Lit Mag Poetry: Mi Salamanca

The shirt no longer smells like you;

I left it crumpled on the bed.

I wanna shoot whoever did up this room

(if they’re not already dead),


Because I’m so sick of harvest gold

and crying down the telephone,

But you’re here,

and I’m there,

and it’s 67 days ‘til home.


It’s Sunday night

and you’re begging “Never again, never again,”

and all I can say is “I’m sorry.”

Te echo de menos, but you wouldn’t understand.

Just say, “I miss you, too.”


“We’re halfway through,” this email reads,

but I feel I’m wearing thin.

I’m falling asleep to songs about hips and hearts,

and dreaming of your smooth skin.


And I’m so sick of going out alone

and wasting money on my mobile phone

Because you’re here

and I’m there

and it’s 38 days ‘til home.


And it’s Sunday night

and you’re begging “Never again, never again, no,”

and all I can say is “I’m sorry.”

Te echo de menos, but you wouldn’t understand.

Just say, “I miss you, too.”

Salamanca, Spain

I couldn’t find my printed copy of this poem, but it was published in Confiscated, my college literary magazine, in 2007.  I wrote it in fall 2006 when I spent a semester abroad in Spain, mainly in Salamanca.  It was a wonderful experience, but I missed my boyfriend (now husband) a lot.  I was feeling quite lonely in a hotel room in Santander (with ugly decor in harvest gold…) and started writing this about it.

It’s actually a song, as most of my poems are.  I was listening to Fall Out Boy’s album From Under the Cork Tree on repeat at the time (“songs about hips and hearts”), and not only did it get me through that semester emotionally, it inspired me to start writing songs again.  When I submitted this to my lit mag, even though I removed my real name, one of the other editors immediately knew it was mine and picked up the FOB reference.

Te echo de menos obviously means I miss you in Spanish.  My husband does not speak any Spanish haha.

10 years make a decade, or a life together

And I can’t make it on my own

Because my heart is in Ohio

—“Ohio Is for Lovers,” Hawthorne Heights


Our story starts sixteen years ago, when I moved to Ohio against my will and started 7th grade at a new school.

There was no gifted program, just a program called PACE which was basically an excuse to let the smart kids out of class once a week.  That’s where I met B, although I don’t really remember it.  We were in band together, too.  I made some good friends in 7th grade.  I had a crush on a nice boy, but when I realized he wasn’t very smart I got over it quick.

Everyone knows 8th grade is the worst.  I had a crush on a smarter boy, but someone told him, and then someone heard him laughing about it.  I stopped telling my friends about my crushes.  B sat next to me in computer class (our last names start with the same letter) and antagonized me by making all his Powerpoints in Comic Sans.

In high school, the band was like my family.  I also did a bunch of other activities and had actually interesting, challenging classes.  In advanced English sophomore year, B made a point of getting to class early so he could claim the one cushiony chair.  I hardly ever got to sit in that damn chair.  Junior year, he went with a big group of my friends on a trip to England led by our wonderful English teacher. After that he started hanging out with our group more.

Senior year I shared a seat with him on the band bus once or twice.  I applied to college, and picked a good university two hours away.  B chose the local State school because he didn’t even have to write an essay to apply.  He gave me high fives in the band room, and he kicked the back of my shoe when I was getting books out of my locker.  His was three down from mine (last names, remember?).  I passed all my AP tests and went to prom with a group of friends.

He was the first person to arrive at my graduation party.  We saw each other constantly that summer, and he gave me his AIM screen name so we talked online all the time, too.  We saw Spiderman 2 at the drive-in, piled with friends in the back of my parents’ station wagon.  I realized I missed him when he wasn’t there.  I realized he was the easiest person to talk to I had ever met.  Neither of us knows when we started actually dating; we picked an arbitrary date to celebrate, first by month and then by year.

Most LDRs don’t survive freshman year of college.  He bought a new car so he could drive down to see me every month, and when we got tired of blowing through phone cards he bought us cell phones.  My roommates called him “B” too (or “Bubba”) and helped him sneak into the dorm to surprise me.

Junior year I spent fall semester in Spain, which was one of the best and most difficult experiences of my life.  For him, I think it was just difficult.  He proposed to me the next summer, after I came home from another trip abroad.  The first thing I said was, “Are you serious?” which he correctly took to mean yes.  We were at the drive-in, in my parents’ newer station wagon, about to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 3.  I could not have told you a single thing that happened in that movie.

I graduated and got a job near home with my degree, which was a minor miracle at the time.  We got married in my church (six years ago this summer) and took wedding photos by the life-size X-wing at a local restaurant.  We moved into a small apartment, then a bigger one, then bought a house.  He leaves notes around the house for me to find when he goes on business trips.  He keeps me sane when I’m anxious and depressed.  He tells me he’ll read the stories I write, and he’s even learned to clean the cat’s litter box.

My parents sold their station wagon, but I have a hatchback now, and we still go to the drive-in all the time.  Ten years is more than a third of my life, and every year that proportion spent with him keeps growing.

This is basically the kind of anniversary card we give each other.
This is typical of the kind of anniversary card he gives me.

The family that games together…

She's been wearing this ugly robe for a year and a half.
Sortisi Sed’jarak, Twi’lek Sage

Last weekend’s Double XP promotion in SWTOR was a great excuse to get back to playing an old character, Sortisi (I first mentioned her 2 years ago here).  She’s actually the first character I created, based on the character I played in the beta, but she languished at level 17 as I got caught up in my bounty hunter, and then moved on to other characters.

When I went back to playing her (which involved rearranging my whole UI to avoid misclicking), I truly remembered why: my husband had also created a Jedi Consular (Meileili) so that we could play those characters together.

Yeah, cuz that totally happened.

B and I play TOR several times a week, typically at the same time in the same room.  But I cannot remember the last time we played “together,” with our characters in the same place, on the same quests, grouped.  

We simply have different styles of play: I play on a PVE server, and he plays on a PVP server with his guild of real-life friends.  He enjoys end game content, like Huttball and ops, while I tried Galactic Starfighter once three months ago and just didn’t get it.

Of course, no couple’s gaming interests are going to sync perfectly.  In board games, he likes Die Macher and Battlestar Galactica and I prefer Ticket to Ride and Catan.  But there’s still plenty of overlap: we just got 7 Wonders and Dominion for Christmas, because they were both on both of our wish lists.  I’ve even played the Star Trek deck building game with him…more than once.

We’ve never played any console games together fully, except the LEGO series.  And that’s only because I bought him LEGO Star Wars one Christmas, and after he tried to act grateful, I informed him there was co-op mode and I bought it so we could play together.  He was still dubious at first, but I think he’s enjoyed most of the LEGO games so far, and it’s very easy to have players drop in and out of these games, so we can switch back and forth between single player and co-op as needed.

Going back to TOR: it’s my first MMO, so I think B really wanted me to enjoy it when I started, and he thought that playing together would help me ease into it.  Therefore, he created a toon of my same class on my PVE server; that way, we could run all the quests together.

Obviously that isn’t exactly how it played out, but playing Sortisi with Meileili is actually still beneficial in another way: Sortisi is my first healer, so learning how to play that role with a more experienced player on DPS sitting next to me is great for feedback.  He was able to give me some gentle hints about who I should be healing and when.  Hopefully this will help build my confidence (and competence) so I can heal for pick-up groups on heroic missions, etc.

I guess it’s all about finding a balance between your gaming needs and your relationship needs.  For us, playing different games at the same time seems to be a good default.  That way, B never has to yell “2 is jump!!

Although I’m sure he will forever remind me of the time we played Mario Kart, and I sat on a “?” cube just to get blue shells to throw at him.  It’s a legitimate strategy?

The Danger of Having Friends

Is that you get derpy unicorns appearing in your printer tray.

It's signed, but I can't read who drew it.

It all started when my husband (whom I call B) had his gaming group over.  They play Exalted, which is a tabletop RPG (think Dungeons and Dragons).

The DM needed to print something, and for some reason our printer is difficult to set up on new laptops on the network.

So I thought I’d made use of a feature on our spiffy new printer: ePrint.

This feature creates an email address for the printer; so to print something, you simply send it as an attachment to that address.

I gave the address to the group, they printed their shiz, and it worked really well.

Too well, in fact.

The gaming was about three weeks ago, and B noticed yesterday that there was a new paper sitting in our printer tray.

One of his friends (whom I’ll call Sean, because that’s his real name) naturally thought the best use of this feature would be to email the printer a sketch the likes of which would make Napoleon Dynamite truly jealous.

I would not at all be surprised if we keep on getting little surprises from our printer.  I can’t wait to see what it will be next.

Of course, this is the same guy who gave us a fully assembled 3D Star Destroyer puzzle as a wedding present.  Nothing says “geek wedding” like a Star Destroyer in your gift pile.

Congrats! Here's a Star Destroyer!

Thanks, Sean and Iya, for keeping our lives interesting 🙂

White Christmas…on Hoth

WP_003731“I knew it was cold outside, but it seems the Empire has mistaken this for Hoth…”

My husband sent me this email while I was at Christmas Eve Mass, along with this picture of our visitor under the tree.

You may remember that last year he wrapped my presents as R2-D2.  This year he chose to make an AT-AT walker, as featured in The Empire Strikes Back during the attack on the Rebels’ Hoth base.

The legs are made from pocky and other candies, the body had other presents in a box (including a beautiful Molskine notebook…must do more writing this year), and the head is just empty cardboard.  He didn’t want to put anything in the head, since he left a hole for the “cockpit” viewscreen that would allow me to peek inside, and that’s CHEATING.

Here’s the destruction of the AT-AT walker (aka unwrapping it).  I was always really, really horrible at this level in the N64 Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire games.  The tow cable thing is hard, man.  Major props to Wedge and Janson.

And here’s a montage of the steps of creating the AT-AT walker (he showed me these pictures after I unwrapped it):