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I’ve learned that having kids who are both capable AND on the same side as you are is something that comes and goes.  Before I had kids I thought that the Terrible Twos and Teenagers were tricky but that the lengths in between were, on average, calm.  Now, I sense that is an optimistic and naive version.  It is clear when looking at LIFE that stretches of 12 years in generally good spirits was just not … not thinking.

This weekend my corner of the internet has been filled with variations on two themes: (1) the new Doctor episode and accompanying spinning and wringing of hands, and (2) oh SHIT DragonCon is in a week and the costumes aren’t done.  My mind has been chattering about both, and this morning was slated for some hard core costume work.

When Jeff & I went last year it was a brand new adventure, with so much to see and so much to think about.  It is true this year as well, but there is a lot to consider when moving with a kid through huge crowds and a fair number of mainly naked folks of all body types.  There are questions.

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We have spent the year talking about costumes.  We had some big plans which we shrunk down to a reasonable level.  We made compromises.  We imagined with reckless abandon.  Even now, with only 5 days to go we are negotiating bits and pieces of each costume based on skill, time, and dollars.  I painted his pokemon hat and shoes, he made bloody bandages for me.  We killed hours in the car wondering about things.  We filled silent spaces with discussions of cannon and who and why and how.

The second year will be different.  He’ll be bigger, John Barrowman won’t be there, I won’t have a day on my own, there will be less driving because we’re staying with family in ATL.  There are fewer panels that I really want to try and make, and I understand just how long the lines can be for other things.  It will be different.

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None of that really matters though.  Last year when we decided right away that we wanted to come back we were different people.  It won’t be last year with him being taller.  It will, and can only be, he and I right now.  We’re tired, we’re trying to negotiate new jobs and new schools, and new rules, and a different pace than we’ve been at for the last couple of years.  We’re fragile and hopeful all at the same time.  We both are fast with the F*ck It flag and quick to repent when the flag flies early.  We’re excited about it, but happy to have had some time at home this weekend.

We’re ready for this and ready for it to be a memory too.

And if nothing else, there is this.

I NAILED the fucking hat.

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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.

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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.