melaniesuzanne: (Lego: Pippin)
The second con, of a sort, over the first weekend of August was BrickFair at the Dulles Expo Center where the beau and I oohed and aahed and coveted many lovely Lego structures. I'm kicking myself for not taking any photographs because the fantasy castles and Steampunk cities on display were so gorgeous and the memories of them are fading too quickly. One vignette that I do remember featured the Haunted House set that I have with the addition of a full fence, cemetery, and spooky trees. I can totally do that! But Hyrule Castle, the Ewok village, the Steampunk city in the clouds, and the Pharaoh's tomb... They were so intricate and whimsical. I'll definitely have to take photos next year.
melaniesuzanne: (Burlesque 092914)
This whirlwind weekend consisted of the Richmond Wizard World Comic Con and the Virginia BrickFair Lego Convention just down the road in Chantilly.

Neither the beau nor I cosplayed this con and it was weird not being dressed up. Being in street clothes did make it easier to navigate the vendor area and artist alley and race to panels without stopping multiple times for photos, but I did miss the attention. And Sean, whose first comic/sci fi con and cosplay experience was only two months ago, also admitted to missing the attention. Heh. We're so shallow.


My reason for not dressing up was so that I would look like myself when I had my photo op with THIS GUY.

Yeah, that's Billy "Fool of a Took" Boyd, aka my most favorite Scottish actor EVER. There were posted rules prohibiting kissing the celebrities, but I noted there was NOTHING about licking them. I was good, though, and did not lick the Boyd. Nor did I bother him with fawning, gawking, or fangirling when he strolled up next to me at the hotel registration desk to check in while I was getting a second key card for my room. His panel was highly entertaining and he stated that his band Beecake was working on a US tour for this autumn. Time's running short, and they're feeling the crunch, but hopefully it comes to fruition. I told him that I hoped they would put the DC area on their schedule since I didn't know about Beecake when they toured the east coast in 2009.

Aside from trying to play it fairly cool while in the presence of the Boyd (but having a pretty big adrenaline let-offs after the photo op and autograph which made me weak and wobbly [Sean had to keep me upright after we got a few feet away from the booth]), the con was extremely low-key for the beau and myself. Sean attended a panel on working with various costume-making materials such as worbla and eva foam, plus did a little shopping which included stocking up on Star Wars Lego minifigs and a couple of Star Wars tees. I purchased a Stormtrooper-themed baseball jersey and some postcard-sized Adventure Time character sketches. Nothing else needed to come home with me. Watching, rather than participating in, the costume contest was also stress free and there were lots of great costumes which paraded across the stage. Sean and I spent a fair amount of time over dinner and on the drive home tonight brainstorming costume ideas for next year's contest. Heh heh heh.

And speaking of dinner, we had an amazing meal at a place called Pasture which is located only a block away from the Marriott. When I found it online that afternoon, I thought the tapas-sized dishes looked amazing and the craft beer list would please Sean. I got a delightful surprise when we entered the restaurant and I spotted the Boyd himself eating dinner at the bar. Sean suggested I send him a pint (ha. ha.), but I was respectful and left him alone. Merely glancing at his back multiple times through dinner counts as leaving him alone, right? Oh, and the food was gorgeous and Sean was VERY happy with the beer.
melaniesuzanne: (Yeoman Rand)
We woke bright and not-so-early on Sunday which, for us, was going to be Star Trek day. There were SO MANY Trek costumes about on Saturday that the beau said he almost didn't feel like wearing his. I gave him a significant look because I'd spent the past week slaving over a confusing pattern with crappy instructions so that we could both be in classic Trek clothes. Luckily, he wasn't serious -- as he'd also spent the previous week slaving over his own frustrating patterns while also finishing the Stormtrooper blaster -- and we got dolled up in Original Series duds.

The Star Trek away team investigates the Vienna (VA) metro station. )

[ profile] pirategirleee joined us -- as Luna Lovegood -- as did one of the beau's former coworker and we once again traveled downtown to the convention center. The crowd had thinned significantly and we were able to explore vendors and artists without being crushed. I was pretty chuffed when people asked if I was cosplaying Yeoman Rand; some people were even emotional about it. One little girl in a movie reboot costume was beside herself with glee when Sean and I had our picture taken with her; although, I think my letting her hold my phaser made her day.

PG and I took off in one way to shop and the boys took off in another. I proceeded to load up on NuWho companion action figures, pins, buttons, a couple of books, a Call of Catthulhu game, and a photo of James Marsters and John Barrowman from "Torchwood". I figured since James was at the con and John will be at Shore Leave, it would be cool to have both of them sign the photo.

As we wandered further into Artist's Alley, PG commented, "Oh, hey... there's Arthur [Darvill]." I looked up just in time to gasp and we made eye contact. My eyes went wide, I think I smiled, and I know I uttered a breathy "hi..." He crooked the side of his mouth and said, "Hi," in the coolest way I've ever heard. Not cool as in unfriendly; no, I mean cool as in The Fonz kind of cool. We passed and I went weak in the knees and broke out in gooseflesh. You know, I've always thought that Rory Williams was cute, but I had no idea the effect Arthur would have on me.

I recovered, eventually, and parted ways with PG so that she could run off to a panel on playing with worbla and so that I could meet back up with the beau for our picture with the only celebrity he would actually pay for the opportunity to be photographed with: George Takei. Now, Sean is one cool cucumber and he doesn't succumb to celebrity worship like some of us, but as the line brought us closer and closer to the photo booth, his excitement grew. He was very nearly, dare I say, giddy as we approached. He rarely smiles in photos so this is him beaming:

Sunday in the con with George. )

It was pretty funny, though, that as we stepped up to him, George stated that he felt nervous about standing between two redshirts and hoped nothing bad would happen. After the photo, George shook Sean's hand and I think that threw him headlong into euphoria. While I left him to bask in his own personal afterglow, I raced over to James Marsters' booth for a signature aaaaand he'd already left. Dull surprise since it was 4:45pm and the con was minutes away from closing down. Ah well, maybe he'll be at Richmond Comic Con.

Both the beau and I decreed that our Star Trek costumes, including boots, were pretty darn comfortable for a full day at a convention and I've already got a better beehive wig on order. I'll find some matching loose hair to create Yeoman Rand's iconic basket weave hair style for Shore Leave.

Unfortunately, my phone wouldn't hold a charge on Sunday and I was unable to take any photos. I do have to share this one with Luna Lovegood. )
melaniesuzanne: (Yeoman Rand)
This past weekend was my second visit to Awesome Con in downtown DC and this time around I knew a bunch of folks going and actually met up with everybody except for one. This was also the first comic/sci-fi convention the beau attended and he didn't know what to expect. I guess there's not as much programing or celebrity run-ins at gaming conventions...

He dressed as a Star Wars Rebel Trooper and I wore my Stormtrooper pin-up duds. (Gotta brag for a moment: he made his shirt [it was the first garment he'd made aside from silly pants and t-tunics during his SCA days and it gave him the confidence to make the British military tunic I have featured previously], the vest, and both of our blasters; I have GOT to get a close-up of my Stormtrooper blaster!) Before we even got in the main convention hall, he had people taking his photo because while Stormtroopers and Jedi are a dime a dozen at cons, there are few Rebel Troopers wandering about. Well, except for this con because the Rebel Legion was in attendance. A group even accosted him at one point with a "Why aren't you at your post, soldier??" It was all fun and games until the leader noticed my Stormtrooper dress and ordered the others to fire at me.

Star-crossed lovers.

Aim for the dress! )

I actually did a pretty good job of not buying all the things, but I did score some artwork and a pair of panties feature Admiral Ackbar's face and the text "It's a trap!" on the front. I also got Rob "Pinky" Paulsen's autograph to bookend Maurice "The Brain" LaMarche's on my "Pinky and the Brain" DVD box. My con mission was accomplished.

We realized that we were done for the day around 3:30 and said our fond farewells to friends and limped our way to the metro for the (interminable) ride back to Virginia. Despite being exhausted, the beau said he had a great time. Of course, I had a good time; I almost always do. We then slept the sleep of the overtired in preparation for a second day of costumed fun.

More photos from the day. )
melaniesuzanne: (Burlesque 092914)
Jotting down the notes so I can remember what the heck I've done and what I'm going to do.

Regeneration Who - March
8th Doctor (Night of the Doctor version)

Steampunk World's Fair - May
Fri day: Suffragist
Fri eve: Soiled Dove
Sat AM: Military pseudo-diesel punk
Sat PM: Blue gown

Awesome Con - May
Sat: Star Wars pin-up
Sun: Star Trek security/services

Richmond Wizard World Comic Con - August
8th Doctor (TV movie or Night of the Doctor version)
Patsy Stone
Cruella de Vil?

Shore Leave - August
Rose Tyler (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances version because I'm getting a photo with John Barrowman come hell or high water)
Star Wars pin-up
Star Trek security/services

Steampunk unLimited - October
Sat day: Pink striped bustle skirt and jacket (which has been on my project list for over a year)
Sat eve: Blue gown? Soiled dove?

Halloween - October
Who the heck knows? Not I.

Richmond WWCC is tripping me up pretty badly in that I don't want to be in costume when I get a photo with Billy Boyd. For that, I'll probably wear my One Ring skirt with black top & shrug. [ profile] pirategirleee and I are definitely dressing up as Pats & Edina and I want to get more wear out of my 8th Doctor duds. I've already worn "Night of the Doctor" and I have all of the pieces, including wig, for the TV movie version. There were two other NotD!8s at Regeneration Who and I've seen only one movie!8 at a convention thus far. I guess that means I'm leaning towards movie!8. And Cruella... hm, that's a lot of make-up work and I'm not sure that I still fit in the dress. Dang it. It was bad enough that I could barely fit into some of my SPWF clothes; I've got to drop a bunch of inches. More exercise indicated.


Mar. 26th, 2015 10:03 am
melaniesuzanne: (LotR: Hobbit approved)

The guest list for this year's Wizard World Comic Con in Richmond, VA was looking pretty thin and [ profile] pirategirleee and I were starting to think giving it a pass this year would be the thing to do. But today she discovered -- and kindly passed along to me -- that BILLY BOYD will be in attendance.

I'm dying. Dyyyyyyying.

PG sort of mentally shut down when we met Bruce Campbell at last year's con. I hope, hope, hope that I don't do that when I meet Billy. As the exchange in "Pulp Fiction" goes:

Jules: Now Yolanda, we're not gonna do anything stupid, are we?
Yolanda: You don't hurt him.
Jules: Nobody's gonna hurt anybody. We're gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what's Fonzie like?
Yolanda: Cool?
Jules: What?
Yolanda: He's cool.
Jules: Correctamundo.

Coincidentally, Henry Winkler will also be in attendance at the con...

Now, I don't want to be That Guy, but I might have to dress as a hobbit for a portion of the con. My 8th Doctor frock coat and waistcoat would fit the bill beautifully. Throw in a pair of capris, a shaggy wig, and some furry feet and I'm set!
melaniesuzanne: (Homeowner mouse is home)
The beau and I have discussed moving in together for a few months and have both been scouting out properties via online resources to see what the inventory is like and figure out what each of us is looking for in our home. Happily, we're on the same page with what we're looking for with respect to rooms and amenities and neighborhoods. Our only difference, really, is that I prefer a Colonial or Victorian facade while he's a fan of mid-century modern and contemporary. Despite that gulf, he admits that what the outside looks like is pretty low on his list of demands and if we found two houses with identical insides but different facades, we'll get the traditional house to make me happy.

Last autumn, I found a house about two miles away from my current house in the Forest Ridge neighborhood and it looked fantastic online except for being above our price range. I've been watching the price drop every month and it fell into our range last week. Sean's stepmom is a realtor and she arranged a viewing for us on Saturday afternoon. We got excited sitting out front while we waited for her to arrive, critiquing and praising different aspects of the property. As we approached the porch, I realized that the front door was red. I want a house with a red door! (Sean thought I wanted a TARDIS blue door, but no.) And then I spotted a claddagh door knocker. Were those signs?

Erm, no. The online pictures were MUCH better than the reality. It's not a BAD house, but there have been some poorly chosen "upgrades" made to the property including a tiny bedroom with a porcelain tile floor while the bathroom across the hall sported peel-n-stick tiles. There's no door between the master bath and bedroom. Sure, there are lots of houses like that, but the toilet wasn't closed off in a water closet. It was just ~there~ without any barrier to the rest of the bedroom. Ew. The basement had a finished game room, but the rest of the basement was... not good. The back yard was TRASHED thanks to the current owner's dogs. Also? It's a short sale. One the plus side, the neighborhood is quiet and well-maintained and not that far from the bike trail so I could still bike to work.

The reality of that house has cooled my ardor for it, but Sean's not discounting it. I spent a lot of time yesterday reminding myself that this was only the first house we've looked at. As the temperature warms and spring blooms, more for sale signs will pop up and we'll find the house we love.
melaniesuzanne: (Memphis - Hernando de Soto bridge)
I'm a-leavin' on a jet plane (puddle-jumper, actually) for the wilds of Alabama and Arkansas and not-so-wilds of Tennessee for an extended weekend visit to my hometown of Hughes, Arkansas. It seems that the student body of the school district is so small that the district is being consolidated with Forrest City -- a community about thirty miles away -- and some of the locals began plotting an All Years' Reunion for the alumni of Hughes High School before the closing of our alma mater. While I didn't graduate from HHS due to our move to Germantown, TN, I did attend the school from kindergarten through ninth grade. Add to that, my church is celebrating its centennial. The congregation decided that they would take advantage of the influx of former residents and host a special service and luncheon to commemorate the occasion.

Well. Besides my yearly trip to visit my father and his family who live an hour or so north of my hometown, the only other reasons for going to Hughes have been funerals. While it's sad that the school is being shut down, a reunion will be a fun event and the centennial celebration even more so. How could I resist?

The RSVP list was posted this week and I'm positively giddy about who will be attending! Old school chums, my sixth grade teacher (whom I adored), my algebra teacher (who was a terror, but we respected and learned SO MUCH from her; also? she was my father's, his brothers', and his sisters' algebra teacher as well), a whole mess of my besties, so many of my folks' besties, and my dad, uncle, and aunt. Not that I necessarily needed it, but this will be a lovely closure of my childhood.

Also? I get to spend several days with Mom and Pete at the lake house. Yay!
melaniesuzanne: (une souris)
It was bound to happen sometime...

On the suggestion of [ 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.


Feb. 23rd, 2015 11:12 pm
melaniesuzanne: (WTF? by upsa_daisy)
I woke Saturday morning with the remnants of two vivid dreams in my head. The first was about orange juice, and I could practically taste it. The second was a full length documentary about anime. Unfortunately, as I told the beau, I had no idea how accurate the documentary was because I don't speak Japanese.

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.


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.

melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
The beau and I were invited to a "fancy dress" gathering at McClellan's Retreat in the Dupont Circle area of DC this past weekend. The friends who invited us are in the steampunk and dandy circles, and with this establishment evoking the American Civil War era through decor and drink menu, we plotted new clothing choices for the beau beyond his British military tunic. We settled upon a suit jacket and slacks, but he needed a waistcoat with more flair than the subtle pinstripe and more formal than the garish plaid vests already in his collection. We decided that a trip to the thrift store was in order.

I was quickly derailed by finding a red puffy vest the likes of which I'd been coveting for months. And not far from the vest was a sharp little tweed-ish dress suit which fit me perfectly. Oh, yeah baby. So, with my "kills" in hand, I went in search of the beau.

He had not found any suitable waistcoats in his size (only smalls and extra-extra larges), but he did discover TWO tuxedo jackets. I preferred the one with curved lapels and, happily, it fit him like a dream. He wondered if there might be a tuxedo shirt lurking about and I set to examining all of the white button-downs in his size. The sixth shirt I located was an honest-to-goodness tuxedo shirt with French cuffs and no buttons. Happily, it also fit! The beau did not own cuff links and wondered where we could find some on the cheap; I suggested the jewelry counter. He called me brilliant, kissed the top of my head, and grabbed me by the wrist to race over to the where we found both white and black cuff links. Oh, he also found an AMAZING full-length, wool dress coat (another item missing from his wardrobe). He walked out of the thrift store with a tuxedo jacket, tuxedo shirt, wool coat, and two sets of cuff links for about $60. (My suit and vest cost me just under $30.)

With a quarter of a yard of silky paisley material fashioned into cravat and one of my earrings as the pin, plus the tux shirt, pinstripe waistcoat, tux jacket, dark pants, shiny black shoes, top hat, and dress coat, the beau looked like a rail baron. Oh my goodness, but I am soooo disappointed that I did not snap a photo of him. Myself, I donned a black and gold brocade bustled jacket, maroon walking skirt, the semi-appropriate underpinnings, and a wool and shearling cape which belonged to my grandmother. We made quite the pair on the metro and had a few people ask where we were going. At one of the stations, I heard a group of guys blurt out, "I didn't know 'Gangs of New York' was in town!"

Due to all the track work on every single metro line, we were about an hour late arriving, but we quickly found our friends and discovered that they were in modern "fancy dress" and some of their friends considered "fancy dress" to be a tie over a button-down and jeans.


Oh well. We looked fabulous and quickly settled in to getting acquainted with the assembled crowd, making all sorts of new connections, and getting cozy with ACW-era drinks. I had two Sherry Cobblers, which were delicious, and two Sangarees, which were AMAZING while the beau got cozy with a gorgeous port. I've got to redact that Sangaree recipe because I need lots more of it in my mouth even if it did make me a bit of a careless drunk resulting in the loss of my Smart Card while transferring trains at Metro Center. (Funny story: We raced back up to the red line platform to look for my card, but it wasn't to be found. I sorted through my purse when we got back to the blue/orange/silver line platform and then realized that I'd lost my gloves WHICH I'D JUST REMOVED to dig through my purse. The beau gamely returned to the red line platform and located my gloves. I nearly burst into tears from embarrassment, but he sweetly patted my hand.) Don't tell anybody, but I gate-jumped to exit the Reston metro station (okay, I followed the beau quickly through the handicapped gate) but only because there wasn't a station operator at the desk nor did anyone answer the intercom-pager thingy at the desk.

It was quite the day of lucky thrift finds, delicious drink, transit hijinks, and camaraderie, and I think I'm still recovering from all that fun.
melaniesuzanne: (Burlesque 092914)
I rang in the new year with good friends, great food, and fun games. The beau introduced my gang to the Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game and succeeded in getting two of us addicted. Seriously. We played twice on New Year's Eve and I was jonesing so badly for another round that I put out a call to the DnD group for an impromptu game day this past Saturday. James answered the call and we three enjoyed a massive two-and-a-half hour dogfight between my Imperial forces and his and the beau's rebel fleet. In the end the Dark Side was victorious, but it was anybody's game for a long while.

The night before, though, the beau and I pulled out Betrayal at House on the Hill, which we'd been introduced to back in August. It's a survival horror game, so it's totally up my alley, and you navigate little miniature people around a board which you build as the game progresses, so that appeals to the beau. Technically, you need three people to play but we ran a game with the two of us both running two characters and we managed to get about two hours of game play from it before the Demon Lord his Mad Scientist summoned took out my Final Girl. Ah well, that's the way the dice roll.

The beau wants me to attend a gaming convention with him but I'm torn. On the one hand, I've discovered that I do have a knack for miniature war-gaming, but on the other hand I see that as being his "guy time" and I don't want to be the Yoko especially since I don't know how comfortable I'd be with wandering off to play with strangers. We shall see.
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, [ profile] rdhdsnippet and [ 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.

office tree 2014


melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
November: After the frenetic pace of October, November seemed downright sedate. I wore my suffragist sash to my polling place on election day, but people were much more interested in my purple hair. Le sigh. My Aussie aunt came to town and I got spend about an hour visiting with her just before she headed down south to meet back up with Mom and Pete.

Things really picked up towards the end of the month, though. In one Saturday, I spent the afternoon playing DnD then raced over to Manassas to stroll through the Festival of Lights with [ profile] pirategirleee and then raced over to Springfield with the beau for a friend's birthday party at a trampoline place. That Festival of Lights stroll was called the Snowflake Stampede and was a fairly lovely way to spend an hour or so in the frigid air. PG and I didn't run -- which should be obvious with my repeated use of the word "stroll" -- and geeked about Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Adventure Time, and cosplay while taking in the gorgeous light display. The trampoline adventure, on the other hand, was quite the workout and I had the unfortunate discovery that I have an old lady bladder or something very close to it. Nearly every time I bounced, there was a little TMI. ) A good time was had by most until the beau turned his ankle when he landed badly on the trampoline basketball court. Poor dear.

I got tired of the upkeep of purple hair and went back to blonde with an unfortunate turn of green hair for a day or two. I'd accidentally grabbed a box of ash blonde color and all that greenish-blue base on top of the purple went mossy. UGH. I mean, it might work on some folks, but completely clashed with my coloring. A warm, golden blonde box brought my hair back to normalcy.

Thanksgiving was a quiet evening with the beau's folks and some family friends. Dinner was delicious and we capped off the evening with a rousing game of Ticket to Ride. I didn't mean to stomp everybody into the ground, but I got some lucky breaks with my railroad baron skills.

The weekend after Thanksgiving was the perfect time to get folks together for some physical activity and I chose LASER TAG. Oh my goodness! It was my first time playing and it was SO MUCH FUN. Actually, everybody had a blast, if you'll pardon me, and couldn't wait to do it again.

I closed out the month by decorating for Christmas because, in my world, one is allowed to pull out the Christmas stuff AFTER one has celebrated Thanksgiving.

Aunt Jan 11-2014

snowflake stampede


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.

Toms kart


melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
July: Spent a week in Alabama (and a couple of days in Memphis) with my family and bestie. Got in lots of lake time and deck time and even a little pool time. Jumped off a 20 foot cliff into the Tennessee River and water skied for the first time in over fifteen years. Aside from the 24-hour stomach virus which ravaged each member of the household, it was a fabulous trip.

Ran into the ex at the shrink's office. She was running behind schedule, he was early for his appointment, and the staff didn't realize that they'd scheduled us for the same afternoon. Oh well. The brief conversation was polite.

Rode my bike the 9.5 miles to the beau's house, impressing the heck out of him. He assumed he would need to drive me back home, but he was very wrong. Rawr.

My probably-original-to-the-house hot water heater sprung a leak the day before I left for a week-long business trip to Dallas. Luckily, I caught it early and was able to drain the heater and dry the basement before catching my flight. I ordered a new water heater during my last day in Dallas and had it installed when I got home. W00t.

And then most of my SCAdian friends went to Pennsic and started posting pictures from Pennsic and I tried not to give in...
    war wagon
August: I gave in and scooted up to Pennsic for a long weekend and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. I got to see almost everybody on my Must See list, especially Her Majesty Calontir, [ profile] wombatgirl. The only drawback to the weekend is that rained pretty much the entire time, but that did make it a lot easier for me to say good-bye to the modern middle ages and get back home to modern conveniences such as not having to don shoes to make a privy run.

The beau is still laughing about my lack of impulse control, I'm sure. However, getting to see far-flung friends and driving a VW Beetle Convertible as a "War Wagon" made it a worthwhile trip.
The next weekend [ profile] psalite, [ profile] pirategirleee, and I ventured to the wilds of Manassas for the Prince William County Fair where we took in a demolition derby, ate fair food until I (almost) got sick, rode the ferris wheel and tunnel of terror, and walked away with enough kettle corn to choke a family of mules. I even checked off another post-WLS bucket list item: mechanical bull riding! Wow, is that ever harder than it looks. I mean, I've got some pretty powerful thighs from all my bike riding, but I lasted only 32 seconds before sliding off the side of the bull. Ah well.

A group of friends started up a DnD campaign and I spent an evening wearing my reading glasses and retainer while rolling up my gnome sorcerer character. The nerdineth ith thtrong with thith one.

Also, I started a long and painful root canal process which wouldn't end until November when my dental benefits ran out for the year.
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
[ 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!
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.
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))
January: In a surprise move, I attended an SCA event. Kingdom 12th Night was held in D.C., and I carpooled with Kevin and Courtney for a few hours of hobnobbing with SCAdian friends.

In retrospect, I really should've worn a wimple. However, I'm quite pleased with how the hat turned out.

I also saw "The Hobbit: Denial of Service" and nerd-raged A LOT. However, seeing my second film at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema made that theater my movie-going venue of choice and I've been to only one other cinema since.

My lack of personal insulation due to weight loss was problematic especially since this was one of the coldest winters I've personally experienced.
    12th Night 2014
February: We got a fair amount of snow in January and February. One of the superficial things I'd panicked about after the separation was how I'd get everything dug out after a significant snowfall since that task had always fallen upon the ex. I managed just fine, especially since my burly neighbor was especially kind and shoveled my walk for me a few times. He even came out once and took my shovel away while I was digging out the car. I baked him brownies in thanks.     snowcar
I tortured [ profile] pirategirleee by taking her to the Baltimore Aquarium for her birthday. "How is that torture?" I hear you ask. Well, PG is TERRIFIED of sharks while I find the critters fascinating. We spent a lot of quality time in the shark pen. And then we played in the gift shop.

Virginia struck down its ban on same-sex marriage and I celebrated a fairly low-key Valentine's Day with the beau. These are completely unrelated events. I completed my last regional Doomsday (year-end financial report) for the Kingdom of Atlantia and my reign of terror as the Virginia Regional Exchequer ended.
March: I had a marvelous time at the DC stop "Welcome to Night Vale" tour, winter continued being a bitch on wheels, and I officially filed for divorce.


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Mary F'ing Sunshine

August 2015

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