Friday, June 23, 2017

Women Are Capable

Image: www.lisajohnsonfitness.com
This is a bit of a rant, brought in part by an interaction I had at work as well as the current climate of our country and world.

Women Are Capable! We can work, we can lead, we can do more than be mothers. We can be mothers and work or stay at home. Every woman is different and NONE of us are lesser than men. No matter how many men think we are lesser.

I work in IT, which has been a man dominated field. But I'm good with computers and I'm good at my job. I never thought of myself as extremely techy until I started working in IT, but from the people I've had to help over the years, I am very good with most things techy.

Doesn't stop people from telling me I don't know what I'm doing. Usually older men who sometimes call me 'honey' and 'sweetie'. Usually these fellows don't know what they are doing, as in the case I had today.

This dude totally was mansplaining me the entire call as well as talking down to me. I had to tell him to do something about five times before he would listen to me and do what I told him to do. In the end, I couldn't help him because of his lack of computer knowledge. Didn't stop him from thinking that he knew it all.

It's 2017 for goodness sakes! Women are strong and capable. Please, treat us like we deserve to be treated, as human beings at least.

Monday, June 12, 2017

ConCarolinas 2017

ConCarolinas is one of my favorite cons. It's small but has a lot of activities. And a lot of my friends attend which makes it a lot of fun. ConCarolinas was actually Emily's very first con when she was only 8 months old! But this year we did a few new things, including staying overnight at the hotel for the first time.

Emily and I got up early on that Saturday morning and make the trek to Charlotte. We made good time but when we pulled into the hotel, I noticed that there were no parking spots anywhere nearby. I pulled the car up to unload it and made the decision to pay for valet parking. That was a great decision because we left the hotel several times to get food.

The bellhop loaded our stuff onto a cart and took it to our room. It only took a minute for us to get our badges and we got down to the dealer's room just before it opened. We went around the room and Emily exercised great control until she saw Pokemon cards. She had to get some! The only thing I bought was some decals for my new car.

After that, we went back to the room so I could change into my Tightrope Girl costume then hurried down for the costume contest pre-judging. Thankfully I was first to be judged, because both Emily and I were pretty hungry at that time.

I changed again (this became a theme for the day) and we went to get lunch at McDonald's. We had a bit of time, so we went down to the pool for a bit. It was really relaxing and nice to cool down because it was hot out!

After that, I changed in my Princess Leia costume and we went to the gaming area to play D&D. We had a lot of fun, and Emily's character helped us a lot in the combat with her sleep spell! Next year, hopefully we can go down on Friday and play in more D&D games.

Once the game was done, it was time to change back into my Tightrope Girl costume and go down to my friend Mikey's concert. It was great, though I did have to run back up to the room because I had
forgotten my gloves. I had to leave early to get lined up for the contest. Thankfully it was in the same room so I just got Emily settled in a seat in the 3rd row and left my purse and glasses with her.

This was my first costume contest I've ever been in so I was in the novice category. There were some other great costumes there too. I had no idea what I was going to do on stage and I started to feel really nervous.

In the end, I pretended like I was walking a tightrope and then posed in my pose for a moment. It was really fast. Then it was time to go back to the waiting room to wait for everyone else to have their turn on the stage.

Once everyone was done, they had us all come out on stage. We stood there while they read off the winners of the film festival as the judges decided who won. The novice awards were read off first and to my great surprise, I won 3rd place!

The best part of the whole weekend was when they read my name off, a tiny blur in the 3rd row jumped to her feet, her hands thrust in the air as she cheered for her mommy. It was awesome!

The other winners had great costumes too. A Newt Scamander cosplayer won best in show and he deserved it - his costume was really great!
It was about 6:30 pm once we got done with the costume contest so I got changed again. We went and got Cookout for supper. We watched Disney Jr. on TV as we ate and then we headed back to the pool for some night swimming. I was pretty beat by that time so we didn't swim for too long. I let Emily watch some tv while I got things packed up to make things easier in the morning.

The next day we got up and went swimming again for a bit. Then we got everything packed up. I went to the valet / bell hop station to get some help. I figure if I'm paying for valet parking they can come up and get our stuff. 

I knew it may take a while, and so did the guy at the valet station. He told me he would send someone up as soon as possible. Sadly, I had to call down several times before someone came up. It took over an hour. By that time, Emily was convinced that we had to live there now.

We got our car which they did pack up for us, and went to get some lunch. After lunch, we went back inside to do one more spin around the dealer's room. There was a booth that had geek-inspired sweets so I got Emily a Pokemon sucker and a BB-8 cookie.

As we were leaving the dealer's room, I rounded a corner and realized that Emily was gone! I freaked out as I paced the hallway not wanting to go too far away. My friend Mikey happened upon me mid-freak out and he went to the dealer's room to look there. All of a sudden, Emily reappeared! She had gone into the bathroom and had thought I was following her. I had lost her but she didn't know she was lost.

We went and told Mikey that we had found her and then headed out. After stopping at 7-11 for slurpies, we headed on home. It was a very fun weekend (except for the losing Emily part) and I look forward to next year's ConCarolinas!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman

No spoilers for those who haven't seen it - though if you haven't seen it, go and see it! It's awesome!

I loved the movie, it was excellent, but I also am loving the fact that I was able to take my daughter to see a movie that I wish was made when I was a kid. I loved the Wonder Woman tv show when I was small.

I do admit that I did tear up during different parts of the movie, in part because Emily was sitting beside me watching Diana kick all kinds of butt. I felt similar things when we went to see Ghostbusters last year, which both Emily and I liked quite a bit.

I'm very happy that my daughter is growing up in a time where she can see women being able to shine as the stars of their own universe. Wonder Woman does fall in love, but she still had her own drive and her own goals.

Basically, Wonder Woman made me so happy as a geek, as a woman and as a mom. My husband did see it as well, and he really enjoyed it too. So go see Wonder Woman!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2nd Grade Field Trip!

I don't volunteer at Emily's school a lot because I never know how I'm going to be feeling from day to day. But Emily really wanted me to volunteer for the 2nd grade field trip to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, so I did.

I took Emily to school. The other parents and I helped out in the classroom until it was time to go. I actually carpooled with some friends of mine which made the trip a lot more enjoyable.

Once we got there and everyone was unloaded, we hiked up to a small amphitheater. We were led in acting out one of Carl Sandburg's poems, which was cheesy but fun, by one of the park rangers. Then the classes split up and went to different activities. I had four kids I was in charge of, including my own and one of Emily's friends.

Our first stop was the goats. They divided the class in half and some went to pet the goats. We stayed and the kids got to try milking a fake goat and then they did a milk bottle craft. They learned about the different kinds of goats Mrs. Sandburg raised.

Finally it was our turn to pet the goats. All the adult goats in the section we went to were female. And there was also a bunch of baby goats, two that were only a week old! They were super cute and Emily loved petting them. She was very gentle with them too, which made me happy.

Once our time was up, we went to our next activity which was hiking around the lake. It wasn't a hard hike and the kids kept looking for snakes. They were sad they didn't see any, but they did get to see a cool waterfall.

The last stop was to learn about butterflies. They watched a short video and then did a few activities about the life cycle of butterflies. There was a craft there too, but we were running out of time so they only got to color their butterflies. Emily's teacher said they would finish it at school.

The kids went on the bus and the grown-ups piled into their cars and we went to a nearby park for lunch. After everyone ate, the kids got the chance to play on this really cool playground. I was starting to feel wiped so I just watched to make sure no-one got hurt.

After getting back to school, I took Emily because there was only a half hour left of school. It was fun, though we did quite a bit of walking that made me sore. But Emily was very glad I could come which makes me glad I did it!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Girl Scout Day at Chimney Rock

I try to do just about every Girl Scout activity that is offered through our troop because I know that Emily would enjoy it. So when Girl Scout Day at Chimney Rock was announced, I signed us up for the day activities and the camp out in the evening.

It was tent camping and I haven't tent camped since I was a teenager. I wasn't looking very forward to it but I loaded up our car and headed off.

We got there about 9 am and some of our troop was already there. Even though it was morning, it was already starting to get really hot. I had a small cooler in my car for our lunches and the chocolate for smores. I left it in there because we were going to do activities first.

There were a bunch of other troops. The event had been limited to 200 girls, I think, plus parents and siblings. We had a decent amount of people with our troop so Emily had a lot of friends to play with.

The first part of the day was doing different stations. We started at the "craft" which all the parents agreed was the lamest craft ever. Apparently ever year, Chimney Rock has a special animal they showcase. This year, the animal was the spider. So the craft was to make a spider web necklace.

But all it was, was that all the girls were given a piece of metal (about as thick as a small paperclip) and they were suppose to bend it to make it look like a spider web. Needless to say, nobodies looked like a spider web. Sadly the person leading the craft didn't give a whole lot of instructions.

Once we were done there, we went to the next station which was all about things animals leave behind. Tracks, poop, etc. This one was more interesting, though I missed some of it by going to the
restroom. But there was a fun activity at the end where they girls had to try and guess what an animal was by looking at its fake poop, tracks and then the skull. We had some form of plant eater.

Our next station was the snake station. The guy leading it was very into snakes, and told the girls about different venomous and non-venomous snakes. He had several of the non-venomous to show the girls, one of which that bit him! But at the end, he let the girls pet one of his snakes. Emily didn't though, she wasn't very into that.

Lastly was another station about animals. I honestly was starting to lose spoons as this point in the day so I didn't pay a ton of attention. But the ranger in charge had a tame possum that everyone could pet. Emily decided that she now wants a possum as a pet!

By this time, it was super hot out and it was lunch time. My car was like a hot box, but our lunches were still cool. Our troop had set up our chairs under some shade and we all ate. I didn't really want to get up after sitting in my comfy chair but next was the Jr. Ranger program.

All the girls who came to the event got a patch, but those who wanted to become Jr. Rangers got a 2nd patch and a certificate. Emily wanted to do that so we headed back to the main pavilion. They split the troops in two groups. Ours learned about trees first and how important they are for their oxygen but also for all the things we use that are made of wood.

Each troop then got to plant two seedling trees into cups that we were able to bring home with us. I'm not sure where our troop decided to plant our trees but it was a pretty neat thing that we were given those.

After that, we switched and the girls were given a talk about what it means to be a ranger. They were given their patches and certificates and got a picture with the ranger. Our troop leader took the patches so they can be awarded at our next awards ceremony.

Emily had wanted to try the climbing wall so we headed there next, along with one of her friends.
While the girls waited in the long time, I chatted with the troop leader who is a friend of mine. We stood in the shade because it was still so very hot.

Some of our troop hadn't done the Jr. Ranger program or the climbing wall and had gone up to the peak of Chimney Rock which apparently involves walking up 500 stairs. I'm glad that I hadn't done that for a variety of reasons.

After the climbing wall, we went back to where we were going to set up camp to relax. As we were sitting there, the sound of sirens filled the air. We never got the whole story beyond someone had gotten hurt on one of the waterfall trails. Our folks had to hike all the way down, because the shuttles weren't running but they made it back to camp.

Everyone who wasn't camping headed out and the rest of us set up our tents. Once the tents were set up, the girls moved from tent to tent as they played. While unpacking I realized that the marshmallows I had brought for smores had melted into one huge marshmallow. I hadn't even thought about them melting so they had just been in my car.

We lamented the marshmallow melting but also the fact that we didn't have a campfire. The parks had set up rings around the meadow where we were camping but there wasn't enough for each troop to have one. One wasn't near us so we went ahead and had dinner while trying to think of what we could do get a fire.

In the end, one of our moms went and asked the park ranger in charge if we could make our own fire ring. The ranger said 'sure', gave her big rocks to make the ring plus some fire wood. The girls got twigs and fallen branches to start the fire and soon we had our own roaring camp fire!

Thankfully another parent had brought marshmallows that weren't melted so we got to make smores. The girls were thrilled. As it got to be dusk, another troop invited ours over for a dance party. They
were playing music from their car and had glow necklaces they gave out. Emily had a great time getting her groove on!

It got darker and finally it was time to head to bed. Emily fell asleep right away but I got maybe two hours because I was extremely uncomfortable. In the middle of the night it started pouring, but thankfully we had borrowed a very good tent so we stayed dry.

In the morning, it was still raining on and off. I was exhausted and had a monster migraine. We packed up the car quickly, mostly because I had put everything we weren't sleeping with in the car the night before. We got home around 7 am and I took a shower and passed out.

While I didn't have a ton of fun, Emily did! She loved playing with her friends and petting a possum. Next year, we may do it again but we may not camp. We'll see!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rough Holiday

Yesterday was Mother's Day, which is always bittersweet. But usually it's not too hard. My mom has been gone for 15 years and I am the mom of a sweet little girl. But yesterday was rough. I think it was partly due to that time of the month compounded with perimenopause.

Todd and Emily were very sweet to me. I got presents and ice cream. We had also gone out for Japanese food on Saturday, to avoid the Mother's Day rush. But as the day waned on, the sadder I got.

But I know I wasn't the only one having a rough time yesterday. Lots of friends have lost their moms due to death or toxic relationships. As people age, holidays morph and change. Mother's Day was fun when I was a kid, but I didn't experience a lot of loss until I was grown up.

If you had a rough day yesterday, be gentle with yourself today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Concert Memories - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is the 5th post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

This one is really out of order but since it's recent I wanted to post about it! A week and a half ago, Todd and I dropped Emily off at a friend's house for a sleepover and then we headed off to Charlotte.

We got into Charlotte early so we could go eat at Cabo Fish Taco. We've eaten there before and really liked it. We originally heard about it because it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

After tooling around the city for a bit, we got to the Spectrum Center early and were one of the first in line to get into the building. We found our seats, which were pretty decent for what we paid and we just waited for the show to start.

A drummer started things off, and it was good but I'm not a huge fan of just drums. Mostly because it leads to migraines. Of course, I knew going into the show that I was going to be hurting something awful once it was over. The price one pays when one has chronic pain.

The opening act, BabyMetal, came on. BabyMetal is a Japanese group of girls who wear school uniforms and play hard rock. I actually have one of their albums and it's pretty fun music. I usually listen to them when I'm working out.

Their set was ok, but they were singing in Japanese so it made no sense at all. Plus everyone was sitting down in our section except these two guys in the front who were in the handicapped section. They completely blocked a couple of peoples' view and didn't care at all.

Finally it was time for the Chili Peppers to come out and their show was so worth the migraine I had later! They played a ton of favorites and quite a few songs from there new album. Flea is my favorite of all the band members, even more so than the lead singer, Anthony Kiedis. Both of them were jumping around the stage the whole show and took off their shirts at different points as well.

There was a screen behind the stage that showed a variety of things. Sometimes it was video of the band, and other times it was weird images that made me feel like I was on a bad acid trip. Several of those images flashed, and I would have to hide my head in Todd's shoulder because it was making me super dizzy.

They finished up and the crowd cheered and cheered for an encore. Todd wanted to leave, he didn't think they were going to come back on but I wanted to wait. I was right and they came out and played a couple more song, finishing up with Give It Away. We got out of there after that, and managed not to get stuck in traffic which was pretty awesome!

I spent the car ride home feeling pretty miserable, but it was worth it. One of the best concerts I've ever been to. The only one that beats it is the Korn / Evanescence (and a bunch of other bands) show we saw in 2007.

Up Next - 3rd Eye Blind!