danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
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I look for people who are honest about and to themselves and others, discreet, intelligent, sensitive and with a dry sense of humor. Unfortunately, as I have a Messiah Complex, I usually end up around the unrepentant liars, the melodramatic, the whiners, the chronically inactive, and the users.

I am an incurably naive pragmatic optimist. I love to believe people when they tell me things but I hold out just a little bit for the possibility that they're lying to and/or using me. I hope and I hope that I'm wrong but over the years I have learned this: if I can't picture it happening, it's not going to happen. Now I am stuck in the unenviable place of trying to weed those out of my life who do me no good but I keep them around because of the naive hope that they WILL (or have) change(d) and they'll be the people I picture them being. I need to stop worrying about hurting their feelings or any attendant drama and worry about ME.

The one time I stuck to my rules, I found my husband. If ever the Universe tried to teach me an object lesson, it was with him. I have many dear and stable friends who are everything I would ever want in a human being but I find myself spending way too much time worrying about the ones who aren't.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
I love the Food Network Show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate..." Every week they take a topic like "The Best Fried Food I Ever Ate..." or "The Best Hometown Favorite I Ever Ate..." and they talk to the Food Network chefs/personalities. Not only do they describe it, but they actually tell you where you can get it.

It made me think.

Now, I wouldn't call myself a foodie; I'm not passionate enough about food to be one but living with Bruce has taught me to love food as more than just fuel for the Stephanie. Looking back on my life, as I am wont to do, I have noticed that most of my positive memories involved food, one way or another. As anyone who is around me for more than five minutes knows, I lived in Germany for about eight years, all told. I grew up drinking Evian (because the tap water gave Mom bladder infections), eating German/Belgian/English chocolates and all around enjoying the different foods of Europe. Barring the odd trip to Lawrence to visit Au Marche or to Westport for the World Market, I don't get much of the foods I grew up loving. I have two dishes from my years in high school that pretty much sum up my food experiences living there:
1. Un sandwich de jambon blanc in Strasbourg, France.
2. Jaegerschnitzel.

I can make a white ham sandwich here, at least. Take good bread (fresh and French), butter it (real butter, s'il vous plait!) and put a fresh dill pickle and ham thickly cut off the bone. Magnifique. I had it with a lemonade, which in Europe is akin to our 7-Up but with more lemon flavor.

I despaired of ever tasting Jaegerschnitzel again as all the recipes I found didn't look quite right. And then, when visiting my parents in May, I talked them into taking the family to Edelweiss, a German chain restaurant in Colorado Springs. It had all the stereotypical German ornamentation and polka music. Now, everything was authentic but it was still all lacy curtains and edelweiss. Not all of Germany is alpine, don't you know? I was a little skeptical but they passed my first test.

They had Spezi, that wonderful fizzy blend of German recipe Coke and orange juice. We can get Mezzo Mix at Au Marche, but that's got Fanta Orange and Lemon in it. Not quite the same thing at all... I almost cried.

The second test: they had shredded celery hearts and red beans with that tart-sweet vinegarette as a salad.

And the final test: I braced myself and ordered their Jaegerschnitzel.

It tasted just like my memories of it.

I sat there quietly, feeling not unlike the scene in Ratatouille when the title character serves ratatouille to a crotchety old food critic. He takes the first bite and is immediately transformed back to his childhood, when he had taken a bad spill off his bike and he came home, ragged and teary-eyed. His mother smiled, patted him on the head and served him his lunch.

I hope it's not another 12 years before I can get it again... knock wood, I'll get to go to Heidelberg, Germany next year for my high school reunion.

As a mildly irrelevant aside, for those of you who haven't seen one in person, I think edelweiss is the ugliest flower ever.

danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
1. You reap what you sow, positive and negative. You can put whatever coloring you want on it and call it "karma" or "The Three-Fold Rule" but the end result is the same.

2. You only harvest what you put in. Also called, "Garbage In, Garbage Out."

3. There is a time and a place to assign sole blame to yourself. However, you bear at least partial responsibility. This also means you are your own worst enemy.

4. Your friends, your true friends, are always right. Always. Whether you want to hear it or not. Anyone who has your best interests at heart will never lie to you (or about you)and if they do, kick them to the curb.

5. Chick Flicks, romance novels and things like Romeo and Juliet are fiction and if you base your understanding or expections of love, romance and/or friendship on them, you are doomed to disappointment.

6. Always remember the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It seems really cynical of me, and this is not geared to any one person. These are lessons that many around me seem to need repeated. I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall when my friends come to me rending and wailing, only to keep coming back.
Any way, Happy New Year, happy new decade. Let's try to keep our heads on straight, shall we?


Dec. 28th, 2009 05:27 pm
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
I have a lot of friends who have this fluffy, pie-in-the-sky, Romance Novel/Chick Flick, Twilight-esque idea of what love is, how it's supposed to feel, et cetera.

I dedicate this to you:
Before We Say Goodbye

Once you've seen that, I give you, The Hardest Part of Breaking Up.

And you can quote me.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
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I have a couple. In middle school, I loved the main character of Jean Auel's Earth's Children series (which started with The Clan of the Cave Bear), Ayla. She was beautiful, extraordinarily competent and intuitive. She spurred me to try to learn a little bit of everything so I would never be at a loss.

Once I got older, I discovered Aeron Aoibhell from Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's science-fiction/fantasy hybrid series The Keltiad. The Ard-rian ("High Queen") of an interstellar empire, a Ban-draoi Domina ("Lady Woman Druid", a leader of that order) and a Fian warrior, she reminds me that strength comes from within, and passion must be guided by forethought, not simply gut reactions. I have a Spanish temper- she has an Irish temper-and she reminds me to take a deep breath and act from a position of strength instead of just anger.

I try to use their example in my every day life because I find it makes my life easier to gather knowledge and act from that instead of flying melodramatically off the handle. I admit it's easier said than done.
danika_ni_sidhe: (angry)
Mesdames et messieurs, this all started with a horribly insulting poll on Facebook about whether atheists are smarter than Christians. I got on my soap box on a friend's page and mentioned that one thing I can't stand are those who stand and presume they are more intelligent than others based on their faith (or lack thereof). I got this response, emphasis mine:

Lisa Prior: stephaniie...I was joking with Dave..everyone has a choice in life...and there are dummies in each view...though scientifically the more intelligent you are the less likely to believe in organized religion. This is a simple fact. one I have seen over the years of my life. No one faith is better than another or smarter but there seems to be more agnostics and atheists who are highly intelligent or geniuses. They tend to have less belief in things they cant measure or define. So the best we can do is keep an open mind and a sense of humor! [sic]

I don't know this chick. I wouldn't know her if I fell on her. But the sheer willfull ignorance of this statement from a professed Wiccan just got under my skin. Historically, sweetheart, you're wrong. The most educated people were Muslim or Christian; the only way to guarantee a well-rounded education was to go to a religious university. Even now, some of the most highly educated people work with and for the Vatican. If you want to practice revisionism, please do it to someone who has swallowed the Kool-Aid.
That's why I'm the more general Pagan and not something like Wiccan. Wicca started with Gerald Gardiner in the 1950s with a claim that he had the truth regarding the practices of Pre-Christian Europe... and for years they've bought it. Now, I will play Devil's Advocate on my own argument and say that since most of the Pre-Christian European civilizations didn't have a written language, we have no way of knowing one way or the other. But, even source materials like Caesar's The Gallic Wars are suspect because he wasn't an historian. Even the historians of the time felt no compunction to keep their work accurate, especially if they had a political axe to grind! Since faith tends to be handed down in an oral tradition, things get mixed up either in translation or because humanity has imperfect memories!
And don't even get me started on how much we as a global civilization lost during the Dark Ages.

In my experience, Pagans are just as bad as Christians when it comes to historical revisionism. Some so-called historians try to tell people that 200,000 died as a direct result of anti-witchcraft hysteria, ignoring the fact that the Inquisitions focused on more than just butchering witches and burying their knowledge. And Pagans were just as bad in persecuting Christians- it's all the Bible, folks. That's the reason they celebrate Christmas in the winter; if your neighbor thinks you're celebrating with him, he's less likely to murder you.

Long rant short, from what I can tell in my experience (which I can almost guarantee is greater than Lisa's), there is no correlation between intelligence and faith. Faith cannot be quantified and you'll find as many ass-backward Pagans as you will Christians.

Thank You.

Nov. 11th, 2009 08:01 am
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
Fiddler's Green
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.

Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.

Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.

And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green.

From Wikipedia:"The story of Fiddler's Green was published anonymously in a 1923 U.S. Cavalry Manual, and is still used by modern cavalry and artillery units to memorialize the deceased. The name has had other military uses. Fiddler’s Green was an artillery Fire Support Base in Military Region III in Vietnam in 1972 occupied principally by elements of 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry, and also was the name of the U.S. Navy's enlisted mens club in Sasebo, Japan from 1952 to 1976. The informal bar at the Fort Sill Officers' Open Mess used to be known as Fiddler's Green and it is the name of the stable and pasture used by Parsons Mounted Cavalry, a cadet group at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and that of the bar at the Leaders Club in Fort Knox, Kentucky."

And as a personal aside, my father, COL (Ret.) Michael Heredia, served with the 2nd Squadron, 11th ACR in Bad Kissingen, Fulda and Wildflecken, Germany.

danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
Remember, kids! You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Lisi dressed up as her steampunk pirate character. I didn't think to ask for the name but she made most of her costume.

James and Lisi as their steampunk characters

Zach as Dr. Frankenstein, not "Frahken-schteen."

I dressed up as a Siren, an Atlantean assassin. This is not Amyri (the version I created for NERO) but Adonna, closer to my original idea.
On a completely girly note, I got the leinne from Ebay and the boots from the Halloween store. You can't see it in this picture, but I'm wearing black wings: in the original story idea, assassins had black raven wings.

This is the close-up of my rank insignia. As the youngest assassin (and one of four), I have only the stylized swan and a single barely adorned swirl.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
While I don't have children, I feel very strongly that all children must be vaccinated, especially now that the courts have proven the link between autism and vaccines specious.

I found this essay on Slate presenting a perfect reason why people should: it's not just about you.
danika_ni_sidhe: (looook)
A. Chicken butt.

B. It's my BIRTHDAY!

It's a trick question because both apply and, as you can tell, I'm 29! YAY for me!

Since I scheduled my wedding so close to my birthday, I didn't ask for birthday presents but I made an aside comment to my mother about it- this time NOT hinting at anything- so she and Bruce turned the rehearsal dinner into a birthday celebration. I got two things appropriate to my chronological age: a tanktop from the Pyramid Collection warning the world that I feel a sin coming on and a Celtic Woman CD. The rest: a Tinkerbell bed canopy, a peeg figurine from G-Force, Tinkerbell body glitter and cash. My sister felt so badly about not being able to come because no one knew about Gordon's leave (Gordon came home from Afghanistan very early this morning) that she bought me perfume from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab AND sent something for the wedding.

I have no idea if Bruce and I will do anything tonight to celebrate. I have my hopes (come on, sushi!) but we'll see.

Everyone together now: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEPHANIE!
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
Okay. I need help thinking of ocean-themed songs appropriate to play before the wedding. I would prefer something in a New Age, jazz or pop genre (heavy metal would NOT be appreciated by the guests, even if I would find it really funny...) that talks about the sea.

What I have so far:
Beyond the Sea- Bobby Darin
Orinoco Flow- Enya
Lucky- Jason Mraz with Colbie Caillet
Biloxi- Jimmy Buffett

danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
I mentioned in an earlier entry that I got a job for the Kansas regional office of Medical Technology Associates, Inc. What I have explained ad nauseum to anyone who asks me how I'm doing, I'm actually working for MTA, Inc. through Pro-Staff in a temp.-to-hire position. The original assignment lasted for six months.

The six months will end on October 18th.

By October 1st, I will be a full-time MTA employee. They want to keep me!

When Brian and Shayne from Northwestern Mutual fired me for not learning fast enough, that was only the third time in my life that I had been fired. Something in me snapped that day; at the core of me, I carried the belief that I will always land on my feet, that my will shapes the world and I am brilliant. Upon my termination, I finally had to face the idea that I might fail and that I might not be as bright as I think I am. Nearly a year later and with Bruce's help, I've finally gotten that core shored up. We finished the final caisson yesterday with the announcement that MTA will hire me.

So, on that note, here is the story behind my first firing:

I worked part-time one summer for a small copy shop in Leavenworth, KS. At the time, the two full-time employees were two holier-than-thou Catholics who had graduated from Immaculata High School (Leavenworth's Catholic Preperatory High School). Most of the Immac students I had met during my tenure at Leavenworth High School (the public high school where I spent my 9th and 10th grade years) were exceedingly conscious of the money it took to go there: some because their parents could afford it and others because they had been kicked out of all the public high schools in the area and went as a last resort. Those two women, once they found out I was a lapsed Catholic, made it their duty to let me know just how much better they were than I... ignoring the fact they were BOTH unwed, single mothers living with their "baby daddies." Yeah. REAL Catholic...

Anyway, after nearly two months, I finally had it with their attitude whenever I would ask for help so one day after work I went and bought a copy of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible from the local WaldenBooks and sat in the back during my lunch period reading it and taking notes.

They let me go after that.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
We all have sins in our backgrounds for which we have to atone. They weigh more heavily on some than others; there are some who can justify any level of pain they cause another being while others stay up o'nights reliving everything they've ever done wrong.

Peter David and John DeLancie said the first murder occurred in the night. It became a race memory and now we're afraid of the dark. Some people look up into the skies and feel only the press of a vast and uncaring universe. Some feel eyes endlessly judging sins both mortal and venal. Some sit back and reflect that the wrongs done them should mitigate the pain they've dealt to others.

Recently, science has come to the consensus that all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were born in the hearts of stars, fused from the lightest of gases into the heaviest of metals by the forces at their cores. When the star can no longer burn, it explodes into a nova (Latin for new), spewing all those elements into the Universe. The elements of life started in stars: we are made of star dust.

When I look to the sky, I think of the hymn How Great Thou Art:

Oh Lord, My God
When I, in awesome wonder, consider all
The worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the Universe displayed...

I can see the past and the future: I see light that may no longer exist and the current forms of the beings that might be. As hard as it can be to forgive, I have to remember that forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting and that to "err is human and to forgive Divine." I also know that if you can forgive and love yourself, it makes it easier to do the same to others. As Heinlein said, "If you don't like yourself, you can't like other people."

It's much easier said than done but it helps on those nights when I feel the weight of my unkindnesses.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
Around the time when the weather cools, I start feeling restless. I feel the need to be out in the wind and the slanting sun. I start wearing my heavier scents and pull out my jewel-toned clothes and amber pieces. I pile the covers on the bed and open the windows at night. Autumn is minx weather.

I'm feeling the need to get tattooed (no, Stephanie, not until AFTER the wedding!) or at least get that second set of piercings I've talked about- that would make five all told. Bruce wants to put me in contacts before the wedding.


Perhaps I'll actually clean my apartment this weekend. That would be a hell of a change...


Aug. 6th, 2009 01:53 pm
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
FINALLY! I got all my music! I found Hans Zimmer's "503" from Angels and Demons online in a .pdf format! EEEE!

I think I found the sheet music for "The Kiss." We'll see when the book gets here.

*dances... lots...*
danika_ni_sidhe: (Ouch)
I woke up this morning from a dream where I roamed around a marble mansion getting ready for a ball. It was my home, or rather, it was the family estate and I was a member of the family. Our colors were royal blue and gold; those colors were in all the formal rooms. The stone in the house was cream marble with gold veining. I remember thinking that my dress, which looked like the dress I chose for my wedding, matched the "Red Room" before I woke up.

I've had dreams of this sort before, which is weird, because I have never been wealthy. Not even remotely close. When I went to KCKCC, because the house we lived in on post had three levels, Fabian started the rumor that I was and variations on that theme have haunted me ever since.

In case anyone has missed it in any of the previous entries, I am neither wealthy nor well off. Neither were/are my parents. We were not nouveau riche or even vieux riche (and I don't care if the latter isn't a term). My parents aren't doing badly because my father worked very hard from day one to achieve his dream of soldiering. He retired from the Army -getting the retirement pay to which he was entitled for 29 years of service- and started working as a government contractor. Any money they have is not mine. It was never mine. I had the amazing life I had because my father worked for it. I live paycheck to paycheck and I work for everything I have.

If I'm treated like that again, or unreasonable expectations based on any perceived wealth are put upon me again, I will rip the offending party to shreds.

I trust I won't have to repeat this.
danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
I'll just bet his midichlorian levels are off the scale... and we all know Dick Chaney's under the Vader clothes.

danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
It's a joke from high school. You know, back when being hyper just meant you were chock full of caffeine and /or sugar and no one accused you of being "bipolar" or of having ADD/ADHD. For the record, I have none of those conditions. I just get really excited easily. Yes, I have been accused of that by the know-nothings of the world.



1. I'm learning how to do a viking weave!

2. Today is the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

3. Roma, for far too long have I neglected you. Seriously, you and I need to talk.
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