Accepting the New Me

We recently went to All-Con, a small-ish pop culture convention near Dallas, TX. I’ve been going to All-Con since 2008. It’s one of my favorite conventions for a few reason. It was the first convention I attended with Austin Browncoats. And it’s where I met Brooks, who is a very dear friend.  It also has a great sense of community even though is cover a broad spectrum of content.  Over the years, some of my nearest and dearest friendships have started at All-Con.

When I first started attending All-Con, I was…precocious. I was 24 and I felt very desirable. I had a failing relationship at home, another guy I wanted to be in a relationship with and I still felt very alone. It was weird to go back for the full weekend as an entirely different person. Married, a parent, and 50 pounds heavier.

All in all, it was a great weekend. We got to spend time with old friends, spend time with newer friends.

The drive up took an hour or so longer than usual due to construction all over IH 35, which was a pain. When we got there, Stephen helped Ryan unload the van while Ellie and I spent time together.  It took the hotel 90 minutes to get us a crib, which was annoying.  We wanted to put Ellie to bed, but that took a lot longer than expected since they couldn’t deliver a darn crib.  We had to make a makeshift barrier between us and Ellie so she couldn’t see us.  She’d rather sleep in bed with us, but we’d rather have our bed to ourselves.

In the morning, Ryan and Stephen set-up the booth while Ellie and I slept in. Not a bad way to start a convention. I ordered an omelette from room service for Ellie and it cost $23. I hope we ate gold for that price. Jeez. In general, Friday was pretty tame. Ellie ran around in her Star Wars romper and made lots of friends. Not surprising, I’m sure. And my Geek-a-bye Baby items sold really well, which is always exciting. We went to dinner with Stephen and found out that Ellie was cutting another tooth, which made for a slightly irritable toddler. Roon had his Garrison dinner, so we didn’t get to spend much time with him, but he did get Ellie some adorable toys, including a crocheted ray gun. I was supposed to go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Ellie didn’t want to go to sleep and I didn’t want to leave Ryan with a screaming baby.  Instead, we went out and bought Ellie some medicine and tried to help her get comfortable enough to sleep.

Saturday morning arrived earlier than I had hoped. We got ready and made some juice — and Ryan took Ellie to the breakfast buffet so she could have eggs, melon and some potatoes. Apparently, she made a number of friends while eating breakfast because a number of people stopped us later in the day to say hello to their breakfast buddy.

An old creep who used to visit the booth a lot in 2008 and 2009, primarily at the Sci-Expo/Dallas Comic Con events dropped by to ‘shop’. While there, he was looking at me strangely. He asked if I was the person who used to sell tea. And kept muttering to himself, while fiddling around with his antiquated cell phone. I told him I was the person who sold the teas, but that our teas were at another event this weekend. He then muttered more surprised sounds and scrolled through his cell phone and produced a photo of me from 2008 and said, “Wow, you look different.” Yes, I am fat right now. Yes, I have 50 pounds that just don’t want to leave my body. Yes, I exercise. Yes, I eat well. Yes, my thyroid is inactive and we can’t seem to find a medicinal regimen that doesn’t cause me to have a Lupus flare up. Yes, I know I used to be super skinny. And yes, it is FUCKING CREEPY that you still have a photo of me in a belly dancing costume from 2008 on your fucking cell phone. No, I don’t need you to then show this photo to anyone who will look at it so I can be treated like some circus freak compare and contrast — just for your amusement. I’m sorry that the body I have right now isn’t great for your creepy fantasies, but seriously? Have some tact. Do you think I haven’t noticed that I’m huge? Do you think I like looking this way? Yeah. No. Delete my photo, freak. You need a hobby that isn’t stalking random girls. Seriously, though. He had a few photos of me from MANY years ago. He said his girlfriend sent them to him, as well. Including unposed, candid shots. Uhm, lovely. The saddest part, I looked so unhappy in those photos. Lesson — I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and depressed. And as annoyed as I was when he did that, I instantly thought to myself — “I wouldn’t change a thing.” Back then, I was surrounded by fake friends and in an unhappy relationship. The only thing I’d change — is having my Nanny back.

This interaction led to a really great conversation with Drunk!Brooks. I am depressed, but not about my life as it is. I am depressed because I am happy. Yes, I know — that doesn’t make much sense. But, hear me out. My Nanny left me almost a year ago. And I miss her every day. And I cry because Ellie is missing out on having the most amazing person in her life. But, I am so happy right now because Ellie enriches my life so tremendously. And Ryan and I have such an amazing marriage. And I’ve finally surrounded myself with an amazing support network of friends. And things seem to be going my way — but Nanny still isn’t here. I think I have survivor’s guilt.

I’ve made some amazing strides in my goal to reclaim my body, but nothing consistent. I need to commit to my Paleo lifestyle that I know makes me feel better. Period.

Anywho, that Saturday was hilarious. Drunk!Brooks found me at the end of the day and wanted the bottle of wine from my wedding I brought up for him. His costume was specifically made with pockets deep enough to carry a wine bottle. Oh, Brooks! The best part about our 20 minutes together? The next morning, he didn’t remember any of it, which started The Hunt For Red Portuguese Wine.

That night, we went to dinner with Emily and Matt, our button friends. It was really nice to see them. Part of my new lifestyle includes reclaiming friends that I haven’t seen in a while. For a period of time, I had a friendship that was really isolating me from other folks. I’m sure it was a mutual thing, in some ways. But, it wasn’t healthy. And now, I’m working on re-establishing meaningful connections with friends I’ve missed. We talked about lots of things, including Emily working on the new Geek-a-bye Baby website design. A while ago, someone logged in and deleted the theme for the site. Which was a blessing really, because now I’m going to get a professional makeover!

We stayed in front of the restaurant for a while and talked about life, the universe and buttons. It was raining cats and dogs, but Ellie didn’t seem to mind. When Uncle Roon had to leave, Ellie tried to chase after his van. It was so very sweet. She yelled, “Roon!” That’s her buddy.

Sunday lost an hour and boy did we feel it. Since Ellie was cutting a tooth, she woke up a few times. We got up and Ryan packed the car with our things and then took Ellie to breakfast. Sunday was a pretty slow day, which is typical. Stephen left early — and then there were 3. Around 215pm, Brian ran over and said a Firefly panelist backed out and they needed me to sub in for him. Oh, unplanned panels. So, I walked into a room full of Browncoats. We talked about costumes and props mainly. In the end, a handful of people stopped me afterward and said they hope I run that panel again next year. It was very sweet of them, all things considered.

Eventually, Brooks found his lost bottle of wine, but it was a bit of a caper. Lots of misinformation and lost time due to a wine blackout. We even interrogated a few people.  In the end, Brooks remembered that he hid the wine so the stoners wouldn’t steal it. Even black out drunk, Brooks will protect the wine! Gosh, we’re an episode of Cougar Town. :P It was such a joy to spend even a little time with my Brooks.

When the convention came to a close, I played with Ellie while Ryan tore down the booth, with some help from our friend, Dan. All in all, it went by fairly quick.

The weekend was a great success and I left feeling really great about my life. I saw lots of people there who I’ve missed and lots of people who seem stuck in the past. But, as long as we’re all happy, right? Unless you are creepy stalker guy. And then you need to delete my photos from you phone.

Kevin Sorbo Loves My Baby!

This weekend, we had Dallas Sci-Fi Expo, a smaller convention in the HUGE Irving Convention Center.  For a while, we stopped going to the Dallas convention (Sci-Fi Expo, Dallas Comic Con), but they have really blossomed into successful shows for us.

Bringing my 14 month old to conventions is always an interesting proposition.  First, I will say that Ellie is very well behaved.  And she is an extremely happy baby.  But, she is always high energy.  When she sees an opening to run and play, she’ll take it!  Rightfully so.  That being said, for the most part we can keep her entertained at the booth.

Whenever Ellie was feeling a little too cooped up, we’d let her run up and down the main aisle.  She’s been running since around 10 months.  And the older she gets, the cuter her run becomes.  She reminds me of Tigger (both the cat and the character).  When she runs, she bounces and laughs along the way.  No matter what you are doing or what kind of mood you’re in, when you see Ellie bouncing along a walkway, you will stop and smile.  It’s impossible not to do so.

Ellie met a number of interesting folks this weekend, including Morena Baccarin.  She also received quite a few gifts from many of her loved ones, including a squid plush made with this really awesome tattoo-inspired fabric, an adorable turtle plush, a crocheted penguin that’s almost as big as she is — and more!  I know they say you can’t spoil a baby, but I wonder if we’re pushing those boundaries as much as we possibly can!  Uncle Roon spoiled Ellie with a number of presents that we’ll use soon, including an awesome cracker container we can use at Sherwood.

She helped set up the booth and tear it down, as well.  She was fixated on trying to make her own grid cube.  It was adorable watching her try to figure out how to make a cube with the grid swaures.  She also tried tearing down the booth a number of times when it was a tad…premature, lol.  Especially the t-shirts, plushes and earrings.

She ran around so much and played with so many friends, new and old, that she slept through dinner on Saturday AND Sunday.  And our baby girl rarely misses a meal.  Poor thing.

We had a few highlights during the convention weekend:

  • Everyone adored Ellie outfits and wanted to know where to buy them.  She wore her Star Wars romper and her Slytherin costume.  I made sure folks received a Geek-a-bye Baby business card!
  • Our hotel was…in pieces.  They were going through renovations, so the front desk and breakfast buffet were both in hotel rooms.  And the lobby?  A huge construction site.  But, because of the renovations, our room was brand new and perfect!  The mattress was amazing!  It didn’t hurt my back and I was able to sleep through the night for the first time in a few years.
  • We saw lots of friends during this weekend.  The best part was being surprised by Roon about a special visitor.  Right before she arrived at the convention, Roon let us know that VeX flew out to come to the show.  Ellie was so excited to see Aunt Cindy!
  • Sean let us know about their Dallas convention ritual — eating dinner at Vila Brazil, a churrascuria in Irving.  The food was divine and the service was amazing and friendly.  They even had the best live music I’ve heard at a restaurant ever.  Definitely recommend trying it out if you’re in the neighborhood.  Hell, try it even if you’re not in the neighborhood.
  • The booth ran so smoothly.  I had a number of health issues at this convention due to my lupus, but I didn’t have to once worry about the booth because we’ve put together such a great crew.  I used to have to be concerned about the booth constantly.  It was never easy!  Now, I find being at the booth to be relaxing and enjoyable.  And Ellie loves it, too!
  • As we were packing up, I was approached by Kevin Sorbo’s handler, who let me know that Kevin couldn’t stop raving about Ellie and how adorable she was.  She mentioned that he would tell random people about the cute little baby he kept seeing bounce up and down the aisle in front of him.  Ellie is Hercules Approved!  :D

All in all, it was an amazing weekend with even more amazing friends.  We are so very blessed to have such a perfect life.  Ellie really was the missing link!

Can’t wait for next weekend — Sherwood!

Until then…