Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Giving Tree.

So... I enjoy writing. I enjoy writing because, much like reading, video games, and movies, it brings me out of my own world for a little while. I've written numerous short stories, several poems, and many, many little shorts and quirks that I end up deleting because I don't think it is any good.

This has come to many compliments, critiques, and complaints from friends and family. Some because when I get in a writing mood, I write a lot, and want to know what people think of it. Others because they are my rendition of popular shows and games I like (Such as Hitman, Firefly, Underworld, and Harry Potter.) Mostly though, because my good stories I end up stopping because I get writers block. Crazy bad too, sometimes for a few months.

When I write, I let anyone read who asks and one of those people was my friend Kristi. She fell in love with my writing, has encouraged me to write more, and has actually helped me to pause a scene and describe it more smoothly. It has really helped me paint a picture for someone before actions and conversation occurs.

Well, I have been getting writers block on my main story I call "Heroes" and she wasn't too happy, as she is a fan of the characters (Up to seven chapters btw, WOO!) and wanted to read more. I told her I have the ideas, just nothing really coming to mind. So she gave me a challenge.

At 2:30am, she thought of a fun game, she gives me a scenario or synopsis of my story, and then I write the story. It was supposed to be just for the half hour between 2:30-3am, but after it was clear I wasn't going to finish, she wanted an e-mail sent with the story every half hour. Furthermore, she said that she is going to give me a situation I've never done before to make it more difficult for myself and open me to new ideas. This was her synopsis:

So in ancient times where the Faeries still pose as gods to the humans there is a woman who prays to the "gods" to let her little brother recover from his illness and live. Her prayer results in her being taken as payment and brought to the world of the Fae as a captive of the Faery who cures her little brother. Eventually the Faery falls in love with her and she has to decide to stay with him or go back to her world with her little brother

Sounds simple enough right? Faeries, humans, sickness, family and lastly love... But I normally don't deal with love and sickness and prayer and the like. But I gave it a shot.

After the first half hour she read what I wrote, and said she wanted more "Ooey Gooey" love. *Sigh*. Women right? Now, the story is below. I wrote this within a four hour period, separated into two nights. Let me know what you think please, and, as said above, if you have any interest in reading any of my stories, feel free to comment below or on FB, I would love to hear from any of you!

A Deal is a Deal:
Catherine knelt down at the base of the Giving Tree, the largest tree in the forest. Her knees dug into the ground as she leaned forward and clasped her hands together. She knew that the Faeries loved nature and hoped some would be near to listen to her plea.
“Dearest Faeries of the forest, Please help me find a cure for my brother Thomas. He is in need of a root that is beyond my reach and I fear the worst. He hasn’t shown signs of getting better for many days, and his fever has returned. Our father’s passing has been hard on us, and it is too soon for me to see another loved one ascend to the heavens. Please help.” A single tear fell from her eye as she said amen. She stood and turned. She stopped herself from wiping the dirt off her dress for now, not wanting to offend any Faeries that may be watching her.
It was the sound of the tear drop that brought the attention of Atlas the Faery. He enjoyed listening to the water flow through the roots of his trees, but he hadn’t heard a raindrop in a few weeks. He sat upon a large root as Catherine passed him unnoticed. He admitted he was mildly annoyed that the drop wasn’t, in fact, rain, but when she raised her pale face from her hands he knew he wanted her. She was a close definition of beauty in his eyes, her hair was a pale blonde much like her skin with a natural wave to it. Her dress was plain as well, a pale blue, though through the night sky it, too, matched her skin. The dress’s only feature was a pocket in the front for carrying berries. Everything about her was plain, he noted, there didn’t seem to be a shred of uniqueness about her, which is probably why she intrigued him so much. She wasn’t perfect, but pretty and plain enough for him to look at on a daily basis.
He listened to her expressed thoughts through the trees, and then listened for a few more as the trees recounted her prayer. He smiled both outwardly and inwardly as he came up with a plan.
Atlas grabbed the root he was sitting on and sunk in, swimming through the roots in her direction. He listened through the trees when she changed direction and shortly after got ahead of her and sat on another trunk and waited for her to pass by.
“So, your brother is sick?” the faery said as she walked by him again. Catherine jumped at his voice, and turned and faced him with a cocked head.
“Yes, how did you know?” She replied looking at her surroundings for others, “Have you been following me? Who are you?”
Atlas thought a moment, “I’m called the Atlas of the woods. I am one of the Faeries of this forest. And to answer your other question, yes, I have been, I heard your prayers and have come to answer them, but I need to ask what you are willing to give up.”
Catherine’s face brightened and took Atlas’s hand in her own, “Anything Atlas. I’ll give anything for my brother. Please you have to help me.”
Atlas continued to look at her hands around his left. His ear twitched once as he was offended a creature such as her would touch him. But then he looked up and decided to forgive her, “That’s what I thought, because a life is a pretty pricy thing.”
The woman dropped his hand and looked at him, “What is it that you want Mr. Atlas Faery?”
Atlas smiled, “You.”
Catherine waited for him to continue, and then looked around for anyone nearby, now very much aware of Atlas’s lack of clothing. His skin was a color of dark green and brown, with only a few leaves to cover his nether regions. Only his face showed a different color of the trees around them, which was just a lighter shade of green. His only feature that didn’t resemble the woods was his short, spiked hair he seemed to keep track of. She stopped and thought for a moment. Giving herself up would be worth it for her brother, even if she didn’t have it to share with her future husband someday. If he was a loving husband, he would understand love and love her for who she is, despite being with more than one man.
Her hand went to the top button of her dress and fidgeted with it while thinking, “That is a cruel choice, for me to give myself up to you in such a manner Mr. Atlas Faery. I love my brother and I want to see him cured.”
Atlas laughed and shook his head, “I don’t want that, no, well, maybe someday when I get bored. But I want you. For you to come live with me in my world in my house for forever until I release you or until his death. A life for a life.
She hesitated, but the thought of her brother outweighed any price, “And you promise he will recover?”
“I promise his life will be full of health and forever immune to the sickness he currently bestows.”
She stuck out her hand to shake. He looked at it for a moment, then looked at her with his emerald eyes. “Fantastic.”
Catherine looked out the window of her perfect home, viewing and listening to the quiet of the forest. The window then flashed, and showed her former home, her brother now married with a little one as his son and another on the way. The window then flashed one more time, it was still the old cottage, but she saw the younger form of herself, and of her brother, holding hands and running through the new flowers that had bloomed. She wiped the tear from her eye. It has been six months since she left her home.
Atlas had treated her well. He forced her to wear her hair in a braid, and told her to grow it out to just beyond her waist, and the only clothing she ever had were the same pale dresses time and time again. There was never any forcing or harm of any physical kind, but there were little gifts of affection given either. The only thing he did allow, after a several month time was the window, which could see anything she so desired.
He had come home through the door, and greeted her with a smile and a kiss on her cheek. He sat down as food became tangible on their table. He took the first piece of roasted bird and bit into it. Atlas then tore off a piece for her and set it on a plate. She ate little, feeling homesick again, which became more and more common.
“What’s the matter?” Atlas said after a short time, “Are you still unhappy here?”
“No, it’s not that, Atlas, you have been good to me.” She said and forced a smile in his direction, “I just get lonely sometimes is all.”
“But you have your window. You can see everything from past to present and even glimpses of the future. It is perfect here for you.” Atlas replied, “And you have me for eternity, or for as long as you wish past your commitment.”
She didn’t say anything else. Despite how polite and kind he was to her, she felt caged. After her commitment, however, there may not be anywhere else to go. Catherine sat there for a while in silence while Atlas changed from doing things around his place to studying her. He startled her when he placed his hands on her shoulders from behind her, “May I show you something?”
Catherine turned looked up at him, he had a kindness in his eyes she’d never seen before until this moment. She raised her hands to his and nodded. Flashes of colors occurred around them and then they were on the edge of a forest of pale, multicolored bark. And upon stepping out of the woods there were wildflowers of both possible and impossible colors. Flowers from all walks of life, roses, dandelions, sunflowers, forget-me-nots, lilies, and flowers she had never seen. The only thing in the way of this beautiful painting she was standing in was a cottage. It had stone walls and a mix of wood and stone for its roofing with a chimney sticking out of the back on the right side. A single tree stood outside with a swing on it, and a well and fire pit for both smoking and cooking. Though she was about a mile away, she could see how perfect it was, how it was so much like her home she used to know. In an instant thought she was at the house, running her hand over the rope of the swing, then the rough wall of the home. And the uneven wood of the door. She pushed it open. Inside it was empty, with nothing but a fire in the fireplace place giving off heat.
“I haven’t had time to create the inside yet.” Atlas said behind her, startling her once again. He was holding the most perfect roses. Each pedal in the place it should be, with every rose in full bloom.
“What is all this for?” Catherine said, taking the bouquet and smelling the sweet smell of the roses.
“I’ve fallen in love with you Catherine.” Atlas said, “This whole place, the woods, fields, home, is all yours. And anything else your heart desires. I’ve been creating it since you entered my domain.”
Tears welled up in her eyes for a few moments, it was the single kindest thing anyone has ever done for her. After all that she had sacrificed, she finally felt appreciated, “I do not understand Atlas, you, you love me?”
Atlas shrugged, “Least I think I do. I dunno, it’s kinda a new thing for me.” He waved his hand and a chair appeared in the air. He hopped up and despite nothing beneath the chair, it still remained afloat. He scratched his chin for a moment, then looked down at Catherine and smiled.
She stared at him in disbelief and shook her head, finding his child-like nature a little annoying, “How do you not know?
He smiled down at her, “Love is imperfect. You love the imperfections of someone, and those imperfections make them perfect for you. I, however, have been perfect since the day I was created. This love thing, imperfection, is new to me.”
Catherine tilted her head and thought a moment, “So, you are saying I am imperfect?”
Atlas laughed, “Oh, very much so.”
She looked up at him offended, and he continued, “But that is why I love you so. Your beauty shines brighter than my woods to me. Your pale dress and long hair and fair skin… Catherine, design this house how you see fit. Tell me and I will make it for you.”
She looked around the empty cabin and a warm feeling boiled inside of her as she recalled memories from her family’s life in their home. She pointed for a couch to be to the right, a pair of bunk beds her and her brother shared to the left. In one of the two bedrooms she created her parents room, just as it was when she was little. A few paintings she could remember doing on canvas during the year she thought she would be a painter now hung up in the second bedroom next to a bed and a lamp. An iron stove, cabinet, and shelves filled the kitchen. A small desk was put in the main room next to the couch, where her mother used to sew. Catherine then added blankets her mother crochet onto the couches and beds.
By the time Catherine was done modeling her home, she had tears in her eyes and true joy in her heart. She had thought of so many happy memories that she thought she had lost.
“It’s perfect. So lovely” She thought aloud, “Everything the house should be Atlas.”
She turned and embraced him in a hug, tears freely flowing from her eyes. He returned the hug and held her close, “This is now our home, if you wish it to be.”
Catherine backed away, and a sinking feeling grew in her heart, “Atlas, what you have done for me is incredible. But if I am to stay with you I don’t want to live here. This is my home, my memories.”
For the first time in a very long time, Atlas felt sad, “Is this not what you want? It is perfect here. Everything has been made to your desires and specifications! You still do not wish to live with me?”
Catherine truly felt sorry for Atlas, he had put in a lot of work into this place, “These are my memories Atlas, but not my home. This place is perfect and will always be perfect. Even you said love is found in imperfections. The love for the bunk beds is when mine broke and fell on top of Thomas. Or when my brother encouraged me to paint even though my paintings weren’t selling. After an afternoon of running around, my mother would have to sew the tears in my clothes them back up. These are what I long for, Atlas, not perfection. I am sorry, but I cannot escape what I truly feel.”
Atlas hung his head, “I will let you go home to your brother and mother, you will be free, if that is what you wish.”
“It is.”
As quick as the beauty came to life in their surroundings, it was destroyed. The furniture lit aflame and crumbled. The stone aged and cracked and fell apart. Upon exit on the cottage the flowers turned gray and wilted as far as the eye could see. The trees themselves turned to stone as both Atlas and Catherine left that world.
Catherine opened her eyes and found herself in the woods near her family’s cottage kneeling at the giving tree. She stood and ran home, skipping over rocks and roots. She saw her family’s home and sprinted the last few feet. Her brother came from the cottage and embraced her when she reached home. He kissed her on her forehead and she felt she would never let go. She was home.
Suddenly, Thomas coughed, and forced her to back away scared. Thomas’s eyes grew wide and they turned gray. He then reached out a hand to grasp Catherine’s, but it had turned to stone. His eyes looked just behind her, before he was lost completely.
Catherine turned and saw Atlas there standing just above the ground, “What… What have you done!?”
“A deal is a deal,” The Faery said looking at his fingernails, “You didn’t hold up your end of the bargain, so I couldn’t hold up mine.”
Catherine ran up to him and fell against his chest in tears, “I will come back, please, just let me have my brother!”
Atlas pulled her up to his eyes by her shoulders, “Love is such a useless emotion. You shouldn’t waste it on such a feeble creature like I did.”
Atlas dissipated and she fell to her knees. She looked up for just a moment and saw the forest in front of her cottage turn to stone and crumble. Catherine turned toward her brother, who also started crack. She wrapped herself around Thomas pleading as the statue started age and break down. The forest turned to rubble and Catherine caught a single tear from the stone face of her brother as it collapsed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One year anniversary.

I realized this evening that it has been over a year since I started this blog. 36 posts, 1809 page views from myself and others. And according to Blogger I have a fan in Alaska.

I get a lot of compliments from my posts from different people. And when I don't post I will get a complaint from someone random who I didn't think would read it. So it is always refreshing to know my 'musings are enjoyed. Thank you.

This particular post is gonna be a pretty big one I think. Be prepared to read.

Start off with the fun stuff.

As I am sure most of you know, the siblings, my hats, and myself made a trip to San Diego, California this past week. Man alive it was really so close to perfect. The only complaint I had at the beginning of the trip was the streets / traffic, but I got used to it. The only complaint that I have upon leaving is that no one with a California license plate can park properly. Everyone parks crooked.

Spent most of the time at the beach, and despite the cool temperatures and overcast weather, Dylan, Tiffany and I all got sunburned. The four of us jumped through waves and even just stared out at the ocean. The never ending ocean is just a site to see. It is almost enlightening to understand that at the other end of the ocean is Asia.

Coincidentally my friend Megan and her friend (...Shelby?) headed to San Diego on the same weekend. Her and I met up and took a few pictures on the beach. It was awesome.

During the trip and as we were leaving, I told the group that I was planning on moving to San Diego. I was on a nice temperature, beautiful green view and  ocean front property high. But being back in Arizona and coming off that high I still really, really want to move back. Now I've been told it is expensive, which is true, and I've been reminded that I won't know anyone there, which is also true. There isn't an impossibility in those setbacks though. There are one or two Universities there which could easily host a variety of support and computer related jobs. And, though my friends won't be there in person, I will make new friends, and thanks to the wonderful internet, friends are much closer than they appear. And, let's face it, I would only be six hours away from my hometown. I am giving myself a year to get my finances and act together to get set for this move. I want my gut to be gone, and these different bills to be taken care of. My credit card expense is growing, and I owe the IRS some money that really needs to be taken care of sooner rather than later. These are musts before I move to a place where the bills will be higher and I can walk on a beach every other day.

Now this is the plan, but not set in stone. There are many different roads that could happen. I have decided that if I end up getting a good promotion at my job, giving me a reason to stay, then I'll stay. There are other instances, of course, falling in love, family emergency, wars break out in SD, I dunno. All seem rather unlikely to me, but possible.

But, if I am going to be honest, and I always am, San Diego hasn't captured my heart fully yet. A big piece still, of course, resides in AZ, and another actually resides in Minnesota. Why Minnesota? Well, I promise you there is a legitimate reason, but only certain people get to know. I will tell you, though, that I have considered moving up north in that direction, get the cool, but humid summers, with an actual monsoon season and then snow during the winter. I could get to liking having four actual seasons. If I am to move there though, I do give the same requirements before moving -  gut and bills.

Transition over to working out. Tomorrow is my last soda/beer free day, and I am more excited than I should be for it to be over. I really think I can stay away from soda from here on out with ease, however, I miss beer. One thing about this experience though is the ability to say no. One experience in particular was going out dancing with my friends Amanda and Jo at Toby Keith's. Despite what I wanted to drink (and could have ordered), the three of us just drank water all night instead of alcohol. It was actually very refreshing. I feel that I danced well, learned a few new moves, didn't spend a bunch of money, and danced with these two pretty ladies.
I did a similar thing when hanging out with my friend Brenda, I had one drink, and then water for the evening. It was nice, and including the guy's cover charge, not an expensive night out.

My workouts have lessened in recent times, I worked out pretty well in San Diego, and we walked for miles on the beach and stores and the pier, but coming back I haven't really gotten back into the groove. The reason is that I want to change my workouts some by adding more cardio, but I haven't figured out how I want to implement it. Walking Linux and Joey may be the solution, but I fear for their paws on the sidewalks and streets, or even hikes if I took them with me. The ground can get HOT. The gym is another option, biking and treadmill, but those, to me, get boring very fast without a partner to talk to, and I currently don't have one. I do plan on a few more hikes though; I really enjoy the views they offer, so if you are interested in setting up a time to go, hit me up.

My smoothies are back in full swing, but I have slipped a few times in the fast food department. I had a few meals planned out for the week, but I left the food that I was given by my friend Stephy in the car and had to throw it out. I'm sure she would give me more if I had asked (pulled BBQ pork), but I am a little embarrassed by losing the nice portion she had given me.
I plan to boil some chicken and make some healthy chicken tacos with Spinach and bell peppers this week, so it will get rid of my constant Mexican food craving.

 Lastly, I have received numerous compliments on my looks and weight loss in the past week or two and thank you for the compliments, they are encouraging. It does sometimes get really difficult, especially when it feels like it is being done for nothing. But when people are around you supporting you, it gets easier. I've been told once you've find that nook and make it a habit, it becomes like an every day thing. Well, that hasn't happened yet, nor has it ever happened for me. It is always a forceful task, an interruption of my computer/sleep time to do some working out. But I still do it, and can still do it. My goal is always ever so nearer.

By the way, quick question, anyone count calories before? I've been thinking about doing it for a week or so just to see how I stack up on my diet. One thing California has on every restaurant menu is the estimated amount of calorie intake, which I think should be mandatory for every state. It really help me choose one over the other. a 1100 calorie burger rather than a 600 calorie skillet. Both still incredibly high in calories, but the 500 difference is a difference. So, if you have, or have an app that makes it easy for me, let me know!

That's pretty much my life in a nutshell. I had dinner with my friends Victoria and Corey Leatherman. They came in from California on their way to Florida, and stopped and had dinner with me and their friends John and Lisa. It was really good seeing them. Corey actually found Victoria online while he was in the military. From what I know of the story, he just messaged her on Facebook telling her how beautiful she was. She was flattered, and they started talking. They are now some of the happiest people I've seen married. They aren't perfect, but perfect for each other. It's good to follow the phrase "Stranger Danger" when you are a kid, but when you grow up, sometimes you gotta give it a chance.I told this to my friend, she says they should write a book about it, because it does seem really romantic, and if you knew some of their stories like I do, you'd definitely agree. I don't completely understand why they are so fond of me, but the feeling is mutual, they are awesome.

Thanks again for the constant encouragements for everything my friends and family do for me. Thank you for reading my posts and if you feel that my stories on here could help someone, definitely spread the word, or have the said people message me directly. If you know me, the one thing I can't get enough of is more friends.

~Just a thought.

Carpe Diem.