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5 Fantasy Elements I’m Thankful Not To Have

We’re ten days into November, gentle viewers. Ten days into the fury of National Novel Writing Month. Ten days closer to turkey and pie comas. Ten days closer to my looming day of birth. And ten days closer to the next massive festival of political trebuchets. (Kidding. You can continue to ignore politics for the duration of the lame duck weeks.)

It’s a month to be thankful. Thankful the election is over. Thankful that your uterus remains yours. Thankful that Butterball brings turkeys to your local supermarket. And thankful that for at least a little while, none of us have to endure any more Todd Akin.

But today, I’m thankful for other things. Important things. Because if I had to deal with them, I don’t think I’d behave as fortuitously as our fantasy heroes.

Fantasy worlds are great. They gave us the Shire, unicorns, and butterbeer. But they’ve also made it clear that sometimes, living in them would be complete crap.

A Middle White sow at The Last Royal Show

A Middle White sow at The Last Royal Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. An oracular pig of my very own.

As much as I adore Taran and Coll and all the lovely inhabitants of Prydain in Lloyd Alexander’s fabulous chronicles, I really don’t want a pig.

They are intelligent, lovely animals. But they are also animals. Farm animals, to be exact. If I had an oracular pig in my apartment, several things would happen: my cat would start peeing everywhere, the dog would think she had a new best friend, the neighbours below would start shooting us through the floor, and the pig would probably root through Spouse’s vinyl collection.

Not to mention the poop.

Just stay away, Hen Wen.

Evil stepmother

OMG, she’s real. KILL IT WITH FIRE> Evil stepmother (Photo credit: PictureWendy)

4. An evil stepmother makes life soooo difficult.

Let’s forget the obvious sexism inherent in Disney making all stepmothers evil when fathers are clearly doting and lovely until they die a horrible premature death and leave hapless daughters to scrub chamber pots for the rest of their lives while their minds deteriorate to the point that they have conversations with mice.

Scenario: your dad just croaked. You’re devastated. His new wife was a little aloof and cold, but hey, Daddy was there, so it was fine. But now he’s gone, and you will never get anything you want, ever. Barring fairy godmother.

And hellooo, how many of us have a fairy godmother flitting about waiting to bibbity-bobbity-boo us into a ballgown and a castle?

A covered wagon at the Texas Parks and Wildlif...

A covered wagon at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. The transportation leaves something to be desired.

You think your beater of a Ford is a pain in the ass? Try getting from D.C. to L.A. in that. Or on a horse. Have you ever had a saddle sore? Have you?

If you feel the need to experiment, go to a honkytonk. Straddle the mechanical bull, and put it on the lowest setting. Now stay there for twelve hours.

Alternately, put on the crappiest shoes you can find. Open your door, walk out of it, and just keep going for twelve hours. See how far you got. I hope you remember the cab fare for your return journey.

Excepting the Wheel of Time where Rand can simply Travel willy-nilly by pulling a Wrinkle-in-Time on the pattern of reality, most of the time folk are stuck getting from A to B with feet. Usually a horse’s feet. Sometimes their own.

Think about that.

House dust mites

You have hundreds of these crawling on you. Maybe thousands. You’re welcome. House dust mites (Photo credit: Gilles San Martin)

2. Dust. They ain’t got Zyrtec at Hogwarts.

Forget the boils Hermione magicked onto betrayer’s faces. And forget Eloise Midgen and the fact that even in a world where they can mend broken spectacles and broken bones with equal facility, she’s stuck with cystic acne and no Accutane.

Just about every fantasy world you find is covered in dust. And aside from the occasional surprised sneeze, everyone seems to be free of allergic reactions to it. Me? I’d earn the nickname of Snot Monster before I managed to walk ten feet.

Brickfair 2011 - Southside Gangster with Blood...

Brickfair 2011 – Southside Gangster with Bloody-Printed Combat Knife (Photo credit: enigmabadger)


Sometimes I think this world is hard. Rent’s late, I’m eating gourmet ramen for the eighth meal in a row, interspersed only with Lucky Charms and bagels (I call it the Carbalicious Diet), I should go to the doctor and make sure I don’t have walking pneumonia, and The Vampire Diaries is only on once a week.

But then I think, no one’s tried to kill me lately. In fact, the worst it’s gotten was some dude calling me a Snow Bunny from across the street and two guys making kissy noises at me last night as I walked home. Mmhmm. Not exactly the same as having dark wraiths chase me across the Brandywine River or every orc in Mordor having my face in his Handy Pocket-Sized Book of Who to Kill. No creepy snakes in my dreams, no evil gods with a vendetta against me, and no one setting up spindles in out-of-the-way corners of a castle for me to poke at.


I’ve really dodged some bolts.

What are you grateful not to have this November?


To Find Joy

Today, my husband and I go to join my family for a time of mourning and a time of grief. In many ways, this year has been a time of immense sadness for my family. Three of us are no longer here after the last year.

I hope that, over the next two days together, we will be able to bring some closure to the tragedy that has befallen our family in the last twelve months. To celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost. To remember Grandpa and Gram, who enjoyed full lives and passed peacefully surrounded by love. To honour and grieve for Nate, who was taken from us (unbelievably, wrenchingly) too soon and left behind such a rift in our spirits. To embrace one another and know that there are bits of all of them in all of us.

To know that families — even hurting, broken, pained, and saddened families — continue on.

To believe that together we are more whole than we are apart.

To relinquish some tiny bit of grief to the joy of surrounding love.

So today, I want to remember a woman whose name I chose as the standard-bearer of the words I write.  She’s a woman who made a long trek to be with me on my wedding day even in her ninth decade. She’s a woman whose voice brought so much joy to so many people whenever she raised it in song.

Marilyn Borden, nee Mears. We’ll all miss you, Grandma Marilyn.

Marilyn Borden, Marilyn Mears


Grief, Life, and Moving Forward

It’s been a rough week.

I meant to continue posting every day, but I admit I got blindsided by a couple of events last week. I will refrain from getting too personal, but as this is my first update in several days, I do want to say a few things. I mentioned that one of my family members passed away last Monday. Even approaching such a joyous event as my wedding (which is this Sunday), the news (though expected) was sudden and shocking. Painful. The feeling of having someone rent away from your life is not pleasant. It hurts, every day.

I took last Thursday off work in order to grieve and spend some time without having to put on a happy face for my tables. I worked my shift in the bar Wednesday night, enjoyed my coworkers as always, and then went home around midnight. I spent Thursday under a rock, working on wedding preparations and feeling subdued. Then came Friday, and I went back to work.

At our sales meeting on Friday, my manager handed me a leaflet about our company’s Employee Assistance Program. I was confused and thought it was because of my family’s current situation. And then he said, “Has everyone here heard about Farid?”

On Wednesday night, not an hour and a half after I left work and said goodbye to him, one of my coworkers was hit from behind as he rode his scooter home. He was critically injured. The young man who hit him drove for a mile, dragging the remains of my friend’s scooter up the pike before the police stopped him. My friend was rushed to the hospital and died from his injuries.

Typing those words hurts. Last night I drove home that same way — many of our friends and coworkers live that way. I saw the intersection where he was hit as he stopped at a red light. And I drove for what seemed like a year before I got to the place where the police finally stopped his killer. How that is even possible, how someone hits another human being and keeps driving with a hole in his windshield, I cannot even fathom. The young man who hit him was under the influence. He’s being charged with three different felony counts, from what I’ve heard. And in my mind and the minds of those who knew and loved Roberto Farid Nassar, nothing can atone for what was such a thoughtless, preventable death.

My writing has been on hold this week. As I get to the end of my second draft, my protagonist is grieving. She has lost people she loves. And after the events of the last week, making my fingers type has hit too close to home.

We’ve all been subdued this week at work. Everyone misses the man who always laughed and smiled, so humble and kind to all of us. The one who told me that when things get hard, they will get better. The one who told all the women that we were beautiful and did it without being creepy or rude about it. The man who stood at the center of our kitchen each night after working at another kitchen during the day, always with a smile on his face. He’s gone forever.

After all that, I have only this to say: if you’ve been drinking, call a cab. Put down your keys. $15 or even $50 is a small price to pay rather than doing 10-15 years in prison, and such a nominal sum is dwarfed infinitely by the cost of a human life. I’m sure that 22-year-old kid didn’t expect to kill someone that night. He’s probably a decent person for the most part, but mark me this. If you drive drunk, you are disregarding not only the law and your own safety, but you are declaring your utter lack of respect for the rest of the people who share the roads. For their families and loved ones and friends and coworkers who will be the ones grieving. Yes, I’m being judgmental. I’m not going to apologize for that. Drunk drivers kill people. Don’t ever, ever do it. Ever.

Farid will be missed by all of us every day. He deserved better. His family, friends, and his work family all grieve for him. We all cared for him and respected him.

Be safe out there. Help save lives by keeping drunk drivers off the roads.

Much love,


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