Sometimes life doesn’t turn out exactly as imagined. Some events aren’t as dramatic or romantic as anticipated while others are more remarkable than expected. Here are a few of our fall experiences that proceeded as predicted or as unpredicted.
Activity: The Cannon Ball
It’s impossible for a steampunk pirate ball with vintage dancing not to live up to expectations.
I wouldn’t actually make a good pirate; plundering goes against my core values.
Activity: Archery Tag
Expectation: Fun and Energetic
Reality: Fun and Tragic
We invited everyone in my family to play archery tag with us one evening, including all our nieces and nephews. I learned a few things about myself and the world during this strung-out activity. It turns out, my family as a conglomerate isn’t particularly skilled with bows. We lost most of our games against another family consortium.
Our tag team was rather ragtag.
You know those wrist guards that Legolas wears? Well, I guess they are for more than just elven frills. Midway through our tag session, I wacked myself with my bowstring while shooting. It hurt, and I instantly grew a goose egg on my forearm that looked ready to hatch. A few days later, half my arm turned a sickly shade of green. My Dad walked away from the affair with a similar limb wound.
With a few insignificant differences, I am remarkably like the heroically-flawed figures of myth. Eons ago, an arrow hit Achilles’ foot, his weak point, and everything fell apart. Playing archery tag, an arrow hit my foot, my weak spot, and everything fell apart. (Sure, I didn’t slay Hector, and I wasn’t exactly a champion of the Trojan War, but I’d say those are pretty insignificant differences.) Just minutes before our time in the arena was up, a guy on the opposing team saw my foot sticking out from behind a barrier and decided to target it. This wasn’t just any of my two feet though, it was the foot I had tendon surgery on years ago. His arrow flew, hit that surgery spot spot-on, and hurt me like hell. (Sorry, I can’t edit that last comment; the pain was too real for censoring.) Jason heard a loud smack and then a wretched scream. Play stopped, and I hobbled off the field. I held back my tears though; I’m tough in my flimsiness like that. My ankle swelled up so badly I had to elevate and ice it that night. I could barely walk for a couple days, and I couldn’t run for a week and a half. D#mn puniest point!
My ankle inflated after getting shot.
Activity: Wheel-Thrown Pottery
Reality: Course and Clumsy
It’s really easy to misalign your clay blob and form a wobbly mess.
As a gift to Jason, I purchased a month of wheel-thrown-pottery classes for the two of us. He envisioned a Ghost-esque experience, but it ended up being more like a 2nd-grade art class. You know, making misshapen blobs that only your mother could pretend to love. At least that’s what Jason would tell you, but I was pretty pleased with our creations. I enjoyed the classes enough that I signed up for another month of them with my mom. She and I had a great time working clay and forming rookie pieces together.
Despite Jason’s protestations, most of our pottery pieces turned out satisfactorily.
After another month of pottery lessons, the quality of my creations… stayed about the same.
Life isn’t terribly predictable. Excitement and drama don’t always pop up in the places we envision. Yet, pop up they do.
Our Christmas this year contained more weaponry than is customary for that particular holiday. Plus, it involved some extra sewing, cooking, and geeking. Here’s exactly how our holiday took a turn toward the unusual.
I made this tree skirt featuring Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and The Avengers.
Our angel wept.
This December, we got into the spirit of the force even more than the spirit of the season. We decided that our plans to turn our Christmas tree over to the dark side were long overdue. It was our (Insert dramatic pause here.) destiny. I created a tree skirt featuring some of our favorite universes and we decked our evergreen in nerdom’s finest. We are sci-fi geeks more than anything so Starfleet officers, stormtoopers, robots of both the benevolent and malevolent variety, Time Lords, Firefly-class transport ships, and other time-and/or-space-traveling vessels spread themselves over most of our branches.
Shiny… and geeky.
Jason’s Han Solo outfit took a considerable amount of time to sew.
Fittingly, our tree wasn’t the only seasonal disturbance in the force. Jason, caught up in the excitement of the new Star Wars movie, requested a handmade Han Solo outfit for Christmas. I was happy to accommodate since I prefer gifts that require a little effort. His smuggler’s duds turned out rather dapper.
Jason’s blaster and rig were both handmade but not by me.
It was only 24 degrees outside when I took these pictures. Where’s a warm tauntaun when you need one?
Lots of other handmade goodies filled our holidays. Jason and I cooked pretty continuously on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We simmered mushrooms for nine hours in a bottle of cabernet to create a delicious side dish for Jason’s family’s Christmas Eve gathering. We also roasted tender new potatoes with fresh rosemary and garlic for that meal. Our Christmas morning began with crepes suzette, buttery crepes drizzled with a tangy Grand Marnier sauce. Those crepes were just for us to gobble but we also made marshmallow pops and apple cider for my family’s Christmas get together.
Jason had Drew’s name this year. His FANtastic-morning themed gift included Star Wars pancake molds and a Death Star tea infuser. And, of course, there was also tea, Earl Grey, hot.
Jason and I made these colorful marshmallow pops for my family.
Upon returning from my family’s shindig, Jason and I immediately took to cooking again. We prepared bacon-wrapped filets and mesclun salad with parmesan polenta rounds in a hurry. Yes, we donned our aprons quite a bit around Christmas but cooking special-occasion dishes is one of my favorite pastimes during the holidays.
Abby was ecstatic over the dollhouse my parents gave her.
Ahhh, can’t you just feel the Christmas love.
This year, Jason and I decided to give our nieces and nephews something for Christmas their parents wouldn’t have to cart to the DI in six months: an hour of laser tag. The day after Christmas, our group of 16, which included a number of adults, pelted each other at a laser arena courtesy of the Sabins. Jason achieved the high score in a couple games and I managed to obtain the fourth and fifth positions in our first two rounds before coming in almost dead last in another. Good job Rachel on becoming terrible over time! Everyone seemed to have fun tagging and taunting their relatives.
Jas and I prepared a lovely Christmas dinner together.
Our laser battles brought out some merited family bantering.
It was a nice holiday with a lot of homemade goodness and geekiness. The lasers and blasters and pops were prolific enough that even George Takei would say, “Oh my!”
Doctors know the secrets of the cosmos but the secrets of making a cape? Not so much. If you didn’t attend Rowley Con this year, in addition to missing out on a profusion of sweat-infused gaming, you skipped something the universe may never see again: Doctors giving stitching lessons.
Jason and I modified our plunge TMNT costumes for Rowley Con. Green tabi boots added another reptilian-ninja element.
Milo was one of the few kids that actually tried to stitch on their own.
Our friend Jeremy puts on a nerd-saturated gathering every spring called Rowley Con. This congregation of the play minded encompasses an entire weekend. Board games, videogames, cosplay, and anime are all included. This year I volunteered to tap into my costuming passion (i.e. obsession) to level up the powers of this assemblage.
In one day, ten superheroes were created thanks to our tutelage. That’s a better statistic than radioactive insects or toxic sludge can claim.
Jason and I came to Rowley Con’s second day as the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, specifically the 50th anniversary versions of them.
Men in tights will always have an unfair advantage in this world. Drew beat Jason in the male costume contest on tightness.
Jason and I helped ten students, mostly children, create their own logoed superhero capes in the first Rowley Con cosplay class ever. We taught this group while costumed ourselves as the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Our Padawans loved designing their insignias. Those emblems were comprised of everything from rainbowed unicorns to death ray robots. The rest of the procedure, unfortunately, didn’t hold their interest as much. It took about four hours in total for us to finish up all the capes, mostly because the kids’ usefulness waned drastically. It’s a good thing that sewing machines have moving parts and are susceptible to sonic suggestions.
Jacob commandeered Jason’s newly-made cape and posed for a slew of ridiculous pictures.
I didn’t make these entire costumes but I did sew my waistcoat. Due to its fanciness, that piece took a lot longer to put together than expected.
Here’s my Oscar speech. Thanks Jason for spending many hours cutting out all of the fabric; I couldn’t have done it without you. And thanks Jeremy for hosting another fine meeting of the geeks. Without you, the unshowered masses would neither be all dressed up nor have anywhere to go. Now, instead, they can be mistaken for birds and planes in style.
A hundred and fifty years ago I wasn’t even a twinkle in my great-great-great grandpa’s eye yet I’ve spun across the dancefloor with the Union and Confederate clad as colliding petticoats have added their swirls to the drones of the dulcimer.
Recently, Old Glory Vintage Dancers put on a ball commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Jason and I attended attired in hoopskirts and waistcoats. Visiting the past sometimes simply requires a closet not a callbox.
Some sentiments are timeless.
Time gracefully reversed at this event with live period music, parlor games, and a presidential visitor. And what would a ball be without dancing? (That was a rhetorical question.) We romped some of my era favorites that evening like Oslo Waltz and Soldier’s Joy.
On that note, hoopskirts are both super annoying and super fun to dance in. It’s a paradox that cannot be explained by even the most astute logic…sorry Spock. Corsets, on the other hand, not only defy explanation but patience, especially when laced ineptly. Unable to fasten my own corset for this affair, I enlisted Jason’s help. Despite his best efforts, he somehow managed to make that inglorious contraption way too loose at the top and bottom yet so tight in the middle that my ribs were bruised by the end of the evening. Now and then it would be convenient if Jason were a lady.
President Lincoln made a stately appearance at the ball.
A century and a half ago our country rejoiced in its reclaimed indivisibility. Jason and I lately remembered that historic elation with energetic steps and uncomfortable undergarments. Long live patriotism and pantaloons!
Valentine’s Day: despised, adored, dreaded, avoided, relished. How can one holiday encompass so many sentiments? Regardless of how everyone else feels, V Day and I are cool with each other, cool enough for nicknames. Seriously, why would I carry a grudge for a holiday that gives me a chance to spoil my favorite man and do awesome stuff with him?
Come visit us at Pemberley anytime.
It was Jason’s turn to plan our V undertakings this time. He decided to spread things out. From Desert Star Theatre’s production of Pirates of the Scarribbean to the Extreme Mammals exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah, we did a number of V Day activities not on V Day. Attending Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour, part of Jason’s V Day plans, even happened weeks after the holiday.
We’ve become good friends with the members of our dance group.
The one thing we did do to celebrate Valentine’s Day precisely on Valentine’s Day was go to the Regency Romance Ball. We’ve attended this Jane-Austen-themed dance a few times but it never loses its appeal. Since Jason and I are now “experts” on vintage prancing, we ended up offering a lot of assistance to confused dancers at the ball, which was actually rather fulfilling. I decided to make a new dress for this event…again. Yes, I’ve sewn three for this particular time period but a girl can never have too many Regency gowns. I believe that’s rule #72 in the Girl Handbook. (Don’t try to look it up; the Girl Handbook is completely incomprehensible.)
Jason said the gift he most wanted for Valentine’s Day was time with me so that’s what I got him. In this box I placed a sealed envelope for each month of the next year and in each envelope the details of an activity we will be doing together that month.
This February Jason and I had a lot of fun in the name of love. V Day, no matter what others say, you are A-OK with me.