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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Great Day In LA

We are on a mini-vacation, just 100 miles north of home. Treklet and I are in Los Angeles for a few days, doing the tourist thing.

Our first day was tons of fun...and educational, too! After a mom-daughter workout and soak in the jacuzzi, we ventured on up the 5 Freeway to the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits.

The museum is just right. Not too big and overwhelming, yet informative and interesting enough to hold our attention for a couple of hours. After perusing the exhibits, we walked across the street for lunch and then returned for a short docent-led tour of the park.

We learned that the tar is not actually tar, but asphalt. We also learned the difference: Asphalt is decomposed organic materials while tar is man-made. We learned that methane and hydrogen sulfide from the decomposition rise from underground to cause the bubbles in the lake. The lake is man-made by siphoning water away from the many excavation sites around the park.

We learned that the pits were predator traps. For every herbivore excavated from the asphalt, there are 9 predators. The goo would have been covered in leaves, sticks, and other debris, as well as water, so animals probably wandered into it unawares. At that point they would be hopelessly stuck. A depth of asphalt of only two inches would be enough to trap a mammoth (12 ft tall and 7 metric tons)! There is a story of 2 Asian elephants that got loose from a traveling zoo in the 1930s that were stuck in just a couple of inches of asphalt, but were pulled out by humans, and that is how they know this. Once the prey animals were stuck, they were seemingly easy pickings for the predators, who then also would become mired in the muck. In just this small area over 3500 Sabertooth cats have been found!

We found our hotel, the Elan, only a few miles away and settled in. We've got free WiFi (a primary factor in booking this room over our second choice), a comfy room, and a courteous staff. I packed a cooler full of healthy vegan food which I transferred to our in-room mini-frig, and unpacked before we set out again.

The Grove is only one mile from our hotel! I told Treklet that we wouldn't have time to go to the American Girl Store because we had our itinerary planned to explore places she has never been. She was pleasantly surprised to learn that we could pay a visit to her favorite store, and we also had time to see the latest Muppet movie there, too.

After our long day she turned in while I squeezed in my second workout and a shower and here I sit blogging. Tomorrow we will explore the Science Center. Eugene is along, and is excited to see the space shuttle Endeavor.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Who could have known what would come from that graduation gift?

When our daughter, Katie, graduated from high school we gave her a fancy SLR camera (I know next to nothing about cameras--only how to take selfies on my phone).

That summer she started a little home based business taking senior portraits and homecoming pictures for her Alma Mater. 

Now, less than 5 years later, not only has her business grown, but she has a cosmetology license which allows her to offer makeup and hair services to her clients. 

She has also added a business partner who is her second shooter and video producer. He's her wonderful husband, Christian! 

Together they help preserve wedding memories for happy couples and get to travel far and wide doing so. 

I'm proud to share that Katherine Rose Photography is featured in the Hey Wedding Lady blog this week: 

Wow! Impressive, eh? 

Tell her SFMom sent ya!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Evidently Shatner has his dates mixed up...

It is NOT April Fools Day. Now I'm kinda pissed...

I told him so, too.  What a douchebag thing to do.
1.7 million hearts were at stake.

On Shatner's Desertion....

Every morning I get up, drink a giant glass of water, make breakfast for my daughter, then grab a cup of coffee and a shake or oatmeal for myself and take a little time to clear my Facebook notifications and browse my Twitter feed. This morning I was not prepared for what I saw.


I couldn't quite comprehend this! Mr. Shatner was a PROLIFIC tweeter. He also interacted with fans. He promoted the hell out of his numerous projects and appearances on Twitter. I wouldn't have known about 90% of his stuff without it!

I screen-capped his tweets in my Twitter app because when I tried to favorite them I got an error message saying, "Sorry, that page does not exist."

Funny, by deleting his account almost immediately after posting that he was leaving, most of his 1,786.429 followers never got to see his farewell. Only a few of us saw it none of us know the reasons why.

I checked his Facebook page and there hasn't been an update in almost a year and there is nothing from him on the Group page there.  I checked his website and there hasn't been a blog post since March 4th. 

I felt enormously sad for a little while. Like there was a big hole in my Twitter that nothing could fill. How are we going to know what weird national holidays are coming up? I worried that when he actually dies in real life that I wouldn't survive the news. 

Then I got real. Yes, I'll miss Mr. Shatner on my timeline, but I won't crawl under the covers and drink myself into numbness. After all, Betty White just posted a hilarious tweet! And my paltry 2.157 followers need me! I've still got so much to tweet for!

For my last words on this I leave you with my current G+ and Facebook status:

Fast tracking the 5 stages of grief so I can get on with my life. 
Stage 1: NO!!! It can't be! ::checks Shatner's blog and Facebook page
Stage 2: WTF Bill! You just turn your back and walk out on 1,786,429 of us without an explanation?!!!
Stage 3: OK, Mr Shatner, if you come back I promise not to reply to any of your tweets.
Stage 4: I don't think I can face the day. Maybe I should delete all my social media, too. What's the point? I don't even want to watch Star Trek. :'-(
Stage 5: OK I'm over it. At least Betty White is still tweeting.

What about the Common People, Bill?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vegan, Non-GMO, Soy-free Protein Bars

Since it took me a couple of hours of googling, I decided to put all this research into a blog post.

IF I would have been keeping up with my blogging, you would all know that I've been on a fitness quest and have lost about 65 pounds over the last couple of years. More importantly than the weight loss, I've also made great improvements in general health and fitness through exercise and gradually changing my diet.
In case you missed this on Facebook, Twitter and G+
This is me on the left in January 2012 and on the right in October 2013

I'm not a vegetarian...yet...but my daughter is, and so I've been cooking and eating a lot of new plant-strong meals. While she is mainly a vegetarian for moral reasons, I have researched a lot about the health benefits of cutting out animal based foods from our diet.

While I have occasional meat, I feel less enthused about it and really don't crave it at all. It's mostly a matter of convenience: we still have a full-on carnivore living with us in the Alien. Treklet is by no means a vegan. She eats organic yogurt and eggs and cheese, but I'd like to steer away from dairy for various reasons which I will save for another post. (Steer away...see what I did there?)

I eat a lot of protein bars. They are convenient to keep in my car for snacks when I'm out and hungry. They help me fill in that protein serving that I'm usually short on by the end of the day because I still kinda suck at this vegetarian thing. I really love Quest Bars. I've been a big fan of them for a couple of years now. I need to replace them, though, because their main ingredient is isolated whey protein.

So my project today was to find vegan, non-soy, non-GMO, and, hopefully, organic protein bars. Here is what I found. They all have higher calories than Quest bars ( did I mention I LOVE QUEST BARS?) but Quest has isolated whey protein and isolated milk protein, which I'm not crazy about these days. I’m ordering the ones I haven’t tried before and will update later on my preferences. (I suck at blogging, too, so that's not exactly a promise)

I love Perfect Food Bars, which you can buy at Costco. They must be refrigerated, and they are high fat due to them being full of nut butters. The light bars are lower in calories and fat, but also only have 10 gm protein. 

22 Days has a protein and energy bars. You can save quite a bit by buying the Mocha Mantra bars via Amazon Subscribe and Save. I don’t see the Peanut Butter and Chocolate available for Subscribe and Save, though, and they have the highest protein. Again, these bars are high calorie at 290 with 20 gm protein, but they are lower in fat (10%) than the Perfect Food Bars. 

Dr. Mercola’s Pure Power Protein Bars are only available online in boxes of 12. They offer free shipping, but they are $1 cheaper on Amazon, also with free shipping. Their website has a lot of information on ingredients found in other protein bars, such as soy, whey isolate, casein, sweeteners, and on their own ingredients (brown rice protein, pea protein, tapioca syrup). They have 14 gm. protein, but I can’t find the full nutrition facts for a calorie and fat count. I can update when I receive my order. 

Organic Food Bar Protein has 22 grams protein and 300 calories. They have several other varieties, including raw varieties, but they are all around 300 calories, with varying amounts of protein from 8-14 grams. It’s about $11 cheaper to buy a box through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. I would have liked to try a variety pack, but that isn’t available on Amazon. Besides, for the same calories, I’ll take the extra protein. It just works better for my metabolism.

Dale’s Raw Protein Bar boasts a whopping 22 gm. protein with 280 calories. They boast that they’re the only raw food bar with 22 g protein. Um, OK…  they have lots of yummy-sounding flavors.If you sign up for their mailing list you can get discount codes via email periodically. They are not available on Amazon! You have to spend $150 for free shipping on their site, and they offer no variety packs.
Dale’s also offers Raw Reduced Carb Protein Bars

Vega Sport Bars are available as a Recovery Protein Bar. They come in 2 flavors, and are available at Jimbo’s and Sprouts. They contain 15 gm protein and 230 calories with 7 gm fat.  They also make an Endurance Bar with only 8 gm. protein and 180 calories.

Square Bars are “rectangle free” and a combo pack is available! They are a little low on protein at 12 gm., but they also have only 200 calories. I’m trying they, because… no rectangles. If you like them on Facebook you’ll get an instant 10% code and they are offering free shipping.

Go Macro Protein Pleasure Bar offers 12 gm. protein in a 290 calorie bar. It boasts fair trade chocolate chips. Available through Amazon Subscribe and Save

Good On Ya bars have too little protein for me, but they are probably a good snack for a bike ride or something, when you need more carbs. They are a San Diego company, so I’ll support them here, as an energy bar.  Also, they are available at Jimbos. ;-)

Zing Bars look like a well balanced bar at 200 calories and 10 gm protein and 7 gm fat. Not as much protein as I'd prefer, but again, a good balanced and clean snack after exercise or mid-ride. I love that they have a vegan variety pack. Amazon's price matches the website, with no Subscribe and Save option, but if you have Prime, you could save on the shipping there.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Time to Be Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving. What does that mean in 2013? It seems to me that a day officially set aside for reflection and gratitude in 1863 by President Lincoln has become little more than a day about personal gluttony and corporate greed.

As long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been about the food. Don't get me wrong, I love food! What I mean is that the focus of the day always seemed to be about the feast, not the reason for the feast. We even call it "Turkey Day." Just like Christmas has become about the presents, not the reason we give them. But I digress..

Since I don't have much family, the feast has been problematic for me during my married life. We have no relatives in California. The spouse is British, and quite picky, so the tradition is not hardwired into him, as it is with most Americans that grew up feasting every fourth Thursday in November. He doesn't care for the traditional side dishes, except perhaps stuffing. The girls and I don't like sweet potatoes. Treklet has been a vegetarian for almost 3 years now, so no turkey or gravy for her, and she doesn't like stuffing or that green bean casserole that literally defines Thanksgiving feasting for me and Katie.  I'm the only one that seems to like cranberries. The feast to me has come to mean a full day of slaving in the kitchen for 10 minutes at the dinner table with a picky crew, only to spend another hour or two packing up leftovers that will never be fully consumed and cleaning up. 

Over the years, I've only cooked a few times. We have eaten out, gone to the movies, or gone to my best friend's home for dinner. As a former waitress, I feel sorry for the poor restaurant staff that has to work Thanksgiving. Many of them do have families at home, and they are stuck waiting on large parties or lonely singles, most of which are not generous tippers. 

Then there's the turkey. I love turkey, but I recently read this article about the turkey we eat.
Ugh, it's just not natural. Our food supply is so altered...but that's another blog.

Of course, there is more to Thanksgiving for most families than just the feast. For those with college students, Thanksgiving may be the first time since the semester started that they get to see their kids. For people with distant relatives, Thanksgiving may be a reason to travel and visit. That's awesome. 

There are other traditions linked to the day besides the feast. There is football. When I was a kid, the men all drank Schlitz and watched the game while the women worked in the kitchen and the kids played. I hope today's modern family shares the workload a little better. 

There is the Macy's parade. I've found the parade to be a great bore in the last decade or so, but in my youth I think I enjoyed the floats and giant balloons. The parade will not be on my TV this year. If you have read my blog in the past, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook (how else would you have got here?) you know my disdain for Sea World and keeping animals in captivity for human entertainment. There has been a lot of press in recent weeks about Sea World's float in the parade, and petitions, articles, and a social media blitz imploring Macy's to disallow Sea World's participation in the parade. My personal activism is to keep the parade out of our house and not shop Macy's (who, btw, is open today! Another reason to boycott)

Another Thanksgiving tradition is for holiday shoppers to pore over the store circulars planning their Black Friday shopping spree. I have never shopped Black Friday, as most of my shopping is done before Thanksgiving arrives, and I do admit to shopping mostly online, but if I did shop on Black Friday I would NOT be shopping at Macy's, or any other store that is open today. A new tradition is starting this year, and it's disturbing. Macy's and many other stores are open today, denying their employees a day off before the holiday retail madness to be with their families. Kohl's, Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penney, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Sears, Staples, Office Depot... and more. All open on Thanksgiving. All trying to get a jump on that Black Friday Bottom Line. And shoppers will show up, because Corporate Greed thrives on Personal Gluttony. 

So there's my rant. Here is what my Thanksgiving is going to look like: 

A simple meal. Yes, we will have turkey ( bought an already-cooked breast), potatoes, and a couple of simple and healthful vegetable sides, a new cranberry recipe that I made last night, and cornbread. Since I am recovering from knee surgery, and trying to eat clean as a general rule, this will minimize my time on my feet and not add to my waistline, and we will have a reasonable amount of leftovers that will be eaten.

We will focus on being thankful today. I'm going to start right now. Here are some things I am thankful for:

*My husband's good provision for my daughters and I.  We have a nice home, in a safe neighborhood. It is full of things that bring us comfort and happiness. We have reliable vehicles and are able to keep the gas tanks full so that we can go wherever we want, when we want. If I stopped right there, I'd have more than most people in the world.

*My closest friends. They put up with me when I complain. They advise me when I am troubled. They make me feel loved, when love is what I seem to be missing most in my life. They share in my joy. You know who you are.

*Star Trek  If it wasn't for Star Trek, I'd not know half of the people I know! Star Trek has brought us together online or at conventions, and I've met so many real life friends through our mutual love of Star Trek or Sci-fi in general. It's been a jumping off point for some great relationships. 

*Social Media Many people think social media is a waste of time. I disagree. I have found many friends on social media, and I've nurtured many real life friendships by keeping in touch on social media. I've found people with similar interests, be it sci-fi, nature,or  exercise and nutrition. I stay connected, I interact, I laugh, I rant, I share, I give support and I get support. I find answers to questions. I answer questions. My life is enriched by it.

*People who are working for society today. While I pity the retail workers that have to work today, or risk losing their jobs, I salute those that are working as first responders, caregivers, security, military, etc. It's good to know that they are there if we need them, keeping us safe and healthy.

*The blessing of daughters. My eldest who makes me laugh, makes me pretty, has incredible talent, gives of her time to take pictures for me and help me when I'm gimpy. My youngest who also makes me laugh, fills my house with art, has a compassionate heart, especially for animals, and teaches me something nearly every day. They both make me beam with pride.

*The blessing of a son-in-law. He is a wonderful addition to our family. He is fun and smart and looks after my first baby girl. He is always willing to fix things for his tooltarded mom-in-law. He is a joy to hang out with.

There is much more. I hope you find time to reflect on your blessings today. If you are struggling today with feelings of sadness or loss, counting your blessings may help you realize that there is still much in your life that is good. 

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Post STLV Depression Therapy

     I've been home from the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention (STLV) for 5 days now. I'm just about recovered. Wait, that's not true. This is something us Trekkies never quite recover from. We wait all year to see each other, and when our too-short time is done we slip into a post-con depression, which merely fades, but never subsides, until the anticipation of the next upcoming con takes over. Some people say that social media is ruining authenticity, that friendships made online are not real. BUNK, I say! Twitter and Facebook are how we strengthen those bonds, discuss common fandom, relive our memories through stories and pictures, and make plans for the next time we see each other. We come together from all over the WORLD in Las Vegas every August, and when one of our group is missing, we feel it. When one of us can't make it we almost can't stand to read the posts of those that did, because we ache so much for the camaraderie and understanding that most of us don't get at home. We are a passionate bunch.
      I go to several conventions, but nothing is quite like the STLV experience for me. Phoenix Comic Con is fun, and very family-friendly. I take my daughter and that is our mom-daughter trip. San Diego Comic Con is often more work than fun. It's hectic, super-crowded, and meeting up with friends is sometimes impossible. Wondercon, Grand Slam, various smaller Creation Cons are all nice to visit, but I never seem to know more than a handful of people there, and outside of the convention center, I never seem to connect with anyone or engage in lengthy nerdy conversation.
     This year's STLV was different for me. It's the first time I ever went totally by myself. I have alway either had my best friend as a roommate or gone with one of my kids. I was apprehensive about going until just before the con. I was worried about feeling awkward, worried about getting into the dreaded Star Trek Into Darkness conversation (thankfully never least not with anyone that liked the film!), and worried about expenses. If I hadn't been committed to cosplay with my friend Senthil Masilamani, I may have canceled the trip out of stupid anxiety. All of those worries melted away as soon as I arrived!
      I got in a day earlier than usual, and I already had friends there to greet me. That night at the Masquerade Bar I saw even more familiar faces...friends and acquaintances that I get to see each year. I enjoyed some action figure play time with Trek Karen, but what really set me right was seeing Senthil when he arrived. I knew I was supposed to be there. Soon our little gang was together again and headed to Joe's for pizza.
      I won't (and probably can't) give a daily summary of what I did, but I did set out to do this in order to point out my highest highlights. Now as promised on Facebook, here are the moments that made me feel verklempt: 

     A few days before I left home April Hebert contacted me about making matching t-shirts to surprise Dayton Ward with. For those that don't know, Dayton named characters in his book, That Which Divides, after us. We both felt extremely thrilled and honored to have our names in the story, but I've got to say, when I read it I couldn't believe how he had captured ME in Master Chief Petty Officer Starfleet Mom. LOL Anyway... ::spoiler alert:: April's character died in the book but I got to live! Yes, Dayton is the Puppet Master. Here we are in the shirts April made for us just after we surprised Dayton at his signing table Thursday morning. It seemed to really touch him, which made us feel great.
     I was also really pleased to be able to spend some time hanging out with Dayton and his sometimes writing partner, Kevin Dilmore. I've met them both before, but there just isn't time or space to chat and hang out at San Diego Comic Con. At one point Dayton told me a secret. I hope it's OK to share it here. He told me that the reason I got such a wonderful juicy role in his book (which I didn't know about until a week before it was released) was that at the time he began writing it, he could see from my online posts that I was not happy. Indeed, I was going through a very difficult emotional and physical time. He thought the book would cheer me somehow, and it did. It made me feel special, but him keeping that under his hat until I was in better spirits was what really choked me up. It was one of those random acts of kindnesses, without fanfare or explanation. He never made his motivation known, which is exactly why it worked. That man, despite what his Facebook posts might suggest, is a giver, in the class of Old Saint Nick. What a gesture..what a heart of gold! Here I am with my book and my Puppet Master. I can only hope that the Chief makes another appearance someday...and that she be allowed to live long and prosper!
       My next STLV13 highlight is a strange one. No one would even guess that this memory would be so special to me. Friday night, after cosplaying as Gwen DeMarco all day and much of the night, I showered and changed and went to karaoke with my dear Canadaaaaaaaa, more widely known as Jocelyn. It was great fun, and meeting up with my San Diego pal, Todd Felton was a bonus, too, because he was only able to come for one night! So I'm sitting in the back, drinking scotch and chillin' with my pals when all of a sudden Darnell Davis, in his form-fitting red shirt and black leather pants, grabs my hand and takes me to the dance floor. OK, lots of people were dancing. People dance all the time...but I DON'T DANCE. Dance we did! I mean, like real dancing...and just a little grinding to some depressing Rainy Days and Mondays rendition. The thing is, I have this view of myself. I think of myself as the mom. Everybody calls me Moogie. I'm the oldest one in the group all the time. I've got that middle-aged spread and that kinda lonely and responsible mindset. Sure I do a lot of fun stuff, but it's usually with a ten year old. Darnell, you made me feel young and pretty, even if only for a few dances. :) Sadly, there are no pics of me and Darnell, but here is me and Todd after karaoke!

     After karaoke we went to the Masquerade Bar. It was the wee hours and I was hungry. Darren Benjamin, who manages McMullin's Irish Pub, where I always go when I'm in Vegas, was there. I asked him, more than once, to order me some Irish Nachos. All I got was a reply, "Wrong bar, Starfleetmom." I just kept getting hungrier. Remember will be relevant later. David Ivy was at Masquerade, too. Now here's the thing about David. I've never been quite sure he actually remembered who I was. We're not close, but we see each other at every con and I listen to every episode that he and Darren produce of Trekcast. We had a great geeky DS9 conversation at McMullins last year. I drove by myself to Vegas this year, and I listened to a several Trekcast podcasts on the way because I was behind. By the time I hit State Line I had to stop because I was yelling at David in my podcast app! Why? Because, you see, Star Wars is David's happy place and I can't stand it. In every episode of Trekcast David finds a way to redirect the conversation to Star Wars, or the Milennium Falcon, or Tattooine. He can't help himself!! Well drunk and starving me set out to rip him a new one, and after a couple of hours together, deep in geeky conversation, we were hugging and respecting and even considering doing a special Galaxy Quest episode together! Oh, David, I love you, man! Our conversation picked up again Sunday night right where it left off. I loved getting geeky with him. I'll even tolerate his Star Wars references now. :) Sadly, no pics of me and David either. I was a total PhotogFail at this year's con. I do have a pic of Gwen DeMarco and Darren, though!

     Finally, at 3:30 a.m. Senthil graciously accompanied Jocelyn and me and some other chick in a sparkly dress to the diner for some food. I had the worst ever burger and finally got to bed at 4:00 a.m. Unfortunately, my idiotic internal clock woke me at 7:00 and I was still a little drunk. Uh-oh. It was costume contest day. Yeah, that right there was one of my con regrets. We're not gonna get into those.... I was texting with my dear friend Erica and on the house phone with Jocelyn. Oh dear, we were all in bad shape. I couldn't get back to sleep, but had fun tweeting and accidentally overflowing my bathtub. I just had to be in the vendors hall at the Enterprise Bridge Restoration booth at 10:00 a.m. because I promised Nick Minecci I would be there when he popped the question to his love, Janice. I was able to pull myself together just enough to make it down there at 9:59 and see the big moment. Congratulations Nick and Janice!!

      Unfortunately, it's all fun and games until the drunk wears off. Sometime between the proposal and me getting halfway back to my room I hit the wall. Being vertical was no longer fun, and the carpeting in the long hallway between the hotel and the convention center was quite dizzying. Dayton and Kevin to the rescue!! I needed to clarify dinner plans with David K (there are 3 Davids here, try not to be confused) but didn't think I could make it. Dayton literally guided me like a blind woman..I held his elbow and closed my eyes and he took me to registration where I must have been the most horrid sight, using the counter to hold myself up, puffy eyes, hair pinned up haphazardly, and barely able to finish a sentence. I could smell my own bad breath.  Worst hangover ever. I barely remember asking David if we could have a normal dinner and catch up after the costume contest. I just wanted to slow down and visit! The con was going by so fast! He's the coolest dude ever, because if someone looking and acting like me would have invited me to dinner I would have ran away!
     I managed to get back to my room and try to nap a while and chug as much water as possible before Senthil and I made our appearance as Sylvia and Korob. I'm thankful to Melissa Navarro for taking the time to come to my room and put on my eyelashes and eyeliner, because I suck at it, and because I was pretty darn shaky. OK, next year, no staying out drinking until 4 a.m. the night before the costume parade!! I'm vowing that now. Lesson learned. I watched Catspaw twice while resting/getting dressed.      Senthil put on his robe, and it was the first time I saw him in it. OMG SQUEE he was so PERFECT as Korob. I handed him the transmuter I brought and we headed toward the elevator. The minute the door opened on the first floor we were asked to pose for a picture. A mere 10 yards later Mike Okuda stopped us for a photo! I think it took us about an hour to walk to the convention because of all the photos. We got our picture taken on the bridge, got interviewed by GameFob (surprised myself at how articulate I was), and posed and posed and posed. It was fun, but I wished we'd had more sleep. I got to see my dear friend Clay in the vendors room for about 5 minutes and that was it. I wish we had time to visit. Here are a few pics from our debut as Korob and Sylvia.

I know the solo pic of me was taken by Mission Log Podcast, but I'm sorry I have no idea who to credit for the other three.
     Senthil and I grabbed an overpriced and pretty disgusting sandwich from the cart and headed to the pre-judging. We were prepared to say some lines from the episode, but didn't really get the chance as they were trying to hurry the process along. Our number was 13. One of the judges said he loved Catspaw, his birthday was Halloween and he has a 13 collection. I knew then we were in! Haha! We stayed in the room until all of the over 125 contestants went on stage. We should have gone for more snacks and water. Finally the 30 finalists were announced and we were in the finals. We were given our Guinness World Record numbers and told to sit in the first two rows. I looked at Senthil and told him a little part of me wished we didn't get into the finals. He agreed. We were a bit rough around the edges.
     I think we were in that room for four hours. We worried about the Xindi, Morn, Salt Vampire and Borg in a wetsuit. They were hot, dehydrated and shaky. We broke the record with 1085 Star Trek Costumes in a single room. As soon as that was over we had to run straight for the big stage. There was just enough time to hit the rest room and grab a glass of water. I was feeling quite woozy, like my blood sugar was -10, and I'm pretty sure David K showing up with a granola bar just before I took the stage saved my life! About 2 hours later it was finally over. After Adam interviewed every contestant and the judges asked some questions, there was a mix-up with the results. We stood on that stage for an eternity. We all felt like our knees were going to buckle. As soon as it was over I made a beeline for my room, showered and changed and devoured a delicious steak dinner like a targ! Thanks for those moments of peace and sustenance David Kempton! Here's the only pic I have of us, and it was taken on Thursday night by Erica Anderson, after David and I completely failed the trivia quiz.

     I have no credit for these stage pics either. They were all swiped from Facebook posts that I was tagged in. While my costume looked great on the floor, I was later shocked to see the pics. The stage lighting and flashes totally make me look like I'm in my underwear and you can't even tell I have a catsuit on under that sheer cape! Senthil, sweet as ever, said next year he'll stand up there in his underwear so I don't have to! Haha! Thanks, buddy.

     I think the reason why some of the more accomplished cosplayers don't enter the Costume Parade is that you are held hostage for so many hours without relief and unless you have fancy homemade latex on your head, you have not chance. Still, spending the day with Senthil and propping each other up for photo ops was a big highlight for me. Thanks Senthil!!
     OK, another David made my con amazing. David Taylor was our host in Room 1017. Joe Dickerson mixed martinis & passed out little gifts, I brought my action figures, and we just generally got out of control. New friends Amy and Rachael were awesome and FUN! I missed a bunch of panels, but no regrets! I'm not sure I have any pictures from 1017 that are shareable to a wide audience. I already admitted here to getting way too drunk Friday night. That's a pretty big admission for my generally vanilla Facebook page, where I will probably share this. I remember on Sunday giving my leftover sandwich from lunch to David K. in the hallway as he was escorting Robert Beltran to his room. I texted to let him know I finally found chicken soup (I'd been wanting that for my Harvey Fierstein con voice all week) and that it was just my leftovers, but I ended up texting the wrong David, David T. So now whenever I text or DM David T. I ask if it's the right David. He always says yes. :D Here's the only pic from 1017 I want to share, and I credit David Taylor for it.

     Now, remember how I said asking for Irish Nachos on Friday night would be relevant later? Sunday night our little gang took cabs to Mandalay Bay and ate at the Burger Bar. Wow! Delicious! When we got back, we headed to Masquerade and there was Darren Benjamin who said he'd been looking for me. He handed me a bag with a to-go order of Irish Nachos inside! I just can't tell you how that touched me! It was such a sweet surprise. I only wish I hadn't just eaten, because they were so delicious. I shared them with whoever wanted some, and just couldn't believe how thoughtful Darren was. It was another random act that made me feel special.
      The first time I went to STLV with Melissa Nickerson, we were starstruck. We saw every panel, signed up for every event, never left the Hilton. It was glorious and the best week I ever had. I cherish those memories, but now STLV to me is the relationships we build, the memories we make, the random acts of kindness, the silly little gifts we give each other, the geeky conversations, the shared experiences. I hardly see any panels. I keep those people close to my heart, I keep in touch online, I even try to visit some if I'm traveling to their area. I know this post got long, but so many people touched my heart and made me feel loved and happy. I couldn't mention them all, these are just the biggest moments. I loved spending time with all of you, even if for only a few moments... Lisa at the TrekRadio booth, Melissa, Ned, Ernie, Scott (thanks for taking care of me and for umox!), Katie, Kerry, Terry, Allen, Cush, Vernon, Amy, Rachael, Charity (best dressed vendor at the khan), Michael H, Michael M, Mary, John, Ken, Deyvid, Chris, Chris and the other Chris (and I thought there were a lot of Davids!), Eric, Nicole, Christine, Chuck, Jor de, Nancy (thanks for holding my purse!), Larry, Matt, Ariel, Wil, Brandon, Alistair, Mikkie, Ryan, Gina, Tory, Lorrie, Daniel (Ponn Farrr!!!!), and everyone else that I'm failing to give a shout out to.
     Do we have a date next August?