Neutral Giedian Solar Republic

The humanitarian effort on Cygnus Minor seemed to lose more ground every day.  Factions had risen out of the refugees there, possibly through deliberate efforts of one side or the other in the Trans-Galactic War in an attempt to draw Neutral Giedian Solar Republic into the fight or otherwise destabilize their footing in the sector.

Though only three planets, Giedia Prime, Geidia Proxima, and the latest to be colonized Cygnus Minor, NGSR held considerable political sway and controlled some very rich resources.  Cygnus Minor was mostly populated by refugees from the Trans-Galactic War which was now entering its hundredth year, and seemed to draw more and more planets in as it went.

Despite not being part of the voting membership of the NGSR, nor having a great amount of valuable resources on planet, Cygnus Minor was still a prime target both for terrorist activities and as a base for possible attacks against either of the main Giedia planets.  Both of which were of great concern to the paramilitary humanitarian corps stationed in the Northern hemisphere, where most of the attacks were concentrated.

Sergeant Kebede bent over the body of one of the latest victims, a woman.  She closed her hand around a stone pendant at her neck, and though the symbol was faded and half obscured by dirt and blood, she had known what it was the moment her eyes fell on it.  A symbol of protection from another country on another planet, and one she had first seen almost twenty years ago.  It now threatened to send her falling into memories of the past, but her moment of reverie was broken by the sound of a baby’s cry.  She moved around the toppled cart to find the babe among soft blankets, frightened but no apparent injuries as she lifted it into her arms.

It continued to cry until she started to rock back and forth, bouncing gently.  She pulled one glove off with her teeth and rested her hand on its body.  A tiny hand wrapped around her finger, pulling it into its mouth like a pacifier.

Looking back at the broken bodies around the cart, likely the parents, she ordered her squad to collect them.  They would need genetic ID to ensure the child belonged to the deceased. Protocol required it for proper disposition of those displaced and orphaned, as children this young had often not been officially identified by the government, though the parents almost certainly would have been.

That meant the bodies would not be collected and put into cold storage with the others from the attack, likely not to be identified for up to a year with the current back-log.  Instead they would have to be logged, stored, and tracked separately.  Because of that it was a protocol generally ignored in the field, but she insisted, ignoring the few protests.

With too much work left to be done, she could not devote any time to the child yet, instead giving it over to the medic for a full evaluation but tagging it with her ID.  She would be checking up.

After there had been an accounting of the attack: the number dead, the types of weapons that had been employed – all of which pointed to an operation by the Laran Resistance which the media would no doubt play off as speculation and unverified accounts – there were finally a few hours of down-time.  Sgt. Kebede sat on her bunk and pulled the stone out of her pocket, drawing a matching one from beneath her shirt and holding them side-by-side.

***

Aliya felt her mother’s grip tighten and looked up.  Her lips – usually so full of smiles and laughter – were drawn tight, pressed together to prevent the words she so dearly wished to send flying at the man behind the counter from slipping out.  She chose her words with care, tone kept as neutral as she could manage.

“My husband is already on Giedia Prime,” she repeated.  “These are his embassy papers and our immigration visas,” she said, holding them out again for the man.  He did not look at them.

“No new visas are being issued to residents of this sector,” he said, not looking up from his screen.  “Please contact your local embassy if you wish to apply for refugee status.”

“We are not refugees, sir, I have our visas already!”  She pulled Aliya closer.  “Please, just look at my documents!”

Aliya’s gaze moved from her mother to the man in question.  His dark grey uniform was buttoned up tight to his throat, giving him an appearance of being strangled, helped along by his fat, red cheeks.  His hand at last moved to snatch the offending papers from her mother’s grip and look them over with no attempt to veil his disdain.

“These are dated from three standard months ago,” he said, tossing them back at her, dismissive of their content.

“They document our travel window as open now,” she insisted, pointing to the range of dates at the bottom.

The man yawned and finally spoke into his head piece.  “Sir, this is Kelt at desk two.  I’ve got a… Delta Cygni here and her kid, claims she’s got visas to Giedia Prime.  No, sir, no husband.”

Aliya’s mother stood stone silent but her grip got tighter again.  Finally the man turned back to them, gesturing vaguely as he gave directions with little care whether they were understood or remembered.

“Take your papers and effects, go to the second lift, up six flights, first right, then second left down the hall till you see refugee processing.  They’ll evaluate your case.”  Barely pausing for breath he looked around them and called out, “NEXT!”

Aliya’s mother picked up her papers and they both took their bags and left the desk without comment.  She didn’t speak again until they were in the lift and Aliya tugged her shirtsleeve.

“It’ll be alright, dear,” her mother said, lacking any hint of conviction to her words.  “This next place will help us.”  Unlike the three places before it.

“But we aren’t refugees,” Aliya whispered.

Her mother’s face flinched momentarily and she nodded.  “No, dear.  We aren’t refugees.  Except perhaps from that man.”

She tried to give a smile, but Aliya could tell it wasn’t genuine.  She rested her head against her mother’s stomach until they reached their floor.  Mumbling under her breath, her mother recalled the directions.

“First right… second left.”

They followed the curve of the hall, and Aliya wondered if that was meant to be the second left or if the next hallway to their left was it.  Thankfully a sign reading REFUGEE PROCESSING guided them the rest of the way, and not exactly to the letter of the directions they had been given.  Even had it not, though, the sound of the waiting room would have drawn them to the correct location.

To Aliya it looked like a hundred people were there, the sound filling the small space, and the smell of that many bodies having gone who-knew-how-long without baths overwhelmed her at first.  She pushed her face into her mother’s skirt as they approached the counter.

In the next line was a family of five children and their beleaguered father, all dressed in what were likely their best clothes, yet old and worn.   Each clutched a bag, and the smallest child had a doll pinched under his arm.

One girl, the closest to her, returned her gaze and their eyes met, a shared tiredness reflected between them.  But Aliya lacked the hopeless edge the other girl had; she was not a refugee, they had visas.  Her mother had assured her they would get through, they just needed to go through the proper channels.

Aliya gave the girl a smile.  The girl looked at her father, but he was distracted with paperwork.  She let go of her brother’s hand and came closer.

“Hello,” Aliya said.

“Hello,” the girl replied.

“I’m Aliya.”

She hesitated before saying, “Ebhiante.”

Her accent was heavy and Aliya had trouble making out all the sounds, asking her to repeat it before trying it herself.

“Where are you going?” Ebhiante asked, looking between Aliya and her mother in a way which said they didn’t look like refugees.  Not like the others here.

“Giedia Prime.  My father is there.”

“Oh.”  Ebhiante looked down at her bag.  “Where are you from?”

Before Aliya could answer, though, her mother gave her a tug and hushed her.  Ebhiante started to retreat back to her family, but suddenly turned and grabbed Aliya’s wrist.  She pulled a stone amulet from around her neck and pressed it into Aliya’s hand.

“Imha keep you safe,” Ebhiante breathed.

Aliya felt another tug behind her, pulling her apart from Ebhiante.  She turned to see the two armed soldiers who had approached her mother.

“Kebede, Siria and Aliya,” one said, reading the papers.

“Yes,” her mother said, showing no hint of fear at them or their weapons.

“Right,” the one said, pushing the papers back at her.  “This way.”

“Where are we going?” her mother asked, not willing to follow them blindly, but the other soldier took her by the arm and pulled her along.  Aliya looked back to see Ebhiante, hand still out as if she could reach her.  Then they were gone, escorted past the counter and down a long hallway with many doors.  They did not take any of the doors, but the hallway at last emptied out into another room, larger than what they had left, and divided in half by a thick glass wall with a set of double doors like an air-lock.  There were soldiers with guns everywhere Aliya looked.

Leading up to the wall on both sides were narrow walkways, turning back and forth like a maze, and cut off at waist height.  They were escorted down one of these passages to the doors on their side of the glass wall.  The soldier who had spoken handed their papers to one of the guards at the door who looked it over carefully.

“Siria Kebede,” she said.

She nodded.

“Aliya Kebede,” she said, looking now at Aliya.

Aliya nodded, and the guard handed the papers back to her mother.  Addressing the soldiers who had escorted them here, she said, “Thank you, we’ll take them from here.”

The doors opened and the guard motioned for them to pass.  “Go straight toward the far doors.  Do not stop.  Present your papers at the window, they will ensure you are directed to your transport.”

Aliya’s mother looked at the guard, letting a moment of weakness show as she pleaded, “Tell me where we are being sent.”

The guard gave her a sympathetic look. “You are going to join your husband, Ma’am.  This is the check-point for travel to NGSR.”

Aliya had never seen her mother cry before that moment, and yet it seemed only to increase her strength.  Standing straight and tall, she did not even bother to wipe the tears from her cheeks as she picked up her bag in one hand, gripped Aliya’s hand tight with her other, and nodded.

“Thank you.”

The guard gave a nod.  Aliya wasn’t sure whether she should be relieved or afraid, but together she and her mother walked from war to freedom in thirty feet.

***

Boots stopped outside her tent and a voice soon followed.  “Sergeant Kebede.”

She rubbed her nose between her thumb and forefinger, trying to fight off the headache threatening.  “What is it, McKay?”

“You wanted to be notified about the child?”

She got up quickly at that and pushed back the flap to her tent.  “Yes?”

“We have a local acting as a wet-nurse,” McKay said.  “They’re in recovery.”

Sgt. Kebede nodded and holstered her pistol, then followed him toward the medical tents.  “Wet-nurse?  Is she pregnant?”

McKay shook his head.  “She lost hers, I think.”

That stopped her up short.  “You think!?”

“Sorry, Sgt.  We’re having trouble finding a translator.  We’ve gotten a few words but…”  Then he dropped his voice and added, “Not sure how long we’ll have her around, to be honest.”

They started walking again, and she followed quietly for a minute before she put a hand on his arm and asked, “The baby… is it a boy or a girl?”

“Girl,” he murmured.

There were too few patients in the field hospital for the population this town had on register; far too few.  There was no thinking that it was from lack of injured, rather from lack of survivors to be treated.  She pushed that thought aside for now as they approached the woman, part of an arm missing and bandages on her face red from the injuries beneath, and yet against her breast lay the child, sleeping peacefully.

Sgt. Kebede stood a short distance away and watched.  The woman lifted her head to meet her gaze with only one blood-shot eye visible from beneath her bandages.  What she could see of her face was no older than she was, thirty at most though of a much harder life.

McKay spoke softly, “Internal bleeding.  We tried to give her an IV for the pain but she refused because of the child.”

“McKay, what the hell are you using her as a wet-nurse for?  She’s in no condition-”

“Sergeant, she heard the child crying and the nurses couldn’t keep her in bed.  She tore a few stitches out in the struggle, and only calmed down when we gave it to her.”  He scratched his arm and reluctantly added, “I think she might think it’s hers.”

Sgt. Kebede took the stone from her pocket and  ran her thumb over the symbol of the Goddess, recalling the face of the woman from whose neck she had taken it.  There was little chance of it being that same girl from all those years ago, but she couldn’t help feeling as if she owed something to the past.

She drew up a stool and sat beside the woman and child, holding up the amulet.  The woman seemed to recognize it, and made no objection when she tied it through a grommet in the child’s medical blanket.  The woman patted her hand and gave what might have been a smile.  With a rough voice and thick accent, she spoke a few words.

Sgt. Kebede looked back at McKay, but he only shrugged.  The woman frowned slightly, then pointed to the medic,  “McKay,” pointed to herself, “Thella,” then pointed to the child and looked at the Sergeant to fill in the unspoken blank.

She was about to shake her head, she didn’t know, but instead found herself saying, “Ebhiante.  Her name is Ebhiante.”

The woman thought for a moment, then nodded, leaning back into the bed and closing her eye.  Sgt. Kebede got up and left them to rest, pulling McKay into an area cordoned into an office.
“Find a translator, McKay,” she snapped.  “We have to have someone in this dishat army who understands her.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“And keep me informed of their conditions.  Both of them.  I don’t want them to sneeze without me knowing.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

She picked up a file on his desk, flipping through some of the reports inside.  “And I want an ID on those two bodies, PDQ*, you understand? I want to know who that child is!”

“Sergeant?”

She dropped the folder and raked her fingers through what little hair she bothered to keep on her head.  “What is it, McKay?”

“Who is Ebhiante?”

She opened her mouth, then shut it and turned around.  “You’ve got patients to see to, Corporal,” she said on her way out.

He shook his head.  “Yes, Sergeant,” he sighed after she was gone.

***

It took two days for a positive ID to be made.  Of the two bodies, the woman was related, but not as a mother.  An aunt was more likely, though there was a chance she was an elder cousin.  The man was registered as the woman’s husband, and so was unrelated by blood.  They would have to search the government registration database for likely relatives, and then compare their DNA to the child’s.  Because children had up to a year to be registered and there was no file on her, there was little hope of a quick resolution to the case.

The wet-nurse, Thella, had beaten McKay’s odds and survived her injuries after another round of surgery.  It took another week to get a translator transferred since no one was sure exactly which language the woman was speaking.   McKay had been partly right, it seemed; Thella had thought the child was hers, but only at first.

Now, Sergeant Kebede was using all her connections, some of questionable legality, in order to push through paperwork to adopt Ebhiante and to sponsor Thella as a domestic worker so she could bring them to Giedia Prime.  Even twenty years later, it still took a mountain of paperwork to get onto the two main planets.

So when, a month later, she had a civilian messenger come up with an encrypted communique and ask for Sergeant Aliya Kebede, it was the second time in her life she wasn’t sure whether she should be relieved at having an answer at last or afraid of what that answer might be.

***

A hush fell over the Assembly as the First Consul entered and stood at the podium.  She cleared her throat and began to speak.

“For one hundred and fifty-three years, our galaxy has been consumed by war.  A war which has laid waste our most precious resource, the lives of billions; the only cost worth considering, and one which must temper our joy at the news that this war is now over.”

The speech was brought to a halt as the entire Assembly erupted in cheers which lasted a good several minutes.  As it died down, she continued.

“Treaties were signed by all parties to bring an immediate end to all hostilities and all future claims of right to territories beyond the agreed upon borders.  These treaties are set to go into effect on twelve-point-oh-nine of Galactic Year one thousand and three, at ten o’clock Giedian Standard Time; which is just two minutes from now.”

Another round of applause filled the room.

“May our children remember this day, may we remember our fore-bearers, and may we endeavor to be worthy of the lives we have.  Please join me in silence as the Giedian Galactic Peace Treaty goes into effect.”

Silence washed through the room, broken by a canon which signaled the moment.  Cheers followed, and for a good ten minutes there was no bringing the room back to attention.  Slowly the celebration of the moment died down and the First Consul was able to continue again.

“I would like to now call forth the woman who was most instrumental in crafting this treaty, whose tireless efforts to bring the parties to the negotiating table have brought us to where we are today.  Please welcome Ambassador Ebhiante Kebede.”

 

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Frozen

…burritos.

So I bought a toaster oven for work so I could bring some things in and have a hot meal at lunch. I don’t use microwaves, I don’t feel like getting into a debate as to why, I just don’t.

Anyway, so the easiest thing to pop in is frozen burritos. Which will fall into one of two categories: arguably healthy and tasty but expensive as hell, or cheap and kinda gross and lacking even the redemption of a golden, flaky, deep-fried tortilla crust.

After a couple weeks I thought to myself: surely I can do better than this.

My favorite had been the Organic Southwest Chicken Burrito (brand withheld for fear of being sued)
Here’s a general breakdown of the nutrition:
Calories: 340, Fat: 9g, Sodium: 700mg, Fiber: 3g, Protein 17g

Not bad, makes for a filling lunch when paired with salad, and a good source of protein. But costs like 4-5 bucks.

Okay, so I bought a pack of organic tortillas ($3), can of organic black beans ($1.29), organic diced tomatoes ($1.29), organic onions (from my CSA), and organic cremini mushrooms (3-something a pound, I used maybe two ounces?). Add some Tabasco sauce for flavor/heat, or substitute salsa for the tomatoes.  Let’s say about 7-8 bucks worth of food.

Chopped the onions and mushrooms, mixed with one can black beans and half can of diced tomatoes, wrapped in a skillet softened tortilla, then wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the freezer. The above made 7 burritos, so that comes out to right around $1 each.

Here’s how mine stacks up against the store brand:

Bought: Calories: 340, Fat: 9g, Sodium: 700mg, Fiber: 3g, Protein 17g
Homemade: Calories: 230, Fat: 3g, Sodium: 350g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 10g.

So the store beats me on protein, but I come out on top in every other category: price, nutrition, and flavor! And vegetarian, even, so if that’s a consideration, you’re good!  Even visually, they look pretty much identical (so, mildly unappealing until you taste it).  The store-bought has a bit tighter folds, but that’s just because I over stuffed mine a tad.  Really, the hardest part of the whole process is stuffing the insides into the burrito without it escaping out the ends while folding it all up.

And I can certainly add chicken for more protein. In fact, when I run the numbers again assuming I’m adding a pound of chicken total to the recipe, which obviously a pound is then going to make more burritos, so assuming a final count of 10 instead of 7, that gives the following:

Calories: 258, Fat: 4.5g, Sodium: 375g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 18g.

So if I add half a serving of chicken to each burrito that’s only about 50 cents each.  And now I beat the store-bought on protein!  About 80 calories less, half the fat and sodium, same fiber, and still less than half the cost.  Pretty much the only thing this isn’t is gluten-free.  It’s so quick to make, so easy to take to work and pop in the toaster oven.  And I can make a whole week’s worth in about 15 minutes on the weekend.

What’s not to love about making frozen burritos at home!?   You know exactly every single ingredient that’s going into it, no mystery “flavors” or “preservatives”.  And if you have kids, you can totally trick them into thinking they’re getting not super healthy food. ;)  Or if you have sudden guests show up, you can whip out a batch of burritos from the freezer and pair with some rice and salad, some salsa and guacamole, and have a great meal on the table in the 45 minutes it takes to reheat the burrito.

And for the super recycling conscious people, the plastic wrapper from the store-bought burrito isn’t recyclable, but the aluminum foil from home made is :D

Stones

So, I said I had more stories, and here’s another one.

While I was in Navajo Nation, I got a chance to listen to a young man talk about his pottery.  I won’t even begin to do this story justice, but basically he lives in an area that was once inhabited by the Anasazi people, and he can walk around his house and around the rock formations and find old pieces of broken pottery, formed and painted so long ago.  And it inspired him to start making his own, based partially on what he finds and partially on a modern twist to their forms and designs.

I thought that was one of the coolest things I had ever heard!  He had some pieces he showed us, and told us about how he makes and fires the pottery, and how he creates the dyes, and all of it how it was done for centuries.

His story then inspired me to do something like that!  I can walk around my house and pick up stones, and then just like *my* ancestors did, I started making stone carvings!  Ok, so I cheat a bit and use a dremel instead of arduous hand carving with manual tools, but still, I’m loving this so much!

My sister got the first one.  She asked if I could do a scrolly design in green.  I said yes to the scrolly, but said there was no way I could color it that it would last, I only have water-based paints and they’d wash off too easily.  But I got a nice pendant-shaped stone and started carving away.

Then… as I sat at my computer desk… out of the corner of my eye… what should I see?? But green nail polish!  Yes! That’s it, enamel, that won’t wash off at all!  And if it’s tucked into the groove of the carving, it won’t chip off, either!  So my sister got her green scrolly design in the end! :)

stone pendants

stone pendants

That, along with the other two, were the first ones I tried.  I was using a diamond tipped bit, so it would drill through the stone, and had to keep the stone constantly wet to prevent stone dust from getting into the motor and to keep the stone and bit cool.  (also, wear a dust mask!  The stuff in rock can be super-duper awful to get in your lungs!  As awful as that dust mask smells, it’s preferable to the alternative!)

Well, after having such success with that, I decided to try others, drilling lots of little stones into tiny bead-kinda things, I don’t have pictures of those yet – coming soon.  But then I was telling a gal at work about it and ended up making three more just tonight when I got home, two for ladies at work and one for me.  One of the gals collects heart-shaped stones, so I carved a heart onto hers so she could have a “heart stone” with her always!

Heart-stone pendant

Heart-stone pendant

The other gal gets this fabulous red stone pendant:

Red stone with crystal beads

Red stone with crystal beads

And I carved my Norse SCA name into this and then added gold nail polish to the letters to make them sparkle (you can’t see it very well in this picture but it’s there.  Trust me.)

"Sigga" stone pendant

“Sigga” stone pendant

 

So this is my new hobby to add to the growing collection.  Stone carving.  Soon I’ll work my way up to larger stones and larger images (beyond pendants) like the Norse did all over the bloody place.

 

I also painted a cavern scene.  I can’t really blame this on anything except maybe an abundance of rocks on the brain ;)

©2014 Eliza Murdock

Sub-landscape ©2014 Eliza Murdock

(that’s supposed to be an underground lake… and yes, that may just possibly have been meant to be a city down there. >.> )

 

Oh, and almost forgot, in celebration of the whole Norse thing going on, I’ll add a third poem to the prompt I posted in my last entry for every word starting with the same letter of the alphabet.

 

Vaginal Vacancy

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Vivid vigils viewed: vigorous, volatile.
Vanity vanishes, victory verges.
Voracious vyings, vaginal vacancies
Voluptuous vexations visit.

Valour, virtue vomited.
Vague vapors vent vitality
Vibrating veins, vindicating validating
Visceral vignettes vicariously.
 
Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Violet vineries ventured,
Vast vats voiding vows.
Vibrant vert vale vistas
Vast vassaled vaults.

Vilified voyeuristic visits
Via vestal virgin, vandaling vulvas.
Veiled velvet vortecies
Violated viciously, vilely.

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

I’m Back!

Oh lord and do I have some stories, not all of which are from the Arizona trip.

The dangers of “Farm Fresh”… there were chickens in my eggs this morning.  blaaaahhhhhh…

My friend’s camera is that epic sort of thing that has, y’know, whole different settings and lenses and wide-angle and shutter speed stuff.  So I didn’t bother taking a lot of pictures with my crappy little “point and click” digital camera.  So pictures will mostly have to wait for my friend to upload hers.

I did, however, paint pictures!

Sagebrush Range ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Sagebrush Range ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Desert Dusk ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Desert Dawn ©2014 Eliza Murdock

Also helped save two stupid goats who tried to off themselves by eating the bark from the stump of the freshly cut down Rhododendron bush, cut down precisely because it’s poisonous to most animals.  So we had to dose them with a ton of activated charcoal, which I happened to have with me, saving a trip to town and wasted time.

I wouldn’t recommend going rock climbing pulling a horse trailer filled with sheep.  That was something else, too.  Those poor sheep!  Trust me, it wasn’t that we wanted to, it was the only way out of where we were.

I’ve got a lot more to share, but that’ll be for later.  For now, enjoy the two poems inspired by Oloriel‘s prompt at We Drink Because We’re Poets:

This week, I would like you to pick a letter from the alphabet and write a poem – so that each word in your poem starts with that letter.

If you pick, let’s say, the letter “M”, each word must obviously start with M, any and all. Which means that if you do not pick “A”, you cannot use “and” and so on.

 

Scrimshaw

Someone said she sought solace
Some sweet sanctuary
Skin softened, smoothed, sensual;
Saffron scented smoke swirling skyward.

She sipped sobriety slowly.

Silk-swathed slumber,
Sacred stones, solitary sentinels
See sunset stars, sundials, survey
Such significant sights.

So simple, sanity succumbs.

Sapphire sands shift, settle,
Surrounding sandled steps.
Seraphims sigh singing Sappho’s signs…
Silent soon, she slips southward.

Sanguine sublimity subdued.

Statues standing silent
Sans seeing, scattered
Scant sincerity sent seeking
Sceptered serpents.

Sometimes stained shells survive scratches.

The Toast

Titan toasts, to tokens these!
There thick the texts told,
Tiger’s teeth tearing tithes to threads!

Taken true, tainted taels
Turned thrift to trickery.
Temptation takes ten-fold throats.

Thunder thrust toward twilight treasures
Tossed, tumbled trove;
Torrid trysts trod tiptoe.

Topaz temples tailor traveler’s talismans
Thirteen, twelve… then two:
Time, tomb.

Trials taught, tempests tamed.
Takeup, takeup! True tribulations told.
Talented troubadours toast their trials.

That’s What I Want

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Live in a world
Where there’s no mask
For my face
Of pigmented foundation
And smokey-eye shadow
Lipstick to give me
That luscious full pout
That’s what it’s all about

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Give up my caffeine fix
My Mountain Just Dew It
Diet Coke habit
Six pack on my hips
To wash down a bottle
Of diet pills I take
To kill the hungry pit
And make size zero fit

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let my boyfriend’s eyes
Stray to other girls and guys
He might decide
The younger, thinner model
This season’s fashion accessory
Is what he wants on his arm
The centerfold promised lies
Of airbrushed, photo-shopped thighs

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let even a second go by
Where I’m not center stage
My Twitter page
Filled with photos of food
I didn’t eat, but still tweet
From my smart phone ap
Current mood: a bleating sheep
Like this if you’re asleep

 

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Late Start on the Garden, and Other Ramblings

Very, very late start. As in, I just planted everything yesterday. So technically before June.  I did have some salad greens going in planters already, and the borage is just starting to break the surface, but yesterday my dad tilled up the old chicken pen and last night I planted golden and purple potatoes, lentils, kidney beans, multi-colored pop corn, golden beets, three kinds of carrots, and two kinds of radishes.

Late start, but  most of it is short season or cool-hearty so it’ll either be ready before winter, or won’t care if it isn’t.

Here’s the general layout of what I’ve planted, the whole plot is about 12′ x 20′ – ish… and then the half-barrel planters that I drew below are tucked in around my front door and the side of my house.

GARDEN

You know you read too many post-apocalyptic/societal collapse books if after you plant your garden, you begin planning how to defend it from your neighbors…

I’ve also spent a good deal of time this last week slashing blackberry brambles and scotch broom from the side of my hill.  It does make me a little sad, I think scotch broom is so pretty, but it’s considered an invasive weed here in Washington, and my neighbor on that side of the hill is very allergic to it’s pollen so I keep it down for her sake.

Finally bought myself a machete, though, which should make the whole endeavor much easier.  I had just been using my dad’s brush lops but that is a rather slow and clumsy method.  He couldn’t find his machete, and even the lops are getting very old and the stopper to keep you from smashing your fingers together when you cut something is gone, so for an early father’s day present (since I’ll be in Arizona over the actual father’s day) I got him a new set of loppers that won’t smash his fingers!

And yes, for the last two weeks of June I will be traveling in  Arizona with a dear friend of mine who attends the Sheep is Life celebration on Navajo nation.  (So I guess if you ever wanted to stalk me, you’ll know where I’m going to be for a whole 3 days).  We’re driving down from Oregon with a stock-trailer full of sheep and chickens.  Road Trip!

My sister had her gall bladder out last weekend, rather unexpectedly, and so I’ve been stopping by her place in the evenings to help with stuff she can’t manage, and really just hang out and be company since she’s bored.  It’s partly what sparked my sudden desire to go ahead and do a garden this year when I had been resigned to just keeping the barrels and that was it.  It’s funny when you go somewhere and get into a “let’s do stuff” mood and then you get home and you keep looking for more stuff to do!

Not that I have any lack of stuff to do.  I’ve gotten on a cleaning binge as well, and I have reclaimed my living room from the ravages of neglect, and gotten my kitchen back in shape, and mostly tidied up the dining room and guest rooms, but my own room is always the last thing I want to tackle, and as it happens it is the last thing left this time, also.  I will be doing a purge again as well, getting rid of stuff that has become clutter and taking it to Goodwill or Salvation Army as donations.

So that’s about it.  Oh yeah, and the now five short stories I’ve started but can’t seem to finish… I think my muse is just in other-mode right now, so I’ll keep jotting down the ideas as they come and trust that someday, the rotten little muse will come back and cooperate. :)

Æthernet

First of all things was the expanse into which all other things burst forth in a great cataclysm of fire and light.  Yet while the æther is of all things the greatest, the mystery of it is also greatest.  For as in darkness is hidden secrets that light may reveal, this darkness resists the light of understanding, as a veil over our eyes which obscures.

The æther birthed the Creators, who gathered to themselves the Firstlight and formed them into the forges of the Gods.  In them they made yet greater and greater creations, binding together the lesser with the force of their hammer blows.  They toiled until they could create no more, and their forges burned until they had exhausted their fuel.

Some, weary of their work, left their forges to cool and die.  But some burned too hot, and in their folly they did not see the doom they heaped upon their own heads.  They pushed too far and their forges, in a violent burst, expelled all of the creations, scattering them across the æther.  These greater creations from deep within the forges, cold without the Creator’s fire, gathered around other forges, some closer and some further away.

Among the Creators were some who were not content with the way of the others.  Instead, burning first their own fuel, they hungered for more.  Such hunger was in them that they sought to consume all others.  They are the Nassanai, their forms like spiders with grasping legs.

These Creators have turned to Destroyers, the Devourers of all that fall into their spiral webs.  They have spread their nets across the æther, catching all that wander too close, and from their dens they draw in their nets toward their waiting mouths, consuming all things: Creators, creations, forges, those which gather for warmth, and even the Firstlight.

So hungry are the Nassanai for more and more to fill their bowels that they may even catch one another, their webs colliding, distorted, and engage in a great battle.  In the end, a victor will remain, even more powerful and even more hungry.  The Nassanai will consume, destroy, and battle until time has ended and only one remains, and the Firstlight shall in the end be extinguished, and thus will come the end of all things, and only the æther will remain.

 

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