Being Odd Never Bothered Me Anyway

DragonflymuseI stop still when my father grabs my hair.  His grip is gentle, but I’m afraid of pulling anyway.  My scalp always was sensitive.  “What are you doing?”

“French braiding your hair.”  I can feel him moving my hair in segments starting at the top of my scalp.

Memories of my mother french braiding my hair over the years, sometimes by request, flood my mind and I begin objecting.  Even when I asked for the braid, she braided it so tightly every movement in the process felt like she’d tear out clumps any moment.  I remember my mom said the tight rein on the braid was necessary or it fell apart.

Furthermore, I remembered last time she french braided my hair on request.  It still hurt and all my little, uneven hairs poofed out within the hour, making the braid look like a sudden prison break in a nudist colony (you’re welcome for that image).

“I won’t hurt you, don’t worry.”

I doubt he’s listening.  “French braids always hurt going in, and they look like crap when all my little hairs poof out.”  However, he remains silent, still maneuvering my hair around and I realize he’s braiding it far too loose, but it actually feels nice.  I think, maybe a loose braid works better with my hair.  I can always take it out later if I don’t like it.

He finishes and I thank him, last night’s dream takes a brief detour until I remember the braid and never checking it.  I look in the mirror and see the goofiest hairstyle I ever laid eyes on.  Far from being a French braid, my hair is swept up in a giant poofy wave with little pearls and bows tied in a pattern throughout it.

And my waking brain thought the Leia buns my mom put in my hair once were horrid.  I hate poofy and I am not fond of bows, pearls I can take or leave.  In the dreamland, however, it was merely different.  I thought it odd, rather weird, but I never bothered removing the style.  You can think a Marie Antoinette up-do attempt but poofier, more hair and bows all over, and as attempted by a father rather than a professional stylist (who may or may not be a father).  Either way I accepted it and moved on.  Being odd never bothered me anyway.

The source of the dream (I think; watch it directly on youtube to get the captions to work):

Over the past two days, I’ve felt my potential ready to burst through and take command of my life, resisting constraints once placed on it I always accepted.  It’s like that video from frozen, in slow motion.  I should be building ice castles and defying frost bite any day now.   Gonna let it go soon,  cause being odd never really bothered me anyway.

Apparently, in dreams, the person in certain roles reflects the role they fill in your life, rather than the person themselves.  My mother’s family has the tightest holds on what I should be and do (though, don’t let the dream fool you, they are very supportive and nurturing, and my mother is my first inspiration for writing after my sister), but for some reason my father always represented the source of my creative spirit and thirst.

They’re divorced now, so I’m treading a fine line with feelings here, but I guess I’m saying, I inherited the spirit and thirst from my father while my mother nurtured the direction and care…though I love singing too, my mom is pretty good, but my dad inspires my love of music.

Okay, look you two, since you both sometimes read my blog, you both inspire me, okay!

I think this dream is telling me it’s time to let go and follow the thirst again after nurturing and feeding the form for so long.  Boiled down simply, quit pulling myself so tight in when it’s never fully controlled nor hid who I am anyway (yeah, I’m the little nudist hairs I guess…look, they’re only nude because my hairs don’t wear orange jump suits).

Not that I’m actively hiding who I am, I just show it in small doses to special people…and when it comes to my mother’s side…  Sorry, I just can’t follow the exact spiritual path tread by many of you.  It’s a personal journey for me.  Don’t be too pleasantly shocked when I share in whatever eternal glory awaits anyway.

As for my father’s side…I don’t know them nearly as well, so I guess there’s much less a pull to fit perfectly and agree with the rest of the braid?

——————

How about the rest of my readers?  It’s almost the day of resolutions for those of us who begin our years on January 1st.  Is there some old tie or control keeping you down?  Cut it loose and let it go.  Share your potential in comments and look to it for your resolutions and inspiration.  Live in the spirit and paths that call you and embrace brilliance.  Even if you still need experience…I still need experience!  I plan to let go and play like I own the game anyway.

Time to see what we can do.

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Playing With Fire

DragonflymuseJust stopping by the old blog for an update sharing the Christmas digital art I made for my son.

After the Hilltop Vista model edit art I completed (shared in the post before this), my son really wanted a drawing of his favourite character for Christmas.  I told him I tried drawing a pandaren, but I really couldn’t pull off turning a real human model into an animal person.

Hey, he already told me lying was perfectly acceptable when used as a disguise for gifts and surprises.

And so, I turned Kirilee, the lovely model whose original stock photo you can find by clicking her name in this sentence, into the pandaren fire mage, Mingji.

No background
And then we have the finished version where I clone-brushed my art over a very slightly edited World of Warcraft screenshot:

Framed and Signed

Mingji is one of the pandaren from the Wandering Isle (which is actually the back of a giant turtle).  After helping both horde and alliance who crash landed, Mingji chose to help the horde thereafter.  My son hasn’t really created a story or background for her, so I don’t know why she chose horde or what her personality is like, only what he wanted her transmog (visual appearance gear in-game) to eventually be, and of course, what she actually looks like.  The virtual frame and signature are because he wanted it framed and signed by me *laughs* so there you are.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I most definitely improved in model edit art from the two Hilltop Vistas posted before, to “Playing with Fire.”  I definitely challenged myself a lot with this compared to the hilltop vistas.

For those that are thinking about (already) giving up on my blog series, Silent Rain, I’m toying with the idea of taking the updates to every-other-week, or once a month so I can complete an illustration for each episode.  I have half the next episode written, and half of  a model edit completed for it.

I’m not sure I can turn out visual artwork that quickly though, it invariably causes double procrastination (a feeling I can’t turn in the next episode without the artwork and vice-versa), but it may make Silent Rain more attractive as a blog series in the long run.  Anyone still care enough about Silent Rain to weigh in here?  I know I’ve neglected it so badly I probably lost my audience (my fault, sorry again!).

I should have more time for it now, however.  I guess the question is rather silly before I’ve even completed an episode with an illustration.  Even if no one’s reading them anymore, I WILL finish Silent Rain, if only for myself.  It helps that I’m playing world of warcraft again and not entertaining a silly notion about finally finishing a nanowrimo again.

Gonna actually try to finish the model edit illustration of the next episode AND the next episode itself and get them up tomorrow.  Hopefully anyone who’s interested will have a fresh new episode tomorrow at some point.

Happy Holidays!

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Fickle, Fickle Muse

Dragonflymuse

As I already mentioned in my last post, it’s Nanowrimo time!  Supposed to write a 50k+ word novel during November.  As usual, my muse dislikes being forced to write just because everyone else is doing it.  I’ve not been letting her procrastinate as much.

As a result, she switched tactics on me.  I’m in a visual artsy mood FAR less often than a writing mood.  It takes a rare mood visual arts time…at least if I want a result better than stick figures.  That mood strikes maybe three times a year.  It’s struck at least three times this November.  You saw Earthbound’s cover in my last “Fiction Friday” post.  Today I share the other two, related projects using a new style.  I’m pretty proud of the result, even if I did trace two real-life models in the same pose, right on top of the picture.

Can’t compare it to all the awesome art I see from others or I’d give up so shortly after exploring this new form of drawing my characters (and before improving and learning better shading from it, how to do it without tracing, eventually, etc.).

Anyway, presenting more Nanowrimo procrastination:

Hilltop Vista

Illumyn Starsong (a friend's night elf) and Alasgida (my human) from World of Warcraft.

Illumyn Starsong (a friend’s night elf) and Alasgida (my human) from World of Warcraft.

Now turn the lights off for…

Starry Hilltop Vista

Illumyn Starsong (friend's night elf) and Alasgida (my human); World of Warcraft original characters.

Illumyn Starsong (friend’s night elf) and Alasgida (my human); World of Warcraft original characters.

Before I go further, both works owe their existence to SenshiStock and her two models in this picture.  I would also like to thank Mattifemaule for her tips along the way, and inspiring me to give edit-over art a more serious try with her excellent works (I especially love how she does hair).  The clothes were partially inspired by outfits in my screenshots on both of them, but were more than I could handle at my level, so I added some different (and less) details.

Now, you can probably tell by how much less shading and extras are in it, but everything else in the picture (fireflies, clouds, sky, tree, water’s edge) are all done by hand without a reference…and all with a mouse because I have no idea how to use an artboard and ended up giving mine away to my brother-in-law who not only knows how to use one, but really wanted one.

I did two versions because it occurred to me after making a daylight one, that Illumyn is a NIGHT elf…they are more active at night, and Gida isn’t really a morning person anyway.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

———–

Fiction Friday focus:  About the characters in the picture (and why it seems cozy-romantic).

Illumyn and Gida have been best friends through more than one reality since they were little kids.  They also lived through each other’s personal traumas together.  Along the way, Gida discovered her romantic feelings for Illumyn, who returned her affections once Gida expressed them with a surprise kiss.

However, while Gida was more serious about the romantic side of their connection, she found out the hard way that Illumyn, while loving her, was “Only gay for Gida.”  Illumyn considered their affectionate encounters a natural extension of how close they were, but still longed for a romantic connection with the right guy…whom she found and married, eventually.

She sailed away with him to uncharted lands, leaving Gida to carry on alone.  In Illumyn’s player’s defense, her connection was rotten during her finalé, leaving wow-RP, and involved a LOT of people.  In short, those things contributed to the bummer “ending” between Gida and Illumyn.

They still care deeply for one another, but at a distance.  Gida stopped thinking in a romantic fashion for Illumyn once she realized how Illumyn viewed their relationship.  Still, given how private and withdrawn Gida is, Illumyn is the only person she cares about in her life, both past and present (lone wolf).

I linked a few older fiction posts (mostly in order) from Gida’s perspective below.  Note, speaking of the moon after a romantic fashion=talking about Illumyn with a safer code name for Loomy’s protection.

Sun Dappled Innocence

Gida’s Reminder

The remaining entries are all after their brief, romantic relationship.

Paper Sun

Cloudy Nights

Fight (language warning)

Stars  (In response to a fiction piece my friend posted from Illumyn’s perspective, as the character fondly remembered games of chase while sailing on a ship under the stars, taunting Gida to come catch her again).

Silent Moments

Forever Goodbyes

Count Me Out (“Love Is In the Air” festival AKA Valentine’s Day Song)

Had Enough (PTSD/history song)

Stand in the Rain (Another song entry)

 

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Earthbound

Dragonflymuse

Here I am!  Sorry about how frequently I neglect my blog.  I honestly plan on finishing Silent Rain, and hopefully posting more often in the future.

No new Silent Rain post today though, I plan for more episodes starting in December.  Why wait?

The excuse follows!

I’m trying Nanowrimo again!  I’m more dedicated this time around, I may even win my first Nanowrimo (requires writing 50k words on a new novel in November).

I spent the last month and a half before Nanowrimo writing notes on this.  To show how serious I am, I procrastinated by creating a cover and back jacket blurb.

Ta-da!

Dreamy Earthbound CoverCover Background
I think it’s pretty good for my first major photo manipulation piece.  Maybe next Fiction Friday, I’ll share my favourite rough draft scene so far.  I think I chose a decent first line, at least:

Red ribbons swirled on the water’s surface, elegant and intoxicating.

—————–

Any feedback?  Other thoughts?  Are you doing Nano?  What’s your project?  Did you make yourself a working cover as well?  Let me know in the comments!

Image photomanipulated together using the following stock:

fantasy sky bg 12 by joannastar-stock

Mother Earth by jraco

muse by fdjs

Premade background 1 by Muse-of-Stock

Thanks to all four of you for making my working cover of Earthbound possible; hugs all around!

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The Slow-Learning Chef

Dragonflymuse

That’s me!  Growing up, my mom preferred having the kitchen to herself.  As a result (and tomboyish lack of interest), learning the art of cooking took me quite awhile.  In fact, I’m still learning!

Memories of bad results pour from my mind over the years.  My dad’s bewildered and entirely amused comments about how I managed to screw up box mac-n-cheese while staying with him (it all stuck together in one solid chunk).  A manager forcing me to start the spaghetti at one of my first jobs even though all the managers knew, if it wasn’t something I had to just throw in the oven, I’d find some way to mess it up.  “Who can’t cook spaghetti?!  That’s just an excuse and we have no time.  Make the spaghetti!”

Well, she got in trouble for that one.  I made the spaghetti.  I told myself…I can make mac-n-cheese (in a small pot, not a huge metal cauldron!).  Somehow I screwed that up and it was just like my pre-teen disaster with mac-n-cheese multiplied by about a thousand.  There were no chili-macs at Steak-n-Shake that day.  Removing the ball of starched together spaghetti was NOT fun.

Then I met some people who consistently shoved me down the respect totem pole in several areas.  Despite making a stew everyone (including myself) found absolutely heavenly a few years prior, I bought it.  Constantly repeated statements about how horrible and hopeless (or at least mediocre) a cook I was, complete with mocking laughter tends to do that to a person.

I only recently began trying again with my husband’s support (I love him so much, he’s been such a blessing for my self-esteem in all areas).  Thanks to him I stopped saying “I’m a horrible cook” too.  Our own verbal confirmations can do as much damage as those shoved at us from others.

So, one of my recent creations, and possibly the one I’m most proud of:

Potato Veggie Dish
My husband and I absolutely LOVE this dish.  After joining Lose It! (if you haven’t joined it and want to, please comment or email me the email you want to join with, I get a badge for referrals ^_^ )  I found cause for more pride in my recipe.  I make a total of six servings and one serving stuffs me full at dinner with only 350 calories (Wow!  Most clear illustration ever tasted that veggie calories are more filling than junk).

A few people recently asked me for the recipe, so…yeah this entire post is an excuse to share the recipe and tie it in with my Memory Monday theme.

Ingredients:

Screen-cap of the recipe off Lose It! 'cause I'm lazy that way (and hope they won't mind).   Edited for added red notes when the servings/prep on my Lose It recipe weren't clear.

Screen-cap of the recipe off Lose It! ’cause I’m lazy that way (and hope they won’t mind).
Edited for added red notes when the servings/prep on my Lose It recipe weren’t clear.

The calorie count at the top is for the entire large bowl of ingredients (6 servings).  The picture of my lunch is about half a serving.

Basically, most ingredients are finely shredded (especially broccoli since I hate the texture).  I also like my carrots thoroughly cooked (rather than crisp), so the potatoes are in the largest chunks (4-6 chunks per potato).  This is so they don’t turn into mashed potatoes after all the cooking, stirring, and shaking I do.  Spices and smaller-piece ingredients go on top.  Then I pour in about 1/4 cup hot water (just from the tap), in small amounts to provide some initial “steam” juice for the vegetables I used from my freezer stock, and to more evenly distribute some of the spices on top.

Now, my oven and crock pot are out of commission.  So, I created this meal with the microwave.  I put the bowl in without a lid, and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Pull it out, try to break up iced vegetable chunks some more, and see if I can close the lid yet.  If I can, I close the lid and hold it over the sink with thick oven mitts on and shake the whole bowl, turning it upside down and shaking it a little.

Back in for five minutes.  Next time it’s out, the fluffier vegetables have usually cooked down enough that I have enough room to stir them up now.  Stir, close lid, shake over sink again, including turning upside down.  Back in for 5 minutes.  Repeat until thoroughly cooked.

I keep neglecting accurate time-keeping for this, but last time it took me two hours to do a bunch of dishes, chop all the vegetables up from fresh (I depleted my frozen stores), walk back and forth to note the exact amounts of everything I was putting in (before I just dumped stuff in), and then cook it in 5-minute increments.  I think I finished the cooking part in 30-45 minutes.

Sometimes I have no potatoes in the left overs but a bunch of the shredded and blended vegetables at the bottom.  In this case, I love adding it to a few cups of rice or a chicken noodle dish for other lunches/dinners.

Since I am such a “slow-learning chef,”  I’m sure many better ways exist for making this.  This is my way, it is tasty, and it feeds my family one very healthy dinner my husband and I love (and my son tolerates), and usually feeds me for 2-3 lunches after.

Now for lunch!  Yum!

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Silent Rain 10: Prisoners

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LesarathumbnailASilent Rain
Episode 10:  Prisoners

In total, twenty refugees, more than half of them children, the rest fathers and other adult males without druid training, arrived.  Some of the men helped carry three wounded on cots; two sentinels and a druid.  The prisoners carried the human boy’s cot.

Astranaar spared ten sentinels as guards for the journey.  They stopped long enough for supplies before riding off with the two outriders.

Narel, with a few of the novice house priestesses, guided the men carrying wounded soldiers to the first rooms up the stairs, tending their wounds and needs immediately.  Meanwhile, someone ordered the prisoners sent below and sealed in an under-used barrow specifically made for prisoners.  They spared one guard for that door.

With Narel’s daily care, Lesara often forgot last week’s events.  Only nightmares and various dull aches, especially around her neck and throat, served as occasional reminders.  As heir and hostess, she kept her symbolic place, over-seeing events and any potential disputes or unusual problems.  In other words, doing nothing while two glaives and either Valyndriel or Shalya guarded her in shifts.  Most staff ran easily without direction, knowing their roles.

However, when Lesara inquired after the prisoners, she found no one willing to do more than provide them food.  Then Shalya told her their location.  Abandoning her formal position, Lesara marched into the dungeon barrow, leaving her guard catching up.

“My lady, your mother won’t like this.  It isn’t proper!”  Shalya tailed her close.

Lesara’s left ear twitched briefly toward the sound of both glaives, Ranera and Shestelle, following just behind Shalya.  “One of those prisoners is with fever, and only a child, besides.”

“Feverish?  Like a beast?”  Shestelle’s tone bristled against Lesara’s concern.

“You forget our unique gifts and your place.”  She paused a moment before continuing.  “The child is sick and adults, cooperative.  Since everyone else is too busy, I will not see them die or mistreated when I can do something about it.”

“Your mother–”  Shalya this time.

“I’m well aware  of what my mother wants of me.  I’ll deal with it when she returns.”  Halting in front of the barrow, she addressed the guard.  “I’ve come to see the prisoners.”

The guard nodded back and pulled aside a spy slot.

“Open the door, please.”

“Right, sorry, Lady Ethala’Aman.”  The guard ducked her head and checked the slot, then stepped aside and turned the locking mechanism.  The heavy stone doors grated apart.

Both of the stubby-eared, pale men inside looked up at Lesara and her guards.  One was sitting on the ground in the far corner, hands resting on bent knees in front of him.  The boy slept heavy on the only cot, the head of its poorly-stuffed mattress centered along the back wall.  The other adult prisoner bent over the boy’s side.  He straightened and glared at Lesara.  He growled clipped and harsh-sounding words; guttural compared with Darnassian, the flowing kaldorei tongue.  He ended with a pointed gesture at the clearly sick child and took a step forward.

Ranera and Shestelle drew weapons and took point, blocking Lesara from harm and view.  The man in the corner mumbled something back at his friend and received an exasperated sigh and a short, frustrated response.  Lesara wedged her hands, palms together, between the two glaives and nudged them apart.  “They’re unarmed males.  I can handle any trouble they cause.  Besides, he’s clearly angry about the child.  Step aside.”

The glaives repositioned at Lesara’s shoulders.  Looking over her shoulder, Lesara spotted Shalya guarding their backs, before she refocused on the angry pale-skin.  The glaives’ threat subdued him and he bent over the child again, feeling the boy’s forhead with the back of his hand.

Lesara noted his warrior build though he stood at least a full head shorter.  Dirt and exhaustion covered both men.  She joined the more vocal one from the other side of the cot.  The boy was just as dirty and still in the same style clothing as the other pale-skins, though his held far more tatters.  They were older than either adult’s, less finely made…not finely made at all.  Holding the dirty cloth between her fingers at the boy’s collar, Lesara furrowed her brow.  They were ship-wrecked and left in wet clothing.  No wonder he has fever.  Blanched skin under all the dirt, at least compared to the color in the two adults, worried her most.  Memories of helping her father tend sick sabers ran around in her mind and she wondered if she might attempt those same steps on a pale-skin.

She reached with her mind toward the adult male opposite her and applied gentle pressure.  He looked up and nodded.  She pressed further, silent long enough that images and foreign words began taking on meaning she understood.  My people never get sick.  How do we help her?  The thought came attached with a younger Lesara helping her father care for sick sabers and the sense of a question.

The pale-skin responded aloud, mumbling and shaking his head.  In response, she saw the vague images of a pale-skinned woman caring for a different child, a little girl, along with blurred and vague images of what happened out of his sight when the sick room’s wooden door closed on him, left in helpless and nervous fidgeting.

“I understand.”  Lesara nodded and placed the back of her hand on the boy’s forhead; the heat worried her more.  She sent back images of caring for the boy in better surroundings and relocating the two men in nicer quarters.  The man answered with a weary smile and spoken gratitude.

Speaking up, Lesara addressed the guards.  “I want this child safely relocated to the spare quarters beside my own.”

“A prisoner so close?”  Shalya frowned.  “Your mother–”

“Would probably be furious and say no, but she’s not here.  Either the child’s moved near my quarters or I begin sleeping near his.”  She straightened and adopted her mother’s most imperial expression and stance.

“Yes, my Lady.”

“The prisoners will also be moved to a guarded guest room, a proper one, with two places for sleep…and a chance to wash up.  Find them new clothes, even if they’re too big.  Have their old ones washed and returned.  Have the same waiting with the boy in his sick room.  Ranera and Shestelle will accompany me to the gardens for necessary herbs.  No mistreatment will befall them undeserving.”

After walking behind the glaives and out the doorway, she paused.  “Oh, and they have names.  You’ll find Jon in the corner, Padraig chastised us, and the boy is called Ren.”

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Prisoners

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Rattlesnake Park

Rattlesnake Stare

Photo courtesy of Mike Johnston 2005. Click the photo to see more of his work.

Rattlesnake Park

A Memory Monday Dream Entry

Most of the time my dreams are merely stories my brain tells itself while sleeping.  The movie reel playing in my head all night.  My brain tells scary stories, frustrated stories, high adventure stories, fantasy, romance, memories in story, and yes, occasionally even a boring story.

Then my brain randomly dreams in code.  That’s the difference between a dream like today’s, and the usual story dream.  I wake up with a profound feeling I received a message.  A very cryptic message in need of decoding.

Rattlesnake park is one such dream.

I find myself standing at the top of the hill on which I live, in lush, but recently mowed, green grass.  I feel particularly thankful my son lies in bed sleeping in late as I maneuver carefully around dozens of full-grown rattlesnakes all over the grassy areas of the trailer park down the hill from us.

My son’s neighborhood friends run rampant, parents and children all unaware of the snakes.  One I’ve only met at the bus stop runs passed me as I respectfully navigate my way safely around the snakes.  Just as he nearly jumps on a snake (by accident), insuring a venomous bite in return, I snatch him safely out of the air and set him down between snakes, preparing instructions for safely guiding him out.

Mattmatt doesn’t listen and still doesn’t see the snakes as he runs off back the way he came, several serpents nearly miss him as he runs passed them.  I would yell, or run after him, but I know I am not fast enough for such heedless action and if I make him pause now that he’s running, the snakes will catch him for sure.

I try a careful and respectful set of maneuvers around the rattlers to the nearby road.  The snakes are only in the grass, from there I can warn everyone.  The snakes let me pass without even rattling a warning at me.  However, I know one wrong step will end in a venomous bite.  I’m not frightened for myself(at least not nearly as much as I would be in reality), but I worry for others and am obviously on edge with so many venomous snakes nearby.

At the road, I finally look down the hill rather than the grass at my feet and see one of my female neighbors.  I don’t know her well at all, but I get the sense she was only in that sequence because she is the only pregnant woman I’ve seen recently…basically, her status as a pregnant woman and the fact that she was mowing the lush grass, unharmed by snakes was more important than who she actually is in waking life.  I can recall her face, just not her name.

Just as I look at her peaceful and calm demeanor in wonder (contrary to how I usually see her–looking tired and yelling at her son), I hear a piercing scream from my other neighbor, K’s yard, just out of sight.

I see a flash of my sister and an angry rattler striking out, fangs digging deep into her left leg at the left side of her calf muscle, and ripping free.  Soon after, K leads my limping sister into view I take over supporting her up the hill to safety and her car.  I briefly visualize us piling into an SUV angry with the rattlers for hurting my sister and see one near the road.  I squash it under the tire.  Justice!

But then I remember how they respected me when I respected them and we’re not in an SUV anymore (we never were, I leave the snake on the grassy edge alone…it’s not even the offending snake, after all) and I’m helping my sister limp toward her car.  I know now my sister came for a surprise visit alone (she lives several states away and I haven’t seen her in years) and, like everyone else, went too far into the turn off and down into the trailer park looking for our apartment (though for some reason she parked her car outside my house–yay dream logic).

I realize Delos (my husband) is safely at work (ironic because I’ve never seen rattlers where we live, but they love shading under cars on a hot day where he works), but Michael is inside alone.  I tell Julie I have to get Michael.  I run in and grab him, not bothering to talk him out of sleep and bed with a time-sensitive emergency.  Despite him almost being as tall as I am now, I gather him up, blanket and all in my arms, and shove him in the back seat.

My sister, meanwhile, has switched to the driver’s seat and forces a very brief argument (it’s her car and she doesn’t like anyone else driving it, especially when she can drive just fine) that I give up on just to get her more quickly to treatment for the bite.  I start giving her directions and then realize the only hospital I know the way to is about a half hour drive.  We stop for supplies, such as a rubber-band tie to cut off circulation above the bite wound.  Also, because she is feeling light-headed, we also stopped to switch seats too.

No need.  The doctor’s office my sister-in-law and mother-in-law work at (they work at a doctor’s office without a store in reality) owns and operates the store off the office, and they carry anti-venom!

Everything will be okay and my sister gets to meet my sister-in-law.  As I introduce them, someone (maybe even me?) asks Sarah (my s-i-l) how she’s been doing.  Sarah promptly passes out on the tiled floor, worrying me until she giggles and says “I’m alright, I was just kidding.  I’m just that exhausted.  Gonna go home now, bye!” in her delightfully playful, silly-voiced Saree way.

That done, I turn back to Julie as someone begins tending her bite wound.  I remembered the snakes bit only her, all the snakes left me alone, they missed the heedless kids, what did my sister do differently that got her bitten?

“Why did it bite you?” I echo my thoughts.

“Because I spit in its mouth,” she said, her tone matter-of-fact.  Just like the flashing image of the bite, I saw an image of a snake hiss a warning with open mouth.  I felt my sister’s anger and frustration at the rattler infestation and threat, her defiance, and saw a drop of spit landing center the snake’s throat hole.

Then I woke up.

In waking, though I worried about my sister, I realized during dream recall that aside from the initial bite pain and wound, she was otherwise fine and showed no real signs of keeling over at any moment.  In fact, everyone, myself and definitely my sister included, treated the whole situation more like an inconvenient quick boo-boo fix than a venomous snake bite and dying sibling…after we got on the road toward treating her wound, that is.

A list of highlighted symbols, the italicized items if I dreamed in words:

-Rattlesnakes (just like the picture above but positioned in various, loose queues (no coils) in the grass, about 4-5 ft. away from me and each other at all times; no specific numbers, patterns, or colors, and no rattling, they’re just chilling unless someone disturbs, startles, or threatens them)
– Michael (my son) was safe at home farther up the flat part of the hilltop.
– No one down the hill (where the snakes infested their grassy lawns) was aware
– Saving Mattmatt, a kid I didn’t really know as well as the others (he’s usually a rather quiet and reserved kid)
– The lush grass
– Being confident (I rarely am so confident awake, let alone in such a dangerous situation) and able to easily and respectfully find my way through a maze of venomous rattlers who displayed equal respect in turn.  This mutual respect with venomous snakes that are letting me pass was a key point.
– A calm and content pregnant woman smiling while mowing a strip of lush grass (in someone else’s yard, no less…someone I don’t know, but further tells me that her status as as the only pregnant woman I immediately visualize right now, the mowing,  and the lush grass were more the symbol than who she is).
– My big sister getting bitten on the leg.
– K, the neighbor lady I respect most, helping her up the hill.
– My son and husband’s secured safety in all of it.
– My sister-in-law passing out to illustrate how exhausted she’s been in a silly way
– My sister confessing she got tired of all those f-ing snakes in that f-ing trailer park that she spit in one’s mouth.
– However, the act of spitting in the snake’s mouth seemed more important than why she did it.

Other random notes:  I don’t believe Michayla was home (the girl I babysit some school mornings and view as a niece/daughter), at least, I got the sense that Michayla was safe at her mothers, only the other children down there and their parents needed a warning.  K was aware of the rattlesnakes (her family was safe inside already).  Once I had my sister supported and on the way to the hospital, K had already turned back and down the hill.  I knew she would warn the parents and children as I intended while I saw my sister drive herself to urgent care.

Symbol dreams are weird.  After spending a few hours researching it all out of curiosity, I come up with meanings of finally harnessing my creative and/or healer energies and achieving fame for my artistic pursuits, along with a need to express my creativity…sorta…I can’t really find what it might mean for someone else to spit and get bitten by the snakes you successfully worked around.  Only that your sister represents the sort of aspects of yourself most present with her…which I guess is really complicated and can’t be boiled down to a few words.

According to symbols, my sister is a stand in for the relationship we share.  Protectiveness, love, loyalty…I can more easily bring myself with unbending confidence defending her or another loved one than I can defending myself…I suspect and have evidence of the same from her…so she also brings out my confidence in defending others.

I do wish she could more often remember how great she is and how much I’ve always looked up to her, even when I was being bratty.  I don’t think she’s reminded of that often enough by all the people she loves.  I think spitting represented a need to express…into a snake’s mouth suggests a need to express such things through creative and/or healing work.

What a muddled mess.  It’s got me more seriously thinking about my writing again now though, and appreciating my sister.  In that then, there’s definitely no harm in taking a little direction from some dream symbol mumbo-jumbo, right?  Best-case scenario, I do the work necessary to become a famous story-teller (it’s not really the fame I’m after, it’s the idea that fame = my stories are widely read and appreciated).  Worse-case scenario, I put in more work toward my goals and only please my current audience and give my sister warm appreciation fuzzies.  Best worse-case scenario I ever outlined.

Ever had a dream you felt was written in code?  A code you HAD to crack?  Know a good dream journal online?  Think you have an answer, or at last an amusing interpretation to my cryptic subconscious?  Or anything else you’d like to say? I love hearing from you!  Just add your comments below.

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