Friday, November 13, 2015

Countdown to Con: 1!

     Tomorrow is the BIG DAY! I'm so excited! Ray has been cooking all day to get us ready for the big event. That was the main chore for today: cook. We also have to pack and make sure our phones are charged. I have slathered myself in hydrocortisone cream and used my allergy eye drops in preparation. I was still having a slight reaction today, but I made it to work and stayed there all day, even though I have blood blisters where I've scratched so hard in my sleep. The purple make-up should hide all the damage I did to myself, so I'm not too worried.

     The only thing left to do is to make sure our phones are fully charged and ready to go!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Countdown to Con: 2!

     It's getting down to the wire. The con is so close I can taste it. And today, we had doctor's appointment. Ha! That has nothing to do with the con, but it was significant nonetheless. They changed Ray's insulin to a longer acting kind. So we're excited about seeing how well it works. He was also down 9 pounds from his last appointment!

     After the appointment, it was time to get down to the business of shopping for food and sundries for the con. Once home, we had a facials, manicures, and pedicures to look our best for the con. Sadly, I turned about to be slightly allergic to the facial mask that I used, so my face is hot and broken out right now, but I put some hydrocortisone on it, and I may have to take a Benadryl before I go to bed, but this is why I decided to do it a couple of days early, just in case.

     Oh, well. You live; you learn. Excelsior!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Countdown to Con: 3!

     So we've been able to make some money from Blue Max Studios for the con, and I really don't want to spend it all on food, so we're going to take our food with us. This means extra planning. We'll need to eat a good breakfast before we go and take lunch and snacks for both days and dinner for Saturday. We'll also want to think about something easy to throw together Sunday night when we drag our tired and happy booties into the house after a long, fun weekend.

Breakfast: bacon quiche with olives on the side
Lunch: sweet potato salad with turkey
Dinner: chicken salad in Bejelly wraps with Bell pepper slices
Snacks: almonds and raisins (in case of low blood sugar)

Breakfast: Sausage and almond flour biscuits with Paleo gravy
Lunch: sushi
Dinner: crock pot chili
Snacks: pistachios and raisins

     This is a reminder that just because you're indulging in your geekdom doesn't mean you should indulge in crap food. In order to keep energy up, there will be a healthy fat at each meal and plenty of good quality protein. Take away all the sugar, and you have calmer kids who don't make you want to snatch someone's hair out. Plus, this food is delicious.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Countdown to Con:4!

    It's time to plan what we'll be taking with us to the con. I've been walking around with a piece of paper in my pocket for the writing of anything I could think of that we needed to take with us. That, coupled with Sam Maggs' recommendation have me feeling secure that we will be covered. Here's the list:
  • Glucose monitor
  • test strips
  • lancets
  • syringes
  • insulin
  • cell phones
  • ibuprofen
  • snacks
  • receipt
  • glue
  • make-up
  • cash
  • chargers
  • lip balm
  • Germ-X
  • calling cards
  • safety pins
  • stain stick
  • poster tube?
     With this, we will be prepared for most events and emergencies.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Countdown to Con: 5!

     It is time to print out Social Media Calling Cards. These are very useful if you run into people you'd like to keep in touch with. If I had more time, I would design some myself for all of us, but I don't, so I went to and printed some out. These are pretty good. I would prefer if there was room to put my blog info on there, but beggars can't be choosers, and people will be able to find my blogs through following me.

     Having Social Media Calling Cards is really a great idea because writing down someone's info and trying to remember where all the hyphens are can be aggravating. Just remember that if you don't type them up, write carefully and legibly.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Countdown to Con: 6!

     This has been a pretty relaxed and lazy day, which I needed because I haven't had much sleep, and I'm feeling sort of sick, and I have to go back to work tomorrow.  My project for today was to just make sure I have plenty of room on phone for all the pictures I'm going to want to take.

     I mean who wouldn't want to take lots of pictures. There's going to be a costume contest. There are going to be people who cosplay as Ghostbusters. It is time clean out the phone, so I have room for all the awesome!

     We're also going to print out our receipt because they don't send you tickets that you turn in for a lanyard. We're just supposed to bring our ID's, but the kids don't have any, so I'm taking the receipt with us because I will not be refused!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Countdown to Con: 7!

     We saved up for Halloween and birthdays. We've saved up for Christmas. We've saved up for tickets, but we've haven't saved up much for anything at the actual convention. It's time to make a little extra spending money.

     Ray and I have started  new project together called Species Spotlight. It's a supplement for the White Star RPG. It's basically a small book that focuses on an original (or at least blatantly stolen, with the serial numbers filed off and given a new paint job) alien, its featured class, and it's favored space ship designed by Ray. All artwork and space ship designs are done by Ray. I'm more the idea person. It's a fun project, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can do so here.

     If you need a great villain for your SF game, or you want to play a young alien looking to take over a planet, the Abbhoran species is just the right one for you, and this book contains everything you need to play or go up against one of these vile creatures. It also includes the Tyrant class and a detailed deck plan of an Abbhoran yacht.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Countdown to Con: 8!

      What to wear?

     Ok; this one really isn't that hard. We picked our Halloween costumes specifically to have something cool to wear to the con. For Ray, Lydia, and me, we're going as Adventure Time characters: Ice King, Lumpy Space Princess, and Marceline. The boys had wanted to go as Finn and BMO, but then changed their minds. They're going as Mario and Luigi.

     Since we already tried these costumes out at Halloween, we know they're a success. We've already been asked to take pictures with other people.

     The costume contest is Saturday, so we're going to wear the costumes, but we're just going to play it cool and casual in our geek finery on Sunday.

Here's a preview of our costumes:
Ray, Lydia, and I made our costumes. The boys found their costumes toward the beginning of October, so we went ahead and bought them. When making Ray's costume, Lydia had a brilliant idea to find a mask with a large nose. Ray found a fancy witch mask, and I took the fabric off of it and recovered it with blue material. We made the crown out of foam and attached batting to it for the beard and hair. My mom made the robe our of a sheet, and Alex lent Ray his penguin to tag along as Gunther.

     My costume is just a purple sweat suit, a "fresh to death" dress and purse that I made out of a plastic bag and a can full of beans, a purple wig, a gold star I cut out of foam and glued on with school glue, and make-up.

     Lydia painted her t-shirt and made that bass out of a plastic costume axe we found at the costume store. She cut some cardboard to fit over the blade to make it larger, added the tuning plate. Push pins became tuning pins, and she added thread to string it. Then she painted the whole thing. A wig, some fangs, and a purple umbrella with bones (not shown) complete the ensemble.

     This con is going to be so lumping awesome!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Countdown to Con: 9!

Day 9: Checking the Schedule

It's time to check the con schedule and dream about all the things I might see, and plan all the things I hope to see, and regret all the things I won't be able to see due to scheduling conflicts.

Main stage:
12:45 -"Making Comics the Inverse Press Way"
Panel Room:
2:45 - "Nuwho Dr. Who Panel"
4:00 - "Finding you Story"
5:15 - "Cosplay 101"
6:30 - "So You Wanna be a YouTuber"
Main stage:
7:45 - "Costume Contest"

Main stage:
11:30 - "Ghostbusting 101"
Panel Room:
12:45 - "My Little Pony Party"
3:00 - " Parenting the Geek Way"

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Countdown to Con: 10!

    Our local convention, Fanaticon, is coming up in 10 days, and while this is not technically my first con, it might as well be. My first con was at a bookstore. It was the first one, and it was pretty small, but a lot of fun. This con is at an actual civic center with an actual celebrity, and I am excited.

     Since I am an over-planner, this is my countdown to the convention.

Day 10: Re-read the section on conventions in The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

Prep: I have already asked for three days off work: two for the actual con, and one to rest and get over the geek before returning to work.

My con-clave: This is going to be a family event. Ray and I are taking our little geeks with us because if we didn't, they'd be upset. Fortunately, since we live close by, we won't have to spend extra money on a place to stay, and we plan on taking our own food.

I'm trying not to stress. I truly am, but I'm a little freaked out. I just have to remember that I have nine more days to plan and get ready.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Marvel-ous Mini Pizzas

     We absolutely love having pizza-movie nights around here, and our love for Primal pizza and the DVD release of a new Marvel movie are the perfect reason to make up some personal mini pizzas. This recipe make 2-3 mini pizzas, according to how large you want your personal pizza. If you want to make a double batch, make each batch separately. This dough does not double well.

1/2 cup filtered water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion or garlic powder
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
1 large egg
2 Tbs. coconut flour

1 medium white onion, chopped
29 oz. (large) can organic tomato sauce
12 oz. organic tomato paste
1 Tbs. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

your heart's desire (we used uncured salami and grass-fed mozzarella)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover baking sheet or pizza round with parchment paper.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring water, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, onion or garlic powder, basil, oregano, and marjoram to a boil. Add the tapioca and immediately remove from the heat.

3. While the dough is cooling, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion in coconut oil. Then add tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, and marjoram.

4. Heat sauce until it begins to bubble, then turn it down to simmer and cover. This makes a lot of sauce that can be used on more than just this pizza. This sauce also freezes well.

5. While sauce is simmering, place tapioca dough, egg, and coconut flour in a medium mixing bowl. Mix and let sit for 1 minute to allow the coconut flour to thicken. Once thickened, halve the dough and roll into two balls.

6. Place dough onto prepared baking sheet and cover with another sheet of parchment. Roll dough out into 1/4-inch thick pizza round.

7. Remove the top sheet of parchment and repeat with other dough ball.

8. Bake crusts for 10-15 minutes. Top with sauce and toppings. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dorky Dates: Marvel Movie Marathon

     There is nothing quite like a movie marathon, and in honor of the video release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we decided it was the perfect time for a Marvel Movie Marathon. Since we don't own all of the movies we decided to see, we started with a trip to our awesome local library. This can greatly reduce the cost of any movie marathon you intend to have. We wanted to stick to movies related to Avengers, so we settled on Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Then we got comfortable by pulling mattresses into the living room and loading them up with blankets and pillows and the kids' stuffed animals.

This date can cost $0 to however much you want to spend on movies, plus the cost of food. You can go through your personal collection, rent, download, buy, or check the movies out from your local library. After decided and getting the movies you want, it's time to think about food. A movie marathon will last hours, so it's good to have meals and snacks on hand and ready to go. And don't forget any special drinks you want to have on hand. Since we adhere to the Paleo diet, we don't drink soda, but we did have some delicious coffee and herbal teas on hand, along with plenty of water.

Getting Comfy
You really need to think comfort when you settle in for a movie marathon. You need a place to sit or lay for every person who plans to indulge in the activity. We put mattresses, pillows, and blankets on the floor near the couches, so we could sit or lay down, according to our desire at the time. This also afforded us plenty of room to wallow and change positions. If you include children in the marathon, make sure they have something to do if they get bored of watching the movies. Our kids had their stuffed animals, but they also have a video gaming system and Legos set up in the next room; that way, they could do something different if the mood struck them without messing up the atmosphere of the marathon.

Who Would Enjoy It
This is a very flexible date. It's fun for a couple, family, friends, or any mixture thereof. You can always tailor your marathon to suit your audience, but since this is a Marvel Movie Marathon, you may want to make sure that those you invite are into movie adaptations of comic books.

What You May Need
  • Comfortable places to sit or lay down
  • Pillows and blankets for snuggling and keeping warm
  • Your choice of movies (at least 3 for a good marathon)
  • Snacks, meals, drinks
Special Considerations
  • The first consideration is what movies will you include? We went solely with Avenger-themed movies. We started with Captain America since he was the first Avenger. Then we watched The Incredible Hulk because we had never seen it, so we were unsure if we were going to like it as much. We moved on to Iron Man then Thor, finally ending with the two Avenger movies. This worked well for us because it seemed a logical progression, and Ray and I both agreed on the order without any fuss. 
  • The second thing you may want to consider is food. Will your food be themed? Are you going to take this time to pig out on things you'll regret later, or do you want to eat healthy? Will you interrupt your marathon to make food, or do you want to prepare meals ahead of time? Or will you just indulge on snacks and finger foods all day? We had fresh fruits, nut butters, crudités, and "Cheesy" Paprika Ranch Dip for snacks. For drinks, we had water, coffee, and herbal teas. We decided to prepare breakfast and lunch the day before. We made a bacon and egg salad for breakfast and salad with shrimp and lots of veggies for lunch. For dinner, we took a break to stretch and make delicious Marvel-ous Mini Pizzas (recipe to follow).
  • The third consideration is movie marathon etiquette and rules. Will you pause movies for bathroom breaks? Will you pause for discussions, or will people be encouraged to keep their mouths shut during the movie? If you want people to stay quiet, will their be a time for discussion after the movie or during the credits while you're waiting for the P.S.? Will you watch the special features or wait until a different time when you're just watching one movie? Will you watch the movie with the commentary?
  • The fourth consideration is to think about taking a slight break between each movie to get up and move around. Remember that a movie marathon is about the journey, not the destination. If you run out of time, you can always continue on the next day, if you have the time, or you can cut a movie that you don't care as much about, if you don't have the time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Healthy Gaming Snacks: "Cheesy" Paprika Ranch Dip

     This dip was inspired by a need to make some salad dressing to take to a restaurant during a Whole30 challenge. I just started throwing tasty things into a mayonnaise base, and this dressing/dip was born. It was such a hit with the family, that we took it to the gaming table, and now it's a hit with our friends, too. I highly suggest making your own mayonnaise. We use this recipe b Melissa Joulwan because it is our tried and true favorite. This dip is great with fresh veggies, homemade root chips, and just about anything you'd think to put ranch on. You're going to want to lick the plate clean. Just remember to have some napkins nearby, so you don't end up with a greasy character sheet.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. full fat coconut milk
1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast (this is where the cheesy flavor comes from)
1 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. dried parsle
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Mix all ingredients together, blending well.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dorky Dates: Fireworks

    While the Fourth of July has passed us, it's never too late or too early to consider a date to see the fireworks. And there's always next year or New Years or whenever a fireworks show is displayed in your area. And nothing compares to seeing fireworks IRL. I look forward to it every year. I love the boom, the feel, the look, the sparkle. It sings out to some primal part of my soul and just boosts my contentment. And do you know who else was happy?
This guy. Look at that face.

This date can range in price from free to a few dollars for the price of admission, depending on where you watch it from. There's also a possible cost in supplies if you want to take a picnic or need other things like chairs. Ask around to see who goes to this event and where they like to watch the fireworks from. Ray and I like to park at the local high school and watch the fireworks from their front lawn. There's usually a nice crowd of folks doing the same thing. Or you may be able to watch them from your own yard.

Where to Find Fireworks
Fireworks are usually advertised in the local newspaper, as well as on the local radio station and on your town's website or Facebook page. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather, though. Storms can be a big problem, and fireworks may be postponed to a clearer night.

Who Would Enjoy It
This can be fun for a couple, a group of friends, or even the whole family. We go with my mom every year. We even bring the kids along, and since we watch it from a field, they can run and play with other kids.

What You May Need
If you plan to see the fireworks from a stadium, you may want to take your own stadium seats to be more comfortable. Fireworks usually don't last long, but you want to get there early to get a good seat. If you plan to see them from a field, you may want to take along folding chairs or a picnic blanket. We often take a quilt that we put on top of the picnic blanket for extra comfort and to keep the quilt clean and dry. Bug spray and allergy meds may also be in order. If you get there over an hour before the event, and you are not in a stadium setting, you may also want to take snacks, drinks, or a picnic. Warning: Take into consideration the bathroom situation. While we are really near a school, it is not open to the public, so we tend to moderate our liquid intake. Nothing can ruin a night of watching fireworks faster than wishing you could find a potty. Additional Warning: Don't bring your pets. Animals don't understand fireworks and act as if the whole world was ending. Keep them safely at home. More pets go missing during times of celebratory fireworks for this very reason, so make sure you secure your pet at home and maybe do something special for them when you get back. Thanks Rob, for reminding me of this important point.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Geekdom: A Love Story

     When I was four and half years old, my dad decided to go to the movies. I begged him to take me. I got up on the couch, so I'd be taller, and I pleaded. He told me that I was too young, and that the movie he was going to see might scare me. I wouldn't have it. I loved to go to the movies with my dad. He took me to see the best movies. I'm pretty sure I even broke down into tears. I needed to go. I didn't care what the movie was just as long as I got to go with my dad. He finally relented.

     That was the night I went to see E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. That was the night that I became a fan. I saw the movie a couple more times in the theatre. My Halloween costume that year was E.T. I quoted the movie. My uncle gave me an E.T. playset that year for Christmas.

     But the harsh reality of sexism in the geek world was soon to become the bane of my existence. In high school, I dated a gamer boy who dumped me to spent more time with his gaming buddies. When I would hang out with geek guys and try to join their discussions of all things nerdy, more often than not I would be ignored. Sometimes, the guys would just be downright mean to me, letting me know that they thought my opinions and theories had no worth. I let it get to me. Even my own husband wasn't too much better. I had to beat him in Star Wars trivia (the only person to acheive this feat) before he would believe that I knew what I was talking about. And don't get me started on gaming with the guys. I usually got so tired of being ignored that I was ready to turn my weapon on my party. I would end up muttering passive-aggressive things while Ray ran the game without paying attention to any of my previous ideas and agreeing with any guy who thought my in-game ideas were stupid. I was only able to tolerate playing with him when other girls were in our gaming group as well. It changed the dynamic enough that I didn't feel like clobbering him with his own Dungeon Master's Guide.

     Now I'm a mom of a geek girl, and I don't want her to have to deal with this, but I'm afraid that she will. The only thing I can do is arm with with a confidence that will allow her to not let these types get to her. I also want her to be healthier than me.

     I was a sick kid, and once I got married and gaming on  regular basis, it wasn't unheard of the just pig out on a bunch of junk food around the gaming table where chips, cookies, and soda were plentiful, and even sometimes used as a bribe to curry favor from the game master. Now that our family has gone Paleo, we need to update our game night foods. I want my kids to have fun and be themselves, but to find healthy ways to do so, and I want to look good myself. I love cosplay, but for several years, the thought of cosplay just makes me sad. I no longer like the way I look. So getting healthy and looking better are big on my priority list.

     I want to start this blog to explore all the things I love, to have a place to work on getting over my own shyness and social anxiety as a geek girl, and a place where I can explore a way to have fun in a healthier way. It will also be where Ray and I will post our fan fiction version of the Star Wars saga we're calling Fire the Canon. I'm really looking forward to this. We've really been having fun working on this together. I don't want this to be a place where I prove women's place in the Geekoverse. I realize that there are trolls out there who will never change their paradigm, no matter what, I don't have time to deal with them. I have three blogs, three kids, and a full time job. I just want a place to be myself.