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After a flurry of activity and the beginnings of serious house cleaning and house packing, along with trip packing - it's finally setting in that we'll be departing in a few days. Thanks again to Fred for helping out :)

I still have lingering fears over flying, but, the various New Zealand air services are the second safest in the world, behind Finland. So I'm going to shut up and take Valium and sleep on the plane. I have 2 sewing projects to pay with, 'fuzzy' headphones, 3DS, book/kindle, mask and pillow. Most of which I totally didn't pack on the last trip. The Europe flight was so long and smooth, I was able to forget I was on a plane. It was kind of a weird experience. Everyone was so deliberately quiet it was almost like a sleeping spaceship. A weird sort of self-paralysis.

As with Prague, I'm bringing an extra, mostly empty bag for purchases like wine and coffee. We're bringing 4 bottles of American wine as gifts for the people we're staying with. We did it last year with the woman who was our landlord on the airbnb flat rental. She was very appreciative, and we had a wonderful stay. I think we'll be continuing to use airbnb, for just about everything, when possible.

Stuff we're planning to do:


Horseback trail riding in the "dinosaur rainforest", hiking, and glow worm caves

The theme park and aquarium, and a visit to the Sky Tower. Jason still wants to jump off it, but I have serious doubts about my ability to do so too.

Some other touristy stuff, and a glacier visit by helicopter! (ohgodohgodohgodhohgod)

We ended up cutting out a lot of the driving time in favor of more hiking and relaxing. The original plan was to go as far south as possible, but that would involve an extra 20 hours of driving time, if we didn't get lost.

After some luggage wrangling, we said 'fuck it' and bought new, larger luggage bags. We'll need them anyway, and our old bags were getting broke-ass. The new bags were reasonably priced, and about twice the volume of the old ones. 

I'm bringing my 'elf ren fair dress'. I wasn't able to even start on the idea of an Arwen Riding Outfit, but I'm hoping to be able to find somewhere gorgeous, throw on the dress and snap a few shots. I hope I can pick up some elf ears in Hobbiton too. 

Left to pack: 
Contacts, 'bathroom stuff', a scarf, sunglasses, makeup, 2 pairs jeans,.. uhmm.. and a sticky note to leave in the rental car on which side of the road is the 'right' side...
Best moment in DragonCon. 

Jason and I are in line for George Takei's autograph. Jason looks over, points, and says "Look! It's Spartacus". I whip around, and sure enough, the Spartacus actor is standing right there, waiting patiently. Part of my brain is.. damn.. I've seen him naked.. he's hot.. He's shorter than I thought. The other part is completely shut down. Or maybe that's the same part. I'm not sure.

He waves and super politely asks if he can cut in line so he can say hello to George. Of course we say yes. He stops for a second to say hello to us too ! George Takei was wonderful too! he actually stayed later than his signing times, so I ended up in line twice, once with Morgan and once with Jason.

I also got a photo with Brent Spiner! yay! He doesn't shake hands..

I probably got Con Crud from Spartacus.


Mara made a huge debut. I ended up breaking my rule heavily and wore her most of the weekend. I only wore Journey once, and got the reactions I wanted, which was just me camping out in a spot, out of the way and waiting for people to notice me. Worked well :). Jame made a surprise trip down to DragonCon and we got to hang out Sunday night and took lots of photos. A few I'm very happy with, but I'm looking foward to seeing what Fred can do with the same outfits. Every other Mara I ran into, in costume (3 or 4) gave me that look of "Oh god, it's another Mara." Which was weird since that almost never happens to me...

Cursed Midna was a pretty big hit too, and as far as I can tell, I actually was the only one this year. I haven't seen any others yet anyway. There were the usual handful of Link's, but over all, not as much Zelda. Ironically, there were a grand total of three Wolf Links that I saw or found in photos, all solo, and only Mary's has the chain/cuff.

Bringing just 3 costumes made it much easier this year. I didn't spend a lot of time getting ready or changing, since all three costumes were thrown and go- even Cursed Midna only needs around 20 minutes for face makeup, but it helps that most of my face is hidden, besides.
Honestly, I attribute most of my anxiety-free weekend to my therapy. I don't think I realized how much it's actually been helping until this weekend.

This AZ was especially low-stress and low-anxiety. I didn't finish Mara Jade, but I didn't let it bother me, and I didn't stay up until 2 am three nights in a row the week before AZ so I could have a costume I wanted while walking around like a zombie. I'm not 25 anymore. XD

Imp Midna needs a few more touch ups, and I'll have to order yet another roll of reflective tape, if only for touchups and tape emergencies. While I did not anticipate having to tell several people to turn on their flashes, The looks on the faces of people who did and checked their camera was just awesome. I have a huge number of people tell me that was the best Midna they'd ever seen (which means a lot at Animazement) and that was without my arm spikes XD. Several people said my tape idea was amazing and 3-4 asked how I made my helmet. Mary, Chris and I were absolutely mobbed every time we moved - it was amazing, and my neck didn't even ache at the end of the night.

I inadvertently networked this weekend XD.

I caught up with Jenn, whom I haven't seen since Wake Tech, more than 10 years ago, all three days i was at AZ. It was really wonderful to catch up with her, and the more time I spent with her over the weekend, the more I realized her ex was full of shit. I'd seen him at gaming sessions a few times, and I know I'm a bit biased, but she melded right into our group at AZ, talked anime with Mary, goofed around with the rest of us, and it was like we'd never been apart for a decade. She's going back to school for 2D and 3D design, and I'm becoming convinced that I need to go back to the main campus and take similar classes.

Jane absolutely loved the Luke Skywalker ROTJ I made her. I have to go back and adjust the collar that I accidentally made it too small, but that's an easy fix. I also have to adjust the front closure and make sure the grey/white lining isn't visible when the shirt/jacket is closed at the edge. This was her first AZ, and she had a wonderful time. This was her first outing as her Luke too, and she was mobbed herself.

I randomly talked to some dude who made a metal-bending character from Korra. He had the same armor that I want to do for Lin Beifong, and he loved my helmet, so we talked construction for thirty minutes or so and exchanged information.

The Zelda photoshoot this year not only had a great turn out, but Mary ran into an old friend from Middle School, of all things. This hulking dude shows up in red/orange dread wig, grey bodysuit and paint and grey and silver armor with an amazing sword prop. He dashes into the Zelda group 20 minutes in and starts posing. He says hi to "Wolf Link". Mary says her name, He looks at her and goes *Last name????* and she goes "TERRANCE???????" Much hugging ensued and the nearby crowd went nuts XD.

Mary's roommate Michaela ended Saturday night on a high note by dressing up as Luke from a Tales of- game (I forget which) and throwing on a feather boa and Kanye shades. Before she left, we made her put on Ganon's helmet and a pair of fairy wings and pose. We were laughing so hard we were crying, including Jenn. Michaela told us to knock it off before she completely ruined her makeup, but hammed it up all the same XD. As she was headed out the door, we heard from the hallway Random person - "OH MY GOD!..... .. Can I touch you??" And we were dying again.

The only panel I made again this year was Anime Hell, but most of the weekend was taken up by just hanging out with old and new people and posing in costume.
Jason bought me a box of color dry erase markers and I'm angling for a plastic ruler.

I posted day 14 of my dry-erase comic .. strip for lack of a better word. I have had multiple co-workers tell me they love what I'm doing. Several people have either caught me drawing or came over to my corner in graphics to say how much it brightens their day at least a little bit. It's officially going on for almost three weeks (counting work days, not days off) and not only have I not missed a day, but I re-drew a few boards for cleaner lines.

It's very encouraging. I'm letting my personal humor slip in here and there, and more people laugh at my jokes than I thought. I haven't seen anyone scowl at my scribblings or otherwise complain either.

Rule still applies. I have to draw something every day, and it has to only take up to five minutes, or at least as long as it takes to brew a new pot of coffee in the breakroom.

Here's my tumblr link again:…
I haven't really talked about it much here, mostly because part of my brain is going "this isn't going to work, the plane is going to explode, something bad is going to happen, etc etc etc"


Husband, ElfGirlMChan, Jason Greene, his gf Nicole and I are all jetting off to (can I use that expression?) PRAGUE. NEXT WEEK.


A couple of weeks ago, I did several hours of research and found us a 3-bedroom apartment in Prague that we paid up front to rent for 10 days. Much much cheaper than a hotel for the same amount of time, plus, it has a kitchen. I got the landlady to knock a couple hundred bucks off the fee as well, so that's awesome. The location is good - at least google maps says it's in a decent looking multi-floor building and not a shack in an alley or something.

I have reservations for a tour in English at the Spanish horse school in Vienna- where they train Lipizanns. We found a number of aquariums that we'll try to visit at least one of, hopefully two or all three. Nicole has about a zillion castles she wants to see, so if we get to go to  see an average of one a day, I'll be happy. We found a dedicated gluten-free restaurant five miles from our apartment that looks divine.

We have hotel rooms booked  in 2 of 3 other countries we'll be visiting and staying overnight in. After some serious debate on rental car vs. rail passes, we opted for the car. It'll cut our (train) traveling time by half, and we won't be restricted by a train schedule. We're getting a minivan for half the cost of all of us getting rail passes. Granted, someone will have to be driving instead of all of us resting, but we get to go off path more often and go exploring. Google maps, again, says we should be nearly only main roads for most of what we want to do.

We've found tons of ways to say 'please don't kill my husband with wheat products' in multiple langauges, so we should be good there too.

I'm going to bring my 3DS and rack up all kinds of new countries and Mii's .. hehehehehe.. I'm also retraining myself from stuffing a lightweight costume in my bag.  We aren't hitting Itally, but the Padme dress would be awesome in Prague..
Fighting off ConCrud.  whoohoo.  Not too bad though. I did call LifeSouth and told them they probably can't use the blood I donated.  I'm assuming they'll double check it.  The Red Cross called on the way down. They told me to ask for my THREE GALLON pin when I go in next time :D. DragonCon was my 31st donation, officially. DCon only had 2 donations on record, but I know I've donated at least 4 times previously.


ALSO, I'M ON CNN. BY NAME. They used my photo on their before/after site. Apparently, I was also mentioned on air, but I haven't seen the story yet.…

The crowds were really rediculous though. There were times we almost couldn't move through the Marriott levels.

My glowing cloak was a huge hit, and bronies loved my Chrysalis w/ fangs.

Over all, I dragged most of the weekend. I nearly passed out Friday night and my anxiety level didn't really start winding down until Sunday. For a change, i didn't sleep well, even though we stayed in nearly the exact same room as last year (might have actually BEEN the same room.  The adult sci-fi panel wasn't as fun as last year - some stupid woman kept howling incessantly about every five seconds. Like, wolf howling, not laugh howling. The pony group apparently was a disaster. I missed being in the parade because I woke up late and thought 'fuck it' and didn't bother costuming until later. I technically didn't use 2 of my costumes, though one was meant to wear if the rained during the parade and one meant for if it didn't rain.

The high points were great though - I got to see Morgan again and hang out a bit, meet some of Jason's friends, have some great costume duos with Mary, and bought a bunch of t-shirts. I got to judge a Whedon-verse costume contest, and that went very fast and easy. We didn't have time to really talk to contestants and there was no pre-judging, but it was pretty obvious who was winning and who wasn't. The Firefly winners were the 2 guys who contacted the company that made the beads for the uniform jackets and had new beads cast just for their costumes. They made everything themselves, and researched the type of armor used by the troopers in Serenity. There was pretty much no disagreement, and I think it went really well.

Overall, there were not a lot of fantastic costumes. That or I'm just getting used to seeing really awesome ones. There were a few good ones, as always, but just not as many.  My most memorable posing event was when I ran into a Celestia and Luna in drag. I posed with them for a little while, but the Luna positively REEKED of cigarette smoke. The Celestia was entertaining though.

I got told that I was the 'best Midna EVER', which I'm still super excited about. He sounded like he'd seen a few others. As far as I could tell, I was the only Midna of my type this year, but I could be wrong. I saw a few Imps around too. While I wish I'd had more energy this year, not pushing myself to stay in costume the whole con was kind of nice too.
Woohooo!  My third approved Rebel Legion costume - Padme Battle dress thing. It's more of the handmaiden version, as it was approved as 'informal' rather than 'formal' which is perfectly fine. My other two are both 'formal'. It's not required, but I am going to take in the pant seams a bit. I now have a back up 'throw on and go' costume for events, should the need arise. Thanks again, Cheralyn Lambeth for the fabric!
Danielle is MUCH much more mobile than she was just a few months ago. Her lower back is still stiffer than it was, and she's lost some flexibility. My vaca timing turned out less than great, unfortunately, because she was in the middle of a bad flare. Still, I got to ride in the "Cylon" - Their next new vehicle that has a long folding back seat that allows Danielle to rest more or less comfortably for the hour and a half trip to Ithaca. She eventually wants to see if she can push it to a 2 hour trip and beyond, but is a little afraid to push out her limit too much, at least at this point,  Either way, it lets her leave the city limits of her crummy little town and get out.

I reached my goal of 20 miles total zombie running/walking during the trip. I love the hills around her house, crummy town aside, and it was really fun to race full speed downhill, even if it meant climbing up them again on the way back. My asthma bothered me less than usual, which was nice as well.  I still don't have the breathing capacity that I really need for an extended run, but I did get 4.5 miles of walking/running in one day, and I felt great.

We got some filming and photos done, and I'm working on a photoshop for her in her She-Ra costume.  The owner of the barn she normally goes to let her pick out a horse and pose next to it for several photos. I got some lovely shots out at Cayuga lake, and almost got to see a waterfall. The dry riverbed was kind of amazing looking.  And walk on.

I came back with 3 pounds of assorted coffee, some other goodies and we generally had a great time :) As usual, today it almost feels like I never went.
The beach trip turned out fairly awesome. I have the best FB status ever: Our ferry sank and we nearly got stranded overnight on Ocracoke Island.  Technically, it was going to BE our ferry, no one was on it, and it only partially sank due to equipment failures. We had to take the northern ferry to Hatteras and drive all the fuck the way from Hatteras, north along the outer banks, across the Virginia Dare Bridge and back home.  If there had been no northern ferry, we would have been stuck there at least overnight.

I got some sun and was able to even up the color on my legs and arms.  Despite eating steak, crab cakes, fries, fries and fried fish, I am down 2 lbs from before we left, reaching my major goal of losing 20 lbs total off my wedding weight.  I'm now a size six, and extremely happy with myself.  I still have some pudge to get rid of, but it's minimal. I'm rapidly falling into the trap of only being able to see the fat I still have to lose, and not what I've already lost.  I'm trying really hard not to be one of THOSE people.  You know, the skinny girl who turns down cookies and says annoying things like "I"M SO FAT" when they're 110 lbs soaking wet.  It wouldn't be healthy for me to go under 125, I think.

Anyway.  The steak was awesome. We totally have to go back through that area just to go eat at Rib Eye's again. It's like Angus Barn, only simpler.  You get a rib eye steak and salad bar, potato and Texas toast.  The only question is the size and doneness of said steak.  There are pork chops available and one or two other meat things, but other than that, it's straight up steak dinner.  And phenomenal steak at that.

I want to try fishing again.  We tried it out on the beach, but caught nothing. It was still fun to try, and Jason taught me how to use shrimp as bait. I'd like to do it again sometime.  The breeze was lovely, and I got out into the ocean a few times. I only narrowly avoided getting burnt - I got some red on my shoulders, but it's turning brown quickly (yay). I got to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse (it's kind of crappy) and that was about all we did on the island, besides food and the beach. The ferry ride over to the island was fairly pleasant, but I was periodically mildly seasick.  It was fun though. I haven't been on a ferry in ages.  The best part of the trip though, was probably talking to the old man in the gift shop next to where we ate lunch.  He showed Jason how to tie a rig on a fishing line for ocean fishing, and talked about the houses and house owners in the downtown area. He was fun to talk to, and told us which restaurants to go to, and which to avoid.  He also had a cooler of bagged wine next to the counter XD.
More like 'purge'.  I'm systematically reducing the crap in my sewing room to stuff I'm actually using.  I chucked the failed Padme wig, because, to be honest, I really do have to start all over again with it. I think if I remake it, I'll use a form core instead of chicken wire. I threw out some stuff I haven't touched in over a year, and finally hung up my thread spool rack.  I also donated a huge sack of fleece to the charity box at Hancocks Fabrics.  If I randomly decide to try making hats again, I'll just pick up new fleece.  A facebook friend is taking my Nightmare before Christmas Sally. So I'm mailing it to Australia. The dress is far too big for me anyway.  I'm going to go through my remaining stuff and eliminate anything I haven't worn in 2 years or is also too big. I probably have a second round of fabric purging to do as well. I can see the floor again.  I haven't mounted my crazy ass-fan on a wall yet, but I think I will. I can't think of a way to do it and show off the rivets, though.

I've contacted a friend of Morgan's about ordering embroidered eyes for plush ponies.  She's going to charge around $14 for a set of 3-4 inch (each) wide eyes, plus shipping, but I think it'll be worth it, unless I can find another, professional looking way to do them.  Another option is to try to find white plastic blanks and paint them to look like eyes on 'normal' stuffed animals, but I suspect that without perfect, smooth edges, I'd just be wasting my time.  I'm going to try making a Rarity first, to get a pattern down.

I need to make more jam.  XD It's getting really popular.  My niece is apparently asking for my jam by name.  I see a lot of berry mashing ahead. I need to get over to the farmers market before I have to resort to frozen berries again - the frozen berry jam is actually really good, but I can get more variety if I can buy different berries in bulk instead of a mix bag.  I'm going to try out my pressure canner this week - I ordered beets through our co-op and I'm gonna pickle them.  Seems like something very straight forward that I likely won't screw up.  And I want pickled beets so I can make pickled eggs.  mmm.  My peach jam was apparently a raging success :D

A weekend at the beach is just around the corner, and I go up to NY the week after that.  I have 2 months left to finish Brandon's uniform, and put together a Rarity costume.  I'm thinking of cannibalizing my Mystique dress, since I'm less than thrilled with it anyway. I'm a little stuck on the wings.  I want to do cellophane butterfly wings, but I don't want to pay $4 for a whole roll of pink when I only need scraps of a few colors.  I wonder if glitter would work? I want to pick up a regular wig for Chrysalis, but otherwise I don't really have any plans to alter the costume before DragonCon, except that I may use something else for the arms, and I want wings.  So I need 2 sets of wings before DragonCon. Whee.. I get to be annoying wing woman.  My DragonCon weekend costuming planning is shaping up to be Pony, Midna, Pony, Pony.  XD.


Seriously :) I'm the costume director. It's gong to be a blast - this weekend, Chapel Hill, NC. STEAMPUNK!
I have been picked to be a fashion designer for this years' Couture for a Cause! I'm fairly excited about this :) In a few weeks or so, I'll find out which organization that I'll be paired up with to design and create a 'ready-to-wear' outfit and a super artsy fartsy fashion drama 'art-to-wear' type of outfit. I basically get to go Lady Gaga.  This is going to be fun :)

Every year, Couture for a Cause holds a fashion show where designers create and donate their creations to be auctioned off at the end of the show for charity.  I'm going to have to go back and watch previous shows on youtube - the one show that I attended, the bidding went much differently than I expected it to, so I'm going to take that into consideration when designing. I'm also going to need a model for both sets of pieces, and I don't know if they'll provide a list or what.  A couple of the outfits the year I attended went for a thousand bucks, and one only went for $40. I DO NOT want to make a $40 outfit. The average was probably around $150 for the art stuff.

The metal fan thing is coming along. I hope I can get some of it mounted tonight on the screen door mesh.  I never thought Elmer's glue would be so useful XD.

ConTemporal is less than 2 weeks away!!!!

(copied and Pasted from my LiveJournal)
Berry and peach pie in the oven, homemade spaghetti sauce on the stove, 4 loads of laundry down, stripped the bed, did dishes, cleaned kitchen, and bought canning supplies for my soon-to-be peach and maybe even peach and raspberry preserves.  I haven't tried a swirl jam yet, I don't know if that would work or if the liquid jam would be too hot to stay apart, but it's worth trying. The peaches aren't *quite* ripe enough yet, and I'm watching them like a hawk, since peaches tend to go from perfectly ripe to sad within hours.  Or it seems like it anyway.

mmmm. I love making jam.

I'm going to go throw an hour or two at crafting projects and see where I am housework wise.