Wednesday, April 29, 2009


There are lots of different kinds of fights. Sports competitions are fights. Haggling with a merchant to get a better deal on something is a fight. Any parent knows that every day is a fight. War is obviously a fight. Families fight. Countries fight. Sometimes a bit of healthy rivalry is good for comradery or the marketplace. But when it comes to verbal fights there are a few universal truths:

There are two sides to every story.
Sometimes more.

Everyone thinks they are right, and they want their way.

And they want a "compromise" that works out the best for themselves.

Now, a mediator might say that a good compromise is one that no one is completely happy with. Because that means that everyone had to relinquish something in order for the compromise to take place. Others will say a good compromise is one where everyone leaves thinking they got more of their way than the other guy, and so they are happy.

But when you step back from a fight you are in, completely believing that you are right, and you have the right to be right, and your compromise up to this point has been to try to be patient while waiting for the other party to admit that you are right, and do what you wanted...

When you step back and ask yourself, "Am I really right? Or just being selfish because I want my own way?" How in the world do you find the answer??? ...


I started this last week.

I kept it back thinking I would have more to add later. But I realized that I do not. I still don't know what I am supposed to do. *sigh*

.. When you fight, sometimes it is better after because you get things out in the open, so you have a chance to deal with them. If you're having a problem and now you can both work on a solution, then that is a good thing. But more often than not, everyone just feels sad that there was a fight at all. And it's exaughsting.

As a mother of a strong willed daughter in her terrible-twos, I am so tired of any fighting...

But for what it's worth, the fight between my husband and I that sparked this blog in the first place? I still absolutely believe that I am right, I have the "right" in this case to get my way, and the whole family would benefit from it.

But I still also feel a bit selfish for holding out until I get my way.

Life is so complicated.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Becoming a character - Part 1

I don't know at what point I realized it, but it has been pretty obvious for quite some time that Klingons and Star Trek would be a big part of my marriage. My husband started learning tlhingon Hol a short time before he met me, and it fascinated him as a linguist. He has since translated many things into the language (even getting PAID to do it!), and has studied the culture.

A few years ago he purchased a Klingon costume from some website, but hadn't consulted me first. Assuming for a generous moment that if he HAD asked me first that I didn't immediately say no, then I like to think that I would have helped him put our money into a better costume than what he ordered.

When we got it in the mail the first obvious flaw was that it looked like a Halloween costume you might buy at Wal-Mart. Cheap fabric, foam, and pleather with faded painted designs. :-/

Now, I'm not saying that to be mean. We've gotten some mileage out of it, and he's worn it to a few events. But the time has come to REALLY vamp it up as the Trekkies unite for the Star Trek movie premier in a couple weeks. Woo.

Of course, we didn't start the process until today. Not enough time? Nothing a lot of money can't fix! -- ... But we don't have a lot of money... Lame. But we DO have some ingenuity and resources, so maybe we can pull it off! My goal is to tweak what I can.

Trouble is, I come from a Theatre background, and a family of complicated over-achievers! So it is pretty hard to JUST tweak anything. It's WAY more fun to pull together and facsimilate something totally AWESOME! ... So we're trying.

Today I looked at reference material and made some calls to meet with my favorite make-up artists -- my parents. I detached a decal from the costume that had been manufactured upside-down, so I can attach it correctly. I also detached the mock knee boots from the cheap black pants it came with so my husband can wear them over his boots and some real pants. That alone will kick the over all look up a notch. I also have hopes of attaching some metallic pieces, scavenging for some gloves and a sash, and making a better belt buckle.

But the REALLY AWESOME accomplishment of the day was the creation of a Klingon forehead and nose prosthetic! Here is how it went:

1. Call Daddy and ask him very nicely if he is available to help with a prosthetic and pay him back with gratitude and Welch's Grape Juice.

2. Meet up and discuss options.

We talked about going the Alginate, Plaster, and Latex Mold route a few years back, but the effort required lead to never doing it. Today my Father offered an option involving building the prosthetic directly onto the actor. Sweet.

3. Assemble supplies:
Liquid Latex
Cotton balls
Tissue paper
Tulle (sp?) That decorative netting you see at weddings.
Powder - for removal

4. Trimmed a piece of Tulle to the desired size of the prosthetic; covering the forehead. Should have also cut it to cover the nose, but forgot.

5. He put a bit of liquid soap along the hair line to help with removing the finished product.

6. Used a flat knife (Latex spatula was missing) to apply a thin layer of Liquid Latex to the skin.

7. Applied the pre-made Tulle base. This acts to give the piece stability, and keep it from falling apart when it it removed. It's kind of like the steel mesh used to reinforce a slab of concrete.

8. Then add Liquid Latex where you want to build up the prosthetic, and create the shape you want using cotton balls, tissue, yarn, or what have you.

To clarify: add a small amount of Liquid Latex to the immediate spot you want to attach the cotton ball to, to make it stick. Stretch it out or whatever to get the desired shape. You can apply more latex and materials to build it up, or take it away. As you go, Apply more latex over the cotton balls, and shape as desired. Repeat over the rest of the forehead or whatever until finished.

An artistic sensibility would be good here. You are limited only by your imagination. Checking frequently in the mirror will also help as you can make adjustments until the latex starts to dry.

9. Let the whole thing dry in place. How long depends on how much material was used. Our piece needed at least an hour or so. We could have waited longer, but my husband had to go to work.

10. Slowly peel the whole piece back off, working from one corner to another. It hurts like a large bandage being ripped off. If you got hair in it, it will hurt more. Powdering it lightly as you go will help to keep it from sticking to itself.

11. Once off and dry enough, store in a zip top bag. The fine line to walk is you do not want the prosthetic to dry out, as it would become too brittle, and break. That would be very sad.

When the time comes to put the prosthetic back on for the event:

1. Trim or adjust anything to clean it up a bit.

2. Apply the prosthetic with Spirit Gum. You may also want to have Spirit Gum Remover handy for later.

3. Use facepaint to blend it in with the rest of the actor to achieve the desired look. Artistic ability needed here too.

This is the kind of thing where practice will make perfect. I only applied some finishing touches to today's prosthetic, as the rest of the time was spent caring for our children. I declined creating a forehead for my 6mo old son at this time.

I think it turned out well. I would have done a few things differently, but next time. Before we started, my Father asked my Husband how long we'd like the prosthetic to last. My Husband said he would wear it until it fell apart. My father said that could be three minutes. I said we'd probably like to get a dozen events out of it. I don't know if it will last that long. But I am confidant that I can build another when the time comes. Obviously, there are better/more "professional" ways of making prosthetics (remember that Alginate and Plaster method?), but this will work great in a pinch. =)

... Now to finish the costume.

And we haven't started on mine yet. Apparently I get to paint myself green. That will be the easy part. Finding a modest costume will be the hard part. And do I really want the attention? ... That should be interesting.

But that's a blog for another day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love is easy. Marriage is the hard part.

My handsome husband and I just celebrated our five year wedding
anniversary. So, for the past couple weeks, I have repeatedly found
myself constantly reflecting on the many things that have brought us
here. If I ask myself, "Is it everything you thought it would be?"
then I am surprised that the answer is, "Not really."

Now, before anyone freaks out (Michael), I must state that my
conclusion is based on the fact that I was pretty unprepared for
marriage before I got married.

Oh, I'd known my husband for about two years by that point. We'd had a
lengthy engagement, and we'd gotten to know one another very well. My
husband proposed to me FOUR TIMES -- I most certainly thought
everything through that I could think of; repeatedly!

We both loved each other, had very similar values and goals in life,
but came from different enough backgrounds that our life experiences
helped to complete the other. The chemistry was pretty awesome too. ;)
Always very important!! *laughs*

No, I knew then before we made that journey together that I had fallen
in love with the best man I have ever known. That he would love me,
and take great care of me. And that he would be a good father one day.

As we knelt across the alter from one another that beautiful spring
morning I was happier than I had ever been in my whole life! I have no
idea what the guy said to us during the ceremony -- I really wish I
could remember. :-/

My wedding day and reception had its glitches. This or that didn't go
as planned. But I was so happy and entranced, that the little misshapes
just flew over my head and didn't bother me. The most important thing
was that we'd made it to the alter safe and sound. No matter what
happened next, it would all be okay... =)

... But throughout the following days and weeks after I came up for
air from the newlywed-ness of our lives, I began to ask myself a
startling question:

"So, what happens now?"

The twenty years of my life before my wedding had prepared me mainly
for just that -- the wedding. I mean, every fairytale, movie, novel,
and most Sunday School lessons had ended with "You get married, and
then Happily Ever After."

I was raised on Disney movies, I knew the drill: drama, meet, drama,
fall in love, drama, a few romantic moments, a heart-wrenching plot
twist, a bit more drama, then marriage! Yay! Cue the music and the
ending credits...

But now what?

I must admit that I was a bit irked that I didn't have much to go on
at that point. I mean, we had jobs, a little apartment, and were
making ends meet. I knew how to cook, clean, host parties, mend and
sew, and fix his tie and collar. Wasn't that the definition of a good

Well, lets just say that the "Get out of Jail Free card theory" about
life after the wedding did not pan out. I knew THAT the morning after
we got married, when I baked cinnamon rolls, bacon and eggs, and hot
chocolate for breakfast, and he came out and said he just wanted some
cold cereal. :(

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Love is easy, and Marriage is
the hard part.

When you are just dating, you only see each other at your best. You
took time to look cute. You clear your schedule. You try your best to
be fun and engaging. You still live with your parents, so you have few
bills or responsibilities. So, you get to spend most of the money you
make on going out with each other. Anyone can be fun when there aren't
major responsibilities attached.

But you don't get any of the fun parts of married life when you're
just dating, either.

With marriage comes being around each other ALL THE TIME. It only
sounds good before it happens. Suddenly you're not always cute and
witty. Now you also spend time together when you're feeling ugly and
tired. And if The Pill is now part of life, then chances are you're
hormonal and out of sorts too. No fun. Seriously.

Then there's Rent, utility bills, no parents to wake you up for work,
or clean up after you. Being an adult is a lot of work! Now that you
need to be financially responsible, there is less or no money to go out
to eat, or see a movie. You find yourselves at home all the time,
tired, bored and stressed out.

This is the point when you find out what your relationship is made of.
If you are able to not get pregnant right away, then you get to spend
time together just the two of you, and work a lot of things out. You
get to learn and mature together. You share life's struggles and
experiences together.

When babies come along you never get to sleep or spend time alone
together. And now EVERYONE is hormonal, tired and stressed out! Aaaaa!

But you also have this wonderful bundle of joy complete with
irresistibly kissable toes, and cuddly little bodies to hold close to
your heart as you rock them to sleep. Children remind you what it was
like to be a child yourself, and teach you what your parents had to
put up with as you were growing up.

With marriage comes the love, trust, comfort, stability, and safety of
being with the one who you know will watch your back, take care of
you, and bring you back to your senses when you need it.

And when you're together, everything is better then any other time.
You can feel the love and joy from head to toe, drop all defenses and
pretenses, and finally find comfort and peace. =)

If you are able to each do your part of the chores, take care of the
other's needs, be willing to pick up the slack when the other is down,
and help them back up again, then you can be good together.

You need to both be honest and try to communicate to avoid problems
before they happen. You need to constantly be compromising with one
another to reach your goals. You need to try to bring out the best
qualities in the other, and help them feel complete.

You need to be strong enough to call each other out when you mess up,
so you can patch things up before they get blown out of control. You
need to love each other more than yourself, and protect them from
worry and doubt by behaving and acting with integrity. You need to
speak up when you're having a problem so they can step in and help you
out. And you need to appreciate each other. Recognise and praise them
for their efforts, and remind them to notice yours.

Marriage is a tempering, ongoing process. Like a fine sword that must
be heated, beaten, and reheated to create the many layers necessary to
forge a strong blade. The countless experiences, both good and bad,
that you hurtle together, will temper, forge, and strengthen your
foundation as a couple. =)

I love my husband so very much! We have overcome just about every
obstacle a couple can go through in our seven years together. We
aren't wealthy, but we have a comfortable little home, we've been
paying off our debt, and we have two beautiful little children. I am
very very blessed.

So, is it all everything I thought it would be?


It is, by far, better than I had ever imagined.