Rantings of the Dark Goddess

Welcome to my little corner of the insane asylum

So yeah, here is what has gone down since my last post

1) Grandma passed away a few days after I wrote that last post. We flew out for the funeral, and it was a bittersweet trip since we got to see everyone. Helped my homesickness a bit, and also made it worse in some ways. Gods, I miss everyone!

2) Got laid off at Iron Mountain again. I'm sick of their bullshit, fuck them

3) Giant Eagle has been working me five days a week since I got laid off at Iron Mountain. But since it's only 7.5 hours because of lunch, I don't get full time status. This also royally fucks with getting my school work done since my only days off are the days I have class. Aimee, my dept head, is working to get me at least one more day off so I can actually have time to work on my three fucking research papers.

4) I hate. HATE Slippery Rock University. The campus is pretty, the teachers and parking SUCK, and no one knows what the fuck they are doing in administration. It is so frustrating!!

I can't believe we've been here nearly a year already... we got here at 3am on Christmas Eve last year. It's finally started snowing after a good warm spell (if you can call 40s-50s warm) so I might get a white Yule and Christmas after all. Kinda sad that I didn't have time to gather stuff for a proper Yule Log this year... but hey, I will have a nice fire and some cider instead I guess.

Work has gotten more manageable. My supervisor at Giant Eagle, Aimee, decided to be awesome and only schedule me one day a week so I can have a day off, and she usually makes sure the shift she gives me is doable first. I really appreciate that!

I sent out cards this year since I can't do gifts... parents got gift cards at least. This is the first time I don't get to celebrate in person with people and I'm kinda bummed about it... we had an early holiday thing last year right before we moved, but can't really do that now. It is nice having an actual winter though, as long as it stays nice and mild like it is right now.

It looks like the Iron Mountain job might be going longer, and I am still debating what to do... if they can let me only work MWF so that I can do school on TTH then I am totally fine with moving to say, the evening shift and working SatSun at Giant Eagle... but then I will have no free time again, and that sucks. So for now I have zero idea of what to do... though the having spare money has been awesome. I took for granted just how much I made at Cabrillo, and always having $1K+ in my checking account at any given time... the summer of paycheck-to-paycheck was fucking horrible and I never want to go through that again! Hopefully I won't, since that was a result of the unemployment and not qualifying for unemployment in this state yet.

Okay, going to attempt to sleep now.

Queen of the Zombies
... and no, it isn't because I painted my face or have cravings for brains.

Currently working two jobs with no days off what-so-ever. Iron Mountain really needed more people on the graveyard shift (ha, funny) and they pay SO much better than Giant Eagle, but I didn't want to quit because this is only through the end of the year and I'd like to have the job til I can find a better one... so I had them cut me to two days a week. So far, it's been two weeks and while I am progressively more tired I am surviving. The downside though is that I am becoming increasingly resistant to coffee as a stimulant. Sugar works a little better, but as always it doesn't last long.

To emphasize just how little caffeine effects me now, I had a shot of espresso and was passing out an hour later.

Sleeping during the day is still proving  difficult though, which sucks. It's overcast today though, so that should make it easier. Ben is expecting some packages today though, which is why I'm still awake since it's rather pointless to go to sleep for an hour, get all woken up, and then try to go back to bed. I had to wait until 10am to register for classes anyway, so why the hell not?

I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies the other day. They turned out nice, but far softer than I expected them too... almost like a muffin-cookie hybrid... I think it was the pumpkin puree. I ended up making 25 cookies, and I shipped a dozen off to my friend Jay (Nelrith) in exchange for him burning me all of My Little Pony onto DVDs and sending them to me so I don't have to deal with YouTube on my slow ass internet connection (Fuck you, Century Link... it's bad when I miss Armstrong Cable).

Anyway, I'm going to go finish my sleepytime tea and read for a bit. I really want to go lay down and read... but I know better.
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There. I said it.

So, facebook is being stupid again, big surprise. I've been chatting with Nelrith from Xeogaming on skype and was showing him some of my old work that I have saved here... and I figured it was time to post an update.

Let's see... working at Giant Eagle since last month. Pay sucks, hours are slowly getting better... but I fucking hate it. The job is soul-sucking but at least it's a job and that is all that really matters. Ben got called back to the warehouse at Iron Mountain last week so that is more income that is sorely needed. Downside is the really opposite sleep schedules we have now. I work at 4pm tomorrow and have decided to stay up until it's nearly time for Ben to get up for work because otherwise I will wake him and he won't get any sleep at all... I'm not taking the blame for that one, nuh uh!

Job hunt and a rant
Applied online last night to PNC bank since the local branch is hiring... what the fuck is a "Peak time teller" as opposed to a "part time teller"... I get you work the busy times, but how many hours/days? Honestly, at the moment I don't care as much as I normally would since money is starting to get low and I really doubt they are calling us back to Iron Mountain soon. Ben and his mom might be content to deal with this shit, but I am more practical. At least Debi could file for unemployment, so she has something coming in. So yeah, here is hoping that I get a call back on this one... and it's just a teller job so I should be able to get it. I mean, I exceed their requirements even if I have no teller experience.

So with half of my friends/family on facebook going all baby-crazy, I have ended up creating a list of things that I will never, EVER do when I have kids. Those pictures of your belly every month, no. I am super uncomfortable with my stomach as is, and it bulging out isn't going to make me want to show it any more than I do now. The stupid app that posts what size the thing is, no. We know how far along you are, there does not need to be an app for that. Those professional "pregnancy photos"... seriously, what the fuck? The first ultrasound, yeah I am cool with that... and maybe one of the later ones, but not every fucking check-up.

Basically, I plan to handle this like one of my guy friends is doing. Post the first ultrasound in the announcement, announce the gender. Few posts in between, no pictures. Now, I imagine that I will have many more posts about the whole process than he is posting since he isn't actually going through it and won't want to complain about the sickness or back pain or whatever... but one of my friends just went on this whole mommy binge and subscribed to all these mommy apps and things. And in a way I cannot blame her since they had trouble having a kid... but there is a limit of sanity. On the other hand, I think Jenna has avoided all photos and almost never mentions her pregnancy... I applaud you, Jenna!

I know this is a rather strange rant for me to be going on right now, but it's just been bugging me for months. I am seriously not kidding when I say that over half of my female friends are expecting or have recently had a kid, even my oldest niece is now expecting (Priscilla, not the other two). It's just... yeah it's weird.
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I want a "Man Cave"
First off, I hate the name "Man Cave" because it is such a misnomer. Girls also like things that are typically found in these rooms... home bar, pool table, small in-home theater system, collectible crap.

I mean, yeah, my decor would be a bit more diverse than "sports teams" since I only like the Penguins... and it would also be a giant gaming room so lots of shelves for books and miniatures. But the giant screen with the comfy chairs in a mini theater, yeah, I totally want that.

Hopefully, I will get this wish, even if I have to share it with Ben (so, okay, Penguins and Sharks stuff, maybe Kings as well). At the very least, I want a pool table. It's a thing with my family, everyone has a fucking pool table. I should have had one, but we couldn't afford to ship it and had no where to put it, so I gave it to my sister. Meh, I would like a better table anyway. And a dart board. And a mini bowling alley. Yeah, I dream big.

I just think it would be awesome to have not just for us but for any future children. There really isn't much to do here for kids that I have seen and I will die before I let any child of mine turn into a backwoods hillbilly like the ones I see here. The highlight of a county fair is NOT going to be sitting in a small tractor on display or going ape shit over a monster truck. They will NOT be afraid to "go into the city" outside of a sports game. And their idea of a fun afternoon with their friends or dates will sure as hell not be wandering aimlessly around a trailer park.

Yeah, I am going to do my best to raise totally urban children in the country... this should be fun. But that man cave will do wonders I think.

Musings and Fireworks
So, for some reason I decided that I wanted to go back to the start of this journal and read all of my old entries. This has had several resulting effects. Firstly, there were several times that I wanted to hit myself for how naive I was... particularly in the Garrett period. Oye! Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Secondly, it made me go back and try to analyze just where these things went wrong. I got answers for some of them, but not all. I do not think I will ever be able to understand just what happened with Pat, which is annoying because that is the one I really want to figure out.

Thirdly, it brought back a lot of emotions that I felt back then. Nostalgia I suppose. Despite the bad endings, there were a lot of good memories. It also brought back some rather bad memories... how badly my parents and I got along, and how badly screwed up I was over the whole Elias thing. Looking back on those two things it is amazing how much has changed. I get along fine with my parents now. Elias is actually a friend again... something that I never thought would be possible.

Fourthly, it reminded me of things I had totally forgotten. How badly life sucked before I had a car and a phone. I had a computer class with Justin! Benja and I had a huge fight when I started dating Garrett. I even have the dates that I started various jobs now (that shall actually be quite handy).

Some people, when they have grown older, delete these kinds of things. I know several people that have, but I don't think I ever will. This is a part of me and it shows me who I was and how it got me to where I am now. Yes, I was a whiny little emo chick, and in some ways I still am (not nearly as bad I hope). I ended up talking with Jayarre the other night until 5am about all of it, mostly about our past. It is kinda nice to be able to go back and talk with an ex like that, without any awkwardness. I wish I could do it with some of the others.

So yesterday was the 4th of July and we went down to this festival in Pittsburgh called the Three Rivers Regatta. There was a bunch of different boat races, performances, booths, and a massive 25 minute firework show. All free. We parked at the Rivers Casino (free parking), walked around, had lunch at the buffet, saw some of the shows and such, then went back to the casino for the outdoor concert. The group was called Ashbury Fever, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band from New Jersey. I was stuck behind some chick chain-smoking and blowing the smoke behind her and into my face, ignoring my coughs. The band was really good, not even stopping when clouds rolled in and it started to pour during their first set. Most of the audience ran for cover in the casino, we sat there until they finished. The singer made a comment that "that guy in the hat*pointing at Ben*, with the beard, rocking the Jim Morrison look, won't go anywhere. It could be hailing and he would still be sitting right there." It was funny, but his mom (Debi) and I were sitting there going "what about us?"

Went inside the casino to dry off during their 30 minute break. It was so crowded and the rain had started a torrential downpour on the way in. We used Debi's $10 free slot play she had gotten in the mail to kill time. Got up to $22.50 before we blew it all. Went back outside for the second set, it was partially sunny and the seats had dried off. We found new seats... this time stuck by a guy with a cigar. I really miss California's anti-smoking laws. I moved, the wind shifted, smoke followed me. Started raining again, pouring. More people stayed, kept pouring even though the clouds had passed over... I think it was the wind. Another break, went back inside to dry off, then back outside because it was warmer outside. Rain was over, clear skies and everything. Third set ended when the fireworks started, and it was a great show. Downside was that the humidity in the air and lack of breeze meant that the smoke hung low and didn't move, so by the end it was obscuring the fireworks. Still, best show I have ever seen. I recorded all but the first ten or so seconds, working on uploading that to YouTube as we speak. The band came back on after the show, and had a nice set with people dancing everywhere. It was well after midnight when we got home, and since I had only gotten about four hours of sleep the night before you can imagine how tired I was.

My Shadow
Dalia Ikrova sat near the end of the large table in the center of her chambers, the book of arcana before her, with the flickering candelabra behind her in the center of the table giving only a feeble light, though it was more than enough for her eyes. She yawned slightly and paused to tuck a few locks of her burgundy colored hair behind her ears, taking care to raise them up and behind the horns that emerged out of her skull an inch beyond the start of her hairline. Dalia placed a length of ribbon in the book to mark her place and stood up. The room itself was large, containing three comfortable beds and large armoires in addition to the table. There were windows on the southern side of the room that looked out on the darkened trees of Gronzi Forest outside of the Medvyed compound, the bright moonlight giving the leaves a silvery edge. One thing could be said for her great uncle’s home, it had beautiful scenery.

Behind her, Dalia heard the sound opening and she turned to greet her twin sister and younger brother, but stopped short at what she saw. Her sister, Natasha, was pushing a wheeled tray with their evening meal as normal; but Alexi carried only a loaf of bread, as his other arm was bound in a sling.

“What is this,” Dalia exclaimed. “Alexi, who has done this to you?”

“Leave it be,” Natasha answered flatly, as she lifted the heavy kettle of soup onto the table with one hand, “he was exploring near the stables and the new boy caught sight of him. He jabbed Alexi with the pitchfork before they could stop him.”

“A pitchfork,” she asked angrily. “Did Lord Gurven punish the boy?”

“No,” Alexi said sullenly as he laid down the loaf of bread and sat down. “Uncle Dmitri argued with him over it, but Uncle Gurven said it was my fault for ‘spooking him’ so all he had to do was apologize. He was bigger than me, he could have killed me!”

“This is outrageous,” Dalia said, her grey eyes flashing wild with anger, “a peasant boy attacked the heir of House Ikrova and Gurven does nothing?”

“Lord Gurven does not have to do anything,” Natasha answered hotly,” you know that. We owe him our lives, Dalia! He could have easily left us to the mob ten years ago and then the Ikrova would be as dead as everyone says it is.”

Dalia felt rage bubbling up inside of her. Ten years ago, they had come to live with their great uncle, Lord Gurven Medyved, after their parents had been killed by the villagers under her father’s control. House Ikrova had been a lesser house, allied to Medvyed, a powerful Brevic noble house. Her mother, Katarina, was Lord Gurven’s favorite niece. Their father, Viktor Ikrova, had been a good man, but arrogant, and had angered some powerful fey sorcerer that had cursed him and his line. From what her uncle Dmitri told them, Viktor had thought nothing of the curse until the day when she and Natasha were born. Instead of normal human babies, they were tieflings, albeit unique ones. While both she and her sister had horns, they lacked all other physical features associated with the fiendish creatures—though later it was learned that Dalia cast no shadow, and Natasha was resistant to magic. The villagers had muttered darkly but did nothing, as girls were not heirs under the inheritance laws of Brevoy. Seven years later, when their mother became pregnant again, she prayed to the gods and left offerings to the fey hoping that the baby would be normal. Their father only prayed that the baby be a boy. Alexi was apparently the culmination of the curse, for he was more a tiefling than his sisters were—horns and tail of a goat, pointed ears, and eyes that glowed in the darkness. Within a year the villagers rioted, convinced that the evil had to be purged. Dalia remembered being sent in secret to their uncle Dmitri who brought them here to the Medvyed compound for safety. Their parents never joined them. Lord Gurven allowed their uncle Dmitri to raise the three “monsters” in seclusion, and while she was grateful, she did not feel it excused this treatment.

“If our Lord Uncle won’t punish the whelp then I will,” Dalia said as she stalked towards the door, pausing only to grab her coat.

“And just what will you do,” Natasha asked with a bitter laugh, “impale him on your corkscrews?” Her sister referenced the horns jutting from Dalia’s head, which unlike the goat style of her siblings’ horns, curled like corkscrews as they followed the curve of her skull before jutting out behind her head and ending in upward-turned points.

“It is better than suffering this insult,” Dalia answered coldly before exiting the room and slamming the door.

It was a short walk down the hall to the courtyard, and Dalia ran as fast as she could so that her sister could not catch up to her, but Natasha did not follow. She slowed as she entered the open space, the last thing she needed was to be attacked herself. The Ikrova children had always lived a sheltered life here, their existence known but never spoken about. Only uncle Dmitri, their mother’s older brother, treated them like the orphaned children they were.

As she neared the stables, Dalia realized that she did not really want to harm the boy. Natasha was the fighter, she was the scholar, and even Natasha had seen that violence would not work here. No, it was her great uncle that she was mad at, him and his horrible treatment of her and her siblings. Sighing, she veered away from the stable and down a path leading into the woods.

I could just go back to the room
, she thought. But no, Natasha would tease her the rest of the night, and that was not something she wanted. A walk in the woods would give her time to finish cooling down and let Natasha worry about what she was doing. Dalia enjoyed walks in the forest, as she loved studying the various plants and animals she encountered. She pulled her coat tighter and fastened the buttons to keep anything unwelcome from getting inside. The greatcoat was her prized possession, cut in blue cloth and embroidered with gold thread and buttons that bore the phoenix that graced the banners of House Ikrova. It had been a gift from her uncle Dmitri on her birthday, last Rova.
After walking for an hour, Dalia sat down on a rock to rest before heading back. The woods were dark, but she needed no light to see, even though the details were in shades of grey instead of the greens and browns they should be. A rustling caused her to freeze and hold her breath. There were many creatures in these woods, both natural and otherworldly, that she hoped to avoid. A small fox, its coat of a mottled pattern, emerged from the bushes in front of her, and Dalia breathed a sigh of relief.

“You gave me a fright, little one,” she said with a smile. The fox took a few cautious steps forward, watching her.

“I won’t hurt you, it’s alright,” Dalia said soothingly. She reached into one of her inner pockets, pulling out a bit of dried meat that she always carried there for her little walks and offering it to the small creature. “Come here, that’s right.”

The fox moved closer and took the bit of meat from her hand. Its eyes watched her intently, but it did not seem as skittish as other foxes she had come across during her walks—it seemed… smarter. Cautiously, Dalia reached her hand out to pet it, encouraged by its lack of fear. When she made contact though, a rush of feeling went through her, as if she were in the fox’s mind.

“What,” she exclaimed in confusion, “how…what just happened?” As she stared at the fox, she had the sensation that it was amused. That it had been waiting for her, that she had called it.

“But that is impossible,” Dalia said aloud to the fox. “I have not spoken since I entered the forest and… wait… the ritual?” The fox wagged his tail. “You are my familiar?”

The night before, Dalia had been reading a tome about the practices of witches, and she had tried to cast the ritual for summoning a familiar, but she did not know that it had worked. She had tried study wizardry before with no luck, and she was no sorcerer, but she felt a pull towards arcane magic in some way, so she had researched witches. Apparently, that had been the correct path.

“So I am a witch,” she mused aloud. The fox yipped excitedly and ran down the trail towards the compound for a few feet before returning. Smiling, Dalia understood and jumped off the rock to race after him.

An hour later, she burst into the room she shared with Natasha and Alexi, both of whom jumped at the crashing open of the door.

“Dalia, where have you been,” her sister asked apprehensively. “You didn’t really hurt that boy did you? It’s been hours and…”

“No, I didn’t,” she said hurriedly as she ran to her armoire. “Where is my old pack?”

“What? Why,” Natasha asked as Alexi stared at her like she were a wild woman.

“I’m leaving, going to travel the world,” Dalia answered, finding her pack and stuffing it with clothes, an old bedroll, water skin, books, and other things. "Maybe I will even go all the way to Absalom!"

“Dalia, that is crazy,” her sister cried. “You can’t go out into the world, they will kill you!

“I can cover up,” she replied.

“What about your shadow,” Alexi asked quietly.

“I have found my shadow,” Dalia said with a smile. Her siblings stared at her as if she had gone mad. “Senka, come,” she yelled into the hallway in response. In walked the fox, now clearly mottled red and black with a white tip on his tail. She had chosen the name on purpose, an old word from a dead language, but with a strong meaning to her.

“What is that,” Natasha asked in a very unamused tone.

“Senka,” Dalia said smugly, “my shadow.”

Life in Snow
So we got to Slippery Rock, PA after a two day drive at 3am on Christmas Eve, not a bad time to be honest. Cats drove us nuts though.

New house is awesome, there are pics on Facebook. Cats are still exploring learning that cupboards are not their toys... this is going to take awhile.

Not working yet, getting to the point that we are gonna have to start looking elsewhere than Iron Mountain where Ben's mom works since it is becoming clear that they are not going to be hiring soon... shame, sounds like such a nice place to work. I am contemplating applying at the dreaded Wal-Mart just because it offers health benefits and dental... my last wisdom tooth broke through the gum line right before the move. I just don't know if I am okay selling my soul like that.

In good news, I get to go see the Penguins tonight. A coworker of Debi's (that would be Ben's mom) had some extra tickets and are selling them to us for the same price she paid... pretty good seats too. We are meeting her at the Consol Energy Center to get the tickets. I am super excited about it, since tickets are pretty much sold out for the rest of the season. Too bad it wasn't three tickets, but oh well. I just hope the weather doesn't get to bad.

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