2013 in Review

I’ve seen several posts on Facebook about how terrible 2013 was for many people. I’m very sorry for everyone who had a rough year… but mine has been great! 2012 was more difficult for me, and I guess the first half of 2013 was a bit trying as well, but oeverall, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

January

On New Year’s Day, I turned 32. At that time I was undergoing fertility testing after 2+ years of trying to get pregnant with no luck. This was not very enjoyable. Fertility testing is painful, both physically and emotionally.

A good thing that happened in January was that we got the band together! I’d been wanting to try to form this group since Fest of 2012, and in January it finally came together, and I’m very happy it did!

February

In February we had our first practices with the band, and Rob and I took a trip to Mexico.

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

March

In March, Rob had a surgery that was designed to improve our fertility. I was pretty optimistic about the success of the surgery, but it was also difficult because it definitely was not guaranteed to help, and both of our doctors were already implying that IVF might be our best hope, which made it difficult to maintain my optimism. I was so proud of Rob though– he underwent the surgery very willingly and without any complaint.

In March my BFF also revealed to me that she was pregnant. Although I was of course really happy for her, I couldn’t help feeling simultaneously sad for myself– a most unpleasant state of affairs.

April

In April, we adopted our second dog, Gilly. I’m happy to report that things are still going great with him! Trip was jealous at first of his new little brother, and he still gets jealous over toys and cuddle time with us, but every day they are becoming more and more like a pack. They haven’t quite reached the point where they will cuddle together, but Trip will now tolerate Gilly being right next to him on the couch. He also gives Gilly kisses on the nose, which is pretty sweet. We’re still working with Gilly on his mouthing and jumping, but overall he’s a pretty well-behaved pup, and he is only 2, so he’s still a young thing.
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Festing Through The Ages

This is an exciting year at Fest for me. Not only am I part of a brand new musical group, Hardtack Jack, but it’s also my 10th year as a participant! That means I’ll get my first service award– pretty cool! So I thought it might be appropriate to take a look at how I got into Fest in the first place, how I started working there, and what I’ve been doing all these years. Fest is a family tradition. Not in the way that it’s a tradition in some families, who participate together, in which the children grow up at Fest. But my parents started the tradition of taking my brother and me there once a year, starting I think in 1986. It was always my favorite summer/fall activity and I remember looking forward to our trip to Fest every year.

Early Fest experience… 1991Image

In 2002 or so, my brother started working at the chocolate booth at Fest. He got the job through a friend of his who worked for the chocolate vendors outside of (and at) Fest. In 2004, I started working at the chocolate booth, too. I worked there through 2008.

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Aside from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (MNRF), I’ve been to a few other faires.  Here’s me with my dad in 2006, when the Olde World Ren Faire in Twig, MN was still open. I’ve also visited the Bay Area Ren Fest (BARF, haha) in Tampa, FL, and the Iowa Renaissance Festival in the Amana Colonies.

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Luckily my spouse enjoys Fest too– not as much as I do, but he comes out a couple of times a year, sometime in garb. This is 2008.

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Somewhere along the line while working at the chocolate cart, I started playing Charlotte Rowan, my pirate persona. But after 5 years selling chocolate, I decided it was time to try something new. In 2009, I worked as a beer wench at Mac’s Pub through the Shakopee Jaycees. Mac’s is known as the pirate pub, so we usually hold our annual pirate invasion photo outside of it:

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(Photo Credit above and below:Jamie Piekkola)

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Slinging beer didn’t really turn out to be my thing, so in 2010 I joined Terpsichory Courtly Dance Troupe as a musician to provide music for the dancing. I had to curtail my piratical nature a bit, as with courtly dancers it didn’t make sense for me to be a pirate… but I was still a pirate at heart! I was with Terpsichory for 3 years. Unfortunately I don’t have a record of who took the following photo… I know it was one of the pros. I love it though! Image

On days off I got to be incognito!

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2011: Still with Terp, slight costume change.

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Cool HDR photo by Majikboxman:

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Pirates in 2011: Image

Terpsichory, again by Majikboxman: Image

2012: My brother came to visit, all the way from Vegas! (It was also my parents’ 40th anniversary.)Image

Now, in 2013 I’m back to at least being a sailor. Under a new name, Callista Seaborne, with my band, Hardtack Jack. (Sadly in this pic we’re missing one member.) Image

Thanksgiving 2012

I didn’t really post anything Thanksgiving-related on Thanksgiving. This is because the status update thing on Facebook specifically asked, “What are you thankful for?” and everyone, like sheep, posted that they were thankful for friends, family, health, blah blah blah. I have no doubt that most people did it with the best of intentions, but it felt a little hollow and forced to me, so I refrained. But I am thankful for many things, which I will now enumerate:

Love
Dogs
My dog, in particular
Coffee
Chocolate
Friends
Family
The internet
Star Trek
Good health
A steady, decently-paying job that I mostly enjoy

Insurance that covers infertility treatment

Sunshine

Water
Air
My bed
Blankets
Warm clothes in the winter
Music
Poetry
Laughter
Fest
Emoticons
Travel
My house
President Obama
Blue states
And more

Thanksgiving was a bit weird this year. Thanksgiving day itself was fine; my spouse worked first shift (6:30am-2:30pm), for which he earned quadruple time and a paid day off on Friday, so that was cool. I had some “I time” in the morning and early afternoon, which I always appreciate. Then we went out to my parents’ house (just a 45 minute drive) for Thanksgiving dinner, which is typically very low key, as it’s usually just my spouse and I and my parents. This year was no different. And I was mainly over the cold that had been plaguing me for the last week and a half, and my spouse was on the upswing as well. Dinner was good, it was awesome hanging out with my parents, everything was fine. I also talked to my brother on the phone for a good while (which, for us, is probably like 15 minutes ).

Fest 2012: 4th Weekend

This was a really, really rough weekend. Still fun, but holy crap I was tired!! The main reason is that, although I had Friday off from my “real” job, we had a party for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary on that evening, so I spent the day cleaning and getting ready for that and didn’t really get any rest. And then of course stayed up late for the party.

The party was really fun, lots of my parents’ friends came, but it was a lot of people I didn’t know, and all my parents’ age. It was actually pretty exhausting, so luckily everyone went home by 10:30.  It was only about 3 hours in the end, but I was BEAT afterwards!

Also, my brother got into town on Thursday night (at 11pm!) for the weekend, so I was up late Thursday night with him. It was totally worth it to see him and have him there! He stayed in our guest bedroom Thursday and Friday nights, and then I dropped him at my parents’ on Saturday morning on my way to Fest, and he came out later. I thought he would get there a little earlier, but he didn’t get there until about noon. And then he came barefoot (what??) and of course they wouldn’t let him in the gate that way, so I had to wait while he walked all the way back to his car to get his shoes. At least he didn’t complain about it. 😛

It was fun having him around, but again, I’ve decided I don’t love having people tag along with me as part of the troupe. He did that for awhile and I could tell he was bored. I gave him my camera to take some pics, but I guess I should have explained how to use it, because even though I saw him looking like he was taking pics, there weren’t any on there when I looked later. Not to mention it was hella dusty, so that was probably unpleasant…

But we stopped by and saw a few people that he knew, including his best friend/ex-girlfriend. She turned out to be a lesbian and was his “best person” at his wedding. She’s actually the one who got him his first job at Fest, even before I started working out there, and then got me my first job, too. So I left those two to hang out for awhile, without me, and that was good, I think. He got home later than I did; she must have gotten him an after-hours pass so they could stay and talk; I was so tired I went right back to my parents’ and was asleep before he got home. That was kind of sad because then I was at Fest before he got up the next morning, and then he went home. But I’m used to not seeing him, I guess. It was nice to spend some time with him.

I’m Badass!

This weekend was pretty fricking awesome. Saturday we went to a wedding reception/open house (very informal) for two of Rob’s coworkers who recently got married. Then we went to a birthday party for the spouse of one of my coworkers. We rode the motorcycle to the birthday party, because it was in Uptown, where it is always impossible to find parking, and also there was an art fair going on that day so we knew it’d be even worse than normal. It was only my second time riding on the bike, but I did fine. I’m actually starting to kind of like it. It was awesome to quickly and easily find FREE parking (unheard of with a car!), and I did kind of love that when we showed up with our helmets, my coworkers said it made me “even more badass than I already am.”

Yesterday we had brunch with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law. YAAAAY! So awesome to see my little bro.  We went on a quick motorcycle ride with my parents while the bro and SIL had to run over her parents’ place for awhile, and that was pretty awesome.  Then I had Fest practice/performance at an event put together by Can Do Canines, a local group that trains service dogs. So not only was practice fun (PERFECT weather!!), there were adorable dogs everywhere. Dogs are seriously the best ever. I regretted that I hadn’t brought my dog with me! Then after practice, it was back to my parents’ house to shower, then we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Yummmm! Then home to the spouse and pup for pack cuddle time while watching True Blood and Newsroom. Very nice weekend.

The Cousin Saga: Part VII

Well, I am happy. My cousin is in Arkansas with her friend, and she’s planning to stay there for a month and a half, then come back and go with her boyfriend (who lives here) to Nevada to meet his mom, then possibly go back to Arkansas to work some more. So. This is good news. We don’t have to be worried now while we are on vacation, and we have a nice break this week and after the trip before she comes back. Then it sounds like she’ll just be stopping briefly in St Paul, and if she needs to stay with us for a few days, that is fine.

I want her to schedule a Job Corps interview between the time she returns from AR and heads to NV; she got the application so all she needs to do is fill it out then meet with an admissions counselor, then it takes 2-12 weeks to process her application and give her a start date. If she did the interview before going to NV and back to AR if she goes, then the application can be processed while she’s doing that and then she can hopefully start Job Corps and live on their campus after that. I wish she’d have gone to the orientation earlier so she could have had her interview before going to AR this time, but I was trying to get her to take responsibility for getting the application, which didn’t work out. It finally took me contacting them to find out she had to do the orientation first, and this was right before her planned departure to AR. I’m glad she’s in AR working right now, but I think Job Corps would still be a better option for her in the long run than working at a chicken farm for $8/hour. But she has to live on campus; she can’t stay with us long-term/indefinitely again.

The Cousin Saga: Part II

Today I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. I’m thankful for the African-Puerto Rican man, the middle-aged man, and the trucker named Danny who gave my young cousin rides from the outskirts of Cincinnati to Indianapolis. I am thankful for Josiah, a 21-year-old guy she met on the bus from Indy to Chicago, who gave her his blanket, bought her a Gatorade, and kept her company while they both waited for their next buses (his to Kansas City, hers to Minneapolis). She arrived in Minneapolis at 5:30 this morning with a purse, the fleece blanket Josiah had given her, and a small reusable grocery bag containing the rest of her personal possessions. She’s now at home asleep on the air mattress in our spare room, exhausted from her long physical journey. Her emotional journey, I hope, is just beginning.