Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Horse and Hattock!

When I was around 9 or 10 years old, my dad took my brother and me Christmas shopping in Park City. During our trip, we were stranded in the shopping center because of an overwhelming snow storm that made it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of us. As children, we thought this was really neat, especially because the shopping center was a strip mall instead of a big indoor area. The phrase "Winter Wonderland" means totally different things to children than it does to adults. And at the moment, we were in it.

On one of the street corners, there was a man who held red leather reigns, laden with silver bells in a brown leather mittened hand. The reigns belonged to a very young reindeer.

Clement Moore said

"When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer"

Well, this little reindeer was about the size of a very large dog. Maybe the size of a golden retriever. The fact that it was a young reindeer is the reason it was just that small. Officially, what we call 'reindeer' are actually caribou. In the world of deer and elk, caribou really are fairly tiny, though they do get much bigger than that shrimpy little thing I saw in Park City.

With Christmas just days away, I can barely contain my excitement, let alone my children. The more excited they get, the naughtier they become. My oldest daughter, Lilly, tends to get sick to her stomach when she is over stressed, so she spent today on the couch with a bucket and a towel, watching Christmas movies over and over. By this afternoon, though, she was running amok with the rest of my little trouble makers.

As a parent at Christmas time, I am always amazed at the intelligent questions my children ask, and everyone has their own answer for all of them. For example, my son wanted to know why Santa uses reindeer instead of horses to pull his sleigh. He thinks he should use horses. And my daughter wanted to know how they even fly at all, because she sees deer eating the grass over on the golf course near her preschool all the time, but she's never seen any of them fly. They just run away. And what's up with Rudolph the 'red nosed reindeer?'. While all my children are wild eyed with belief in Santa Claus and his elves, both of my oldest children suspect Rudolph to be quite the tall tale. No body's nose actually glows.

The first question is the easiest and most logical answer. Reindeer are the closest thing to a pack animal that Santa can get in the North Pole. I mean, lets face it. Polar bears might be strong, cute and really fuzzy. But they're impossible to tame, and more likely to eat Santa than to obey his commands. Aside from that, the reindeer exhibit incredible endurance and stamina; a trait that is essential on Christmas Eve night.

The second question, how do reindeer fly, is arguably the most difficult to answer. It's also the part where the magic comes in.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, weeds can be just as pretty or lacy or detailed as the flowers that we plant on purpose? I daresay that this comes in handy all the time during the summer. Anything in my flower bed is a 'looking flower' and anything that grows on the grass or in the strip of parking dirt next to our house is a 'picking flower.' In the summer time, my window sills are overflowing with glasses full of water and morning glories, milk weed, blowing flowers, and any other thing my children might find pretty.

Ragwort is a weed that has long been thought poisonous, though it's leaves have many healing qualities for shallow wounds and bruises. For the Faeries, though, ragwort is pretty significant. Often, they bury their gold beneath ragwort plants, and most incredibly, stalks of this weed are used as horses when they want to fly. (Remember, not all Faeries have wings.) One Cornish man was said to have ridden one of these stalks to Faerie land and back by using the magic words "Horse and hattock!"

It is my understanding that while the reindeer are impeccably groomed and fed at the workshop in the North Pole, living more like treasured pets than livestock, they are fed small amounts of ragwort with their oats or hay from Hallows Eve on so that by Christmas time, they can gallop through the air without any trouble at all. However, this is not something I would recommend to folks at home. Dosage is very important, and ragwort is in no way a proper food group for your animals. Besides, it generally is believed only to work for Faeries. Unless you are a Faerie, it is best not to tempt tragedy.

The last question is probably mostly just a let down, though I tend to find it fascinating. Easily enough, the reindeer known to us by the name of Rudolph, simply happens to be an albino reindeer like the one pictured above. His nose, because of his albino nature, is actually a pinkish color, though it doesn't glow so much as it stands out. Further more, Rudolph tends to have a simply amazing sense of direction. Seeing in the fog isn't really a necessity when you have an animal that just always to know where he is at all times. It's like a built in GPS.

It doesn't really matter what you tell your children, but they will all eventually ask the same questions. It's always good to have a source to go to for the real answers, though, isn't it? If you believe that apples and carrots help keep Rudolph's nose shiny and effective, then by all means, leave apples and carrots as a midnight snack for him. But don't forget Dasher, Dance, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. Because they work just as hard.

This year, we're going to be spending Christmas with my husband's family. I'm sure that on Christmas Eve, when we lay out the milk and cookies for Santa, and place a handful of pretty, happy looking yellow flowers into a glass of water, everyone else will think they are just pretty decoration. But maybe our flowers will help keep those reindeer flying throughout the night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ANOTHER entry-per-comment giveaway comin' up for the New Year!

Here's to 2010 being better than 2009! Stay tuned for news on the matter and what the prize will be!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Naughty Faerie

This morning, once breakfast was cleared and the television was blasting jovially from the living room, I had to pause and yell at my children, for the fourth time so far to stop doing flips on the couch, that it wasn't a trampoline, and they were going to hurt themselves. I may or may not have thrown in something more poignant like "Santa's watching you!" or "Do you want an ONION in your stocking?" In the mean time, my son, who is sick, but still acting like a maniac, took a flying leap off the arm of the couch, flipping in the air at the exact moment that my oldest daughter propelled herself off the other arm, feet first. They screamed in unison, startling my youngest daughter, who was climbing onto a chair in order to reach the plate of peppermint fudge that the neighbors had brought over the night before, and she fell onto her blessed little diaper padded bottom instead of reaching the counter.

After tears were dried, kisses and hugs were given, and I had sufficiently scolded them for misbehaving, I asked them a question that my mother asked me, her mother asked her, and so on, into the depths of our family tree. "What was that about?" In unison, my little soprano voiced angels sniffed "The Naughty Faerie!"

We have all had our run-ins with the Naughty Faerie, who does indeed have a name besides the Naughty Faerie, but since names are dear and sacred in the Faerie realm, to us he is known only this way. Like Jack Frost, the Naughty Faerie is one of a kind. It is not a race of Faeries such as Pixies or Sprites or Kelpies. He is only himself, and he is there whenever a person, particularly a child, is doing something they are not supposed to do, and he causes the inevitable outcome, which is what my children affectionately call an 'owie'. Most of the time, the Naughty Faerie is pretty harmless. A small cut, a bump on the head, scraped knees, etc. But if you're being really naughty, he might give you a broken arm, or a ride in an ambulance.

At the moment, I know you're thinking that he sounds like a particularly horrible fairy to have around the house, and you want to know what charms to hang around so that he will banish himself forever from your home and leave you and your children to misbehave in peace. But when I've told you what I know, I doubt you will judge him so harshly. I will not send him from my home, and if I shouldn't, neither should you. My reason is only one, and it is simple: I believe in Santa Clause.

As with many faeries, it is impossible to talk about one without involving another. In order to convey the spirit of the Naughty Faerie, I must divulge a little about our dearest and most favorite Faerie, Santa Claus, even though his story is yet to come.

On a broader scale, if one is to fully understand Santa, the Naughty Faerie and his elves, one must understand Faeries in general. The problem with this is that even someone like myself, or on an even more expert level, Brian Froud, doesn't understand them to a 't'. Faeries are always changing, always rearranging, always becoming something they're not. And Faeries always have impossible rules. They have codes and morals that make no sense to us as humans, and they adhere to them with explicit perfection. For example, a Faerie gives no gift for free. None of them have any sense of charitable generosity. They have many magical powers that can heal or hurt, give or remove. They can be very generous and leave someone with greater things than they could ever ask for. But beware, because a Faerie will always retaliate and ask for a favor in return. It could be immediate, or it could be decades away. And they almost always ask for something impossible to give, like your teeth, or your memories, or your first born. And when the recipient of a Faerie gift refuses their request, they are subject to more debt. The wisest way to deal with a Faerie is to refuse any gift they might offer. A bowl of cream and a spoonful of honey might seem a very small price to pay for a Brownie who will clean your home top to bottom. But the repercussions one might suffer for paying him incorrectly are worse than scrubbing a floor on your own hands and knees. And always remember this: NEVER let yourself be tricked into thinking that YOU have the FAERIE at your mercy.

One can imagine that, if a human can get into unfathomable debt with the Faerie Folk, their world is heavy with it. Each Faerie owes a hundred other Faeries dozens of favors. But it's alright because a hundred Fairies totally different from the first hundred owe the first Faerie dozens of favors. It's a vicious cycle that just goes on and on for eternity. Humans are the only ones who are really trapped by this, and it is because of our steep sense of morality. We owe. We must pay. Faeries just keep tallying up more debt because, while they know they will never pay it off, they know that none of the others will either. And their wrath is lost on one another.

And so our story begins here.

Santa Claus, who also has many names, and none of us truly know which one is real, is what one would call 'High Sidhe' (pronounced Shee). The courts are a complicated hierarchy, and I would rather not waste time explaining the difference between classes here, however, I will say that the High Sidhe are rather important Faeries. We know this because 1. They are all human sized, and sometimes larger- The Ghost of Christmas Present for example. The more important a Faerie is, the larger they become in stature. The pretty little winged things that you see flitting from flower to flower like they are honey bees are of little to no consequence in the land of Faerie. 2. They often display morals that are normally only inherent to humans. Most of them, including the Queens who are arguably the most important of all, only manifest these morals for a brief moment during, say, an act of pity or forgiveness and then move along to being amoral, hedonistic little things that spread havoc wherever they go. They are much more powerful than the other, smaller Faeries, but they generally don't concern themselves with frivolous things like tying hair in knots or making milk go sour. For a rough comparison, a faerie of the High Sidhe nature is one that would be, in our world, of Royal birth, but not a King or Queen himself.

Santa Claus has always been an exceptional type of High Side. Of course, I wasn't there. I am mortal. But I know many stories.

You may be familiar with something called "The Kneeling Santa". If you are not, a picture is provided above. I was very happy to receive an early gift of it from my mother a few days ago. Ours is nestled very pleasantly beneath our tree, surrounded by dozens of Christmas gifts for our children. As a child, this representation was proof to me that Santa Claus is a Mormon. Now, I laugh a little at my innocent heart and revel in my new found understanding. I do not know what religion Santa is, or if he claims one at all. But I know he was there in that stable, and that he knelt at sweet baby Jesus' feet. In all of that baby Christ's glory, a Fairy, who must have looked quite a bit younger 2000 years ago, had a mighty change of heart.

From what I understand, Santa had no immediate plans when he came away from the stable that night. After all, he was a Faerie and existed on a totally different plane. He was bright of eye, loud of laugh, extravagant and unrestrained. He had (and still has) many friends in the Faerie land, and he wracked up his debt against others, and they wracked up theirs against him. But Christ's life was short to a Faerie, and his ministry, which lasted only 3 years, was unbelievably minuscule. And while other Faeries hardly took notice, the one we now call Santa Claus took every word to heart. I daresay he understood in perfect clarity the sacrifice that was made by our Savior.

Some may be surprised to hear of Santa being a Faerie. Some of you might not believe in him at all. (Which is why you have to put your OWN presents under the tree on Christmas eve, I might add.) But he is, and at the moment, it is not important. We will talk about our revered friend in a later post. Tonight, is about the Naughty Faerie.

No one knows, actually, what exactly the Naughty Faerie is. For the most part, he is strictly invisible to us. I see a lot of faeries every day, but in my whole life, I've never even caught a glimpse of him. What we do know is that the Naughty Faerie started out as an exceptionally mean little thing. He has always loved to play malignant and impish tricks, particularly on children. He was also so sure of himself that he wracked up a pretty hefty load of favors that he owed to Santa Claus. Several lifetimes worth, in fact. And when the young Saint Nicholas approached the mean spirited Naughty Faerie with forgiveness in his heart and an intention to remove his debt, the little monster was flabbergasted!
Why? Why would someone DO such a thing? He himself intended to collect every single debt every other Faerie owed to him. In his curiosity, and a little bit out of animosity, the Naughty Faerie counted up all his debts owed to Nicholas and followed him, determined to repay it all. His intention was negative and spiteful. But Nicholas was patient, and he was different. So, with that famous twinkle in his eye, and a joyous, youthful laugh, he agreed to let his impish friend stay with him in his quest to bring the world a small bit of good, sentiment and relief, but the Naughty Faerie himself had to keep the tally. Santa wasn't going to do it. For hundreds of years, while he chipped away at his debt, the Naughty Faerie listened to Santa Claus' stories. He listened and watched his affinity for small children. He was fascinated, and thrilled and horrified all at the same time. Mostly, he was horrified because he had come to adore and revere this Man he once called a Faerie like himself. Even more, he believed his stories and began to glorify in the truth of Jesus Christ.
After many lifetimes of simply working to pay back his debt, it was suddenly gone. The Naughty Faerie was free. And quietly, without a pause, he moved on to his next duty, cementing his desire to stay and change his fate.
Being a Faerie, and a mean one at that, the Naughty Faerie still has to abide by Faerie rule. He is not so in control of his own soul that he can become completely and inherently good, as Santa Claus has. But instead, he uses his innate urge to play tricks, to tease, and to cause calamity, to gently (usually) warn all people, but mostly children, that they are on the wrong track. I daresay he enjoys his job just a little too much. But he is, in fact, a Faerie, and we must cut him some slack.
Something we also must not forget is that Santa Clause, though immensely good and obviously symbolic of someone much greater, is also a Faerie. He cannot escape all his Faerie natures. He still asks for milk and cookies in exchange for gifts on Christmas eve, though, if you forget, he'll still forgive you and leave presents anyway. And most importantly, he asks us to be good. Not just to behave, but to be good. The way Christ would want us to be. That is the spirit of Christmas. Furthermore, he knows that children cannot possibly be good all the time. The Naughty Faerie keeps his lists for him, and tallys up his tricks. It's just a Faerie rule that Santa can not escape. If one is severely naughty, he can not, in good concience, leave presents and stockings full of candy. But if that Naughty Faerie does his job the way he should, Santa sees no crime in counting the slight bump, scrape, or bruise as punishment enough for your bad behavior. And he can still bring you presents.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Working on my book

I just want to let everyone know that I am so thankful for you! I am thankful for my readers and for the feedback you give me.

Thank you, also, for your continued patience with me. I work very hard on my posts, and I research and edit and rewrite each piece (except the last one about Queen Mab. It's not right. It was written very late and I was out of inspiration, so it is missing much emotion and style.) and it takes me near a week each time. I have many things I want to show you and tell you. I want to know what YOU want to hear about, and what kinds of faeries you want to learn of. Remember, though, that faeries, even the beautiful ones, are dangerous, terrifying beings. They are fickle, and strange, and though some are insanely pretty, they are still weird and deformed looking. The ones that are malicious are not to be trifled with. Please don't be disappointed if a faerie you hold dear to your heart, by my observation, turns out to be treacherous.

At the time being, I am studying hard, researching and observing faeries in their natural habitat. It takes great patience, much discretion, and a crazy amount of luck. Over the next few years, I plan on gathering enough data to publish a book- a field guide- if you will, of faeries and all the wonderful, terrifying, horrific and brilliant things about them. My blog is my drawing board, and I appreciate ANY feedback you have for me. Right now, I am elbow deep in notes, and it may be a while before I am able to post any lengthy entry.

Until then, which I hope is soon, Merry Christmas. I wish you the best of the season. (And by the way, if you want Winter Court to grace your home with magic this season, you may want to do away with that charming ball of Mistletoe. It kills them. Just an FYI.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Winter Court, and Mab, it's queen.

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show."- Andrew Wyeth

Two nights ago, my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Of course, we spent the evening consulting with other faeries in their quaint little store, housing books, trinkets and various articles of clothing designed specifically for the purpose of dazzling the fey with an eye for something glittery, which excludes none of us.

The drive home was long, as we live in a fairly rural area, and the good shopping is an hour away. Even on the freeway, we oozed along at 30 miles per hour due to the raging blizzard that so calmly flitted around us, slicking the road to sleek slides of ice. The world was a silent sanctuary, the mountains, a temple. The bare trees crystallized with their arms open wide for the arrival of their most blessed queen, their rest, their refuge. Mab, in her gentle, quiet, and blatant way, ushered in her court, her lords, her ladies. Winter was finally in full bloom.

It is always hard to discuss the Winter Court without comparing it to Summer Court, and vice verse. While the two are always in contrast, they are also inseparable, because without one, the other would simply cease to exist. In such a paradox, the two are indeed sisters, if you will, and that makes things, on a general basis, much more civil.

Queen Mab, to me, is the essence of everything refined. She is tall in stature, long of neck, and straight of shoulder, breast, hip and leg. Her hair is long, coarse, and just as straight as the rest of her, though it looks to be downy white with a glimmer of silver, not from age. She has a pointed little nose, and a pointed little chin with a smile that continually plays at the right corner of her mouth. But it is a secret that she will never let loose. She prefers white, but can often be seen in rich red, with poinsettias or holly braided into her long locks.

In the winter, the world turns to glass, and bone. Everything stops, sleeps, dreams. She is the hostess of a grand ball, where the children, though invited, mustn't' touch all the splendid, glowing, effervescent things that adorn a rich home. Queen Mab is a welcoming, but strict woman, who speaks very little, so as not to disturb the peace of the ever falling snow, while Queen Titania is boisterous in her laughter, and soft feminine curves, with caramel hair that tends to be as out of control and wild as she is. The winter court is more subtle in their indulgences, their seductions. The Summer faeries are largely attracted to sex and drunkenness, but the most obvious of the Winter Court's debauchery is gluttony. Faeries rarely watch what they eat, and usually don't have to for health's sake. But for all of Summer's lovely fruits and nectars, nothing compares to the sweets of Winter's festivities.

There have always been harsh representations attached to Winter and it's Court. In literature, Winter represents the end of things. A life, a time period. It represents death, Hell, evil, darkness, and so on. But Winter isn't about death and Hell. Some destruction goes on, and of course, the dark things of the night still lurk in the shadows with fangs ready for a coat of blood, but Summer possesses her own fair share of those too. Destruction is just what happens.

Winter is about peace. It's about what's real. When everything else that is beautiful on the outside, is plentiful and abundant reveals itself to be an illusion, and it's down to the skeleton, what is left is what matters. Sometimes, what is left is rage and depression. But more often, what is left is real warmth. Real creativity. And real love.

In the spring, new life appears. Mother Earth conceives and spews forth a bounty of fruit and harvests. She adorns herself with the silky colors of flowers and trees, and the blue cloak of the sky. The rivers over flow with Winter's last gift, hopefully to remain wet throughout the heat of the next six months. Fish make their pilgrimage back to the spawning pools. Infant creatures of every ilk begin to make noise as beautiful as it is deafening. Summer Court is always wanting to create. It creates life for all the human, animal and supernatural worlds. The faeries here are lovely and inviting. They want children, they want love. But mostly they want lust. They are easier to fluster and anger than a Winter Court faerie, and more likely to exact revenge. And they are jealous.

From cotton, to dandelion fluff balls, to the white blossoms on apple trees, Summer exudes their jealousy over winter. In all their abundant, beautiful, brilliant creativity, they are never satisfied. Many of their arts are more detailed and complicated than Winter's limited expression. Their clime is livelier, more colorful, and sturdier than Winter's. Snowflakes are one of a kind, and so detailed in their tiny forms that sometimes, it is overwhelming to try to follow the delicate pattern. But Summer feels they must have it. They can never be satisfied in being what they are, and though they know the point of it is useless, they must ever try to mimic Winter. And not just because Winter possesses the precious, priceless snowflake, but because it owns a peace that the Summer court will never know. Even in the most lush and secluded meadows, during Summer reign, the place is busy with life and sound. Grass does not wave in the wind without sound. Birds tend their young with happy chirps and beetles and crickets bustle about, and sing lullabies as dusk settles. A lullaby is a sort of calm, yes. But nothing is as silent as a deep, fresh snowfall.Summer court is always becoming more complicated. It is intricate in it's life. Whenever a new life emerges from the sticky dew of the egg or womb, things become more hectic. Any mother knows this, be she human or faerie or animal. The more life there is, the more there is to do.

Winter, on the other hand, does not create. They survive. They have what is left over and are left to make it thrive. When Summer inevitably begins to sleep, though they hold on as though they are drowning, and her creativity ebbs, Winter is ready for things to be hard. And they get that way all the time. Summer is complicated. Winter is hard. And the blessed creatures of Winter court make it bearable with their merry festivals and feasts. They are not without seduction or romance, as one who finds love in Winter is likely to keep it. There are no bedazzlements, no charms, no spells to make it anything but what it is. It's just raw, blatant. They are happy and just do what they do without trying to beat Summer out of it's glory.

In the mean time, we have a family of mice who have come into our basement for refuge from Queen Mab. They have found our food storage, and felt that they were entitled. All around us, the busy, colorful, loud little creatures of Summer (and humans, if they were faeries, would largely attend to Queen Titania.) will dig themselves into the ground, or take shelter in a human home for awhile, while Winter's Queen and her beautiful, content subjects spread out a blanket of rest for them.

To some, my dear friends, the winter faeries seem cold, callous and hard. But they just can't see the whole story.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just for fun

I have some really excellent posts and histories comin' up friends. Especially for Christmas. There is so much I want to tell you about the "Naughty Faerie", Santa Clause, the reindeer and of course "Rudolph" the red nosed reindeer. Pixies, too, are on the agenda. Those are some tricky, rather scary little creatures and it makes me a little nervous to get too close to them. So, in the mean time, here are a few pictures for you to enjoy!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unicorns don't care if you believe in them any more than you care if they believe in you.

We bought our dog, Hunter, from the Humane Society of Utah in April, just before my daughter's fourth birthday. He is the third dog we've tried to have in the house. The very first was Luna, a pure bred Alaskan Malamute that looked like a wolf as opposed to a dog and was just about as smart. Luna didn't bark. When she needed to go out, she used her nose to ring a bell that was hung around the door knob. She was completely housebroken. But when she was displeased with us, like when my husband and I would go for a night out without her and leave her with Lilly and the baby sitter, she would wait until we came home, and pee on the carpet right in front of us to show us her irritation. She soon went to live with my husband's father who has a vast back yard and planned to mate her with a half wolf.

A year and a half later, we adopted Sprocket. After Luna, I wanted something that wouldn't shed as well as something that was dumber and would maybe play fetch instead of give me the cold shoulder if I didn't give her table scraps. I also wanted something smaller. At a local pet store, we fell in love with an adorably chubby cock-a-poo, all white curls and stubby wagging tail. And we went too much in the opposite direction. Luna was too big and too smart. Sprocket was small enough, but he was dumber than a sack of hammers. He would never stay in the yard, though it had a 5 foot fence. He would Mario jump against the back of the house and climb over the fence that way. When I got pregnant with Scarlet and was sick enough that I couldn't handle chasing the dumb thing around the neighborhood anymore, we gave him to a lady with another cock-a-poo. She had 8 foot brick walls around her yard.

It was nearly 2 years before I even THOUGHT about getting another dog. My husband, though, has always felt like our family was incomplete without one, and when my mom brought home a tiny, 1 1/2 pound chihuahua puppy that she called Bronwen, I took my kids on biweekly visits to the animal shelters in the area. I had several requirements. 1. I was NOT spending more than 75.00 on a dog again. The other two both cost between 600-1000 dollars, and I wasn't going to blow another tax return on an animal that might turn out to be a flop again. 2. The animal had to be good with children. Duh. 3. It HAD to be house broken.

For two weeks, I took my children on the rounds. There were 3 different shelters in the area we live in, and I went to all of them twice a week. There were always different dogs, but most of them had been turned in to the shelters for not being house broken, not getting along with other animals or children, or there was no reason at all, which I found disconcerting.

Each time we went to the Humane Society, we walked past the dogs who would bark and jump at the chain link gates. The ones who were old or depressed and would sit in their soiled cage, curled up into balls and sleep their lives away. Every time, near the end of our visit, we would come around the corner and approach the furthest back wall, where the dogs who had been fostered stayed. As we rounded the bend, each dog would quietly walk to the gate, sit down, and with his tongue hanging down over his teeth and chops, a grin would spread across his doggy face, panting with canine excitement.

Hunter wasn't the first dog I looked at. There were others. Girl dogs. I was under the impression that a female dog wouldn't mark any territory like boys do. And then I was reminded of Luna, who marked EVERYTHING even though she was a girl. But there were Black Labs, who my son would jab a fat finger at and call "Dark Vader", and there were pit bulls, who I skipped past faster than I would have a terrier sized scorpion. There were Golden Retrievers and Jack Russel Terriers too. But Hunter, from the time we saw him there, his nose, which was an endearing brown color instead of black like most dogs, turned up toward us, his light brown eyes doing the begging sweetheart thing, his ears all droopy, just had a light about him. Yes, he looked like he had a halo.

Hunter is a Brittany Spaniel with some sort of other dog mixed into him. He was about 3 years old, and when we took him out to the yard to play with him, he was gentle, obedient, and answered to his name, even when our children called him. He was house broken, and was great with other dogs and children, just not cats. Which is fine, because, like most Fae, I am deathly allergic to cats and cannot have one.

Since we brought this dog home, he has been nothing but perfect. We have never had an accident in the house, he stays in the yard, and he only occasionally barks at the cat across the road. He DOES like to bury things in our back yard, but even that is nothing compared to the pleasantness this dog has lent to our home.

It never really ceases to amaze me how loyal a dog can be, and how he can love you to a fault, even when he's been left all day in a silent, still house without a doggy-door and still "held it". He still protects the child who pulls his hair and slobbers on his ears. He still loves you, even when you spank his nose for stealing the baby's cookie, or when you make him stay outside because a house guest is allergic to dogs. (For the record, it's usually demons that are allergic to dogs, but not always. Humans have a tendency for that too...but it's something to watch for.) There is an excellent reason for a dog to be called "Man's best friend" and an even better reason that dogs are the only animal who truly carry that title.

It is an old story. One that mixes both the spiritual realm and the Faerie realm. Some say that the Fae are spirits who were too good to follow Satan and his third of the Hosts Of Heaven, but not good enough to follow Christ and the two thirds that glorified Him. These people say that they have no souls. Some say that they are the children of Lilith, who was Adam's first wife. When Lilith partook of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, Adam refused to partake as well, and she was cast out of the Garden alone to bear her strange, demented, terrifying children. More aptly believed by the skeptics and scientists of our time, the Faeries are only stories inspired by the Tuatha de Dannon who were the pre Celtic inhabitants of Ireland. They fled to the moors and the forests to hide from the Celts who invaded Ireland from Spain. I believe that God created everything, and that anything that can make a choice for itself does indeed have a soul and, therefore, if it chooses good over evil, will belong to God in the end anyway, no matter where they came from.

When God had finished his eons of creation, placing light and dark, water and air, earth and sky in their respective domains, He placed the animals, as well as man in the Garden of Eden. Among those animals were Hippogriffs, Griffins, Drakes, Chupacabra, and Basilisks, along with hundreds of other fantastical animals, including the majestic Unicorn.

I find it trite and cliche to believe that the animals were at all sentient. They supposedly lived in harmony and peace with one another, and they never harmed Adam or Eve. But the souls of animals are still lesser intelligences, even animals of the Faerie realm, which are usually referred to as "Wild Fae". Just as animals do not now talk through telepathy, or through a voice as they do sometimes in the theatre, they didn't talk then. Though, that knowledge should never be used to underestimate any animal's ability to communicate or understand another living creature. Indeed, they have better senses than we do about things. They can smell fear. They can smell the good in people or, in contrast, the wickedness in people. They can smell death, even, if it is in the near future. Man has always been known to block out those kinds of senses. Even from the beginning. If he hadn't, perhaps Adam and Eve would still be in that garden, blissfully and innocently naked as they tended their personal paradise.

That being said, the fact that a serpent was talking to Eve should have been the first tip off that something was wrong. But Eve, though innocent was intelligent. And she knew that in order to fulfill all of Gods commandments (i.e. multiply and replenish the earth) she would have to let herself be reduced to a mortal. She would have to suffer pains and afflictions, uncertainties and even eventual death in order to fulfil her end of the deal. All I know is that the devil was in the skin of something she once was able to trust. And trust is a virtue that many humans have grown out of and altogether lost at this point in time. I do not blame her.

One can imagine that an all seeing God would know the instant that the juice of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge flowed over the gums of Adam and Eve. And so in that instant, all the known animals became mortal, and in essence, natural. They became like the earth, and just did what came easily, which meant that they ate each other. They began to hunt. And that made them a sort of enemy to man.

The dog, however, watched with his big round eyes as the animals scattered, and Adam fell to his knees in a moment of despair, dropping the forbidden fruit to the soft grass, even in the instant that it sprouted thorns as long as his arm. And the dog stayed. In an effort to comfort the man who had always been his friend, his companion, began to lick the juice from Adams fingers until they were slick with the lack of it. And so it was that man's best friend became so because to the smallest degree he understands the darkness that flooded into Adam's heart that day. And the tradition continues on. An animal of the wild can be born in captivity or taken as a baby and taught to trust man. But a dog trusts his master and loves him unconditionally from the day of his birth.

The Unicorn is a more complicated story. While the other wild Fae ran away like the other animals and found their place among the fantastic and sprightly creatures who hid themselves from man altogether. But the Unicorn, like the dog, stayed and stared at Adam through red, flaming eyes. It's mane and tail had become fiery orange and burned with the fury of Hell itself before it galloped off to find sanctuary in a place that man would never find.

Much traditional lore about the Unicorn is based on the theory that a Unicorn is the embodiment of purity. They say that only the purist of hearts can touch them. A virgin, in most cases, seems to be the type. Healing magic flows from it's spiraling horn, and they are always white. Some lore says that they are vessels of knowledge. And that very well may be so, but as I mentioned before, they are animals, just like any other. And what knowledge they posses stays within their own mind.

The truth of the matter is that some of the lore is right. And some of it is just misinterpretation. Unicorns are, in fact, the embodiments of purity, but they can be any color. They represent everything that is good and right in this world. Peace, harmony, emotion, strength, light. Love, even. The thought that only a virgin can touch a Unicorn is ludicrous, but then again, the idea that there is a pure enough human at all is even more ludicrous. The Unicorn is indeed a spirit of purity. But it is not in any way a spirit of forgiveness. That is the Lamb's place.

As much as the Unicorn is the spirit of purity, it is also the spirit of justice. And it will change it's form when an occasion arises to use it. A Nightmare is often mistaken for the angel of death at worst, and a bad omen at best. Really, the only bad omen is that the Unicorn knows your innermost workings and thinks you a fool, if not completely unworthy. But if I were to look a Nightmare in the eye, I would rethink my lifestyle. He is, of sorts, one of God's judges. But he is only a warning. The Unicorn rarely gets the final say. Still, the Nightmare isn't something i would provoke.

In ancient worlds, the Unicorn was able to roam more freely. They galloped in herds across great wild spaces. There were fewer people to see it, and if a person did see it, they were struck with a sense of reverence an awe. An experience of this degree wasn't something an ancient Celt, for example, would soon forget, or write off as imaginary.
Today, though, there is much to be said for denial. Most people live in it's murky darkness day in and day out. They don't recognise the blatant magical entities that often stare them in the face. For the Unicorn, this is both good and bad. For one, it lets them continue to exist. Someone catching sight of the creature may just as easily imagine it to be a very large and beautiful horse, and miss the spiraling peak against it's forehead altogether. On the other hand, a person who does see a Unicorn and recognises it for what it truly is, is just as likely to try to catch it, kill it, and study it, as they are to ignore it. It makes the world a dangerous place for these titans.

Unicorns are also unique in the fact that they claim no allegiance to Winter Court or Summer Court. They exist everywhere all the time. And they are not limited to Europe as some original lore tells. One can find Unicorns wherever there are wild horses. They tend to lead heards of them, and horses seem obliged to follow.
My husband has family that lives in a place called Delta, Utah. His uncle has made a living out of catching wild horses, breaking them, and selling them once they are the gentle creatures whose demeanor brings to mind an oversized dog. He is a strong man, and his presence demands attention. It's something a Unicorn would respect. He is also a very good man, and it says a lot about his soul that he has seen a half a dozen Unicorns in his lifetime, and none of them have turned Hell's Fury at him.

Not many people will ever experience the thrill of seeing a Unicorn on the run. And even fewer will see the sheer fright of breath breathed from the muzzle of a Nightmare on a cold night. But in our loyal dogs, we have a comfort that not even the Unicorn's judgement can give us. No one is perfect, and even the purest man or woman is unworthy to touch a Unicorn. If we lived our lives within the judgement of the Unicorn, we would all lose hope. In our darkest moment of sort-of failure, God gave us dogs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Congratulations to our contest winner!!!

Mike Jeffery! Congratulations! I will contact you for further deatails on your wings!

And thank you so much to everyone else for your support and time in reading and responding to my posts! I hope you have enjoyed my blog and my vast imagination. It is one of my favorite things to do, and I hope you continue to come and visit me often!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Questions for my friends and readers.

To find the exact answer, one must first ask the exact question. ~ S. Tobin Webster

Question #1. If you win this contest, what kind of wings will you request?

Question #2. If I could snap a picture of ANY kind of Faerie, be they centaurs, elves, pixies, stray-sods, red-caps, leprechauns, etc. and post it on here, which ones would you prefer?
Question #3. What kinds of faeries would you like me to write about in the future, and what kind of questions do you have about them?

“Frost is the greatest artist in our clime - He paints in nature and describes in rime” - Thomas Hood

It was coming. I knew it was. I felt it as early as August as though it were just out of sight. If I turned my head quickly enough, I might have seen it perched at my shoulder like my conscience. Like, in trite description, a guardian angel.

But while I tasted the sweet teasing of my Autumn in apples, pears and pumpkin bread, crunched through it on curly yellow leaves and dropped nuts, Summer Court held on as though it would never have another turn. In the last two weeks, the blue of the sky was not crisp. It looked like you could dip your hand in it's luke-warm depth and swirl it around to make ripples wriggle across it like some kind of summer swimming hole. I had to shake a finger at it and tell them SHAME! After all, it is November. Winter starts in just a few weeks. Alas, the sky just smiled through it's ripples and I had no choice but to let my children revert to their barefoot, bare armed ways as they brought me, by the minute, dandelions and "blowing flowers."

Not 4 days ago, a field of these fairy umbrellas fluffed across our yard as though they were snow drops that refused to melt. Silly summer fairies trying to emulate our snowflake pixies. Summer has it's beauties. Summer has it's promises of a fertile mother earth with colors and flowers in shapes that should be impossible. They do a lot of things that stimulate and represent change for the better, transcendence and hope for the future. But there is nothing they have that can quite meet the perfect stillness and immaculate peace of an evening spent in the silence of falling snow.

But these puffs of cotton clearly belong to summer, and so it was that I began to wonder where my handsome, impish, delightful winter friend could be. How long would I ache for his arrival? How long would I yearn for his scent to numb my nostrils and turn my breath to white, smoky curls of air heated by my body, only to be replaced with the cold North Wind himself?

On Sunday, my girls and I walked our way to church and took our coats off half way there because it was too warm. On the way home, they ran across grass and plucked up purple pansies that continue to grow in my front garden despite my refusal to tend the beds. And there was nothing else to do but wait. One cannot rush Jack Frost. One can always rely on him to show up and create the doorway for winter. But he is a rogue. He is the stuff of Holiday romance and the subtle freshness of kissing. He is some kind of seducer, and we would all gladly have him.

Jack can also be permanently relied upon to leave. He is fickle, and his stay is short and unannounced. One must be constantly aware in order to catch him. And then his presence is precious and fleeting.

This morning, stumbling down the stairs at dawn with my children already rowdy as they dragged their blankets, teddy bears, baby dolls, and light sabers to the breakfast table, my skin was stung with the intense cold of a winter morning. I was near shaking with excitement as I poured coco puffs and milk into plastic bowls before running to the back door. My excuse was that my dog needed to go out, but in reality, I was looking for him. I knew his feeling from a thousand visits. I knew his smell and his hands along my skin. And I felt positively scandalous as my dog crunch-crunched his soft padded paws across the yard, wetting his fur with the dew of my one and only Jack Frost. Within the hour, though the sting of the air clung on, the white fuzz on the grass was gone, and droplets gleamed like diamonds in it's place.
I of course, being of Fae blood, have been graced with Jack's human form more than once. A reliable description would be that of Peter Pan's, though Jack is several years older, a mature, but young and spritely figure with wild eyes of ice blue, a sharp nose, and hair the color of an orange flame on the hearth, soft and out of control below a hood of goblin-make, brown and the green of fir trees. His ears are long and come to a point. He has an impish gap between his two front teeth, with which he whistles like a bird that sits among the ice encased branches of a tree that has shed all it's leaves. But Jack does not fly. He dons no wings. Instead, he leaps, blithe and graceful, in long bounds. I've seen him. And you, though likely strictly human, have probably seen him too.
Animals, of course, are magical creatures. Every single one of them from the great birds of prey to the tiniest of beetles. Every culture has tales. Every belief system hails it. But deer, in the winter, are the most magical of all. (There are many very specific reasons that Santa Claus uses deer as opposed to horses or oxen or wolves, or any other number of magical creatures. But that is a story yet to come.)
Jack Frost is a nocturnal creature. When the sun goes down, he will rest his ice across the ground, among branches, and over roads. And in the morning, he lets the sun drink it up. But he is everywhere. And when you drive in the early morning down a lonely road and see deer in the grass of a wide field, cloaked with a low rippling of clear, white fog. That is our friend Jack Frost. The young buck who puffs his chest out, unafraid and unyielding, all the while meeting his eyes to yours. And then he leaps away, hanging in the air just a smidgen too long as though he could fly away like a robin from a cold nest. Remember it, friends. This is his season.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The faerie wing contest starts at midnight tonight! Good luck everyone!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Blue Faerie.

Just some fun messin' around I've been doing. I liked these ones. I'm into blue lately. ~Shrug~


DATES FOR THE CONTEST: Monday, November 9- Saturday, November 14
Please tell your friends and family! Comments count on ANY of my posts- even the old ones. And EVERY comment counts!
I guarantee you will just adore your pair of custom authentic faerie wings!!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Dates to follow soon!!! Tell all your friends! This is the perfect way to receive a free pair of my gorgeous, hand made, authentic faerie wings! (also, to purchase, visit my etsy store at www.gossamerjewelbox.etsy.com)
For every comment made on my posts, you get an entry into the drawing. If you pass my blog or etsy site along to a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, you get another entry. (Be sure to post on my blog to let me know.)
The wings to be won can be of either medium or small size, of any color and shape. If you win, I will contact you and discuss your preferences. Medium wings look huge on children and adorable on adults. Tiny wings are just beautiful for children or brand new babies. I can also make dragon wings for boys.
Keep checking back to my blog, friends! I will let you know soon what the contest dates will be!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy. ~Alfred North Whitehead

I did not start this blog to convey any of my emotional issues, to brag about my mommier-than-thou accomplishments or my perfect children, or even to use it as an outlet for outbursts when I hold my temper against idiocies and ridiculous people for too long and then finally explode. I started it hoping to spark some kind of romance in people. ~eye roll~ Not the dirty mind-in-the-gutter kind, but the kind that every child believes in. True love. Fairies. Dragons. Demons. Healing. Magic. Light. It was all supposed to be embedded here, as I AM a fairy, and who better to show the way than one of the true 'folk'?

Unfortunately, for a time being, fairy season is out, as Winter Court Fae are much more subtle and therefore more difficult to encounter than Summer Court Fae- except of course that of Santa Claus, but my dear friend is a subject for later discussion. Summer fairies give way to the demons and goblins of Hollows Eve, and while goblins and ghouls and ghosts and demons are in fact Fae, they give us Winter Court faeries a bad name. (Again, I will set things straight when we discuss our sweet and compassionate mentor, Saint Nick.) Between now and the next month, there is always a lull while the creepy things of the never-never (fairy land) settle down from their long-winded and irrational banter. Beyond this time, we will be refreshingly graced by snowflake fairies, a handsome, mischievous, but romantic elf called Jack and eventually, the eternally rosy cheeked baby cake Cupid. Poor, poor misguided folks who always thought that the winter court were evil. Tsk, tsk. You must read and learn.

In the meantime, I am continually mesmerized and enthralled by my children, and the completely imbecile behaviors of politics, "ethics" and politically correctness. And as it is MY blog, you shall be enticed to endure my ravings about them until my comrades finally emerge from the yet unsettled winds of change. Both the good and the bad. The sad and hilarious. The lonely and overwhelming.

Thus, our story begins.

Lilly Saber Craig came to me in dreams before I was even pregnant with her. She looked always like a fat cheeked cherubim with eyes so dark you could drown in them. And when she was born, she was old and wise.

Lilly never warranted baby talk. She had a sarcastic glare, even from the beginning, and she let it be known when she was thoroughly unamused. Her language skills grew quickly, as well as her attention span. Neighbors and acquaintances were continually amazed when I told them her age. They always expected her to be much older because of her vocabulary and other skills that were similarly ahead of the curve.

It did not take me long to join the ranks. She felt older, looked older, and behaved older. I soon expected her to handle older responsibilities than she really should have. Nothing drastic, mind you. I did not ever expect her to do anything like clean toilets, or cook dinners. Obviously, I never left her alone. But, for example, if she were rowdy at an inopportune time, I was more irritated with her behavior than I might have been another child's. I identify greatly with my daughter, and am proud of her extreme headstrong personality and how outgoing she is.

As you can see, it is no surprise that she has always had elaborate plans for the future. Right now, her father, my dragon, is working toward becoming a doctor. He will someday (when our kids are in Junior High... ~eye roll~) become a pediatrician. Lilly, for a long time, wanted to be a doctor too. But she wanted to be the doctor who "helped mommies have babies." I have always tried to support my children in their dreams, even when they are unrealistic. Like when my son said he wanted to be Darth Vader. Naturally, I was thrilled about her choice.

Her career goals change on a regular basis, but two things have been constant since she was able to speak.

1. She wants to be a mommy. And I was informed at the beginning of this school year that she wants 10 children because 10 is her favorite number, and that I would be allowed to hold them and baby sit them while she goes on dates with her husband.

2. She wants to marry Brandon (the top most picture is of her kissing him.) Brandon is the oldest son of our dearest friends. He was named for my husband, and he is our god child. Lilly calls him her prince, and while she has had several other 'boyfriends' through preschool and her church classes, she always says "I'm going to marry Brandon, but so-and-so will do for now." She even has her entire wedding planned, down to the temple (thank goodness), the pale pink dress (Yay for unconventionality!), bright pink lilies, and a reception outdoors in the snow at Christmas time so she can use Christmas trees as decoration. (Don't worry. I, like you, am hoping for her tastes to change as she gets older.)

Both of these desires stir extreme pride in my heart. I have never wanted anything more than to be a mother. To many children. (A trait profoundly typical of faeries. I have not yet put my finger on what exactly it is that entices us so, but faeries will trade wishes, riches, favors, and many other valuable items in exchange for children. Obviously, this is not widely accepted by a loving parent, and so, often, they are spirited away in the absence of a parent, and replaced by a changeling.) Her desires validate me, because if SHE wants to be a mother, then I must be doing an alright job, and since there is nothing in this life that I have done that is more fulfilling, or more honorable, I naturally want her to experience the same thing.

I have mentioned in past posts that 2009 has been the worst year of my entire life. Never have I endured such stress and so much uncertainty about the future. I have been on the most terrifying end of two near tragedies, as I have mentioned in previous posts. But what I have not mentioned is that my children witnessed them first hand.

All three of my children were present and watching when I tried, and failed, to wake my parents from their carbon monoxide induced comas. They witnessed them being brought out by the paramedics on stretchers and loaded into ambulances. They saw the oxygen masks, the breathing tubes, the IVs and the bandages. They saw my mother spasm and shake uncontrollably and cough up voluminous amounts of clear liquids.

In September, Mahone and Lilly were the sole witnesses to my darling baby Scarlet's accident with the dresser and television. During the ordeal with the paramedics, Mahone smooshed himself as deep into a corner as he possibly could until a police man lured him out with promise of a video. Lilly screamed and cried and looked around in a panic, asking me if her sister was going to die.

It wasn't so much as I was failing to shelter my children as it was that I was the one in place to make the 911 calls and answer the questions of age, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, and other such inquiries. There I was. And where I go, they go too. Perhaps I do still blame myself. But thus is the curse of mothers.

We have tried to talk openly with the children about these things. We have taught them about ambulances, calling the police and 911. How they can help, and how they felt about the whole thing. In the hospital, a child specialist talked with them about their sister, and about what was going on.

They seemed to handle it alright for awhile. Once, Mahone drew red spots all over some dogs he was counting on his homework paper and said it was blood. Upon more discussion, I found that it was in relation to Scarlet's accident. He said "Next time, I won't cry." But it was okay to cry. I did. There were one or two other incidents of similar play, but mostly, I think Mahone has worked it out.

Lilly took a little longer, and I mistakenly let myself slip into a comfortable belief that she had no internal struggle.

Just a few short days before Halloween, I had put my babies to bed, and gone down stairs to veg out on the couch. It wasn't long before I heard soft footsteps, and a "Mommy, I'm sad." I easily discovered Lilly, perched on the top step, unspilled tears welling in her dark eyes. When I scooped her up, I asked her why she was sad, and she answered. "I don't want to ever be a mommy."

My hear immediately sank.

Well, why not? "Because I don't want what happened to Scarlet to happen to my kids."

As the days went on, I found that not only had she decided to not become a mother, she had also decided never to get married. Whenever we passed a temple, she would say "But I'm not going to get married. I'm just going to be a princess and live with you." On Halloween, she told me that if she had kids, then she would be down in the laundry room folding laundry when the tv fell down so that she could tell Scarlet "no no!" For a short moment, I thought she blamed me, that she thought that if I had been there, then this would never have happened.(Perhaps I still blame myself too.) My husband snapped me back into reality when he said that she blames herself.

Each night, just before we would tuck her in bed, Lilly would begin to cry, and we would assure her that she didn't need to worry about having children right now. After all, she's only four years old. And that if she didn't want kids, then she didn't have to have them.

One particular night, with Mahone and Scarlet both sound asleep, we spent a good half hour on the floor of the bathroom, snuggling her, telling her it was nobody's fault. That it wasn't HER fault. And that Scarlet was fine. Her daddy told her about when HE hit his head and needed stitches. I told her about my accident prone brother. Her daddy and uncle are both fine. But it did not slick her discomfort.

In desperation, I pleaded with God to help me find a way to comfort her. Admittedly, I wanted that particular brand of innocence restored so that she could continue being a dreamy little bride-worshiper who played with baby dolls and dreamed about becoming a mommy. But I really just wanted her to feel better.

When Lilly was just two years old and already in love with the idea of getting married, my mother sent her a book entitled "On Your Wedding Day" about a dad who is telling his daughter about when she gets married. It's adorable. And Lilly chose this for her bedtime story the night after the one spent crying on the bathroom floor. When the book reached the point about being married in the temple, Lilly's eye lit up for a moment and said "That's where I'm going to get married!!!" and then she threw in "But I'm not going to have kids."

Tears immediately swelled in her eyes and she started sobbing. Once more, I pulled her onto my lap and said "Lilly, it's not your fault."

She wiped her big old eyes with the back of her small hand, and sniffed "I should have told her No NO!"

My jaw dropped. I knew she blamed herself. But at that instant, hearing my precious four year old admit what weight she had been lugging around on her poor little heart for almost a month and a half almost made my own heart break. My answer was simple. "Lilly, you should have done no such thing. It was NOT your responsibility to watch your sister. This whole thing was an accident. It wasn't your fault, and it wasn't mommy's fault." (I know. I sometimes drive myself crazy with all the talking in 3rd person too, but it's just what we do to kids.) And so I continued. "Mommy made a mistake. I didn't know that she could get hurt, and I put the television on the dresser. I shouldn't have. Now, instead of worrying about your children, what you need to do is just not-" and she interrupted me with a HUGE grin on her face.

"I KNOW! When I have my 10 kids, I will just not put the tv on the dresser, and all the dress up clothes can go on the floor instead of in the drawers! I won't even have a tv up there!" I just smiled at her. Then she tapped her lips and said thoughtfully, "I should have thought about that yesterday before I whined to dad."

We finished her book about getting married, made more plans about the decor of her reception, and the way her wedding ring would look, and then she went to bed without any more tears. Fore the last few days, though, whenever she mentions her future, which is often, she says "when I have 1o kids and no dresser or tv...." - and believe me, this isn't something Lilly will ever forget.

They say time heals all wounds. But does it really? Lilly feels better. Her heart is whole. Her dreams are favorable now. But is she healed? She still screeches at me to PULL OVER MOMMY!!! whenever she hears an ambulance siren. She still tattles on Scarlet's every move that takes her feet off the floor. Either she's learned something from it, or she's going to be the most repressive, over protective mother this world has ever seen.

Still, I guess that's just what comes with being wiser than your years. You learn things quickly. You notice things that make you sad. And yet, my smarty pants little girl can still be a smart mouth. Just yesterday, while I was folding laundry, Lilly was lounging across a basket full of towels still warm from the dryer, and she asked me "Mommy, did you pick me?" I answered "You bet I did. And I picked Scarlet and Mahone too!" She thought for a minute and then said "Yeah...but WE just pick our noses."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cream of the crop.

There are hundreds of written accounts about faeries and their lust for cream and milk. A faerie may clean a house or mend shoes or tend the garden for a home that leaves a saucer of the thickest cream or the freshest milk on the door step.
Many a farmer has gone to his barn at the crack of dawn, only to find that his best milk cow has been sucked dry by a greedy bunch of pixies. The only way to stop such thievery is to hang a horseshoe made of iron above the door to the barn. I have a brother who manifests this faerie problem impeccably. Belt buckles, watches, and other such jewelry give him major rashes that leave his skin blistered and red before it fades to leave the skin without any pigment at all.
My husband, having learned all the effective techniques for keeping a faerie wife happy and able to resist the call of her embedded wander lust, has perfected the art of a proper offering.
One of the most delicious things in the world is a plain old half and half coffee creamer. I do not drink coffee, but I can't help myself whenever I am at a McDonald's or other restaurant where they serve coffee. I have to take a handful of creamers and savor every drop.
All Hollows Eve is yet days away, but just a few nights ago, my husband brought me a gallon of thick, spiced, creamy liquid gold known as Egg Nog. Mixed with just a little milk to thin it up, the smooth taste just tickles my mouth and gives me the most satisfying feeling.
With snow already frosting the leaf laden ground, pumpkins perched like bulbous orange owls along sidewalks, and my young changelings unable to contain their excitement for up coming trick-or-treating, the arrival of Egg Nog, for me, symbolizes the official beginning of the holiday season.
I adore Halloween. I can not wait to assist my little "Dark Vader" and "Princess Giselle" to their preschool party or see my youngest toddle up the stairs dressed like a gleaming red and blue super girl and say "twick-tweet" and ever so carefully choose her piece of candy. But already I drive down the wet road picturing the decorations that will be hung on the lamp post along main street, and the lights that will twinkle in the dark, decking every house that is a home.
My autumn was short, but I had it. And I devoured it. Now, on to even better things!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I do believe in Faeries! I do! I do!!

My son, while at the zoo today, informed me that he does NOT beleive in faeries. ~Wry look~

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol." ~steve Martin

I don't drink alcohol. Though, I'm almost always up for a good root beer.

My, my, the things that have been swirling around in my thick head lately. I had a whole essay planned for the Autumn Equinox that happened to be both inspiringly thought provoking and hilariously funny. However, that day happened to be a very intensely horrible day, and I wasn't around to write it.

This year, 2009, has been the absolute worst year of my life. I think that I can very safely and honestly say that.

The end of 2008 was blissful at worst. That sounds cliche, but I was happy. My life had rounded itself out to be very pleasant, and the end of the year is my domain anyway. Autumn lasted longer than normal, leading into a fresh and cool Halloween. For my anniversary, I got to see "Into the Woods"- one of my favorite productions, and had a glorious evening at The Melting Pot wrapped in an authentic Chinese style silk dress. On Thanksgiving, we spent the day snowed in at my mother's house, the smell of baking and turkey with all the trimmings warmed the house faster than any glowing fire could have. My husband teased my youngest brother and sister, while I got to know my soon-to-be sister in law over a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle. They were married in early December, and Christmas was much the same with presents until noon, a storm to die for (in the GOOD way) and dozens of friends and family.

I should have known back then, that 2009 was going to be horrible. We ushered the new year in with a masked ball. I was a swan in a silver ball gown adorned with white feathers and wings, and a black feathered mask, my hair in solid ringlets about my neck and chin. And I was severely depressed.

In high school, my crowning achievement was that I was an editor of my high school literary magazine. It is a spectacular magazine called Chasms, and it was 3rd in the nation for best high school published works. It goes without saying that we were good writers. And not just for being kids. We had a stellar teacher who understood us (or at least tried), who accepted us (without fail), and who pushed us to always be better. This man is my hero to this day. How he managed to put up with so much whining, desks affixed to the ceiling, Latin words written in white out across his walls, dirty jokes about classic nude art, and flat Dr.Pepper in place of his usual morning coffee is beyond me. I would have never made it. Oh, how intense those days were. How invigorating. How lonely. How exhausting. How numb. My mother on several occasions refused to proof read my poetry because she didn't want to read about sex, drugs or death. Well, as I mentioned before, I was a 'good Mormon girl' and had never experienced sex, drugs, or, obviously, death...but who didn't WANT to? And so we wrote about it. I still to this day haven't experienced drugs, just for the record, but sex and death...well, I have 3 children, so that solves the sex question, and I have witnessed death being cheated twice this year. But I digress. My point is: how numb.

On December 31, 2008-January 1 2009, I was numb. Numb enough that it brought back those waves of memories. The intense highs of teenage angst. The lows so low that you felt like dying. Around me, the music raged. My friends embraced, scandals were started when a girl and a boy who didn't 'belong' together kissed at midnight. And I wanted to be sucked into a dark closet and stay there. I was so numb, that I couldn't feel the air sucked into my mouth, even with wet lips. I never wanted to cut myself. But I could see why people do it. Because they just want to FEEL something.

My own depression and numbness was fairly short lived. We received our tax return early in January because we filed as soon as was humanly possible. We bought a house last year, so our 7500.00 went directly to our financial advisers and they invested it.

But darkness fell when I found my mother and father unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning in mid-January. My youngest brother and my sister were awake, but sick. They all recovered quickly in the ambulance, but my mother was intubated at the hospital. She was in a coma for nearly a week after that. (http://www.iswendiok.blogspot.com/ for the whole story) She recovered quickly from there on out, but it took months for everything to be sorted out and back to normal. I was able to be strong because everyone needed me to be. But it was absolutely the opposite when my child, not my mother, was in a life threatening situation.

On the Autumn Equinox, which, by the way, was a spectacularly cool day, and I could see the red leaves starting to bleed onto the mountain side. The air was crisp, and the wind was sharp. I spent most of the day euphoric and mostly pretty patient with my children because my excitement made for high moods.

After dinner, my children, dressed in pajamas, retreated into our basement to their playroom. I stayed in the kitchen to clean up dinner. And I heard a deafening crash a few minutes later. I knew what it was before I got there. My youngest little one, had pulled a television and a dresser down on herself.

Obviously, I panicked, and I picked her up. There was no blood at first, and so I thought she was just out of breath. But then a crimson stream came pouring from her right ear and her nose. 911 was dialed, the bishopric was called and Priesthood blessings were given.

This is Scarlet Serafina Estelle Craig BEFORE her accident at the Great Salt Lake in September. The paramedics rushed Scarlet to the hospital, reassuring me over her screams that she was going to be fine. Obviously, I didn't think so. I was already panicking at the thought of losing my little girl. My other two children went home with a neighbor.

From the ER, they life flighted my baby to Primary Children's hospital. My husband was already there, as he was in class at the University of Utah when it happened. But I couldn't get on the helicopter with her. The hour drive to the hospital, was excruciating. I called my mother and asked her to come. One of my muses escorted me there, driving so that I didn't have to.

Upon arrival, I found my baby in the midst of a CT scan, screaming for her momma. I could have vomited. She did. Mostly blood, and her undigested dinner. I blamed myself, of course.

Later, while being poked and prodded with IVs and lights and blood pressure cuffs, my little daughter was given a teddy bear, who she promptly named "Pink" (and no surprises there. She has a bunny, 2 kitty cats, and several more assorted bears by the same name) and a blue blanket that she called "soft". One doctor let her curl her little fingers around his, and winked at her. She giggled at him, and tried to mimic.

We learned from the CT scan that she had a fracture that went from around her left eye bone, around her head and through her right ear. She had a broken bone in that right ear, and she was leaking spinal fluid from it. She also had a nerve that was damaged so she had some paralysis on the right side of her face. She also had an artery in her neck that was corrugated by the impact and pinched. Blood was still getting to the brain, but they worried about a stroke.

We spent the night in sleepless tears in her room. But upon waking, we heard a tiny voice say "Pink fish. Blue fish." On her ceiling, above her crib, was painted a pink fish and a blue fish. That day, she went in for another CT scan and some x-rays of her neck and back. She kicked and screamed and bit at the nurses until they were done with her, and then jumped off the table into my arms. One of the doctors said "Well, I guess she doesn't have a neck or back injury."

My girl is a fighter. She had to be.

This is Scarlet on the second day, coloring in her Strawberry Shortcake coloring book with markers. Primary Children's hospital is the best there is, and they know how to treat children. At this point, she was wearing the neck brace because she hadn't officially been cleared by the doctor for lack of back and neck injuries.

Over the next few days, she improved phenomenally. We were moved to a new room, where she didn't need to be on wires, and she didn't need the brace. She liked to take rides in her wagon with all her baby dolls the nurses brought. Every day she received a new Priesthood blessing from my husband and her grandpa or uncles. Heavenly Father was ever present.
On Wednesday night, September 23rd, I spent the night in her room in a state of only semi-unconsciousness. Neither asleep nor awake. Scarlet had come through almost every single one of her worrisome hurdles just fine. I was finished blaming myself, because it didn't help her get any better because I felt that it was my fault. And I couldn't be an effective mother if I kept trying to do so. I knew my baby was going to live, so I was past praying for her survival. She was completely herself. She was as sass-mouthy and attention demanding as she had always been, and she proved that her nickname "Trouble" (which is what we call her at home) was well earned when she tried to climb a television stand to push play for the 40th time on Monsters Inc. Obviously, she hadn't learned her lesson. But her nerve was still obviously having trouble.
So that night, in my unconsciousness, I begged and begged and begged the Lord for just one more miracle after thanking him for all the ones that had already happened. If he would just give Scarlet ONE MORE, I would NEVER. EVER. ask for another miracle again. The Lord told me in both a sense of genuine understanding, and of Fatherly reprimand, that that idea was ridiculous because 1. It's a false promise. Of COURSE I was going to ask for another miracle. This is not likely the last time one of my children has a serious accident. And 2. Why in the world would my Father, who wants everything GOOD for me and my children actually WANT me to STOP asking for miracles? He told me to ask away and let my faith prove him true.

We were able to bring our little Scarlet home on that Thursday night. The night after my personal revelation. We have been home for over a week now. And this child is going to be the death of me. She thinks she is invincible now. This is a picture of her, taken yesterday, with her brother going on a "Date". He's driving. Her nerve is doing so much better. She almost has a full smile now, though when she cries, that side still doesn't show much emotion. But the docs expect her to fully recover. It can take up to 6 months for a nerve to be completely healed.
I took Scarlet down stairs the day after we came home. I asked her "Scarlet, do you remember what happened over there?" She looked at it, pursed her lips, and said "It broked." Yes, baby, it did.
My husband has been out of a job for the last two months. We don't really have any idea how we've survived this far. I feel in my heart that it was so that he would be able to have the time to spend with his family while our baby recovered. We needed him there. He still needs a job, but we feel calm. We feel peace. Most of the time. The life flight itself cost $9000.00. It's going to take us a decade to pay the hospital bills. But each of my babies is priceless. And Scarlet is perfect. She's worth it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"It BIT me!"

"What'd you EXPECT faeries to do?"

~ Sara and Hoggle from Labyrinth

Seriously, folks. And I can't blame her for doing it. When you have a human try to pluck your wings from your back, what are you SUPPOSED to do? Sit there and let her do her thing? Well, I've had lots of injuries from Faeries before, all sustained while trying to swipe their gossamer wings...but never one quite so terrible. Don't worry. Small fae, like this one happened to be, have very tiny mouths. It didn't break the skin, though it was numb for a good while, and made me quite euphoric. (Bet you didn't know that their saliva is a narcotic, did you?) And don't worry about the Faerie. Their wings grow back. As long as she's in love. And I've never met a Faerie who isn't!

I know. It's a rough job. But SOMEONE's got to do it.