2013: A Year in Review

This last year is what I am calling the year of lost adventures. It’s not that there weren’t adventures. There definitely were as this post will prove, but rather that my blogging skills this year were rather lost. I had ideas of photography projects and writing projects that didn’t pan out for various reasons. So it seems fitting to call 2013 the year of lost adventures. Anyway, without further ado, here is the year in review for 2013. It is full of adventures and I can only hope that 2014 holds just as many.

First shot of 2013
First shot of 2013

January of 2013 saw me beginning the new year a bit on the rough side. Not for me, but rather for those around me. A few days before New Year’s Eve, Chelsea and I drove down to DC from Boston to pick up Esther so that the dynamic trio would be complete once again for another celebration. The trip down and back was a lot of fun and not something that I can capture in a blog post.

That New Year’s Eve party was one of the fanciest I have ever been invited to attend. We dressed in our finest and celebrated another successful year. However, the night ended poorly for some of Chelsea’s other friends, which in turn meant that Geoff (the designate driver of the evening) ended up making a trip to the hospital. It meant I nearly missed ringing in the new year with him. But, things aligned enough that I saw him at midnight before he was called to duty to take care of some friends.

After New Year’s, we weren’t in Boston longer. We had dim sum with Geoff’s parents and our friends on New Year’s Day and not long after that we found ourselves in the car on the way back to the District. January was rather tame. It did, however, see my grandmother’s 70th birthday and her retirement from full-time nursing, the start of the long-term sewing project for Esther and me and the start of my last semester in grad school.

Geoff and I for his birthday...about a month before our 5 year anniversary.
Geoff and I for his birthday…about a month before our 5 year anniversary.

February blew in faster than expected, which brought with it my five-year anniversary to Geoff at the beginning. We celebrated with a lovely dinner. It was very low-key, but absolutely perfect. I think I’m just amazed that both of us remembered it this time around. Confession: I’m actually terrible at remembering when my anniversary is coming up.

We also celebrated my birthday as well and my friend Mel’s birthday, which saw me modifying my 1980’s prom dress to make a 1950’s dress so I could be Rose Tyler and Geoff could be the Doctor for her birthday party. Needless to say, she was a bit speechless. 

Katsucon 2013 came in the middle of the month. Geoff, Manya, Emma, Esther and I had an amazing time at this con. This was Esther’s first con and the first time Geoff had gone to Katsucon. The best story here is that Esther was at the con because I bribed her the year before with a camo print ball gown (see the comment above about the long-term sewing project) for the formal ball that they hold on Friday night.

Esther and I dressed as John and Sherlock for the whole weekend with our various matching costumes, which did include the camo print ball gown that I made her. Geoff went as the tenth doctor one day, Quailman another and finished the weekend as Doctor House. We hit a lot of interesting panels and it was just as fabulous time. Plus, hanging out with Manya and Emma is always a blast.

Sherlock Meet-up at Katsucon (Esther and I can be found on the right)
Sherlock Meet-up at Katsucon (Esther and I can be found on the right)

When I returned from Katsucon, my brain was a buzz. I had started my last semester of grad school and I had been trying to figure out what to write my capstone on and exactly how to focus it. Katsucon had allowed me to speak the academics that I needed, primarily Charles who is always fun to chat with, and gave me the push to commit to my capstone. I remember coming back from the con and my professor saying that I needed to attend more fan related things because they made a difference in how I was thinking.

February ended as it always did with an Oscar party where my guests nominate each other in the room for various awards. Of course, I was voted “most likely to be the villain”. No one is surprised at all by this…particularly if you’ve ever talked to me and let me ramble long enough. I am an evil villain in someone’s life, I’m sure of it.

Moving on to March where I found myself in Waterloo, Iowa for the few days shooting a documentary with a few of my classmates. I had never been to Waterloo. Hell, I had never been off of the East Coast in the States, so making my way to Iowa was pretty impressive. We shot 12 hour days and shot everything from the Grout Museum to spending time with a Bosnian family. All of this was for a class I took called “Producing the Historical Documentary”, which was a really cool class. The film that actually came out of this class, if I’m not mistaken, is actually being used by the Grout Museum in their exhibit on the history of Waterloo, Iowa. I could be wrong though.

I had a brilliant time on this shoot.  I learned a lot about myself as I wasn’t in charge, so I did a lot of supporting stuff for this film. I also wasn’t there with any on that I was extremely close with both in age (my partners on this film were older than me) and personally. It was a fabulous experience and I’m really grateful that I made the trip.

Almost immediately when I returned from Iowa, I packed my bags again and I headed out with Geoff to Arizona to visit Geoff’s parents in Tucson as they were purchasing a house out there and had purchased us plane tickets for Christmas in 2012.

Arizona was a rather interesting place. I had never been to the West Coast, so just being there was a bit of an adjustment for me. The weather was nice while we were there and I found that I had a strange fascination with the cactus…most likely because we don’t really have that here on the East Coast. We did some hiking through the national park while we were there, saw downtown Tucson and even went to Tubac, which is super close to the Mexico border. My favorite thing we did would probably be the desert museum. I quite enjoyed looking at all of the animals and plants that live in the desert.

My capstone board...I spent so much time organizing my thoughts on it.
My capstone board…I spent so much time organizing my thoughts on it.

Once we returned from Arizona, grad school kicked itself into high gear. I found myself sleeping very little and working on my capstone as well as the film I was helping with whenever I could manage to keep my eyes completely open. I spent hours reading books or looking for different sources for information. It was absurd.

This pattern of obsession with working on my capstone continued well into April. It slightly got in the way when Geoff and I made a quick trip home for Easter to see my cousin, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer and to see Super Art Fight at the Ottobar, which was a well needed break. I felt bad that I couldn’t stay longer than the day up in Baltimore with my family, but being away from my capstone for an extended period of time had actually started to make me sick.

April brought more stress as the deadline of my capstone loomed over me. Additionally, I had been asked to stage manage a show for Nu Sass Productions for the Capital Fringe Festival in July. But, rehearsals began in April as we were writing the show as we went. I split much of my time in April between rehearsal, grad school and work, which left little time for anything else.

Our group photo from 221BCon
Our group photo from 221BCon
I met Curly of the Baker Street Babes at 221BCon
I met Curly of the Baker Street Babes at 221BCon

However, in keeping with what my capstone professor had told me when I returned from Katsucon, I made time for one last adventure. Esther, Jackie, Kain and I packed the car in the middle of April and drove 14 hours to Atlanta, Georgia for the first annual 221BCon. Jackie’s sister met us there as she drove in from Tennessee and Cait met us there from Connecticut. We had an awesome cosplay group and I had the amazing opportunity to sit through several panels that helped me dig into my capstone a bit better. I talked with some amazing people. The only thing I regret about this con is that because I was so tightly wound from working on my capstone, I was not as talkative to people as I usually am. So, I missed some people who I would have loved to have met.

This trip, however, is one that sticks in my mind as an awesome thing for 2013. I loved the car trip down. We talked and listened to music and barely got lost. We made some interesting stops and came out of this trip better. I came back from this con ready to finish my capstone, which was perfect.

On May 2, 2013, after months of adventures, research, rehearsal and work, I turned in my completed capstone to my professor at 8:00pm. I was exhausted, but I had hit my personal deadline and had turned the paper in to my professor four hours before he expected it to be in his hands. Geoff and I then gathered a few things from the apartment, went down to our already packed car and drove down to Spotsylvania, VA for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville. I spent the entire weekend away from technology. I solely lived in 1863 that weekend and it was exactly what I needed. We returned on Sunday night where I briefly turned my brain back on to finish writing the comprehensive exam paper that related to my capstone and finish up the odds and ends for grad school.

Victor and I
Graduation day!

May 11, 2013 was the date that I walked across the stage at American University for the last time. I was finally finished with my Master’s degree. It was a hell of struggle that had started out on rocky ground, but ended on a high note. I couldn’t have asked for anything else.

The end of the month of May brought about a bit of chaos. My parents planned my graduation party, which meant relatives, friends and Cait flying in from Connecticut to celebrate. Geoff and I had also planned to start moving about the same weekend. Our apartment was too small and we needed something bigger. So, in between packing up the old apartment, and my graduation party, I went adventuring with Cait downtown to the Air and Space Museum.

The 48 Hour Film Project came about in June marking the 5th year that I would be foolish and awesome enough to attempt a movie in 48 hours. This year brought with it some interesting challenges that we didn’t experience in other years, such as an actor needing to be rushed to the hospital, no internet connection at headquarters due to a lightning strike and the need to rewrite half of the story after the midway point on Saturday. Awkward Trio Productions prevailed, however, and we finished right on time with a movie that was in fact better than the original script.

There are so many people who need to be thanked for the success this year, but no one more than my editor, Jesse. He came in and gave some clarity on a messy situation because he had already seen the footage we had shot and had been putting it together as we went.The man is amazing.

June was probably the last bit of downtime that I would experience to get my apartment in order. The first week of July found Geoff and me in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. We were on the field and for more time than we had ever been on the field and we were important. The moment the General lost contact with us, we had to prepare for hell to break loose. On the last day of our five-day reenactment camp out (I have never lived in those clothes for that long…man did I need a shower), we had Pickett’s Charge up the hill, which was spectacular to watch. I went down on a fence post so that I could watch some of the chaos around me ensue. It was pretty cool. Geoff’s parents watched it via a simulcast and sent us the information to watch it after the fact. If I looked closely enough at the footage, I can see myself “dead” on the fence post. It’s a bit surreal.

We returned from Gettysburg only to be thrown directly into the beginning of the Capital Fringe Festival. For the next two weeks of July, Geoff and I spent random periods of our day down at Fort Fringe either seeing shows (I saw three: The Adventures of John Blade, Afterwords and Geoff’s show, Polaroid Stories) or prepping for our own shows (I had six of them). This was a fabulous experience. I worked with so many talented actors and we sold out for five of the six shows.

Doctor Who
Doctor Who

After all of the excitement from Fringe, I took a trip with Esther to the beach, where we spent the entire day swimming in the ocean and doing a few rides on the Boardwalk. We returned to the start of August where I not only started a full-time job at American University (yes, the same place I graduated) and then ventured to Otakon 2013. Geoff, Esther, Manya, Emma and I met in Baltimore on Thursday night before Otakon. Friday morning, we gathered Chelsea from the light rail while dressed in our Doctor Who costumes, got her settled in line to get her registration badge and began what would be another really great con.

Gender bent Sherlock
Gender bent Sherlock

We dressed as Doctor Who on the first day as mentioned above, Supernatural on Saturday and gender bent Sherlock on Sunday. All of these costumes were just so much fun. We met some great people at the photo shoots we attended. We also hit some very interesting panels. For instance, the one on Mythology and Meaning in Anime by Crispin Freeman, which was super interesting and I have some really great notes on…because I’m nerdy like that. Otakon was honestly one of the things that I needed as it was the last time I would see Chelsea before she flew off to Brussels for her time with NATO.

Supernatural
Supernatural

Before the summer was officially up, I made a trip with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend to Busch Gardens. We rode as many roller coasters as we could in the time that we were there, saw the shows and did what you would normally do for a weekend at an amusement park.

Then the school year started and I was working full-time at the university. It was different from in years past. I wasn’t stressed about assignments. I was, however, worrying with the projects that I now had at work. I’m still working on them, and they should be finished by the end of the spring semester. But, it’s different from being a student and working. I found that I started to create my research projects (ask me about the James Bond research sometime) and that I could catch up on all of the TV shows that I missed due to my capstone. I figured out ways to occupy my free time. One of which included stage managing the show I had done during the Capital Fringe Festival during the fall for the Fall Fringe Festival in November, but I’ll get to that.

September brought an entirely new aspect to my life. I went to SPX, the small press expo and then Geoff and I decided that we wanted a puppy. We adopted Kyle, our Maltese Poodle mix, on September 15th. He was entirely nervous when we brought him home, but slowly he started adjusting to life with Geoff and I.

The rest of September was relatively calm and October blew in to be very busy. A weekend of rest followed by a weekend at Howl-O-Scream with the parents, sister, sister’s boyfriend and Geoff where my sister turned 21 (a story in itself), a weekend at the 149th Cedar Creek reenactment, a zombie run, and then Halloween.

Really old zombies here!
Really old zombies here!

Howl-O-Scream proved to be extremely note worthy this year. It was drizzling when we arrived at the park on Friday night, so there were no lines for many of the haunted houses, which I quite liked. The next day as my sister had just turned 21, we spent the downtime between riding roller coasters and seeing shows, buying drinks. The haunted houses were quite good and I liked majority of the decorations this year. Plus, seeing my sister go screaming from creatures that knew her name can’t be topped.

Zombie run was also a good deal of fun, even if I did come out of it a bit bruised. I grabbed about 40 flags off of runner, which was pretty good since I did it in a hoop skirt. And then Halloween arrived. I went to work dressed as femme!Q and my editor from the summer, Jesse, dressed as Bond. My Halloween party in the new apartment went better than expected and left me actually in a good mood about throwing parties again.

Jesse and I as Bond and Q.
Jesse and I as Bond and Q.

Before I knew it, the end of the year was upon us. I went to a wedding for some friends the first weekend in November along with Punkin Chunkin and then opened the show I had been working on over the summer for Fall Fringe. We had six shows, two of which were really late, but we still managed to bring in a good crowd for the shows. I also spent much of November trying to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. While I didn’t finish, I did get started on a brilliant novel that I hope to finish in the next year.

At the end of the month, we made our bi-annual trip to Massachusetts to visit Geoff’s parents with the puppy alongside. Kyle seemed to have a fabulous time with Ian’s dog Maddie and I just really enjoyed the time off. I needed to not think about work and all of the stress that it entailed for a bit.

Punkin Chunkin
Punkin Chunkin

Which brings us to December. December was actually a month that was relatively calm beyond the shopping for gifts (most of which I did online) and the family gatherings that always are a bit trying. Morie, Jackie’s boyfriend, threw a 1920’s party and I attended Geoff’s company party and met his co-workers. At work, I had two holiday parties before the university shut down for nearly two weeks.

It’s been nice sitting here for the last two weeks not actually doing anything beyond writing, straightening the apartment on occasion and reading. I’m going to miss having the time to do the things that I enjoy the most. But, such is life I guess.

Looking back on this last year, I guess 2013 was actually much more adventurous than I thought. Compared to 2012, it seemed like it was a lot less exciting, but the truth of the matter is that 2013 just involved more domestic adventures than international ones. I can only hope that 2014 brings about similar adventures.

I hope that 2014 brings about similar adventures for everyone else too! Happy New Year!

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