mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
I turned 28 in the Philippines, hanging out with Peter Ng and various YASCers. I turned 29 today at an ESC retreat, hanging out with housemates and spiritual reflection leaders. This also marks the second year I've gotten surprised with some variant of cake from the kitchen staff for my birthday.

My supervisor was asking what was supposed to happen on these retreats this past Monday, and I told her I didn't know exactly what was planned. I don't think I would have predicted it would go so well, or that I would enjoy it as much as I have, but it's been amazing.

We've been discussing discernment, how one does it, what process it takes. We spent a good portion of this morning doing art prayer/art as meditation as a way of sorting out feelings and thoughts. It surprises absolutely no-one that that a large chunk of my discernment was that who I am as person is a caretaker, and that whatever I do, if I'm being true to that portion of myself I will be content and fulfilled. Conversation also came up around the fact that I keep getting told I need to be a priest. Now there are two more priests asking me about when I'm going to go to seminary, with Father Carl helpfully pointing out that seminary doesn't have a Sophomore year, and will therefore skip my Sophomore curse.

On a more sober note, this was also our chance to discuss the Bishop Cook situation, both in terms of the facts of the case and in terms of the church reaction. Three of our reflection leaders have some pretty strong ties to the situation, and it has been painful and stressing for all involved.
mari4212: Text: Hufflepuff When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you (Firefly Hufflepuff)
...and toes, and eyes, and hair, and everything else I can think of.

Well, it's that time of year, and I'm submitting another application. This is for a position as a program director for another ESC program. I'm alternately terrified and excited at the idea of this one, it not only uses every last thing I've done since college, it also would pay actual money and potentially last more than one year. Holy Grail time. Please, please work and employ me?

There's another position that just put up its announcement on the ESC employment page, and I'll also be applying for that one. It's not quite as exciting for me, but it would also use a great deal of my skills and it is explicitly geared at pre-seminary track people.
mari4212: Library rules (Library)
Mostly from the first half of the alphabet through to P, with a few Madness recs because all of my treats were things of beauty:

Black Ships:
Recompense for a Debt Owed

Jo Graham is one of my favorite authors, and I love how she left Black Ships with the hints of this next step. Lavinia’s and Gull’s discussion is sparse and nuanced, with more left implied than outright stated, just like the language of the book. This is the discussion of two adult, confident women who are letting wisdom and compassion outweigh pride. These women build new hope out of ruins, rather than despair.


Part of the ethos of Black Ships and the other Numinous World books is that we carry the torch and pass it on. This is the start of the passage between Gull and Kianna, and it very deliberately echoes Gull's experiences with Pythia. Like the other Black Ships story, it really echoes Jo Graham's language throughout the book.

The Muppets

there’s not a word yet (for old friends who’ve just met)

A Beaker’s eye view of The Muppet Show. There’s plenty of random silliness, along with Beaker’s fear for his life, his hair, and his sanity at the beginning, but there’s so much more. This story is a love letter to Muppets and to the found family therein. Fozzie in particular gets some real insight, and the deepening friendship and understanding between Bunsen and Beaker is flat out beautiful to behold.


The Guardians

It’s next gen fic, but next gen that doesn’t feel the need to rehash the original movie or create carbon clones to explore the same issue that the parent’s faced. Chunhua is her own self, with aspects of her mother and father, and the plot explores an interesting plothole from the first movie. It is a quiet and reflective fic, but deeply satisfying. Mulan and Shang are present and fully themselves, but they definitely are not the stars of the story and it’s okay.

The Pretender:

Simple Gifts

This is longfic for Yuletide. Moreover, it is casefic that stays totally in character. Jarod is out to solve a problem and confront a bad guy, Miss Parker is out to catch him. But as always with Pretender, there’s layers and layers of interaction and neither one of their goals is as simple as it seems.

Also, there’s a bucketload of OCs, as one would expect in a casefic, and all of them are well done and used correctly.

Protector of the Small

the ghosts before I met you

This is a poem of a fic, interlacing and exploring aspects of Keladry’s identity as it relates to Yamani culture. Pay attention to the scene changes, this is not the most linearly arranged story and it’s the better for it.

Prince of Egypt

The Last Challenge

This was written for me and gave me exactly what I wanted: Great Rameses characterization and a real exploration of what it meant for him to be brothers with Moses. I love the bit about him wanting to shove Moses back into a basket, that’s classic little kid logic.

Brother my heart is an open wound

There was a second Rameses pov fic, and it’s also absolutely fantastic. This is slightly more stylized, and it works beautifully. This really gets at the level of abandonment and pain that Rameses felt with Moses’s flight and return as a stranger.

Yuletide Madness

I haven't explored Madness aside from my own gifts, but then again I'm only partway through the main Yuletide as is. Nevertheless, I got three fantastic gifts that I wanted to highlight:

The Path Not Taken

I mentioned in my letter that I would love fix-it for Prince of Egypt, even knowing how the Biblical story had to go. Author-anon shared my feelings of absolute brokenness about the end of the movie and made an amazing short story of how Moses and Rameses would start to repair their world.

Another Dragon Boy

Pre-canon for Dragon Jousters, it explores what made Ari want a new dragon boy so much, why he was primed to see the potential in Vetch. Moreover, author-anon is good at expressing Ari's isolation and differences with everyone he is supposed to consider peers, how that ran through him as well and shaped his decisions with Vetch.


This is a shining example of what the drabble form can do. It captures the exact moment and the feelings therein without distractions. In this case: Prince of Egypt the moment Rameses sees Moses again.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
ESC/Housemates: things seem to be settling. We went out for icecream on Monday, and have basically been meshing a bit better now that we have issues at least looked at, if not resolved. Chore rotation was supposed to be implemented this month, and it sort of half happened, what with two separate half weeks, relatives dying, illness, and just forgetting that we were doing a new chore.

Diocese of Maryland/religion: I have a spiritual mentor assigned who is lovely and intelligent and fantastic. We meet for chai and discussion once a month, and she's plotting to take me to her church's coffeeshop concerts when there is not car breakage/holiday insanity. I went on the trail of souls pilgrimage:, commemorating the end of slavery in Maryland and the role of the Episcopal church with slavery in the state of Maryland. That was intense and emotional, but very good. The current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Bishop Sutton, is the first African-American bishop in the diocese, and having him lead a lot of the pilgrimage really did shape the day. As he pointed out in his closing sermon/reflection, the first bishops of Maryland could not have predicted the church as it is today. At the reflection session held last Saturday, two weeks after the main pilgrimage, it was pointed out that I was the token person under 40, and the group, including me, reflected a bit on what stories are being passed down, what things are remembered and transmitted. So much of the prep for the pilgrimage ended up being individual churches researching and discovering their own histories and how they related to the larger stories of history. Me being me, I really latched on to the storytelling aspect, and the importance of listening and acknowledging the history that informs our present.

Work: I moved floors this past week. We got a new CSC in, and therefore had to play musical offices a bit to make everyone fit. So one of the longer-term CSCs got my office on the first floor, and I'm now up on the third floor with the new hire, across the hallway from my supervisor. It's funny, there are several people on the first floor who keep telling me how much they miss me, but I'm still down there all the time (tea is good, tea is my friend, the working microwave to make more tea is on the first floor). The third floor is busier, and they keep feeding me. House of Ruth apparently attracts stress-bakers. My workload is shifting slightly, I'm doing a bit more admin as well as more of the departmental follow-up calls to people who were referred to us but don't hit our needs criteria. I also apparently thrilled a few people in the counseling department this week because I told one of the counseling staff about the resource sheets I've been working on and forwarded them over. Counseling staff apparently has been wanting to know where to send their clients for one off things that they don't need a CSC for. Now when someone says they're having trouble with their energy bill, instead of counseling making a referral to CSC, and my supervisor headdesking because it doesn't fit our requirements and forwarding it to me to do the once and done follow-up call where I give them the info off of the energy bill form, counseling can print it off and hand it to the client. Less hassle for everyone.

Family: Thanksgiving is being spent with my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Ralph. I introduced them to a simplified version of Elizabeth's green bean casserole, and the rest we got delivered by one of the local take and bake places. I called family after dinner and got to spend an hour or so talking with my best beloved parents and siblings. Topics discussed included which is scarier: nuclear reactor explosion or Mom being angry. Mom being angry won by a landslide. Aunt Cindy confirmed her insanity by talking about how much fun it was to set her off. Other topics discussed included art store gift certificates, pretty new hats, the bathroom remodel that I still haven't seen, Into the Woods, and Christmas dinner menu items. We have resolved that we're eating Jesus (lamb) and experimenting with bread puddings and hard sauce for desert.

Yuletide: I got in a good block of writing today. I've got two out of five scenes done, another half of one done, and the other scenes are plotted out. Currently I'm just shy of 2,000 words, it will probably be in the 4,000-5,000 range by the end. I'm going to see if I can bang it out by the end of the weekend, then I can sift through and get it betaed in plenty of time. There's one treat I would love to write, but I'd need to do canon review that I haven't had time for yet.


Nov. 22nd, 2014 12:17 am
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Canon review: finished today (the main re-read. Now I have to go back and hit the specific passages in depth to track over actions and essential dialogue, and decide what the other person would think was important to notice in that scene that the main narrator did/didn't.)

Plot: decided upon!

Words: at about 200 of a projected 2,000/3,000, depending on the scenes and how much my viewpoint guy talks in my brain. I am realizing that the two characters in each scene I am writing are both the type to have twenty thousand things going on in their brains, nothing showing up in their faces.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
For future reference: Case workers/service coordinators do dance the chair dance of smug satisfaction when they get their client into a program or housing that will help them long term. I know this because I got to do it today.

The chair dance of smugness looks something like baby!Groot dancing in his pot, with less leaves.

Yuletide: Canon review is almost done, now I just have to decide which story idea is going forward.
mari4212: Gwen and Morgana from Merlin (gwen/morgana)
Hi Settiai! Oh wait, it possibly isn't you since I didn't request Jo Graham this year. Weird.

Let's start this again.

Dear Yuletider
Thank you so much for writing for me. I'm really hoping that you didn't get my letter and immediately panic.

The quick and dirty method to make me happy with my Yuletide fic: write the characters I picked, let them be as awesome as they already are in canon, and enjoy your story. If you like it and are happy with the final product, I will probably love it.

General Guidelines
I have no objections to gen, het, or slash, nor to ratings ranging from g to a hard NC-17, though all of my prompts started out in my head as gen. I do squick out on infidelity, so if you want to write a pairing where the characters in canon already have an SO, please make sure you introduce a reason why the original pairing either broke up or that it’s an au where they weren’t together. I’m also not fond of incest, rape, or sexual assault, and you have to work really hard to convince me that including any of those as a plot element was necessary. I love female characters, and even when I didn’t request them, assume that I’m positive/neutral to the other female characters in the canon, and wouldn’t like them bashed. (Actually, you can probably assume that for any character in the fandoms I’ve requested.) I also don’t like racism, sexism, religious bashing or homophobia to be portrayed positively. If you really want to place it in as an issue to be addressed, please do not glorify it. For example, the original The Lost World book by Doyle was full of rampant sexism and race-fail, which makes sense in context of the time period. The tv series was much better, but you will note that most of the non-white characters were alternately savage or superstitious, Please if you write an adventure story in that fandom, if you make your own culture up for the main group to be interacting with, try not to fall into that same pattern.

Now for my specific requests:

The Lost World tv
Requested Characters Marguerite Krux, John Roxton
Read more... )

Prince of Egypt (1998)
Requested Characters: Any
Read more... )

Dragon Jousters – Mercedes Lackey
Characters: Any
Read more... )

Protector of the Small – Tamora Pierce
Characters: Keladry of MindelanRead more... )


Oct. 15th, 2014 07:20 pm
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Dear housemate.

Telling the other members of the house that a different housemate offended you and therefore you're not going to clean up after dinner? Not good, not useful, not necessary.

One, no one else can even figure out what she could have said that would be offensive, aside from maybe the fact that she judged the people who came in to her coffee shop and treated her like an idiot while revealing their own ignorance? Especially when you say that you don't consider anything an offensive topic, and want to discuss and be able to laugh at/make jokes about anything, you are not exactly signalling to anyone that they might be approaching a sensitive subject for you.

Two, if someone has offended you, you don't go to other people, tell them that she said something that offended you, and refuse to be direct with her. That was written in the house rules: no triangling. If you have an issue, you go to the person about it first, and if that doesn't work, then you can ask for a neutral party. We have people assigned to the house just for those kinds of issues.

Three, even if someone did offend you, that does not mean that you get out of doing a basic chore. It's already been established that whoever makes dinner clears up the dinner dishes afterwards. Nothing she said would have changed the fact that you made dinner and you are responsible for clearing up the cooking dishes you made. You can't even get upset about doing the dinner dishes by yourself because you were the one who refused a partner to make dinner with.

Ugh. This is getting to be a pattern with him. A few weeks ago he pulled this in relation to me, waiting until after we had decided as a house to do a basic care and feeding Q&A. Then he stormed down to the kitchen, told the two people who were cleaning up after that meal that they should "Tell Margaret that he would not be filling out that form," and stormed back up to his room. All without so much as communicating with me, or bothering to remember that someone else had actually asked for us to do that form, I'd just given the initial questions.

*headdesks* There are times it is very obvious that this guy is the youngest in the house, and has never lived with anyone outside of his immediate family before.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Off to YASC re-entry! *dances*

No, I have not been looking forward to this since a week after I left training, why would you even think that?
mari4212: Text: Hufflepuff When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you (Firefly Hufflepuff)
So I asked for people for the work filter list, and then I haven't felt the need to process through or rant too much online. I am staying at a pretty low level of clients, and, perhaps because I feel like I'm actively being of use, it hasn't been as stressful to me, even hearing the DV histories.

I do have a couple moments of win from work. One is that I found a couple of really good resources for things like low income computers and a way we can do lifeline phones (that's the free basic phone with 250 minutes of calling per month) straight through our department for our clients. Which means yay, me being there a month now has already been of use and done important things. And I dance the chair dance of joy and smug satisfaction that I found the resource to get our clients a basic computer for $25. Because people these days really do need a computer for basic access to jobsites and applications.

I'm also dancing the chair dance of satisfaction because I've been complimented by two of my supervisors for basic work ethic and jumping into things and just getting started already at my job. One of the supervisors says that she normally hates interns because they don't come in expecting to work, and that she was really glad that the ESC intern before me and I both came in with the desire to actually do the job. I haven't told her my mother's definition of professionalism yet, but I think she'd approve.

As for the house/community living.

We're entering the post-honeymoon stage of things, right on schedule. Overall I still think people in general are pretty great. My roommate is awesome, and we geek out a lot over Celtic music and cool hats. She's pretty passionate, especially on things about the environment and social justice and how it all intertwines and interconnects. And, well, I have a best friends type that tends to be all passionate individuals who care deeply about things and are creative. My new roommate slots right in there with that, which also means I have a pretty decent understanding of how to handle her, both good and bad.

I feel like J is the next person I'm closest to in the house. He and I are on the same cooking team, and we've tended to go grocery shopping together a lot, plus we both tend to be the early risers and are working at similar/overlapping sites. He's a very calm and laid-back personality, which means that he's very soothing to interact with. We can both sit quietly in a room together or on a walk and not have to talk a lot.

I was ranting to my mother on skype a lot about M. I think my main thing is that he is younger than everyone in the house, and the maturity level does show. In general I think he's not very good at communicating/being in community, and I'm not quite sure if he really thought through what this year was about, because he's not super into being a part of the community, and he's agnostic/atheistic and very resistant to prayer. Which in general I have no problems with, but he did volunteer for a religious community for a year, and it was built into the program that it was communal living and had a lot of prayer/worship/spiritual exploration built into it.

And on a different/brighter note, apparently several members of the community have decided that I am magic/there is nothing I don't know how to cook. All this because I know how to get broken glass off the floor, how to clean a pan with burnt on bits, and know how to make both bread and pumpkin spice syrup? Sometimes I forget that what I consider basic life skill knowledge isn't actually basic for everyone. Here's for learning to cook and clean the easy way: watching and learning gradually as I age, rather than learning it the hard way as soon as I went out on my own.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
...are becoming more and more useful.

I just finished my first week at House of Ruth. So far the most useful thing for my work has been the fact that I was taught SOAP note charting for massage clinic work. Like any other service work, documentation is key, and the DAP note system in House of Ruth is similar enough that I can apply a lot of my experience straight over. I actually got complimented by one of the client service coordinators because the notes that I had from my meeting with her client were perfectly done.

I'm getting a bit more used to the building and some of my co-workers. I'm still working on exactly what my duties are going to be on a day to day basis, though from the sound of it I'll be doing a lot of intakes: getting information from people who have been referred into services that need a client service coordinator, starting their files going, and passing that information on to my supervisor for assignment out to various CSCs. I'll also be doing some work at the CSC desk in the shelter, providing small miscellaneous needs for the clients when their CSC isn't available.

I haven't done much with the clients yet, though I have done a few follow-up calls and got sent to talk to someone in the shelter by the CSC who liked my notes for that visit. Next week I get the IPV training in depth, plus some more training on the software I'll be using for doing documentation of everything. After that will be when they'll really get me started on things I think.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
A basic intro to the people I'll be living with for the next year, mostly so I don't have to explain each time I post. Lucky for me, everyone has different first initials.

C. is my roommate. She's from the Seattle area, and is working on an interfaith group to increase access to alternative energy and energy conservation matters. We geek out together over dancing, Celtic music, and the wonder that is The Book Thing giving away free books every weekend. There's an Irish pub like three blocks away that we are already making plans to visit and see if dancing on the open amateur night might get us free drinks.

M. is the guy on the same floor as C and I. He's a fellow geek, both sci-fi and religon-wise. I'm still trying to get a real feel for him.

D. and S. D is the guy, S is the girl. They both came from New Jersey, and are currently dating. Both are nice, but they definitely operate as a unit, which sometimes makes it hard to get to know each of them independently. S started up her own non-profit in college, which is utterly impressive to pretty much all of us.

J. is our other guy. Utter sweetheart, and my fellow morning person. He brought his turtle along, and the group has decided that RZA is our mascot this year. He's a local, and I got to meet his girlfriend this weekend.

K. I think I know the least, because she spent part of our first week being sick and going home (to DC) for testing. She seems pretty sweet so far.

All of us are at least comfortable with being in the same room without speaking, and with semi-passive common time together, though we've been trying to do at least a decent bit of group bonding. I am the oldest by about 4-5 years, which probably will have its impact in this year.
mari4212: image of Teal'c and Daniel, text: What are Friends For? (if not to mock you mercilessly) (friendsmock)
We're finishing up the first full day in the house, so I'm beginning to get more of a sense of what's going on and where I'm living/with whom I'm living.

For those of you who know Baltimore, the house is on St. Paul's, a bit north of University of Baltimore, in a bit of land that's technically claimed by about six different neighborhoods, but isn't exactly any one of them. I think technically we're mostly Station North? The person who gave us our walking tour told us the neighborhoods, but erm, yeah, the amount of information already in the first few days is insane.

For those of you from Dayton/not from Baltimore: This is one of the neighborhoods that was fantastic in the end of the 19th century to the early part of the 20th century, faded for a while, had a lot of the buildings go derelict, and in the past decade or so there's been a surge of artists buying buildings and using them as space, and it's been redeveloping with the people following the art types. In other words, South Park.

I don't go to my job site until after Labor Day, so I won't know much more about how that's going to be until then. The previous intern there is still in Baltimore, and I did meet her today, so there is someone out here who will know what it's like and all of the issues that comes up with that.

And I won't post much on the others in the house until I know them a bit better, but I am enjoying everyone greatly so far, and I think it's a good mesh. I think from what I've already seen of the previous year that they would have been overpowering to me and I would have pulled an introvert and hid. As it is, we're a much calmer group. They don't quite buy that I'm an introvert yet, since I've mostly been in public face mode and am not shy.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
If all goes well, I should be at my aunt and uncle's house by late afternoon. We're planning on a day of exploring Baltimore on Saturday, and then dropping me off on Sunday in the early afternoon.

And when my parents come back, Mom will have a bathroom with new floors, a new sink, and a new toilet. Thanks be to siblings with housebuilding talents.
mari4212: "Okay, is it just me or should we have lightsabers? (daniel lightsabers)
So when I go looking for paper to write a letter on, I also find scraps of plotlines that I must have written while I was supposed to be listening to lectures in massage therapy classes. At least, judging by the fandoms that's when both of these were written.

I have a chunk of House fanfiction that is pretty much Chase from season 2 being mopey. I'm not sure what else I'd planned with it, or if I'd planned anything aside from Chase's mope.

And I have an AU piece of Star Wars fanfic where I'd plotted it and come up with the OC but not apparently written any piece of it, from my Obi-Wan is the best stage of life. (Okay, Obi-Wan is still the best, but yeesh did I fall into some of the Obi-Wan post-Phantom AU cliches. At least I wasn't going to go into quite the Qui-Gon bashing others did? No promises about Anakin, other than he would have been a normal 12 year old, not evil incarnate. There is a difference. Maybe.) That one might actually get written/re-done, just to see how I could do it. And if I want to put myself through watching PM and finding the Jedi Apprentice books to get character voices. I think it would have a lot more on the concept that people are messy and emotions are tough and even when people don't intend to, they can cause hurt and it's how you deal with it once you realize it's happened that makes a difference. This is also probably one that would have a lot to play with in terms of different narrators of different sections seeing things in very different lights.

...Okay, toss this one on to the WIP file behind the Atlantis fic that I really do need to get at least the first part of finished. Before my beta reader lives close enough to come and use a cattle prod on me as motivation.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
This is pretty much completely spoilery and linked in with my comments on the movie yesterday. Follow the cut at your own recognizance.

Read more... )
mari4212: Text: Divide by Cucumber Error, Please Reinstall Universe and Reboot (cucumber)
Saw. Loved. Good Marvel movie in general. In specific, I had some critiques.

Read more... )
mari4212: Text: Hufflepuff When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you (Firefly Hufflepuff)
I know what I'm doing this coming year! In more specific terms than working on issues around urban poverty within Baltimore, which is the general description I had for most of this past year.

This is good, because I leave in just under a week and I need to have work clothes packed. Would hate to get there and find out that I've packed tons of business casual and what I need is three extra pairs of jeans, cotton and flannel shirts, and work boots.

I am going to be working with House of Ruth in Baltimore, which is a domestic violence shelter. On one hand, this is great, because this is the position that was lighting up and sending off bells and doodads in my general direction as soon as I first read the placement description. (This highly scientific process is how I've chosen every place I've gone/long-term job I've worked that wasn't a favor for my sister since high school.)

What is bad is that I'm going to be dealing with lots of things that are going to send me ranting semi-incoherently with rage throughout the year. I will be setting up a filter for that here, and I'll do my best to make sure all of those rants are behind an lj-cut for somewhat obvious reasons.

But yay! I'm going to be somewhere and doing something useful and productive. And hopefully in a year's time I'll have something set up that will be a more than one-year job. That is the next goal. Oh, and a paycheck above minimum wage would be nice.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Waking up to a thunderstorm rolling in? Always of the good, especially if it means the temperature drops back down a bit.

Realizing that you left the shelter up last night and it'll probably break under the rain if you don't get it down? Well, at least I woke at the beginning of the storm. So Dad and I ran out to pop the corners of the shelter and give the water a place to run down without breaking the supports.

And then I started the coffee. Good morning Wednesday.
mari4212: Mr. Tumnus inviting Lucy to tea (mr. tumnus)
I get back home and my lj posts fall away to practically nothing. Ah well.

I was asked to give a sermon about my experiences in the Philippines. It went over well today, and I'm spamming my corners of the internet with it. This is the politely summed up version of the past year.

Read more... )
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
I don't have any pictures of them on me, but I got myself these this afternoon: They're fun and flirty and I'm really enjoying them.

Other than that, it's been a pretty nice transition home. I've spent most of the time helping Mom out with the kids. The youngest will turn two this coming week, and we weren't sure if she'd remember me at all. When she came in the door at the beginning of the week, she was a bit nervous around me for about three minutes, until I sat on the floor and she climbed straight into my lap. That she remembered and enjoyed.

It's been good to get back into the swing of things with my family. We do hang out together pretty often, and while I was out my siblings instituted both a siblings' day every Tuesday and a family dinner on Saturday/Sunday. Which at least gives me a few things to do every week until I leave.

Speaking of leaving, my check-in day for my next program is August 17th. So my parents and I will probably head down a bit early, spend a day or two with my aunt and uncle in Maryland, and drop me off in Baltimore that Sunday.

The Return

Jun. 9th, 2014 09:01 am
mari4212: Mr. Tumnus inviting Lucy to tea (mr. tumnus)
"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett

I walked out of the car at home Friday night, and was almost tackled by my brother. This is after I broke every airport protocol by dropping my carry on bag to run to hug my mother, and a few minutes later dropping the bags again, this time right outside the airport doors, to go hug my father. Shortly after my brother tackled me, I was tackled by my oldest sister, and then handed a family cat to cuddle. Everyone needed to say hello again.

It was an emotional return, two days after we'd planned. I'd been up for over twenty-four hours at that point, a result of my absolute inability to sleep in an airplane seat and the sheer length of the journey home. But I'd expected all of that. I knew we'd hug, and not want to let go. I knew that we'd all be talking a mile a minute catching up on things. I knew that we'd be playful and talk half in sarcasm and half in absolute sap.

I wasn't expecting the smell of Ohio to hit me. Or, one particular scent that I'd never even realized I knew and had missed until the airplane landed.

There's no white clover in Baguio. It's a tiny white flower that grows everywhere, in almost every lawn, in Ohio, and throughout the Midwest. It's so ubiquitous that you don't even realize you can smell it, it's just mingled in with the generic grass scent.

But I've just spent over nine months in a place where, although there's grass, there's no clover. There are dozens of other flowers, calla lilies grow wild along the side of the road, even, but there's no clover.

I came back home and a scent I didn't know I was missing was there to greet me. Today, two days after I've returned, the clover scent is unnoticed again. I can't smell it as distinct from the rest of my world. Going away and returning gave me a gift, the gift of a perfume I didn't know I knew. And wherever else I go in life, I'll remember that clover smells honey-sweet and soft.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
I'm in Japan! We have a little over an hour or so of layover here, and then it's the long haul back to the US.

Almost home. And past the point I was freaking out about.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Flight is re-booked for Friday morning. I'll be arriving in Dayton close to dinner on Friday, if all goes as planned this time. At least I have all the pieces of paperwork now.

I'll be going for lunch with some of the ladies of the national office in a bit,so it's up in the air exactly what I'll be getting to eat. As it is, the people at Starbucks have gotten used to seeing me this past few days, and finally got my name right on the cup. It is not Margareth or Margarette, it's Margaret. Simple, only one t.

And I finally figured out who Betsy at the national office reminds me of. She says things very similar to Aunt Cathy's mother*. Which, well, no wonder I am not comfortable around her.

*note for the newbies to the flist: my Aunt Cathy's mother is of the same type as Mother Gothel from Tangled. I spent over two months watching her do a pretty good job of tearing Aunt Cathy apart on a regular basis, and confused her greatly by not responding to the attacks she sent my way.
mari4212: Text: Divide by Cucumber Error, Please Reinstall Universe and Reboot (cucumber)
So I'm not flying home right now. I am, in fact, still in Manila. I'd gotten checked in at the airline, deposited my checked bags, paid my airport fees, and then I hit immigration and they ask me for my ECC card. That's Exit Clearance Card, if, like me, you had no clue what they were asking for.

See, it turns out that to leave the Philippines now, if you've stayed straight through for more than 6 months, you have to have an exit clearance form. Which cannot be gotten at the airport, because that would be too simple. No, I had to get my bags off the airplane, cancel my flight out, get picked up from the airport again, go to the bureau of immigration, spend over an hour running up and down and hither and yon at immigration, get photographed, photocopies of every piece of paper about my stay that I could think of, and get fingerprinted. And then I was told that I'd have to come back to pick up my clearance card later. Like, they'd try to get it done by 4-5 pm today, but probably tomorrow would be more likely. They were telling me this at 10 am. My plane home took off at 6:45am. Yeah.

Oh, and all of this? On half a bottle of water drunk at 3am and a packet of crackers some woman at the airport gave me out of pity. I think the only reason I didn't have a dizzy spell was I was too stressed for my blood pressure to drop.

I finally get back to the National Office compound and can call my parents. Ten plus minutes of crying on Mom's metaphorical shoulder got the worst of the upset dealt with. Starbucks got the hungry resolved as well. I think I've got another hour to relax a bit more before Sir Frey takes me back out into Manila traffic to try to pick up my clearance card. Here's hoping it's done by then and that's one less thing to figure out.

Gah. The one bright spot in all this? People aside from the immigration staff were really lovely about all this. The woman at the airport gave me food, there were several people also running around immigration who sympathized, and when I left the bureau in tears because there was no way I was getting home today, I had like five different people try and comfort me and see what was wrong.
mari4212: Text: Divide by Cucumber Error, Please Reinstall Universe and Reboot (cucumber)
It's currently ten at night where I am. I'm going to be getting up around 2:30, will be driven to the airport, and the plane should leave at 6:45. At which point, I'll be in the air for way too many hours before I land in the US and get to figure out navigating customs.

As far as I can tell, at about the time I should be getting into the airport in Manila will mark the 24 hour point before I get home. My internet access will probably be limited to non-existent for a good chunk of this travel, and when I get home my goal is to stay awake long enough to make it into evening back home, to reset the biological clock. I make no promises other than that I will be hugging my mommy and daddy soon.

And then they will lock me up in my room and feed me through a hole in the door so that I never leave like this again.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Thank you Padie Alyse for letting me know the school was planning a goodbye party for me this afternoon. Otherwise, I'd have been out and would have missed my own party!

Eh, I should have expected it. This is the Philippines, when do we ever do advance planning? I'll just switch into slightly dressier clothing, and prep for the party.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
I was reading through my back entries, trying to find something, and I kept running across times when I did this, but I seem to have gotten out of the habit.

So comment below, and I'll tell you at least one reason why I find you awesome.
mari4212: Text: Divide by Cucumber Error, Please Reinstall Universe and Reboot (cucumber)
It's been a while since I last inflicted my musical tastes of randomness on my flist, so here's another look at the insanity. Guess the song title from the first lines:

1. Miranda works the late night counter, little joint called Betty's Diner. Chrome and checkered tableclothes, and one steamy windowpane.
2. You've been taken by the wind, you have known the kiss of sorrow. Doors that would not take you in, outcast and a stranger.
3. Stretched as thin as paper, hollow as the sky, empty as my pockets, hungry as my eyes.
4. Some people you can never please, you might as well just let them be. They mark everything not their own from their imaginary throne.
5. Moving right along in search of good times and good news, with good friends you can't lose, this could become a habit.
6. I won't send roses, or hold the door. I won't remember which dress you wore. The lack of romance in my soul will turn you gray, kid. So stay away kid.
7. Once there was a Wicked Witch in the lovely land of Oz. And a wickeder wickeder witch there never ever was.
8. There's a calm surrender, to the rush of day, when the heat of the rolling world can be turned away.
9. In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep, from the mountains of faith, to the river so deep.
10. Dancing bears, painted wings, things I almost remember. And a song someone sings, once upon a December.
11. From Bimini, to the Jersey shore, they ran their sacred mission. To help the poor unfortunates, oppressed by the Prohibition.
12. I've got a smile on my face and I've got four walls around me. I've got the sun in the sky all the waters suround me.
13. Who made me the genius I am today? The mathematician that others all quote. Who is the professor that made me this way? The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat.
14. The power lines went out, and I am all alone, but I don't really care at all, not answering my phone.
15. I heard that you settled down, that you found a girl and you're married now.
16. It's nine o'clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd shuffles in. There's an old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin.
17. I think he likes me. Likes you, please Rapunzel that's demented, this is why you never should have left!
18. There are some nights I hope looking into every note I ever wrote. There are some nights I say fuck it all, stare at the calendar, waiting for catastrophe.
19. I've been knocking on the door that holds the throne. I've been looking for the map that leads me home. I've been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone.
20. Coming home used to feel so good, I'm a stranger now in my neighborhood. I've seen the world at a faster pace, and I'm coming now from a different place.

And for a separate list, these are songs that popped up and used the titles pretty heavily in the first line, or didn't have lyrics, or the lyrics weren't in English and I can't transliterate the Gaelic well enough.

1. On the Willows, Godspell
2. Amazing Grace/Loch Lomand, John Barrowman
3. Proud of Your Boy, John Barrowman
4. Razzle Dazzle, Chicago
5. Fountain of Love, Carrie Newcomer
6. Wonders of the New World
7. A Star to Follow, Trans Siberian Orchestra
8. Alde Lang Syne, Billy Joel
9. I Wanna Be, Starkid
10. Shepherd Moon, Enya
11. Red, Red Rose, John Barrowman
12. The Only Exception, Paramore
13. Noble Maiden Fair, Brave Soundtrack

Apparently my playlist was in a major Barrowman mood last night.
mari4212: Mr. Tumnus inviting Lucy to tea (mr. tumnus)
Happy Mommy's day to you!
Happy Mommy's day to you!
Happy Mommy's day, dear Mommy!
Happy Mommy's day to you.

And since I can't be home for another 25 days or so, you get electronic roses instead of a real life replacement for the mini rose bush: Read more... )
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
One thing I will not miss about the Philippines when I go home: the lack of screens on windows/doors. If I want air circulation in my rooms, I have to deal with bugs flying around in my room non-stop. It hasn't been so bad until the past few weeks, when the beetles began invading. Big buzzing insects bumping into walls and the ceiling, occasionally swooping down low and just setting off every gack bug reflex I have.

In other news: officially four weeks until I'm back home. I think that means it's time to start telling the kitties it's whiskers, not fur.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
One of the best practical theologians I’ve ever met once told me that the most important follow-up question to any statement of belief had to be, “So what?”

So what is asked not to be flippant, not to dismiss anyone else’s belief. It is asked because the answer tells you everything you need to know about how much the other person really does believe what they’re saying. So what asks: what next? Yes, you believe something, and what are you going to do about it?

If I say I believe something, then the next question has to be: how does it change my actions? How does it impact who I am, how I interact with the world. If I can’t explain how my beliefs should guide my actions, I don’t really believe what I’m saying. So what is the dividing line between concepts I intellectually ascribe to and truths I commit to.

So what is scary and dangerous. So what doesn’t stop any belief from being good or bad, doesn’t state that the actions which follow are beneficial or harmful. So what just means that you will act on what you say. So what changes you, changes your community, changes the world. For good or ill, so what will never let you stay the same.

Be very careful what you say you believe. Someone might just ask you to prove it.
mari4212: Text: Hufflepuff When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you (Firefly Hufflepuff)
Thank you YASC, that the idea of hopping onto a bus to go to New York for an H_E meetup in the coming year seems absolutely normal, instead of intimidating. Or hopping onto a bus to travel most other places an easy distance from Baltimore, depending on how the vote turns out on the main meet-up location.
mari4212: "Okay, you don't just have issues.  You have the full set of collectable binders (issues)
So the Atlantis Peggy-Sue story I said I wasn't writing? Yeah, 20 pages or so into it, though some of those pages are still bits from the 48 Hours transcript I haven't transformed into story format yet. I seem to be adding a page or so every time I translate the script into story, just because McKay? Yeah, even chattier in his brain than he is in conversation.

I am definitely going to need a massive Sam fan helping me with reading through some of these scenes. It's a balancing act keeping her responses proportionate. Season 3 Atlantis Rodney is a lot less of an ass than Season 5 SG1 Rodney was, and he knows how much he messed up the first time that he's trying not to do a lot of the same mistakes, but he still has to be genuinely annoying. Showing her irritation from his perspective, while keeping it in proportion and filtered through some of his obliviousness, is hard. And heaven knows I don't want to slot into the nastier cliches about Sam in Stargate fandom.

Thank God my main beta is as much of a fan of all the Stargate ladies of awesome as I am, it's really going to help.

Still need to pull my Rodney icon into my lj collection again.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A Scotsman was, well, let’s say he was rather tired from his journey. I mean, I say tired, but the pub was rather inviting, seeing as the local team just won the footie tournament, and no one is ever going to turn down a free drink or two, amiright?

So anyway, he’s more than a bit tired, and he decides he’s going to take a kip beside the road for a bit. Yes, in broad daylight, what are you going to do about it?

And these two girls come past and see the Scotsman. Of course, they know he’s a Scotsman because of the kilt, though it’s not as if plenty of non-Scots aren’t walking around in kilts as well these days. I guess they could tell because his kilt was actually made of wool, or didn’t have those odd dangly chains attached that seem so popular with a certain subset of Americans.

Like I was saying, these two girls come past and see the Scotsman. Now, I don’t know what they’re teaching young girls in this day, but I certainly wouldn’t have bet any friend of mine anything to go and lift the kilt up. There’s time later in life to stare at something which isn’t all that objectively nice-looking. And if nothing else, they’re going to college later on, they’ll get plenty of guys flashing them as a dare from their fraternity brothers, or who just forgot where the bathroom was and decided that the dorm stairway was an adequate substitute. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything like that. That’s all just hypothetical, I hope you understand.

Where was I? Oh yes, so these girls, who certainly should have been doing something more interesting, decided to check and make sure that this tired Scotsman was wearing his kilt properly. I’d understand it more if I knew he looked like Ewan McGregor or that guy from Highlander, you know, the one with the muscles and the ponytail, but he was rather ordinary looking, so I really don’t know what they were thinking. Or why they decided, after sneaking a peak, that the only proper thing to do next was to tie a ribbon down there.

But anyway, they did, and went on their way. The next thing I hear tell, the Scotsman wakes up, heads over into the bushes, and decides that certain portions of his anatomy were capable of wandering about all by their lonesome. Though he’s certainly gotten an ego about it all, which I don’t get. After all, I’ve seen it myself, and unless you’re a very young girl who hasn’t figured out access to certain portions of the internet, there’s not much impressive about it.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Up at 2:30 am puking. Guess who's probably calling in sick to VBS come full morning? Really kind of hoping it's just bad sushi, given how much contact I've had the past few days with seven year olds.
mari4212: "Okay, you don't just have issues.  You have the full set of collectable binders (issues)
Writing technobabble from the perspective of someone who would actually understand it is hard, you guys.

So yeah, the Stargate Atlantis story I said I wasn't going to write without more canon re-watch? 2000 words of mostly notes, with bits of dialogue written in a few points. Currently I'm using a transcript of 48 hours to rewrite all the Sam/McKay arguments into something that will make sense with season 3/Tao of Rodney McKay characterization. Unsurprisingly, he's less of an asshole about some things. Not everything, I still have to keep with his rather acerbic personality anyway, and he has to be annoying enough to Sam that she'd call up Daniel and suggest trading him to the Russians, but this is a McKay that will buckle down and keep working to try to get Teal'c home safe because he'd want Sam to do it for Ronon. And gah, several scenes of technobabble will be occurring. At least when he's not talking to Sam I can just throw in a few references to him losing himself in a haze of physics while hours pass.

Writing Elizabeth is easier, especially when she's flirt-negotiating with Jack about extra supplies for Atlantis. And the visual gag of Daniel walking past with a full pot of coffee from the mess hall is highly amusing. That's the point where Jack stops arguing about how much she just upped the coffee requisition.

So yeah, [profile] lj_mckay, about that beta offer...
mari4212: "Okay, you don't just have issues.  You have the full set of collectable binders (issues)
That Lord of the Rings fic about Aragorn and Arwen's daughters as they grow up part Elf in an increasingly mortal world.

The epic McKay/Weir peggy sue story where they both go back in time to circa 48 Hours or the second SG1 episode McKay is in and work to fix history. And they only figure out that it's both of them going back in time around Antarctica, because neither one thinks to reach out to someone who should be a stranger at that point. Though part of me does want to have the changes in Rodney's personality mean that he wasn't sent to Russia, and when Weir arrives at Stargate Command Rodney is the one person who is actually happy about it. In the awkward going-too-far way that only Rodney can do. But seriously, so many things about the first season or two could be fixed by more future knowledge.

The Steve Rogers and Avengers meet Stargate story, because Shannon is a horrible horrible person who prompts me with things like Steve being cursed to fall in love with every Carter he meets. Also, the desire to see Sheppard pouting like a two year old over Sam Wilson's wings until McKay builds him his own set. Afterwards, they don't see Sheppard set foot on the ground for two days straight.

Erm, yeah. This is my brain. It is a scary, scary place.
mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
Her paws ached from the cold, almost drowning out the near-constant pangs of hunger. It had all seemed so much easier before, when she was younger and the world was warmer. She was The Great Calico Huntress, but mice were hard to find since the grass grew brown and the trees were bare. Squirrels were faster, and birds less prevalent. White stuff had started falling from the sky, cold and wet on her paws.

The only source of regular food was humans, it seemed. When she could get past the other cats, there were humans who would leave out food and sometimes stroke out the tense points at the back of her neck. That was the trick, though. The humans who left food out were few, and other cats plentiful. Relying on only outdoor food wasn’t going to work. Somehow, she was going to have to do what she’d seen other cats pull off, and make it inside a house. Having a human as a pet could be useful. Then she’d have food, and maybe more of those strokes that felt nice. Well, she was The Great Calico Huntress, wasn’t she? Anything those other cats could do, she could probably do even better. She was sure of it.

Her first few attempts were failures. Well, not actual failures, of course. Merely attempts to gain useful information that hadn’t gone quite as planned. She certainly had no interest in taking on any human who didn’t recognize the honor it was to have a cat chose their home. It was strange, though, that humans seemed to take it so poorly to have a beautiful cat walk in the front door alongside them. Still, what she had learned was quite interesting. Humans did seem to recognize cats as wonderful, and would bestow the strokes if a cat demonstrated appropriate affection first. Maybe they were just slow learners? Perhaps if she started off by being affectionate, she would convince a human that it was actually their idea to take her into their house and provide the appropriate food.

There was a girl who walked past the huntress’s territory on a regular basis. She often smelled like happy cat, but not like there were too many in her house. The Great Calico Huntress would try her new strategy on the girl, the next time she passed by. Maybe that would work better.

Her paws twinged again with the cold. Hopefully, the girl would be back soon.
mari4212: Mr. Tumnus inviting Lucy to tea (mr. tumnus)
Recipe to try and create/modify when I get home and can bake again: gingerbread bread pudding. With lemon curd/lemon glaze.

It should be pretty easy, just modify the traditional bread pudding recipe to use a gingerbread as the bread chunks. The hard part is going to be making the gingerbread and then not eating all of it up before I can let it stale out enough to make the bread pudding part of it. Possibly I'll just make the gingerbread, slice it, toast it briefly again in the oven, and then make the pudding immediately, because otherwise the gingerbread will get devoured.

I know the internet probably has twenty dozen variations on this already, but I'm going to want to figure out my own. Because of reasons.

...I really miss baking things.


mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)

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