Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fantasy Follies Getting Closer!!

Good morning!
Today I want to wax poetic about my magazine. Okay, maybe not poetic, but I wanted to share these snapshots I took of our Fantasy Follies office, now that it's done. The one to the left is me toiling away by candlelight, I know you can't really see me, but trust me, that mass of black hair is me. Well, my avatar anyway.

Here's a better one of me. I think I was working on the Editor's note. It's a nice desk. A "partner's desk"
design, made of warm woods, with working drawers and everything. Not sure if you can make out the plate of gingerbread cookies and steaming mug of coffee there in front of me. On Chate's side of the desk is a goblet of eggnog. I think she'll like that when she gets back in-world.

Swinging around, I took a shot of our seating area. Also well stocked with cookies. Can you tell I like cookies? This furniture was made by my in-world partner, Fiona, with the exception of the large round table. That was made by Dalimar. You can't see the five or six ferns, or the cool printing press our friend and business partner Aly made. The sim of Elf Harbour is massive. There is a nautical theme, complete with a swamp, docks, a harbour masters house, a variety of monkeys scattered about and a sharp-toothed alligator.
Anyway, back to the magazine. At first, I wanted to release it Jan 1st. But that's not going to be possible. Most of my "help" has had to pull back, because of the holidays and health issues; so I'm on my own for a little while. This is going to affect how much gets done and likewise, when it gets done. In the next couple of days, I need to finish up two articles and prep two fiction pieces; one by Chate and one by Meadow. I also need to get the script to give the mag and prep the distribution box, drop a note to the owner of the magazine shop that will be carrying it, as well as the other folks I'd like to see house the boxes, finalize the contest, come up with a release announcement, finalize the ad rates, and last but not least figure out the damn printing press.... damn... maybe a Feb 1 release is more likely. Betty warned me that I might have to publish bi-monthly while I'm my only staff.
Sigh. Enough from me for now. Back to work!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Cheer!

Hello there!
How was your holidays?
It seems we had a whole lot of build up here as well as lots of happiness.
I was worried this Christmas would be disappointing to the boys; with money being so tight around here since I stepped down at work. Their lists were shorter than previous years, but still.
I had far too little sleep, only getting about 4 or 5 hours a night, but in the end... it turned out all right. Jimmy ended up walking across town to be home in time for Christmas morning, which was so touching I got all choked up. He actually woke me up, not the two youngest!
Despite the fact that the gift pile was smaller and not so spread out this year, they did alright. They each got at least one thing off their list, so it wasn't a complete failure. But I did learn the value of sticking to my plan of getting one gift per month, instead of all at once. No, that's not what we did this year, but that was my plan.
We had lots of food, we were all together and the boys, all three of them, seemed happy with what they got.
Yep, it could have been worse.

Second Life has been busy, what with holiday dances and whatnot. The picture up top was a small corner of the Bubbling Cauldron from last night's Victorian Ball. Betty and I decorated, according to the "vision" I had. I hosted and she was the Guide, joining two more folks to the Charn family. There has been my birthday party, the Yule ball, dances on top of get the idea.
And soon, on Jan 2 as a matter of fact, will be the Grand Re-Opening of Elf Harbour. Our friend and business partner, Aly, bought the sim and has done a lot of hard work to make it a memorable RP sim, over which our shop floats at something like 3000 meteres above "ground" level. Our store is huge. Absofragginhuge! On the ground, she has a swamp like area, a lighthouse, docks and other elements that make it seem more like the harbour it was always supposed to be. There are swampy trees, an alligator and a variety of monkeys hidden all over the sim. She even has a Harbour Masters house, a Main Hall and a couple of smaller buildings that I think she might rent out. All of the buildings look like something straight out of Rivendell in LOTR! They truly are stunning. In the main hall, on the main floor, there is a pub, complete with guard beagle, Talitha, where one can sit and have a drink. (Yes, we really hold the drink and have the action). There is a dance ball and a wickedly brilliant anchor chandelier. Upstairs, Aly has taken one wing for her office, and I have taken the other wing for my Fantasy Follies office.

This photo does not do it justice. It doesn't convey the calm classiness the room has, the movement of the potted ferns, it doesn't communicate how much I love this room. But it is where I like to go to work on the magazine. Aly has some great music in the stream, very calming. Which is good, because sometimes it drives me crazy! Especially trying to get content from iPages into Gimp, so I can save ads and stories as a texture, otherwise SL won't upload it. Stupid, I know. But we work with what we have. I wanted to get the magazine done for Jan 1, but I don't think that's going to happen now. The holidays have been too busy and I'm doing a lot of it myself. I need to find someone that can take the text and pages and put them into the format I need, then send it back to me; because that's where all my time is being taken up. Betty is right, unless I find some reliable help, I'm only going to be able to put the mag out bi-monthly.

Ah well, whining to you isn't getting it done any faster.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Six Days To Go!

Hello again, my friends! I assume someone is out there reading this.
Geez, I hope you are, or I'm doing all this for nothing!
On the assumption you ARE out there, how was your week?
It was an interesting one here at Casa de Taleweaver. Not work, it's bloody boring. But the moments in between were interesting. Our youngest son had his Christmas Concert, and he even put on a tie this year. He still has a problem with stage fright, but at least he was doing the actions and trying to sing along with his classmates. It went okay, all things considered.
We have a real Christmas tree this year; a fir. We aren't sure if I'm allergic to it, or if I'm allergic to all the cleaning we've been doing lately. (My vote is on the cleaning) Anyway, it's a very nice tree; balanced and full... and still not decorated except for the garland and lights.
The boys have my old computer in their room now, so the tree is the last thing on their minds.
I guess we'll be decorating tonight.

Things in SL are never boring either. Last night we attended the Charn Yule Ball. It was delightful, held outside and surrounded by silvery white trees and snow. Our good friend Azlyn DJ'd the dance, and she played some pretty great tunes. Quite a lot of our friends were there, all dressed in their formal finery. I know there were a lot of pictures taken. I'll share them when I get them. Oh! Speaking of pictures! We had ours taken with Santa last night as

well. Again, I'll share 'em when I get them. Our dear sister/friend Chate got family photos done for Christmas this year. Let me see if I can find one...
Nice, isn't it? From left to right, Jita (Chate's daughter), me, Chate, Dalimar and Fiona (aka Betty in real life). Azavi Studios always does a great job! High fives to Kavi and Azlyn!
Our little family is going to be doing our gift exchange tomorrow evening, and I'm looking forward to it. Not for the gifts, but because we cannot always seem to get together when we'd like. It will be nice to just sit and catch up and relax.

On the knitting scene this week, It has become glaringly apparent that I need to get knitting socks and mitts. The boys are outgrowing socks faster than I can make them. I have a few socks scattered around the house in various states of completion, for various people that I have decided I am going to finish. So many things I want to do, so little time!
Hmm, maybe if I ask for a cloning machine, like Homer got in the Simpsons that one episode...
Then again, all my clones would want the computer to get on Second Life too...hmm...maybe clones isn't that great an idea.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pass The Hot Chocolate!

Pass the Hot Chocolate!

It's winter! (No. Not in the picture over there <---)
Most of our province has some snow at least, some have 80 cm or more. We all have cold, Northern winds that freeze to the bone! Some parts of the country are under a cold snap so intense, the authorities are advising not to let pets out unsupervised.
What do Canadians do when it's too cold to play outside? We go inside!
Betty and I escape to Second Life. We've moved to Kymmer and no longer own land in Charn. Originally, it was mostly a financial decision. But as we've distanced ourselves from Charn, we've learned of some political issues there that we aren't thrilled with. Well, we're all entitled to our differences in opinion, so we sat back and re-thought our priorities. What did we want to do with our time in SL? What was fun, what pissed us off? Our friend and business partner once said "SL is supposed to be fun", and I have hung on to that, adding, "If it's not fun, it's time to change things" So we did. We moved, again, but this time to Kymmer, a sim owned and created by our friend and brother, Dal. (He's the dark, demonic looking fella in the picture) Betty now has her beach, which I have fallen in love with. We have the EXACT same house that was in the show Charmed. We now have horses. We have so much room to play in, and a workshop to build in that is simply IMMENSE! I cannot gush about Kymmer enough.
Dal has come a long way since we first met him, and he and I have had many conversations that are always enlightening in one way or another. I can't believe I'm saying this, because I swore I'd not move again, but I'm glad we moved.

So now I've taken on another project. I was bemoaning the lack of a good fantasy oriented magazine within SL one day when Betty said, "Then just make one yourself"
So I did.
There are many in-world magazines in Second Life, but as in real life, that doesn't mean they're all good. I have discovered a bit about myself in the process of creating the first issue. Apparently I have high standards, and apparently I really enjoy
becoming a magazine editor and publisher. So, the magazine is called
Fantasy Follies. Yep, that's the logo over there.

It's my hope that we will shine the spotlight on some of the best fantasy related items, performers, builders, places to live, shop and play. There's a wide range of things waiting to be written about, because everyone's idea of fantasy can be so different. Obviously, anything looking like anything LOTR is fair game, as well as high fantasy, low fantasy and, wait, what's low fantasy you ask?
According to Wikipedia, "Low Fantasy is a sub-genre of Fantasy fiction in which the setting is the real world with the addition of fantastic elements. The word "low" is used to indicate the quantity of fantasy in a work and not the quality. The subgenre was created when overall fantasy genre split into high and low fantasy in the early twentieth century. Within the fantasy genre, low fantasy is the opposite of high fantasy, which takes place, partly or entirely, in a completely fictional setting.

But even that definition has boundaries that are always being pushed. Nothing is static, especially not in Second Life. There are Dwarves, Elves, and Hobbits of course. But there are also Furries (avatars that are animal like in appearance), Tinies (avatars that are half the size of most), and Dragons. Werewolves, Fairies (or Fae as they prefer to be called), Vampires and so many more. Most folks would say that none of those are real, unless you work for the National Enquirer. That makes them "fantasy" creatures. And therefore, fair game for Fantasy Follies.
So I've got a lot to write about! I already have a staff, and some are proving to be more reliable than others, so I'm learning here too as we go along.
Knitting ? Heh, none lately. Terrible I know. It's winter, the season of my guilt-knitting when I drag out the projects that have languished for months, forgotten until the thermometer says IT'S COLD LADY!

I was going to pick up one of those projects last night, but was surprised by the traditional Christmas concert instead. So with three hours notice, I bundled up Shandon and myself, and off we went to his Christmas concert. This year, he played the trumpet in Jazz Band, and did a wonderful job! I got all of three pictures, all of which I am frustrated to say turned out too dark and grainy to share with anyone. Even my parents! For some reason, the school turned their lights down. And my flash only bounced off the big heads of the tall people in front of me.
Well, maybe he can bring the trumpet home and I'll get a video to share...that would work.

Till next time!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Did I Grow Up?

I hardly know where to begin tonight, so much has flitted through my mind lately. This is flu season, and I've done my share, thank you. I've already had it. At first, we thought it was a chest cold, but in mere hours, I felt worse. I started feeling bad at supper one night, but by bedtime I felt horrible. Shandon had already had this, so I knew what was coming, I thought. I got it worse. Yay, me. Anyway, I ended up taking two days off work, sleeping and feverish. It took two weeks to get over the bug and get my energy back. This was only one reminder that I am no longer young.
Lately, I've also noticed quite a few more grey hairs upstairs. No more the scattered few over my ears, now I have a prolific bunch on top as well. And as much as I know I could dye them, I really don't want to. I feel as though they are a badge almost. Not of honor, but a sign that I'm an adult now, you know? I don't suppose you'll understand unless you're over the age of 40 yourself.
This has been a cool, wet fall that fairly raced into winter-like weather, complete with hail yesterday and snow for my parents! My knees object to it, they don't like winter, they don't like cold. I have very opinionated knees.
Yet another sign I am no longer young.
The most alarming sign yet though was a very long conversation with my mother the other night.
We got to exchanging news. She told me the favorite house I lived in up there (on my own) burned to the ground. She told me most of the town is working again, and she brought me up to date on the new store and her knitting projects. And then she off-handedly mentioned she was two years aways from retirement.
"Wait, back that up?" I said, hardly believing what my brain had told me it heard.
"Kid, I'm 63 now, remember? I have white hair. You're 40. You didn't expect me to stay 36 forever, did you?"
I was speechless.
For years, when people asked how old my mother was, I told them she was 36. Not out of stupidity or a desire to keep her young, just for me, she stopped aging at 36. One day, I assumed she must be close to 45, so that became her magic number. Then 50.
And now I am forced to admit that my mother is 63.

This opened a whole new can of kickass.
Now I am forced to admit that time is screaming ahead, never mind crawling. I am forced to admit that my parents are aging, and I am more ill-prepared to help them financially then ever before. I always thought I was going to send them a little something every pay, but now I can barely make ends meet here in my own little world.Thoughts of my parents mortality flit through my mind before I can chase them away, and I can't help but wonder how they are really doing when they aren't on the phone for an hour with me.
And I wonder when this all happened.
When did I grow up and get old?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Knit two, purl four, carry the one, divide by pi, square root…

So much to do, too damn much work.
Work truly gets in the way of enjoying myself. I stayed up and on Second Life till after 2 am last night talking with my sister/friend Chate, about the book we're collaborating on. We're both very excited about it. It's a fantasy/futuristic tale that holds a lot of promise, we think, to be an epic. So, we were hashing out details while floating in a pond in Second Life. Very soothing...waterfalls, the loon, the company of a friend....ahhhhhhhhh. That's George the therapy bunny and I hanging out, enjoying the fall colours at a friend's place.

So I started another pair of socks yesterday on the bus ride into work. You should have seen the looks I was getting as people realized I had more than two needles! This is the easy part, the leg. When I get down to the heel, I will have to leave this sock at home until I get past the complicated stuff, and into the foot. Once I get to the foot, I can take it back on the bus again and do the mindless knitting. This sock is in Bernat Cashmere, in a cancelled colourway, "Ocean". I'm thinking these will go to Braydon. I'm noticing more and more demand for warm socks. Debra wants some, the boys need some, Betty and I always need more, and now a co-worker who runs a shop wants some for her store! If I could just make at least $9.00 an hour off of them, I could quit my job!
So the yellow baby blanket is nearly done. I am working on the last seed stitched edge, then I have to wash it and block it in the hopes it will lay somewhat flat. I'll be glad when I can finally pass it on. I have been working on it so long, I'm nearly sick of that shade of yellow. And then I think I'll be knitting nothing but scarves for the homeless and socks! I may need some more size 3 and 4 four-set-needles.
Wonder if I could talk Betty into picking me up a set of 3's the next time she's in Walmart?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Second Life

My real life has never been boring. Ever.
Why then, did I get hooked on an online universe called Second Life? I'm not sure how it happened, other than, it was fun.
It is not a game, in the traditional sense. it is similar to Sims, but with more interaction and better graphics. it is user created, with more options than I'm sure you want to hear about.
Anyway, my point is that I've made some interesting associations in Second Life (also known as SL)
I have made acquaintances, and friends, and we even have a home in SL now. We have had a couple, actually. Right now we are living in a region owned by a friend. We have a large skybox that resembles a castle. It has more room than we know how to use at the moment! Below that, about 600 meters below, we have a park-like area, with a library. Next to that piece of land, we went in on another piece of land with some friends. That's a picture of it off to the left there. Well, a part of it. Off to the right of the waterfalls is a tipi and stone ring we use for seating around a fire. It has become quite the social gathering area. In the pond you see, there is a loon that swims, floats and dives, as well as sing his loon song. Below the water is a Mermaid gazebo and garden, and a few fish. It is all very peaceful and pretty.
Very relaxing.
Later on, I'll tell you a bit more about our Second Life.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Peace, Love and Yellow-ness

Remember last entry I went on about my new Mac computer? That wasn't enough geekiness for this family. We had to go out and buy an iPod.
I got to pick the colour, a small thing, but I was impressed. (It's deep purple, just so you know) So now I'm an avid listener of podcasts.
I have a few faves so far. On the knitting front, I have developed a strong affinity for Cast On, and the voice of Brenda Dayne. She has a soothing, melodic quality to her voice; instantly soothing and welcoming. (Actually, I think I mentioned this before) She has inspired me to pick up knitting that sometimes sits ignored. The yellow baby blanket, actually. It's difficult to ignore a project, even though it is destined to be a huge mass of yellow-ness totaling hundreds of stitches, when listening to a woman who has knit many, many sweaters!
The baby blanket I've gone on about, from time to time has changed intended recipients, because in part I knit so slowly and because the universe just kind of slants me one way or the other, and I believe that the universe has "tilted" me away from the blanket's first intended recipient.
Sound obscure?
Bear with me for a moment.
The other night, as I was putting my boys to bed, one of my sons asked me about fate. The context of his question seemed ridiculous in the moment, but it got me wondering about what goes on in his head. Why would a 13 year old be asking about fate? 
I answered his question, and he realized that I believe in a combination of fate and free will. 
I was raised on traditional Ojibway teachings, and a lot of that is still with me, but I also believe in a few other teachings that are very organic. I do believe that our souls go to another place when our bodies pass. In this place, I think each of our souls determines what it wants to learn next, through experiences and significant associations our bodies are going to make with other people. I also believe that we choose the families we will be born into, as a way of learning through experience. While each of us learns something different from our friendships, arguments and conflicts with significant people in our lives, we contribute something to them as well.
And so I believe that certain people come into our lives for a reason.
By extension, I think the yellow baby blanket was intended for someone other than who I thought.
A convoluted way of getting to my point, I know, but I hope it was a little clearer than mud.

This blanket has always been intended to bring warmth, and caring, and good wishes for the baby, no matter which baby that is. Kind of like a prayer shawl. Are you familiar with these? While knitting or crocheting a shawl, a prayer is said or good wishes whispered. There is no hard and fast rule about how one puts these prayers (or wishes if one is not "religious"), the point is to create with love and harmony in your heart. Some folks put on soft music, or inspirational tunes, light incense... whatever brings them to a place that allows them to create in the right frame of mind. A lot of knitting groups are creating these shawls for folks that are suffering from disease or suffering through the loss of a loved one. They are beautiful in their intent.
It was this kind of project that I had in mind when I started the baby blanket. Something peaceful and beautiful that would love some of me behind.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Like I Needed Another Obsession?

I'm going to take a break from knitting  a cute little hat in green and white, for a friend of a friend, to  blather on about the newest thing in my life. Tax season is easy  at our house, and for almost a whole year we plan how best to spend it. This year, Betty talked me into spending part of the return on a new computer for this desk. My desk, but since everyone uses the 'pooter it doesn't really feel like mine alone.
Anyway, I've been lusting after a Mac for a few years now. A friend of ours has a couple out west, and I've always heard such good things about them that I am naturally drawn to play with one whenever we go to Best Buy. This year, at last, I had the opportunity to buy one.
So I did. An iMac that just barely fit within the overhang of my desk. I won't bore you  with technical, geeky details, but allow me just a moment or two to effuse about how sleek and modern it looks. 
It is beauty within a square. It has some killer curves and it's.... slim!
And the things it does....omg. I have never seen my photos this clear! 
I have a new obsession.
I thought the Yarn Harlot had a podcast, so I went looking last night. No luck, but I did find Cast On, and instantly fell  for Brenda Dayne's voice. Listening to her is like sitting down with an old friend and visiting while you knit. I listened to four of her podcast installments, and the only reason I stopped was the fact that I was tired!
You should really check it out. Seriously.

I haven't gotten a whole lot of knitting done lately. It's all been about work. 10-12 hours a day. There's a lot of pressure to get the store and my books up to snuff, and this is the only way I know how to do it... for now. Oh, I want to knit. I have the baby blanket I'm still working on, and the little hat I mentioned before is for a friend of Tammy's. I'd be tickled if I could knit at work, but I can't see that happening. someone would piss me off and I'd run them through with a knitting needle.

I wonder if that would constitute  a charge of assault with a deadly weapon?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reflective Socks

It seems I'm smitten with socks these days.
The one you see to the left is Shandon's sock, knitted with Bernat Satin, in the "surf" colorway. It's super soft, and I figured since Mom had gifted me with so many balls, I'd do something useful with them.
So the question is, will I finish the pair before he outgrows them?
It was quite a shock to realize he fit my socks, so I made it easier on myself and knit to fit me.

His 13th birthday is in just five days, and I was sitting here this morning wondering where those 13 years went. I remember well the storm that hit Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. the night he was born. I remember craving pizza, and my friend who braved the storm to get me one; only to prove the nurses right and throw it all up a short while later.
What a waste! I remember not being able to breastfeed and yet, wanting to very badly. I remember how he never quite took to a soother and the pine green bunting bag that my mother made him.
I also remember how small he seemed in it.
And here we are, 13 years later, trying to find a way for a 13 year old to make his way in an ever-changing world; with me wanting to keep him close, and him wanting to hurry up and be a teenager.

Where did the time go?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Throw Another Log On The Fire!!

Baby, it's cold out there!
I worry about the homeless and wild animals at this time of year. (Can't you just see deer eating with wheat coloured scarves wrapped around their necks?)
Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, the cold.
I just saw a report on a polar bear summit where someone had decided 2008 was one of the warmest in ten years. Well, 2009 seems to be trying to make up for it's predecessor's failings!
I was so cold yesterday while walking to the bank that I had to take my glasses off because the cold beating off them was making my eyeballs hurt! (My eyes were the only exposed part of my body)
So I only go outside to catch the bus to work, or home, and to go to the bank for work. Normally, it doesn't feel too bad. I've been wearing microfiber long underwear every day this season, I have a long, very warm coat that many laugh at, until it gets cold and I am warmer than they are, and I have great mitts. I look dorky, but I won't get frostbite!
Except for my eyeballs.

So I've been doing a lot of knitting this winter.
I've picked up the yellow baby's blanket again.

I've been knitting two different socks at once, a pair for Shandon and another for Betty, with Bernat's new sock yarn in "Hot Tamale", which doesn't fit the yarn at all.
(Pictures to follow)
And I finished Braydon's mitts. Just in time to realize he needs a new cap because his head is outgrowing the red one I made for him.

I need to quit my job. It's interferring with my knitting.