Friday, November 21, 2008

November Princess Adventure

A quick note before I get started: I have the picture from the end results of the Fitness Challenge now, so I wanted to post that real quick since I couldn't in the last blog! :)

And, the card that Terinati drew was to feed the kitties for a week! Not the hardest thing in my stack of cards, but I nice reprieve for me since the kitties demand to be fed on time at 5am and 5:30pm respectively.

And, now for being on topic! ;)

So, I ran into the Princess Portal last month. It's funny, but it seems like whenever I'm trying to search for something, and I'm not sure really what it is, I find it. That website brought out a part of me I had sort of lost, but was nagging to get out. It was actually life-changing, which may seem shocking to some people. Sometimes we really do just need someone else to highlight something in ourselves in order to take steps in the right direction.

Anyway, excited in the discovery of Princess Skye's very cool website and happy about the changes I was making in my life (it's constantly changing, but this has been very good!), I decided to pursue my dream for a "club." I've had it since I was a little girl, and I think it all melded nicely with the whole bringing the MUSH back (still in the works... my poor computers...) and it having a purpose! So, I thought, "Princess Club! Neat idea!" And, it'd be easy to start out with something simple such as doing the princess challenges together. :)

So! The November Challenge was to go on an adventure somewhere in our Kingdom. Here's how it went! * sprinkles you with fairy dust and takes you to another time and place . . . *

***

Three princesses, who also happen to be in my wedding party, were invited to join me on an adventure to explore our Kingdom! But, what was near didn't really interest us. We've explored here a lot already! It's time to find something new! So, to the outskirts of the Kingdom it would be.

Princess Anna wanted to see an apple orchard. It's winter, but I thought that could be interesting. I investigated and found some places that would still be open and even selling items for Thanksgiving. I also found one that was near a zoo and a hiking trail. Princess Kyriel and Illuminique were both game, so we made plans! Princess Anna would drive her carriage and make sandwiches, I would make cookies and get drinks, and we would all pitch in for the feed for her horses. ;)

The night before, however, Princess Anna came down with an illness, so Princess Kyriel took up the reigns instead! I made petticoat tail shortbread cookies the night before and brought sweet, grape drinks. Meanwhile, Princess Illuminique, who is closer to the outskirts of our Kingdom, was oblivious to the problems Princess Anna was facing. :} That's okay, because it was probably past her bed time anyway.

Here are the petticoat tails, which turned out very yummy! I think, because of their ease of make and opportunity for pretty detail (the Princesses recommended to me to use colored sprinkles in the future, which is a great idea!), it will be my regular cookie for Princess activities. * smile *


First, you make a shortbread dough, then you put it into a pan like so. I used a fork to make the fringe around the outside . . .

Then, you cut it into 12 equal pieces before baking. I'm really proud of this because I'm horrible with straight lines. :} And then, you bake!

Once it's done, you reinforce the lines and sprinkle it with some sugar, if you like. Powdered sugar may have been more pretty... (oo, especially with little heart-shaped bits!!), but it would have been more messy too. I was worried it would be too tough, but it actually came out soooo good!


In the morning, I sparkled up (I have no pictures, but there are still sparkles in my hair and on my face today. I love sparkles, when done subtly, and it was the least I could do since I don't really have princess wear for winter yet), put on eyeshadow, and headed out! :D

The first stop on our fantastic adventure! An apple orchard! I haven't been to an apple orchard since I lived in Washington state, which is famous for its apples. The apple orchard I went to there specialized in only apples, so I didn't really know what to expect from this one. It turned out to be an awesome find that I hope to return to many times in the future!

The Apple Orchard!! :)


Despite it being winter, it was beautiful out, as you can see. The wind was chilly on our faces, but the orchard still had apples on the trees, fun decorations, and this interesting pyramid of pumpkins that I thought was pretty cute.

The main feature of the orchard was its shop. Once inside all three of us were overwhelmed with the great assortment of goods there was to find, not to mention the store's fantastic aroma! All three of us picked up some of their delicious apple cider (they had samples; it was like drinking fresh apples! YUM!), and I also purchased some things I thought would make the holiday brighter at home: Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Spread (something I've missed since we moved away from Wisconsin), Pickled Beet Balls (I LOVE pickled beets!!), a Banana Nut Bread scented candle, and a box of spices for making your own hot mulled cider or spiced wine! Since my castle is very small, I was really happy because I felt these things would make it feel more homey for the holidays and release some of the tension I've been having.

After shopping, we explored the orchard some more and found a pretty gazebo, some kids toys, and then an Apple Castle!! :D heehee! I climbed to the top, even though it was small and hard to get up there.

Here is Princess Kyriel in the doorway of the Apple Castle . . .

And the fair, Princess Illuminique looking out one of the Apple Castle's many windows with a regal expression. heehee. It was so fun there!

After taking one last look at the lovely apples on the trees (were those the Pink Ladies?), we headed on our way to the next destination on our Princess Adventure!

Not too far away was a zoo. We rode down to it, and there were a few cars parked there. But, when we came up to the building, the store sign said they were closed! :( Princess Illuminique tried the door, even though it was dark, and it opened!! :O Curiously, I boldly went inside and said, "Hello? Hello??" But, no one was there. We looked around the gift shop and were glad that we were all honest people, because no one WAS there and someone could easily steal the things in their shop! :( So, no safari ride, and no souvenirs to bring from that trip since there was no one to sell us anything, but we got to be in a store when it was closed, and that was exciting for the few minutes we were in there, at least. :} We called and confirmed that the zoo was indeed closed, even though staff was obviously around somewhere. Apparently, while it was not too cold out for humans, it was too cold out for the animals, so we continued our merry way to the next destination . . .

The State Park!

There was supposed to be a waterfall and some other sites to see, but the park was mostly closed for the winter. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, actually. I thought we would have lunch there, in the carriage (because it was so cold outside of it!) and then probably leave. However, we made another great find! The most amazing adventure!!

As we traveled through the woods on the paths, we came across this strange . . . thing? I bounced on it several times, challenging the fear of falling, and discovered that my many exercises to improve my balance have been working well for me! heehee.

Kyriel discovered this zip line . . . But, where does it lead? One by one, we traveled down the zip line, bravely, to discover what lay at the end . . .

video

AHHHHH!!! DRAGON!!!! Kyriel bravely checks to see if it's sleeping . . .

OMG! It's not! Quickly! We must save her!! :O :O

After escaping the dragon and heading down a trecherous trail of traps that tested our physical skills, I climbed to the top of this tower of another castle we found, overlooking the site. Indeed, the dragon seemed to have lost interest in us. ;)
At the very top of the tower, I found this marking. I always wonder when I see things written like this . . . Does whoever wrote it still love that person? How in love were they? Did this writing have a significant meaning in their life and relationship? Was it an expression of unreturned love? So many stories behind the writing left behind that I discovered. In fact, one tree that we found in the park had writing on it dated from 1974, and from the looks of the tree and how the writing had widened like a tattoo on an aged woman, it probably really was that old! Wow . . . Did they know Princesses would come to read their tales over 40 years hence? ;)

And here is where we sat, by a creek (it's almost impossible to see in the photo), to eat the sandwiches Princess Kyriel made with cookies and sweet grape drink from Japan. Yum. It was a great way to end the adventure before returning home, sitting, talking, and relaxing as we looked out into the trees. It was something quite beautiful. All of the leaves were the same, pretty pale color as far as the eye could see. As Kyriel pointed out, you could see so many trees because of the leaves being mostly on the ground, and then in the distance where the trees get thicker it looks like a wall of trees. It was enchanting, and I hope we get to go back there someday when it's warmer. Perhaps we will encounter the fierce dragon again! Dun dun DUN!

Well, I need to run now and get ready for some regularly scheduled maintenance. I'm still happy and daydreaming about yesterday and all of the great stuff we found, and I'm REALLY looking forward to whatever challenge comes up next month that we'll hopefully all be able to share. Blog again soon, unless the time beast comes after me once more. Sayonara!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Halloween, Birthday, and... Fitness Challenge Results! Oh my!

So, I have a lot of catching up to do, and there won't be time next weekend either, so... I'm cramming it in RIGHT NOW. :} lol.

So, yes, the Halloween Party. I definitely couldn't have done it alone. Kyriel and I did it together, though I think she was definitely more in charge than I was, even though it was at my apartment. I just wanted it to be fun, but she was the mastermind behind the activities, including goodies to eat and movies to watch (like a Garfield Halloween special and "Hocus Pocus," a definite Halloween classic). Anna also contributed goodies, and we all had a good time. Somehow, Saudi managed to not get in our pictures, but he was there, I assure you.
First, pretty much everyone pitched in with decorating . . . and had way too much fun doing it.

While I don't think the food I made turned out as good as at the Overnight Ninja Party (I should have listed to Kyriel when she told me the Thai Fish Sauce smelt bad; it normally smells bad, but it was REALLY funky, methinks... or maybe I was just expecting something different from my rats on a stick... ah well), but the other contributions, like Anna's cupcakes, were fantastic! So, go everyone else! Just goes to show that when I don't have time, I'm not such a great hostess. :} Lesson learned. But, look how delicious it was anyhow! :)

The punch in the last shot was a recipe we found online, with a hand made of ice. It came out pretty cool and SOOO tasty, despite how gross it sounds. We had to substitute one of the Koolaid packet flavors, but I think it ended up better than it would have been. The original recipe was to make the punch look black, but ours came out blood red! Definitely a keeper, that one! We still have an extra frozen hand in the freezer, though... :}

Oh! Oh! And, you musn't forget the costumes!!

As you can see, Adam was a ghostbuster, as was Saudi.


Sadly, the snakes in her hair didn't show up in this picture, but Anna was Medusa!

And here is the Sultan Miguel and his lovely... cave woman, er, Kyriel. :} heehee. It looks cheesy, but they really are that ridiculously happy when I see them together. Isn't it cute? :)

Oh yeah! And here's me in the outfit I put together at the Ren Faire and at the local mall (the skirt part) with Kyriel's help!

So, that was Halloween! Wish I could say more about it, but... I am pressed for time, curse it!

That being said, moving on!

On November 2nd, I celebrated one of my work-friends, Temple, at a surprise masquerade birthday with an under the water theme (she loves sharks!). So, here are some tidbits from that! It was really sweet. She was so loved, and I just always feel so many warm fuzzies when I see something like that, with people coming together for someone they care deeply about.

=^--^=

Here is the lady of honor as she arrived, sparkling like a jem of the sea! :)Here she is with family . . . :)

And then here she is being surprised with her best friend having been flown in!! :D

I also did take several videos of her opening presents, but it was too dark so they didn't come out well. So, instead, I'll share with you this cute picture of her holding up one of her gifts! ;)


And now, I am only remiss in e-mailing folks pictures, which will just have to wait until tomorrow.

QUICKLY! Technical updates! So, troubles with both of the computer towers I tried to install stuff on today to run the MUSH separately from my own personal computer. GAHH! We have the monitor, and things are SOOO close to being done. In fact, I had everything installed and when I tried to log in remotely is when the server computer crashed and said that the hard drive is borked. It hasn't been used in well over five years, so I'm not entirely surprised. I'm not giving up, though! Perhaps I can fix the other, more reliable computer that was having issues. * PUFF * It's very frustrating to be so close and yet so far. I'll keep you posted.

Also, you'll notice on the right-hand side that I've started using Twitter. It's easier than blogging, for the most part, and just kind of fun. :) Even if no one watches it, it at least allows me to acknowledge that I'm living all of the freaking time. :} heh.

FINALLY, the results of the Fitness Challenge. That's right, it's been TWO MONTHS! I got down to 128 pounds in this time, too, which is pretty happy for me. I still have a ways to go (us short girls have to work harder!), but I'm very happy with my progress and that it was gradual, how I planned it.

Without further ado, here is the score board!

Dream Senshi: 40
Terinati: 24

I was going to be cool and post the picture here, but the card wouldn't read for a second time for some odd reason... I guess it felt left out with everything else that wasn't functioning properly today. :} Anyway, I'm pretty shocked by that! I mean, Terinati works very hard. We both got sick for a while too, so that hit us hard. I think if we hadn't gotten sick, we would have both had more points. Ultimately, I squeezed in more time by getting up earlier, which really wasn't an option for Terinati because of his crazy work schedule. But, I win! And, just to be nice, rather than give him the entire packet like they suggest in the game, I'm going to have him draw just one card. What it will be? I don't know yet. I'll post that later, 'cause, speaking of sleep... I need to get some! :o

Anyway, wish me luck! This week promises to be another crazy ride. * sighs * I hope I can get the server working, but I imagine for now I'll be running it the usual way off my own computer. Bleh.

Take care, Everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Legend of Dream Senshi

Most people aren't curious where my most used screen name comes from. I get a lot of reactions like, "Er, why aren't you using English?" heh. Well, it's a long story which is relevant to something I've been feeling lately, so I'm going to write about it anyway.

About five years ago, I loved MUSHes. Most of the ones I enjoyed were no longer populated with my friends. Heck, most of my friends were busy with their own lives, as was I, and we had become fairly disconnected (... darn puns...). And then, I met this girl online. I never thought I'd make a friend like her. She's gone now, but I still think back fondly on the memories shared from time to time, even if they were sad in their own right. Being able to be truly yourself is a valuable, precious, and fragile thing.

I only bring her up because while I knew her, we talked about Sailor Moon. Mostly, this anime is unpopular these days it seems. Little girls still like it, I personally love it, but the population who were crazed fans when I first discovered it have mostly moved on to new things to love and there are a lot of people out there who argue about what's canon, and a lot of people who want to mix Sailor Moon with just about any anime ever made... or Star Trek (seriously? why?). I've even had someone tell me that Sailor Moon is too "old" to bother watching. Whatever the case, at the time I knew the girl, I loved it. And, I loved it more in the original Japanese manga, where they were senshi, warriors, not scouts. To be honest, I still hold it precious and own every DVD and manga in Japanese.

I wanted to create a world. I wanted desperately to create a safe haven for myself and my friend where dreams would stream endlessly on. Just a creative world of art to share and find peace with. So, why not a MUSH? A simple, text-based server would do, I thought. I started working on it.

But, the world needs a name. Every world has a name. It was a place for dreams to be held sacred and loved and cherished, where hopes never die. So, I called it Dream Senshi, like "Dream Warrior." I know that Yume no Senshi would be technically more correct, however I wanted to mix English and Japanese. It symbolized, to me, a place where dreams are protected. It made me happy. So, it was named!

Problems: No one would connect to said world, which is understandable. It was my dream, not theirs. And, the world really served no practical purpose except to stay connected and to dream. Also, those who were interested were put off by problems with getting them connected and the fact that I couldn't run the server all of the time.

Eventually, Dream Senshi became just a place for playing role-playing games to log. Not really what I had in mind, but it's useful all the same. The friend was gone, the dreams had changed, and so I made Dream Senshi my own screen name, to symbolize that I wouldn't give up and that my hopes and dreams would stay with me forever. I guess that's kind of cheesy, but... it's a constant reminder of who I am. It symbolizes my feelings very well.

I don't really know if that's particularly interesting or not, but I can't go into too much detail about it, really. And, there isn't too much to say. But, in the last week, I suddenly got this undeniable, creative urge. I still want to create my dream world.

I tried to talk myself out of it. I said, "But, no one will come. Those who will want to come I may not want to share this with." But, I need to do it, and I don't know why. So, I started looking at what I had. The world still works, but it needs some fixes. I'm probably going to destroy a huge chunk of it that I made that no longer serves a purpose for me. The weather system needs to be fixed; I may have installed the wrong version, which would explain a whole lot, but I really like having weather. So, I started with searching for code. Making backups isn't too big of a deal. I should get a USB for it, so I don't have to worry about CDs. Maybe 2 USBs, to use interchangeably. It's just one, small server after all. How to run full time? Well, since I've got my new computer, the old computer which is still good (though, I worry about her running all of the time... :( We'll see... ) could serve the game, so Sora, my current computer, would be safe.

Basically, I've found all of the solutions I think I need to make it happen. I wasn't going to write about it. I guess it's kind of private, but I felt like I needed to for whatever reason. And, I know I'll eventually want to share it, when I'm closer to fixing the ucky problems. Once we get another surge protector strip, I'll pretty much be ready to start... other than that I'm working full time, going to school, and preparing for a wedding. HA HA HA. So, the process will be slow, as always, but the first thing that will happen is that it will be up. It will be a good way to test the effectiveness of the serving before I have other people on it again. I guess I'll let you know how it goes. I'm really hoping to have it up and running starting this week. I'm not really cut out to be admin, but that's alright. This isn't a big project for other people, just for me. It's important, somehow. I really can't explain my sense of urgency with wanting to do it, but it's been on my mind constantly. I guess we'll see what comes of it. I must pursue this dream!