Another adventure locked down, and it’s back to “normal”

  
  
It’s always a little surreal to come home after an adventure, to step back into routine and early bedtimes and the quiet familiarity of home. It’s nice to be once more in our own beds, surrounded by the safety of our own four walls, but it’s a bittersweet sensation.   

Judging by the amount of cottage traffic we passed from time to time in the early afternoon, I suspect I won’t be alone in struggling a little with going back to work tomorrow, but along with the down is feeling refreshed and having stories and photos to share.    

    
More photos and videos to come as I get things loaded! 
Also, go Blue Jays! Such a sight to see — cosplayers and Jays fans in blue mingling in a great crowd down the sidewalk in Front St in Toronto . . . 

I love that we were able to do this for our kids, and ourselves. 

xo

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Blisters on my feet and a smile on my face

A delayed start and humidity with a heat alert set a rushed tone at first today. That, along with a problem last night concerning our hotel room that sent us to a neighbouring hotel, a crowded breakfast room (at least it was free!) and a problem with the parking in the morning (we forgot that we weren’t checking into the other hotel until later and paid our parking too early, so that took time to explain and resolve . . .)

So we arrived later than we wanted at FanExpo, and got hit with it all at once. And it was packed. I felt completely overwhelmed in the sea of people, especially after losing track of Hubby, who’d gone to get an autograph for a friend. In a crowd that size, you are not allowed to stop and ponder: you must keep moving. It can get frustrating.

Another issue I found was that once I got caught in the mass of people squeezing between the autograph lineups and the merchandise / exhibitors, it’s extremely difficult to get out of it. I should have expected that from previous experiences. We should have avoided the show floor altogether (I wanted to get a photo op, though, with Graham McTavish, an awesome actor from The Hobbit and Outlander — silly, I know — and so we got stuck) and headed directly for the floors with the workshops and panels. Tomorrow, that’s the plan. 

Of course, that depends on tag-teaming care of the youngest in our brood. I had her in tow for much of the day, and then switched with Hubby for a bit. It’s hard to attend panels and workshops that aren’t geared for the younger set. We have to work on that. We are going to enlist the elder child in looking after her for an hour or so tomorrow, depending on crowd size and timing.

Still, in spite of all the challenges, it was a good day. I doubt I will be wearing my spike heeled boots again for a while, but we saw some terrific exhibits, Bridget and I met Robert Picardo (he liked my hat!) and George Romero (he liked Bridget’s makeup!), saw daredevils in profession as well as cosplay, talked to good people, and took lots of pictures. I picked up souvenirs for friends and comics for me, spent too much money, and after literally limping back to the car (got us lost on Younge St first), we had a late supper at the Hard Rock Cafe on Dundas. The streets were humid, smelly, crowded with all walks of life and all levels of prosperity and poverty, mixing and shifting and drifting under the lights. Kind of a reflection of FanExpo, in fact.

Tomorrow, we won’t stress over cosplaying or shopping or anything. Just going with the flow, and having fun. 

I was questioning the wisdom of this trip, but at the end of the long day, I think we’re all glad we came.

   
The final product! A hint of risqué under the pursuit of learning . . .

 Sadly, it was too hot for Jack to stay in his Deadpool gear for long. 

 Bridget enjoyed people’s reactions, especially when they recognized her character! 

  Silly picture time!

  We had an Outlander-style “vow-renewal”! 

  Who could ever say “no” to Cinderella?

 My good man waited an hour and a half in the queue to help a friend. ❤️

   A hint of the crowds . . .

 And a tasty Mai-Tai!

More tomorrow!

Back to the Cosplaying Conundrum

So the tickets and wristbands are in our possession for FanExpo, and school supplies having also been procured, we now turn to the problem of dressing for the convention.

I’ve completed the alterations on Jack’s Deadpool unitard so it’s more form-fitting. He needs help setting up design and construction of his mask. Plus painting up some Nerf guns, a foam board sheath and sword, and making a utility belt and holsters. At least he’s got high boots and gloves!

  
And then Bridget wants to be Chica from Five Nights at Freddy’s. Basically, I need to find or make a yellow top and leggings, a white bib that says “Let’s Eat!”, and black, white, and yellow makeup. And shoe covers. If I get enough makeup, we can do her whole arms and hands as well as her face and hair. She’s averse to a mask, unfortunately, although I think that would be easier in many ways. 

  
Hubby is all over tweaking / upgrading his Steampunk gear from last year. 

So then there’s me. 

I didn’t even start on anything this summer in part because I wasn’t sure we were even going, and other things took priority. Now . . . I want to wear something awesome, powerful and sexy, but I’m running out of time, resources, and I’m stuck in glasses with short hair. 

So I need your help! 

Here is a list of the assets I do have at hand:

  • Long hooded reversible cloak, sleeveless. One side is brown, the other is ivory.
  • Blue v-neck dress cut on the bias, diagonal hem, jersey fabric. Wore it last year as part of my Wonder Woman / Firefly mashup.
  • Assorted dress shirts
  • Doctor Who scarf (Jack’s)
  • Bowties
  • Various lengths of pleather, mostly brown
  • Grey sheeting (meant for a Weeping Angel costume that isn’t going to happen yet)
  • Antique ivory shawl
  • Hawaian shirts
  • Chef coats and aprons
  • Cayley’s parasol from Firefly
  • Lots of embroidery thread
  • Lots of yarn
  • Floral bedsheets from a double we no longer have

The makings of something awesome are in there, I just know it. I just can’t figure it out on my own. I don’t necessarily want to be an elf, because I don’t have the ear tips. Nor do I really want to be a Jedi. I’ve thought maybe about going Steampunk, but I really want something from one of my fandoms, or to mash things up. Sadly, my Adipose bit the dust after ComicCon, so I can’t be Miss Foster again. 

I thought maybe about borrowing a lab coat from the school to be Osgood. But I’m not sure I really want my neck wrapped in a wooly scarf for this — FanExpo is a sweaty place to be!

I also thought about being a security guard from FNAF but that would feel unbalanced: I would match Bridget but not Jack or Hubby.

This is a careful business. It’s not as simple as a Hallowe’en costume. I want to feel awesome, not ridiculous — too often, I feel ridiculous. So if you have any suggestions from the list of resources above, I am all ears. 👂🏻👂🏻👂🏻

Meeting People and Geeking Out: My Latest Adventures in Fandom

Since last we met, dear readers, the summer has passed and I have tried to keep myself productive, with varying levels of success. I’ve made some progress on my next novel, the third and final in The Talbot Trilogy, and my garden has been happily growing, feeding bees, butterflies, earwigs, slugs, and birds. I don’t mind that I’m helping the first two, but the latter three I’d prefer to be rid of, particularly as they like to snack on my lovely Heirloom tomatoes.

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The highlight of the last few weeks — and a point of particular stress — was taking my family to FanExpo in Toronto. Our great end-of-summer hurrah, as it were. Weeks of preparation, developing an itinerary and choosing accommodations, creating costumes and explaining the passage of time to my daughter. And with that much anticipation, it’s no wonder that the time we spent at the event flew by, though enjoyably so.

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I will admit, there are some aspects of FanExpo that I had hoped to be more satisfying. I thought a lot about the power of anticipation on the way home — how the expectation of something grand and exciting can outweigh the experience of the thing itself. Like the chase feeling more fun than the catch, or the trailer more tantalizing than the film. I’d set up photo opportunities for myself and my family with some of our favourite actors, and we looked forward to those intensely, but when the pivotal moments arrived, I was too shy to make the most of them. I saw others having fun with posing, and props, but I was too keyed up with the glamour and shock of actually being there to do what I’d dreamed of doing: asking for a quick hug, or standing between a pair of actors rather than slipping to the side. An expensive learning experience, to be sure. Photo ops are a long wait, and a quick doing. I’d thought that they would be better and more personal than an autograph, but after sharing some nice, quick conversations with two other actors (and waiting only 20 minutes for each), I think my opinion is reversing itself.

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Freddy! He also had a great guest role on “Chuck”…

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The 11th Doctor himself! And a few seats away, Rory, the Last Centurion…

Michael Rooker was a delight to talk to, a real highlight...

Michael Rooker was a delight to talk to, a real highlight…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Relax, dear,” Bruce Campbell says to me. “It’s not a mugshot.” “I can’t,” I told him, “You’re too awesome!”

 

 

 

Still, there is something to be said for spending two days in the company of thousands of like-minded individuals. I saw people of all ages and faiths, ethnicities and educational levels, mingling happily in a sea of science fiction and fantasy merchandise, celebrities, icons, and workshops. Cosplayers are among the kindest people you will ever meet. They’re much like Shriners, in fact, in my experience: very friendly, open to conversation, willing to help or point you in the direction of help, highly creative and generous of their time. 

I think that the attendees and volunteers of FanExpo are perhaps the best part of the event.

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It’s a place for waiting, you see. You wait in line to meet someone who’s been part of your favourite fiction, for a fleeting chance to tell them how much you appreciate their work and if you can afford it, take away their signature as a treasured souvenir. You wait in line to obtain a precious bottle of water or a slice of pizza for your hungry children, acutely aware that you’re grateful that it’s there and you live in a country where a long line is a minor inconvenience. You wait to find a place to squeeze through the crushing crowd between tables displaying information about philanthropic fan organizations raising money for Sick Kids, and pick up advice on costume repair or spy a coveted tea pot while you’re there. You wait to meet your significant other, who is trying to get to you from the other side of the building. And yet the adventure keeps happening around you, while you’re waiting.

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You’re seeing superheroes and creatures of mythology rubbing elbows with fantastical recreations of anime characters and video game villains. You’re glimpsing famous faces at the end of one of those long lines, smiling and shaking hands with the fans who support them, and delighting in the proximity. You’re making way for a grand Gandalf with his perfectly Hobbity wife, steadily moving forward with the aid of a walker, while an infant barely a month old is wearing the onesie of a comic book heroine, swinging in her father’s arms. It’s hot, and it’s loud, while a gathering of gaming fans cheers on competitors in a virtual race, and the people stream in breaks and eddies toward the doorways that funnel them to the next part of the convention centre. It’s beautiful, dizzying, and maddening, all at once.

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You make friends at FanExpo. I had lovely conversations while waiting in line, with a nice young couple who’d just finished school. The lady (whose name I was too shy to ask) offered to pilfer a Sprite from an unwatched case on behalf of my thirsty self, and I promised her we would bond in jail. (Don’t worry, we didn’t steal the pop.) And then I chatted with a terrific gentleman who was the only person I’d seen with the wisdom to bring a folding stool for the waiting. (Hello, dear Man-with-the-Stool, if you held onto my card and have gotten to read this!) 

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Adding to this the experience of strolling downtown in a metropolis in full creature or hero gear, passing sports fans on their way to the Blue Jays game and boarding the subway with evening commuters, and you have a summertime adventure that simply cannot be equalled or diminished, even if the photos weren’t quite what were originally envisioned and the legs and feet take days to recover from hours of walking and standing on concrete floors. After all, adventures aren’t meant to be perfect. They’re occasions in which to learn about ourselves, to take risks and push boundaries, and later to share with others by story and photograph.

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Travelling by subway…

 

We first went to FanExpo last year, and we enjoyed it so much then that we determined to make it a family tradition. Already, my husband is planning how to improve his costume for next year, and my son is considering his cosplay options. I’ve learned the value of carrying a large, colourful or easily recognizable staff — it might seem cumbersome, but it’s incredibly useful for identifying someone across a crowded convention hall. I’ve also learned the value of the revealing, light-cloth costume in an environment heated and humidified by thousands of bodies. So the next trip should be even better than this one.

 

 

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My daughter immediately embraced the first Elsa cosplayer she saw, and refused to let go for a good five minutes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But though I feel a layer of disappointment here and there (which may also be a mark of my own anxieties making themselves known — always worried that I haven’t done things exactly right), I know that my family had an excellent experience, and that makes it all so very worthwhile. 

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Good News Monday!

At ilovevampirenovels.com, I have a Dedicated Author Page!

Muahahaha! My media empire is spreading! (rubs hands in maniacal glee)

Okay, maybe not so much, but still, every spot I land on the Interwebs feels pretty good. It’s that whole thing about life moving pretty fast (thank you, Ferris Bueller!) — I enjoy the little things as much as the big things. And this one is more of a medium.

Have a look when you have a chance — it’s Monday! Here’s the jump:

http://www.ilovevampirenovels.com/vampires/tori-l-ridgewood/

First look at the cover for Mist and Midnight, my prequel to The Talbot Trilogy — squee!

This is mostly definitely a fuel to get my engines running! Caroline Andrus has met my expectations and more with this gorgeous rendering of the cover for the novella that sets up Wind and Shadow, and the rest of the Talbot Trilogy. What do you think, my dears?

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Talk about an incentive to work on Book Three: Crystal and Wand — I’m on tenterhooks waiting for edits on Book Two: Blood and Fire.

So, how has the end of your summer been going? I was very down for a while, watching time pass and my to-do list not shortening a great deal, but I crossed enough items off to be okay.

My garden did not do as well as expected, but neither did I put the effort into it that I was planning, and yet the roses, begonias, and a few others are thriving. I had strawberries grow, and tomatoes come up from seeds that fell out last year’s frost-kills. Ambition for next year is renewed!

I’m very pleased that I’ve managed to keep up with my lawn mowing. Last year, I think I gave up in the middle of August — mind you, it was a long, hot, dry summer, but still . . . have you ever tried picking up poopsicles among tufts of still-frozen-yet-slushy-too-long-grass in April or May? It’s not fun. I’m hoping, having kept the lawn trim, to avoid this headache in the spring.

The weather in my neck of the world has cooled considerably, but we’re still having sunshine and some lovely warm afternoons. Each weekend, we put the property further to bed. I’m hopeful that this week, our big Dumpster will arrive so we can properly dispose of old appliances, beds, and random junk that has accumulated over the last year.

The math course I’ve been given to teach is still rather scary and daunting, but I got through the first week with minimal damage to my ego. It’s manageable, but still a challenge. But I’m doing better at self-care, so I think that it will get better. Teachers need to remember to take care of themselves to have the energy and morale to tackle those tough classes.

I think, too, that having had a good summer is fuel for a good fall and winter as well. My family and I had a terrific time at FanExpo in Toronto last month. We only went for a day, but that was plenty with kids in tow — we didn’t even make it through the whole day, leaving at 2. But I got to meet Cathy Weseluck (voice of Spike on My Little Pony) and Luke Perry!

And gape at other celebrities from a distance. Plus marvel at the creativity of the cosplayers, assorted societies (did you know that there is a Ghostbusters Ontario? I didn’t!), check out the booths, play with some technology, meet Drs and Daleks and zombies . . .

I only wish I’d had made the time to make a costume for myself. Next year! Plus, it was terrific visiting old friends and relatives we hadn’t seen in years. (I was feeling a bit shy to take pics of my great-aunt and second cousins, strangely.)

Plus, on the way home, I climbed the Temagami Tower for the first time, a thrilling and scary experience. 154 steps — great for the thighs!

Plus, I’ve been making steps toward a better, healthier lifestyle. I joined Weight Watchers at the end of August, and I’ve started doing yoga regularly again. Just 15 minutes a day, but hey, it’s something! And while I cheated badly on my meals last week, I made a good re-start yesterday, buying all healthy things, lots of fruits and veggies, and avoiding the cheesecake aisle.

That’s a lot of “plus”. On to my Professional Development Day!

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