver glint to it. The flowing gown she wore was of silver and her hands, the ones that reached out to take Cappa from me, were long fingered and elegant. She looked truly angelic. I turned to say something to Dremor but he, Fredrick and Kolbar were also talking to several other silver elves. They did not act out of sorts so I tried to relax and pretend it was as normal as anything to be in the company of an angelic elven female. Finally I just gave up and gawked, which made the female before me smile and laugh such a tinkling laugh it sounded much like glass chimes in a soft breeze.
“My name is Elira. I am the Lady of Silver Wood.” She bowed low in her introduction, and I returned it as best I could. “You are the Keeper. Dremor said you would come to aide us.” Elira stroked Cappa and her fur became dry and fluffy, truly clean and beautiful. Cappa settled and began purring. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my dear kitty, but she had come and I needed to care for her.
“I don’t know what help I can give, but I will try,” I said. I could feel Elira’s silver eyes upon me but was suddenly very uncertain about meeting them.
“Our world is different from yours isn’t it.” I nodded. “Usually it is at peace. It is sad for you to witness it not at its best.” Sadness swam through Elira’s voice which made me look up at her. Her eyes were gazing past me to the smoke of Camelot. “The castle still stands. There has been much death on both sides I fear.”
“You can see it?”
Elira smiled down at me, “Yes, it isn’t out of our line of sight.” Elira, Cappa still in her arms, turned slightly and I found myself following. “We have prepared a meal for you. It is the least we can do upon your journey, Keeper.”
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Fantasy Revealed will be up tomorrow. Got to writing on it and didn't get finished in the deadline I set for myself, so look for it tomorrow when this section will be finished and posted.
On Keeping With A Continuing Theme
Today is the first day I have felt any where close to "good" in the physical sense in, oh...what?...two weeks almost? Any way, I felt good and made one of those really conscious decisions that now was as good a time as any to put the "changing the internal codes" into action. So, even though I was pretty weak, I did my exercises for the day and began using the Breaking Through the Wall workout journal I got specifically for keeping track of my progress.
I am really such a dork that having something to "write down" my progress in just makes me want to keep it up for some reason. Yeah, I'm really weird like that.
We lost our largest fish sometime during the night. I called him Goldie because he was the most beautiful golden color you could ever imagine. He was a coi (sp?) and really my favorite. Since B has been home I have been holding a cooking pot with our remain live fish, a beautiful goldfish of grand orange color (Orangehead by name) and making sure he didn't jump out of the cooking pot. Of course I'm not doing it now because I am typing, but you get the meaning.
Tomorrow I am on clean-up duty and will be doing that for a good chunk of the day before turning to writing and getting everything organized that needs organizing before company arrives and we end up heading out to the Church festival. I need to bake two cakes for the bake sale and am really looking forward to it (now) for some reason. *insert sheepish smile here*
Monday, September 26, 2005
"Who is Bettie Page?" I asked.
"THE pin-up queen of the 1950's and beyond," he said. Then he proceeded to tell me she had just disappeared and how she had really been mistreated by the modeling business and also that she was one of the more famous early nude pin-up dolls of the era. "There are books on her at Barnes and Noble, and I'm pretty sure you can garner some decent information off of the Internet, once you get passed all of the nude photos of course."
So, since I was feeling better today, I did look up Bettie Page and discovered some of the most interesting pictures I have ever seen. When the biographers have said she could be charming and demure, the very "girl next door" and then turn into a dominatrix they weren't lying!
I think it is her eyes and her face.
She wasn't afraid to show what something could possibly be like, even if it was fear or sorrow or even desire and playfulness.
As I have researched and read, I have also discovered she is still alive and in her 80's and doesn't want any photographs of her current self shown. She says simply, "Remember me as I was...."
Seeing her, seeing how she really has a body and isn't one of those pencil thin chicks we women are supposed to emulate really has given me hope. She is beautiful in these pictures and I admit I find myself wanting to look like her, except with blond hair of course (or maybe red).
So, now I wonder ... What about Ms. Julie Newmar? Remember Catwoman before Eartha Kit?
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
Check this out! Vin Diesel wrote a book!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The Editor is still laid up – stupid monkey lord with his stupid wrench. I don’t have a estimated time of recovery for her at this point, but any well wishes, hopeful prayers, and good mojo that can be spared and directed her way would be appreciated. Depending on how long recovery takes, you’ll probably see a couple more posts from me over the next few days.
I can feel your excitement. Really I can. It’s most underwhelming.
Today I leave you with a bit of fortune cookie wisdom, which, upon reflection, seems oddly appropriate – “We will not know the worth of the water ‘till the well is dry.”
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Ok, so she had a really bad headache yesterday and is resting more today to make sure it’s gone. This sounds more fun.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Today was a day of opposite happenings and introspection.
B is sick, or not feeling very well at the very best, so we have not gone anywhere today even though there are two festivals we could have gone to. Usually I am the one feeling under the weather and not letting us go anywhere, with B the one who does not feel well I am afraid I have felt rather let down and annoyed. I fully expect him to understand and accept when I am under the weather it is not my fault. It has been most difficult a task to accomplish, which has caused me to look inside at how I truly am and see about changing what is wrong with me.
First, let us look at the physical. 1) I am over-weight; 2) I am physically not as strong as I could be, or even should be; 3) I always see the house cleaning as a task I can always do later; and 4) sometimes I just give up, quit and let depressive sleep take me over. These things are all something I need to change, physically.
Now, let us look elsewhere. 1) I talk a lot about writing, but there are times when I simply just stop even though there are many stories to tell; 2) I am not always as chipper as I probably should be; 3) for years I have told myself I am not worth the life I have been given; and 4) sometimes I question why I am happy, and not in a good way.
There is more wrong with me, of course, but if I list everything I thought of I am going to be majorly depressed and not going to change anything. Four things per each category right now is enough.
So, I have looked long and hard at myself today while B has been sleeping off and on and have decided it is time to change them. How often have I said that, written that, or just thought it? Each time I have said, "This time is IT. I am going to DO it!" I never do. I always let something in the second category get me down. Honestly, I cannot afford to stop this time, and not just because of my own health, but B's.
See, he depends on me. When that big strong man comes down with something he wants a woman who can take care of him and of herself for as long as he is down. I need to give that to him. What is more important, I need to give that to myself.
I am really worth looking after my body. I did not understand what I was reading in the new work out book I have, but it is true. I have to believe I am worth living, worth changing. My body is the body God gave me and he does not give us junk. The man who may or may not be my trainer, Avery, said "It is up to us to keep it in good shape." I need to really look at myself, not with that bad critical eye, but with the good one.
Usually when I look in the mirror I can spot all of my flaws immediately. I am too heavy. I have a double chin. I do not stand as straight as I should. I fail to see my eyes are bright blue. I do not see the beautiful blond hair. I fail to acknowledge there is a ready, very pretty smile there. I do not let myself see the body I have beneath the fat and even attempt to bring it out as a project.
We always look at projects with an optimistic eye. OK, so the main character did not accomplish this task, but there is still room to work with him and get him to be where he needs to be. This is merely a challenge. Why is it so difficult for me to have this where my body is concerned, where I am concerned? Faulty programming.
Being a little bit of a geek (ok, maybe a lot of a geek), I know The News is not going to look good if I do not put time and effort into it. The hit counter is not going to go up readily unless there is something here for people to read. I know I have all of these problems with my physical body. Why do I not put the time and effort into making it better as I do with The News or any of my major writing projects? There is a "code" somewhere in my head that is faulty. I need to find that "code" and change it, make it "read" properly.
I admit it, part of me is terrified of what all of the changes will mean. Will I be the same person I have always been on the inside, or will things change so drastically for me it will be impossible for me to even recognize who I am? At the same time there is an excitement - an excitement of being the person I should have always been but let depression and uncertainty bury her so deep I am going to have to go spelunking to find her again and restore her to her proper place inside myself.
This is all beginning on Monday. Who knows what is going to happen from there on out. I will try and keep a record of it to share, along with some thoughts and feelings along the way. What is any journey without having someone to tell about it? Don't we all just love a good traveling story every now and again?
Friday, September 16, 2005
For the longest time I never really understood why I enjoyed playing video games so much. Since I finished my first game and am now working on my second, I must say that I am slowly coming to a realization of why, for me, they are so downright enjoyable: It is the discovery of the story. My actions as the gamer is having a cause-and-effect result on the character in the game. It is like having the best of both worlds of a story - I can watch what is unfolding as well as participate!
Reading, letting my imagination unwind and discover what lurks out there in the written world of fantasy, science fiction, action-adventure, you name it, has always been one of my utmost favorite pass-times. Writing them is my life. Here, with the video game, I am discovering, at the age of 44, that there is an outlet for much aggression and even some latent sorrow by playing video games peacefully all alone.
I still love playing them with B. I always will. Still, there is something beyond refreshing about discovering a place where I can relax those tired brain cells and just enjoy something where I can participate in and watch unfold as well.
Much to my surprise, I am even picking out titles of games I would like to eventually play. Yes, I know most of the gamers out there have already played them, but this is new for me and, like all things new, it is sparkly and beautiful to behold, especially if I can play for a little while all alone!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I finished my first ever video game last night! It was Strangers Wrath for X-Box. I have been playing video games for quite a few years but never actually was the first one to make it to the end. Why? I'm married. B loves to play video games and we usually "share" them, meaning we take turns playing in a given gaming night. It is most fun actually, except when it comes to the endings - he usually does the endings because he is usually the one who has the controller at the time.
For the past couple of weeks, B has permitted the X-Box to stay hooked up because JoJo is more grown-up than what she was and we have a nice coffee table to hold the X-Box safely now. So, while he has been at work I have been able to play a little through the day and he has been able to come home and relax by picking up where I left off. This time B even stopped a couple of times and said, "You can take care of him tomorrow." Of course the "him" was usually a boss of some type and my gaming skills actually went up because of it, so I have no complaints about that.
Yesterday was a very bad writing day: I had been working on a short story to submit but everything I tried just kept popping wrong and so gave up about four o'clock, which is my winding-down-time now, and started playing. B wasn't coming straight home so I had a couple of more hours of time to play, and in that time I actually finished Strangers Wrath!
Yes, I was elated. I was all alone except for the dogs and I was watching the ending movie with much interest and pleasure because I was seeing it first because of the actions I had led Stranger through. We had fought hard against Secto and now we had finally done what we needed to do in order to have peace in Oddworld!
And there was much rejoicing!
Now on the agenda is Panzer Dragoon Orta. I really wanted to play it but B said he wanted to play it first. Now the X-Box is up I feel as if I have a chance of beating this game as well.
Oh, and last night when B came home, I was able to tell him I had finished the game. I saw and heard the same happy disappointment that I had always had before in my own face and voice. And I really didn't feel bad about it.
I also promise, from here on out there will be an episode every Tuesday. Yeah, I know, I wanted Tuesday and Thursday, but other writing projects must also be accomplished - those I have the potential for getting paid for. Who knows, maybe once Fantasy Revealed is finished y'all may be able to go out and buy a hard copy for yourselves!
This is about the only change you will see in The News for a while. Everything else pretty much will remain the same.
Oh, and remember that self-overhaul I was talking about way back when? Well, I've started it. Saturday is W-Day - weighing day, to see if I have actually begun losing any weight. I feel as if I weigh a ton, but my clothes are just a wee bit looser (I know, it isn't grammatical, but you know what I mean).
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
By H.A. Handy
Copyright 2005 by H.A. Handy
I woke up in a beautiful room upon a large canopied four-poster bed, the kind every little girl dreams of at some point in her life. The dogs were curled up on either side of me, just like always. The walls were stone covered in thick tapestries and coverings almost like quilts, very ornate quilts. A window was just to my right where a beautiful night sky peeped in so lazily I could almost forget, for a moment, what had happened.
Carefully I pushed myself up onto my elbows. Ella and Enyo raised their heads and thumped their tails against the bed in quiet greeting. I smiled at them and they lay their large black heads back down. A fireplace was just to the foot of the bed, and two chairs. Dremor occupied one of them, his head resting against his hand abjectly, his eyes closed in quiet sleep. Carefully I pushed the heavy covers away and was getting ready to get up when Dremor appeared. No traces of sleep were left in his eyes as he looked down at me. The light of the fire played about his handsome face adding atmosphere to....
I was suddenly very glad it was darkish in the room, because if it was not then Dremor would see me blush like a fanciful teenager letting herself wonder what if in the middle of a fantastic hopeful dream.
Dremor pulled the cover back up over me as he sat down at my side. He stroked my forehead gently. “Hungry?” he asked. I really didn’t feel hungry but I didn’t have anything to say, so I said I was. Without hesitance, Dremor propped me on more pillows and from a bedside table placed a tray in my lap. It was covered with a cloth and when the cover was removed the scent of warm stew and fresh bread made my stomach gurgle in earnest. Dremor smiled at that and left from the side of the bed long enough to bring his chair closer as well as a tray of his own, which he had obviously not fully eaten on in his vigil by my bedside. Ella and Enyo, of course, were no longer asleep because they were focused on the food Dremor and I were now eating.
“They have been fed,” Dremor said, reaching out to stroke Ella’s large head, which was the closer of the two. “They did not want to eat at first, but I made sure to feed them in here, which let them have some of their appetite.”
“And Cappa?” Dremor pointed to the other chair by the fire.
“Safe and sound and purring pleasantly.” He smiled at me in his warm, genuine way and I felt myself relax.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“A day only,” he answered.
“I’m sorry.” Dremor placed one of his warm, elegant hands over mine.
“There is nothing for you to apologize for anything, Marjorie,” he said, and, I have to admit I rather enjoyed how he said my name. It was suddenly very exotic and sexy. “You have come to a different world, literally, in order to help us, without thinking so much as one ounce for yourself. All of this,” he said, waving his spoon at the room as if encompassing it and so much more, “is undoubtedly shocking in the truest of senses. I know when I first went into your world I became extremely ill. We who Travel call it shifting sickness. I did not stop having it for almost twenty times!”
“Is that how many times you have come into my world? Twenty?” Dremor smiled at me and shook his head as he ladled a bite of the rich meat and vegetable stew into his mouth.
“I have been to your world many times, and each time it has changed in some way. Once there was a great battle being fought with cannons and people were falling horribly on both sides. It was called the Civil War, I believe. It was sad, and rank.” Dremor’s brow furrowed. “I am sorry, you don’t need to hear about all of that.”
“No, please,” I said, “go on.” And he did. He told me of the Civil War and of what he had seen. He had come to our world that time to bring someone back, but had only ended up bringing them back. Then he told me of Charles Dickens’ world and how it compared to what had been happening in America and my own history came alive for me in a manner I could never have imagined before. Finally, our bowls empty and the bread eaten, Dremor sighed and tucked me back under the nice warm blankets and told me dawn would be coming soon. He promised to be at his post the remainder of the night. As I scrunched down upon the comfortable bed and all of those pillows, I glanced down and saw Dremor replacing his chair by the fire and angling it so he could see the bed and the fire. Once I woke up, startled at everything being different, just as the sky outside was beginning to pale. Dremor was there, his head upon his hand, and the fire burning down to coals. I trusted him in a way I had never trusted anyone, and as I was drifting back off into sleep, I hoped I was not making a mistake.
The dogs’ frantic barking was what woke me up fully. They were off the bed and had stationed themselves in front of the large wooden door fiercely. Dremor was awakened too, his sword drawn and at the ready. Sounds from outside finally drifted in, and they were horrible sounds of people screaming, horses whinnying that terrified, frightened sound that made the blood chill in your veins. Then came the clash of metal upon metal and Dremor was at the window, throwing a large shutter (I had not even noticed before) shut just as arrows came whipping inside.
“Down! Get down!” Dremor yelled. I was on the floor and under the bed in seconds. Cappa soon came to join me. I called Ella and Enyo close and they sat on the floor, waiting. “It’s English! The fool!” Dremor yelled.
The door to the room burst open and oiled boots appeared. “Where is she?” It was King Arthur. I did not hear Dremor say anything but the king was looking at me beneath the bed. “Come child. We need to get you out of here.” I had almost made it from beneath the bed when Fredrick appeared, a satchel over his back and was dragging two others, both of them a lot larger than his. The effort was causing the little man’s face to break into sweat.
“Everything is there, including a change of clothes,” said Frederick as he slid one over to me. “Dress and we will be on our way.”
I reached for the pack and pulled out a pair of soft leather breeches, a shirt and vest, and a pair of extra soft boots with soft soles almost like moccasins. The sounds of a raging battle was growing outside, as well as a scent of feces and copper. I didn’t want to think about those smells, but they made my half-empty stomach lurch dangerous a couple of times. The men, much to my surprise, all turned their backs to me to give me privacy as I changed and I felt just a little sad for not being more self-conscious of changing in front of these strange men, especially when I would not change in front of my mother when I was home! Terror can make you re-think propriety it appeared.
I had just slid on the vest when a broad shouldered, very squarely built, almost stout elf appeared. He was about five feet nine and massive in his chest and shoulders, actually every where! He paused to give me an approving look then bowed low to King Arthur.
“What word Kolbar?”
“The gate is falling at the moment, but there looks like the reinforcements from Dal are going to arrive. The archers have already assisted us with their arrows, even from Dal. If we want to make sure the Keeper is safe, we’d best get her gone.” King Arthur nodded.
“I trust you will keep her safe, Kolbar?” King Arthur fixed Kolbar with a look that made me wilt, but Kolbar just looked into the king’s eyes and laughed.
“Aye, I’ll keep her safe, as long as my dear cousin agrees we go where I say she needs to go.” Dremor tensed.
“Dremor?” the king intoned. Several tense seconds passed before Dremor gave his agreement.
“Just remember, Kolbar, Dremor is ahead of you in rank.”
“What does a half-blood need of rank?” Kolbar laughed suddenly. “Come now, let’s get going while we still have a chance!”
Dremor passed close by me, grabbed me by the arm and we edged passed Kolbar whose bulk was taking up the majority of the door. Ella and Enyo followed me, and I heard Cappa mew sadly. Dremor had somehow managed to scoop up his pack from the floor without me noticing it (which really wouldn’t have been too difficult to do considering). Kolbar touched his forehead in a means of greeting. His eyes were dark and brilliant. A tight black beard and mustache outlined his full-lipped mouth, and his head was filled with long dreadlocks. I could not help but smile at him – he seemed so amused by everything. I also noticed his skin was darker and he smelled of...the out doors, like when you go camping and return after a week. You still smell like the out doors even after you have more than one shower, and that’s exactly what he smelled like.
I was still looking back at the curiosity that was Kolbar in time to see him scoop up Fredrick and Cappa and head out after us. Fredrick was outraged!
“Be quiet little man! I’m just giving you necessary aide!” Kolbar said, his voice sounding like thunder.
“I am a mighty and powerful wizard!”
“Aye, that you are, but your legs can’t keep up with Dremor’s and I am not so certain of mine, but mine have a better chance until we can get to the horses!”
Then Kolbar was after us, right on my heels, and I was right on Dremor’s who was hurrying down a set of stone steps with such sure-footedness I felt myself hard put to try and keep up with him.
At a landing he let me rest and Kolbar catch up, who then passed right by us, Fredrick still on his shoulder like so many pounds of potatoes, and then we were heading after Kolbar.
I did not get to see much of what was around me, but I did see beautiful glistening crystal archways and beautiful gold and gems upon some of the tiles we passed over. Then we were into a small tunnel behind a tapestry and we were hurrying in single file with a torch here and there to light our way. For myself I could see nothing. I had to trust to Dremor to tell me if there were steps or turns because I could not see, and he in turn was relying upon Kolbar who would shout out turns here and there or roar “Steps” or something else as he proceeded.
Kolbar put down Fredrick and told Dremor to wait, he would check the exit and he rushed off. I was tired and drenched in sweat from the many minutes run. Dremor was not phased and neither was Fredrick.
“I...thought...elves could see in the dark,” I panted. Dremor shook his head.
“Not here, it is protected by magic, but Kolbar can see. It is in his blood.”
“He is half dwarf!” Dremor virtually spat out the information. I wondered suddenly if everything I had read in Dungeons and Dragons was true: Did elves and dwarves dislike each other so much they would not cross breed? If Dremor’s reaction was any indication, then, yes there was something to it, but my line of thought could not follow up with a question because Kolbar appeared and we were continuing down the tunnel once more, this time very quietly.
Ella rumbled softly and everyone stopped.
Kolbar started on again and we followed.
Finally there was a crack around what appeared to be a door and Kolbar slid it open slowly. It took several seconds for my eyes to adjust. When they did, I was sickened at what I saw.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
It is always surprising when you discover you have grown. It is always a surprise to me to discover I am not exactly the same I have always been. It is really a surprise when I discover just how much words mean to me and I want to use them in the best way I can. That's how I noticed the change in myself: I didn't want to give my friend the old stale words and hope she would feel better. She is really grieving and the old stale words wouldn't have helped, just been there helping her to feel a little more lost, just perhaps not quite as alone. Now she is experiencing friendship and knows I won't, we won't, stand idly by and let her go through something painful alone. We are going to be there for her.
Sometimes growing makes you quite humble.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Kolbar has a tendency to do something very similiar to me. Sometimes he will say, "Why not a pizza?" I usually agree. (Who, really, in their right mind, says "no" to pizza? Even if you are following the Stallone rule of eating and only take 3 bites of the thing, do you EVER say "no"?) Then he says, "You call." I call. The pizza place answers and then he, Kolbar, must know EVERYTHING that goes on the pizza. So, for the next few minutes we discuss, with the pizza guy, the creation of our pizzas. We usually get two: one for him, one for me. Why? Because he usually does the pineapple thing, and, although it may be widely accepted, even loved, putting pineapple on pizza is just simply WRONG.
Being the wrestling fandom geek I am I found myself being just a little bored of my beloved wrestling. No, I still love the performers of extradinary size and musculature just as much (regular readers already know my favorites), the story lines were just getting old. I was ready for something new. It seems most of the wrestling world was ready for something new. Now we have it.
WWE SmackDown! has a new and different agenda. It has moved from Thursday nights to Fridays, which is going to cause a huge uproar with my TV watching schedule, and now something else. The first our is going to be broadcast on WWE.com. The second hour on UPN.
I really want to watch my Sci Fi Friday shows, but I really like the line-up that is happening this new day. I am also very interested in seeing what is going to happen with the matches and if any of them will be uncut and if you have to pay for them on WWE.com. It is most interesting. Life, as we know it, in the wrestling world may be changing, but for the better.
The House Guest
By Bonnie Gibson
Copyright (C) 2005 by Bonnie Gibson
"Time to get up kids, you can’t spend summer vacation in bed; there’s too many things to do," called Margaret Sampson to her children as she opened their bedroom door.
"Oh Mom," said Jerry, the oldest, "we don’t like it here. Why do we have to come here every summer?"
"Cause Mom and Dad want to get away from everyone, the phones, TV, everything," mumbled Scott, their eight-year-old son.
"There’s plenty to do if you look for it," said Margaret. "Get up and go down to the lake and fish. Fishing is fun if you’d give it a try."
The boys got up and got dressed. They went into the kitchen to get breakfast. Margaret had fixed a really good breakfast. Scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and home made biscuits. This is the one thing that they liked about coming to the cabin on the lake for summer, the good breakfast.
Back at home in New York, they had had a busy life. Margaret worked full time as a legal secretary. Sometimes it would be after dark before she got home. Thomas was a firefighter and spent a lot of time away from home. There wasn’t much time for the boys in their life. They had a busy schedule just making a living. The boys came home from school every day and were by themselves until their parents got home. They did their homework and then played video games or watched TV. They didn’t get outside much. Living in the city was tough and their parents wouldn’t allow them to go out into the streets to play. Jerry was fourteen, plenty old enough to be left baby sitting Scott.
Scott was infatuated with fire. Since his father was a firefighter it made him curious about fire. Several times Jerry had caught him playing with matches in the apartment. Jerry didn’t tell on him, afraid his parents might want to hire a baby sitter. Jerry sure didn’t need a baby sitter. He was old enough to handle anything coming his way.
"Your mom and I are going down to the lake," Thomas told the boys. "Would you two like to come with us? We are taking the boat out today."
"Not me Dad," spoke up Jerry. "I’ll just hang around here. I don’t like the water."
"Me either," said Scott. "I’m going to stay with Jerry."
"Well okay, but you’re going to miss the fun," Thomas said.
Thomas and Margaret left. The boys finished eating and got up from the table. Jerry went to his room and Scott walked over to the window to see if he could see the squirrels eating at the feeder. He turned around and saw a lady in the kitchen. She was cleaning up the plates that they had just eaten in. She took them over to the sink and began washing them. Scott went over to her and began talking to her. He asked her who she was and if his mother had hired her to clean for her. She didn’t respond to Scott’s questions. She just continued to clean up the kitchen.
Scott went to tell Jerry about the lady. "She’s in the kitchen now," he said.
"She’s cleaning everything up."
"That’s good Scott," Jerry said. "Mom probably hired her to help out. Remember this is summer vacation for all of us. Mom doesn’t want to work all the time."
"But why doesn’t she talk to me?" Scott asked. "She won’t even look at me. She acts like I’m not even there."
"She’s just busy and doesn’t want to be bothered," Jerry said. "Find you something to do. Just leave me alone."
When Scott's parents got home he asked his mother about the lady. "Oh she’s just helping me with the chores. Just leave her alone. She doesn’t want to be bothered with kids."
Scott went outside and found a large stick. He had a knife and he wanted to whittle at the stick. He wanted to try and whittle a boat out of it. He had seen one in a store nearby and wanted to make one himself. He sat down on a tree stump and began to cut at the stick. First he cut off all the bark. Then he began cutting little bits of wood off at a time.
He noticed a man working on a car that was parked in his yard. He had the hood of his car up and was looking over into the motor. "Hi Mister," Scott said. The man never acknowledged that Scott was talking to him. "Are you checking your oil?" he asked. Still the man didn’t answer Scott. Why don’t people talk to me? Scott thought. He tried again. He turned to the man and asked another question. The man never answered. Giving up, Scott started to turn and go back to where he was seated on the tree stump. Before he could turn around the man started walking toward him. Scott just stood still; thinking maybe the man was finally going to say something to him. The man got closer and closer and finally ran right into Scott and right through him and kept going. The man never stopped. Scott wanted to run but he couldn’t. His feet froze to the ground. He’s a ghost, he thought.
Finally Scott managed to move. He ran as fast as he could into the house to tell his parents. "You’re just imagining things," they said. "Now just forget about it and go and play."
Scott continued to see the man outside. Sometimes he’d be cutting grass, sometimes just walking around in the yard. He tried to speak to him but the man wouldn’t even look at him. Finally Scott managed to get up enough courage to walk up to the man and tap him on his arm. The man immediately looked right at Scott, his eyes got big. He had a frightened look on his face and ran into the house. Scott went in after him but couldn’t find him in the house. He began telling his parents about what had happened and asking where was the man. His parents were really irritated with him. "Just leave them alone Scott," his father said. "They are just helping out around here for us this summer while we are here."
"The man is a ghost" Scott screamed. "He walked right through me. He is a ghost."
"If you continue this nonsense, I’m going to have to punish you," his father said. Now go to your room and don’t come out until I say you can."
Scott reluctantly went to his room. He tried to tell Jerry but Jerry wasn’t listening either. "Don’t bother me with your ghost stories," he said. "Can’t you find something to keep you busy?"
Thomas came to the door. "We are going out now. Scott, you can come out but you’d better be off the subject of ghosts when we get back."
Scott came out of his room. He wanted desperately to find out more about the man and the woman. He wondered if she was a ghost too. She was in the kitchen when he came out. He walked up to her and started talking. She never acknowledged him being there. She had turned on the radio and was moving to the music.
What is this music? Scott thought. I’ve never heard that song before. Just then the music stopped and the news came on. The newsman announced, "It’s 11 oclock AM June 5, 1998. Time for the local weather."
Scott was alarmed. He knew that it was the year 1995. Why would this newscaster be saying it was 1998? If it were 1998 he’d be 11 years old. He was only 8. He watched the lady. She didn’t seem to be alarmed at the radio announcer saying it was 1998. Something was very wrong.
After the weatherman was finished with the forecast, the music began again. The lady had the dishrag in her hand and was gently wiping the counter tops while singing with the music; another song that he had never heard. He tried once again to talk to her. He had to speak loudly because of the music. Still, she never acknowledged him. He was sure of it; she was a ghost. But he was still puzzled over the radio announcer saying it was the year 1998. Was she a ghost of the future? Was he in the future? Scott walked over, reached up to the radio and turned it off. The lady stopped in her tracks. Scott reached over to the lady and tugged at her arm. She immediately looked down at him and screamed. She ran out of the house. Scott followed her out of the house to see where she was going. He peaked around a bush and saw her talking to her husband. She was crying. He listened to what she was saying to him. "All we want is for them to leave us alone," the lady said. "We bought this land in confidence and built our house here. We didn’t know the full story behind it. I knew the other house that was here burned down and the people died. I think the couple had two boys. It must be the little boy who started the fire," she said to her husband.
"Yes, it must be, he said, “he doesn’t have peace so he’s coming back here to find it. I don’t think he means to hurt us."
"But what if he burns our house down?" Scott heard the lady ask. "We may be sleeping at night and burn up just like he and his family did. I heard he got up into the night and started a fire. They all burned up in the fire."
Scott was terrified at hearing this. I can’t believe it, he thought. He ran to out into the woods. He just kept running. Branches of trees were hitting him in the face. Finally he stopped and sat down. His memory was returning. He remembered that he didn’t want to leave his New York home to go to the lake house for the summer. He and Jerry had friends and wanted to spend one summer at home. Every year his parents wanted to go to the lake house. Jerry had a girlfriend. His parents didn’t know but she’d come over after school while they were at work. Sometimes she’d bring her little sister. She and Scott would play all afternoon together.
He remembered getting to the lake house. It was the very first night after they had arrived. He was in his room in bed but couldn’t sleep. His parents and his brother were fast asleep. He eased out of bed as to not wake his brother and gently opened his bedroom door. He went into the kitchen to find a snack. After eating a few cookies, he opened the back door that led to the deck. He sat down in the doorway. Sitting right beside him was a box of matches that his father had used to light the grill that evening. He couldn’t believe that his dad had left the matches out. He was always talking about fire safety. He reached down and picked up the box of matches. He just couldn’t resist striking one. One led to another. He struck another one but held it a little too long. It started burning his finger so he threw it down. It landed right on top of the charcoal starter bottle. Flames started coming out of the bottle. He jumped up to find something to put out the fire, stumbled and fell, hitting his head on a ceramic flowerpot sitting nearby. That’s all he could remember.
Oh no, he thought. It was my fault. I burned my family and myself up in the house. "I didn’t mean to," he cried. "I loved my family. I really didn’t mind coming to the lake house. I knew Jerry wanted to stay at home to be with his girlfriend. I just wanted Jerry to be happy."
Scott looked up to see his father, mother, and brother standing beside him. They were all smiling. "Scott," his mother said. "We never blamed you son. You are just a little boy."
"Yeah Scott," his father said. "It was my fault. I should have never left the matches out like I did. I knew better. I am a fireman. We love you son and want you to be at peace. It wasn’t your fault. You tried to put out the fire but you stumbled and fell. It knocked you out when you hit your head. You never knew anything after that. I know you would have put the fire out. You’re a good little boy."
"Scott," Jerry said. "I was selfish. I knew that you really liked coming to the lake house. I also knew that you liked pleasing me. I took advantage of that. I’m so sorry. Now no one blames you. We all love you, so be at peace my little brother."
The couple who lived in the house suddenly felt the presence of someone around them. At first they were frightened. Then they felt a sense of peace. They hugged each other and the man said, "it’s going to be okay now Maria."
"Yes," said Maria, "I can feel it too Randy."
Scott and his family were looking at them. "Be at peace," they said and vanished into thin air.
Bonnie Gibson owns and operates a bookstore in Thomasville, Alabama. She also lives in Thomasville with her husband John. She has three grown children and three granddaughters. She loves to read and write in her spare time. She has had two books published.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
The Nativity of the Theotokos Thursday, September 8, 2005
3rd Vespers at the Nativity of the Theotokos: Proverbs 9:1-11 Epistle:
Philippians 2:5-11 Gospel: St. Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28 [KJV]
Deliverer of our Souls: St. Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28, especially vss.
“And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, ‘Blessed is the
womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked.’ But He said, ‘Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’”
Through this “certain woman of the company,” God revealed the truth
concerning the Theotokos - that she is “blessed,” which she even
prophesied of herself (Lk. 1:48). Her womb was blessed, for Christ our
God took flesh from that womb to redeem our flesh. Her breasts were
blessed, for by them He was nourished for earthly life and ministry.
However, primarily, we call the Theotokos blessed because she ‘heard
the word of God and kept it’ (Lk. 11:28).
The Theotokos is called blessed especially because supremely she lived
the conditions of blessedness disclosed by the Lord Jesus in the
Beatitudes: poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger for
righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and the enduring of persecution
and slander because of Him (Mt. 5:3-12). She embodied within herself
the way by which the Deliverer of our souls extends His blessing to our
cursed and fallen race so that we may achieve theosis.
As the Beatitudes are set at the beginning of the Lord’s first public
teaching (Mt. 5:1-12), the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1-7:27), so the
Theotokos was the first of the new race called Christians who strive to
incorporate these spiritual truths as foundations for living. She
models what God achieves whenever a person takes the Beatitudes as the
operational criteria for every choice and action. In response, the
Deliverer of souls meets us in that effort and presents Himself to us
as a yoke-mate (Mt. 11:29) with all the power required to bring us to
What the Church knows from meditation on and observation of the person and life of the Virgin Mary is that her Son also became her Deliverer, enabling her to attain theosis, the full blessed union of heart, soul, and body with the living God. That Mary conceived the Deliverer was a gift she accepted. The “woman of that company” rightly discerned that, by obedience and faithfulness, the Theotokos achieved that special unique state of blessed deification.
The Beatitudes are the perfect guide for striving as did the Theotokos to attain union with the Deliverer of our souls. Can you imagine
greater poverty of spirit than she displayed? “He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden” (Lk. 1:48). Let us not be ashamed to say, “I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and am not worthy to lift up my eyes to the height of Thy glory.” What greater mourning could there be than “the sword [which] pierced her heart” (Lk. 2:35) when her beloved Son and Deliverer said, “Woman, behold your son!” (Jn. 19:26)?
“Let us not be exalted in our own thoughts, but humble ourselves and cry contritely, God forgive us our sins.” What greater meekness could we seek? “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk. 1:38). Let us show our hunger for righteousness and say with her, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38), and pursue mercy as when she pointed out, “They have no wine” (Jn. 2:3). We, too, may introduce peace into confusion as she did: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn. 2:5).
Consider her personal cross as she stood before the Cross of the Deliverer in silence; and let her be our icon in all our affliction and persecution.
Following the Dormition of the Theotokos, when her tomb was opened for
Thomas, the company of Apostles discovered that the Deliverer “Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb did translate her to life.” May He also bless us to follow her in keeping the Beatitudes!
O Deliverer of our souls, having wrought salvation in the flesh, renew us to life immortal.
This is spookily weird. Yesterday my potassium decided to take a vacation from me for a little while, so really had to put the potassium back into me. One of my sisters called and she was going over all of the foods that are high in potassium, one of which is potato chips.
"How about potato chips? Eat some of those."
"I don't have any potato chips."
"You don't have any potato chips?!"
I don't believe I have heard that tone of utter surprise in anyone's voice in quite a while, and now Garfield speaks of chips. When did potato chips become a vital point of the diet for Americans?
To say it is "surprising" would not be all that correct, to say I am "startled" would be, perhaps, a little more accurate.
Monday, September 05, 2005
I have tried to fill these passed events with so much to do I did not have time to think about what the day truly was, but when I managed to succeed (if I managed at all) as I would lay down to rest the grief would be over-whelming and intense, fresh and new. If friends managed to come and try and keep me occupied by the time the day was over, or the events of an evening, I still had to lie down to try and rest, to sleep to prepare for the next day and the old problem would still be there: I would think of Mommy and miss her and grieve just as much as before.
Last year I did not run from the fact it was Mommy's birthday so much. It hurt and I accepted it. I mourned fresh and new just like the times before and for the following week I had to figure out how to breathe again, how to live and BE as she would have wanted me too. Now, a new year has arrived and her birthday is close, and I am tired of hurting so much so I am going to do something totally different and it is all B's suggestion: I am going to make her a cake and I am going to cook a wonderful meal, and I am going to remember my Mommy with love and joy.
Yes, it is going to hurt, but I believe it is going to hurt less merely because I am acknowledging her absence, but not her loss. I am going to celebrate her life, her birth and I am possibly going to invite some very dear, close friends to enjoy the food and cake with me and B. If my mind changes and it is just B and I, this will be enough, probably more than enough. (Cheyenne was going to try and come in when I mentioned it to him, but he can't.) The important thing is remembering and honoring the woman who gave me so much of her life in order that I might simply live.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Fantasy Revealed, Part vi
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
As if both of us were cued off stage, we turned and looked back at where the King and retinue were advancing. Were they shocked? The king didn’t seem to be acting any differently, but, surely he would think something strange of me, right? I mean I felt strange about me as it was!
Dremor looked down at me curiously.
“Could you do that before?” he asked. I shook my head. It was true of course.
The world suddenly grew dark. I knew I was there with Dremor, but I was also somewhere else. Somewhere filled with horrible darkness and pain that seemed to riddle my entire body and made me wish I was anywhere else but where I was. Just as suddenly as this feeling came I was very much aware I wanted others, every living thing I could capture, to hurt just as badly. If it wasn’t going to stop, then others would join me, others would suffer.
Then there was quiet blackness filled only with screaming. My screams.
Friday, September 02, 2005
My heart aches to do something to help. My husband and I do not have the financial resources to where we CAN help, even going down there to try and help those we could possibly meet. Still, we pray.
At least we can pray.