Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Shieldmaiden's Admonition


A Glitter Globe Christmas Carol Tale

Perhaps Dickens would understand...



It’s almost 2:00 a.m. and I’m supposed to be rewriting the last chapter of my current WIP. Instead I’m snapping the bubble-wrap that I use to wrap Epic Slinky Dogs in. Was hanging out on Facebook but it gets really quiet in the middle of the night. Seems like a perfect time for a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past. The Dickens Curse was handed down to me for my Bah Humbug post, and I’ve been waiting for these visits so I can blog about it. I think I know what is wrong. It is amazing how these things become clearer to me with lack of sleep. How would I even know if The Ghost of Christmas Past showed up?  She might be here showing me the past right now. How scary can that possibly be for a writer?  It would look exactly like what I’m always doing, typing with really bad posture. Of course I quit writing sometimes, but what are the odds the ghost has time to hunt through years of me typing, to look for me standing in the kitchen eating peanut butter out of the jar?  It is kinda scary though, I’ll give you that. Sit up straight!  Shoulders back!  There, much better.
Ph
Here comes the Ghost of Christmas Present. I notice her. She drags me away from the computer to show me my daughter decorating the tree all by herself. Nooooooo!  I suck! Hold up. My daughter might be doing this just so I can’t put all the Epic Slinky Dogs on the tree as I’d planned! No, you're right! That doesn’t matter!  No one should decorate the tree alone! I turn on a Christmas movie and help. The tree is now all silver and blue, very festive. The Ghost of Christmas Present glides through the kitchen and we have a look around. She makes me clean up my spinach smoothie mess, and take the trash out. I don’t think she’s a ghost, I think she’s a witch because she gets all up in my face about doing laundry, and opening mail. Give me a break!  Who opens their mail every single week?  What do I look like, Superwoman?  I grab a quick dessert (Redi-Whip straight out of the can, don’t judge me, these ghosts already are) and return to my writing. I have a deadline. I need to finish this entire series in this lifetime, AND write a few more.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come looks freakily like my chiropractor. Let’s call her GCYC for short. She says the turtle neck from straining towards the computer screen is now permanent. Apparently I should have jogged a bit more and not sat fourteen hours a day either, because even though it is the future they don’t make pants shaped like THAT. Looks like my Christmas tree is up though, hmmm, it looks exactly like the one I just put up with my daughter. What?  You mean it is the same one?  I never took it down?  Now there’s an idea, why didn’t I think of that years ago?  GCYC says she doesn’t like my attitude and to take a look at this. Well, thank goodness Dragon Naturally Speaking has advanced, because it looks like my future writer self has to use it. Both her hands are in casts from carpal tunnel surgery, and she’s got a bit of a hump. At least she’s still writing, right?  I sneak a peek over her shoulder to see what she’s working on. How many novels has she written?  What series is she working on now?  My heart's all aflutter, this should be good!  My future-self’s hair is dark with grey streaks, so she’s either much older or there is no hair dye left in the world. Leaning forward I see that she is busily editing a novel called BLANK. That’s the exact same thing I’m editing in the present. No!  No!  Oh Dear Heavens!  Noooo!  Oh the humanity!  I’ll change!  I swear it, I’ll change!  Anything but that!  Noooooo!

***

This story genuinely creeps me out. Just to prove I am a changed woman, I slithered into the holiday spirit and made this video. It is all those things that scare me about the holiday, rolled into one fun video. Leave a comment and tell me what scares you about the holiday, and one of you will win a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble, and at least one of you will win an Epic Slinky Dog. (See?  Like Scrooge the morning after, I’m giving stuff away!)  I’m going to pick the gift card winner based on your epic comment. Be sure to follow my blog to qualify!  And check back to see if you won in order to collect your prize! 

An Epic Merry for Ye... 

29 comments:

brian said...

good weather scares me, i believe is should be a snowy day, just kick back and watch the snow fall, looking at all the houses lite up with blinking bulbs and a santa, stuff like that,

Kathleen said...

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, our church's Christmas Eve services frightens me.
It may have something to do with the fact that I am in charge of some major aspect of the service...the fact that hundreds of people are coming Christmas eve to kick off their holiday and want to be amazed. The fact that teens are usually involved which means a probability that some one will not show up because they broke up with their boyfriend or, they forgot to tell their parents that they are in a starring role. The fact that the computer system decides to embrace a virus on December 23 and all the media just went bye-bye. Yeah, the Christmas eve service frightens the holly jolly out of me.

brian said...

what a nice sugary video

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Kathleen - That sounds like genuine reason to me! I hope you have a few techy, brilliant, geeky friends in that crowd (for back up)! If it is any consolation, most of us in the audience will never notice the technical difficulties. Fake it with big smiles and you're golden!

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Brian - Not too saccharine for ya?

patricia crews said...

not so much frightening, as makes me angry. the stores not letting us have halloween, then thanksgiving, before shoving christmas down our throats. frightening, is christmas day at my brother's house with his wife's family, or more specifically, her mother). just a woman who enjoys making everyone's day hell, and making everyone feel like she is the end all, be all, and believe me when i say she is not. lol. anyhow, loved the blog post. thanks for the contest :)
adamsgirl4602@yahoo.com

Jeff LaFerney said...

When I was a kid (and this still comes to mind each and every Christmas), the "family" Christmas at my mother's side of the family terrified me. I would cry and say I didn't want to go, and my parents would say "then you won't get any presents" and I'd say "I don't want any presents." My great-grandmother was a crotchety old woman who was in a wheel chair (and I never knew anyone else in a wheel chair at the time so it scared me). She would yell at everybody, and she always wanted to touch me with her withered hands when I got there. She scared me to death. But there was also my mom's aunt who'd had a stroke and couldn't use one side of her face. When she ate, food always fell out of her mouth and my great uncle was always wiping her face. Then there was my mom's cousin who said things like "Oh, Poppycock!" when she didn't like something. I think she was mentally handicapped. Now, I sound like I'm a creep, but I'm not talking about me now...I'm talking about me when I was 4 and 5 and 6 and 7. I'd never seen or heard the things that I saw then, and they all scared me. If you're talking about what scares me about Christmas, it's the anxiety I felt as a child at ALL of those family gatherings.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Patricia - Agreed! The whole Merry HalloGivingMas thing where we are told we must buy their stuff, or there will be no joy this Happy WeenThanksSanta Season. Am so not buying it even though there are no payments due until April of 2014, and then at the low interest rate of only 27.8% compounded hourly. ;)

You're all entered in the gift card giveaway AND the Epic Slinky Dog giveaway just by commenting and following BTW. Hardly any strings attached, but it won't cost you a thing.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Jeff,
Poppycock! Sorry, I was just taking my turn at being a creepy adult. I admire writer honesty, that's a genuine child's reaction. The question is, would you take The Time Travel Jeep and go back there?

Call Me Heretic said...

Finding the perfect gift. Cause once you find one, you get a reputation for finding them - and then you have to deliver again next year. *shudder*

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Heretic, You're so right! It's exhausting. That would make an excellent blog post btw. Tag me if you do it!

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Kathleen, I work for a church too - I totally understand the fear of the Christmas Eve service ;)


Okay, Stephanie. I have a tale of fear, but I'm not sure you can stomach it.
There is something that comes every Christmas that, despite all the joy and giving, gives me nightmares and a severe case of twitching.
It haunts a small fraction of the world, sneaking in through your front door, to your family holidays, and even lurks near the tree set up in your church.

"But if I lock my door, I'll be safe!" You might say.
You'd be wrong.
Because this terror is often brought in right under your nose...by children.

Yes. Children.
They are the worst offenders. They reek of it. Carry it with them and as they rush to your open arms for a Christmas hug, you see they've brought it with them...it's ON them...and there's no escaping. You have to follow through with the hug. You can't emotionally traumatize (or physically, by dropping) the child. It's on you before you have a chance to scream.

You, my friend, have been attacked by velvet.

It is the bane of my existence, and every other day of the year it is avoidable. Velvet stands out in the middle of July. You can see it coming.

But at Christmas...oh Stephanie, at Christmas...

Every parent thinks it's a beautiful thing to dress a child in velvet. As an Aunt and a Sunday School Teacher, it's the most horrific day of the year.

That feeling...that touch which burns my skin. I count down the days, sweating through my shirts as it draws closer. The nightmares begin the week before Christmas.
And when the day is here...

Do I dare mention this abhorrence is known to my sister? She dresses up my niece just to watch my squirm.

It's coming Stephanie...

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

P.S. Shieldmaiden approves of this blog.

DM Kilgore said...

What scares me about the holiday...

Blizzards that cause the electricity to be out for weeks, and having to roast hot dogs in a fire place because it's all you have and you can't get to the store in the six feet of snow, and getting food poisoning from the roasted hot dogs, and listening to a toddler cry at the television because it won't turn on and he wants Barney NOW, and having your mini-dachshund disappear in a snow bank and fearing you'll have to roast him in the fire place to thaw him out, and yes- this all happened to me. Welcome to my very first TN Christmas- the freak blizzard of '93.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Oh Dear Kelsey! *dies laughing* That is epic. How about crushed velvet? Suede? Microfleece? Those cushy Beanie Babies with the vaseline-like velvety fabric? The shieldmaiden's kryptonite, who knew?

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

DMKilgore - Wait, I'm stuck on the visual of that weiner dog stuck in a snow bank. *easily distracted*

Are you all stocked up on candles, marshmallows, chocolate, and a generator now? Welcome to the Great White North, who knew that includes TN? I hope that didn't happen at Christmas!

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Stephanie...I have a hard time with suede, but if I suck it up I can handle my totally rockin' suede shoes. I just got a pair today. They are beautiful. I can't let the suede part rub on my skin, but I can touch it.
Crushed velvet and straight up velvet...I can't. Even thinking about it gives me goosebumps ;)

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

And when you were a baby, your Mother must have wondered why you screamed through the entire Christmas Eve service.

rhollidaywrites said...

Fears around Christmas. Hmmm...let's see, there was always the fear of going for Christmas with extended family and the fear of showing up without a gift even though everyone said, "no, don't worry about it." THAT was proof positive that someone was planning to gift juke you on Christmas Day and sneer self-righteously as you opened it. Hated that.

Then there's the fear of spending it with other immediate family. Let's see (names are changed to preserve any dignity they may have) Drunky the Bear, Snarky the Blasphemer, PC the Universalist Appeaser, Can't Say "I Love you" Enough Texter, and Gifty the Obscure Gifter (Why in the hell did GOG give me this?).

Last but not least is my own OCD fear of a Christmas elf tree decoration that my wife has from way back when. It gets hung on the back of the tree, midway up. Othewise, someone will put him near the bottom where he can jump off in the middle of the night and go steal my kids or something. Seriously, the thing is creepy in the same way Howdy Doody and Elf-on-the-Shelf are creepy.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

rh - Laughed far longer than I should admit over your post. I've seen that elf. And when I'm in the middle of holiday shoppers, I want to take a page from GOG's book and grab twenty-five left handed scissors and be done with it.

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Okay, so Rob made me laugh...but Stephanie made me laugh harder with the left-handed scissors.

Stephanie, no joke...some of the nightmares are flashbacks from those awful dresses and trying to sit with my arms up and out so the fabric couldn't get me.
Sound Shieldmaiden-y enough?

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Oh my gosh! I knew it!

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

You did. I. Am. Carole.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

How about something to celebrate on a Wednesday? Epic Slinky Dog winners are Kathleen and Jeff LaFerney. Be sure to private message me an address and I will get them in the mail! They're perfect stocking stuffers btw - even if you stuff your own stocking!
Congratulations, and thanks for swinging by The Glitter Globe. Yay! Early Christmas gifts!

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

*Drum Roll*
And the winner of the $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble is...Kelsey Rae Keating for her comment about her inexplicable freaky fear of velvet! *Wahhhh! Crowd Roars*
Private Message me your address, Kelsey, and I will get that in the mail to you.
For those who didn't win, keep posting. I give away Epic Slinky Dogs with every post AND I will be giving away another gift card next week!

Phil Scott said...

My fear is I may have missed out on an exciting and rivoting blog! This is entirely to be blamed on an acute sense of ADD. At first my mind was stolen away by the use of WIP and I thought of my many projects all going on here at work where I am pretty sure I now reside, (please forward any and all prizes to new address of Dresser Rand, along with my Sharkie and previous Epic Slinky Dog, although separate boxes would be best...what was I saying about ADD?) So then you mention bubble wrap and just yesterday here at my new home was an entire box of bubble wrap which I popped completely, whereas my new boss couldn't understand the addiction, and next thing I new I was finished reading the blog, so yes my fear is, if in fact there is a Santa, I am not added to the naughty list for lack of focus while reading one of my favorite bloggers.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Phil - Epic Slinky Dog bubblewrap is the little kind. It is easier to resist. I like the big ones. You can jump on them. Very satisfying.
While you're taking up residence at DR, who is at home keeping an eye on Slinky Dog and Sharkie? Just wondering/worrying...

Phil Scott said...

I'm sure you prefer to give your affection to Epic Slinky, and might find it hard to believe, but I have a plethora of not only willing people but an over - abundance of people begging to watch Sharkie. I was always very vocal with my opinion of little toe-biters but I admit to having gone soft with Sharkie. She's an awesome little fur ball but she does take issue with my wonderful Epic Slinky, which is why I needed both dogs shipped to DR in separate boxes for fear only one survives. One last note for the sake of your jealousy, the bubbles of the wrap I was popping were the size of my hand, I am sure you can now appreciate my conundrum of choosing doing work vs popping bubbles.

Lauren said...

Not gonna lie, my favorite part of this whole thing is the line, "The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come looks freakily like my chiropractor".

:-D