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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

she of the brown dusty attic-smelling wings

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.


May 1st, 2019

Me and Estella, Lobelia, and ElanorThe kids are here!!! What a perfect way to celebrate Beltane. This morning, Bobby and I drove down to Stowe to pick up our two little doelings. Well ... you can see that "two" turned into "three" quite easily. We arrived to the farm and a pen of six little kids, all a week or two old: five does and a buck. The owner remarked that this is the time of year when it is hard to sell kids, so if we wanted three instead ... she then went away for three minutes, which was enough time for Bobby to look at me with eyes taking up half his face and remark how cute the little black one was for me to know: Yep. Totally going home with three.

I'm glad! They've only been here a few hours, and it is already hard to imagine not having one of them.

We named them after female Hobbits. I had initially suggested naming them after family matriarchs, but we're approaching the point where we might start selling what we produce here, so Bobby has been poking me about coming up with a name for our homestead. He would like a Tolkienish name. Naturally, I did not disagree. The Hobbit names fit better with that. Twist my arm.

So I am happy to introduce, from left to right, Estella, Elanor, and Lobelia.

Estella, Lobelia, and Elanor

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This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 24th, 2018

Wordish Things

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I started this post yesterday and then Bobby, who was playing Mario 3 or our NES, was like, "You should come in and play too!" and the Siren's call of nostalgic video games overwhelmed the urge to writing about books and writing.

First of all, I'm doing a Read Around the World challenge. I started it p-locked (and my list is still in-progress because I'm also trying to read a book set in each of the 50 U.S. states and have more to add than what I've listed so far) but am opening it up because 1) I'd love recommendations on what to read and 2) thought it might be useful for others who want to expand their reading horizons.

There's a lot of YA on the list, which is more an occupational hazard than a personal preference. Read more...Collapse )

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 23rd, 2018

A Rec and an SSP

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I want to do two quick things!

First is to rec the new story of my beta-author, Idril's Scribe, The Stars Above the Sea. This is the sequel to her story from earlier this year, Under Strange Stars. USS is an AU story in which Glorfindel is tasked with tracking down Elrohir, who was kidnapped as a child, sold into Umbarian slavery, and currently fighting alongside Haradrim rebels. USS is a phenomenal story, and The Stars Above the Sea is an excellent sequel about Elrohir's journey to rejoin his family in Imladris and how he copes with what he discovers about himself and his own misgivings about Elves and magic. Idril is a phenomenal writer--able to paint beautiful scenes in a few sentences in a way I envy--and I recommend all of her work, but if you want something longer to read over the holidays, these two in particular.

I'm also SSPing myself: Home Alone: Forgotten in Formenos. Yes, it is a Silmarillion/Home Alone crossover. I have been wanting to write this for two years now; it is not finished, but I hope I can finish it during the holidays.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 15th, 2018

Read Around the World

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Titles in bold are written by an author who is from the country or whose parents are immigrants from the country.

I am not doing this for the U.S. list, where I will try to read a book set in each of the 50 states.

I am listing each book I read for each country. On the U.S. list, I am listing only one book that I think best fits that state.

Titles followed by (YA) are young adult or teen books.

Lists of novels by country (Wikipedia)

Recommendations are super welcome.

The ListCollapse )

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 12th, 2018

It's never good when I outdo myself in terms of working hard. Between Monday and Tuesday, I worked 28 hours: two 14-hour days. I'm not as tired as I probably should be, but I still did not allow myself to bring work home tonight. I felt like a turtle without my shell coming home without my backpack, but here I am.

We had our first ski day at Jay Peak on Monday. It went pretty well, aside from a lack of information and some general disorganization from the staff. I led the group that does Nordic for half the day, then ice skating for half. Except we were told the wrong order, so we snowshoed in the morning and then couldn't go ice skating in the afternoon, so I read to the students in the lodge while they colored and passed around my phone playing Woody Puzzle. They were not happy snowshoeing; we'll go cross-country skiing next time, which will be its own brand of struggle. We went 4.5 miles/7 km, which was too much for them. Which is sad: I'm three times their age and handled it just fine. (Admittedly, I did intentionally take them up what I knew was a huge hill. >:^))) And Vermont is the fittest state in the U.S.!

So I'm going to wade into the DNW discussion because I'm partly to blame for starting it. [personal profile] independence1776 has a post here that articulates a different perspective from mine on the matter of ficswaps and DNWs in particular. Some of you probably figured out that I was the person Indy was carefully not referring to by name, so here is my perspective on the subject, under the cut for people uninterested in Tolkien fandom or hearing more about this.

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This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 7th, 2018

Crossposted from Tumblr, where I received an anon ask: Do you think after Maedhros dies his spirit goes to Mandos or does he face the eternal darkness for “breaking” his oath? I love the character and I often think about what his ultimate fate is because he had an end like no other elf that I can think of.

I'm trying to do better about posting fannish stuff here, so here is my answer!

I don’t think the Everlasting Darkness is a thing. I think Maedhros goes to Mandos (if he chooses) or remains a spirit in Middle-earth (if he chooses not to go).

(Personally I think that he–they all–choose to go to Mandos.)

His seven sons leaped straightway to his side and took the selfsame vow together, each with drawn sword. They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name of the Allfather, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them, if they kept it not; and Manwe they named in witness, and Varda, and the Holy Mount, vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the world Vala, Demon, Elf, or Man as yet unborn, or any creature great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.

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This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


December 6th, 2018

Well, Hello!

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I've had more new followers on my Dreamwidth in the past two days than I think I have in the past two years. I assume most (all?) of you are Tumblr refugees. Thanks for following me and welcome!

Much of my content here is under friend-lock because I talk about my real life a lot, and I am a teacher in a small town and need to keep some conversations off the public stage. If you are interested in Tolkien (or other things I'm interested in), I will add you back so that you can read my posts. If I don't add you back, just ask. Fannish posts are always public.

I have not been doing much here fannishly in recent years. I had shifted most of that content to Tumblr because many of the people here were old friends who, by this point, often weren't involved in Tolkien fandom anymore. I will try to do better about posting fannish stuff here too. You can also subscribe to a feed of my blog The Heretic Loremaster at [syndicated profile] heretic_lore_feed.

Many of you may know me less as a person than a Fandom Name. I am, of course, the founder and owner of the Silmarillion Writers' Guild and present/publish in the field of Tolkien studies and occasionally still write fanfic too. (I'm working on one now, in the cracks of free time allowed me by my teaching career.) What you may not know:

  • I am a middle school humanities teacher, and possibly the only thing I'm more passionate about than Tolkien studies and the SWG is the idea of improving equity through access to a strong public educational system. I work long hours--between 50 and 60 hours a week--so there are times when I go quiet. I am not gone; I'm usually doing something SWG-related every day but just have trouble keeping as active as I would like.

  • My husband and I live in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, where we get a little closer each year to self-sufficiency on our small homestead. Living lightly upon the Earth is something that I/we also value a lot.

  • I have too many little side-interests, including calligraphy and illumination, Middle Eastern dance, and open-water distance swimming, to name the first three that come to mind.

  • Fannishly, I am most interested in the Finwions. I don't believe in negative engagement in fandom. I come here to make, talk about, and celebrate what I love, not what I dislike. So I will not pick fights with people over characters they like that I do not. In fact, I'm often itching to be convinced into liking a broader range of characters and developing a deeper understanding/appreciation of those I don't particularly care for.

Please feel free to say hi and tell me something about yourself! :)

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


November 20th, 2018

DW was acting weird last night and not wanting to let me post to the SWG community, and in trying to make it work, I posted the announcement in the wrong place. Please visit [community profile] silwritersguild to see the actual announcement.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


August 9th, 2018

Back from Maine!

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Bobby and I left on Monday to spend a few days on the coast of Maine. It was his agreement, when we moved here, that he would take his Elven wife at least once per year to see the ocean. In reality, we are not any farther from the sea than when we lived in Maryland, and the drive is a good bit shorter, because Maryland traffic.

This will mostly be a picture post because we didn't do a whole lot that was exciting. (I lied. I wrote more than expected. Oops.) We ate some wonderful seafood and spent a lot of time on the beach. We took the Goldens with us, but I want to round up a bunch of Golden photos and do a separate post for Rhapsody. <3

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This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!


May 5th, 2018

Spring has finally come to northern Vermont. I am comfortably wearing short sleeves right now, and the early-flowering trees have that faint crimson or pale green haze just starting. Bobby uncovered the hillbilly hot tub yesterday; it had a big chunk of ice still floating in it, but an afternoon in the sun and it was gone. We put our vegetable seedlings out for a few hours to harden off for the first time yesterday, and Bobby got the garden beds uncovered and discovered that we had kale, leeks, carrots, and lettuce successfully overwinter under row covers, despite the fact that it got down to -30F/-34C this winter.

I freaking love this time of year.

Work continues to be exhausting, but that needs its own post. For now, I am going to waste some time before getting started on some SWG chores and do an m-thing that I stole from [personal profile] heartofoshun.

1. Have you ever driven an electric car? Nope.

2. Do you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes? Not anymore, thank goodness. However, Friday night, we were under a tornado watch for the first time since moving to Vermont. (And this is rare enough that it apparently made national news!) The wind was fierce: knocked over our lamp post. In Maryland, we lived in the strip just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains that was most prone to tornadoes in the area; we used to sometimes have multiple warnings in a day and had one touch down in our town while we lived there. Not Tornado Alley but quite enough for me, thank you!

3. How many closets does your house have? Four, none walk-in. We live in a single-wide trailer, so storage space is not a Thing. (However, we live in the sticks and have two sheds and a barn, so more than enough storage space.)

4. When was the last time you saw someone you went to high school with? I went to high school with Bobby and see him every day! Aside from him, I don't even remember. I went to a magnet school; we came from all corners of a large school district and ended up scattering to all corners of the Earth, and despite going to school with many brilliant people, somehow no one has figured out how to successfully host a reunion yet ... (Bobby and I have talked about hosting something here, it's so desperate!)

5. Have you ever eaten moussaka? I don't even know what it is!

6. What breed was the last dog you saw? I saw my two Golden Retrievers just a few minutes ago.

7. How long have your parents been together (or how long were they together if they no longer are)? Thirty-seven years, one year longer than I've been alive.

8. What has been your most epic cooking failure? I'm not sure. I don't cook a lot; that's Bobby's household job. I did make vanilla ice cream once and forget to put in the sugar ...

9. Do you read other people's survey answers on here? Totally! Let me know if you grab it from me; I'm terrible at following any social media these days.

10. What's your bedtime routine? I stop working on whatever at 10 o'clock. Bobby and I do something brainless and relaxing for an hour. In the winter, that's usually watching TV. In the summer, that's usually sitting on the deck or in the hillbilly hot tub with a drink and the stars.

11. Do you agree with the saying 'distance makes the heart grow fonder'? No. My unfortunate experience, after moving here, has been that distance makes me easier to forget about, at least based on the fact that I don't even seem to exist to my parents anymore.

12. Have you ever been to Mexico? No.

13. Do you have a bad temper? Not really. I have worked hard to wrest control of my emotions. It's essential for a teacher and especially for a teacher of emotionally disabled kids--who are usually Olympic-level button-pushers--which I was for five years. People often tell me how calm and patient I am, which is hilarious because it does not feel that way on the inside of my brainpan!

14. When was the last time it stormed where you live? Friday night we had our first thunderstorm of the year. There was thunder and lightning for about two hours, then the scary wind started.

15. Do you ever fact-check the things you read on the internet? Of course, all the time.

16. How long would it take you to walk to the nearest store? Probably about an hour to Thibault's in Orleans or an hour in the other direction to the Natural Market in Newport. Coventry is not a big enough town to have a store, and I live a good forty-five-minute walk outside of the village anyway.

17. What five words best describe your mother's personality? kind, generous, timid, accepting, nature lover

18. Do you know any transgender people? No.

19. What's your dream job? Exactly what I'm doing: teaching humanities in a school I love where my work serves a significant need.

20. How old were you when you got your first smartphone? I was in my early thirties. I had no interest when they were expensive, but once they came down in price, it made sense to have one. I am not against smartphones, just have very little interest in much of what they can do and tend to use mine relatively little.

21. Have you ever had a parrot sit on your shoulder? Not a full-sized parrot, no, but I've had many budgies scramble around on my shoulders.

22. In the morning, do you eat breakfast first or brush your teeth first? Teeth! I do not feel fully human until I have clean teeth.

23. What's something you had to learn the hard way? What I loved and valued. I was a bright kid with my head on wrong. I thought that success was having an impressive job and money. I realized in college that I didn't love the work I was expecting to do, and since my family didn't offer a lot of support in my education, I kind of blundered through, into an unsatisfying job, and only once my hand was forced there, went back to school for my teaching license and found that, beyond subsistence, money and especially prestige don't offer me a lot. I sometimes wish I'd realized this younger, but I'm happy in my life now, so who knows that this would have been a better road.

24. What sort of window coverings do you have in your living room? Curtains on the big windows and these accordion-looking blinds on the small.

25. Has anyone in your life ever treated you abusively? Bobby and I broke up for seven months when we were nineteen, and I had a relationship with a man who was emotionally abusive. This was also when I had my major depressive episode and all that came with it.

26. What's the weather like right now? It's warm (upper 60s), overcast, and finally not windy!

27. How long has it been since your last breakup? Well, it was the emotionally abusive guy when I was 19-20, so that would have been sixteen years ago.

28. Can you concentrate well while listening to music, or do you find it distracting? I love instrumental music on in the background when I'm doing anything that requires creativity or deep thinking. Popular/Vocal music is a distraction, especially if I'm trying to write. If I'm doing menial or tedious work, I like music that can engage me imaginatively and make the task less dull.

29. What's the name of the amusement park closest to your house? I don't even know! I think there is a theme park in Montreal; if so, that would probably be it.

30. Do you like The Rolling Stones? Some of their songs, yes.

31. What was the last single item you spent over $100 on? Jeez, I don't even know! I have very little interest in buying things. I'm more likely to spend money on an outing or a trip or even a really good meal. Most of what I buy (books, seeds/plants, the occasional item of clothing) are very small-ticket items. Possibly it was Sherman, my used Jeep, last fall?

32. What's something you've been struggling with lately? This past week, I had terrible insomnia on Sunday night and so spent the rest of the week fighting exhaustion. Exhaustion is probably A-number-one. I get exhausted to the point of pain sometimes and struggle too with feeling like I'm failing in other areas of my life that I don't have time or energy for, like writing, calligraphy, fandom ...

33. What was the last caffeinated drink you had? I had a cup of coffee with breakfast this morning.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

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