melaniesuzanne: (une souris)
It was bound to happen sometime...

On the suggestion of [livejournal.com profile] boneshard, the beau and I attended a techno swap meet at the National Electronics Museum just outside of Baltimore on Saturday. After introducing the two gents, we headed in to the museum and perused gauges and wires and all sorts of thirty- to fifth-year-old technology. I didn't see anything which sparked my interest and the beau just missed out on a plotter, but he did score some original Atari 2600 cartridges and a computer fan.

Towards the end of our adventure, I turned around and spotted my ex-brother-in-law and his three kids. My stomach dropped and I broke out in a cold sweat. I pointed them out to Sean; he thought it wouldn't hurt to go over and say hi. He was right.

The ex-BiL was warmly cordial to me and the beau. Sean wandered off to shop the swap meet a bit more which gave me a little space for catching up with ex-BiL on familial goings-on. We also chatted about the ex and his upcoming nuptials -- about which I am delighted for him -- and his finally being clear of brain tumors.

That meeting was an interesting coincidence with the conversation Sean and I had the evening before. I've been struggling with feeling like a social failure due to the divorce as well as wrestling with some lingering guilt despite knowing that what I did was in my best interest. The beau's been there and understood where I was coming from. There wasn't really any advice he could give, but it was good to know that he understood and, not that I needed yet another reason, made me grateful that he's in my life.

Nerd Love

Feb. 20th, 2015 12:04 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Geeeeeek)
Shortly after we started dating, the beau made a Star Wars Rebel Trooper Uniform complete with blaster and helmet but he's never gotten to wear it. His attendance at both conventions I attended last year was usurped by either prepping for a kart race or actually participating in kart races. This year, however, he will debuting his uniform at Awesome Con DC in May, Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Reptroops-ANH


I will not be in coordinating Star Wars costume for Awesome Con as I'm working on Flame Princess v2. However, I am considering ordering a suit of Stormtrooper armor from a Star Wars costumer with whom the beau has a friendly Rebel-v-Imperial rivalry. The beau is, obviously, thrilled by the idea and is hopeful that we could make the armor adjustable enough for either of us to wear it even though I'm a little short for a Stormtrooper. He's even started working on a Stormtrooper blaster. The main reason that I want the armor, though, is for wearing when the beau completes his (dun dun DUUUUUN) original series Star Trek Redshirt uniform. That coordination gives me the giggles.

STvRS
melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
December: This month has been filled with parties of various flavors. First there was Kerry and Jill's party, which was a fairly laid back affair. Then there was the cookie exchange party hosted my former neighbor Sam. She's been doing this for years and this was my first time for being able to attend. Oh my gracious, there were SO MANY cookies. I, myself, provided five dozen Lemon Crinkle Cookies. I don't know how big a hit they were with the others, but within my circle of friends they are like crack. (H/T to Kim for finding that recipe) Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] rdhdsnippet and [livejournal.com profile] scherzoid's solstice party was canceled due to illness, but since it was the same day as a DnD session, the beau and I stayed at James & Kim's with our buddies for a marathon game of Munchkin. The next day was another game of Munchkin at another friend's party. Wheeee!

A bittersweet gathering was the going-away party for some of the beau's friends. They're old SCA/gaming buddies of his and the wife of the couple landed her dream job on the west coast (which also happened to be their place of origin). I'd only just met them at the Labor Day party, but they're awfully good people and I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get to know them better. We drank beer and watched the Capitals stomp the tar out of the Blue Jay and reminisced about misspent youth.

On Christmas Eve, I dragged the beau out to look at some of the tackier light displays in Sterling. He pretends to be a curmudgeon about the holiday, but he enjoyed the kitsch and my enthusiasm. We also enjoyed a delicious dinner of honey-glazed ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and broccoli prepared by moiself and topped off with homemade pecan pie (also by moiself). We stayed up late watching "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and "A Christmas Story", as you do.

Christmas morning dawned late and we skyped with my family as they tore open presents at my brother's home. It's the next best thing to being there. We had our own small gift exchange with me giving himself R2-D2 and C-3PO ornaments, a Cat-a-pult, an Itty Bitty Book of Kitties, and a Lego kart. He gifted me with a Lego movie set featuring WyldStyle, an adorable bike bag, reflective stars for my bike spokes, and a sterling mouse ring.

We spent the evening with his folks and family friends where we dined on more ham (I love ham at Christmastime), visited for ages, and tore into gifts. Tom and Lois were so thoughtful with the adorable stocking stuffers and gorgeous infinity scarf. I really wasn't expecting anything and that was incredibly sweet. They like me. :-)

And now, we come to New Year's Eve where I'm co-hosting a party with James, Kim and the beau (whose name is Sean, by the way). There will be delicious food, adult beverages, and a bevvy of games. I can't think of a better way to send off a great year and welcome in a shiny new one.
   
Sam


office tree 2014


napping

melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
September: The beau and I started off the month at a Labor Day party with his friends. What a fun group of folks! And almost to a one, they pulled him aside and told him not to screw up and lose me. I take that as high praise, heh. Our party host is breeds fish and provided the beau with some of the fish and plants in his own aquarium. Unfortunately, one of those plants came loaded with snails and those snails were beginning to take over and become a true scourge. Enter assassin snails! The beau added four to the tank and we watched them completely ignore the scourge snails. I named the big ones Altair and Ezio (characters from the Assassins' Creed franchise); the little ones were Chicken Little and Nico Rosensnail (because this snail jumped Chicken Little fairly soon and I thought it was eerily reminiscent of the Formula One driver, Nico Rosenberg, who nearly took out his teammate during the Belgium Grand Prix). I was vexed by the lack of annihilation in the aquarium until we began to notice dozens upon dozens of empty shells littering the sand. Oh ho! They were wiping out the scourge under cover of darkness like any good assassin would do. Eeeeexcellent.

I spent the next weekend at the Summit Point race track in West Virginia with the beau, his dad, and their karting club. When the beau wasn't warming up or racing, he and his dad were futzing with their karts. I spent most of my time reading in the shade in my reclining camp chair and listening to the roar of souped up engines of the car racing club which was sharing the track. It was actually a pretty enjoyable weekend and the track is in a gorgeous location.

I also got back on my bike and rode the 30 mile route of the Backroads Century. I was kind of nervous about it since I'd be riding alone, but I signed up with a group and more or less kept up with them. Towards the end there, it got pretty tough but another lady kept cheering me on and I, her. I'm really glad I did it.

The other big events of the month were Wizard World Richmond Comic Con where I debuted my Flame Princess cosplay and participated in my first costume contest and Steampunk unLimited, both of which received their own posts. I checked off another post-WLS bucket list item with a photo shoot at Atomic Cheesecake Studios and got my pin-up and burlesque ON. Oh my goodness, that was SO MUCH FUN. And the pictures were stunning.
    snail


Toms kart


burlesque

melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))




April: IT FINALLY STOPPED SNOWING! Praise Jesus, God, Buddha, Allah, Steve the Galactic Fruitbat, and His Noodlyness combined.

Saw Lewis Black with the beau in D.C. We laughed until we cried and then took a moonlit stroll under the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin. Tres romantique. Was introduced to Bon Chon Chicken and OMG YUM. (And now I've given myself a craving for their soy garlic potstickers.)

I strolled with friends in pseudo-Victorian finery at the US Botantic Gardens and was accosted by a photo-seeking Harry Potter.
    victorian with HP
[livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee and I attended AwesomeCon in DC and I debuted my very first cosplay: Fionna the Human. We had a blast wandering the vendor floor, seeing great cosplays, and meeting Maurice LaMarche (who signed my "Pinky and the Brain" DVD set) and Rob Paulsen (whose autograph line closed before I could get his signature). We saw Billie Piper and Cary Elwes from a LOOOONG way off and I walked by Sean Astin and PG saw Lou Ferrigno pass us. So many people wanted pictures with me, but my absolute favorite photo request was from a tiny Princess Bubblegum who tugged on my backpack to get my attention.

I because a fully-fledged divorcee on the 21st. Whoo hoo!
    AwesomeCon
   
May: STEAMPUNK WORLD'S FAIR, y'all. OMG, that was so much fun. I devoted an an entire entry to that event.

Went to the beach with my best girls for Memorial Day Weekend. Our condo was in this bizarre wooden building covered with staircases and was five or six stories tall, but the condos were at all different levels, so you couldn't really tell. We called it Hogsmeade-upon-the-sea.
    hogsmeade on the beach
 
While on the Outer Banks, I ticked an entry off my post-weight loss bucket list: hang-gliding! That was EXHILARATING! I whooped and hollered and laughed my fool head off. Bonus: I stuck all my landings.

On the last weekend of May, the beau and I joined several thousand of our closest friends to ride around DC in the New Belgium Brewing Tour de Fat around Yards Park. After riding our bikes around the Navy Yard and Capitol Hill areas, we chilled with pizza and beer. The beau even rode some of the experimental bikes like the one with sneakers on spokes for wheels. A good time was had by all.
    hanggliding
   
June: Local photographer friends held a Cosplay Photography day at their gorgeous Victorian-era home in early June. The beau and I donned our Victorian finery and our Adventure Time duds for lots of hijinks and shenanigans. This experience confirmed my suspicions that I have a face for comedy, not drama. Ah well, that's better than having a face for radio.     flower
I attended a Verizon Women in Leadership conference in New Jersey and had the most miserable business travel experience of my entire life. Yes, I could've driven (I would have needed a rental car per company policy due to the distance), but on paper it looked like flying would be easier. Ha ha. Due to terrible weather, my 8pm flight was delayed for over four hours and then I got lost during what should have been a half-hour drive from the airport to the hotel because my phone chose to crap out. I got about three hours of sleep before the conference. Thank goodness the trip back to Dulles was smooth.

I had a surprise waiting for me when I got back to work: a promotion and raise to reflect my increased workload and responsibilities. WHOO HOO!

The beau's dad and stepmother live on one of Reston's lakes and we spent a peaceful evening cruising about and grilling steaks on their pontoon. This was the most time I'd spent with his folks and they are truly wonderful people.
  
melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
So, let's see: at the end of September was the Steampunk unLimited event in Strasburg, PA. The beau and I scooted up there after seeing his friend's band Hard Proof in a teensy, tiny venue called Tropicalia in DC. Doors opened at 7pm, we arrived at 8pm, and the friend's band didn't take the stage until after 10pm. We weren't able to stay for the entire set, unfortunately, as we had a three hour trip ahead of us (including the metrorail trip back to Virginia to retrieve my car). But while we were in the U Street corridor, we did stop by for my first taste of Ben's Chili Bowl. Thankfully, we got our order and seats before the drunk crowds packed the place.

So, midnight road trip into Amish country. The beau did a fantastic job of keeping me entertained and awake which was good when I needed quick reflexes to avoid a very confused buck on I-83. We got to the hotel so late that I wasn't the least bit tempted to move in, which is my usual M.O.

The event itself is fairly small but, in all fairness, this is only its second year. We strolled about in our finery and were asked many times for photographs. We hopped aboard the steam train for the 45-minute trip to Paradise and back, taking in the scenery and waving to pedestrians. I crossed paths with [livejournal.com profile] danabren, who was absolutely stunning in her white and black ruffles, and picnicked with [livejournal.com profile] psalite and LJ-less Kim. Courtney, Kevin, and Liam joined us for a bit on the train, but left the site before we finished picnicking.

The photographer from Steampunk World's Fair found us and made us stand still for lots of photos. )

There wasn't much in the way of attractive-to-me vendors which was very good for my pocketbook, and after enjoying another chat with [livejournal.com profile] danabren and having more photos taken, the beau and I retired back to the hotel for a MUCH needed nap.

Dinner was at an Amish restaurant not far down the road and was absolutely delicious if incredibly heavy -- do you have any vegetables that aren't starches? -- and Kevin, Court, Sean the beau, and I spent several hours afterward brainstorming group costume ideas for next year's Steampunk World's Fair.

Since we'd seen and done everything we wanted to see and do on Saturday, the beau and I enjoyed a leisurely drive down routes 30 and 15 for the trip home on Sunday. Since we weren't on any kind of schedule, we stopped in Gettysburg for lunch and a wander up and down streets and talked about going back to Gettysburg for a proper daytrip in the not-to-distant future.

The event offerings were small, but it was well-attended and held at an absolutely lovely venue. I would love to get up there early enough on Friday evening to participate in the Victorian ball, if that is held again, next year.
melaniesuzanne: (Love)
I keep wanting to write here on LJ, but all that comes out of my fingertips are giddy burbles about how happy I am. What a problem to have, eh?

Life is so good right now. Even when it's not sunshine and roses, it's still good. I've been working on making my needs and feelings clear even when they seem stupid or irrational or too needy. We've finally gotten past the point where I am surprised by how receptive the beau is when I bring up these uncomfortable-to-me topics. This isn't to say that he agrees with everything I propose, but he gives me the courtesy of listening and then presents his point of view so that we're both on the same page. I appreciate that he doesn't play games, and I can believe in his dedication and dependability.

That all sounds so clinical, but it's a revelation to have a transparent relationship. And it doesn't hurt either that we're both completely mad about each other.
melaniesuzanne: (Adventure Time: FinnXFionna)
In early June, the beau and I trekked out to a photographer friend’s home for a few hours of goofing around in front of the camera. We had a blast unleashing our inner post-apocalyptic teenagers.

WHAT TIME IS IT?? )

This is what 40 year old goofballs look like. )

I can barely refrain from making “self love” jokes since Finn and Fionna are essentially the same character… However, I do adore this picture of us. )

(Indoor photo by Chip York Photography and outdoor photos by Monika Townsend. Jake & Cake plushies by XOFifi.)

And because I’m so proud of it, I have to share a few photos of the sword I (okay, we) made for my Fionna cosplay. It started as a sketch on a piece of cardboard so that the beau had the appropriate shape and dimensions. He drew the individual pieces on another piece of cardboard and cut them out. I assembled the parts with layers of masking tape.

From cardboard... )

He glued in a stabilizing dowel and I taped everything up. He then hit the sword with a few coats of primer. I used six different shades of pink on the planes and edges and five coats of spray gloss to make the sword look crystalline. Et voila!

...to crystalline sword. )

As this was the first non-fabric accessory I’ve made, I don’t think I could have done so well without the beau’s expertise and guidance. We made a good team and I’ve got all sorts of warm fuzzies about the props we’ll be making for future cons and next year’s Steampunk World’s Fair.
melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
The 2014 edition of the Steampunk World's Fair was held in lovely Piscataway, NJ, over May 16, 17, and 18. I didn't know exactly what to expect and I enjoyed just about every moment I was there. Granted, I don't consider what I've made or worn up to this point as "steampunk" and view my participation in the steampunk scene, such as it is, as a neo-Victorian verging on quaintrelle. This will, hopefully, change with the plots and plans I have brewing for next year's ensembles, but more on that later.

Read more... )

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Mary F'ing Sunshine

August 2015

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