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“Sorry, I have no space left for advice.  Just do it” Donald Westlake

 

Well, so much for the ‘mull it over’ process. I have officially registered for school in the fall. Assuming financial aid comes through (I applied past the deadline), I will be attending a small community college starting August to get my general credits out of the way.

I go back and forth between being really confident about it, to being completely unsure. On one hand, it’s necessary if I want to progress in my field. On the other, I spend at minimum 11 hours a day out of my home at work/commuting to work, and have several other jobs / volunteer endeavors that take up another 1-2 hours each night.

One of my managers and I were discussing it this morning, and she mentioned the reason she hasn’t gone back and finished up was because she also makes the same commute, and knows that she wouldn’t be able to devote all the time she needs to it to make sure she gets good grades.

When I was going to school in the past, there were a lot of negative things going on in my life that took my attention away. I was working all the time, taking care of my drug addict mother, trying to make sure my brother and I had dinner, and that his homework was done. School wasn’t a priority, life was.   Now I am in a place where mentally I am much healthier, but so far as time goes, things are still just as busy, if not worse.

The support I have received from my friends has been overwhelming. So many have come forward and given advice, talked about study sessions, and offered help in the subjects I know will suffer (I can’t math). I am very blessed with that, but also know that it relies on me.

Either way, we will see how this adventure pans out come August. First thing is I have to make sure I can get aid this semester. If not, it will have to wait until the winter semester.

 

In the meantime, it’s back to Faire this weekend for The Royal Ale and Art festival. Anyone who wants to see what it is we do can check out our etsy page at https://www.etsy.com/shop/alinkabove

Reaction

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it” – Hans Selye

 

It’s been a while, I know.   If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know that is the trend.   I come, I go, I run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I promise future blogs and then stop. Awful, dirty, liarses.   For those of you looking for the last installment of my Captain America raving, sorry, it’s likely never coming.   I did fill two blogs of squeaking though!

Faire season has come again. I don’t currently have a list of 10 things I’ve learned from the season. I assume that will come along as we progress. This is the second year of helping run the booth. This year considerably less crazy since we’re not digging up the ashes of a loved one’s house, but still crazy in its own way.

When you take on as much stuff as I do, it is balance that is key. You would think after being the type of person to constantly take on more than one necessarily should, I would have figured out that balance. That’s adorable that you have that confidence in me.

Every year, it is a new challenge in finding a way to make everything work, fit, and run smoothly. A big part of that is also learning to choose one’s battles, which I also haven’t learned, but am working at.

The Renaissance Festival is the peak ‘busy season’. A season that lasts until January, and then starts up again in March. With as much as goes on, Faire is always the craziest. I am usually working 7 days a week. This year I have altered things a bit so that I am at least not at the booth the full weekend.   Sundays are my day to input receipts, adjust inventory levels, and help catch up on missing product.

As it does, the universe has also blessed me with a promotion during this time. Last year (my first year helping manage), I had just started this amazing job. Now, this year I have moved in to a new position with the financial department.   I love the new department I am working in and what I am doing, but I am also needing to focus on new things while trying to work out everything else in the other areas.

With this new position has also come the realization that I have to go back to school if I want to progress in the field I have started in, which I do.   This now adds trying to figure out school funding while trying to establish a down payment for a home so we can stop renting.   I find renting abhorrent. Not investing my money in the place that I live drives me crazy. It’s just throwing hundreds of dollars away every month. That was compounded by the resigning of my lease and the $130 they raised my rent by.   We do not live in a nice apartment, so the prices they are expecting are absurd, but are currently unable to move, so this is just something we have to take in stride.

The plan was, no, is, to have a home in the next two years. I have a dear munchkin who I want to have enough space for when she turns 18 so she can come down to a safe environment and go to school and start a real life for herself. I was blessed with folks who did the same for me when I was getting out of the shitty situation I was in, and it is truly important to me I pay that forward.

In with all of that news, GISHWHES is coming! This is the most fantastic part of my year, and I am so glad that it’s close. With the new position also comes the uncertainty of if I will be able to take the time off that I had planned, and if the dates remain the same as hinted on the website, the hunt will actually start the final weekend of Faire. Even with both of those minor roadblocks, I am still bouncing off the walls. Our team is already mostly assembled last year, and everyone is pumped and ready to go. If you have never participated in this amazing adventure, I highly recommend going to http://www.gishwhes.com and consider it. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be stressed out of your mind, and it will be the best experience of your life.

I feel like all of these things; faire, Mischief Managed, work, GISHWHES, charity endeavors, impending school, and trying to figure out a house should have me going bonkers, but right now I am actually pretty calm and ready to go.  The rent hike is the only thing on that list that really has me stressed. Everything else I am just ready to go with. I want to think that could mean that I am learning to balance, but deep down I know that all it is, is me being ornery and planting my feet against the impending stress induced snap.

In the meantime, this is your resident currently positive attitude, signing off from this long winded update.

 

Till next time, m’loves!

“I only act like I know everything” – The Black Widow

 

Welcome back!  I missed you.

We left off talking about the relationships, how the story is not reliant on them, and how happy that makes my inner comic book fan girl.  Please see http://aurorinthebrowncoat.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-winter-soldier-pt-1-spoilers/ for past rambling.

 

I want to discuss a little bit more of the soul crushing sadness that was brought to us in this film.  I don’t go to movies to be sad, but when I go to see a story about Winter Soldier, I’m not only prepared for it, I expect it.  It is a requirement, and they delivered.

As I sit here chomping away on breakfast, I can definitely say I found the Peggy moment more devastating than anything with the Winter Soldier, but let’s avoid going back down that deep pit of despair and focus on Bucky for a moment.

One of the most heartwrenching, frustrating moments of the film was when he didn’t run.  Specifically, he is sitting in the chair talking to the Hydra slimebag that has been employing him, and he says ‘I knew him’. Ow, okay, good job… then after a few moments of Hydra slimebag talking ‘But… I knew him’.  Yeah, cool, twist the knife, you’re doing your job and I forgive you.  Then this:

 

‘Wipe him’.

 

At this point, I am sitting tensed up my chair frantically muttering ‘Run Bucky, run!  Run Bucky, run! You can take them damnit Bucky RUN!!!’

… And he didn’t.

Supersoldier, assassin badass leaned back in the chair and let it happen. He didn’t fight, he didn’t run, he just took it, and that broke my heart.  Like it was supposed to.

 

“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” – Joss Whedon

It’s not really necessary for me to explain how much I admire the man who spoke the words above.  Well, maybe necessary, but not in this post, maybe later.  To my point!

I’d like to focus back to Falcon for this one.  The balance they made with the character was fantastic.  In a film filled with crushing sadness, they managed to have a character that provided humor and wit, without making him the plucky sidekick who’s only purpose is to make stupid jokes and then ultimately die.

Falcon didn’t spend the whole film making jokes, but he sure as hell had some oneliners that brought a smile to my tearstreaked face.

Nat did a great job with this as well, but I find it slightly less noteworthy since we have already met and experienced her character, and Falcon was stuck with attempting to develop himself as useful and funny in just one film.

 

Now, since I am talking about how I felt about the film, I feel like I would be completely amiss if I didn’t rant about the one thing that irked me about the film, and please notice how  miniscule it is, because I usually find all sorts of things I dislike about something, I’m obnoxious like that.

Where. The. Hell. Is. Barton.

Let me explain.  I don’t need Clint in this film.  Don’t need to see his face, don’t need him to be a plot point or focus, but you know what I do need?  Natasha’s most trusted companion at least MENTIONED during the collapse of the institution that they have bled for.  ‘I have to contact Barton’, ‘What about Clint’, ‘We should notify Hawkeye’. SOMETHING!

Yes, Fury said not to trust anyone, I do not care. Not one bit.  Clint is the one that decided not to murder Nat when those were his orders.  Clint was the one who, when the entire world was at risk, Nat was trying to find.  There is no argument that can be provided that would convince me that it is not a gaping plot hole that his name was not uttered once this whole film.

*pant*

 

Coming up in the next installation will be: The Winter Soldier VS Every other comic book film ever

“Can anyone direct me to the Smithsonian? I’m looking for an old fossil…”

I have not been able to stop pinning, tweeting, or talking about The Winter Soldier since seeing it in theaters last week, so I think I really just need to rave about it here for a little while!

I love both DC and Marvel, I am not prejudiced on my love of comic book/cartoon/movie/geekery.  Now, with that being said, I have always been more of a DC girl, mostly because they have Bats.  Bats is my guy, and always will be my hero.  Keeping that in mind, Marvel is kicking DC’s ass all over the place, and Captain America not only kept to that trend, but it raised a whole new bar.

Let’s start with the meeting of Falcon.  You start off the film with Steve running laps around a lake, continually passing this man (who we start off not knowing, but since we live in the world of trailers, we are clearly aware that this is Falcon).  Finally, he gets sick of it, tries to keep up, of course fails, and then we see him later leaning against a tree trying to catch up.  He and Steve chat it up a bit, and that’s pretty much they end of his first scene in the film.  Guess what?  We already love him.  In those short moments, they endeared Falcon in our hearts, and they did it well.

At the end of their meeting, Natasha (Black Widow) drives up, starting off the interaction with a pithy comment, banter banter banter, MISSION!

I’m gonna circle back to Nat, but seriously, holy balls, Mission!  Admittedly, I didn’t watch last week’s S.H.I.E.L.D until after I saw Cap, so I didn’t really know or care about the hostage situation that was going down at the time, but mother of god, Cap’s ass kickery! Screw you pirates, eat shield!  Fist!  Bang, boom, pop, BOOT!  Fantastic.  Utterly fantastic.

They didn’t at all disappoint with the showing of Cap’s strength of body, and of course, in good old Cap fashion, they didn’t disappoint with his strength of heart or conscience, either.  Steve stomping in to Fury’s office and trying to figure out what the what is going on? Great!

I swear to God I am coming back to Nat, and the rest of the gang, but I really need to talk about the scene with Peggy.  Talk isn’t the right word.  I really need therapy after the scene with Peggy.

You go in to Winter Soldier knowing that you are going to cry.  You’re supposed to cry.  It’s a soul wrenching story of sad, but I was expecting Bucky to be the hardest part of that film.  WRONG, LADY!  You WRONG!

Seeing Steve in the room talking to this woman who is clearly at the end of her life, who we find out is Agent Carter already had me in tears.  Not cute tears either, like Toby McGuire tears.  At the same time though, I was kinda happy!  They get to see each other, this is great, they get to talk, this is sad, but this is okay!  This could be great!  They get closure!  WRONG LADY!  YOU WRONG!!!

Peg’s eyes go blank for a moment, and then she looks at Steve, shocked.  At this point, I am having a heart attack.  I am frantically muttering ‘no, no, no, no, no,  NO. NO. NO. NO’… but yes. Yes they did.  I am no longer ugly crying, ladies and gents, I am full on sobbing, and I continued to sob for about three minutes after that scene ended.  Thanks, writer people, I expect a check for the therapy.

There was a tidbit that helped a little, and that’s watching Nick Fury get his ass whooped.  Let me explain a little bit – I hate Nick Fury.  I will continue to hate Nick Fury until Coulson, and then every member of the Avengers punch him in the throat, in succession.  I know I am supposed to hate him, I know that’s part of his job, that isn’t a solace, I hate him. Throat punching.  Now.

After we watch Nick get beat around for a little while, we get to go in to the adventure portion of the plot, where we see the team up between Black Widow and Cap, then eventually adding Falcon, once things really hit the fan.

I fell in love with Natasha in this film. I ended Iron Man 2 with a very ‘meh’ feeling about her.  Ass kicking red head, yay, always fun, but I didn’t care for her style.  I didn’t like, well, pretty much everything but the ass kickery.  I cared for her a bit more in The Avengers, because we get to see her more as a person and not just an agent, which is exactly why, after Winter Soldier, I love her.

We see the Black Widow feel in this film.  Not just ‘where is my partner, get him back NOW’ feel, but ‘someone who I genuinely love just died’ feel. We saw the person under the assassin.  She now has some sort of character dimension instead of just non feeling ass-kicker.  The ‘feels’ addition aside, we also see her genuinely care about Steve.

Not only do we see it in the snarky quips she keeps throwing at him, but we see it in the constant attempts of trying to hook him up.

I loved the relationship that they created between the two of them.  I loved that it was a quippy friendship, and that they didn’t try to make it something more, and that isn’t just because I want her and Clint to have adorable little Merida babies (Nat’s arrow necklace, anyone?).

The remix of the relationships in all of these films has made me exceptionally happy.  Making me even happier still is that they are not a focus.  They are there, you care about them, but the story can exist on it’s own without it (except maybe Iron Man 3, but I still enjoyed the film).

After realizing how long this has gotten, I have decided that I am going to split this in to two parts.  SO!  We will end it at that, for Pt. I!

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

When I was growing up, whenever I was asked the popular question ‘if you could have one super power, what would it be?’ my answer was always the same.  If I had one super power, it would be the ability to affect change.   I never failed to get funny looks, or have folks tell me that isn’t a real answer, or that I should be thinking of more fun things.

If you asked me the same question today, that would still be my answer.

The ability to affect change is a super power.  One that lays dormant in a lot of us.  It’s like the mutant gene, only unlike the X-Men, our super power can be ignored, and so many people make that choice.

People are so quick to assume their voices don’t matter, or that their actions mean nothing.  It is those thoughts that have played a major factor in leading the world we live in to be so apathetic to everything happening around it.   They either don’t care about the situation because it’s not at their doorstep, or they see such a devastating disaster and don’t feel that they can do anything to help something so huge… and they’re wrong.

We cannot change the earthquake that wracked Haiti, or the levees breaking in New Orleans anymore than we can stop the fires or the floods wreaking havoc on Colorado, but we can change those people’s situations.

Random Acts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Haiti, and helped fund the Jacmel Children’s Center that provides a school and home to children in Jacmel.  Tom Hiddleston lived below the line to help bring awareness and funds to the impoverished, Nathan Fillion helped bring thousands of dollars worth of donations to bring water to folks that need it, but you don’t have to have a million twitter followers to be a part of changing the world.

That center would not have happened without all of you, all of us.  All of the folks that cared enough to have a voice and work for that change.   Same with the water, and the funding for the impoverished, and every other major charity endeavor that anyone anywhere has stood behind.   We are the change.   You are the heroes.

It is your love and caring that changes the world.  It is the fact that you see the homeless person on the street and don’t just look past them like everyone else.  You’ve seen the apathy of the general populace and you have decided that wont be you.  In case no one’s thanked you for that today… thank you.  The world needs you.  All of us need you.

Endure for Kindness is coming up in November.  We are to do whatever we choose for as long as we can in a 24 hour period.  The folks of Team MMAD and I will be baking bread for 24 hours straight, and then all bread baked is going to be taken to folks in need in our community.   Attached to the bread will be notes of love, and caring.  Just a few words to let them know that they are not alone, and there are folks out there that care and want to help.

E4K

Here’s where you come in.  This is also a fundraiser to help support Random Acts.  This is the same charity that made the Jacmel Children’s Center a possibility.  The same charity that brings shoes to children who’s family can’t afford them, waterheaters to those in need… they’ve filled homes for a family that has tried their damndest and things just didn’t pan out and inspired thousands of people aren’t the world to do random acts of their own.

I cannot imagine a better charity to raise money for, and I am so excited to be participating in this.  If you, or anyone you know has anything they can spare to fund this wonderful group, or help spur us on 15 hours in when we are wondering why we are insane, please help us out at:  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/ameliaemberwing

Thank you for being the change you want to see in the world… we cannot do what we do without you.

 

 

 

This post is originally from Katherine Bullock and the ACFFC. Photography in this post copywrite to Katherine Bullock.

“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

 

I have tried to write this several times now.   It’s hard only because there is so much to say, and I am not sure how to say it in a cohesive, intelligent manner.  If I run all over the place, you’ve been warned.  Hell, if you know me, you’re probably pretty used to it.

Toward the beginning of 2013, I found this group called Random Acts.  This guy I followed on Twitter named Misha posted about it.  If you watch Supernatural, he’s the angel dude.  You know, the one that when you try to impersonate him you sound like Bale’s Batman?  Yeah.  That guy.   So anyway, he posts this tweet about this thing called AMOK.  Immediately, I start bouncing around like Sara Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus.  If you don’t understand my reference, please get off my blog right now and go educate yourself.  I DIGRESS!  He posts about AMOK, so I follow the link, because I was mildly entertained.

This link took me to therandomact.org. On their website is a description of the event that is basically just ‘Hey, do something nice for someone today, because, BECAUSE! That’s why!”

I sat there staring at the page for a while.  I thought the concept was perfectly amazing, but when I tried to think of what I would do, nothing came to me.   I didn’t want to do something small, but knew I didn’t have the funds to do anything completely grand.   I can tell you, I didn’t stop thinking about this for the weeks leading up to the day of the event.  That day came, and still I had absolutely nothing. 

That weekend I was down with my sister in the Springs and we were just wandering about really.  We walked around most of the day, myself still frustratingly idea-less and this went on until we were leaving the grocery store.  Out in the parking lot there was a nicely dressed woman with a little boy in her arms.  She was standing next to her car, which was more or less just a normal sedan, looking a little frazzled. 

I need to pause the story here for a minute to explain something.  I am not friendly.  Everyone argues this point, and that’s because they are already my friends.  Seriously though, I am not.  I don’t talk to people I don’t know unless I am forced or they’re a friend of a friend or something along those lines.  Human beings terrify me.  BACK TO THE STORY!

This woman is there, by her average car, in her nice clothes, clutching her little boy looking frazzled. I saw her, and before I knew what was happening I asked her if there was anything wrong. 

The woman just stared at me for a moment, then told me that I was the first person to ask her anything like that.  She went on to explain that she was driving through town coming home from a funeral and that her wallet was stolen or lost wherever she was before.   Since this was on a Sunday there was no way for her to get to a bank to explain her plea, and no way for anyone to wire her any money until the following day.  The woman assured me that her husband would be sending some funds then so they could get home all safe and sound, but in the meantime, they were staying in the car because the hotel they had planned on staying in on their way home was unsympathetic to her problem.

We did not stay and talk long at all.  Once again, I don’t really know how to deal with folks I don’t know.  Before we left though, I recalled that I had taken some cash out, and there was a cheap hotel exceptionally close.  By the time she had finished telling her story I had my wallet out and was handing her the money.  She gawked at me a moment before accepting, which I am convinced she ultimately did because of her son.  Thanking me profusely, we parted ways, both of us with huge smiles on my face.

It was at that point when the name Random Acts made sense to me.  Clearly I had known what it meant before, I am not an imbecile, but like River said ‘she understands, but she does not comprehend.’  I knew what Random Acts meant going in to it, but I really, truly, genuinely… didn’t.

And that’s the starting point that takes me to the now.  Since that day in March I haven’t been the same.  Hope to Haiti happened.  I am still beyond heartbroken that I wasn’t able to go meet the children and work on the center with my own hands, but some marvelous folks went instead, and I know in my heart that there will be other adventures.  In the meantime, despite not going, I raised a decent amount of money for a wonderful cause, and met so many fantastic people.  People that I cannot express what they mean to me, mostly because it baffles me.  Not in a ‘why are they important’ kind of way, but in a ‘how can I feel such a connection to someone I have never met’ kind of way.

In the hope of avoiding sounding stalkerish, I want to tell you a little bit about these folks, because damnit, the world just needs to know.

 

There’s Rea.  Rea was the first person I talked to throughout this crazy whirlwind of what are my feels towards Random Acts.  Rea had raised her 5K to go on the trip to work on the center, but she needed a little bit more to travel so she set up a personal page to help travel costs.  I shared this on a whim, because I wanted to help her out, so she thanked me, we started following each other, and since that point every conversation fills me with a warm kind of joy.  Everything she says is genuine, and kind, and I am so thankful to know her.

 

Then there’s Katherine.  I don’t remember how we started talking, but I know it was because of Haiti, and I know she was ridiculously supportive the whole time.  Let me tell you people, this woman is ridiculously inspirational and brave, even though she will tell you that’s not so.  She’s involved with the ACFFC now too, so stay tuned for news about that.  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/katherinebullock

 

Shelley’s from Australia, and she makes chainmail too! She’s a timelord, but her iTunes hates her.  Because she is a timelord, she has two hearts, and let me tell you, they’re both HUGE!

 

Postalpixxie is in there too.  Forgive me, I don’t know her name, but seriously dude, Wonder Woman in roller skates.  We haven’t been talking for very long, but she has been unbelievably supportive without knowing me at all!  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/NicoleGillespie

 

Kerry crochet’s sock monkey hats!  Kerry is very kind.  I haven’t met her either, but she makes me smile a lot.  And she crochets hats.  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/kerrykittleson

 

Last but certainly not least is Erin.  We’ve been talking a lot lately.  She’s a little shy, but has a huge heart, and I am very blessed to have met her, just like the others, throughout all of these wonderful missions.

 

 

Random Acts has filled my heart with so much.  Filled it to the point that it’s stretched and it now requires so much more to fill it.   Now we’re moving in to the mission of Endure for Kindness (you can find the links to the other folk’s fundraisers as well).   My wonderful team and I will be baking for 24 hours and taking the bread to those in need around our community.  For those of you being inundated, I hope this post helps you understand a little bit. 

 

If you want to know a little bit more about Random Acts, you can visit them at http://www.therandomact.org/

 

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