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I am learning to own a lot of my geek tendencies, but my Gleek tendencies are dialed to about 11 this week and I’m not talking about much because about the only thing I have is…

Twirl and faint.

Ryan Murphy and crew did a great job with this. Starting with contriving a tiny thing so that Rachel could sing Yesterday as the opening song.

The setup makes sense for Rachel, but it gives everybody who is holding their breath for the third show of the season (Cory’s show) a little something to hold onto. Also, it is completely crushing to watch her sing it – she nails it and it is impossible to watch without knowing (1) Cory is dead, (2) Recently, (3) She recorded AND filmed the sequence after he had died. What makes that even more impressive is that in the one public appearance that I have seen she was having such a tough night.

I loved all the Klaine parts. There are all KINDS of things and stuff that make it questionable (the choreography of their first song as much as anything else – WTH guys?) but fundamentally I like the pairing and what the actors do with it. I’m interested to see how they sort out Kurt because he was such a puppet to plot point last year that his life isn’t actually possible. With the exception of Lea & Cory, nobody else duets likes Chris & Darren.

I’m happy that Artie and Tina both seem to exist, and I echo the idea that Artie should get to sing more often because he actually has an interesting voice.

I’m sorry that Sam has turned into the plot point puppet this season (in that, I am sorry that they have a plot point puppet instead of writing that makes the puppet unnecessary) but I’m not a fan of Sam or Chord (the actor) so … eh. I would have skipped his bits anyhow.

With the impossibility of Finnchel being “endgame” I think that Klaine got upgraded. I like the idea of it … but the groundwork isn’t quite there on either character besides being gay [spoiler] teenagers (and even R. Murphy has backed away from them kissing (although the lesbian couples aren’t as chaste)). It is shaky as them being OTP … but if they get more airtime, solos, and duets I suspect I’ll be buying more Glee songs this season than last.

It is 72 degrees outside.

I’ve just spent 60 minutes reading a book, while my husband does math. We occasionally check the monitors of our son’s class where he is alternately getting high-fives, wiggling, and being very stoic. He bounds out of class and gives his instructor a hug as part of his thank-you. He is all smiles.

We had a plan for dinner, but parking is a pain in the ass so we change our dinner plan. I heard, when I first moved here, that parking was rage-making … I didn’t believe them. Now I know that it IS rage-making but mainly because it is just so unlikely that ALL of the CARS actually belong to people in the closed shops at 6p on Sunday. What the hell??? Anyhow. New dinner plan.

We forget about Clocked all the time. I don’t know why, it is one of the most husband friendly places in town AND (bonus for me) they actually know how to make a hamburger that someone would want to eat. Jeff, who takes after me post-work out, eats a grilled cheese with a fried egg AND bacon on it. The veggie frites are a lovely compliment to my barely dead cow burger.

We sit outside, because it is beautiful out. There is an old tree that shades Jeff’s eyes from the sunset. Everything about the moment makes me want to look straight at the sky through the leaves, I hold my husband’s hand. We see a neighbor who comes over and chats for a little bit. There is a refill on Jeff’s milk.

It is good. It should be unforgettable in the loveliness of it but the normalcy of getting dinner might whisk it all away. So I’ll tell you about it… in the hopes that one of us will remember.

My phone and my computer are groaning with the volume of photographs I have. I have them backed up, twice actually, to hard drive and to cloud, but I have almost no printed pictures. I made two photo books after LLV and used a tiny percentage of the pictures I wanted to.

Somewhere between my upbringing (photo heavy), and my dead husband (no longer available for new pictures) I am LOATHE to get rid of a photograph.

*The picture where it looks likes someone just spiked your kool-aid battery acid – I kept it.
**The eight sequential pictures of the lining of my purse – I kept one.
***Every picture of every list I ever drew out so kiddo knew what our plan was for the day – got’em.
That close up of his cheek, with a sparkle in his eye, taken during the golden hour – I have every one of those I have ever taken.
****Pictures I have taken of my dad and my husband furrowing their brow at me because they see no sense in taking a picture of them right now. I do – they are a couple of my favorite men and time never stands still.

Now I have a choice.

We could go the Pinterest route and talk about what to do with 5,000 unedited pictures. We could even subdivide that into giving the side-eye the new normal of editing pictures before we do anything with them.

Or, I can tell you about the picture that is in my mind right now. It is a dead husband picture at a BP/McDs in the middle of Illinois. It is somewhere (by the length and color of his hair) in the last 4 months of his life, but it is warm enough that I am in short sleeves. My mom took the picture. My hair is long; and blowing all across my face. In the series of pictures it is clear that we are enjoying the moment – but in this picture he looks sort of like he is protecting the world from Cousin It. He isn’t though. He is just draped on me and laughing.

****I don’t throw away pictures.
***I don’t want to edit them because the sky just looked the way it did.
**It isn’t enough to have them hidden on a drive or in the cloud which is why I don’t take them off the machines. I need and want to see them.
*I don’t have an idea of how to cull through, or display what I have.

I think about Jeff’s internal voice a lot. I think about the ways that his dad & I influence that voice and what I really want it to say to him years from now when it is the middle of the night and he is a little bit sad. I know that the final echoing words aren’t going to be my choice, but I try and be mindful of my real goals most of the time. This weekend is proving out to be one of those times.

Things I want his internal voice to know.

1. Never lie to yourself about what you like. You can (and sometimes should) choose to be … selective … about who you share information with. That is fine, just NEVER lie to yourself about it. In public he is distancing himself from his favorite color — because he wants to. At home it is still his favorite, but now out in the world … less so. I’m ok with that, I want his favorite color to feel good and not be attached to the words of those around him who don’t understand.

2. Curiosity is enough to take action. One day last year he said, “I want to play basketball at the Y.” My first step was to say “OK, we’ll figure that out”, my second step was to follow up with Dave and my mom to find out if they knew how Jeff even knew that basketball was a THING … because with no cable and with us as parents we just don’t talk about basketball – at all. He learned to play a little basketball. He went to a free class yesterday (which I pushed a little bit to get over one of those maternal “I IMAGINE” moments), he loved it and wanted to do more — so now he will, until he is done.

3. Ask for anything as long as you can be gracious when the answer is no. So much passes by while people wait to be asked to participate. So many opportunities are lost because people just can’t find their voice fast enough. You can ask for anything – but if someone says no then be a gentlemen about it. Today I asked if he wanted to go shopping with me (and it wasn’t a ‘had to’ – just a genuine either answer is fine).

“Can I get a toy?”
“Sure, if you bring your own money.”
“Can ya toss in a little [eyebrow wiggle] sumpin’ sumpin’?”
ok dude, you have my attention. “What kind of sumpin’ are you thinking about?”
“Nutella and sticks?” (This is our current favorite shared snack, and pretty much a given on a trip to Target).
“Yeah, we can do that.” and off we went.

I didn’t need to say no today (except to spending my money on a toy) but his ability to negotiate is developing (and so is mine frankly). There are many stages (1) Yes. (2) You can earn it for yourself. (3) We can take a picture so that we can tell people you’d like it as a gift. (4) Hahahahaha. No.

I just want him to feel free to see and act on options. Not more, or less, than anybody wants for their kid – but I’m thinking about it a lot today.

In July a Chicago man (of some note) died. The first time he felt compelled to paint a specific face in was in the early 50s. My mom went to his house today to pick something up, a gift.

My first husband, John, worked with an amazing group of people before he died, some of the most important people in my life because they stood by me, and more importantly him, during those months even though they were all so very young. After he died a salesman from that studio was visiting a home — and he saw a painted portrait of John.

To be clear, a man who had never seen or heard of John felt compelled to paint a portrait of him after John’s death. It isn’t a perfect likeness, but when I showed Jeff the picture that I had that most closely resembled the painting his response was “When did you draw a picture of your John?”

This is coming out all twisted, but I don’t know how else to tell the story.

After Mr. Wilson died, his widow got in touch with my mom and offered her the painting. It is … large. It is this strange coda to John’s artistic life. It reminds me of the ways that John never was exclusively MINE, because this is a story that I have only been an observer of. My mom, and my friend at the Studio are the two who are living it. They heard the stories of the monkey, and the guns. They have seen the picture in person (I haven’t yet).

So now, it has been gifted to … who? My mom? Me? John’s legacy? My family at large which includes his family? My mom isn’t sure, and neither am I. It is so precious a gift, and still, our days of shrines are over for the most part.

Still. Thank you Mr. Wilson, for doing the things you felt compelled to do and painting a face that showed up in your mind unbidden but insistent.

Thank you Mr. Wilson (this picture does not include John)

After nearly 12 years … there are still moments where my primal heart screams at the unfairness of it all.

“oh those are the NICE spiders.”

Which is true, they are, they aren’t poisonous, they are kind of pretty. They are the size of the palm of my hand.

It is spider season here in Georgia, and as with everything else in this lush and magical summer the spiders are big and they prey is plentiful. It is rare that only one thing flourishes, but more true that when the time is right everything grows in busts.

I could talk about the “nice” spider whose web is attached, on one side, to a door we use over and over … she is ok with it (me … I’m trying to be a gracious host).

I could talk about the spider in the corner of the front door that has nailed two scorpions recently. Hooray for two less scorpions – – and so therefore I guess hooray for the spider???

The mornings shimmer and shine as I drive in with light and dew highlighting the amazing spectacle of their webs.

It is beautiful, and natural, and just what it should be at the end of a summer like this one. Still. ((shudder)).


Dragon*Con goes on for another day – but I’m out of it for this year.

Yesterday was mom & Jeff day (filled with awesome), and today was my celebrity birthday day.

No misogynistic / sexist dumbsh*t today (so that was nice). Also saw a lot of references to the idea that cosplay isn’t consent – including from Dragon*Con itself. I think in some ways the ruckus started by Scalzi and the co-sign post that came immediately after did a lot towards making that an open topic for comment. I will never really know for sure, because this was my first Con – but I do know that D*C made a BIG deal out of adding that “more clearly” to their policies post-Scalzi-post.

Onto the skills I learned today… the vendor stuff was in a totally separate building, which made choosing to shop VERY active and I like that a lot.

I like that accidentally I have figured out that I am WAY less likely to buy Stuff if I have gotten over my (badge night) t-shirt envy, and I’ve been surrounded by stunning, creative, craftsmanship for a day or two. The box (ordered from amazon to sell at D*C) doesn’t look so tempting, and if a t-shirt is clever I’ve seen it 20 times and don’t need it. If it isn’t clever … well, I don’t need it then either. Also a level of exhaustion to make me really consider if I want to carry it for four more hours helps too.

I had three celebrity pictures taken. I got four celebrity autographs. I’m glad I did both as it totally stripped me of any notion that being a celebrity at these things would be fun. It is appeared to be tough to (1) Not have anybody want to come up to you, (2) have such a huge line that you can ONLY churn out the work you are being paid for in that moment, or (3) to have people only be interested in the work you did 25 years ago. It looked exhausting, and soul churning.

All of that being said, Ed Asner made me burst into tears, Peter Davison was lovely, George Takei was as awesome as you would hope for, and John Barrowman is just a complete f*cking delight. Hell even the Yellow power ranger (not the douchetool white / green guy) was charming. It made remember to say “thank you” over and over again.

I’ll do this again. It was great fun. I’m exhausted now and need to go to bed.

Oh. In a world full of Whovians it was easy to find others. I saw 5 references to Welcome to Night Vale – and my shirt was commented on by a half-dozen more. It was fun to find a sub-tribe in such a huge mass. I’m sad I didn’t take a picture of “Waiting for the Bus in the Rain” woman – because she NAILED IT.

My husband gave this to me as a birthday gift. He did good.

Thursday I drove to Atlanta to pick up my badge for my first ever major SciFi/Fantasy/Nerdgasm Con — Dragon*Con.

I am loving it – but it isn’t without a flaw or two —- this covers both the love and the other.

I stand (for about an hour) behind the adult love child of my brother and Abraham Lincoln. The voice and mannerisms are my brother’s every step of the way and the face and beard line clearly come from the Lincoln side. If the man were to shed a few pounds he’d have a sideline gig as a re-inactor for sure.

I see hundreds of people, about 50% of them are wearing clever t-shirts, of those I recognize about 50% of their clever references. I am about 40 people behind a perfect, yet grumpy looking, Tinkerbell (right down to the toe puffs and patterned wings).

I have my first two encounters with … stupid, thoughtless instances of sexism. The first is the drunk guy playing Baby Got Back on his ironic boom box while following me. If you’ve seen me, you know that this baby ain’t got back – it is a signature look for me – my backlessness. I cannot honestly say that this is different than drunk guy’s regular Thursday – but I assume it is at least a little different.

Second, is just the damn con badge. Bikini clad woman being chased by a leering dragon…. what the hell people? There are 50,000 people at this convention – it is reasonable to assume ONE of them would be a woman.

This morning my son and I went to participate in the costume parade – he was dressed as the Green Lantern and I was dressed as the 11th Doctor in this precise moment…

Even within the Doctor folks I didn’t get recognized much – which is alternately disappointing and totally reasonable since I am dressed as 90 seconds of a character that has a 50 year television history…

We were at the front of the parade and it was GREAT. I got to carry the “Everything D*C” to mark our section of the parade. It was fun and friendly and HUGE and beautiful and OMG. I kept seeing these amazing costumes on the street of people who were just WATCHING and it was just … amazing.

As part of the rules of the con, I had to wear my badge all the time. Jeff wore a Green Lantern lanyard and badge the whole time as well. During the parade he held on to it as closely as he held my hand. It was his ticket in, and (for him) the clarity of the character he was representing.

We talked, as we drove in, about how he could respond when strangers talked to him. Nothing prepared him for the number of Green Lantern brotherhood shout-outs he got.



There was an extra bit of sexism – somebody dressed as a doctor (MD, not Whovian) stopped and told me he wanted to me in the stirrups soon (ASS CLOWN!! – 50% of the people around me are too young to drive!) and a bit of General AssHatery – somebody publicly peed close enough to where kiddo and I were eating a snack that it flowed downhill and puddled at my ass. Props for public urination skills – but what the fuck?

We made dragon puppets and went to a child geared stage combat panel. Then we both staggered to the car – completely exhausted. Kiddo was out cold before I was back on the interstate and I needed a huge chunk of downtime when we got home.

I asked him tonight what he thought of when I said “Dragon*Con parade” — the part where we walked or we watched. He thought, first, of the part where we walked.

He and I, we are leos. Waving at strangers, Lantern ringing the cameras, sonic screwdriving the adorable Dalek costumed kids, it all makes total sense to us.

For those folks debating about going to Dragon*Con to see the parade. You should, it is amazing. For those who wonder if maybe some day they could / should walk it. Summon your inner leo and get the hell in the street.

I go back tomorrow to get my picture taken with famous people, to wear my homemade Night Vale shirt, and to take more pictures of amazing costumes.