Some have Turkey Day. I, however, have Chicken Day.

Hey guys!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I had dinner with (most) of my brother’s side of the family. My original plan was to stay home on Thanksgiving to cook my own faux meal consisting of chicken instead of turkey (the hubby’s not a fan of turkey), but then I got invited, so I decided to go. It was…less taxing than I thought.

Since today’s my other day off, I decided to move the meal from Thurs to Fri. At the time of typing this, I had finished cleaning the kitchen and had placed the chicken in cold water to help it finish defrosting.

Anyways, last week, I took a couple of extra days off work for a few reasons: mostly because I was feelin’ the grind real bad. I would be remiss to not admit that I was having…rather dangerous thoughts on the days leading up to my extended weekend. I intended to use the time to do multiple things: mostly write, draw, exercise, clean, and maybe even get my desk in my bedroom all set up. So, I wake up on a beautiful and crisp Tuesday morning…

…feeling like total shit. Yep, I got sick. I still made myself go out and jog/power walk…but that turned out to be a bad idea. Not because of how sore my legs were afterwards, but because my sore throat had gotten worse during the jog. Cue me being sick for the ENTIRE BREAK.

Not gonna lie…kinda disappointing.

Anyways, no use crying over spilled milk.I’m mostly better now, so there’s that.

Anyways, other than that, not too much has been going on. I’ve been looking around for more ideas for KoB episodes. Out of all the episode slots I have on my timeline, I still have some that are just filled with major plot points/character development. I’m lacking plot points for individual episodes, characters central/exclusive to the episode, enemies, locations, etc. I’ve also been thinking about reconstructing the document itself. In it’s current state, it’s kind of a jumbled mess. But I have more things to work on aside from that, so that’ll just have to wait its turn.

Last Sunday at work (whilst my hubby was out sick), I asked some of my co-workers to pick a number between 1 and 1,000. I got a couple of smartass answers (i.e. 1,001, 539,864, 0, etc), but the results were amusing. I still have that 1001 prompt book on my Kindle. The numbers they picked will basically dictate what prompts I’ll attempt to do (they gave me A LOT, too).

Anyways, until next time we meet. One holiday down: two more to go!

~Arrivederci~

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More about my weird dreams

I just wanna jump right into a topic that I KNOW I’ve covered before: me and my weird-ass dreams.

I’m sure you all remember about that one post I did about a pair of particularly odd (and somewhat traumatizing) dreams I’ve had in the past. Whilst I don’t remember a ton of details, I still remember large chunks of the dream, and I usually go back to that post to re-read what had happened.

There’s usually a few common occurrences that almost always happens:

  • I see/interact with people I know (family, friends, co-workers, people from my past, etc)
  • I somehow end up in my childhood home (either it starts there, ends there, or returns there no matter what)
  • Doors (usually a specific one in my childhood home–the front storm door is usually the culprit) usually have a hard time staying locked. I usually go to lock a door, turn around, then I usually discover in some threatening way that the door was somehow unlocked
  • I usually end up fighting in these dreams. Since I’ve learned how to take control of my dreams, I always end up fighting. The opponents range from faceless grunts, to monsters, to even people I knew. Hell, I still recall one dream when I had to fight against my mother!
  • These dreams usually involve either me trying to break out of something, or people trying to break into my house. It’s becoming increasingly more frequent

I’ve said a few times that I have been learning to control my dreams more. What do I mean by that? Well, usually, what “dream” me will do/is doing. I usually let myself go along for the ride. It’s like…playing a video game. You have the cut scenes–the moments when you can’t control your character, then you have the segments that you can control your character. Throw in some quick-time events (and maybe even a dialogue selection or two), and voila! A decent analogy of what my dreams are like. Take that to all the elders who said that video games couldn’t teach me anything! They not only taught me pacing and plot development, but they also taught me how to lucid dream and still be able to have control over my actions!

…But sometimes, even the best game systems glitch out. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t control my dream-self. It hasn’t led to me dying (dream-wise), but it has put me in a few rough spots. Sometimes, though…when I least expect it…I become a goddess in the dream. That which here means, I can control any goddamn thing I want to. I can even make myself dream something else entirely, right in the middle of my current dream!

…huh, maybe that’s why I have such a hard time remembering my dreams.

Granted, I usually don’t remember these segments, and sometimes it happens when I wake up then go back to sleep. As a kid, I knew somebody who was able to be woken up in the middle of the dream, then fall back asleep to pick up right where he left off! I used to be envious of this ability. I actively tried to learn how to do this, but gave up after several months. Now, fast forward nearly a decade-and-a-half later, and I can somehow do it almost at will!

…Again, almost. It doesn’t work all the time.

Now, this…dreaming vividly thing does have some drawbacks…the biggest being they can trigger my anxiety or depression. It’s even worse when something in the waking world rattles me, yet I have no clue as to why. It happened on Tuesday. We got some new lights installed in the front, and I don’t know what it was about them…but it sent my anxiety through the roof. It got better as the days went on and the sunlight balanced out the harsh, unnatural white light inside, but it still mystifies me to this day: why did those lights trigger me so bad?

Damn, I forgot to ask my boss what kind of lights they were.

Well, I do have a couple of theories on this:

  1. I do have a memory from my past that I could tie those lights to…I’m not going to go into any details, but I do remember a similar color and brightness in the bathroom in a therapist’s office.
  2. I have seen harsh, white lights such as those in some of my more…upsetting dreams/nightmares before. I can’t exactly remember from where, but…still…they feel familiar…

Now, a question I’m sure some of you are probably itching to ask me right now: “Why do you care? They’re just dreams. Isn’t your waking life more important?”

Well, yes and no. As I’ve discovered in the past, dreams can give us important insight into our past, present, and future. It can help us realize–and even face–our greatest fears and hangups. I also agree that you shouldn’t let a dream stop you from going on about your day-to-day life…but it’s also important to recognize when they do start to have an impact. Don’t obsess over them, but don’t totally ignore them. Balance is the key, much like with everything in your life.

Speaking of balance, I’ve been doing some more revisions and have even been looking into changing the name. Also been thinking about calling them “Guardians” instead of “Keepers”. Mostly because Guardians sounds cooler.

Anyways, I hope you all have a good night, and if I see you in my dreams, uhhmm….I’m sorry?

~Arrivederci~

Rankings and Apologies

Hello!

First off, I apologize for getting this out a day later than I promised.

I have a couple of things I need to go over, but first things first, I wanna go over the bit of Keeper lore I hinted at over Twitter. Then we can bite down onto the more serious stuff.

Keeper Missions and Rankings

The life of a Keeper was always a busy one. Missions were a big part of the Keeper Order. It allowed them to keep the world and her Leylines safe, and to protect those from the threat of Corruption and Imbalance. As such, there would always be no less than two mission or job boards in each Keeper Base—no matter how big or small (if there was a base that spanned out for acres (for example like the main base in Scotland), there would usually be two or three in each acre).

As the Keeper Order grew in numbers, both on and off bases, McGill and Friaggi decided to start handing out fliers for missions in local bars, pubs, and trading squares. During the first fifty years of the Keeper Order, the bases weren’t fully established yet. They realized that a lot of their supporters lived in the local areas. However, they still weren’t sure if the general populace were ready for the reveal of a bunch of people with the power to manipulate the natural elements (and energy). McGill and Friaggi decided to come up with “code-words”. McGill decided to name the mission types after gemstones that held the qualities needed for each mission. Friaggi decided to name the ranks after some of the brightest stars in the sky, as true strength in the face of struggle always shone the brightest.

  1. Tourmaline (Reconnaissance):

Going into an area ahead of time and scouting it can be vital. Members of the Keeper Order would be assigned areas to survey and monitor. The amount of time they needed to stay and case the area usually varied on a few factors:

  • The size of the area of interest
  • The number of members willing to take the recon mission/how long they are willing to stay (sometimes, they did get a choice)
  • The Leyline(s) within/around the area
  • The rank/difficulty/urgency of the mission

Sometimes, though, it would not be as simple as going into a small village for a few days/weeks. If something was wrong, they would be required to stay longer, and either try to remedy or contain the situation. If they had to call for backup, they were ordered to stay put until help arrived.

Sometimes, members of the Keeper Order would be required to go into anti-Keeper territory. They would have to do this to see if they still had any hidden pockets of supporters left in the area, or to check on a Leyline. These missions usually lasted longer, because of the extra care the Ke/Se/Sc’s had to exercise as to not get caught. Plus, it took longer to arrange safe passages to these areas, sometimes they needed to smuggle themselves inside. Because these territories/countries would have their own currency and wouldn’t use the universal world currency at the time, it also meant transferring unified currency to whatever their local currency was, and that also took time.

Tourmaline (not a specific color) was chosen because it is believed to attract inspiration, aid concentration, encourage balance and promote understanding. It is also thought to calm nerves, sooth grief, promote balance, and build self-confidence.

  1. Amber (Retrieval/Escort):

An item or person of interest has caught the attention of this elusive group. This is when they send a small group of people (or sometimes larger) to retrieve said item/person. The items could be artifacts that are rumored to be objects of power, tomes on magic, important documents, traded goods, currency loads, and others.

When someone is sent out to retrieve a person, it could be because the Council has determined that person as a good candidate to be a Seeker or Scout—maybe even a fully Awakened Keeper. It could also be because this person has committed crime(s) in Keeper-friendly areas, and the Keepers have been requested to help seek this person out. Rogue Keepers were also starting to become common shortly before the fall of the Order, and other Keepers still loyal to the Order could be called upon to bring them back for trial and punishment. Another reason to the Order to “retrieve” a person is to help them escape from anti-Keeper areas.

Escort missions usually fell underneath this category as well. Sometimes, a small group of Keepers would escort a trading caravan or vessel. Sometimes, they had to escort one or more people through a dangerous area.

Amber was chosen because of its benefits when it comes to mental clarity, intellect, memory, and descion-making. Also because of it aid to patience and understanding.

  1. Obsidian (Diplomacy):

Keepers were also known for being diplomats as well. This was mostly because many Keepers who lived on bases close to/in their home country (or even if they lived off base) usually got themselves involved in local politics as much as they could. Even if they weren’t directly involved in the power struggles of politics, they were still active members in their communities, always wanting to serve the people closest to home, first. This means that Keepers (as well as non-powered Seekers and Scouts) were sometimes called to be negotiators. If two Keeper-friendly territories were having a dispute and couldn’t agree, then members of the Order on both sides would meet with each other and their parties to try to come to an agreement. Sometimes, this meant settling petty disputes, like land and debt. Sometimes, this meant going directly to a council—or even a king and/or queen—to find a way to end debate without bloodshed and war. With Keeper-neutral territories, they wouldn’t send as many Keepers, but if there were some local Keepers/Allies in the area, they would be called upon to assist the visiting Keepers.

It was rare that Obsidian missions took place in anti-Keeper territories. But when they did, they were usually quite dangerous. They would be sent to those areas to try to allow support for the Keepers, but those were usually saved for members of the Council.

Obsidian was chosen because it magnifies all negative energies so that they can be fully experienced and released. It repels negative energy (Corruption), and disperses unloving thoughts. It can also reveal hard truths, expose flaws, weaknesses, and destroy blockages. Also, because these types of missions were usually reserved for the more experienced and diplomatic members of the Order…much like obsidian, which is best used by somebody very experienced and even powerful.

  1. Smoky Quartz (Purification):

These missions were the only missions that were required to have no less than two Keepers (Keepers that have Awakened together) on the mission. Non-Awakened Scouts and Seekers could come along, too, but never without a pair of Awakened Keepers by their side. If something went wrong: Leyline was Corrupted, Light overpowering Dark (or vice versa) and causing an unbalance—a shift, or a Corrupted Creature/Effigy was spotted, then it needed to be purified. Sometimes, the cause of the issue wouldn’t be apparent right away, leaving the party to search for the cause before they can proceed (i.e. people are suddenly turning up dead and the suspect has feverishly avoided capture. The locals have started to suspect “black magic” is at work). Purification missions usually included one (or sometimes more) or the following:

  • A damaged Leyline that was causing damage to the environment (forests/coastlines/villages/cities/etc)
  • An imbalance of Light/Darkness, causing political/religious/social/racial tension
  • An odd creature that may be unnatural or Corrupted
  • Crimes that were deemed “unsolvable” by local law enforcement
  • An item of power that has fallen to the wrong hands/has gone out of control
  • Natural/unnatural disasters (including odd mass suicides performed by animals/people and mysterious disappearances)

Smoky Quartz was chosen because of it’s neutral affinity with all forms of Natural Energy. It has better healing and purifying abilities than a normal clear quartz, because of its neutral nature. It is also a universal stone that can work well with other stones—it can even amplify their effects, as well as heighten its own. Very protective. Relieves fear, stress, depression, and brings emotional calmness. Fortifies resolve. Teaches how to move on. Alleviates nightmares and manifests your dreams. When it comes into contact with negative emotions/energy, it gently dissolves them. Promotes positive, pragmatic thought. Can be used in scrying to give clear insight and to neutralize fear of failure. Dissolves contradictions, promotes concentration, and alleviates communication difficulties. Facilitates moving between alpha and beta states of the mind and aids in clearing the mind for meditation.

It was often rumored that if you carried a stone that shared the name of your upcoming mission, (i.e., you’re going on a Smoky Quartz mission? Take a small piece of smoky quartz with you), you will have good luck on your missions, and will be able to perform better. McGill has always called this a “happy side-affect”.

Missions were usually ranked from most difficult to least difficult. These ranks were named after some of the brightest stars in the sky. The ranks of each mission were as follows:

  • Sirius (S-Class)
  • Arcturus (A-Class)
  • Regulus (B-Class)
  • Capella (C-Class)
  • Vega (D-Class)

Examples of missions:

  • Obsidian, Rank Arcturus:
    • Dispute between the local law enforcement and a group of orphaned children has put everybody on edge. A few want to see the children harshly punished for their crimes, but more want them to be relieved, and maybe even given second chances.
    • Location: Central Hungary—Anti-Keeper territory, though growing pockets of support are present. Do not draw attention to yourselves until the matter is done and dealt with. If things start to look bad, search for local support and smuggle yourself out.
  • Amber, Rank Vega:
    • A trading caravan hailing from China needs escort to Vietnam.
    • China is a Keeper-neutral territory, and usually deals with both worldwide and individual currencies. Vietnam is a Keeper-friendly territory.
  • Tourmaline, Rank Capella:
    • The Keeper Council has decided to try to establish a new base in Belarus, and want to send some members to recon the area before they send more people. There have been some reports about some strange happenings in the area, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Leyline information is unknown.
    • Location: Northern Belarus—Keeper-neutral at this present moment. That may change, though, depending on the actions of the parties sent.
  • Smoky Quartz, Rank Sirius:
    • There have been reports of flora and fauna perishing in the forests around a small farming village in Ireland. Even the rivers have been tainted. People have even began to turn up missing. There have been rumors of a monstrous creature looming in the dead environment. Local hunters and warriors have tried to track the beast, only to return injured/near death…or they never return at all.
    • Location: East Ireland—a three-week journey from the coast of the Irish Sea. Keeper-friendly—they requested our help, as they had no one else to turn to.

Sometimes, a mission can change type and rank as the situation needs it. For example, an Amber mission, ranked Capella, can change to an Obsidian mission, ranked Regulus. Or a Tourmaline mission, ranked Vega, can change into a Smoky Quartz mission, ranked Sirius.

The parties assigned to any mission must compose, complete, and turn in a report, though there were a few different ways they were allowed to create and submit their report. It wasn’t required, but nearly every Keeper (by the time the Order fell) kept some sort of journal. Upon returning, they could submit the journal itself to their superior Keeper (depending on the mission/person, it could be submitted directly to the Keeper Council for immediate review). They could also write a full, separate report, and simply turn that in instead. Sending letters via courier, bird, or any other means was also acceptable, submitting their report in chunks. Finally, the report (and even memories) could be shared via the Leylines and meditation…but this was usually for the more skilled Keepers, and required a very clear head to perform…meaning that, depending on the mission and rank, this could take longer, and if their written reports were lost, could be unreliable due to the natural flaws and limitations of human memory. And the longer it took for a “meditation submission” to commence, the greater the risk of valuable information being lost.

Next on my lore to-do list, I want to establish countries/territories that were for, against, and neutral towards the Keepers. This is a list that has been changed throughout the Keeperverse’s world history.

So, this past month and a half, I created a personal account on Tumblr and got a feel for the website. And, I actually like it a lot. Better mobile access than WordPress, and it has a more…causal atmosphere. I also have the feeling that I will reach a better target audience there. No, I’m not getting rid of this blog–far from it. Within a month or two, I hope to be updating both blogs.

Also, there is another…small matter I feel the need to address. On Twitter, I know I’ve said some stupid shit–mostly relating to my job and the current political climate. For that, I do apologize. I wish to not be associated with politics, and I don’t want to come off as a person who does nothing but bitch about the unjust bullshit at her day job. That’s not what you guys came for, no matter how helpful it may be for myself to let it out. So, to those it may have affected/hurt–I’m sorry. So from this point on, this blog will be dedicated only to developments I have made in my writing career–Keepers of Balance or otherwise. That means, that this blog may not be updated as frequently…but a blog like this is no place for a personal diary.

Hope you all stay well, and can forgive me.

~Arrivederci~

Obstacles

EDIT: Well, talk about bad timing. This was supposed to be up the night of Friday, October 6th, 2017, but my lovely Surface Pro 3 ran out of battery as I was cooking dinner and typing this post out. Thankfully, WordPress saved the draft that I was working on, so hooray!

Well, my weekend was busier than I expected. Didn’t help that we had a cleaning crew arrive and I think the chemicals did something to my throat. Been feeling iffy all day.

Anyways, I want to talk briefly about what’s new with KoB.

I’ve decided that the Keepers needed another antagonist of sorts, aside from the main one, Break. One that is a little more reoccurring…and one that would add some levity to the the risks and consequences Ian and Rach could face, if they were ever outed as traveling magical warriors.

The Keeper Order has always been kept a secret for a few reasons: one of which is that they feel that it would be unsafe for the general populace if word had gotten out about their existence. Any sightings of them have been dissolved into local folklore–about the Warriors of Nature. It was also for personal and political safety. It’s not too different in the modern world, especially given humanity’s obsession to see anything different or things they don’t understand as “wrong”. Keepers of either period could’ve been locked up. Some were afraid of the power they held, and outlawed the Keepers altogether…meaning that if anyone found out that you were a Keeper in a Keeper-banned city…it would be a death sentence. In modern day, the sentence won’t be death…however, things such as property damage, breaking and entering, interfering with investigations, and others. While they’re doing it for the greater good, you know how people feel about vigilantes.

So, if Ian, Rachael, and even Oracle, were ever exposed to the public, a lot of governments, especially Interpol, would come down on not just themselves…but also their family. Break is so focused on destroying Ian and Rach because he views them as the only legitimate threat to his master plan of dissolving the world, then reshaping it in his own vision. However, the threat this new character(s) of mine will pose a more personal threat to our modern Keepers. And if Break catches wind of this…he might decide to do nothing about it, because it might help him in some way. Then again, he may not. I haven’t worked out the fine details.

Since I am 100% sure I want these two ladies in my conflict, I’ll tell you a little about them both now.

She wanted nothing more than to be a journalist. She aims to gather “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Her desperation to go to any lengths to gather the truth may lead her down to paths less favorable.

She’s a more quieter force, but still just as formidable. When a camera is in her hands, she’s never felt more alive.

I have a third, but I’m not sure if I want to include him, yet. But I feel like this will be a good way to bring the conflict to Ian and Rach in a more personal way.

~Arrivederci~

Falling for Bi-Polar Weather

OKAY, FALL.

WHY IS IT HOT AND MUGGY INSTEAD OF COOL AND CRISP?

LIKE, i JUST GOT COMFORTABLE WEARING LONG JEANS, SERIOUSLY.

Whatever, Michigan. Be bi-polar with your weather, as usual.

Anyways, this past week has been kind of tough. Bouts of depression between both myself and my husband has made it difficult to communicate. Work, as per the norm, is emotionally and physically draining, and with it being so hot and humid up here, it’s been tough getting a good night’s sleep (our AC unit was moved to the living room because reasons).

Anyways, I know it’s a whole season early, but while browsing Tumblr earlier, I found the perfect concept for my “annual” winter illustration.

Aside from working on KoB, I’ve been playing Fallout 4. Been enjoying it a lot more (mods help a great deal).

One thing I do miss, tho: I miss having an empty house to myself. Let me explain: there’s currently (including myself) four people living at our house. There’s rarely a time when I can come home, and be the only one home. As selfish as this sounds to me, I prefer having absolutely no one around when I want to draw/write/do music stuff. I feel awkward whenever anyone else is around, and I don’t like the feeling that someone is looking over my shoulder whenever I do try to work. It’s been causing a bit of a block–one that I don’t know how to overcome. I’m one of those people who needs intense focus in order to get anything done. I feel better about working on something if I don’t have to feel like someone’s trying to get my attention all the time. Oh well. Still do my best, I guess.

Anyways, with all of that said, I hope you all have had a fantastic week, and I’ll talk to you all again soon!

~Arrivederci~

Match Made

Ahhhhh!!! It happened! As of today, my dad is a remarried man!

Seriously, I can’t can’t help but gush about how happy I am for him and my new step-mom!

It was a very small ceremony. Not more than ten or so people showed up. But it was a very sweet one (I got a little teary-eyed curing the vows). I got to be the ring bearer. They also really like the wedding gift me and Niax gave them. We got them one of the wax-melting scent thingies. I knew they would like the design of the warmer itself, but I was a little bit more worried about the scents. However, they seemed to like them all.

Other than today, this week hasn’t been too exciting for me. Lately, I’ve mostly just been looking forward to today and my husband and I’s anniversary. Just gotta hang in there for a while longer.

~Arrivederci~

Labor Day Aftermath

Good evening, everyone. Hope you guys have had a lovely week. If not, then I hope your week gets better!

Labor Day was a very good day. Work wasn’t bad (actually quite fun), got to go to the Renaissance Festival with my dad and his fiancee, and finished the day by going over to my mother-in-law’s house. Got my first henna tattoo at the festival. I love it a lot. I’ve been wanting one for a while, but didn’t have the opportunity to get one until Monday. It was only $25. The only photo I have of it is from the night I got it. I’ll probably take a better picture and post it onto Twitter later on, but for now…

old henna

Sorry about the lame picture quality. Had my husband take the photo. He’s not too good with camera phones. If you can’t tell, it’s a lotus blossom resting within the crescent of the moon. Some of the henna ended up getting kinda ruined before I even got home (it started to rain as we left), but I’ve heard that there was a local shop that did henna tattoos. I have the design saved, so maybe I’ll go back in and get a touch up or just get it redone.

My husband likes it so much, that he says I should get it tattooed on my hand permanently. Honestly, I’m agreeing with the idea, but I think I’ll settle for it possibly being my new logo. Three days later, and it’s still lookin’ good!

Tuesday felt like Wednesday. Because of the holiday, dough production (for our bagels) was the day after because of the holiday. Not too bad of a day, either.

Wednesday was weird, because it felt like Tuesday. No dough production, but it seemed busier up at the front. After work, I went to my mother-in-law’s house to help her organize some Sentsy stuff that had come in. She also helped me pick out the wedding gift for my dad’s wedding (coming in a couple of weeks!).

One of my roommates gave me a small little notebook filled with blank white paper. Been using that do doodle and draw again. Also picked up KoB editing again. Not too much to say on that end, sadly, but as I’ve learned recently: Work hard in silence. Let success be your voice.

~Arrivederci~