April 5, 2015

Sold

From the seclusion of my oasis, I used to watch the cars drive by on the main road.  Often they appeared as an endless stream of passersby, racing to get wherever they were going.  I wondered if they ever even bothered to look down the gravel road and wonder, "Who lives there?"  Now I know how completely oblivious they were and are.

The sign was like a knife twisting in my heart when I first saw it.  In my entire life, I never dreamed it would be there.  Growing up, I knew that no matter what happened, my oasis at the end of the gravel road would always be there waiting for me.  More than anywhere I have ever lived, I called this place my home, my joy, my source of adventure, and later my font of inspiration.

Those cars with the drivers that had so carelessly driven past a hundred times before, flooded my oasis, directed there by that sign.  I watched as the vultures swooped in to pick the carcass of my childhood clean.  Dutifully, I joined them, hoping to devour some scrap that would restore the magic of my oasis to what it had been before.  Deep down, I knew there was nothing there that could do this for me.  Yet I was swept up in a whirlwind of activity and my heart told me to react or lose.  One by one, the treasures of my childhood were stripped away.  They came, they took, and they walked away, indifferent as they had ever been.  Those things which I thought had been most important when growing up, I discovered to be easily replaced or overlooked; those things which had been a comfort, now struck out like a brood of vipers.

The emptiness of my oasis became a well of bitter waters from which I had no choice but to draw from.  Each time I went there, I had to confront that nebulous future loss and the reminder that my dream was in ruins.  Each trip down the gravel road became ever increasingly more difficult, each journey with the oblivious crowd on the main thoroughfare became a small comfort, until I found myself a member of that endless stream of travelers passing by.

I don't remember how it happened exactly, but one day as I was driving by my oasis, I realized the knife twisting in my heart didn't have to be a traitor's strike.  If I lay down my dream by my own volition, it would be my sacrifice and it could no longer be stripped away.  How powerful that moment to lay my own hand upon that knife; how much more powerful to find it impossible to bring harm!

A new spring has risen within me, releasing me of my grief, and causing my well to overflow with sweeter, life giving waters instead.  They quench my thirst and give me strength for my new journey.  I realize now that it had to be my choice to travel new roads.  I do so with wonder, carrying that sense of adventure from my childhood with me in my heart.

April 4, 2015

Easter!

Easter's Today!

I read an article this morning about how "nothing" happens on the Saturday before Easter and that it is a time for watching and waiting.  I never really thought about it until today that two years ago, I fell into the category of people who think "nothing" happens today.  It's almost amusing now, considering I spent the entire day preparing people to join the Church at the Vigil Mass.  All across the world, people are being inducted into the Catholic Church tonight.  They're being baptized, they're taking their first communion, and they're being confirmed.  It's true that Saturday is a "vigil" which means that we are watching and waiting for Christ to rise.  However, we also believe that he is risen, and initiate our candidates and catechumen on the eve when Jesus triumphantly conquered death.  The candidates bring the light of Christ into the Church, the catechumen remind us of our baptismal vows and we are asked to renew them with them, and as they're all confirmed we are likewise reminded that we are sealed in the sacrament.

Happy Easter.  Christ is Risen.

Easter's tomorrow!

Welcome to my last blog of the year.  I'd like to make grand promises that I'll definitely blog every week from now on but who are we kidding?  We all know I severely neglect this blog after lent.  Maybe I can change.  Or maybe Kris can pester me until I write again.  Only time will tell. 

I need to end this year on an adorable note. 

Extra Large Adorable Note






































In my next blog post, he'll be approaching 3.  As of now, there's only 3 months until he's 2!  Next year I'll be able to talk about all the cute things he says.  He says lots of cute things now but they're not words so I can't really convey them here. 

Anyway, Happy Easter tomorrow!  We're gonna go to church and then have an egg hunt at Grandmas house! 

April 3, 2015

Meta

I've been doing a lot of re-evaluation of everything that I've been doing during Lent and I think I've changed my mind.  I've done a lot of growing but in different ways than I had last year.  That doesn't necessarily mean I've "failed" at Lent, but only that I wasn't more focused on recapturing what I encountered last year and ended up almost missing a lot of the growth I've gone through this year instead.  The weird thing is that it took watching the movie The Edge of Tomorrow in order for me to come to that realization.

Changing gears a little, I was really enjoying The Edge of Tomorrow until the ending.  What is about directors botching the endings of movies?  There are so many things left unanswered at the end of this movie, which is really disappointing.  I sometimes wish Hollywood would forget about going for the feel good ending and actually wrap stuff up.  Imagine what would happen if I just ended a post.

2 more days

Only 2 days until Easter!  Which means I can eat chocolate!  I think chocolate misses me.  It keeps calling to me from the television.  Or maybe it's just trying to take advantage of me.  It wants all of my money.  I don't care, I love it anyway. 

I've been painting on our wall.  I traced the tree sticker that I put up and then tore it down and now I'm painting it in.  I finished the tree parts today.  Now I just have to do the leaves and doves.  Plus I put parts of the sticker up above the fireplace so I still need to trace and paint that one as well.  I'm not gonna stop until our entire house looks like a forest. 

April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday Musings

Today I got to go collect the oils for our parish from the Cathedral.  It was a really neat ceremony.  The priests in our diocese were all present to renew their vows and I got to attend a mass where the Bishop was doing the consecration of the Eucharist.  At the end of the ceremony, I got to walk up to where the Bishop sat and he handed me the oils that we use for baptisms, confirmation, and healing of the sick.

I really enjoyed being able to do this ceremony today.  I've been a little down the last couple of days because they signed off on the paperwork to sell our farm on Tuesday.  I still can't believe that it's gone.  I guess this is a new chapter in my life.  I had kind of always thought it would be there, always be ours.  Now I have no idea what the new owner's going to do with it.  It's kind of troubling because someone from our family built that house and the buildings when they first bought the property.  I don't know how many people can say that they've lived in one place for as many generations anymore.  It kind of made it special.

Tomorrow is the last day of Lent, a fast day.  It's been kind of a rough Lent for me, but I've had some good experiences over all as well.  I'm ready for this, though; ready to move forward with the liturgical year and start preparing for RCIA next year.

Garden Success!

My squash is blooming!  We're going to have delicious fresh squash soon!  I don't know what kind though.  There's 6 different plants and I didn't really keep track of which one went where.  One of them died though.  Maybe it'll come back. 


Blooms!

























Bishop has a new favorite place to play.  It's in the window.  The windowsill is his toy shelf. 
























 























It's a good thing he has those chairs to make him taller.  I just hope he doesn't use them next to the TV so he can reach all the buttons on the blu-ray player.  Or next to the baby gate so he can climb over.  He hasn't really shown any interest in climbing over that type of stuff.  I feel like he could get out of his crib if he really wanted but he's never tried.  He is scared of heights. 

April 1, 2015

An Open Letter to Dog

Dear Dog,

You are a stalwart companion, but I really need you to please stop chewing on your paw.  There are many reasons why this needs to stop, but the biggest reason is because I don't want to have to take you to the vet.  I will take you if you need to go of course, but I really don't want to have to explain to another person that my dog isn't smart enough not to eat herself.  Please be smarter.

Also, why is it that you only want to eat out of the supper toy when it's just you and me, but you don't want it at all when I'm trying to show someone else how much you enjoy playing with it?  You are a fickle beast.  Although you are a good companion.  Please try to curb the chewing on yourself, though.  I really don't like seeing you hurt.

Sincerely,
Dearest Human

Bills day

I hate Comcast.  I just wanna get that out right now cause it'll make me feel better.  They raised our bill so John called and got it lowered but since we didn't do it 2 days earlier, we still had to pay an extra $30 this month.  Cause they're jerks. 

Also Amazon had an April fools day thing on their website where the page looked like it did 10 years ago.  It's not really funny when I'm trying to pay my bills.  I just need everything to work.  If you're wondering, Amazon is basically our diaper bill.  I just put it on the amazon store card so I don't have to fit diapers into the grocery budget.  We have a nice little system.  I love the fact that John gets paid once a month because it makes it so much easier to make and stick to a budget.  It takes most of the anxiety out of our finances. 

I feel like I have an actual job once a month.  I get on the computer to pay bills and it makes me feel super business-y.  I'm like the family accountant.  I'm also the family shopper cause I'm better at saving money.  Plus I enjoy getting out of the house once a week.  I feel like I've regained a lot of my sanity since I started doing that.  It helps keep the stir craziness away when I have a weekly outing scheduled. 

That's my exciting day. 

March 31, 2015

Lost Cause

So, I'm in charge of RCIA at our church this year.  I'm not sure if I mentioned that.  I've really been enjoying the process and I'm really enjoying reflecting on what more I can do next year to make the experience better and run more smoothly.  I've already got a few things in mind.  However, I'm also having a bit of trouble this week as we come to the end of Lent.  What is this trouble?  Absent-mindedness.

Working for two separate parishes in the same diocese for Christmas and Easter is not easy.  Easter is especially more difficult for the Catholic Church because we really take Lent seriously.  This is not to disparage Protestant beliefs at all, though.  I was raised Protestant, so I feel qualified in this instance to say so.  Angela, having experienced both sides would likely agree if her family joined in the Lenten festivities as I suspect they might have.  Just take a look at the list of things we do:

  1. Fat Tuesday- eat all your delicious goodies now, because forty days is going to feel like eternity.
  2. Ash Wednesday- proclaim your Christianity with ash on your head day; by the way this is a fast day so remember not to eat.
  3. Fridays- remember all those delicious things you like to eat that come from animals?  Not today.  You can come to the fish fries though, because fish don't count for some reason.  As long as you're here, stay for the stations of the cross too!
  4. Rites for RCIA candidates and catechumen (yep, that's happening!)
  5. Confirmation for the high school crowd; we put children first.
  6. Palm Sunday- get free stuff day (namely a palm).
  7. Holy Thursday- Jesus died
  8. Good Friday- Jesus is still dead, so let's get fasting!
  9. Easter Vigil (Saturday)- Jesus is alive!  And guess what?  Everyone gets confirmed/baptized who went through RCIA.  Woo!
  10. Easter Sunday- Do I really need to explain this?  Don't forget to check for rogue eggs. 
 Incidentally, Easter doesn't end on Easter Sunday.  That's when Easter begins.  Bet you didn't know that.  Unless you're Catholic.  Then you should know that.

So being as I have a lot of stuff I need to prepare for during this time, I've become really, really, really, really absent-minded.  This is extremely emphasized by the story I am coming to the point with.  Yesterday, twice, I locked my keys in the car.  The first time was when I accidentally left them in my coat pocket when I spontaneously decided it was warm enough to discard my coat and leave it in the car.  The second time, I left them in the ignition for some reason.  Both of these times, I happened to have my spare key on me and was able to get in anyway, however, I was irritated with myself for not paying close enough attention to what I was doing and for also doing it twice in the same day.  Then today, I was picking up a package for one of the churches and spontaneously decided to discard my coat in the car again.  I likewise decided not to take the thing that has my spare keys in it because, "I [was] only going in for a minute."  This proved to be a mistake.  Moments ago, recounting the fact that I had locked my keys in the ignition, I made a mental note to take the keys out of the ignition and put them (you guessed it) in my coat pocket.  I had planned to leave my cell phone in the car too, but since I shut the door too quickly after I tossed my coat in, I decided not to bother.  By the time I realized I had locked my keys in the car, it was too late to do anything about it.  I also didn't have my spare, so I ended up having to call the police.  I think if they knew this was the third time I had done it in 24 hours, they might have left me to suffer.  Honestly, I will be happy when Easter comes.  Maybe I'll regain some sanity then.  Four more days!

Paranoia Cake

I think part of being a woman is having an intricate network of internal paranoia.  By internal I mean only our BFFs and significant others truly know how deep it goes.  They see all of the parts of us.  For the sake of illustrating my point, I will allow a brief glimpse into my internal paranoia factory.  First I will simply tell you the 2 simple ingredients that it took to bake today's paranoia cake: my sons strange eye color and one egg.  Now here's the recipe. 

It all started yesterday when I realized Bishops eye color hadn't changed in a long time.  He was born with blue eyes and around 4 months he got this brown patch on his left eye.  I just assumed his eye color was changing because neither of us has blue eyes and I don't know of anyone in our family with blue eyes.  They never changed, they're still like that.  Although now his eyes just look grey.  So I looked it up on the internets and it's called sectoral heterochromia.  The most likely explanation is just some weird genetics going on.  However, one of the rare explanations for any type of heterochromia is chimerism.  That's where 2 separate fetuses fuse together very early in development and you end up with one seemingly normal person with 2 sets of DNA.  My first thought was if that's true, I could possibly have twins in the future (which is scary). 

Of course my rational brain remind me that this is very unlikely and my son is not a chimera.  But now I just happen to be thinking about the possibility of having twins and how hard that would be, etc. 

Then the final nail in the paranoia coffin: I was making eggs this morning and I cracked open the second one and there was 2 yokes in it!  My first thought was "OMG, this egg is twins, is God trying to tell me something?!" 

Then my rational brain enters the room and says "you're not even pregnant.... why are you worrying about fictional babies?" 

The answer: because that's what women do, worry about fictional scenarios.  We are prepared for ALL OF THE THINGS! 

March 30, 2015

Home Stretch

I read Angela's post before posting again.  This time it was a good thing.  She posted similar things to what I was going to post.  Now I feel a little obligated to do something different.

I kind of feel like I failed Lent this year.  I don't know why.  Perhaps it was all of the business of the time for RCIA and church things, it didn't really lend well to allowing me to just go through the experience.  About the best part of this Lent was going on that retreat a couple of Saturdays ago.  I feel like I came to terms with some really big stuff in my life on that day.

There are a couple of retreats coming up after Lent.  I'm considering going to them and keeping a journal about the experiences.  It seems like something that would be beneficial.  I could use more time with God.  In fact, that's a really bizarre statement, considering I work at two churches.  You'd think you would have more time for worship.  It seems like since I've got more access to church, I tend to spend more time in prayer than I did before, but I'm not sure that I actually have set aside more time to really spend in worship.  So yeah, kind of disappointed with myself, but there will be other Lents.  Only a few more days until Easter!

Home Stretch

It's less than a week now before I can eat sweets again!  I'll admit, I did cheat once.  Or twice.  No ones counting.  One time was for our anniversary so I don't feel bad.  I did pretty good.  I lost about 7 pounds.  I think I've gone as far as I want to with changing my diet.  I make pretty good food choices most of the time.  I don't wanna be so strict about food that it makes me miserable cause that's not how I want to live my life.  So I guess the next step is starting an exercise routine.  We're going to invest in a treadmill so hopefully that will give me a better opportunity to exercise.  I can walk while Bishop eats his breakfast and watches his morning cartoons. 

I wont be eating a ton of sweets either even though I can.  I was thinking about getting some of those dark chocolate squares to satisfy my cravings.  Maybe if my exercising goes really well, I can splurge even more. 

I've actually been feeling pretty good about body lately.  Maybe that extra 7 pounds just made me look plumper. 

March 28, 2015

Roll or Die





So this is what I do when I'm hanging out with the awesome people in my life.  We enjoy spending time around a table rolling dice and telling stories.  Tonight's tale was a pirate epic put together by Tom.  He's the one hidden behind the awesome wooden screen gifted by the awesome Brit (not pictured here, unfortunately).  We are totally going to use this to death!

It's hard to believe, but this is actually our tenth year together doing this.  Or the eleventh...probably the eleventh.  I've shared this game with Angela and some of her awesome friends in the past.  It's a great way to get to know people and a pretty good ice breaker along with being fun besides.  I can only imagine what this table is going to look like when we're actually all together again.  We're in ever increasing numbers these days.  Muahaha.

John

John wants me to talk about how awesome he is.  He likes it when I talk about him.  So this whole post is going to be about him. 

John is pretty awesome.  He spent 2 of his weekends putting a shed up in our yard.  It looks really good.  He also spends his Saturday mornings hanging out with Bishop so I can sleep in.  I'm not a morning person and on Saturday, I get to be lazy.  He also cooks lots of delicious food.  He's taught me a lot of what I know about cooking.  I mean, I wasn't horrible before but I certainly know a lot more now. 

He never argues with me, even when I'm wrong.  I mean, we do argue about stuff but they're more like discussions in that we're disagreeing but no one is getting upset.  Those usually have to do with movies or TV or some kind of fictional scenario. 

He's very socially adept.  Whenever we're out in public in social situations, I never have to worry about awkward conversations because he always has something to say. 

He's an amazing father.  I'm happy that he's the one who will be teaching our son what it means to be a man. 

John being an awesome father

March 27, 2015

Lexi's Cones

I was just about to go to bed last night when I looked over to find my dog chewing her paw up.  I cleaned it out and managed to wrap it up for the night, but I was worried about her continuing to do more damage today.  I opted to get up early this morning to construct a cone so that I could ensure that she didn't hurt herself further this morning.  I missed the first attempt, but I documented the others.

Attempt 1:  I got the cone around Lexi's neck.  Within ten seconds, she smacked it against the door and it popped off.

Attempt 2:  After discovering that I didn't seal the ends of the cone properly, I wrapped copious amounts of duct tape around the sucker then tried again.





Perhaps you've noticed what I failed to notice.  In trying to make sure the cone wasn't too tight, I left a crucial opening.  Lexi stuck her paw in and snapped the cone off her neck like a trained martial artist.

Attempt 3:  I wrapped copious amounts of duct tape around the cone again to fix it.  This time, I made it quite small so that she couldn't do her snapping paw trick again.

I was pretty much convinced that when I came home today, it was going to be in pieces on the floor.  So I resolved to go to the store and get a cone for her.  While I was there, I also splurged and picked up one of these food toys that they have for dogs.  You put their dinner inside this cone shaped toy and as the dog plays with it, pieces pop out, so it turns dinner into a game.

When I came home today, this third attempt cone was still intact!  I resolved to go ahead and give her the actual cone, however, so that I could save my cardboard shame cone for later if I needed it:

Look how happy she is!

I then gave her the supper kong to play with.  It took her all of thirty seconds to figure out how to get the pieces out.  For a while, she was perfectly happy just rolling the thing all over the place, but she soon decided that was boring.  Instead, she discovered that if she put the toy at the end of the furniture and let it go, gravity would take care of the rest.  She proceeded to do this.  Over and over again.

Oh yeah, immediately after she finished her supper, she figured out how to contort herself so that she can get her foot into the cone.  Round four goes to Lexi.





Secret Project Pictures

I realized I totally forgot to post pictures of the super secret project I was working on.  It's only been.... over a month since I gave it to John.  Hopefully blogger lets me upload them. 
















































Just ignore the phone reflection in the first picture.  That's not part of it.  I made him book art.  I saw something similar (and way more detailed) in an etsy shop and since I didn't have $100, I decided to try and make something myself.  I think it turned out pretty nice.  I had to commandeer one of our picture frames though.  I didn't wanna drive all the way to ikea for a new one cause I don't know that area very well and I get scared easily.  I figured we could just grab another one next time we're in the area.  I don't even think John noticed that it was missing. 

In case you're wondering, he bought me a blue tooth speaker.  I use it everyday.  We listen to music before bed now.  It's very relaxing. 

March 26, 2015

Right of Passage

When I was about nine years old, my mother taught me how to cross-stitch.  She made it sound like it was a big deal, so I wanted to learn.  I remember the hours of torment poking myself with the needle, getting the thread tangled, making mistakes and not knowing how to fix them.  I remember many times when I had to ask my mom to help me fix the mistake I had made.  I also remember many times when my mom refused because she wanted me to learn on my own.  I hated it at first because It was difficult and painful, but eventually I started to figure things out.  I learned how to hold the needle so that I didn't stab myself constantly.  I learned how to thread the needle easily.  I learned how to fix major mistakes I had made and to pay very close attention to what I was doing because small mistakes early can lead to huge mistakes later.  Most importantly, however, I learned that at the end of all of this pain and toil and aggravation, when everything was said and done, when it was finished and I could stand back and see what hours upon hours upon hours of work got me, I saw a beautiful picture unfold and I got the satisfaction of knowing that all that effort paid off.

I still make mistakes when I sew.  I still have to go back and fix things I've done wrong.  I'm still learning tricks too; this last year I finally figured out how to avoid having the ends of the thread become horribly uneven.  Tonight, I also did something I have never done before:  I somehow broke the needle.  I still don't know how it happened.  The eye of the needle somehow snapped off.  I didn't even know that was possible!  I feel kind of accomplished.

Addiction

I never told anyone this, but at the beginning of lent, I decided to give up looking at facebook and other time wasting websites from my phone.  To accomplish this, I moved all of the distracting apps from the desktop screen.  That latest a WHOLE day.  I've just been going down to the list of apps and accessing them from there which has slowed me down an entire half second every time.  So today I deleted all of them from my phone.  I even deleted the game I play every day where I collect butterflies.  I was pretty much done with it anyway but I decided to cut ties early. 

Smart phones should come with some kind of anti-addiction feature which only allows you to use certain apps or limits the amount of time you can use it every day.  Although I use mine for music now since John bought me a blue tooth speaker.  Since I got that speaker, I've listened to the mumford and sons albums like 50 million times on youtube.  They never get old.  I should probably just buy them.  I can't remember the last time I bought actual music.  Amazon sometimes gives me credits for 2-3 songs but I never know what to get.  I haven't gotten any lately though.  I think they stopped doing that cause I've been buying diapers instead of textbooks.  Amazon is like "you don't have time for music anymore cause you have babies".  You're wrong amazon.  Babies love music. 

March 25, 2015

Tickle Farts

I waited too long to blog.  We got caught up watching TLC.  The Learning Channel.  They should rename it to The Human Train Wreck Channel or THTWC.  Fun fact: if you watch over one minute of my 600lb life, you go directly to hell.  Then after that, there was some show about people with random weirdness.  Like, completely unrelated weirdness.  One girl had a beard and was talking about accepting herself and accepting her facial hair.  The other person was an albino black guy.  The theme of that show was 'some people are weird and different than you'.  What the hell, TLC?  What is going on in your life?! 

It's too late.  I need to go to bed now. 

The End is Nigh

I keep thinking about how I'm not ready for the end of Lent yet.  I feel like I didn't make nearly as much progress as I did last year and that is a bit troublesome for me.  I suppose it's also a good thing, though.  Just because I don't feel like I made much progress during this Lent season doesn't mean I can't continue to work on myself the rest of the year.  I think I've also learned that I have a few ideas I would like to spend more time developing, including doing a little more research into a few areas that I haven't had time to do research in.  I don't want to talk too much about them right now.  Maybe by the time next Lent comes around, I'll have some better material.

With a little over a week left before Easter Vigil, I'm pretty stoked about RCIA coming to an end.  This is when we bring everyone into the Church.  It's amazing to think about how all these people are going to be brought into the Church from around the world on the same day.  I wonder if they have people doing actual statistics on these things.

March 24, 2015

Reflections 2015

It's getting close to the end of Lent.  I can't believe how fast this year is going already!  It seems like it only just began.  I seem to remember when I was growing up as a kid that a year just felt like it went on forever and summer seemed delightfully long.  Now everything is just flying by.  I really think I'm too young to be thinking these kinds of thoughts, but as my twenty-ninth birthday looms on the horizon, I can't help but think about how this is my last year in my twenties and how it feels like it's going by the fastest.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about my relationships with people and I think can't help but feel like I have some work to do in those regards as well.  I don't keep in touch with everyone as much as I would like, and I don't feel like I make as much time to be with family and friends as I ought to.  I think this needs to change and I'm going to try to make that effort to do so.  No matter how much you change about yourself, it seems like there's always more work to be done!

4 Pictures! Plus a bonus ramble!




































































































Yay!  Here's the rest of the pictures I was gonna post yesterday.  If you're wondering why the spacing is weird, it's cause blogger is still being stupid.  I just tried a different approach today.  It required a lot of spaces and adding the pictures one at a time. 

I just got done cleaning up Bishops latest tornado.  It gave me an opportunity to sort through all the papers that had piled up on our 'random things' desk.  I realized we needed a random things desk when stuff started to pile up on the kitchen table.  Now it piles up on the random things desk.... and the kitchen table.  But the business computer is on the kitchen table so it's hard to avoid.  I do all the important business on the kitchen table computer such as paying bills and writing blogs.  We have a whole office specifically for business with a fancy desktop computer which means we hardly ever go in there.  I couldn't even tell you the last time that computer was turned on.  I'm not even sure if we lived in this house at the time.  I'll bet it gets sad and lonely in there.  Maybe I should go play some Diablo.  I don't even remember how to play.  I made it all the way to the final level of difficulty (hell I think?) and I never finished.  It's cool though.  You basically play the same game 3 times over just with more enemies each time.  Fun fact: there are also tornado's in that game.  Bishop would probably love it.  See I was going somewhere with this paragraph.  I just didn't know it until I got there. 

I'm gonna go find my makeshift apron and do some dishes now.  I've realized why aprons are necessary in the kitchen.  If you don't use one while doing dishes, your shirt ends up soaking wet.  I mean, unless you have a dishwasher.  We don't; our house is old school. 

March 23, 2015

One Picture

I'm gonna post a bunch of cute pictures today.  Because I can.

























Never mind, I'm posting one picture because blogger is literally being the MOST difficult.  I've been trying to add pictures forever and it's so hit and miss.  Mostly miss. 

So yeah.... we had spaghetti last night.  Bishop enjoyed it in the messiest way possible like he always does.  It must be nice to be a toddler and not care whether your dirty or clean.  I mean, I'm sure he would start to care if I never cleaned him.  But I do, so he doesn't care. 

I didn't really think of much to talk about.  I was gonna rely on my pictures to tell a story but they won't work!  Why do you hate me google?  Did I offend you in some way?  I'm sorry!  Just do your job! 

For Angela

For the first time during Lent, I decided not to post on Sunday.  I have been trying to make Sundays special by doing creative writing instead of the general blogging I do during the rest of the week.  However, after I read Angela's post, I thought it would be nicer to observe her memorial to her grandmother respectfully.  I love you Angela.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  I wish I had the words to make it better or that I could at least be there to give you a hug.  I wish you and your family all the best in the world :)

March 22, 2015

RIP

Well, Friday I excused myself from blogging.  I found out my grandma had a stroke and I didn't really want to write about it but I didn't want to write about anything else either.  Then yesterday, I had stuff going on all day.  We had a meeting of  moms in the morning.  I got to hang out with some cute babies.  Then we went off to the in-laws for some dinner and time to play with the cousins.  Then I went over to Kayla's to hang out with her and Brandi.  I didn't get home until almost midnight. 

Then we went to church today and I lit a candle for my grandma.  When I got home, I found out she passed away this morning.  She was 91.  I will miss her. 

March 21, 2015

Long Days, Long Nights

I was about to go to bed when I realized, "Hey, did you post today?  I don't think so.  Did you post yesterday?  NO!?"

I fail at Lent and Lent blogging.  I almost doubly failed.  I only have eight minutes to post something and I had every intention of making sure it was going to be something of quality today.  Instead, I spent today at a retreat at church, then at my sister's place, then with friends.  And all these things were awesome, but they have also made it so that thinking is pretty much impossible right now.

I did get to play a video game from my childhood that I had never played before, however.  I turns out that while I spent countless hours becoming awesome at Game Cube's Smash Brothers Melee, I am AWFUL at the original Smash Brothers.  By the time I finally figured out how to jump so that I wasn't constantly dying on the edge of the map, I was out of our series of matches.  So much for "I'll figure it out quickly and dominate".  Despite the lag, I was actually quite surprised by how quick the characters responded to the controls.  We're so used to instantaneous responses now, I'm wondering how I ever used to play some of these games.  I'm going to have to dig my Nintendo 64 out of wherever it is and recapture some of my last youth.

March 19, 2015

Balloooooooooooon

I did a lot of things today.  I read a really interesting article that made me think.  I read a book that made me think.  I went to a meeting that was kind of boring, but I met some neat old ladies who made me think.  I got my car fixed and paid a ton of money for it, which made me sad.  But then I came home and watched The Lego Movie pretty much as an excuse to listen to "Everything Is Awesome".

Then I did something horrible.  Like, really awful.  I did something so bad that my brain turned itself off just to survive through it.  I watched Balloon Land.  For the love of God, do not watch this movie.  It is the single worst movie I've ever sat through and I've sat through some awful movies.  It's worse than Ghosts of Sherwood which is saying something.

Now I've planted the seeds.  Do with them what you will.

Yes I'm a feminist

I was thinking about my call with customer service yesterday to the online pharmacy.  I realized they kept referring to my doctor as "him".  At first I didn't think much of it even though I felt kinda bothered and then I realized it's just oddly sexist.  Not to mention lazy on their part.  My doctors first name is Katherine.  I mean, okay, maybe her first name wasn't on the order details but in that case wouldn't it be better to stick to "your doctor" or "them".  I mean, they're a big company who deals with prescriptions all day, a significant number of which must be written by female doctors.  Do they just assume all those doctors are male?  This is a professional business, why are they making sweeping gender assumptions?  That makes me even more happy that I'm not doing business with them.  I don't need that kind of sexism in my life. 

You might think it's not a huge deal but subtle insults are the worst.  It's basically saying the default is men and if you're a woman doctor that's just weird.  I think this issue also highlights how useful it would be to have a gender neutral pronoun.  Can't we just refer to a person without specifying what kind of genitalia they own?  It's not really necessary unless you're in a dating situation.  Or getting a physical. 

March 18, 2015

A Few Brief Thoughts

I just picked up a new book called "Back to Virtue" and so far it's been a very interesting read.  I'm looking forward to finishing this book before I make a judgment call on it, but it rather supports a couple other ideas I've been considering about the role of virtue and morality/ethics teaching.  A lot of the content is hard for me to agree with because I can see myself falling into some of the problems with this current culture that the author discusses.

I also accidentally came across a discussion between Richard Dawkins and a Catholic Cardinal on YouTube today which was likewise really interesting.  I was a little disappointed with both speakers, but I think it highlighted a major issue with dichotomy in this country.  Not everything is so easily put into terms of black and white, and I think a lot of the issues that were discussed in that interview proved that point.  When you start asking science to answer questions of morality, you are never going to accomplish that.  This is not the point of scientific study.  Likewise if you are asking religion to categorize spiritual matters into scientific terms, it isn't necessarily going to happen.

I wish I would have spent more time really considering these things today so that I had a post of substance, but I got caught up in watching HBO's The Jinx because of what I had heard pertaining to the case and it got me curious.  I enjoy watching things about True Crime, I find it fascinating.  So I'm going to finish this last episode now and then think about these deep things later.

Stupid Pharmacy

I tried to switch my pills my to an online pharmacy this month.  It did not go well.  For those who don't know, I had my thyroid removed when I was 21 which means I need to take replacement hormones for the rest of my life.  I take one pill every morning.  However, my stupid insurance doesn't trust me with more than one months worth of pills at a time unless I get them in the mail for some reason.  So I wanted to switch to a mail service so I don't have to go to the store every month (or more accurately have John pick them up for me).  I went online and did the transfer at the beginning of the month.  Then yesterday I got a call telling me to check the website for an important update.  I went online and my order was cancelled.  That was it.  No explanation.  So I sent them a message asking why.  They responded that my doctor didn't respond to their request to approve the refills so they gave up after 10 days.  Of course she didn't approve them!  She just wrote me a new prescription that was filled at the grocery store.  Your only job was to contact the grocery store and have the prescription moved.  I called the doctors office and she confirmed that this is indeed how it works.  Ugh.  I called customer service and they just said something like "well, that's how we do things..." so I just cancelled my account and switched my prescription over to walgreens.  They do in store AND mail service and it takes less time.  I probably should have done more research before I tried that pharmacy anyway.  Hopefully walgreens has their shit together and they know how to do a simple transfer.

That was the fasted blog that I've typed up in a while.  I guess I'm in a ranty mood.  I just need my pills and I get anxious when shit goes wrong regarding the medication that I require to continue living.  I mean it would probably take me a long time to die without it but I would start getting really depressed.  So yeah.... lent's over halfway over.  Can't wait for that Easter chocolate.  Mmmmm. 

March 17, 2015

Last Minute

John and I were on our way to bed and he asked me if I blogged today.  I had not.  But there's still time.  I have 2 hours of California time to finish this post.  That's because California time is more awesome than Illinois time which is already 3 minutes into Wednesday.  Stop living in the future, Kris!  It's not healthy. 

We were watching the last man on earth.  It's pretty funny.  We also watched Bob's Burgers.  Always funny.  Jon Benjamin is always funny.  Speaking of which, we need to catch up on Archer.  We're just gonna skip the whole vice season though and go straight to the new one. 

I'm going to bed now.  I'm getting older, I can't stay up until midnight anymore.  Probably because I can't sleep until noon. 

Like Clockwork

I was pretty much preparing to crawl into bed when I realized I hadn't blogged today.  I had thought about blogging this morning, but I didn't think I had time for it.  I also thought I would remember to do it this evening.  I almost had too much faith in myself, but here I am.

The reason for my absentmindedness today is 100% legitimate, however.  My car broke down this afternoon.  This is getting to be ridiculous.  EVERY time I get a car, three months later something happens to it.  At the very least, I've been told it's a relatively cheap fix, so I'm hoping that this turns out to be the case.

Still, I can't help but wonder what the heck is going on with me that every three months of a vehicle, I have some kind of trouble.  I have been meticulously checking and rechecking this car for things to make sure it's all in order, AND there was absolutely no lead up to an issue with this particular instance.  Fate just doesn't want me mobile.

March 16, 2015

I have to take a stand

I know this may be controversial but I'm just gonna say it.  I think pop music is better now than it used to be.  I know most people my age like to complain about how crappy music has gotten but I think as a whole, new music is more enjoyable than it was 10 years ago.  That's not to say this generation is free of crappy music.  It's not.  And that's not to say I don't get nostalgic when I hear old pop music that I used to be into, cause I do.  I think it's just that people hear crappy music that's new and then conclude that this generations music is terrible even though there is other new quality music being made.  My generation had it's share of crappy music.  Every generation does. 

That's what I was thinking about on the way home today.  I went out to my small group meeting.  That's all I'll say about that.  The content of our meetings are super private.  Like fight club level private.  Okay maybe not cause we can talk about going to meetings and the structure of the meetings just not the details of what people share at the meetings.  So.... nothing like fight club.  More like just having a personal conversation with a small group of people.  Then I drive home and listen to music. 

Persisting Pain

I really did have a couple ideas for blogs today, but I'm crippled with another headache.  It seems like they keep starting around 5 in the evening.  I wonder what's happening throughout my day that 5pm is when I start getting headaches every evening.  I know migraines run in the family, but this is weird in that it keeps beginning at the same time.

In other news, we hit over 70 degrees today and it was too chilly to fully enjoy it.  Why does 70 degrees feel sweltering in the summer, but cold in the spring?  Strange.  Oh!  Maybe it's the weather changing that is causing these headaches?  I don't know.  I'm not thinking clearly.  Sad day.

March 15, 2015

Betwixt the Hours of Night and Day

The mist had settled in the woods,
Betwixt the hours of night and day,
And at the brink of them I stood,
Enchanted there, by nature's play.

I scarcely can describe in words
The earthy rustling of debris,
The gentle warble of the birds,
And haunting beauty of the trees.

And neither can I capture well
The captivating madrigal,
Which held me fast under its spell,
Of babbling brooks so magical.

For neither written nor exclaimed
Can brazen tongue of mortal man
Bear witness to nature's domain
When fallen far from origin's plan.

March 14, 2015

More Randomness

I keep forgetting that it's only mid-March.  The end of Lent seems like it's just around the corner, and it feels like it only just began.  I don't think I'm doing very well this Lent with any of my stuff other than the blog.  Although I have been praying more, I'm not sure I'm actually devoting the time to it that I should be.  Also, I keep forgetting to use the nifty website to keep me going with the calorie counting.  I never developed the habit, I guess.

At least I've remembered to update the blog with Angela.  I think I only missed one day so far and that was by accident.  I've been trying to blog in the mornings if I can so that I don't forget to do it later in the day, but I've also been pretty good about remembering anyway.  It's been on my mind the most too.  I keep trying to come up with things to blog about, but something always pops into my head eventually.  There's a post I've been working on in the interim, but I'm not sure when it will finally make its appearance.  It's one of deep thought and contemplation, so I probably won't get around to posting it for several years.  That seems to be how those go.  Although every Sunday, all the short stories I've been posting have been ideas that I've been meaning to get around to eventually, so it could be sooner rather than later pending on when my brain decides to producing coherent ideas.  And I didn't forget to post today, I just needed some time to think about what I wanted to post.  I've run out of time.  Drat.

Toddler secret attack

So I'm sitting on the couch watching wheel of fortune, minding my own business when a scratching post falls on my head.  Bishop thinks it's one of his toys.  Ugh. 

Saturday is a terrible day for blogging.  I almost forgot again.  We went outside to do things after I put Bishop down for a nap.  Then he didn't nap so I brought him outside with us.  This was a mistake.  He played for a bit and then got cranky and clumsy.  I had to bring him back inside while John worked on the shed.  Well, at least he'll go to bed without any trouble tonight.  He was having some trouble before adjusting to the time change.  I think he's back on schedule now. 

We will all sleep well tonight. 

March 13, 2015

Toddler Hunting

My garden is growing!  I didn't look at it for a couple days cause it was raining but I went out to water today and the plants are noticeably bigger.  Except for one squash plant.  I'm pretty sure it's dead.  I got clumsy transplanting it and it kinda fell apart.  It sucks because all the squash plants were a different variety but if I only have one causality, I consider that a win. 

So I put Bishop in a shirt that's 3t and it fits almost perfectly.  It's a bit long but otherwise fine.  I was trying to take a cute picture but he thought it was a game and kept running away from me. 

Here he is trying to escape.


Then I cornered him....

























Blurry body shot


























Blurry close up


























And here I am chasing him around the room.

video

But finally he slowed down to play with his belly button and I manged to get a clear picture


Serious Misconceptions

I haven't done very much posting on things inspirational this year.  Going back and looking at most of my blog posts, I'm actually a little surprised.  Maybe I just have memories of doing something terribly profound, but ultimately I just resolve into gibberish?  For some reason whenever I get ready to start up this Lent blog again, I always have memories of really intense posts talking about my religious journey.  Most of my posts are not anything like that.  They're just random and weird.

This actually did get me thinking about something else, though.  How much of my life do I actually remember properly?  I can go back and check these blogs and say to myself, "No...no, Kris this is not how you remember it at all.  These are not deep thoughts."  Those memories of writing a great many deep blogs are still there, though, still intact.  Apparently even when faced with the evidence that something I remember isn't actually how I remember it, my brain clings to this lie it has created.

What else am I misremembering?

I read somewhere that your brain tends to focus on good, positive, uplifting things which is why you might remember the time with your horrible ex as one of the best in your life.  If our brains are wired to remembering good things, that's kind of awesome and awful at the same time.  It's like having a friend that doesn't want to see you hurt, so they just bring up all the good things you've done, or all the positive aspects of a really horrible outfit, so that you smile.  "Nah, we totally nailed the last few Lent Blogs," says Kris' brain, "We were deep and witty and entertaining.  Now listen to this song you haven't heard in forever.  That's nice, isn't it?  It's beautiful day, smile and forget that we actually suck at blogging."

This is all a farce, however.  Our brains are befriending us because they know all our secrets and one day they'll use this against us.  Like after a night of drinking they might come back against us with pain and all the bitter memories of everything we've ever done.  "Oh hey, having a hard time remembering stuff from last night?  Remember that time in 2nd grade when Jenny told you you were stupid in front of everyone?  Remember how much that sucked?  Or that time you were caught in a lie and got grounded for a week?  Hey, what about that accident you caused and everyone hated you for it?  Remember that?  I do.  You know what else I remember?  I remember you TRYING TO KILL ME with that alcohol last night, but no hard feelings.  Oh look...awkward teenage rebellion mishaps, let's just play this over and over again all day."

In conclusion, our brains are kind of assholes.

March 12, 2015

Head-ache!

I've had such a bad headache since I got off work today that I kept forgetting to post today.  I'm actually trying to figure out why I have a headache at all.  Usually I get this kind of headache if I've been drinking too much caffeine, however, I only had one coffee and that was on Sunday.  I even tried going to the store and buying something caffeinated to help, but it really didn't.  I've been getting this headache more and more frequently lately.  I guess I didn't miss out on the migraines after all.  Here I thought I won the genetic lottery for missing out on those!

If anyone knows some good remedies for migraines, please let me know.  Nothing has helped to get rid of this headache so far.  I'm about to call it quits and head to bed.  Blegh.

Kisses

Bishop has been practicing his kissing a lot.  He's been kissing everything: his stuffies, the cats, the couch... and us of course.  Getting toddler kisses is the cutest!  John started crying when Bishop kissed him on the mouth the other night.  It's always nice to receive affection after putting in so much work.  You don't get a lot of appreciation in the early days of parenting. 

It's so amazing watching him turn into a little person.  He's just so smart and wonderful. 

"Hey chair, come here often?"

























I wish I had a more recent picture of him.  I've been kinda slacking in that department.  I used to take at least one every day.  I did take a few short videos a couple days ago. 

I was able to sleep last night.  I'm so glad my cough is over.  I just hope it doesn't come back.... I'm gonna go drink a gallon of orange juice. 

March 11, 2015

The Flies

The snow hasn't even completely melted yet, there is still mounds of snow on the ground outside of my work.  Even so, there are so many flies that the buzzing drowns out the birds.  It is completely creepy.  The little bit of grass visible was moving from the amount of insects.  I can't believe this is a natural thing.  It creeped me out so much that I ended up having to talk with Angela about it because I wanted someone else's opinion on the matter.

The flies were all over the church and my office too, inside and out.  We are one week into spring weather and there are a ton of these things; what's going to happen when the weather gets even warmer?  Even worse, what does this foreshadow about the mosquitoes this year?  If the flies are as big as pennies now and swarming all over the place, what are the mosquitoes going to be like?

Ugh, I'm so creeped out that my skin is crawling now.  Blegh.

Colds are jerks

I think my cold is finally breaking.  It seems to have mostly moved out of my chest area.  Hopefully this means I can sleep tonight.  Coughs are the worse.  I'm laying in bed doozing off to sleep and then *cough cough* and then my throat settles down again and I start falling asleep and then *cough*.  It's very frustrating.  Imagine someone sitting next your bed and waiting for you to drift into sleep and then saying "hey wake up!" and then you wake up and are like "what do you want?" and they're like "nothing, go back to sleep" but you don't believe them and you're like "you're not going to do it again right?" and they're like "Of COURSE not" so like an idiot you believe them and try to sleep again and again they say "hey wake up!".  That's how annoying my night was.  Then during the day, my cough is like "I feel fine, I don't know what's wrong with you..."  and I'm like "Fuck you!  You kept me up all night, that's what's wrong with me!"  Coughs are assholes. 

I just watched a new Game of Thrones trailer.  Shits about to get real.  I mean, it was already pretty real.  Only one month left.  Maybe we should have paced ourselves more with the last 4 seasons. 

March 10, 2015

Obsession or Stubborn?

I think I have a problem.  I get really caught up in things if I'm determined to learn something/find something.  It completely dominates my life until I resolve the issue.  Last night I literally spent FIVE HOURS searching for a song on the internet by typing in all the lyrics I could remember and even going through my Youtube history from YEARS ago until I found it.  I had actually "given up" for the evening after midnight came around and went to bed.  Only I couldn't sleep.  I was still convinced that I remembered the title, but it was unfortunately generic.  When I typed it into Youtube, I couldn't find it at all.  Typing it into Google didn't help either, I just kept getting lyrics for the other songs.

Fifteen minutes after laying in bed, I suddenly remembered the most generic of the lyrics and-knowing it was the longest of long shots-typed it into Google via my phone.  The song came up and I was able to track it down through Youtube!  If that isn't obsessive, I don't know what is.  I literally couldn't settle myself to sleep until I had figured out how to find a copy of this song to listen to.  I think I need to find a way to purchase it so that I don't have to worry so much about it in the future...unless I manage to lose the copy I buy.  If only I could have this much tenacity at other things, I could be so much more accomplished.

:((

Still sick.  It's actually not that bad during the day.  I have a cough and I'm more tired than usual.  Nights aren't fun though.  I keep waking up from coughing and on top of that, Bishop keeps waking up coughing so I get woken up twice as much.  On the plus side, he sleeps in which allows me to sleep in but I still don't feel fully rested.  On top of all that I've been drinking a lot of citrus to break up the mucus in my chest which makes my stomach kind of hurt because it gives me reflux.  So all that stuff combined just makes me subtly miserable.  I just need all this to go away.  Bishop doesn't let it get him down.  He's determined to play as much as physically possible for as long as he can.  Toddlers are amazing like that. 

March 9, 2015

Sickness. Blah.

We got new doorknobs for the bedrooms.  This means every time Bishop is loose and I hear a door slam, I don't go into full panic mode anymore.  The locks on the doors used to be keyed entry and we didn't have the keys.  We somehow got locked out of the bedroom once and I had to climb through the window to get in.  I was paranoid that Bishop would shut himself in a room and lock it and I'd have to climb through a window to let him out.  But not anymore!  John replaced the knobs with simple locks so all you need is a flat screw driver or coin to open it.  He actually did it a few weeks ago, but I was just thinking about it because Bishop just ran into his room while I was in the kitchen and slammed his door.  I was able to stay calm and finished what I was doing because I knew I could get him out even if he locked it. 

Now he's crying at me through the baby gate.  He can be very dramatic sometimes.  It doesn't last long though.  He's already moved on to something else. 

I have a chest cold.  It's not very fun.  Bishop has it too.  He slept until 11am today.  I mean considering the time change its actually only an hour later than usual.  He kept waking up last night to fuss.  I know how he feels.  I had trouble getting comfortable too. 

Spring is in the Air

The weather has been amazing here for the last couple of days.  It's warming up and melting the snow.  The sky has also cleared up and the sun has been shining a lot more.  Finally, the atmosphere has begun to shift in that tell-tale fashion that lets you know spring is almost here.  I'm very excited about this!  Last year it was April 19th before we started really getting into spring.  By that time, it was a little late to start planting things for a garden.  This year, I would like to get a garden started early.  I'm very hopeful that the snow is over and I'll be able to do this!

I've also just realized that I may need to invest in a lawnmower, since I think the person who had been doing our lawn service is probably not coming back this year.  Drat.  I'm suddenly less excited for spring.

Oh what the heck:


March 8, 2015

Providence

A sea of mourners flooded the lower rooms of the elegant farmhouse.  The voices rose and crashed against Beatrice's door like an angry tide; a steady chorus of sympathy mingled with broken laughter.  Theirs was a siren's song, tempting her with promises of relief if she would only venture downstairs.  Instead, she pulled the blankets up around her head and buried herself deeper beneath the covers on her bed.  They would expect her presence soon enough and then they would demand it.  Her fingers curled around the pocket of her dress as she savored her last moments alone.

It had been her mother who had insisted on having the ceremony at home rather than in the Citadel as ordinance demanded.  "It is only proper he be received at home.  Everyone will expect it, and there will be even more talk if we do anything differently," she had insisted.  The circumstances surrounding her brother's accident had spawned numerous rumors which had spread like wildfire across the town.  Sudden, tragic, and suspicious.  These mutterings were to the chagrin of her mother, of course, who was eager to have the matter not just settled, but settled resolutely and without question.  "There are always exceptions for those like Justen."  Beatrice knew this to be true, but she had also heard that their Tribunal was particularly cautious.  Their scrutiny of every detail and adherence to ordinance had protected the village in the past from the blind folly of the grief-stricken.  She had only been a little afraid to speak to them when they asked for her testimony of her brother, but she managed to tell them, and made sure to tell them the truth of what he was like.  The decision of the Tribunal to concede to her mother's wishes had come as such a shock to Beatrice after the testimony she had given, that her faith in their counsel had been shattered.

A soft knock on her door interrupted her thoughts.  "Beatrice, dear?"

The girl clutched at her blankets and drew them in tight around her.  She held her breath and closed her eyes.  Maybe if they thought she had fallen asleep, they would go away?  A second knock, gentle as the first, indicated that they were determined to intrude upon her solitude.  "Beatrice?  It's your Aunt Lu.  May I come in?"

The doorknob turned without her permission and Beatrice quickly twisted around to face the window, pulling the covers down slightly to make it appear as if she were indeed asleep.  Tears welled up within her eyes, but she closed them tightly and held her breath.  Oh please go away.  The floorboards creaked at Lucinda's approach and the bed rocked gently when she sat upon the edge.  A gloved hand reached out to stroke against the side of Beatrice's hair and curled some of the delicate ringlets her mother had forced it into for the occasion around her shoulders.

"Little Bea, I know you aren't sleeping," Lucinda cooed.  Beatrice whimpered and stifled a sob with her blankets.

"I know, dear.  This is hard on everyone.  Your brother..." Aunt Lu's words caught in her throat.  This broke Beatrice's heart.  She liked Aunt Lu who had always been sweet to her, always listened to her.  She wished she could make her understand, make her leave and get far, far away from this house.

"Your mother told me you don't want to come down because you're afraid of the ceremony."

Beatrice turned her wide eyes upon her aunt and nodded violently.  She opened her mouth to speak, but couldn't find the words.  Her mother had yelled at her after she had talked with the Tribunal and warned her of what would happen if she said another word against her brother.  What would Aunt Lucinda say?  She snapped her mouth shut and pulled the blankets back up to her face.

"You don't need to be frightened, dear.  Jus...your brother..." Lucinda brought a tissue up to dab at her eyes and Beatrice couldn't help herself anymore.  Aunt Lu looked so pretty in the fading sunlight streaming in from the window.  Her pale complexion in the black gown made her more radiant, especially with her golden hair tied back into loose braids.  She looked like an angel without the wings.  Beatrice sat up and threw her arms around Aunt Lu and began to cry.  Aunt Lu wrapped her arms around Beatrice and the girl snuggled into her warmth, as they cried and comforted one another.

"He didn't deserve what happened to him, Bea.  He was a good soul, a good heart.  The Tribunal would not make a mistake.  Come down now, Little Bea.  The cleric will be here soon and you won't want to miss the...the ceremony."

Beatrice trembled and shook her head.  She tried to pull back from Aunt Lu, but wasn't strong enough or quick enough to escape her grasp.  "Shhh, there there.  There's nothing to worry about.  I'll hold you.  I know it can be scary your first time, but-"

"No!  Please Aunt Lu!"  The child wailed.  She caught a glimpse of herself in her vanity mirror over Aunt Lu's shoulder.  Her eyes were ringed and red from crying, her blonde hair was in disarray from having the blankets pulled over her head, and in the little white dress her mother had picked for her, she looked more like a ghost than a girl.  This terrified her all the more.  "No!  No!  No!"

Aunt Lu's grip turned into a vice, her tenderness turned into a trap.  "Hush now," Aunt Lu said sternly as she scooped Beatrice up off the bed.  "We must be strong like your mother.  Not another word."

Beatrice sobbed as the woman swept her from her room.  The last rays of the sun were disappearing from her little window and all was falling dark.  This was the last she saw of it as Lucinda carried her down the stairs.

The blazing lights and general tumult of the multitude gathered below was initially disorienting to Beatrice.  Lucinda danced her way deftly through the crowd, parting through rapt conversations and skirting well meaning sympathizers with a practiced grace.  Beatrice had never seen so many people in the house before today.  She wished they would all just go away.  Her hand returned to her pocket and she squeezed it for reassurance, making sure what she had put inside hadn't fallen out while she was in bed.

Aunt Lu turned a corner and Beatrice realized with horror where she was being carried to.  Justen had been laid out on a simple stone table.  He looked ready to rise at any moment.  His golden hair had been oiled and shone brilliantly in the light.  Make-up had been applied to his face so that he appeared to be merely sleeping, and it was difficult to be certain he wasn't still breathing.  Her mother had chosen a white robe with golden trim around the neck, sleeves, and hem for the ceremony, and lavished gold jewelry to adorn him.  Golden chains encircled his neck bearing sigils of peace and comfort.  Gold rings with similar designs had been placed upon his fingers.  A chain with the symbol of joy was clasped in his hands.  A pair of coins baring the symbols of charity had been placed over his eyes, and a pair of golden sandals had been strapped upon his feet to speed his journey.  Beatrice squirmed frantically against Aunt Lu despite the woman drawing her nearer and nearer to her brother.

"No, please!  Don't bring me near him!"  Beatrice screamed.  This momentarily hushed the crowd and halted Aunt Lu's progress.  Her mother materialized from the crowd at this moment, however.  She, like her son, was lavishly decorated for the ceremony.  A splendid white and gold gown had been purchased for the affair, and glimmering gold jewelery bearing sigils of peace and comfort practically dripped from her neck, wrists, and fingers.  She looked as if she might join her son tonight and this made Beatrice forget everything else she had been worried about.

"It is her first ceremony," her mother explained with as much dignity as she could muster.  This was all that needed to be said.  The crowd returned to their soft chatter.  Her mother fixed her with a smoldering glare, then turned on her heels and disappeared back into the crowd.  Beatrice watched after her until she was gone, then slumped back against Aunt Lu in defeat.

Aunt Lu hovered over Justen with Beatrice for a long time.  With every slight movement of her aunt, Beatrice could almost believe she detected movement from her brother.  No one else seemed concerned or gave him the proper distance.  They didn't know what he was like.  Beatrice shuddered at the smile on his face.  She imagined it was the same cruel, twisted smile he always gave to her when he was up to no good.  The same smile he gave her when he was about to beat her with sticks, or rocks, or even his belt.  He always did it so no one would notice too much and warned her that there was worse to come if she ever told anyone.  It was the same smile he had given her the day he tied her up in the woods and left her for the beasts and monsters which dwelt within.  The entire day had passed before he had come back to find her.  She remembered him taunting her for 'being a baby' and believing in the monsters.  When he had brought her back, everyone had been so proud he had found her, and so angry with her for running away from him in such a dangerous place.  They had called her a wicked girl and praised him for his bravery.  Her stomach twisted and turned with every bitter memory, and yet he still taunted her with that smile even now.

The ringing of the door bells signaled the arrival of the cleric.  Beatrice clung tightly to Aunt Lu once again.  The time for the ceremony was at hand.  She watched her brother's smile seem to grow wider as she was carried from his side and into the foyer.  The Presentation of the Family was the beginning of the ceremony.  The cleric would offer his blessings for the immediate family of the deceased in the hopes of warding off disaster.  Everyone whispered around her of the novelty of the formality in light of such certain assurances from the Tribunal.  Beatrice turned to see the procession arrived from the Citadel when, to her horror, she saw only a cleric being received by her mother.

"But...but where are the Knights?!"

"Oh we don't really need them, Little Bea," Aunt Lu whispered in her ear, "not for someone so young, so innocent.  You'll see."

Lucinda deposited her next to her mother, but held onto her tightly all the same.  She didn't need to fear Beatrice running off now.  The girl was so terrified, she was rooted firmly to the spot.  The cleric, mistaking her worry, praised her bravery and strength.  He prayed the blessings over her and her mother to soft applause of support and approval from the crowd.  This drew a small smile of gratitude from her mother and Aunt Lu, who then suggested it was time for the crowd to gather in the make-shift sitting room for the ceremony.  Beatrice's hand slipped down to clutch at her pocket.  Her other hand was swiftly taken up by her mother who led her, along with the rest of the crowd, back to where Justen lay.

"These are most unfortunate times, and the loss of one so young is indeed tragic," the cleric began and his words brought a hush to the crowd, "we must remember that this is just a shell from which shall come something far greater."

The crowd politely applauded the cleric's words.  Beatrice turned her face into her mother's gown and she sobbed softly against her.  Her hand was released then, and her mother gently patted her head, then forcibly turned her away from her dress to watch her brother.  The cleric began to speak at length about all the wonderful things her brother had done:  how he taken such great care of his mother and his sister after the death of their father, how he had accomplished much for the village, and how he had done all these things at such a young age.  Her mother and Aunt Lucinda had turned to embrace one another at these sentiments.  The crowd generally nodded and agreed with all the cleric had to say.  Beatrice alone had begun to edge away from the stone table.  No one paid her any attention now, but she still had to battle her way through the sea of legs and arms.  So many people were crowding around to witness Justen's transition that it was nearly impossible to get through.

An excited cry came from the crowd.  "His hand moved!"  A woman called and this only made everyone begin to press into the room all the more.

Beatrice pushed her way between people she hardly knew, her ears straining for the words of the cleric as he spoke, "The time has come!  Our brother's final journey commences!"

The cries of joy and excitement drowned out the prayers of the cleric, but Beatrice no longer cared.  There was a reason why the Tribunal favored the Citadel in such affairs and insisted upon the attendance of Knights.  There was a reason why only a delegation from the family was ever sent to bear witness to the ceremony, and why the results were later relayed by the clerics to the rest of the family and the village.  All those ordinances were for people like Justen.  She had to get away.  They didn't know what he was like.  They didn't know what he was.  But she did, and soon they would too.

She had managed to pull herself away from the throng and was hurrying towards the stairs when a horrible, wailing howl erupted from the room where Justen lay.  The entire house shook in response.  The crowd of villagers was brought to their knees and moved to cover their ears.  A violent sickly, red light was illuminating the room from which Beatrice had just escaped.  With difficulty, Beatrice turned her gaze towards the stairs and reached into her pocket.

The first cry is fire, the second is ice, and the creatures that follow don't play very nice.  The nursery rhyme chilled her as she pulled the ear plugs from her pocket and pushed them into place.  Cover your ears.  The second cry was too muffled to have much effect on Beatrice, but it did indeed send a chill down her spine.  She had to get away.  Now.  Bury your head.  It took every ounce of effort for Beatrice to pull herself up the stairs.  She glanced back only briefly to see the shadow of something terrible outlined in the red light from the room below.  Everyone else was frozen in place, some reaching for the door, all with expressions of horror on their face.  Her heart pounded in her ears and she drug herself agonizingly slowly up the stairs.  "Oh please, please," she begged, "help me, please!"  And pray that the darkness takes them instead.

She strained with the effort, moving faster and faster despite the ache in her arms and legs.  Another howl made the house shudder and then the screams began.  Beatrice could hear the crunch of bones as the creature that had been Justen began its rampage.  The girl somehow gained the landing and pulled herself into the darkened bathroom.  She threw herself against the door and stretched up to bolt it closed.  Despite the lack of light, Beatrice was familiar enough with her house to know where she was going.  She crawled along the tile, feeling along the wall until she came to the cabinets beneath the sink.  With the rest of her strength, she pulled the cabinet doors open, climbed inside, and pulled them shut behind her.  This is a nightmare.  It's a dream.  It has to be, please!  I'll wake up and he'll be alive and I won't ever cry about him again.  Please, please just let me wake up!

The blood curdling screams, despite being muffled, followed her up the stairs.  Crashing, thumping, and shattering filled the house along with them, as did the wild howling and screams from the beast.  Beatrice pressed her knuckles against her mouth to stifle her cries lest she give herself away.  Eventually the beating of her heart was the only noise she could hear.  The stillness of the dead took on an oppressive presence within the house.  The girl trembled violently in her hiding place, her eyes unable to adjust in the darkness.  She thought she still heard something below.  Something shifting?  Moving?  Yes, heavy footfalls were taking the stairs.  Had someone survived?  Beatrice dared to hope.

"Beatrisssss," she could barely hear the sibilant voice calling her name, imploring her to leave the safety of her cabinets.  "Beatrissss," the call was painfully alluring.  "I can sssssmell you."  Claws raked across the door to the bathroom.  Beatrice shrieked despite herself.

"Open the door!  Open the door Beatrissss." Justen screamed at her in a frantic, horrid voice, "I'm coming for you."

"Oh please!  Please help me!  Please!"

The claws dragged violently against the door, a great weight threw itself upon it over and over.  The hinges rattled and the walls shook.  It would all be over soon.

"Lord help me!" Beatrice screamed.

A sharp crack echoed throughout the room.  Two more followed.  A great weight slammed against the door.  The crash of wood on plaster told her that it had finally given way.  Beatrice's heart hammered in her chest and she sobbed hysterically.  The clamor of heavy steps stopped directly outside the cabinet.

The doors flew open and Beatrice shrieked, throwing her arms up in front of herself protectively.  A pair of gloved hands reached out and pulled her from beneath the sink.  The girl struggled against the hands which pressed her up against someone's shoulder.  She saw a flash of black material and gasped in surprise.  A hand tried to force her head down against a shoulder, but she fought hard enough to catch a glimpse of the beast that had been her brother.  It was a gruesome thing, like a mangy lion with scales.  It was dark with blood and appeared to be all teeth and claws from the little she could see.  Beatrice buried her face in the comfort of her rescuer and fought no more.  The sharp crack of a pistol resounded again and again as she was carried down the stairs and out of the house.

The girl whimpered against the strong arms that held her, comforted her, protected her.  The shots fell silent and moments later a sonorous masculine voice cut across the distance from the house to where Beatrice and her rescuer stood.

"Is she?"

"No," her rescuer replied, but it might have been the same voice if not for the distance between them.  She could ascertain as much even with the earplugs in place.

"Any idea why?"

Her rescuer nodded against her, "She took precaution."

"Why her?"

Her rescuer shrugged, "Providence?"

Beatrice pulled back to finally see who these men were and couldn't believe her eyes.  They both had the same brown hair, cut in the same short style, with the same intense gaze, and the same facial features.  They wore the same clothing, the black armor and accoutrements of the Paladins of old, and were each armed with a pair of silver pistols.  Each also wore a heavy silver cross around their necks.  Twins! Beatrice gasped as she realized this.  And Paladins of the Cross.

The paladin holding her attempted a comforting smile, but there was nothing but sorrow in his eyes.  "The cleric?"

"All of them.  But not her?"

"Not so much as a scratch."

Beatrice shuddered and fell back against the paladin.  His arms tightened around her, comforting her.

"This is folly, Altar.  Especially from a Tribunal."

"We are all human in the end."

"The girl-"

Altar shook his head slowly against her, "Not here.  We'll take her with us to the next village.  Temple..."

"It's clear.  All of them."

"Best to make sure."  Beatrice was settled upon a motorcycle.  She had only ever seen one in a photograph, but she had heard the paladins rode them in their travels.  Temple came over to stand beside her, but his eyes were on his brother.  Altar gathered several bottles with rags hanging out of the top of them to himself.  He carried them with him up to her house and lit the rags on fire.  "May the flames purify what we might have missed."  Temple muttered while Altar went about hurling the bottles one by one into the house.  The house was quite a ways from town, so Beatrice was not surprised that the panic and carnage had not sent the Knights or Tribunal running to lend aid.  The fire, however, would be hard to miss.

"It's strange, don't you think?" Altar muttered, rejoining his brother and Beatrice.  "That they took no precaution."

"Troubling.  Perhaps they thought they were safe at this distance?" Temple nodded towards the town, "But they will come soon now.  Better leave, I think.  This diversion has cost us time and I do not want to lose more to bureaucracy."

"Agreed, " Altar said and took up a place behind Beatrice.  His arms stretched around either side of her and he gave her a wink.  "Don't you worry, kid.  We've got angels riding with us."

Beatrice believed it.  The paladins' motorcycles roared to life and in a flash, they were nearly flying away from the blazing house.  The girl settled back against Altar as the town rapidly fell further and further behind them, happy to be going anywhere as long as it was far away from here.