Making the Connection

Relationships are hard. Whether it is a marriage, friendship, family or co-worker. Developing and maintaining a relationship is one of the most difficult things, especially for a socially awkward introvert like myself. I know some of you are thinking “she is not socially awkward or an introvert.” But you would be wrong. If you see me as friendly and outgoing then we have made a connection.
That is the most important thing to me, making a connection. It can be instant or develop over time. An instant connection is the most powerful (for me at least). Most of the time it is for a completely silly reason or for no reason at all. Connections made over time usually involve people you see every day and discover similar interests with. For me they start as acquaintances.
Of course there is also the re-connection. This type of connection can be quite fun. Reconnecting with a person from your past(whether it is an old friend or just a face and a name), and discovering you now have something in common with them is a great feeling.
Marriage or a monogamous coupling of any kind is probably the most difficult kind of relationship. Its not that it is hard but it takes work and commitment on some level. A level that most people are either incapable of meeting or just to lazy to try for. In my opinion the simplest way to keep this connection strong is #1: Be sure you connect with the person to begin with. #2: Sit down with your spouse at the beginning – when you have both decided to be together long term. Sit down and define your relationship. Set boundaries and expectations. Not every relationship is the same, if both parties are on the same page it will cut down on the arguments and negativity. Granted things change and the discussion will have to be revisited. But I think it is a necessary thing. What if one of you wants kids, and the other does not. What about sex? This can be a hot topic, there are people out there who believe only being with one person is right for them. But what if an open sexual relationship is what your partner needs? They do exist, and they do work for some couples. Some of you out there probably will stop reading now and that is your choice. I am just getting my feelings out there.
There are things that all couples have that are different. I am not saying that you have to have all of the same interests, but the foundation of your life together should be able to be solid no matter what your interests are. I am married (9 years) and my husband and I have a total of 3 things in common. We both love to cook, love movies (in general. selecting a genre can be complicated), and we both enjoy football. But we are complete opposites as people. He is outgoing and knows exactly what he wants. I am shy and very indecisive. He loves technology and is very mathematically minded, where I am artistic and love history and books. Although over time we have taken interest in some of the others hobbies. I can now enjoy learning something new about my computer and I am pretty sure I have converted him to the dark side with my love of softball. Even our jobs are different. He is very good at his job, and loves that he gets to travel. I also love my job, but travel is something I would rather not do. I have had people mention to me before that they don’t understand how I can handle with him being gone for weeks at a time for work. All I am going to say is we have a good system going and it is something that works for our relationship. But clearly it does not work for everyone.
I guess what I am saying is Sheldon in Big Bang Theory wasn’t completely wrong with his relationship agreement. Though I think it should be something discussed together and by no means should it be in writing. But it is good to have a plan.
Family is a connection that is given to you. It is like a genetic force that pulls you all together. But do you have a relationship with everyone who you are related to? My answer is no, I do not. Just because they are family does not mean you have to know them or even like them for that matter. I have no reason to dislike any of my family members (blood or family by marriage). But I can tell you there are a few of you out there who I know nothing about and who know nothing about me. We have different interests or we just haven’t grown up knowing each other. But we have one thing in common, we are related, we are family, and connected by that invisible string that ties our families together. You only need one connection. The family connection is the fiercest, strongest feeling. We are blood that is what connects us and you will do anything for your family, like them or not.
Finally we come to the Instant connection. (almost as strong as the family connection). It is quick and it is POWERFUL. I am sure it is where the term “love at first sight” comes from. But it’s not just love. I love a lot of people, there are different kinds of love (but that is a topic for another time). I tend to start with like (its rare to be love at first sight for me, though it has happened) and then it develops into love of friendship or family or however you want to categorize it. My dearest friend in the world and I met in an instant. We had our connection in high school. First it was just our loathing of Spanish class and then it was that we had the same name. We had a double instant connection which developed into one of the best relationships I have ever had. Though we live far from each other we still manage to talk and thru the re-connect we have even more in common. Our children, husbands, memories, love of chocolate and rom/coms. It is a powerful connection that has kept us friends for so long.
High school was hard. It was hard for everyone no doubt. You don’t know who you are, or what you want. And frankly teenagers are assholes. Its an emotional time, and I found very few life long connections there. I connected better with my teachers than most of my fellow students. These teachers I am still connected with today. An english, art and history teacher. There is also on rogue math professor who was not technically my teacher but we connected thru Upward Bound one summer because of our mutual love of SKA and Punk Rock. My point is, for some of us it is hard to make life long connections when you are so young. The few I did make I held on to. College was another story. I don’t know if it was the school I went to or if I just got lucky, but I met the most wonderfully perfect group of people while I had my short time in college. I met six of them while I was on campus for orientation. They are all older than I am and were current students. I made instant connections with 2 of them. 4 of them I still speak with weekly if not daily. It was so amazing, such a group of people all together. Our hobbies, interests and intellects were all similar. They are all wonderful people who I am proud to call friends.
There are a couple cross over connections in my life. Any parent will tell you about the instant connection that they have with their children. It is loving, strong and fierce. It is instant but also a family connection. When I was a teenager we lost an important member of our family. It was the loss of her that brought family members from states away to grieve. It was in this situation that I made my strongest instant/family connection. A stranger to me but still family, my uncle and his family came to town for the funeral. The moment we met it was there. He was a great man with whom I spend many years after that writing to, and talking on the phone with. He loved the sunset and would often send me pictures of it from Florida (where he lived). It wasn’t until we lost him too that I realized that my mother had the same fierce and powerful connection with him as well (he was her brother). Having that connection severed was the worst felling I have ever experienced emotionally. I miss him every single day. I know it is probably not the same feeling my mother had although it is close to be sure. But we do have each other. The mother/child connection. She is my hero and always will be. She knows when to be silly and when to be serious. We have lots of things in common as adults and is is a relationship that can never be severed.
An instant connection is possibly the strangest thing to happen to me. There was a point in my life between college and getting married, when I was worried that I would never make friends again. I had my Maine friends and family and now I was in a new place where I knew one person. But my husband’s family took me in and we all connected on that family level. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for any of them, the same as my Maine family. Then, my husband who I was dating at the time introduced me to his friends. Two of whom I connected with instantly thru our love of all things nerdy. Then I got my first real job and while I wouldn’t say I made strong friendships in my ten years there, I did develop connections with my co-workers due to the fact that we spend most week days together. I connected with once co-worker over books and the other co-worker and I just connected as friends, we have nothing in common really. I found an instant connection while at my job as well. It was completely unexpected but it has lasted eleven years so there is something to be said about that. I connected with my girls thru softball and our love/hate relationship of the game.
Now I find myself in a new place, trying to make connections all over again. It is very hard. However the people here are very friendly and willing to try to connect. I have connected with fellow softball players who introduced me to the church we are now attending. Thru church I have made friends which I think are closer more like family. It’s friends that I am having trouble with. I grew up with this thought that I would have at least one close friend as an adult and we would always hang out together. Here I am turning 31 and I am still looking for this friend. The fact is she is in Maine, with her family. Which is okay. We keep going despite the distance. I just wish I could make a friend here in my new home. This place I am coming to love very much. I have this great job with co-workers who are just the best. It is stress free and hard working. But I don’t connect with anyone, not yet at least. There is one person who I am developing a connection with at work, and it is going well I just hope it continues.
If you out there are capable of connecting with everyone around you then I salute you. It is harder for some of us so if you find a connection grab and hold onto it, develop it and hopefully in 15 years it will still be there. Whether family, friend, spouse or co-worker. Connections are important and necessary for our lives. Do not ignore a connection, especially an instant one. They are wonderful and should never be passed up.

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Kushiel’s Dart Part #2: Reading Questions

1) In these chapters, Phèdre finally gets to have her own dedication ceremony.  Were you surprised by what they did with the dove? Also, do you think it is fair to ask people to make a life decision about serving Naamah at such a young age?

I find the concept of this entire religion just fascinating. I love everything about it. There is something very spiritual and powerful about sex that the author brings to the surface with this world. I think that children growing up in one of the houses surrounded by the lifestyle and educated properly should absolutely be allowed to decide whether to serve at their age. They are fully prepared as to what will happen and what they should do…so why not let them make their own choices.

2) Sex ed is definitely different in Terre d’Ange.  Do you think the Showing was useful for the teenagers? Do you think, at their age, you would have appreciated something like the book-learning they received in the art?

Alright….everyone reading this take a moment and remember your first sexual interaction….do you think you would have benefited from a showing? I know I would have. It would have been nice to have the ability to know what exactly you were suppose to be doing. It was awful and awkward…nobody knew what the hell they were doing. A showing gives you the ability to see experienced couples doing what we all are naturally drawn to. Even the book learning and art would have been helpful. There are other countries who have very elaborate books and classes to prepare their youth for sex. Our society is full of people who are overly sexual and secretive or people who think that sex education is corrupting our youth. They act like teachers are just handing out drugs or something. There is nothing wrong with preparing our children for the future.

3) Hyacinthe has some neat theories about Delauney’s past.  What is your favorite theory?

Personally I prefer the truth. I like seeing the two of them sit and discuss the theories. The do great work together.

4) Phèdre seems to be making a name for herself as an anguissette, known for never giving the signale. Do you think she would ever actually choose to use the signale, even if she were in real danger? Do you think her inability to do so might get her into trouble?

I am not sure I am capable of answering this question with out spoiling the rest of the book. I think her personality and will are very strong. She is proud of what she is and loses herself in the moment. In losing herself I am not sure she can be capable of using the signale. But that is for you new readers to find out…

5) Do you think Alcuin is enjoying his career as much as Phèdre, or do you think he has a different focus? Do you think their differing appeals and tastes will drive them apart?

Again this question is hard to answer as it is answered later in the book. I think that even in his career he has a different focus. As we read Dulaney has each of them looking for different information. And clearly Alcuin has more information than Phedre.

I hope all of you new readers are enjoying the book as much as us veterans do. Mind you I would absolutely read two or three more times…the first three times you pick up on different things that you may have missed or pieces of the puzzle that make more sense.

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Kushiel’s Dart Part 1 Reading Questions

As I mentioned in my previous post I joined a reading group for my favorite book series. These are the questions that were asked for the first eight chapters. I am hoping I can answer them intelligently and without spoiling the rest of the book for those who are reading it with us for the first time.

1) Here we have the earliest days of Phedres life, and we have the story of Elua and his followers. Did you note any similarities between Phedres beginning and Eluas stories? Do you enjoy having these stories upfront or would you rather have had the stories shuffled in later with an adult Phedre looking back?

The first two or three times I read this particular book I found it difficult to get through the chapters at the beginning of Phedres story. But it is important to note that the book is so much more than its back story. I have noted the similarities between Phedre and Eulas stories. I appreciate the way Carey weaves the stories into the beginning of the book while telling the back story of Phedre. It gives you an understanding of what the people of Terre D’ange were taught as children, not to mention the basics of the Night Court and its inner workings.

2) Hyacinthe has become Phedres one true friend. Do you think she is the same for him? The dromonde, or fortune telling, fascinates Phedre. Do you have a fortune telling story?

At this particular point I think both Phedre and Hyacinthe are coming into their own while growing up in two separate worlds. They find each other at a young age and they create a bond that is in my opinion equally useful to both of them. I do believe that Hyacinthe feels that Phedre is his dearest friend. And even before Delaunay, Phedre was searching for new knowledge, she absorbs new information like a sponge. The fact that she finds the dromonde fascinating just reinforces the point that she loves to learn everything. Once when my husband and I first got together we were working on the road crew for my brother in laws band and one of the girls with the band read our cards. The result was all positive and said we would be together for a long time and happy. So far so good. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a firm believer in such things.

3) The Midwinter Masque on the Longest Night is a long held tradition in Terre D’Ange. What stood out for you? Have you been to such a fete?

I love the costumes! The description of the elaborate costumes. The whole celebration with the winter queen is wonderful. I have never been to a costume party or anything like it, but I would love to go to one.

4) Anafiel Delaunay has many secrets. How do you think those secrets will shape Alcuin and Phedre?

Well, having read this book around seven times I know exactly how his secrets play out. But at this point I think that his secrets are teaching them how to listen. He wants them to listen and learn….and not telling them everything will help them to listen for everything and not focus their minds on one specific topic unless they are told to.

5) Delaunay has a saying; All knowledge is worth having. Do you believe this is so?

I like most of you can go both ways with this. I believe that yes all knowledge is worth having, but they was you obtain the knowledge can sometimes be unwelcome. I think that learning something because you want to is fantastic, and being told things by friends or associates can be alright. But sometimes you are provided knowledge that you would rather not hear about…you could always find a way to use or not use the information to yours or someone else’s benefit. You always have options its just deciding whom the outcome with effect that can determine whether you should use or hold the information that you have been given.

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Edited for Length and Content

I created this blog in order to join a discussion group on a series of books that are very close to me. It is referred to at the Kushiel series, it is 9 books that I consider fantasy but I think they could also be classified as alternate history. The books are by Jacqueline Carey. She is a very talented author who has also written several other series that are extremely well written and have the ability to grab a hold of you and never let go. If it were possible to magically transport myself into this fictional world I would jump at the opportunity. Many fans of the series are eager and waiting for someone to pick up the movie options for the books. I confess that I used to be one of these people. The problem with taking a plot line that involves politics, religion, prostitution in the name of religion, espionage, BDSM and family values is that you are pretty much guaranteed to offend someone. At this point her books are exactly where they belong, with a select group of people who understand an appreciate the wonderful world that is Phedre’s life.

After seeing the Fifty Shades of Grey film last night I have changed my position regarding putting the Kushiel series on television or film. I have read the Fifty Shades Trilogy and I liked them. I enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed the Twilight Books. They are modern romance. They are witty and dramatic with plenty of romance. The difference between Fifty Shades and Twilight is the vampires were written for young adults and Fifty, I am sure most mothers and fathers would not like their teenage daughters to read. (Mind you it is exactly something I would have read when I was in high school. Having read Ann Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy when I was 15). Fifty Shades of Grey books had no business being put to film. Normally I can separate my views between a book and a movie based on a book. This time I could not do that. All  I could see was what was changed or left out. The acting was good and it was definitely well funded. But I just did not care for it at all. The only thing I have been able to think about since I saw it was how awful it would be if they did this to my favorite series.

Like I said normally I can separate myself from the book and a movie based on a book. I loved the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films and books. The books will always be better which is the case….well…..always. I think it is just more fun and stimulating to be able to create what your reading in your mind. To be able to give the characters faces on your own and picture the scenery the author is describing.

I feel like I may be talking in circles now. Speaking my mind is not something I have done in a very long time, and maybe someone will actually read this. I hope if you have read this far that I haven’t offended you and please if you have anything to comment I don’t mind a stimulating discussion.

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