Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Since I Haven't Written in a While


Wow, I have not sat down to write in days. Well, not anything that I finished. So, today I shall do some mini-blogs.
The state of Texas is considering dropping Algebra II from their curriculum. There was a debate when my husband posted the link. One person was very concerned that the school districts were concerned that classes involving higher level thinking are not encouraged. Some are concerned that requiring higher level course that are not going to be helpful to the students future course of studies or future job plans would damage the students G.P.A.s. My concern is that there should be more “real world” math required before graduation. Like how to manage a household budget and balance a checkbook. I say this as someone that wished someone had made me take these classes.

But, that is not why I am writing this. This is about one of the hardest things I have had to deal with as a parent. School was always easy for me. The only thing I remember ever really having trouble with was fractions in 3rd grade. Sarah was the same way. Ty is not the same way. He is very bright. But, he has to work a lot harder. But, give him something mechanical, and he is gold. He will not need Algebra II. He needs courses in mechanics. Yes, math will help. But, if he ever wants to be his own boss, he will need business math.
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It is difficult for me to put myself in his place, because I have not been there. Just like it was hard for Sarah’s father to understand that she did NOT have trouble in school. And, what little she did get stuck on, she was stubborn enough to keep at until she got it. But, Ty gets frustrated with himself. And, he is hard on himself. He is capable, he just has to work harder on "school" stuff.

Now when he gets to more hands on activities, he blows me away. He is the child that changed a sensor out on a round hay baler at 7 or 8 years of age. By himself. (His father loosened and tightened the bolt for him. But, that is all.) He is going to be a gear head. We are all trying to encourage him to be a mechanic of some sort. He loves it. I am hoping he can work in physics and business courses. I am very proud of him.

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I have been rethinking my goals. I love this blog. It is my therapy and I know it has helped other people deal with their own losses. And, I am not going to stop blogging. But, I am going to place another venture higher in my priorities.

As most of you that follow me know, I sew. I love sewing small projects. Baby/lap quilts and blankets, baby stuff, small home d├ęcor items, totes and things of that nature. In the past I have done some sewing for a little side money. The business name is Whetsel's Wearables and Crafty Creations. The goal is to get it up and running full time.

Eventually, I want to open a fabric store with a small boutique for the items I make. I want to make this happen. For now, I have started a blog to go with it. But, it isn't quite ready for a grand reveal.

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Well, that is all for now. And, stay warm! It's cold out there!

 

 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Quick Tip For Anyone That Sews!

If you have ever used a store bought pattern, you know they come out like this. 


But, quickly it is more like this.


I found a box of shipping envelopes, the lightweight cardboard ones, that we had no use for because we were no longer using that service for deliveries. So, I took a good sized stack home.


The pattern pieces fit in much easier in here.


And, they are the right size to cut the envelope down one side and across the bottom and tape to the box. So, now I can keep up with them much easier! 


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Night I Didn't Feel Like A Bad Mother.

I remember this evening with such clarity. It was not long after I had left the kids dad and moved to Abilene. I had felt like a failure as a parent. 

I was at a loss as to what my duties were now. And, I was living at my parents. So, I didn't even have my own room. Not to mention the kids.

But, this night, as least between Sarah and I, all was right in the world. He have never laughed that hard together. I laughed until I cried. She laughed so hard that she fell of the bed. Then, she started laughing harder as she bellowed, "I am literally ROTFLMBO!" (That is rolling in the floor laughing my butt off, if you didn't know.) That is one of my single happiest moments ever.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Reality of the Darkness; The Ongoing Saga of Ophelia Redstar



You might have noticed that my blog address is Ophelia Redstar. It may seem odd because it doesn't have anything to do with my blog. But, it isn't any further from the truth. Ophelia is my literary alter ego.When I day dream about non-reality, make believe land, she is me. She is also a vampire that is also a vampire assasin. She is the part of the me that is strong, out spoken and has a backbone. 

I had planned on participating on the "Write a Novel in a Month" that was going on in November and realized, it wasn't going to happen. But, I had decided that I was going to write about her story anyway. I wanted to write Sarah in at least one story line. I plan on writing my son in, too. But, anyway, this was what I wrote.

____________________________________________________________________________ 

The night was one that Ophelia would never forget. It was a haunting evening, All Saint’s Day. Day of the Dead. And, she had ended up in Mexico. She had been following the trail of a vampire by the name of Phaedra that had a deviant taste for children. She used the excuse that the blood of children helped to keep her youthful appearance. All she could figure was that Phaedra forgot the source of the blood had no effect on your appearance. It did however have an effect on your mind and strength. And, consuming the blood of children tended to make creatures unstable. Impatience and short tempers being the strongest effects. She had slaughtered her way through several small villages, leaving a string of tiny corpses along the way. Young girls between fourteen and sixteen were her favorite “treat.” She was very jealous of their youth.

Being Day of the Dead, there would be children everywhere, along with the rest of their families. Ophelia knew that the Phaedra had lost control and would see this as a feast. Not only was she risking the lives of innocents, she was risking the safety and isolation of the supernatural world. A few deaths could be covered up and dismissed. Even in this day and age where people believed in things that go bump in the night and “bad luck,” word would spread.

A radiant glow was visible from miles away from the cemetery. There were thousands of candles all through the headstones and markers. You could hear the voices of men singing happy songs traveling through the air. And, the laughter of children billowed and rolled through the hills where she had been waiting for sun down. This was the last place the “Red Ghost” had been seen. Her lair was easy to find. The stench was appalling. She had at least become a little smarter this time around. She was luring the children out to the hills where she would quite literally drain the children’s bodies and drop their remains over the edge of a cliff.

She was overwhelmed for a moment. Originally, Ophelia had followed this trail thinking that the guilty culprit’s were the ones who had turned her and stole her children. The last time she had seen the bodies of children, they had been her own. She felt rage rise with bile in her throat as she remembered being drug by her foot away from her burning home. The men had done their dirty work in the cellar. But, they made sure that they left them out for display for her to see as they had their turns with her. All four children had been violated in every twisted way that the bastards could imagine. She would never be able to fully put the sounds of their echoing screams out of her head. She did not know what was worse, the screaming or when it stopped. That is when hers began.

She knew as long as she could hear them, they were alive. But, one by she could hear the screams would turn to crying. The crying to soft sobbing. Sobbing to whimpers. Then silence. She was in such shock that she did not realize the men were on their way back to the house. “Men” is not the right word. These men had ceased to be men years before. They had been turned in the years of the Civil War where blood shed was every where and there was plenty of blood to keep a fresh, young vampire gorged on blood. That much consumption caused problems. It would make the vampire crazy and victim to their own bloodlust. Their sire wanted it that way. He was a debaucherous demon. Even for a vampire. These men would follow him to the end of the earth.

Her last memories as a human were being dragged from the house by her foot. She could feel her ribs snapping and twisting as her face dug into the ground. Her bones dig into her organs, puncturing them. What little blood that was left after their feedings was seeping out of her heart and veins. Muscles and tendons tore and pulled loose in her leg. Her foot finally snapped loose at the bone as they reached the creek. They laughed as they tossed her body into the ice cold water. The cold November air caused the water to drop her body temperature even lower. They thought she was dead. They did not realize that she was alive. But, just barely. Her will to live was gone. It died with her children. She had been thrown a good one hundred feet from the creek. And, as her head crashed against a large stone she felt her neck snap. She heard the crunch as her vertebrae collided and then snapped apart as she bounced on the creek bottom. And, she did not care. She just wanted to die.

Without her children she did not want to live. She didn’t care anymore. Her husband was gone and now her children. It had been five years since that night. Years had taught her that you had to go on. If you did not have anyone left to care about, fight for the people that do. And, she was not going to let anyone else lose a child tonight.

Upon descending the hill, she saw Phaedra in silhouette against the glow of the candles. She was tiny. No more than five feet tall. But the way that she stood there in the night air with her hair whipping in the wind, she seemed enormous. It was almost as though she was floating in the air. Flamboyance was always a specialty of hers. It wasn’t just for show. It was just who she was.

A small child, a girl no more than four, stuck her head around one of the outermost headstones. Her tiny feet began to take increasingly faster steps towards Phaedra. The child was being drawn in. Creating infatuation is a gift that few vampires have. And, the ones that do have it as humans, too. You know them, the people that others just want to be friends with. People give them things. Cars, jewels, groceries. The girl’s face was lit up, laughing. I had to move quickly. I wanted to surprise her, and the girl just blew any chance of that. There would not be any bloodshed. Not tonight.

She felt the fire in her chest flare as she pulled Retribution from his scabbard. It was a short sword that had been coated in silver. Using it made her nervous. She would have to keep from touching herself with it. The leather she was wearing would keep her from coming in contact from the metal. Tall boots, pants, corset and shirt were very fitted and would make her stick out like a sore thumb in her pre-Victorian world. But, it kept her safe. And, to be honest, the outfit was enough of a distraction that people did not look at her face. Not that many people lived to see her, anymore. The weight of the sword was very heavy in her hand. Even after all this time, she still hadn’t adjusted to the power in body. The sword should have been heavy for her to even lift. But, as a vampire, it was light as a feather. Power and anger pulsed through her muscles as she began her run at Phaedra.

A small scream escaped the mouth of the little girl. It grew as her sweet brown eyes grew larger at the mad woman running towards her. A sharp hiss rang is her ears as Phaedra’s head whipped around. Her eyes were red and full of lust and hysteria. Yes, she was completely off her rocker. But, she was ancient and old. That meant she was a formidable opponent. Her was strength was her speed and agility. That little bit of surprise that Ophelia had was now gone. Now, she would have to rely on her determination and use the anger that burned within her.

She was so focused on her mission that she was oblivious that the songs and laughter had ceased. It was deadly silent. As soon as the vampires had laid eyes on each other, the ghosts of the children buried in the cemetery began to gather.  The candles, toys and candies that were left by their families had enticed their spirits to come tonight. Tonight, when the veil between this world and the next, the spirits of the children that were there had a leader. The spirit of a fourteen year old girl, dressed in a torn white dress whipped around her feet. She began to gather the children with a gentle motion of her hand. The spirits followed her. Their family members following right behind.

Ophelia ran, almost faster than a human eye could see, sword close to her side. She gripped it tightly in fear that she might lose it. Or, that it might be ripped from her grip by her opponents. Phaedra flew right at her. On lookers would say that it reminded them of a head on train collision. The movement of the two were so fast that no one was ever sure what happened in the struggle. The sword that had been gripped like a vise had managed to be flung from her hand. From the ground she could not see. Her advisary had blinded her with dirt and had gripped her bony hand around Ophelia’s throat. She could feel her muscles pulling away from the bone. This was not how she had wanted this to go. Not at all. The cackling laughter from the woman looming over her was added to her confusion.

She was still a young vampire herself. She was still new to killing. It left a bitter taste in her mouth. She was ready to die. She had been since that night five years ago. Thoughts of finally being able to die brought her peace. Not knowing if she would go to heaven, hell or somewhere in between, she just wanted to go. She was surprised that heaven might be an option. But, when she heard the voice of her daughter, her daughter that had been long dead, say, “Mother…” she quickly filled with confusion. Surely she didn’t see her face. Her sweet blue eyes and warm smile. She was slipping in and out of conciousness. But, she knew that she wasn’t seeing things. Her daughter’s ghost was there. She was even growing more solid. Her bare feet disturbing the dry dirt, causing it to billow up in clouds as she walked towards the sword laying on the ground. With a look of determination and using all of the focus the girl could muster, she placed her know corporeal hand around the grip of the sword. And, with a tenacious effort, she lifted the sword and swung it in one motion, bringing the Phaedra’s head flying from her body.

Ophelia flew up from the ground. Her own shock and astonishment left her body tingling, unaware of the trauma dealt by the now dead vampire, whose body was already beginning the rapid process of decay. All Saint’s Day was when the spirits of the dead were supposed to be able to come back to visit their loved ones. But, she had always thought that this was just an excuse to celebrate the lives of loved ones. Once she gained her center, she realized that there were ghosts over other children making a circle around them, as though they were creating a protective barrier between the vampires and the people and the cemetery that had come to see what the ruckus was. Ophelia and Rachel ran to each other just in time to hold each other before she turned to mist again.

”I don’t understand. Come back my baby! Don’t leave me again!” Ophelia screamed as the child dissipated completely. She did not realize that she was sobbing and gasping for air as she grasped at the ground where her daughter had been standing. Every once of excruciating pain that she had felt over the last five years hit her all at once. She felt human for the first time in a very long while. It wasn’t until a gentle hand touched her shoulder that she realized the ghosts were all gone.

“The sun will be up soon. You can sleep in our cellar.” She looked up to see a girl no older that her own Rachel had been sitting beside her. “My grandmother said that anyone, vampire or not, that would the ghosts of our children would protect is worthy of our protection as well.” Her smile was gentle and warm. And, more importantly, genuine. Ophelia realized that she had been there for hours, curled on the ground heaving with dry sobs. “My name is Rose,” she spoke gently as she straightened her skirts as she got up from the dry ground. She was not scared of her. Knowing she was a vampire, and she still trusted her. She invited her to her house. The house where her family sleeps. She could not turn down her generosity. But, her heartbreak was starting to ease a bit. There was a part of her, the part that had saved her skin many times that said this could be a trap.

But, there comes a point when you are completely emotionally, mentally and physically drained that all you have left is faith. Faith in the ones that offer you shelter in the storms of life. She reached her hand up to the girl. Together, they dusted the dirt from her and her clothes and walked quietly to the house. It was located in the center of town. Right on the square. As the got closer to the house, she realized she could hear singing again. But, it was quiet. Murmurs, just above a hum. People were heading back into their homes. In her mind, she was evil. She was not worthy of love or trust. But, these people that had never seen her before, and knew what she was smiled at her. Warm, genuine smiles stretched across their faces. Some of them even brought her packages wrapped in brown papers. An elderly man scooted towards her and slowly reached out and delicately took her had in his. He placed his lips to the back of her hand. “Gracias,” he said as he bowed low.

She didn’t understand. Of all the creatures in the world to fear, vampires were high on the list. She was the thing of nightmares. Children should be running and screaming. These people should be crossing themselves and shivering. But, they were not. Instead they were welcoming her with open arms. There was something very otherworldly going on.

Rose looked over with a small smile. She could tell that Ophelia was confused. “My grandmother has spoke to the townspeople on your behalf. They understand that you came to protect our children from the Blood Witch and not to harm anyone.” Before Ophelia could respond the girl quickly added, “She is psychic. She read your mind and could tell that you were only here to help. Also, you are hurting and lonely. If there is anything that you ever need, we are at your service. If you need somewhere to rest or to hide. We will help you. You came to us in our time of need, without expecting anything in return.”

Ophelia stopped for a moment. Warmth and love radiated from the girls face. Any other time, she would have been furious that someone read her mind. But, the entire town wanted to take her under their wing. She had never in her life felt this kind of acceptance. She had spent her life not knowing who she was. Her parents had died when she was a young girl of eight. From then on, nothing was right again until she met Michael. Then, she lost him and her children. There had been so many occurrences of strange and supernatural activity around her that she was quite scared that she had been jinxed or cursed. What harm would come to these people for protecting her? Could she risk their lives for her own? But, she couldn’t refuse their hospitality, either. And, the option of a safe haven was so very appealing. “I will stay for a while. But, I insist that we find somewhere away from people so that I am not a danger to anyone.”

“As long as you stay with us until dusk. You have to rest,” the girl replied as she guided Ophelia into a doorway. “Welcome to our home.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What My Dreams Are Made Of

If money was no object at all, what would you do with your time?

I think about this a lot. More than I should, really.

My day would start a little something like this...



I wake just before the alarm buzzes to signal the beginning of the day. The sun is creeping up slow and bright, so I think that I will let Jerry sleep in a bit. He does have clients to meet with. But, not until lunch. I roll over and kiss him on the cheek before attempting to get out of bed. It is kind of difficult with two small dogs sleeping on your feet. The wooden floor feels cool and smooth on my feet as I tiptoe to the restroom to get ready for the day.

I am so glad that we had this house built. We wanted an old home. But, we also wanted modern amenities. So, we went with an old house plan that has been adapted to our needs. The sun is beginning to poor into the window over the kitchen sink. I look out to see Venom sitting outside his house, just waiting for Jerry to bring him his food. I swear he is shaking his head at the chickens clucking about in their coup. I will head out to gather eggs after a cup of coffee and the inside animals are tended to. The darn parrot is being loud. Again. But, Jerry loves him. So, I do, too.

After feeding the hamsters, birds, fish, and crabs I head out to the screened-in porch to enjoy the warm summer morning. I look out over the back yard to take in the view. There are five large fenced in sections for large dogs. Each dog gets their own pen. We even have a couple ready to fill. We would only have one except that two of the dogs were found together and they were only this happy together. Currently, they are playing tag around the pen. Then, there is the large barn out a ways across the yard. It's not all a barn. Half of it is. The other half is our studio and office space. We wanted to work from home. But, wanted a separation between work and home. This was a great compromise. It also meant we could have a barn with bathrooms with hot water and bathrooms. The chicken coup is built into the side of the barn so that we can shut the outside area off when it is too cold for the birds. There is also a small kitchen type area for washing and storing eggs. Also, to take care of the animals when they need extra help.I set my mug down and pick up the egg basket and head out to tend to my share of the animals, the goats and chickens.

I come back into the kitchen to find Jerry, still in his pajama bottoms fixing himself a cup of coffee and warming up some quiche. I put the eggs I bring back into the fridge. I am going to bake cookies so that Ty will have plenty to snack on when he gets here this evening. The place feels warmer and more full when he is here. I hop up on the kitchen counter and convince Jerry to fix me a slice just in time to find out her has already warmed one up and sliced up some fruit. I have things to do today besides baking cookies. I have orders to fill. But, I also need supplies. I will head to Abilene to get them after the mail comes in. It's Friday after all. Maybe I will come along for Jerry's lunch meeting. I think they are meeting at Abi-Haus.

Suddenly, the dogs are barking their "Someone is here!" bark. Since, I am the only one dressed, I go to the door to find the UPS man with boxes of supplies, and maybe a pair or two of shoes. I sign for my package and drop the shoes on the bench by the door before heading out to the studio to see what all is in the boxes and make my list of supplies. Jerry, being the smart aleck he is, is blocking the door. So, I give him my "move it or lose it" glare before kissing him on the cheek. He moves over and grabs Cinnamon, the newest kitten before she follows me out the door. Lucy follows along beside me out to the barn. She is a mutt. A small long haired, happy go lucky mutt. And, she loves me. Rick rather stay with the cats. He thinks he is a cat.

I set the boxes down so that I can open the door to make my way into the studio. It is a large room that we have sectioned off into our own office and studio spaces. There is even a loft area for Ty. He has his own space with his own computer supplies and all the art supplies he wants. As long as he uses them. I smile as I notice a painting on an easel. It is of a girl. He has done a very nice job. But, the real questions are is she real and, if so, will see the painting.

I bring the boxes to the table where I unload the fabrics and threads into their homes on the shelves. I find my shopping list and make a quick note of the numbers for the ink we need for the printers. I have onsies to knock out this week. So, I need to print the designs so I can get them out first thing Monday. I take a moment to let it sink in. I am living a life that makes me truly happy. I am doing what I enjoy. My husband is happy and thriving doing the things he loves. I have a son that is well adjusted and making a difference in his own world. Lucy starts nudging my foot with her head. I pick her and the list up and proceed to lock up the building. I stop to scratch the dogs that are waiting rather impatiently for Jerry to hurry up and feed them. Lucy and I help him finish taking care of the big dogs. She loves the big dogs and nuzzles them through the fence. Jasper the oldest of the dogs seems to think that she is his pup. He is very gentle and is the only dog that we actually let out to roam when we are gone. He doesn't tear anything up and would not hurt a fly.

Once we are done getting the animals tended to, we head out to town. We take Jerry's car. The '67 Camaro in Granada Gold. It is just like his dad's. He loves the car almost as much as me. And, almost as  much as I love my '69 Chevelle parked next to it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

...2014


Time…
Yep, I am really good at wasting it. I don’t mean going to the movies, goofing around with friends. That is spending time. Those are choices I make to enjoy my time.
Even playing some games on Facebook are how I spend my time. They let me clear my head.
Lazy Saturday mornings in bed are spending time working on the relationship with my husband and enjoying time with our pets.
But, I waste a lot of time by sitting down thinking of the things I want to or should be doing instead of just getting up and doing them. I have many regrets based on what I could have done with all of that wasted time. This year, my goal, not my resolution. Is to spend my time wisely. To cherish it. To make a difference in the world around me. And, to enjoy life. I want to make steps forward in making my small business big enough that I do not have to have a job outside of the home.
I want to actually finish the projects I have started and planned. I want to work out on branching out and REALLY sharing the things I do know with the rest of the world. I want My husband and I to do podcasts with our friends about the geeky things that make us happy.

I want to move so that we have a home where we can have room for people to come over and treasure the time with them.
I will make more of an effort to take advantage of every moment with my son. Even if he is out on a field or the court, it still feels like time together!

But, most the key thing is not to WASTE time. My time is mine and I will decide how to spend it. And, spend it I will.

Now, I am not calling this a resolution. A resolution is saying, "I WILL do this!" It is a do it or give up situation. I am setting goals. There are projects in particular that I want to finish. There are things I want to accomplish. I will post about those later this month. But, today, I am simply declaring my word is TIME.

(I would have written this yesterday, but I was spending my time bonding with my family.)