Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 5: A Song to Match My Mood

Listening to: Castle
Reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 4: My Family

Imagine, if you will, the convergence of a redneck/biker/trucker family and a migrant/hillbilly/rabble-rouser/trucker family. It's like a match made in heaven, though sadly it didn't last. My mom and dad both came into their marriage to each other as divorced single parents with one son apiece. Grand total, I have three brothers, two halves and a full. We're all roughly three years apart in age.

My dad is a genius when it comes to cars. He's like Dr. House for things with wheels and engines.

My mom loves animals and owns too many dogs for her own good, not that I blame her. She also likes puns more than any person should.

My oldest brother is basically a shorter clone of my dad, right down to the red goatee, though he doesn't have quite the same gift with machinery. He's married and has two little blonde girls with ginormous blue eyes.

My second oldest brother kind of looks like Johnny Depp in Cry Baby. He spends his time working out and modeling.

My youngest brother looks, not to be sacrilegious, like a biker version of Jesus. When he smiles he looks like he's baring his teeth. He's a door gunner on a Black Hawk in the army. When he gets out, he plans to tour the country on his Harley.

I'm the youngest.

I think what ties us together is our love of cars, guns, John Wayne, and Johnny Cash.

My parents divorced in 2000. Since then, they've each had another failed marriage. My mom and ex-stepdad adopted a girl from Russia some years ago, but she is now a ward of the state.

My dad is now dating a biker chick with two grown kids just as redneck and biker as the rest of us.

My mom's boyfriend is an old Missouri farmer who likes to call dogs "hounds" and eyes "peepers."

As far as extended family goes, my dad's brother and sister, who are fraternal twins, bought adjacent property and built houses next door to each other. It's like they have their own little compound where they fix dirt bikes and give each other a hard time. My mom has 9 brothers. Their numbers include several truckers, a few ex-military personnel, some mechanics, jacks-of-all-trades, and a Lakotah medicine man. They have some awesome stories about shark hunting and bull riding.

Every once in a great while I wonder what it would be like to have lived in one place all my life or to have a family that had always remained intact. The rest of the time I feel like it's more fun this way.

Listening to: "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 3: My First Love

When I was very young, my mom watched a lot of soap operas. Consequently, at age four, I had a huge crush on Rick Springfield. To this day, "Jessie's Girl" is the one song that I will always stay in the car to hear the end of. It's tradition. That, and it's a fantastic song.

Listening to: "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 2: Meaning of My Blog Name

Since before my memory began recording, back in the days when I must've learned chess and the difference between the first and second person pronouns (to hear my mom tell it), there has been a heavy blue poetry anthology on my mother's bookshelf. It includes such classics as "Paul Revere's Ride" and "The Tale of Custard the Dragon." My favorite page, however, is marked by a small, rectangular scrap of blank white paper. On it is an obscure poem called "Cradle Song." I can still recite it, though I haven't seen a copy of it in many, many years.

In fact, the last time I read it was probably in sixth grade. I was in a gifted class. It was supposed to replace our English class, but since our teacher had a doctorate in art, we mostly ended up having movie marathons and making brooches out of puzzle pieces and playing with puppies, ducks, and turtles. It was pretty much the best class ever, unless you wanted to learn something. We had to recite lines from poetry to get into the classroom. She would stand in front of the door like the Fat Lady, refusing us entry until we successfully regurgitated the current password. Those who had already made it in frequently mouthed it from behind her back to those still stuck outside. The first one we ever had was the first few lines from "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth. I went above and beyond and eventually memorized the whole thing, but that is neither here nor there.

Our teacher, whom we all lovingly referred to as a hobbit because of her small stature and her penchant for wearing things like slippers shaped like bear feet, must have decided that turnabout was fair play. One day she asked us to bring in our favorite poems. Naturally, I brought in that poem which had been a part of me as long as I had been aware of the very concept of me.

From groves of spice,
O’er fields of rice,
Athwart the lotus-stream,
I bring for you,
Aglint with dew,
A little lovely dream.

Sweet, shut your eyes,
The wild fire-flies
Dance through the fairy neem;
From the poppy-bole
For you I stole
A little lovely dream.

Dear eyes, good night,
In golden light
The stars around you gleam;
On you I Press
With soft caress
A little lovely dream.

Now, our teacher was the sort to drag us all along on a knowledge adventure anytime we encountered anything that anybody felt inclined to ask a question about. With my poem, I unwittingly unleashed the very contents of Pandora's Box. Okay, I may be exaggerating a wee bit.

However it happened, we started dismembering her shelves in a quest to figure out what the dickens a "fairy neem" or a "poppy-bole" was. This was back before the advent or popularization of Wikipedia, which proves most unhelpful on either subject anyway. Our search eventually brought us to something called a fairy ring.

A fairy ring is a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms, which will continue to grow in diameter every passing year because of the way the fungus spreads. In days of yore and superstition, these rings were thought to be the homes of fairies. People believed that if you stepped into the ring, you would be trapped in the world of the fairies Rip Van Winkle-style.

Something about that idea enchanted me. I was starting to get pretty heavy into the online art scene back then, and I got this crazy notion into my head that if I ever had my own web domain name it would be something to do with fairy rings.

Drive your DeLorean forward about seven years. Football season of my freshman year in college. My friend and I would get on Facebook after we got home from our respective games (BYU for him, ASU for me), and we would chat about football. Eventually chatting about football led to chatting about every other topic in the known universe. When he got a blog, I thought it looked fun. I made one, too.

This blog was originally called Adventures of an Austenite, but after a short while I felt like that was trapping me in some way. True, I'm a hardcore Austenite, but that particular title irked me something fierce. One day, something reminded me of that dear old concept of fairy rings, and I knew that I wanted it to be my livery. For some reason now lost to time, I didn't end up using the actual term "fairy ring." Instead, I landed on the Middle English word "elferingewort."

There was a bit of a kerfuffle with my posts showing up in people's feeds right after I changed the URL, but it was all sorted out in good time. Now I use the name on other sites, as well.

Listening to: Facebook chat
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 1: Introduction, Recent Picture of Myself, and 15 Facts

When people ask me where I'm from, my brain seizes up and panics a little. What do I say? What do I say? Depending on my mood, I might just settle for Missouri, but most of the time that just doesn't cut it for me. That's not who I am. I wasn't born and bred there. True, so far I've lived there longer than anywhere else, but I still feel like I belong to other places, too. They snuggle together in my heart like a litter of puppies. I belong to all of them equally. I was born in Spokane, WA, which I feel is an important part of the story, even though it is always followed by "but I don't remember anything about it." Next, "I did my time in Utah," as I like to say. This means nothing to most people, but as I proudly belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this has some significance in certain circles. I started elementary school in Evanston, WY, which I start plugging hard core every year right around the middle of June. I keep trying to convince my friends to go there for the 4th of July. There's nothing quite like it. I finished elementary school and the rest of my public education in three different places in Northwestern Missouri, including Kansas City (north of the river). I went to two different high schools. My graduating class had 48 students. Now I study English linguistics at Arizona State University.

1. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. That may have something to do with the smell of fireworks.

2. I make some mean deviled eggs, which is fortunate because there's no such thing as too many deviled eggs.

3. I was MVP of my high school academic bowl team.

4. My first teddy bear is eight years older than me. His name is Brently Bear.

5. I have a special signature that I use solely for artwork.

6. If I could, I would never wear shoes.

7. My best friend says that my hair color is Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

8. I use caffeinated drinks and tea medicinally.

9. We had spaghetti for dinner on the night I first started reading Harry Potter. I remember because I refused to put the book down and a sauce-slathered noodle left a stain on one of the pages. I was seven.

10. My family calls me the Puzzle Wizard because of my aptitude for jigsaw puzzles.

11. Once, I drank six and a half gallons of eggnog in a week.

12. When I hear a zipper, I think of camping.

13. When I read a piece of classic literature, my thoughts mimic the author's prose until I start a new book.

14. My maternal grandparents were migrant workers during the Great Depression.

15. I have been to London, Paris, and Barcelona. I desperately want to revisit all three.

Listening to: "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

30-Day Challenge.

B asked me to join her in her 30-day blog challenge. It's something about blogging every day for 30 days on different topics. But what's this? Hold the phone! "Day 0?" Come on, Anonymous Blog Meme Creators. How does that even work? I see how it is. It's really a 31-day challenge, but you wanted a nice, round number, so you somehow annihilated a whole day and labeled it by an abstract concept. Some cultures never had a zero, you know. Look at the Romans.

Day 0: The 30-Day Challenge Explanation and Description
Day 1: Introduction, Recent Picture of Myself, and 15 Facts
Day 2: Meaning of My Blog Name
Day 3: My First Love
Day 4: My Family
Day 5: A Song to Match My Mood
Day 6: A Picture of Something That Makes Me Happy
Day 7: My Favorite Movies
Day 8: A Place I've Traveled To
Day 9: A Favorite Picture of My Best Friend
Day 10: Something I'm Afraid Of
Day 11: My Favorite TV Shows
Day 12: Something I Don't Leave the House Without
Day 13: My Goals
Day 14: A Picture of Myself Last Year and How I Have Changed
Day 15: A Bible Verse
Day 16: My Dream House
Day 17: Something I'm Looking Forward To
Day 18: My Favorite Place to Eat
Day 19: Something I Miss
Day 20: My Nicknames
Day 21: All-Time Favorite Picture of Myself and Why
Day 22: The Contents of My Purse
Day 23: My Favorite Books
Day 24: Something I've Learned
Day 25: The First 10 Songs That Come Up With My iPod on Shuffle
Day 26: My Dream Wedding
Day 27: An Original Photo of the City I Live In
Day 28: Something That Stresses Me Out
Day 29: Three Wishes
Day 30: A Picture of Myself on This Day and Five Good Things That Have Happened Since I Started the Challenge

I'll be making each of these into hyperlinks as I go throughout the challenge. Also, as per my personality, I've gone through and altered the headings of each day for grammar and style. Now they have a somewhat consistent tone and the punctuation is regular. You may have noticed that I have left prepositions dangling at the ends of some entries. If you aren't familiar with my views on this subject by now, let me sum up my usual tirade by saying that English is inherently Germanic and therefore not subject to the Latinate rule that makes prepositions at the end of phrases not only undesirable, but impossible. I would also like to point out that there were two different days asking for my favorite movies. The second has been changed to books. Don't people proofread anymore?

Listening to: "Shadows of the Night" by Pat Benatar
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Monday, February 21, 2011


Yesterday, I started doodling around in my sketchbook in church. Soon my hand holding a flower had morphed into an arm and a body and a whole figure, and the flower had mutated into a torch or a staff or some sort of cup. Before I knew it, what had started off as one vague, romantic idea had manifested itself instead as a pre-existing character of mine. She's not the sort to say "tada!" or anything similarly melodramatic. Rather, she held my gaze for a moment with her enigmatic cerulean eyes, then turned her head and stretched up her arm to grasp that twisted drinking horn.

Today, for the first time in quite a long time, I had a reason to dig out my scrapbooking pens and ink a drawing. It felt right to toss my glasses aside and rest one hand on the other to careful pick out what was important in bold, dark, permanent lines. There's a certain amount of fearlessness required to touch nib to paper, forever altering that satisfying sketch for good or ill.

In the next few days maybe I'll be coloring again. Maybe I'll be enjoying that soft shhhk of pencil sharpener on wood, the shavings curling off colorfully.

Listening to: Castle
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Saturday, February 19, 2011


This morning I got up at 7:30, when my body first decided it was ready, instead of going back to bed. It seemed like a novel thing to try, and I must say it was quite enjoyable. Or maybe that was the rain. Either way, I was rewarded for rising early with Saturday morning cartoons. True, these aren't as impressive when cable allows you to watch the shows whenever you please, but they're just so much better of a Saturday morning before the sun has finished scrubbing the crusties out of its eyes.

After doing the dishes, I chugged on over to the zoo. The other day I got the itch in my fingers to sketch a rhinoceros. I figured I better get it over with before it started bugging me. I must say, the old chap turned out rather well. As the day was overcast and sprinkly, the animals were wandering around en masse. I would save my activity up for rainy days, too, if I lived in the sweltering Arizona desert. Oh wait, I do and I do. Since I have a membership and can go any old time I want, I've decided to visit different parts of the zoo every time I go. Today I saw what I've decided to call The Lion King Animals. I think it's rather fitting, since all of the parents kept pointing out Timon and Rafiki to their young offspring, rather than calling them meerkats and baboons.

It was insanely windy on the drive home. I may drive a truck, but my Serafine is petite and she definitely took notice of the insane gusts rolling over the highway. There was also this strange fog-like appearance to everything, but it wasn't really a fog.

Shortly after I got home, it started raining in earnest, and I started being productive. I've decided that that jigsaw clock is just going to have to wait to be put together. I moved the giant TV box out of my room so I could walk around again and started organizing the clutter that has been accumulating around it. I didn't get as far as I wanted with my cleaning, what with Dad bringing me Arby's and I, Robot being on and that nap lasting way longer than I intended.

I rounded off my oddly-full Saturday by going to a concert of Gregorian chants with a friend. This is what I was imaging while the chorale was singing:

Glowing silver-white figures walk in stately procession, five abreast, bearing delicately wrought silver lanterns through a stately cathedral of towering trees whose branches meet high above like a vaulted hall. The leaves are still fresh from the rain and cast back the sunlight as glowing emerald and peridot.

I've also spent no few minutes today browsing a site called craftgawker. It has given me a craving to melt crayons and crochet things and fold paper.

Listening to: Gregorian chants
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Friday, February 18, 2011


Some willing volunteers finally helped me break in my Twister game. As usual, I totally failed at an activity of my suggestion. I'm almost bothered by it, but I have too much fun spending time with my friends to really mind making such a fool of myself.

Listening to: "(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar"
Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Little things.

Valentine's Day was wonderful. It was spent laughing and cavorting with friends. For dinner the family went to a marvelous Chinese food place. I got the sweet and sour pork. I topped off the evening with Castle, which I may never get enough of.

Today I took a fabulous nap in the Institute. Later I went to my first Solis Diaboli meeting.

I also went from not being one to give back rubs to giving three in one day, though two were for the same person. I wouldn't say it's a new talent, but there's something fun about making other people happy.

Listening to: Bones
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Clothes pins.

I hate clothes dryers. They shrink things and set in stains and use energy. Part of the reason I'm so anal about doing my own laundry is that it's the one sure-fire way to make sure that no unthinking fool puts it in a dryer.

I love living in a place where I can line dry stuff most of the year. If I can't, the shower rod works fine, but it's one of the best things in the world to be able to pin my clothes up in the sun. They smell like Arizona when I bring them inside.

Listening to: Sweet Home Alabama
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh! They're manual.

I've been meaning to vlog about my birthday all week, but I keep getting distracted or forgetting. Did you know that they've put 3rd Rock From the Sun up on Netflix?

Listening to: Bones
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cinnamon rolls.

My birthday weekend was amazing. I'm hoping to do a vlog about it in the next few days. I feel like talking about it just wouldn't be the same without props.

For today, I just want to acknowledge my appreciation for my stomach and its fortitude against the invasion of Mothra.

On an unrelated note, washing my delicate Hippie Gypsy clothes wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be. I actually got into a groove there after a short time. I'm just glad that my dad was around to think of fixing the plug in my sink with a clothes pin. He's so ingenious.

Listening to: Castle
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I wore contacts today for the first time in quite a while. Either my contacts are a weaker prescription than my glasses or I need to use a different set. Beyond a certain distance things got a little hazy.

The cold here is bringing out some rather humorous behavior in the natives. They just don't seem to know what to do with themselves.

Someone shared a pretty song with me today. It's all creamy with sparks of sugar crystal. It makes me crave raspberry creme savers.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Chinese New Year (or, as I'm calling it this year, Momiji Day) as I did.

Listening to: Xmen
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This morning I decided to stay on the arterial streets instead of the highway because my fuel was getting low and I wanted to have easy access to a gas station if I needed it. It was a fun decision. The power went out in some areas, including the street I was driving down. For about half the way the street lights were out. It was cool seeing people reacting calmly and politely in the face of adventure. I enjoyed daringly taking turns venturing across intersections.

Listening to: Sky High
Reading: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling