WhedonConDay 3

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The last day of WhedonCon was very relaxed. I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to do, so I let G go play games most of the day. He did come down and check on me and let me stretch my legs and use the restroom, but for the most part I was on my own.

I spent a good part of the morning reading my Bible, which felt all sorts of weird at a geek convention, knowing many people would disagree with Christianity. I didn’t get any comments though.

Also, I did, for the first time, managed to make it around the dealers room to check out some of the other things people were selling. There were some really amazing products and one thing I noticed was that the booths were packed full of things. My booth looked empty by comparison. I realized one of the things I need for the next convention I go to is an upright stand to better display my key chains and necklaces. I picked up a couple things – gifts for friends and family for Christmas as well as a book and a Sherlock magnet.

Mostly, I enjoyed spending time talking to people. I had a really good time chatting with an older man who was in the middle of editing his first novel. Since I had also written a novel a couple years ago (that never made it to edit number two), we had a lot in common. We shared the plots of our stories as well as things that helped us become better writers. I really appreciated this conversation, as well as another conversation I had with my new friend about poetry. Honestly, I forgot how much I enjoyed writing both poetry as well as short stories period. I vowed to get back in the writing habit. So far so good.

The dealer room closed down at 5 and we were able to load all our stuff back into the car. We were planning to get out of there as quickly as possible so that we could pick up the kids from my parents, but after talking with my mom we realized it was going to be very late. Instead, we decided to meet each other in the morning before my daughter had to go to school. That freed us up a bit so we weren’t quite as rushed, and I decided I really wanted to go to a panel / discussion about people living with chronic illness. I’m really glad I was able to go; I met a lot of interesting people, and we had a really great discussion. Plus, by the time I got back to the dealer’s room my husband had almost everything cleaned up already! We finished packing up the car and headed home. Oh, on the way to and from the car I ran into David Fury, and I was able to tell him how much I appreciated listening to him talk during his panel. I was proud of myself for not fangirling. (Hahaha) Once we got home, we grabbed dinner, unloaded the car, and rested while we watched TV. It was a good weekend​.

WhedonCon Day 2

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Onto day 2! We had a lot planned for today – tag teaming the booth so we could both see things. We headed down to the vendor room about half hour before it opened and reset everything. After finishing set up, G brought me some wonderful coffee to wake up, and I found a seat for the big panel of the weekend: David Fury and Tim Minar, both writers and/producers for Buffy and Angel, as well as 24 & Lost and Firefly & Wonderfalls, respectively. It was a ton of fun listening to them talk about the hardest thing they’ve work, how they learned to write female characters, and what their favorite was. After, I ran up to our room to grab some lunch (pb&j! – not much gluten free stuff around here!) And came back to takeover the booth while G went to great Nicolas Brendon, who was apparently a bit inappropriate with some responses.

After, we traded off again and I made it to the stunt panel. I really enjoyed it; they had behind the scenes footage they were discussing as well as how the characters were portrayed and how fighting affected costume choices. Sofia Crawford, who was Buffy’s stunt double for four seasons, was fascinating. And wow, does she have defined muscles! Watching the footage as they talked was really interesting because they were explaining how Sofia was so fast with her movements they needed to keep telling her to slow down. Her husband, who was the stunt coordinator for 3 seasons, was fascinating to listen to – he both looked and sounded like a smaller Nathan Fillion, which was fun. Of course, the things he talked about we’re interesting too – character development through movement, costuming, and actors following the doubles rather than the other way around. Spike’s stunt double was there as well, and he talked about imitating James Marsters’ movements and character.

From there, G headed up to the game room again and I hung out in the dealer room until it closed. At that point we were starving again, so we headed to dinner at Chili’s. We were planning on going to the “prom” or maybe going to see a movie, but we got back to the hotel exhausted. We watched one episode of Kimmy Schmidt then fell asleep.

WhedonCon Day 1

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I’m sitting at my booth at WhedonCon getting a few sentences out at a time between chats with people. I am having so much fun! The people here have been lovely and tons of fun to chat with. I’ve found it about tons of other Cons, poetry reading and workshops, cosplay with kids and all sorts of other fun things.

My husband G took the day off work yesterday so we could get up here and set up. We dropped S off at school for just about an hour before he picked her up and dropped get and D off with my mom. We grabbed lunch and headed north about an hour and a half away. We made it to the hotel about an hour and a half before the vendor room was scheduled to open, and we were seeing up until literally the last second. However, my booth looks great! We needed to fiddle a bit with the picture frames to figure out what would best draw attention, but I think we’ve got it now.


Soon after arriving, I left the booth in G’s hands and headed to a talk by Camden Toy about acting through latex. It was super interesting and he seems like a really nice guy. For reals though, seeing him make the gentleman face (from Buffy episode Hush) was terrifying.

Once the dealer room closed, we went to dinner at a nearby sushi place that claimed to be gluten free – yeah, not so much. Although they had gotten free soy sauce and prepared my food without any sauce at all, I was served both miso soup and imitation crab, neither of which I can eat. I avoided a severe reaction but still dealing with a bit of a headache today.

We did peek into the Firefly themed shindig, but didn’t stay too long- the music was impossible to dance to. We did get pulled into the dance contest – slow classical music (no waltz beat, ftr), so since we don’t know any slow dancing, we ended up swing dancing. Didn’t match the beat at all, but it was fun. We ended up making it to the top third of the dancers, so that’s pretty good!

Then… We crashed. It was a fun day.

Disneyland Day 1

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Our second day of our 3 day pass we headed to Disneyland. Our goal was to ride the rides we wanted and see the parades, figuring the next visit we’d try to meet characters.
We headed to autopia first since there wasn’t much of a line and we wanted a fast pass for Star tours, which was in that direction. We were hungry almost immediately after, so we went over to the Mexican restaurant next to Big Thunder Railroad. They did amazing with the gluten free food for me!
We convinced S to ride with me on Big Thunder​ after, even though she was scared. I told her that the worst case was that she hated it and it only lasted one minute of awful. That helped her a bit. But she still hated the ride.

I took a break with D while my husband and S ride star tours. I could NOT get him to sleep for anything. There was screaming, crying, kicking, protesting. I’d found a great spot next to the Matterhorn and submarine. I say there for about an hour and D would not sleep. So I got up and walked around; he fell asleep in about 15 minutes. Next time, no sitting: walking!
We watched the parade, which was my highlight of the day – the kids had so much fun seeing some of their favorite characters, and my daughter taught my son to wave at them. Both kids were having and yelling hello to everyone who passed by. It was a fun parade.

We rode the teacups, which we all loved, got dinner, wandered some more, and enjoyed the electric parade before heading home with some very very tired kids.

6th birthday party

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I had such a fun time with my daughter’s birthday party! She wanted to do Frozen, but she also wanted to do a Hawaii theme party, so we did a frozen luau! (Think Olaf in summer). I found the Tokyo pop figures and used them inspiration for making big posters (way easier than actually drawing realistic characters!). We had snow cones and fake snow, in addition to bubbles and a small pool. The fake snow was super fun – fun to make and fun to play with. I’d highly recommend it for kids. I made cupcakes with snowflake shaped chocolate and little umbrellas. Everyone got a lei on their way in, and everyone had a great time.

      

Beth Moore Conference

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Beth MooreOn Saturday I got back from a real quick trip down to San Diego for a Beth Moore conference. This was the second Beth Moore conference I’d attended and somehow this one topped the first.

Our church bought tickets and reserved hotel rooms back in April, so I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. While many people like to choose their roommates, I often like to remain open and see where God places me – I’m always happy to meet new people and get placed in the random spots; so this time I had no idea who I was rooming with.

Whereas before we attempted to coordinate rides, this time was a kinda figure-it-out-yourself sort of thing. I was planning on sending a mass email asking for a ride/people to join me when my daughter got hit with the flu. Feeling like it might be likely that I might come down with it by the time Friday rolled around, I decided that if I was still well, I’d just drive down myself. This turned out to be a great decision! I had the 3 hour drive down and the 2 hour drive back completely to myself. I got to listen to the news, a trivia book on tape, music, and simple silence. It was fantastic.

I arrived about an hour before the conference started Friday night. I was the last one to check into the hotel. After figuring out where my wristband was, I headed over to the venue. Thankfully, I ran into some of the other ladies at the hotel who were leaving, so I knew where our group was sitting. Even better, as I was leaving my car in the parking structure, I heard someone call my name – it turned out it was one of my favorite friends from church – along with her mom and my other good church friend. Of all the people to happen into run into…

Beth Moore ConferenceWe made it inside and found our church group, but there weren’t enough seats together, so we moved towards the back. If you don’t know who Beth Moore is, she is a fantastic Bible teacher and writes great Bible studies that really dig into scripture (and usually involve a lot of homework). If you don’t know about her conferences, each one is unique. She prays about the specific location and what message that place is supposed to receive. So even though she tours for several months, the message at each location is different.

The message over the course of the weekend was about the Greek word “symphoneo” meaning agree, accord, or harmonize. Beth pulled scripture from various locations utilizing the word agree, disagree or even harmonize and used them to make points varied and poignant about arguments, forgiveness, marriage, purposeful prayer, the lost coming home, etc. I think my favorite phrase was early on referring to Matthew 18:15; she said “it’s about winning relationships, not winning fights” (paraphrased of course).That’s a thought I will be rolling around again and again, especially when dealing with my husband and family members. The other thing that struck me was her comment on Matt 18:19-20. Basically, we need ‘to stop thinking we all need to be pianos banging on middle C. We are different instruments playing different notes. We need to harmonize and follow the conductor (God)’

IdentityBesides enjoying the awesome message, I was able to spend time with my friends, as well as get to know my roommate (my daughter’s friend’s mom) a bit better. It was a great time – 26 hours from the time I left home to the time I drove back in the driveway. I enjoyed the entire time and deeply appreciate the ability to relax, reconnect with friends, and rejoice in the Lord.

Swallows Parade

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Cowboys!One of my fondest memories growing up was going to the Swallows Parade every year in San Juan Capistrano. It’s not much of a parade (though I have since learned it’s the longest non-mechanical parade in the US), but it was fun growing up – my dad would always ride his horse in his riding group and we’d often know some people from elementary / middle / high school who were walking. They used to throw candy (but apparently not any more). We’d all come down from the community I lived in and camp in front of the Del Taco (where there was a nice grassy hill), and sit and enjoy the parade. We’d walk down to the McD’s for lunch (or one of the other fast food places) and sit and enjoy friends and the parade – and usually get sunburned.

This year my dad was riding in the parade again, which he hadn’t done in a few years. I hadn’t ever brought my daughter, so we decided to go. Of course it just happened to be the same day as one of the biggest meetings for church leadership, so I showed up for about 45 minutes of the meeting, then ducked out (nice, hun?). Ah well, it was my Dad’s birthday, and he loves my daughter.

So we went down for the parade. We met my mom and her friend and went to the staging area to meet my dad and say hello to all the cowboys my mom knows. It was really neat seeing all the horses on the football field of the local high school – crowed together, wearing all sorts of costumes, just waiting for the parade to start. We said hello, took a few pictures, then left to find a nice spot near the Mission San Juan.

Then the peace was broken and it got scary really quickly.

Within about half an hour of the parade starting, a wagon pulled by 2 large horses pulled sharply to the right just in front of us. One horse had spooked and the horses careened into the crowd. People dove over the bushes, knocking over their folding chairs. Drinks and bags went flying. The horses plowed over the chairs (thankfully empty) and the people in the back of the open wagon clutched to the children sitting in the back, who weren’t wearing seat belts. The man holding the reins tried desperately to bring the horses back under control,and pulled them back to the street, but they spooked again, made a turn, and headed our way. My mom yelled, “RUN!” as I was a bit frozen with shock. I picked up my daughter, and started running, looking behind me as I noticed the horses stopped. Everyone slowly returned to our purses and bags – all abandoned on the sidewalk. There was an eerie quiet, then the ambulances started to arrive, followed by a horse from my dad’s group carrying a well known doctor. They checked everyone and the only severe problem was a man in a wheelchair who was already paralyzed – he had some minor injuries. A few other bumps and bruises, but it could have been so SO much worse. My daughter and I sat down and prayed for everyone involved, for the audience, for the participants yet to march, and for ourselves. I sent a note to our church prayer chain and got some nice emails back much later in the day, though I felt the calmness wash over me almost immediately (as did my daughter). (Read about the incident here.)

What I found the most interesting, however, was what followed the accident. As the parade was getting ready to resume, a lady working for the parade (probably a volunteer) came up and down the lines, telling everyone to take a few steps back, and to make surer they were standing. Everyone had just started to calm down, but her words of, “You need to be standing. There is a big group of horses coming next, and you don’t know what they are going to do after they have been waiting so long.” After one woman didn’t move back to the ‘director’s’ satisfaction, the lady said, “I don’t mean to be rude ma’am, but what are you going to do if the horses get lose again and come over here? Are you going to take your stroller over those bushes? I don’t think so.” Then she walked away. People edged away from the curb, all their belongings in hand, once again anxious and fearful.

My Dad's GroupMy dad’s group happened to be the next group up – they were all dressed in crisp white shirts. Businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and real cowboys made up the group, but the horses were well-controlled, and the men were kind: smiling and waving at the crowd as if nothing had happened 30 minutes prior. Immediately everyone calmed down and began to sit again as a wave of peace washed over the parade route.

Watching the sharp juxtaposition in the wake of a truly scary event, I wondered what kind of person I want to be – do I want to be a fear-mongerer, frightening people into doing what I think is best? Or do I want to put people at ease, drawing them close, and bringing them the comfort they truly need when they have been deeply hurt or frightened?