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    Monday, December 8th, 2014
    5:26 pm
    China Part Two: The Journal
    Day 1: Friday

    After only 4 hrs sleep, we woke up at about 4AM to be ready for our 5AM shuttle to the airport. Once there, there was a delay in taking off due to tail winds, but not too long? It was tenish when we took off. In CA it is now 7pm, on Friday, but according to the map on my TV screen, we have crossed the international date line into Sat! Map says it's 11AM where we're going.
    I'm exhausted. Haven't slept all flight. Think I'll try to take a nap...

    Day 2: Saturday

    There was not much Saturday on Saturday. There was the part of the plane ride after we flew over the international date line, then landing and customs, by which point it was around 6pm. We were met by one of our hosts, David, and his lovely daughter (think I'll not use either daughter's names 'cause, you know, internet, and they're young). We had a long drive to their place on roads too high for my comfort, a meal of excellent Chinese food, and then Scott and I crashed. It was about 9 pm? and we'd been awake for 24 hours. I was so tired I couldn't see straight and decided to put off writing this entry...
    Like I said, not much Saturday.

    Day 3: Sunday.

    I'm actually writing this on Monday since we had such a busy/full Sunday I didn't have the energy to write last night (I just wrote Sat as well, this has been the first moment I've had free and not been exhausted since we arrived!).

    So, Sunday. Sunday was all about being in China and doing very Chinese things. It was awesome.

    First David helped me find pictures of the coat Sherlock wears in SHERLOCK (this was important, honest!), then we went to the school to check out the space Scott would be speaking in (nice big theatre), and print out the Sherlock pics.

    We brought Scott back to the apartment so he could get ready for Monday, and the rest of us (David, his wonderful wife, Kim and their two adorable and very smart daughters) went on our adventure.

    There was a dim sum lunch with LOTS of pork buns (and other great food, but mmmmmm pork buns!), then we were off to the Pearl Market where, so I've been told, you can get anything you want made. Kim is phenomenal at haggling and she got me a great price. I pick my coat up next weekend, we'll see if it's as awesome as I hope.

    After much fun shopping (I'm not a "shopper" per se, but the place and the company made shopping a joy) (oh, and I bought a new bag which was pretty much EXACTLY what I wanted!).

    After shopping we picked up Scott and went wandering around a lovely water city, then had a meal that seemed like a Chinese version of fondue (where you cook meats and veggies up in pots at your table).

    When we got home, Scott and I could barely open our eyes, which is why I'm finishing writing this now instead of then (it is now Tues night, by the way, since I failed to finish yesterday either!)

    Day 4: Monday

    Monday started with Scott's talk at the school. He didn't have a full hour for the talk and had to skip the ending, but he threw in Monkey Town and the kids loved it.

    After the presentation Scott had a bunch of class visits, where he'd go to a class, or they would come to him, and he'd talk to them. The kids were awesome.

    After a busy busy day at the school, we went to dinner with several of the teachers at a restaurant that had delicious Szechuan food and a mask show, which should be seen, not described.

    After dinner, we, again were so exhausted that we crashed immediately after arriving back at David and Kim's place.

    Which is why I am finishing this entry on Wednesday.

    Day 5: Tuesday

    Again we were so tired last night that I didn't get to write Tuesday's entry until now, Wednesday afternoon.

    Mostly the day was spent with Scott doing class visits. I really adore these kids. The classes were high school students' art and English classes. Very smart and interested. They asked great questions.

    After a long day of class visits, it was on to another awesome restaurant with more awesome teachers (including David and Kim who not only let us stay at their apartment, but have been the best hosts ever).

    The restaurant was owned by the father of one of the students at the school, so our group was treated like royalty. Great food, beautiful restaurant, wonderful people. Can you tell I'm really loving this trip?

    After dinner, we took a walk to the Bund and I finally got to see the skyline that Shanghai is so famous for. It's pretty amazing. Scott and I will be staying there our last two nights. Fun!

    And, again, we fell asleep as soon as we got back.

    Day 6: Wednesday

    Wow. Can't believe it's day 6! Of course, technically the first two days were just getting here.

    Hey, I'm actually writing this on Wednesday night!

    Today was the end of our visit to our first school. Scott talked to a few classrooms, and did his whole presentation/talk/Keynote/slideshow for a group of eighth graders. They were so enthusiastic! I had a great time watching them watch Scott.

    Lunch with the honor students and comic book club was filled with great questions, conversations and fun.

    After lunch we had an hour to just hang out. First down time we've had where we weren't falling into bed before falling asleep. Which is when I finished writing up the last few days.

    Then we had to move. We're now in a Holiday Inn. It's a very nice room, but I miss David, Kim, and their adorable daughters.

    Our host for the school we are starting visits at tomorrow met us to say hi. She had with her her two sons who are 13 & 10. I was impressed by both of them. I wish we could've spent more time with them. I really like hanging out with smart young people (something we are doing a lot of, this trip). We're at the school tomorrow and Friday, we'll see...

    Dinner tonight was the first meal Scott and I have had alone since getting here. And since the pollution level was high today (walking outdoors today was no fun) we just ate here at the hotel. Good food, but I wasn't very hungry so let Scott eat more.

    Which brings us to now, 9:37pm, Scott's asleep and I'm more tired then I care to admit. I'm now caught up with today's entry!

    Think I'll go to bed now...

    Day 7: Thursday

    Thursday was our 1st day at our second school, WISS. We're here for two days.

    It's interesting to see the difference between the two schools. WISS has Scott doing things in reverse order. Our day was spent talking to high school art classes and middle school English classes. As expected, the kids were awesome. But it was weird to be talking to kids BEFORE they've seen Scott's presentation (which is the last thing he's doing at this school).

    Then we went out to dinner with several of our hosts. Amusingly, they took us to the same restaurant that SAS took us to on Monday night. The mask changing show was just as cool, the food just as good, and the company much fun. This time, far too much food was ordered. It just kept coming. There was much more food then we could possibly eat. The only thing I didn't like was that it was also just as smokey as it had been on Monday. :-(

    Day 8: Friday

    Today was awesome, in part because it started with Scott having a "Rockstar" moment. It was so funny: So, I'm in a van, waiting for Scott to finish checking out of our hotel, and talking to PJ (have I mentioned him yet? He is an Irish Judge Dredd artist who was also visiting the school this week). Anyway, we were talking about how Scott and I were going to be at 4 schools over the 2 weeks we were in town, and some women heard me mentioning SAS (which was the school we'd been at Mon-Wed, and also the school (albeit a different campus) that we're to be at the next Mon-Wed as well. Anyway, she liked my T-shirt (CBLDF) and I sadly had to tell her she couldn't catch a ride since we were not on our way to SAS as she was. So she asked what we were doing and I told her. As always, I said my husband is a comic book artist, and didn't name him. So she asked who he was, I told her, and she went into a speechless kind of shock. She's a HUGE fan. When he came out of the hotel, I introduced her. It was pretty awesome, she was great. Turns out she uses his book to teach middle schoolers in an International School in Korea. She was so excited to find out we did things like this. She couldn't wait to get back so she could try to get us to visit her school! I don't know if it'll happen or not, but Korea would be a cool place to visit!

    At the school, Scott's first group was 6th graders, which he was worried about talking to. But he did a great job with them. They were so involved and interested. Possibly the best class visit yet! Then there were two art classes that were a little more low key but very interesting conversations.

    The last thing we did at WISS was Scott's big lecture (this is reverse of how we usually do things- usually the talk comes first!)

    Most of the kids had met Scott by now and they really enjoyed the presentation.
    Like I said, good day, another great school.

    But it didn't end there! We were invited out with the upper grade teachers, to an "It's Friday" type party. Great way to end our time at WISS.

    From there, we caught a cab (with all our massive luggage) to our NEXT hotel.

    It took us almost 2 hours in the cab to get here, but the "room" is amazing. I've got room in quotes because we are now staying in an apartment on the 36th floor of this hotel. We have a full kitchen (stove, oven, fridge, but no microwave), a living room, big bedroom, and TWO BATHROOMS! I can take a nice long bath at the same time that Scott is taking a shower!

    Day 9: Saturday

    Today was a play day! Because David and Kim are awesome, and we missed them already, they arranged for us to spend the day with them and their wonderful daughters!

    Our first stop (where we wound up spending much of the day) was "Chocolate Happy Land" which was pretty awesome. There were incredibly amazing things made of chocolate and/or sugar: life size reproductions of terra cotta soldiers, couches, handbags w/amazing detailed icing stitches, I could go on, really amazing. But mixed with it were inexplicable things: a room that looked right our of the original Willy Wonka, as if it belonged to fairies; licensed characters made of cookies in many dioramas; other places that pretended to be something licensed, but not quite right, and many many gift shops that sold mostly toys for little kids and candy necklaces and surprisingly little chocolate. The whole place was beautiful, crass, creative, crazy, and just wrong in so many ways. In other-words, we loved it!

    Next it was a very late and delicious lunch at the same chain I'd been taken to for my first lunch: PORK BUNS! (No more needs saying)

    After that we did some shopping in this place that feels like it shouldn't exist (stall after stall selling things underground at a train station: looked like it'd take you days to see everything!). While there, I bought gifts for the kids, and we met up with a family we'd met and befriended at WISS. They're the WISS version of David and Kim: Alex is also an art teacher, and his wife, Rebecca, works at the school as an administrator (she does something important but I've forgotten her exact title) (David and Kim, btw are both art teachers). They have two boys the same age as Dave and Kim's girls and all of them got to China at the same time.

    So the ten of us (6 adults, 4 kids) all went to one of the tallest buildings in Shanghai (not THE tallest, that was next door- I think this was for my sake, since I'm scared of heights). We went to the top. We looked down. I was scared. We had dinner up VERY high (about the middle?). It was beautiful, and, if you are me, terrifying,

    The evening went very late, but ended way too soon.

    Day 10: Sunday

    Today, much to Scott's dismay, was spent shopping. We met up with Kim and David and girls, and picked my coat up at Pearl Market. It is awesome! I'll post a pic if I can. Then we bought a scarf to go with it. I could not've done any of this without Kim. I'm not a big shopper, but shopping with her was so much fun!
    We then went to another part of Shanghai for lunch and looking through more shops.

    Sadly, we had to cut the visit short to hurry back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with our next hosts. Dinner was fun, though it was at a Mexican restaurant which is the only kind of food I'm not fond of (I have that genetic marker that makes cilantro taste awful). I was able to get cilantro free quesadillas, so yay! And I enjoyed talking to the teachers I was sitting near.

    7am pickup Monday morning meant an early night to bed Sunday.

    Day 11: Monday

    New week, new school! Air quality is really bad today, I'm in pretty bad shape already and it's only 7:19am and I've only been outside long enough to get from the hotel to the van we are now riding in to get us to the school...

    Well, that was a day. Scott had 4 class visits, all with high school art classes. He's kinda bummed that he'll be mostly talking to middle schoolers on Tues & Wednesday.

    For some reason, wires got crossed and they scheduled Scott for bunches of class visits and no lecture. A waste of him, if you ask me, the classes work way better as a follow up to the lecture, not in leu of it!

    And high school, better than middle school.

    This school got it all wrong. So Scott did 4 art classes. Some better than others.

    We took the teacher school bus to our hotel. Grabbed some dinner in our area, just the two of us (sadly not Chinese by Scott's request) and crashed. Fun?

    Day 12: Tuesday

    Today was all about the middle schoolers. We had 3 great groups out of the 4.

    And Jason, the teacher, has become my new favorite person for scoring me multiple Diet Cokes! (One of many reasons he's awesome)

    This school is not big with the "taking the artist out to dinner" thing, so Scott and I had dinner at a "Bollywood Indian Restaurant." Really really good.

    I got Scott to promise that we could do Chinese for the rest of the trip, since it's my favorite, and we're HERE!

    Day 13: Wednesday

    Good day. Scott talked to 3 groups of middle schoolers that all went well. Then he did his presentation for the middle schoolers.

    To prove our point that the presentation should go first; all these kids who had no questions at all in the smaller class sessions were now clamoring to get their questions asked. We ran out of time with hands still waving.

    It was a pretty awesome talk. Scott rocked. We so appreciated the all kinds of machinations the staff went through to allow Scott the talk. It was hard to get the time, if any of you are reading this: thanks again!

    And Jason still rocks!

    After the talk, we got into a van and were taken on a very long drive to our next (and last. Sort of) school, Y K Pau. It's in the suburbs of China and took over an hour.

    When we got here we were shown to the Guest Lodge where we have a room in a large building (bathrooms are down the hall). After dumping our stuff, we were given a tour of the school. It's a boarding school and quite large.

    After our tour, our hosts (Canadian librarians, Kendra and Danielle and their spouses Tony, and David) walked us to a nearby ENGLISH VILLAGE. I do not mean an enclave of British expats, but a Disney looking British village, in which we went to a lovely Italian restaurant. Yes, that last sentence made as little sense as you think it did.

    After dinner, Danielle really wanted to show us the bookstore in the village. So glad she did. It was not like any bookstore I've ever been to, and there's no way to describe it to do it justice. It was just awesome.

    After that it was back to our room, and bed.

    Day 14: Thursday

    YK Pao is a totally different kind of school. Most of the students are Chinese, there to get an education as to how to exist correctly in two different cultures.

    We did a talk for the middle schoolers then spoke to the upper classes in small groups (the school goes only up to tenth grade).

    There were some great kids, and our host for the event, Kendra, was wonderful. All in all, a good day, though not as memorable as some of the others.

    When we were done at the school, their driver drove us the hour plus to our final hotel: The Hyatt on the Bund.

    Our room has a spectacular view, and is fascinatingly designed. Strange and beautiful. After checking in we went for a walk by the water, and then off to the Shanghai equivalent of Times Square? I don't know. But there were lots of lights. And a mall. Which we explored all six floors of before settling on Chinese (Shanghai to be exact) cuisine. Then delicious gelato at a different place. So good.

    Best part of the mall: the escalator sign informing you that it would take you to "Trendy Flagship Store" (I think it referred to the THREE FLOOR Apple Store?). We were amused. We took pics.

    Then there was the walk home near the water, and then bed.

    Day 15: Friday

    Today was our last full day in Shanghai and we tried to make the best of it.

    First, it was back to SAS Pudong for Scott to give his talk to the high schoolers. They had really great questions. I believe that you know you did good when the questions are good.

    Scott got accosted by some adorable middle school boys who spent their art class making cards to thank Scott for his visit. They stole my heart.

    While at the school we got to say goodbye to many of our new friends. Some great people work there.

    After the talk it was back to our hotel and fun times! We took the awesomely ridiculous tunnel to the other side of the river and explored the giant mall there. Then back to the hotel for one final evening with David and Kim (sans lovely daughters this time).

    We went on an hour long boat ride down the river (my request, I really love boats), then back to the crazy mall for dinner. We ended with a search for underwear for me, and socks for Scott (we had run out). Scott was more successful than I. I did find and buy some underwear, but the store was closing so I grabbed one hoping it was the correct size. It wasn't. (I washed out one of my dirty pairs, don't worry)

    Then it was time for another tearful goodbye. Gonna miss them a lot.

    After they left Scott and I went to the top of our hotel for a look at the view. Beautiful.

    Then bed.

    Day 16: Saturday (the first time).

    As I write this, it is 7:45pm in Shanghai and we are in the air heading home.

    Today we just took it easy. We managed a nice long walk complete with visiting many malls (every block, where we were, was another multi-floor mall). We grabbed some food and walked back to our hotel to grab bags and our ride to the airport. The rest of the afternoon was filled with airport stuff, and now we're on the plane. Traveling back in time. At the second end of Saturday I'll write some more.

    Day 17?: Saturday. Again

    It's 2:20am on Sunday according to my phone, which is still on China time. In LA, it 10:20am on Saturday, and where we are right now (somewhere over the Pacific) it is 8:20am I think Saturday?

    So my day is starting over. I took my morning meds to get me back on a US schedule.

    We still have another three and a half hours until we land...

    So, we failed to get to Kansas today. Instead we got a hotel close to the airport and did laundry and saw a movie (come on, this is Scott and I we're talking about and it's been two weeks since we'd seen anything!). We saw Big Hero 6 which I will gladly see again when I get back home and can drag people!

    And so ends our trip to China.
    4:36 pm
    China Part One
    Remember how I said I was going to write everyday while I was in China, sort of a journal of our time there? Well, I actually did!

    This is not that.

    I'm not actually sure the journal will be interesting to anyone other than me? But I wrote it. It's mostly a daily list of the cool things we did. But there's a whole lot I left out, and that's what this blog is about.

    The first few days in China, I was so exhausted at night that I didn't have time to write, then I was rushing in the morning, so it took a few days before I was caught up. And by then I'd heard stories of how Americans in China get spied on. Now I knew that it was probably weird to think the government was going to be reading the notes I was taking on my cel phone, but, I don't know, I got nervous? So my descriptions of the trip left out stuff that might get me in trouble. But I'm home now, so I figure I'm safe to write what I want, hence this post.

    Here's the thing. We spent two weeks in China. All of it in Shanghai. And it was awesome. Sky kept telling me I'd hate the food, but she was wrong. Chinese food is my favorite in America, and I loved it in China as well. There were all sorts of things that looked weird or scary, I just didn't eat them. How could I not be happy in a place where I can get lots and lots of pork buns (I really really love pork buns)! So good! And soup buns! Food. It was good.

    There were things about China I had trouble with: The idea that people spied on you actually kept me up at night; The smells were sometimes oppressively awful; and the days where the pollution was bad, well, my lungs were not happy.

    On the other hand, I did not want to leave. I kept wishing that I was a teacher and could apply to work at one of the schools. The people that we met felt like long lost friends. At all the schools (we were at four different campuses). And the kids were great. If someone offered me a job there I would take it in a heartbeat. I miss all the people we met so much already.

    Shanghai is the most foreign place I've ever felt the urge to move to. I felt at home there despite how out of my depth I also felt. It helped tremendously that we started our trip by staying with a family that Scott and Sky had met when they were in Shanghai six years ago, and that the family we were with were truly awesome people. I can easily imagine living in Shanghai mostly because in my mind Kim and Dave would be with us, and if they were, I know we'd be in good hands! I expect that if we moved there, this would not be true, but since I liked the teachers at every school we went to, I'd hope that we would start with a bunch of friends, and that helps.

    Not that this would ever happen mind you.

    I think I had more to say about our trip, but I haven't reread the journal I wrote (I promise I'll proof it for typos before I post it) so I don't remember what's there and what's not.

    We are leaving for Chile first thing tomorrow morning and then we're home until the book comes out (OMG, TWO MONTHS!!) so I should have time to finally write up Kansas then, and to write up Chile.

    And, you know, talk about important things, like my birthday (and all those other December holidays). ;-)

    (The plan is to post the journals from the trip today as well, so look for another post following this fairly soon...)

    (Okay, it's up and it's really long: here's the journal post.)
    Friday, November 7th, 2014
    4:59 am
    NO TIME
    The one thing I really wanted to do on my todo list that I didn't get to, was doing a blog post about our trip to Kansas. I want to write up how nice everyone there was. All the very very cool people we met, the great food we ate, the beautiful scenery on the way there. Most of the post would be me gushing about people, 'cause I feel like I made all these friends.

    I will try to write a real post using Scott's laptop while we are away, but I don't know if he'll have time to spare it.

    In case you don't remember, we had one day home between flying in from Kansas until now (not quite 5am) when the shuttle is coming to get us to take us to the airport so that we can fly to China, where we'll be for the next two weeks.

    I'm not taking my laptop, so I have an idea for the China trip. I'm gonna try and write (on my phone) a paragraph a day about our adventures, and when I get home, I'll edit and post the whole thing.

    Hopefully I'll be back with a real report about Kansas; if not, see you in two weeks!
    Friday, October 31st, 2014
    9:05 pm
    The Lakes Festival (and London)!
    I'm writing this from our hotel in Denver Colorado, on Halloween night! Tomorrow we will be in Kansas where we will have three events in four days. But this is not that story. That story will be written up after the fact.

    This blog post is about our trip to the UK! Which was, of course, awesome. Going to England is strange for me. The first time I was ever in London, I felt like I was coming home. That feeling has never changed. I feel like I belong in the UK more than almost any other place I've ever been (there are a few other places that feel like that to me: NYC, Alaska, Rhode Island, but they are few and far between...)

    The Lakes Festival took place in Kendal, England. A beautiful town in the Lakes District. There were sheep grazing across the street from our hotel. It was like stepping back into another world. You would never mistake it for anywhere in America. The walk into town was lovely, and Scott and I were sad that we tended to be running late, and were only able to walk it a few times.

    Oy, where to begin!? There were so many friends of ours there, both old and new. We hung out with all sorts of wonderful people; Bryan and Mary Talbot, Daniel Merlin Goodbry, Chris Butcher, Stephen Holland, and most especially Jeff Smith and his awesome wife Vijaya. I had a great time getting to know Joost Swarts and his wife. There was the gang that were doing 24hour comics that we got to bother on our first night, including Sarah McIntyre (who I had so much fun being around). We also spent a bunch of time with Boulet, whose work we love...

    In other words, lots of great people, and I'm sure I've not mentioned several that I will later be furious with myself for leaving out. (Sorry, anyone I left out, this is my fault for not having the time to do this post closer to the day!)

    But of all the people at the Lakes that I adored, for me, the one that made the weekend the best, was spending time with a friend of mine who came to the festival to see me. She made a wonderful weekend even better! She kept Scott and I doing what we were supposed to be doing, when we were supposed to be doing it, she dragged us out and made sure we saw the ruins of the castle on the hill, and she was generally part of the family. I think my favorite thing she did was translate for me. She either waited until the person left to tell me what they had said, or she simply repeated the sentence in a perfectly natural way so that (really this one guy that kept coming up and talking to me) had no idea I didn't understand him. It was brilliant. She was only there for the weekend, Scott and I agreed we did not see nearly enough of her!

    On Friday, Scott gave his talk to a full house, and a warm reception. After his talk, he got to make Dave Gibbons Comics Laureate! Well, he got to announce it anyway...It was very cool.

    There was a signing on Saturday morning for Page 45, a comic book shop that we love, and not just because they named themselves after a page in Scott's book. Literally.

    Scott started the Festival with his talk, and (almost) ended it with a conversation with Daniel Merlin Goodbrey about comics and the internet.

    There were parties. Meals with people we like. A 24-hour comic event. A tour of City Hall which included us getting to hold swords and sceptres. It was a pretty great festival!

    After the festival we took a train with Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer to London. Jeff was doing a signing that night at Orbital Comics (a store we spent a while looking in, but that we could've spent much longer at; goood store!). We were invited to join the gang for dinner. Not only is it a really good store, but they have really great people working there. And time spent with Jeff and Vijaya is always too short, but well spent.

    On Tuesday, another friend of mine came to London to visit (I actually have a lot of friends in the UK). We dragged her to the Museum of London because there was a Sherlock Holmes exhibit there. She didn't care nearly as much as I did, but she and Scott humoured me, and I had a great time. Then we wandered through the Barbican, where Scott was given a lesson in Brutalism. Lots to think about. After which we had to sadly say goodbye to friend #2.

    Scott and I then managed to get tickets to a show! We saw "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" which was thought provoking, fascinating, and all around really good.

    The next day (our last) was spent mostly wandering around the city with Scott's friend Ted Dewan, who showed us all sorts of things I'd never seen or noticed before. At one point we wound up at St Barts, (which all Sherlock fans would know why I cared). I took pictures. I was very excited. We eventually found ourselves back at the Museum of London, where we spent a few hours in the part of the museum that was not housing the Sherlock exhibit (the part we'd missed the day before). I love museums.

    After the museum we met yet another of my friends (I'm not naming them, btw, because I met most of them originally online, and I don't know which name they'd prefer me to use—if any of the three of you read this, let me know, and I'll put the correct name in...). The four of us (Scott, me, Ted and Awesome Friend #3) all went to one of my favorite places to eat. I drag everyone there (no, seriously, everyone, both of them had been there before because of me). It's called My Old Dutch, and serves crepe like pancakes and I love it. After dinner we had a lovely walk back to our hotel (courtesy of Ted, who knows all the best ways to get anywhere) followed by a show and tell of videos.

    The saddest part of the trip was that we had to go home the next day. Have I mentioned that I really love the UK. I do.

    Much of the days since coming home have been spent with the oldest of my mom's dogs who is not doing well. Her kidneys have shut down and we've been giving her subcutaneous fluids, which has been rather traumatic for Mom and I. Getting her to eat is a struggle that we frequently lose. I hope she'll still be around when we get back on Wednesday, but I'm not sure is she will be.

    When we get back, I'll also be dealing with Bucky, Scott and my dog, who has just been diagnosed with thyroid problems. He's fine. Especially since we figured out what was wrong. Makes life interesting...

    Okay, I should probably get to bed. This has been, for me, the dullest Halloween I can remember (it was a great day driving, just not at all Halloween-ee). Hope yours was better.

    If you're in Kansas, remember: Sunday, 4pm, Manhattan Kansas: Be there!

    I should be back with a quick update on our travels in about a week. See you then!
    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
    1:53 pm
    SPAIN!
    I really wanted to do a good long blog post about our awesome time in Spain at the Ñam Festival, but, well to be honest, I got really sick on my last day there and since coming home things have been more than hectic and that combined with me being sick, meant that it's taken me 'til now to get to my computer. Worse, we are leaving for England in an hour (not that leaving for England is bad, I CAN'T WAIT TO BE THERE).

    So this will be a much quicker write up than I'd planned.

    This was the first year they'd done this, and I think we all had a wonderful time.

    On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there were four three-day workshops going on. Scott had eleven people in our group, and they were, to the last one, quite wonderful. I had such a good time with these people! While Scott was doing his workshop, in the same building, Matt Madden, David Aja, and Jorge Gonzales were also giving their three-day workshops to other people. Scott was the only one doing it in English. On Friday all the students and teachers were put on a bus and we got to see some local Roman Ruins. It was fascinating. We also got to see what all the other people had been doing for the previous three days. There was some amazing work there!

    On Friday Scott also gave his talk. Then we went to the library where there was a mural to draw (kinda like a graffiti board). This is where I, yet again, fell in love with our group of students. The class was over. Here it was the next day and almost all of them were sitting together in a circle on the floor hanging out. They were the only ones on the floor. I went over to join the gang who looked like they were having a good time together before I even realized it was our "kids" (some of them were kids, most of them were older, but Scott and I thought of them as our kids...).

    These people are so awesome! Every time I saw them they were in a group together. On Saturday we all went out to lunch together. So. Much. Fun. Seriously, one of the best groups Scott has ever taught. Nice people and so much talent. All different kinds. And so smart. So. So. Cool.

    Hanging out with David Aja and his lovely wife Pilar (who was the only person there besides me with cool color hair) was awesome. David is super-talented (if you don't know his work, check out Hawkeye, it's pretty fantastic-it even made it into the Best American Comics 2014 that Scott edited, but then had to be pulled for *reasons*). He's also very smart and creative. I had lots of fun talking comics with him. It felt like we made a new best friend!

    Speaking of friends, The whole week was improved many times over by the presence of Matt Madden. He is trilingual, and was kind enough to play guide to us the whole time. There are so many things we did because he was there! The list is too long to mention, but by far the best was our last night: when the festival was over, we had an overnight in Madrid before our flight out the next day. So did Matt. He loves Madrid, and gave us an amazing tour of the city. Had Scott and I been alone, we would've spent the night in the hotel, probably grabbed some food close by and seen nothing, instead, we were given a grand tour of the city and its wonder. Such a good time. The only thing that would've been better was if I hadn't felt quite so sick (I got sick late Saturday night, so Sunday I was still not 100%). I fell in love with Madrid, something that never would've happened without Matt's guidance.

    While I'm thanking people, I must not leave out our hosts; Lucia and Raquel. They were both wonderful and did a great job making sure everything went smoothly. And they were really nice, too!

    Oh, and we had lunch with Nuria from Planeta D'Agostini (our Spanish publisher), and she, too was a delight!

    All in all, it was an awesome trip (except for the me getting sick part) and I had an amazing time.

    There, I did the whole write up! And now we are off to England for The Lakes Festival! I predict we will have an even better time this week, which is going to be a very difficult thing to do! If you are in the area, COME SEE US! Scott will be giving his talk on Friday and doing other things as well (including helping celebrate the birthday of Page 45, an AWESOME comic book store!).

    Back in a week and a half!
    Saturday, September 27th, 2014
    9:10 pm
    Banned Books Event!
    I promised I'd write after each event, so... here I am!

    This past Thursday, Scott and I drove down to San Diego. It was very weird driving there and not looking at cars to try to identify our fellow nerds. Especially at the rest area, where I was the only one with weird hair!

    We got to SD with enough time to check in, change, meet up with Kathy Li (anyone that knows me knows that a trip to SD MUST include meeting up with Kathy), a quick bite to eat and then a short walk to the library where the event was to take place.

    The library is brand new (about to have its first birthday) and absolutely beautiful. Scott and I decided it was one of the nicest libraries we've ever been to. We were given the grand tour by Library Guy, Ryan, who was deservedly proud of where he worked. His love of the library and its mission were palpable. It was awesome.

    Then it was time for the event to begin. There was a quick introduction from Erwin who was our official library host, then Charles Brownstein introduced the event. I was very impressed. It was an excellent overview of what Banned Books and the comic code, etc were all about. Well done!

    Then Scott (McCloud) and Larry (Marder) talked about banned books, creators rights and personal stories of comics being treated with disdain. A fun conversation followed by excellent questions from the audience. I really enjoyed it.

    After the event, we all went out to dinner. Well, by all, I mean Scott, Larry, Charles, Erwin, and Gary Sassaman and Fae Desmond from Comic-Con (who were our hosts). I had such a great time at dinner. I was sitting next to Fae and got to really talk to her. Usually I only see her for a moment during SDCC and she's way too busy to say more than hi. She's an amazing woman and someone I wish I could spend more time with. I think my favorite part of dinner was the fact that everyone at the table was really interested in comics. The library (in conjunction with CCI) has 2 book clubs that read comics every month. I wish we had something like that here! Great meal, great conversations, great people. Stellar night.

    On Friday we had an awesome breakfast (best french toast I've had in ages), met up with Larry and Charles for a bit, then we were off back home.

    Almost. Scott decided that we should seize the day and find out what kind of vaccinations we should be getting for our later trips to China and Chile. The answer was A LOT! We both wound up with six shots (three in each arm). I am SO SORE, OMG. We thought it would be quick, but the whole thing took two hours! Wow. And ow!

    And because this is Scott and Ivy, we of course stopped on the way home to see a movie. The movie was Pride. It's in very limited release, hopefully it will go wider next week. If you can see it, I highly recommend it!! It is now my other favorite movie of the year (Boyhood was my only favorite before). I can't wait for it to get closer (and for me to be around) so that I can drag my sister to see it so I can see it again!

    And that's about it for the trip.

    We are leaving for Spain tomorrow. We will be there for a week. If you are in the area, I really hope we will see you there. When we get home I'll have a few days to write that trip up before we are off to England, and I promise it won't be as detailed!
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014
    9:05 pm
    Travel Time (this post is dedicated to my Mother-in-Law, Pat)
    (Reason for the dedication: I've been told that it's been so long since I last posted, that she's given up checking. I am sorry. I will try hard to be better)

    When I was in college, my best friend Alice and I knew a whole lotta people named Steve. When we would talk about them, we always knew who we were talking about, but no one else could follow our conversations. We confused many a friend this way.

    For Scott and I, we talk about The Book the same way. We always know what book we are referring to, but listening to us would be very confusing. "The Book" is whatever book Scott is currently working on. Now that The Sculptor is at the printer, "The Book" refers to Scott's next book, which doesn't have a title yet (and I'm going to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the book will be awesome, and was my idea!).

    Because The Book is nonfiction, Scott needs to do research. This means we get to do fun things like go to conferences (that sounds sarcastic, but I'm totally serious. I love learning new things and meeting smart new people). We spent this past weekend in Berkeley listening to people talk about all sorts of things. It was fascinating. (My one quibble would be that several of the speakers' presentations would've been greatly aided by the incorporation of more images). I feel smarter now than I did a week ago, and it's research!

    Which brings me to our travel plans. Scott will be updating his website soonish with some of the things we are doing in the near future. There are a lot. We did the math, at this point, between now and the end of the year, we will be spending about 50/50 between here and not here (here being where our bed is).

    Before the end of the year we will leave the country four times (Spain, England, China and Chile); we're doing a couple of short, closeish things (San Diego for Banned Books/CBLDF and something at USC) and one road trip (Kansas City here we come); and that's only this year. We already have things on the books or in discussion for next year (you know; when The Book comes out, referring this time to The Sculptor).

    Scott and I want to be on the road together; the girls are off at college so it's just us and the dog. We want to take the dog whenever we can, which means driving (okay, honestly, I just like to drive, it's fun being in the car, stopping when you want, seeing things, being in control, and hey, I'm a really good driver). Sadly, Bucky can't come for all the above mentioned trips. He was going to come with us when we drove to Kansas City, but it looks like we won't have time to get home before China, so we have to fly from somewhere, then come back, retrieve the car and drive home. It's also important that Scott and I do this together. Since I can't be driving us around the country and have a job, I'm kinda doing nothing if he's gone without me (whereas I used to be doing Mom-type things). So if there's a trip that I can't go on, Scott's gonna make it as short as possible.

    We want to go lots of places and meet lots of people and talk to them. The plan is for Scott to write this book on the road, figuring things out while we travel and meet people. His talks will reflect that. In other words, the talk will be changing as we go! If you saw him talk in Georgia this past week, and you get to see him again next year, you'll see a bunch of new things. It won't happen fast (if you go to a talk twice in the same month, they'll probably be very similar) but the plan is to add and subtract something each time he speaks somewhere.

    We're hoping to spend as much of our time as possible on the road! We're trying to arrange our next year schedule, when we know more, I'll let you know. (If you work at a school or a business that might be interested in having us there (or there again), contact Scott for more info.)

    I'm gonna try to put up a post after each event (writing this here is my way of guilting me into following through). First up, is Thursday Sept. 25, San Diego Banned Book event, Scott and Larry Marder talk creators rights and banned books. You can recognize me, if you don't know me: I'll be the one with the weird hair wearing an "I read banned comics" T-shirt!

    Right after that is the Nam Festival in Palencia, Spain, Sept 30-Oct 5th (web site is in Spanish, of course).

    So expect to see another post soonish.

    I can't wait to see everyone, and get to tell you all about The Book!
    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
    11:42 pm
    We're about to be on the move, will we be in your area?
    I was going to do a post about all the things that have happened. We had three cool speakers come out to talk: Pen Ward (creator of "Adventure Time"), Ryan Germick (head of the Google Doodle Team) and Raina Telgemeier (writer/artist of "Smile", "Drama" and soon "Sisters"). The talks were all wonderful. I have lots to say about them.

    Then there was the amazing and ridiculous trip to Philadelphia; the insanity of the drive, the wonderful people we met, the things we did and the strangeness of our hotel.

    But, see, there's NEWS! Things are happening! So I have to talk about the future first.

    I keep saying the Scott is done with the book. Again. It's a running joke. And it's true. The book is done. And it's almost finished. Right now, Scott is going though the book and correcting things. Finding continuity problems (oh look, she's wearing a coat in this panel, but it's mysteriously gone in the next), making sure characters look the same in the beginning of the book as they do in the end, that sort of thing. He is also working on the cover (I got to help with that!). I'm really liking the cover so far, it's not done, but it's really cool.

    Hey, Did you see the announcement in the NYTimes? (ignore the title). Like I said, THINGS ARE HAPPENING!

    Before we leave here (here being Clarksville, TN) on May 4th to head back to CA, Scott has to be done with everything. He has to be because there will be no more time left. Remember how crazy February was? Well May is giving it a run for it's money. We will be crossing the country three times! Most of the appearances are not public but one is! (and for friends/family let me know if we pass near you and you want to catch a meal or something!)

    So, what does May look like, you ask? Well, let me tell you: we are going to leisurely drive back to SoCal from here stopping to see some stuff (Scott has still never been to the Grand Canyon and that really must be rectified!). We'll see my family for a few days (maybe, depending on how leisurely we take the drive), then we are heading up to San Mateo to do a Google gig on the 12th (not open to the public, sorry), from there we have three and a half (count them 3) days to get to NYC. We are still debating if it's possible to drive the whole way or only part. Scott's doing two things in NYC (neither public) one on Friday the 16th the other on Sat the 17th. From there we have until Thursday the 22nd to get to Houston.

    Houston is VERY PUBLIC! Are you anywhere near Houston? Come see us!!! Scott's going to be doing his talk at the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum Thursday night! Then we're hanging around for Comicpalooza. Don't know that we're doing much there. Well, I know I'll be attempting to find a polite way to meet Clark Gregg to tell him that I've been a fan of his since Sports Night, without making a fool of myself (and if I get the chance, possibly telling James Marsters what a large influence he was on my children). Who am I kidding. I'll likely be hanging out with the comic book people, for those are the people I know, and they are the ones that get to walk the halls unaccosted. Whatever. Are you near there? Will you be going there? PLEASE, come find us! I don't expect that the crowd going are likely to know who Scott is, and that would just be sad. If you find us, I'll make Scott show you some pages of the new book on his iPad. Deal?

    Sadly, because of the time constraints and the travel logistics, we are dropping Bucky off with my folks before we head up to San Mateo, so it will just be the two, not the three of us.

    After Comicpalooza ends on Sunday the 25th we head to Atlanta, Georgia where Scott will be talking with MailChimp (obviously not public) on Friday the 30th. From there, we head back to SoCal, where we will arrive way before Scott needs to be there to teach his class in LA on June 21st and 22nd. The class is very much open to the public. Not free, but well worth the money!

    And as I predicted. Just telling you all of this is too long a post to tell you all the other stuff. Sigh. I really do need to post more often. I'm working on it?

    (BTW, if you commented on my last post anonymously I've finally gotten caught up on answering)
    Monday, March 24th, 2014
    12:04 pm
    February the busiest month of our lives (and March marches on)
    I know, I know, it's been far too long, but seriously, February; busiest month ever.

    I'm going to start with January 31st, because that's what the last post was about: Our last Game Night! But since this is likely to be a long post, I will just say it was a great party. Lots of people came. Many who we hadn't seen in ages. Lots of games were played. Much sushi was eaten. The only thing I didn't like was that I could tell I was at the beginning of a cold and was reticent to hug people goodbye for fear of infecting them, and I really wanted to hug them goodbye (several hugged me anyway, I hope they stayed well). The party ended after midnight, so February officially began during our last Game Night.

    On Saturday, the 1st, we bought a new car. A green Toyota Rav4. It's awesome. I love it. It took awhile to do all the paper work stuff. By the time we had finished everything it was night time and I was a wreck. I was now full blown sick, and I clearly had pink eye to add to the fun. Luckily we did not have some papers we needed so we had to come back the next day to pick up the car, because I was in no shape to drive a brand new car home in the dark. The next day was Super Bowl Sunday and I was still pretty sick, but since it got worse as the day went on, we were able to go early, pick up the car, drive it to Nat Gertler's (since I was going to have to miss his Super Bowl Party because I was too contagious to be around people) to show off the new car, and then we went home and I went to bed. Scott went to work (and to the Super Bowl party) and then at 4am he was off to the airport and on to Amsterdam for a week.

    Me, I was in bed. It wasn't until Tuesday morning that I remembered that I had a doctor and that I could call him and that he could help. I called first thing Tuesday morning, and got a call back at 6pm saying they'd called in a prescription for eye drops to the pharmacy, at 7pm I got a text from CVS. OMG, my hands were shaking as I put the drops in my eyes. It had been four days of wanting to gouge my eyes out. That, by the way, is why there was no blog post. Once I wasn't in massive pain anymore, I had too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

    The rest of the week that Scott was in Amsterdam I spent trying to get ready for the movers. I had help. My friends, Carol, Robynne, and Nat all came over at some point to help box things, but the biggest help was my sister, Holly, who was there everyday, organizing and coordinating and doing all the stuff that I was supposed to be doing, but was too sick and too freaked out to be doing (she's way way better at it than I am, clearly).

    Scott got back from Amsterdam a few hours before the movers came (and they came early!). The movers were there to move the big stuff (bed, couches, dressers, book cases, etc,). We just managed to get everything cleared for them to take. There was still plenty left, but most of it was easy to move (that was the idea anyway).

    The day after the movers, Tuesday, Scott and I drove to Marin Academy, stopping off at Santa Cruz and San Francisco to visit our daughters on the way. We were there for three days, and we were busy the whole time. Lots of fun, great kids, but hard work. On Friday Scott did a lecture, a class visit and then we drove home (stopping to visit both girls again). Didn't make it home until Saturday (too much to do in one day). We were home only about 15 hours and then we were headed for the airport to fly to Orlando!

    Orlando was great fun. We were there for a conference. I sat in on some of it, I didn't understand much, but what I did was very interesting. And they threw great parties! Since we were in Orlando we stayed an extra few days and had a mini vacation. Turns out Neil (Gaiman) was in town the same time showing a friend of his some sights, so they picked us up and we went on an adventure together. Sadly the place he took us was no longer as he remembered it, but it was still a lovely day (except for the part where we got stuck in traffic going back and the fear that they would miss their plane because of it).

    Scott and I spent the next two days in Disney. We had a Perfect Epcot Day, followed by a nearly perfect day half in Animal Kingdom (getting to see a friend working in her dream job!) and half in The Magic Kingdom. These three days were the closest thing we had to stress free for the month.

    For those of you following along on your calendars, we are now up to Feb 22, which is the day we leave Orlando. Scott flies to Tennessee to start teaching his class, and I fly back to California, where I now have less than a week to finish moving everything out of our apartment by myself. Luckily, I'm not really by myself, because I have my awesome sister. And I have my friends. I think everyone comes at some point to help. Oh, and I get sick again. I think it's the dust? But Holly gets sick and then my mom gets sick, so it's not allergies like I thought. Towards the end, Holly and I are both losing it, we are both pretty sick, there's still too much to do, we only have a couple of days to get out before the end of the month and our energy is zapped and that's when our friends Alaine and Sandy rescue us. Alaine shows up, and can't do anything because of wrist problems but she kept us company and gave us our much needed energy back, and she stayed long enough to pick up Sandy (her husband) so that he could come and help. And he did! And the next day (the 28, the last day of the month) Sandy got permission to leave work early, and spent most of the day at our place helping, moving, loading, cleaning, everything. There is no way we could've done it without him. There is no way I could've done it without each and every person that helped. But we did it. By the end of Feb 28th, we were out of the apartment.

    I did take one day off during that week, on the 25th when my mom turned 80. I figured that was important enough an event to celebrate.

    And that was our February.

    The first few days of March were spent getting stuff that had been dumped at Mom's house into storage (when it wasn't raining too hard), packing up the stuff Scott wanted us to bring from his studio, packing the new car and anything else that needed to be done to get us on the road. And then we left. Us, in this case, was me, Bucky and my friend Robynne who was coming to keep me company and help with Bucky.

    We did the drive nice and slow. We made a stop to watch the sun set at the Grand Canyon, which Robynne had never been to; we spent the better part of a day at the Petrified Forrest (which she'd also not been to); Robynne took in a dinosaur museum (I stayed with Bucky in the car) and we both went to a very silly Route 66 Museum (I SLID DOWN A FIRE POLE- This is a big thing for me!); we visited Cadillac Ranch; and best of all, got to spend a night with some friends of mine (who are very awesome people- one of whom's birthday is today: happy birthday!!) (friends I'd originally met over the internet, btw; whoever says spending time talking to people online is not real friendships are WRONG).

    From there it was on to Clarksville and Scott where I have been ever since. Robynne stayed for a few days (long enough to watch the first season and a bit of Sports Night) and then she flew back home. Scott Bucky and I have settled in to a hotel room.

    There has been excitement: a shooting at the hotel next door that kept us from our hotel for an hour, a fire down the street that demolished the Burger King we'd gotten lunch at the day before...

    Due to Spring Break, I've only been to two of Scott's classes but I enjoyed meeting his students. Very talented. Can't wait to see what the rest of the semester will bring. And they seem to like Bucky so they're okay in my book (about 72% female by the way).

    Scott has guest speakers coming out, which I'm really looking forward to. If you're in the area, you should come out to see them! Pendleton Ward (of Adventure Time fame) is talking this Friday (March 28th)! Then a week later Ryan Germick (the Google Doodle Guy) will be here on Wednesday April 2nd, and Raina Telgemeier will be speaking on Wednesday April 16th (if you don't know who Raina is, why are you even reading this blog, you should be out reading everything she's ever written: she is amazing).

    Oh, and Scott is going to be in Philly Friday April 4th. Pretty sure it's open to the public. Bucky and I will be there too. See if you can find us.

    Okay. This was a novel. I don't plan on getting sick again anytime soon. So hopefully the next post will be much sooner and much shorter. And now it's time to walk a dog and do laundry.

    I'm gonna try to do these on Sunday/Monday, so see you next week (I hope)!
    Saturday, January 25th, 2014
    9:29 pm
    A New Year and a new life?
    My New Year's Resolution was to get back to blogging. I think it's been over a year since my last post. Life is about to change drastically, so I figured this was a good time to get back to writing. Hi!

    First off the really important stuff: Next week (on Friday) will be the Last Game Night. It will also be our going away party. If you are local and a friend PLEASE COME! I sent out an email a week ago, but I didn't have everyone's address, so I'm sorry if you didn't get word and should have.

    For those of you that don't know us, this is a rather big deal. Game Night has been a weekly staple wherever we've lived for over a decade. Every Friday (that at least one of us is in town) people come to our house to play games. We have three bookcases, two of them taller than me, filled with games. There is also sushi, pizza and lots of snacks. Mostly, there is tradition. And an excuse for us to clean our apartment every week.

    Scott and I have had some kind of weekly event going since we first got together practically (and yesterday was our first 26th anniversary!). Watching stupid TV, chess nights, Prisoner Nights and then Game Night. An excuse to get together with people we like and have fun. Game Night has been the longest lasting and I will miss it very much. I have no idea what will be next, but I'm sure something will eventually take it's place, and maybe even be as awesome!

    About now, I expect you are wondering what's going on, well, it's complicated. The short version: everything is about to change, and our next Adventure is about to begin.

    The long version: We are going on the road again. This means we are packing up our lives and putting everything back in storage (or my parents' place, which will be home base for the time being). The next month or so is going to be CRAZY. I'm frantically packing, while Scott is frantically finishing his book (technically he has finished, but he's decided to redo the first part, so he's working on that). He has a deadline of next Friday, so he will get done right before the going away party, and he's working 15+ hour days until then. On the next Monday (Feb 3), Scott is flying to Amsterdam. For a week. While he's there he has to work on the other major thing he's been working on that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to talk about or not, so I'll just say that besides doing his Amsterdam gig, he'll also be going crazy finishing up the possibly secret thing.

    Scott gets back from Amsterdam on the 9th and the movers come on the 10th. On the 11th Scott and I are off to Marin Academy for a few days. We'll drive up, and get to see the girls while we're there since they are both up north in school.

    But wait, there's more!

    After Marin, we are back here for one day before we're flying off to Orlando where Scott is doing a talk or something. We'll do a day or two at WDW and then Scott flies one way and I fly another. Scott is off to Clarksville TN where he's teaching a class at Austin Peay. I fly here, pick up the car and the dog, and drive out to join him! We will be in Tennessee for 9 weeks. And then...

    Well, actually we have no idea what we'll be doing after that. The idea is to be on the road for the next year or two, and we have some trips lined up, but not nearly enough to keep us on the road. Scott's been too busy working on all the things he has to finish, to work on booking trips, but...

    Scott will have a new book out (The Sculptor, which is what he's been working on for the last several years; a gorgeous book that's 480 pages of fiction about art and love and life) and be working on the next book (a non-fiction book that I can't wait to be able to talk about or to read). So we have lots of reasons to be on the road. If you want Scott to speak somewhere, let him know (probably best to wait until March), he's not cheap, but very worth the cost...

    This is the official beginning of The Two Year Plan. We've just added two years on the road to start us off. After this two years, it's on to Fairbanks, then NYC, then Portland, OR, next London, then who knows (Wellington?), for two years each. Like I said: Adventure!

    And now I shall go back to panicking, which looks like it will be my constant state until I get in the (hopefully new) car and drive to Clarksville. I hope to write something at least once a week and maybe more once we are done with the current craziness. I've miss you all.
    Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
    2:10 am
    17 years ago today
    I've told this story before, but I'm going to tell it again.

    Seventeen years ago ComicCon fell late in July. It was the only year that Scott and I missed since we started going. I was nine months pregnant. The plan had been that I would have the baby on Tuesday before Con (the due date?) and I'd be up and around by the weekend and we could do Saturday and/or Sunday of Con showing off our new baby.

    That didn't happen.

    Every day we got a call from either Kurt (Busiek) or Neil (Gaiman) asking if the baby was here yet. They were both planing on being at the naming ceremony which was to be on the Monday after Con. When Monday arrived, but the baby still hadn't, Neil, Kurt, and Kurt's wife Ann came out anyway to spend the day. Also at our house that day was our friend Krystal. She'd been around all weekend so that she could watch two year old Sky while Scott and my mom were off helping me at the birthing center. She was supposed to be gone on Monday, but her work got cancelled last minute and she was able to hang around one more day.

    We all went out to dinner and I went into labor. When we got home from dinner, Sky had woken up and wanted to be included, so three cars went to the center together. I remember that Scott drove me in our van and Neil was sitting next to me in the back helping me through the contractions. I know that Kurt, Ann, Mom, Krystal, and Sky all managed to get there as well, but I have no memory how.

    It is now legendary that Neil spent much of the evening with Krystal singing songs from Sweeney Todd to Sky. Every now and then one of them would bring Sky in to see me.

    I won't go into the actual birth part of this story, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. But I also remember after Winter was born. I remember everyone coming in to meet her. She was born at 2:10AM and we were all tired, but they were there. Some of my favorite people in the world. It was a magic night. To keep the magic going, the four of them were made Fairy Grandparents to both of our girls.

    That was seventeen years ago. I find that hard to believe. My goal is to post this at her exact time of birth, then I'll probably go to bed. When I get up there will be small party that Winter decided to throw for herself very last minute. We are determined to have fun, regardless of how many or few people show up.

    The day after her birthday, Winter flies to Europe to meet up with her sister, then the both of them fly to Scotland to spend a week with Neil where all three of them can sing songs from Sweeney Todd to each other. Meanwhile, back here at home, Kurt will be in town and Scott and I will get to see him. Krystal and her son where over our house on Friday for Game Night and will likely be back next week as well. It's been seventeen years, and these are still some of my favorite people in the world.

    And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I will go and cry. My little baby isn't anymore. Instead she's become a beautiful, intelligent, amazing young woman. I am so very proud of her. It's been an awesome journey, and I'm looking forward to see where she goes from here, but part of me misses my baby.

    Okay. It's 2:10AM, time to post. Happy Birthday Winter.
    Monday, July 9th, 2012
    10:28 pm
    Stuff has been happening!
    Life has been so very hectic that there's been no time to think, let alone write a blog post...

    There have been health things: Scott's kidney stones came back (we thought we had another eight and a half years before we'd need to deal with them again), and I've been plagued with various health issues that seem to find me constantly feeling bad, but testing fine. It's rather frustrating. I would much rather find that there is something wrong with me than not. I start feeling like I'm imagining everything. Oh well. It is what it is.

    There is much bigger exciting news, however. The first thing is that Sky is off traveling around Europe and having a grand time. She's blogging about it, and I highly recommend her blog (link sends you to the beginning). If you read it comment on it on occasion so it's not just Scott and I commenting...

    Probably the biggest news though, is the newest addition to our family: Meet Bucky.



    Or, as we've renamed him: Buckminster Fuller Banzai Barnes. His paperwork says he's a Chihuahua, but I don't buy it. First of all he weighs 15 1/2 lbs! He looks part Shelty to me, but I'm not sure. He was a rescue dog. He came from a hoarders house. They had 11 dogs locked outside, and pretty much ignored. Bucky was the one they thought was salvageable. I have no idea what happened to the other ten, but I'm not sure they were saved.

    They think he's about two years old, and it's clear that he was traumatized. He scares very easily. On the 4th, we were at the park and I accidentally dropped his leash. Before then I had no idea he could run, but run he did. It was horrifying. I really thought we were going to lose him. It took about a dozen people to help get him back. When we had first gotten him we were told he wouldn't walk on a leash, I got him walking on one within a day, but after his escape, I stopped letting him get away with hanging in one area, and since then we've walked all over. But only if I'm there. Sky might've been able to get him to do things as well, but she left the day after we got him, and Winter and Scott have yet to develop the rapport with him that I have. Which makes if very difficult for me to do anything. I've taken him with me almost everywhere I've gone since we got him (about a week ago). The one time I left him home with Winter, we discovered that he could indeed bark. Before that, he hadn't made a sound. While I was gone, he barked nonstop for several hours. I've barely left him alone since.

    This would not bode well for ComicCon, but he's not staying here while we're away. He's going to my folks' place. I'm hoping that Mom can handle him. I worry. It was probably a bad idea getting him right before Con, but what's done is done, and I adore him and I think the feeling's mutual, so I don't care...

    Traditionally around now, I make a ComicCon post. So I guess this will be it. I will say what I've said before, because it bears repeating: If you see me and you recognize me, come say hi! I would love it if you do, you will likely make my day. If I know you or have met you, and I look blankly at you, please don't be offended. I tend to remember people by event rather than names or faces. It's really annoying. For me; and I expect for people I meet. I sometimes don't recognize close friends because they've changed their hair or something so if I looked confused (or even if I don't) remind me why I know you, it'll save me the embarrassment of having to pretend I remember...

    I'm not going to make this a Comics Only year mostly because I have a friend on the voices in animation panel and I'm not about to miss that! And there's a Hobbit panel so I might try to brave Hall H or where ever it is, in hopes that Martin Freeman will be there, because, quite honestly, he would be worth braving the lines for. Mostly I'll likely be a comics related panels though, or hanging out with Scott or Kathy Li or Larry Marder or Dave McKean or maybe Rich Stevens, in other words, same as every year. I'll probably tweet whatever panels I'm at, and I'll try to blog at night, but I'm not sure if I'll manage to do that: we didn't get a room in San Diego this year, so we have to commute from 15miles away, so everything will be weird.

    Not sure if I'm looking forward to Con this year or not, but I do know it will be more than I expect because it's always a surprise.

    If you are there and you find me, I promise to show you picture of both daughters and of Bucky!
    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
    10:10 pm
    A book, a song and movies, movies, movies
    So much to share!

    First, a book: Raina Telgemeier is an amazing cartoonist. My kids fell in love with her work when she was doing her comic adaptations of the Baby-Sitters Club books. We love Raina, she's an awesome person and so talented. After she did the BSC books she went on to do her own book Smile, which has deservedly won all sorts of awards. I love the book. If you haven't read it yet, you should. It's geared to middle school kids? I don't know, but it's all about Raina's dental ordeal from her childhood and it will stick with you, regardless of your age.

    Raina's newest book is called Drama. When she was laying it out, she sent a copy to me to read and get my opinion. Winter was also allowed to read it (Scott did not get to- which made both Winter and I feel so very cool). I have no idea if either of us told her anything that was of any use to her, because, well, we both love love loved the book, but I do remember that we talked to her about it. This last week, we got a copy of the book. It's the galley that she's been giving away, the book isn't out for a bit yet.

    When it came, we fought over who would read it first. Scott got to because he was the one who hadn't read it yet. That night I was staying up to listen to Sky on the radio, so I read it while everyone was asleep, Winter took it to school to read it during study time. Within less than 24 hours all three of us had read it. I keep thinking about it. I just want everyone everywhere to read it so that I can talk to you all about it. It again is geared for middle school age kids, but I can't imagine anyone not liking it. According to Amazon it comes out on Sept 1st. Take my word for it, you want to read it. Or give it to someone you know. It's one of the few things that Scott, Winter and I (and I'm sure Sky once she gets home and gets to read it) all agree on. Raina's really come into her own with this one. So. Very. Good.

    Now for a song. This is the song that I've been obsessing over for the last month. If you listen to Alt Nation on Sirius/XM you've probably heard it, but otherwise, maybe not. I've been playing it on repeat for weeks now. It has a couple of words that would cause it not to be played on regular radio shows, so consider yourself warned. This is the video for the song. So you can hear it. The video is adorable, but listen to it once without watching so you can enjoy the song? The vid is an end of the world happy thing. Like I said, adorable. But the song is awesome, and just makes me happy. The band is from Australia and they are so very cute. Go on, check it out, it's not that long of a song, then you can come back here and read all about So Very Many Movies.

    MOVIES!:

    I've seen a lot of movies lately. If you know me, you know I also have opinions. Most of you know this, but just in case, I should start by saying that I have what I would call an Embarrassment Squick. I don't find embarrassing humor funny. At all. I find it uncomfortable and I have a hard time watching it. I avoid it whenever I can. This is why I've never seen the American Pie movies, for example. I have trouble watching the trailers for them. This is important for the rest of this post.

    Last week, Scott was in Montreal and I wasn't. Men in Black III came out and Nat Gertler and I saw it. I enjoyed it. There were parts that I wished were not in the the movie. The kids came up with an Ivy Scale to rate movies, based on how many minutes I wouldn't want to watch, if the number is too high, then I really shouldn't see it. There were moments in MiB that I'm sure I would've been happier had they not been there. But not as many as there could've been, and mostly I really liked the movie. I've thought about it a lot after seeing it, so it passes that test. And in a good way. I'd kinda like to see it again, but I don't feel a burning need. Scott didn't really want to see it, and I don't think that he'd get that much if I dragged him to it, so I've resisted. There are other movies that I'd like to see more (both again and for a first time).

    When Scott got back from Montreal, the next night, we went to a movie to celebrate his return. Scott got to pick. 21 Jump Street got better reviews than the trailer indicated it would've deserved, and it was now at the 3$ theatre, so Scott decided that's what we should see. I told him it was not going to be an Ivy Friendly movie, but he was convinced that I was wrong (he listens to reviews, so he was confident that the trailer was not indicative of the film). I was scared so he made me a deal, if he was wrong, I could force him to see a movie that he wouldn't normally go see. Wrath of the Titans was mentioned. So. We saw 21JS. To say it was not an Ivy Friendly movie is a vast understatement. I had so much trouble with the movie that Scott decided he owed me TWO movies in exchange. There were so cute moments, but the uncomfortable parts for me, were so uncomfortable that I left the theatre in pain from tension, and feeling like I needed to read for hours to get it out of my head.

    That was Wednesday night. Since Scott also said that he'd go to a midnight showing of movie (something I love doing, but he doesn't because he tries to get up for work early every day) as one of the two he now owed me, we decided to go to see the midnight showing of Snow White and the Huntsman. Lots of our friends seem to love this movie. Scott and I were both disappointed with it. It's a beautiful movie, but it feels like an eternity before the titular huntsman even shows up. Bob Hoskins is in the movie! I love Bob Hoskins more than I can tell you. He is on my very short list. I've seen him live in London (Guys and Dolls: he was awesome). And they barely used him. They had Bob Hoskins and he barely did a thing! The dwarves were not on screen enough to have a personality. Mirror Mirror did the dwarves better than this movie. It was beautiful. I'll give you that. But honestly, other than seeing friends talking about it, or thinking about writing this blog post, I've not thought about the movie at all.

    On Friday we went to Cory Marder's memorial, and got there late because of traffic. We were only there in time to hear Larry talk. I've thought about the things that he said in those few minutes far more than I've thought about Snow White. I wish we had made it on time (we have ourselves just over 2 hours to drive the 90 minute drive. It took over 3 hours. And people wonder why we don't love LA).

    Saturday we had a movie day at home. We showed Winter The Full Monty. It was a hit. The movie stands up really well.

    And Tom Wilkinson is in it. Tom had been our favorite character in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which Scott and I had seen a week or two ago. TBEMH I loved. It's a great movie. It has a great cast. Excellent performances. The only thing that bothered me is that Penelope Wilton was my least favorite character. She played her beautifully, it's just that she was the only character I really didn't like. And I love Penelope Wilton. I've seen her live in London as well (both at the National Theatre, actually, I think). So it was sad for me. Now that's a movie I've thought lots and lots about. I very much want the excuse to see it again. I tried to talk my mom into seeing it, but she didn't want to see a movie about old people. *sigh*

    Back to this past week. On Sunday I was not having a good day. Things were bothering me that shouldn't. I texted Scott that I was just not doing well. Winter was upset because she needed a program for her laptop, but couldn't get it because her computer was too old. So she was giving up on an important project and I was frustrated. Scott, being the truly awesome person he is, decided to come home a bit early and take me away from everything. So we left, I told him about Winter, and he said, "Oh, wait, I can make that better." So we went home, I stayed in the car, and Scott got his laptop set up for Winter, who then worked long hours on her project. Scott and I, on the other hand went out for a nice-ish dinner. Well, we went to Fudruckers, which I love, except they no longer are letting you get your hamburgers medium rare, only medium well, which means it is likely the last time we will go to Fudruckers (I won't go to 5 Guys either. I want a rare burger, not a well done one. Period.) Anyway, the reason we had dinner there is because they are close to the ArcLight Cinema which is a very cool theater. We went to see The Intouchables. That's IN, not UN, I did not make a mistake. It's a French film about a paraplegic man who hires a street kid (as in in his early 20s?) to take care of him and their unusual friendship. It's a delightful feel good kind of movie. Based on a true story. It was exactly what I needed. There were a couple of scenes I had trouble watching, but they were few and worked in context. It's a film about two people overcoming adversity through each other, and I highly recommend it. It is in French, so you have to read it...

    So that's it for movies. Well, sort of. Yesterday, my friend Carol came over and I finally got to show her Captain America, which I've now seen enough times that I've lost count, and as soon as she's free, she and I are going to be seeing Avengers. When we do, it will be my 5th time. If Scott joins us, it will be his 4th. I think it's safe to say that we really like the movie. And Scott made a donation for both of us to Hero Initiative in Kirby's honor. So I don't feel guilty seeing it many many times.

    Tomorrow, Scott and I are going to see the filmed, National Theatre (London) production which is playing in movie theatres of Frankenstein. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller as the monster and the Doctor. They alternate the roles, and I have tickets for both nights so that I can see both of them play both roles. Really it's so I can see BC play both roles. Scott knows who JLM is, but I don't really, other than the fact that he's who is cast to play Sherlock in the upcoming CBS tv show Elementary (which has Lucy Liu as Watson, which Scott and I both agree we would be far more interested in if the casting were reversed). I thank Kathy Li for telling me about this. Kathy is frequently my source for things of this nature.

    So, that's it for media, for now. Go listen to the song (buy it on iTunes? I did), advance order a copy of the book (it's really good), and go see some movies. And if by chance you wind up at the Promenade in Woodland Hills to see Frankenstein Wednesday or Thursday, come say hi. I'll likely be towards the front.
    Sunday, April 29th, 2012
    8:22 pm
    Life the Universe and Everything
    Yesterday, April 28th, my brother turned 42.

    Yesterday, April 28th, Cory Marder died.

    There's no significance in these two events. But they did both get me thinking about life, the universe and everything.

    Twenty-five years ago, when Scott was "courting" me, he did it by having the two of us sit in his big green chair together as I read Beanworld for the first time. The first time I met Larry Marder was that summer at ComicCon in San Diego. The first time I met Cory was also at SDCC. I have no idea if it was that first year or not anymore, but if it wasn't the first year, then it was the second. But the thing was, even when Cory wasn't there, she was there. Larry is one of my favorite people in the world, but Larry has always been Larry & Cory. They were a team. I've been sitting here trying to remember which events she was at, and which was were just Larry, and I can't remember. I can't remember because she was always there, even when she wasn't. She was so much a part of Larry that her presence was felt whether she was there in person or not.

    Cory was one of those people who lit up the entire room simply by entering. In Beanworld she's the inspiration for the character Dreamishness who's represented as the sun. Such a perfect depiction of her. Cory glowed. I complained to Larry once that his Dreamishness t-shirt was yellow and yellow was not a color I could wear. Larry said that the shirt was yellow because he made if for Cory, and yellow was her favorite color. I so get that. Yellow suits her to a T.

    The last few times I saw Cory, the cancer had taken its toll. She was careful not to over exert herself, and you could tell things were a bit more difficult. But it didn't matter. She still lit up the room. At Scott's surprise 50th birthday party she was the one helping calm my nerves while we waited for Scott, she helped coordinate the seating and the food and made sure to meet everyone there. I can't tell you how awesome she is. Was.

    Sorry.

    Larry says she was ready to go, and I believe that. This was not sudden, they had time to figure things out. I hope it was peaceful. I hope things are better for her now? I know there are a lot of us who will miss her.

    A very good friend of mine just lost both of her parents in the last six months, and then gained another granddaughter. Life goes on. We lose people we love. But if we keep them in our hearts, they are never truly gone.

    Goodbye Cory. I might not ever see you, but I know you will never be gone, because even when you weren't there, wherever Larry was, so were you.

    Larry, all my love to you.

    And Marcus, I hope you had a good birthday. Life. The universe. And everything. Make good use of this year.
    Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
    5:41 pm
    If you miss it this Thursday morning, there's always next week!
    I know! Two posts from me in one week! What's the world coming to?!

    But this is important. Okay, not really. But it is to me.

    I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that Sky has been getting involved with the radio station on campus, right? Well, first quarter she volunteered, second quarter she took the radio class, which included interning on one of the shows. This quarter, she has her own show! The thing is, because it's her first show and all, she was given a time slot that's not ideal (at least for Scott and I to listen to her). On the one hand, because of the time, she can play whatever she wants (there can be no "bad language" played on the station until very late), on the other she's on from 3am to 6am!

    But see, we can listen to it because the station is on the web. That means that anyone that wants to hear it can. And many of you do NOT live in our time zone. So, if you would like to hear Sky on the radio, her show is on Early Thursday mornings from 3-6am Pacific time. That's 6-9 Eastern, and there are timezone maps if you don't know what time that is where you are. The website to hear her at is KZSC. The name of her show is "Wordplay"; the idea is that she'll pick a word and the whole night will revolve around it. Last week was her first week and her theme was Coachella, since she had just come back from week one, and was gearing up for week two. I have no idea what her theme will be this week, but I know it'll be interesting and the music will be great.

    Assuming I wake up again (my alarm is set to wake me up at 2:45am) I will tweet when she's about to go on, so if you follow me there you will know when.

    Right now I have two friends over to do dinner and watch Avengers movie(s). They are entertaining themselves by playing Cooking Mama. Winter is giving them lessons. Listening without being able to see them, is very amusing.

    Don't forget, tomorrow (Thursday) morning (or whenever it is for you)!
    Monday, April 23rd, 2012
    8:40 pm
    I'm not sure if "you had to be there" to find this funny, but we sure did.
    I haven't been online in forever. I have a post half-written that I started over a month ago now, so it hardly seems relevant. I saved it, so if I ever decide to try to finish it, I could, but for now, I'm going to forget the past and move on.

    To this past Saturday. Because it amused me.

    But, as usual with me, first the back story:

    I'm sure most of you know this, but, The Avengers movie opens up a week from this Friday. My plan had been to go to one of the all-day event things that they are doing and watch the five movies (Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 1&2, Cap.) then see the midnight of The Avengers. I was really looking forward to it, but it was not to be.

    Scott is talking at UCSC on Friday the 4th (Avengers opening day). That's where Sky is going to school, so of course I want to go see him there. They are flying him out on Thursday, he's doing a Q&A type thingy on Friday and then home Saturday. No formal lecture, but there might be class visits? Anyway, he's flying, I'm driving and meeting him there (we realized after the flight was booked that I could've just driven him and it wouldn't have taken much more time, but too late...). I was all into the idea of seeing the midnight show on Thursday there, but Scott, understandably, is concerned that he get enough sleep so that he can be well rested for Friday. This also means that I'm not around to go to the all-day movie fest on Thursday.

    So I decided to do my own. But not all day, and maybe repeating some of them, because why not! (mostly because there are bunches of people that want to join us and coordinating schedules is too difficult). So last week, on Wednesday, our friend Kassia came over and we watched The Hulk (which none of us had seen). [quickie review: I liked it more than Scott did, but the things I liked best were all the in-jokes and things. And paying homage to Bill Bixby and having him make a cameo despite the fact that he's dead, made me so happy that I could forgive most things. (Bill Bixby was one of my first huge crushes as a kid)]. She came over the next day as well, but instead of Avengering (yes, I can make a verb of anything), I showed her the first three episodes of Slings and Arrows (anyone who's been reading this blog for awhile knows just how much I love that show).

    Friday was Game Night. Nat Gertler brought his copy of Thor over (thank you again, Nat) so we didn't have to buy/rent it for our marathon (is it still a marathon when you're not doing it all on the same day? Probably not. I just don't know what else to call it). When most of the Game Night crowd had gone, Kassia and Robynne were left and we decided to watch some more Slings and Arrows (Robynne's seen them all and didn't mind coming in in the middle). So we watched two more. This is important, since we stopped with only one left of the first season.

    Okay, all this brings us to Saturday, which is what this post is all about. On Saturday Winter was going to a party at a friends house. The plan had been for Kassia and Robynne to get to my house when I was done dropping Winter off. Due to circumstances out of my control, I was an hour later than I thought I'd be and rushing. Scott called as I was heading home to ask about plans and dinner. I wasn't home and there were two other people who had a say so I didn't have an answer, but I told him that I expected we'd watch the last Slings and Arrows and then go to dinner, come back and start watching Avengers type movies. Scott thought that was silly since it was an Avengers night and we shouldn't be watching anything else.

    When I got home, and the gals had arrived we called Scott to firm up when/where/what we were doing for dinner. Since we all thought it was a tad too early for dinner, but we didn't want to watch a whole movie before we ate they suggested that we watch Slings and Arrows first. I was amused. We watched it. It is still brilliant. Scott wanted to get home in time to see some of it, but he just missed it all.

    Once he was there it was time to get food. We'd decided to get Panda Express because it would be quick. Ice cream was an important part of the days events, so we figured a quick dinner at Panda and then somewhere for ice cream to bring home. As we were driving, I noticed that the new ice cream place a few blocks away was finally open. In fact with the signs and all we realized that it had just opened that day. It was fate. We had to go.

    The place is called Sub Zero, and Scott, seeing the name said, "what, do they have a tank of Liquid Nitrogen that they freeze the ice cream with to get it that cold?" We all laughed and spent the rest of the drive imagining this place that Scott had just envisioned and telling stories of things you do with Nitrogen and things we've seen frozen. It entertained us.

    So after we ate, we went to Sub Zero to see if they were any good. There was a long line and we had to wait outside. Even so, we could look in the window, and what did we see? You guessed it: A giant Nitrogen tank used to freeze the ice cream!! The place is wild. You pick out a base (like "premium" which is basically ice cream, custard, soy milk, almond milk...) then you pick out a flavor or two or if you're me, three, then you get something mixed in. We were given coupons to get an extra mix in. They then shoot it with Nitrogen and freeze it up for you. You can get it soft medium or hard. I saw the sign and went on about how we should get it hard so that it would still be hard for carrying it out, then I read the small print on the sign and saw that's what they recommended.

    I got the premium ice cream, flavored with fudge chocolate, cherry, and hot cinnamon, with andes mint and dark chocolate chips mixed in. It was very very good. I can't wait to get to take others there.

    We had a grand time. Partly because it was so funny that our predictions kept coming true, partly because of the great company and partly because of the delicious ice cream.

    The only problem is that it took over two hours for us to eat and get ice cream. This meant that we were now starting movies and 9pm. We watched Thor, the two Coulson shorts (one on the Thor DVD the other on Captain America) and Captain America. I'm glad we plan on seeing Cap again as I was rather tired by then. All in all, a very late but awesome night.

    I think we should make ice cream at Sub Zero part of all the future movie nights, we just need to start earlier.

    I bought both Iron Man movies so other than the Hulk, which we rented, we are ready to go any day that people want to come over and watch. And Kassia's not seen the reboot Trek either, so happy times ahead.

    On May 4th (which is Star Wars day, but oh well) I will be at UCSC watching Scott talk, and then the two of us, and as many people who want to join us will find a theatre that's not sold out (even if we have to do a very late show) and we will finally see The Avengers. It will be later than we want, but since we'll be traveling and doing things Thursday and Friday beforehand hopefully we won't be spoiled.

    I can't wait.

    (By the way, if I don't post again for awhile, and you are worried about me, this is my Twitter feed. Unlike Facebook, you don't need to have an account to check it out, and mine's not locked. I tend to post on Twitter at least once a day. Sometimes a lot more, and sometimes I'm absent for a bit, but I usually let people know if I'm offline for more than a day. Since I "tweet" mostly from my phone, it's much easier to keep up to date, so I do...)
    Thursday, February 16th, 2012
    1:18 pm
    The long awaited (by me, anyway) post about music
    As we age, something happens. Life gets comfortable. We know what we know, and it's enough. Change is scary. It can be good scary, but it's still scary. The unknown is always nerve-wracking. It's unknown. We steadfastly hold on to the familiar. We are less likely to take chances.

    There are big things that fall into this category: Do I want to look for another job that might challenge me more. Do I want to take the chance with this new person, is it safe. Do I want to get a pet. Etc.

    Then there are the little things: Not trying new foods. Not going to new places. Etc.

    I do it all the time. I think we all do.

    That's what I used to do with music. I know I'm not alone in this because there are too many oldies stations out there. It's very easy to stick with the music that's familiar and safe. Sometimes we don't even realize we're doing it. I don't think I did. I listened to all kinds of new music. Except that mostly what I was listening to was new music by old bands (nothing at all wrong with this, mind) or little bits of what my family would introduce me to. But, when I turned on the radio? It was pretty much the Broadway station or First Wave (which plays new wave music from around the '80s). I love this music. I always will. But when I turn on either of those channels, there's a 90-95% chance I can sing along with anything they play. This is the music I know and love.

    But it's not the only music out there. There's really great music coming out all the time.

    I have a lot to say about this. It got long. The rest is under this cut.Collapse )
    Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
    8:28 pm
    Movies Movies Movies
    I really want to do a movies post, but I've seen so very many that I've not talked about, and many of them you've likely seen already if you wanted to, that I'm not sure how to go about it.

    I'm gonna start with my birthday, partly because all the movies I saw that day are still in theatres around here anyway, so...

    This got really long, so I'm putting it under a tab. LOTS of movies here.Collapse )
    Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
    1:33 pm
    Do you know what day today is?
    Wow, it's been over a month since I've been here. The holidays kept me very busy! 12 Nights of Birthmas is not easy. Then there was a show that Winter was in and I was Stage Managing (a really awesome production, one of the best shows I've ever worked on). Plus the girls were around more than normal. What I'm trying to say here is that I've been really busy, and since I seem to only be able to write when it's quiet, the writing has fallen off.

    I have three posts I want to write.

    I promised Alice I would do a post about all the movies I've seen (I saw FIVE (5!) on my birthday, and a few more since, and then there were the ones that I saw before then...). I have a lot to say about movies. And TV shows. It really needs to be its own post.

    This Birthmas was unusual. Usually, I get DVDs for most of my gifts. There's also the underwear from my mom (I get upset if I don't get it, Mom knows that), a puzzle or two so that we have something to put together on New Year's (this year there were three, we've got the biggest of them being put together on our dining table, if you want to come help...), maybe a book, a gift card that used to be from Borders but is now from iTunes, and then a mix tape (Scott thinks I shouldn't call them mix tapes since they are CDs) from Sky. I guess this is all I need to be happy, since I rarely ask for something else. This year was no exception as for what I wanted. I asked for three things: Captain America, X-Men: First Class and the complete 2nd Series of the BBC's Sherlock. I got them all. Unlike normal, though, the only other DVD I got was the British TV series Spaced (Simon Pegg: SO VERY AWESOME). (Sherlock arrives next week: OMG Can Not Wait, I might do a whole post on that alone. Yes, I've seen it already, I have no remorse over that, I would've watched it legally if allowed to, and I had already bought the series on DVD before it even aired, so...)

    This year, though, I got music. Lots and lots of music. No, I mean LOTS and LOTS of music. I think the final tally was Two LPs, five CDs and a DVD from Sky that had stuff that she thought I would like; about another six or seven albums worth. The total (not counting the album that I haven't figured out how to put on my computer yet) is over 15 hours of music. I don't think I've heard it all yet, but I think it's beyond time that I did a music post as well.

    This post, however, is neither of those. This post is where I wish my parents a happy anniversary and where I thank Scott for marrying me, all those 24 years ago.

    Twenty-four years. Twenty-four years ago, Scott and I went to this tiny apartment wherein lived a little old lady name Florence McGee (not sure of the spelling), who was a justice of the peace. With us were our friends Alice and Brian. Florence was very sweet and almost married me to Brian (Scott had forgotten the license so Alice had run him back to our apartment, and Brian and I walked in together). The whole thing struck me as funny, and I couldn't stop giggling for the whole ceremony. It was very embarrassing. I think it was mostly nerves.

    We picked January 24th because it was my parents' anniversary and that way I'd never forget the date. Tonight we will have dinner with my parents, like we do every year. Afterwards, Scott and I will bring Winter back home and then go to a late movie, to have a "Just Us" kind of celebration. The problem with sharing the anniversary is that I think we both get just a bit short changed. My parents (who have been married 52 years as of today), only get a dinner in which they need to share the spotlight. 52 is far more impressive than 24. They deserve more. Scott and I miss the "Romantic Dinner" that is usually traditional, but then we try to get that at one of our other wedding anniversaries (we had three weddings).

    Twenty-four years. That's of marriage, not how long we've known each other. I figured it out recently, Scott and I met when he was Sky's age and I was in between Sky and Winter's ages (I was 17, Scott 18) Next year, will be different. Next year it's our 25th, and maybe we can do something really special. If Scott is still working on The Book, then there probably won't be enough time to do something elaborate, but maybe we can have some fun. Ha! Maybe we could get married again.

    You know, I'd do it. I'd marry Scott over and over again.

    I might have not been able to stop giggling during that first wedding, but I think that was a good omen. It's been 24 years, and there are things about me and my life that I am not happy with. I wouldn't say there is nothing I would ever want to change. But. Marrying Scott? That I've not regretted for an instant. He can still make me laugh at inappropriate times, and I cannot think of a thing in my life that is not better because he is there.

    Scott reads all my posts before I post them, but he has lots of work to do, so I'm trying to keep this very short to not take him away for too long. I'll end here by saying:

    Thank you Scott for the last 24 years. They were awesome. I don't know that I would've survived this long if you'd not been around. I love you.
    Monday, December 19th, 2011
    10:20 pm
    12 Nights of Birthmas. Year 25
    I had planned to write two blog post this week. There was too much to say and it didn't all go together, so two seemed like the right number. But here it is the end of the week and I still haven't written the first one.
    [In fact it's now the next week and I've still not finished writing this post.]

    I got sick, so I blame that. It was pretty awful, and now I'm mostly okay again. It lasted less than 24 hours. But they were really bad hours.

    I wanted to give a review of the movie Shame (which is rated NC-17 and about two very broken people). I had lots of stuff to say, maybe some other time?

    I also wanted to talk about a friend of mine who I just found out died a few months ago and no one had told me, and I realized that that was probably because no one knew we were friends. But we were, and if I'd know I would've done anything to be at whatever memorial that would've been appropriate for me to attend. And I've been rather sad since I found out.

    That would've led to memories of another friend of mine that I also miss. This one, though is my friend Jeannie, and the plan was to wish her a happy birthday, but her birthday was yesterday, so I missed it.[um, okay, make that last week now. Wow, I'm late] There is a party tomorrow,[was a party...oh, never mind.] and I wish I could've been there, but I'm on the wrong coast. Jeannie: I hope it's a wonderful party, and I hope that your birthday was wonderful. I miss you.

    See, it would've been an interesting post. Don't know if those thoughts will ever get written. We are moving into the future.

    Which is really a leap into the past.

    Twenty-five years to be exact. Twenty-five years ago, my best friend and roommate Alice and I were bemoaning our birthdays. Or as we call them, "our Birthmas". Anyone with a late December birthday knows what I'm talking about. Alice's birthday is the 21st and mine is the 29th. Our entire lives we've not had birthdays we've had Birthmas. Back in 1986, Alice and I were living together and it was the first time we were going to be able to be with each other for both our birthdays and we decided that that was cause for celebration.

    We started on the 20th and went through to New Year's Eve. There was a different theme for every night. We called it The Twelve Days of Birthmas, and it was life-changing.

    Luckily, Alice is awesome so we still have the schedule of that original party. There are things on it that I don't remember. I'll just tell you it the way I remember.

    Kurt Busiek and Adam Phillips made it for two of the nights. I think one of them was the London night. I remember dancing. Not sure if it was that night or not. The night with the dancing was the night where we wound up calling the police on our upstairs neighbors because they were doing something with a lot of banging that was causing the ceiling to start dropping plaster on us, and we were scared someone was getting hurt.

    There were nights that had lots and lots of people, and there was at least one night where Alice didn't even make it, and I was there alone! (or maybe our friend Carrie was there so I wasn't totally alone?) (I think that might have been when I was baking cookies?)

    New Year's Eve, Alice's brother, Brian, left us bottles of champagne, one of which got stolen by the upstairs neighbors in retaliation for us calling the police. One was enough and we had a lovely night. Probably with a jigsaw puzzle.

    Memories fade, but the most memorable of the nights was December 23rd. That is the night that changed my life. It was our caroling night. Some of the nights had more of Alice's friends, some had more of mine, and some had friends that were "ours" together. Caroling turned out to be an Ivy night.

    Several of my friends from the Boston Children's Museum (where I was working at the time) came over. And then there was this guy who I'd known in college, had seen a year ago on my birthday, but hadn't seen since, who I kinda liked. It was a very strange first date. To begin with, we'd first met 8 years before. We'd been friends off and on for years, but the kind of friends who hung out, but didn't spend lots of time with each other. We'd been talking on the phone for the last month, but hadn't seen each other for a year. And this strange evening was our first date.

    One of my friends from The Children's Museum, one was a hard-of-hearing little person (is that the proper term these days?) in a wheelchair. Our second floor walk up was a problem. She had to be carried up the stairs. There was only one man at the party, and he provided the lift for her. Once we were all upstairs, we hung out singing and having a great time. But it was caroling, and one should carol outside and be heard, so our little troop trooped downstairs again to the door to door thing.

    Ok, you really have to picture this: There were maybe nine of us(?) walking down the street. One is in a wheelchair being pushed by a friend of mine who has CP (I think that's the correct initialed disease, could've been MS, not sure anymore, thing is she used the chair to help her walk) walking in front of the wheelchair, going backwards, was Alice, who was signing the songs we were singing to our friend, Francis, in the chair. The rest of us walked in the group. With one male voice. And remember, this really isn't the best of neighborhoods, so in the end, we never actually knocked on a single door. We walked around the block, singing loudly. To ourselves.

    It was awesome.

    And then we went back to the apartment and hung out, singing, drinking hot chocolate, probably eating pizza (I expect that tradition started then) and eventually everyone but Alice, me, and Scott left. And that was the beginning. Some months later, Alice, Scott and I found a bigger place and all moved in together (well, Scott and I moved in together, Alice was our housemate).

    One year, one month, and one day after that night caroling, Scott and I were married.

    Like I said. Life changing.

    Every year since that first one, Scott and I have gone caroling on the 23rd. Some years it's been huge. While we were still living in the Boston area, Scott's mom would join us and we'd go to people she knew, even visiting nursing homes and things. Once we moved to the West Coast, we started doing it at my parents' house. They know; the 23rd we shall invade. These days we tend not to go out—well, we used to go to my folks' next door neighbors, but they're not there anymore, so we might not leave the house this year.

    Thing is, the caroling was just one part of that original Twelve Nights Birthmas. There were eleven other nights and so many memories. And that was 25 years ago! Alice and I have decided that we can't let this year go without doing something to commemorate that not-quite two weeks.

    So this year we are doing the 12 Days of Birthmas: Internet Edition.

    Starting tomorrow night there will be Birthmas events every night for the next week. Alice started a Facebook page for memories and Sky has said that she'll set up an event page for us (I am on FB, but it's really a lie, I never go there and have no idea how to do anything).

    You are all welcome to join. I'll likely be tweeting about it a lot in the next few days. If you want to vicariously join us, we would love it (my twitter is here if you want to follow along! If you want to avoid it and feel like unfollowing me, that's cool too).

    Because tomorrow is the first night of Birthmas and also the first night of Hanukkah, that is going to be our theme for the night. So Birthmas gets underway with the lighting of the first candle and the eating of the chocolate gelt. In our house there will also be the ritual reading of Isaac Bashevis Singer's first story in Power of Light (we read one of the stories each night).

    Alice gets to pick what happens on the 21st since it's her birthday. I know that on my birthday there will be the watching of many movies. I've now seen the new Sherlock Holmes movies twice, and I'm pretty sure I'll be desperate to see it again by the time the 29th rolls around, so I can pretty much guarantee that will be one of the movies, but there are about a dozen movies that have, or are about to, come out that I'm dying to see, so who knows what else I will want to see.

    I'm stage managing the show that Winter is in, so I'll have rehearsals for three of the nights, but I think the plan is to try to do things early so that we can coordinate with both coasts since Alice is in Massachusetts.

    All events will be mentioned on my Twitter and on the FB page. JOIN US!

    Oh, and Scott, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. This Friday will be 25 years from our first date. Thank you for putting up with the craziness of that night and for coming back for more.

    Alice, Wednesday is your birthday. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with me. I think I'd have long ago gone crazy if you hadn't been there.

    Two of my favorite people in the world.

    BEST TWENTY-FIVE YEARS EVER.
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