Monday, December 08, 2008

A Time For Tea

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? - how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.


Life at our house has been very full. Full of activity, full of stress and typical of holiday time everyone is a bit cross. But then everyone in the U.S. is a bit cross right now. When Anderson Cooper reports to you that this could be the worst economic crisis since the 1930's its a bit hard not to get upset. Beth and I have given our gifts to Heifer International again this year despite economic setbacks. And, while I'm still partial to the knitting basket myself, (for obvious reasons), this year I chose a share of a goat, share of a sheep, a flock of chicks and a gift of bees. Beth chose trees and a share of a water buffalo. It feels good to know somewhere someone will receive a crate full of fluffy yellow chicks, a bee hive buzzing with bees to pollinate crops, or maybe with the help of people like you, a water buffalo to provide a family with milk and cheese.

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

Winter's cold is creeping in and the holidays brings thoughts of auld land syne. What better time to think about the comforts of home than now? And in times like these that try the soul, what comfort is drawn from a hot cup of liquid! No, I'm not talking about coffee, I'm talking about that stuff we once threw into the Boston harbor. TEA.

When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea" I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? Tea dammit! And if it's really serious, they may bring out the coffee. The Americans have their alert raised to red, we break out the coffee. That's for situations more serious than this of course. Like another England penalty shoot-out. ~Jslayeruk, as posted on Metaquotes Livejournal, in response to the July 2005 London subway bombings

I believe it is customary in good society to take some slight refreshment at five o'clock. Oscar Wilde, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

In the more than sixty years of Queen Victoria's reign, the afternoon tea had become a national pastime in Great Britain. When the clock struck four, every kettle in the empire began to whistle and every tea table was set with all manner of delectable's to appease the appetite and restore the flagging spirit. The observance has become a treasured custom, a moment best described by Charles Dickens as one "in which we were perfectly contented with ourselves and one another."

The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration - all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup - ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither. ~Lu Tung, "Tea-Drinking"

We love tea at our house. We love coffee too, but hot cups of tea throughout the day have become standard around here ever since we tasted our first cup of P.G.Tips. And now with snowstorms becoming a regular occurrence, and Castle Moscow back open for business, those hot cups of creamy tea will sustain us in our darkest hour. And with all that tea comes tea pots, and with the collecting of all those tea pots, the need for tea cozies goes without saying. I've lately become obsessed with knitting tea cozies. You may remember the orange cozy pictured above. I've now knitted a silly pineapple cozy to befriend it.

Four layers of thickly gathered ruffles wrap around the pot, their edges dotted with brightly colored beads. This cozy reminds me of Carmen Miranda's ruffled skirts. All it needs are a bunch of grapes and some bananas to sit atop its spikes.

Those darn spikes were tricky, and even knitted double took some ingenuity to get to stand up. My layers were too wide and so thick after gathering that any water put in this pot will probably stay hot for an eternity. I left gaps in the skirt to allow the spout and handle to peek through.

I'm not sure when I became obsessed with tea. I think it goes back to all those books I read in my childhood. I've always loved everything to do with Britain. To love Britain is to love tea, or at least the idea of tea, and who can resist terms like jam pennies and Victoria Sponge? Cucumber sandwiches with real butter, bangers and mash, beef pasties and fish -n- chips. Battenburg Cake, sticky toffee pudding, treacle tarts. My desire to try Paddington's sticky buns has been an life long obsession.

Tea! thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid,... thou female tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart-opening, wind-tippling cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate.
~ Colley Cibber, LADY'S LAST STAKE

Battenburg Cake

“A cake distinctive for the two-by-two check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow. The cake is covered in marzipan and, when sliced, the characteristic checks are exposed to view. These coloured sections are made by dying half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow, then cutting each resultant sponge into two long, uniform cuboids, and joining them together with a little cream, jam, or icing, to form one cake. The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg. The four squares of the cake are said to represent the four Battenberg princes.”

The Battenburg Cake Cozy

Inspiration for the Battenburg Cake cozy came from The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. Her inspiration was the actually edible Battenburg Cake, traditionally eaten in Britain. You’ll need 2 skiens of each color. The beads are optional. This is the same pattern I used for my orange tea cozy and comes from Rowen.

My own attempt at making a Battenburg cake has had to wait while I search out a source for marzipan...

Of course the most important part of having tea isn't the cake, but the tea. English Breakfast, Darjeerling, Earl Grey, Yorkshire Gold, Murroughs Welsh tea, Taylors of Harrogate... Hot and steaming from the pot with sugar and milk. It soothes the rumpled spirit and warms the cockles of the heart. We have become tea snobs at our house. We've had the real deal from Britain, and now not just any tea will do. Our tea of choice is P.G. Tips, or Red Rose (which has the added advantage of coming with a tiny china animal in every box.)

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, PORTRAIT OF A LADY

Did you know that the world is suffering a crisis with honey bees? Its called Colony Collapse Disorder. Without bees we won't have food. You can help by attracting bees to your yard with the right plants that provide food for bees. Diverse plants attract different types of bees. You can even start your own hive. This is my bee hive or bee skep cozy. I have some issues with the way this one turned out, so I'm reworking the pattern. The little brass bee buttons are buzzing their way around the outside looking for a way in. I don't think this pathetic hive is going to do much for the bee problem...

The Bee Skep Tea Cozy

Stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?
Rupert Brooke, HEAVEN

It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don't let it stand for more than three minutes), it says to the brain, "Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!"

~Jerome K. Jerome, THREE MEN IN A BOAT

The last cozy is one for Beth, to remind her of all the great tea and scone she had throughout Britain. She mentioned wouldn't it be funny to have a tea cozy that looked like a Scottish thistle? I stumbled on the pattern for the lumpy bumpy tea cozy below and thought it just might work...

Scottish Thistle Tea Cozy

"Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on!"
~Billy Connelly

A real honest to goodness Scottish thistle.
And the resemblance is uncanny!

Meanwhile, let us have a cup of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.
Kazuko Okakura THE BOOK OF TEA

Friday, November 28, 2008

Truly Thankful

Thanksgiving day has come and gone, but being thankful lasts longer than the turkey and pumpkin pie. Last year at this time we were all thankful that Quincy was still with us. And, after another close call this summer, Quincy is just a few days from celebrating his 10th birthday. We had a gorgeous autumn with colors almost as lovely as the picture above. Sarah is weeks away from graduation. Beth is writing for MTV and Cinematical now and went on her first set visit. The year has been very busy and very stressful for everyone, but we're all still here.

This was the best Thanksgiving I can remember in a very long time. The weather was lovely, the food was perfect, and I've tried to take a snapshot in my head of the day, to treasure in my heart for always. It was just us 4 and it was like old times. Like my girls were little again, and I thought life was bliss. I heard Sarah laugh at the table, and I haven't heard her laugh like that for ages. The girls didn't fight. No one was sick. No one was missing, except those who have gone on before, and I think they were here too. Life is changing and changing rapidly, and who knows what the next year might bring? We may never be together like this, in just this way, ever again.

This is the first year I have ever experienced getting to the table without being completely worn out. Everything went like clockwork. Everything turned out perfect. That's why I thought it was so important to record this, I may never experience anything this close to perfection ever again. This was epic in the annuls of Thanksgiving dinners. I want to thank Martha Stewart for her butter and wine basted turkey recipe. This was the second year I used it and I've never seen a more beautiful turkey.

I want to thank Vitamin Cottage for my free range organic turkey. It was the best turkey I've ever had. For once, the house wasn't full of that horrible cooking turkey smell that always makes me ill. I actually wanted to eat the turkey when I finally got to the table. The house just smelled good, like spices and fruit. And speaking of fruit, I want to thank Martha again for the pumpkin challah bread/stuffing recipe that I have tweaked over the last few years. I finally achieved stuffing perfection. Half panetone bread, half pumpkin challah with a bit of chopped red onion, sage, majoram and a whole orchard of dried fruit, this stuff is heavenly.

I'm thankful for spilling the ginger into the pumpkin pie because it gave it a real kick, and for Uncle Bud (whoever he is) for the best pumpkin pie recipe ever. I am thankful for the doggies, who lined up in a fat roly poly row and watched all the proceedings without tripping me once. I'm thankful for each and every one of them, and all their brethren that have shared table with us over the years.

I'm thankful that Beth was able to kick me in the teeth earlier in the week when I was being a Highlands Ranch snob and bitching about not finding the CD I wanted or the coat in my size, for saying, "be thankful you HAVE a coat." Yes. And a home and food and a wonderful family to share it with. I'm thankful for my health. I'm thankful for the cronic cough, carpel tunnel, fibro myalgia, acid reflux, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and just plain pain, because I am living, and I still can't wait to get up each and every day.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Charlotte A. Cavatica

"And so, talking to herself, the spider worked at her difficult task. When it was completed, she felt hungry. She ate a small bug that she had been saving. Then she slept. Next morning, Wilbur arose and stood beneath the web. He breathed the morning air into his lungs. Drops of dew, catching the sun, made the web stand out clearly. When Lurvy arrived with breakfast, there was the handsome pig, and over him, woven neatly in block letters, was the word TERRIFIC. Another miracle."

Late in August, summer before last, some of you may remember, I discovered a very large spider residing in a window well outside our basement. Her huge web was a true traditional spider web round and perfect, the kind one always imagines and artists always draw. She was shy and a champion at avoiding my camera lens. Once it was determined she was not a poisonous spider, I stopped fearing her and just settled down to enjoy her work. We dubbed her Charlotte despite the fact that she turned out to be a "cat faced spider" instead of a common barn spider. We enjoyed her giant webs throughout the summer and it was with great joy we discovered our Charlotte had an egg sack tucked into one of the corrugated valleys of the window well. Our Charlotte guarded her "magnum opus" with uncommon bravery, and as the days grew shorter she could often been seen basking in the late day sun, obviously languishing as summers glory faded.

Charlotte I

Our local butterfly and insect museum said cat faced spiders were uncommon in our area, and they would love it if we would bring her in and donate her to the museum. Summer was ending, and she would die shortly anyway. We could not bear to separate Charlotte from the eggs she had guarded so fiercely all summer, and felt she deserved to live out her days free. Charlotte lived long past the expiration date given by the museum, surviving snows in October and November. The last time I'd seen her she was faded and weak, huddled in the folds of the metal. After one particularly brutal storm in late November, she simply disappeared. Her final web fell into tatters and the window well was overrun with disgusting Daddy Long Legs and other insects who no longer feared to venture there.

That was the winter of the great snow that crippled Denver for a week, and it seemed as though the snow storms would never stop coming, and we feared for the little egg sac buried so long in frozen ice. Spring came but we never saw any baby spiders, the egg sac still remained moored, dirty, gray and sadly vacant. We mourned the loss of not only Charlotte but the babies she had worked so hard to preserve.

Summer passed without the discovery of any spiders as wonderful as our Charlotte and despite some pretty terrific webs and promising spiders, nothing resembling her beauty nor the breadth of her web has ever come to grace our house again. Then in May, as Beth and I potted plants and hung baskets in the courtyard we made a discovery. A small spider and a perfectly formed round web had taken up residence in the corner of our front porch. The spider was obviously not one of the kind we typically see, and the web design looked very familiar. I was positive it was another cat face, but Beth wasn't so sure.

"It does look similar, but this spider is so small in comparison to Charlotte, she was really big."

"But, I didn't discover Charlotte until August, maybe this is a baby. It has the same brown and white striped legs and the abdomen is shaped the same. Maybe it is a male. Aren't male spiders smaller than their female counterparts?"


Well, that small spider was a baby, and she has continued to grow all summer long and her web right along with it. It is a cat faced spider and a female, as the "cat ears" soon became quite visible on the rear. Could this be our Charlotte's granddaughter? In fact, could she be her daughter? I recalled a sunny day in early spring, when I had rounded the corner past Charlotte's window well taking out the garbage, and had run smack into a thin strand of web and noticed several more in the air and on the fence. I had immediately recalled the scene in the film Charlottes Web when the baby spiders emerged and launched themselves into the air. The phenomenon is called "ballooning" and I had walked right into it. I searched, but couldn't find any spiders. I went about my business thinking about what a coincidence that it had happened on the very spot our Charlotte had laid her own eggs.

But was it a coincidence? We'd had a terrible winter that year. The following spring and summer were cold and wet. The following winter was equally bad. This spring however, had been exceptional, perfect even. Was it possible the eggs had laid there fallow, waiting all this time? The egg sac had remained glued to its spot looking exactly the same as always. Once we knew for sure that this new spider was in fact another Charlotte, Beth got curious and went to check the egg sac. It was gone, the remaining webbing empty and bedraggled. Could it be? I'd need a spider expert to say for sure.

One Half of a Web

With much more scope for the imagination than her mother had in the window well, this Charlotte spreads her webs over the entire porch corner and connects them to the hanging baskets below and on either side of her. This corner is very protected, in even the worst of winds, rain or snow, this little area surrounding our front door remains sheltered and clear. Even in the gustiest of winds, her web rocks back and forth with the baskets, but the web anchor strands remain strong. The web is always full of gnats and moths, and we have witnessed her gobbling down freshly caught fly on several occasions. No saving them up for later, this Charlotte is a vicious and bloodthirsty killer who devours these choice specimens before our eyes. She is an extraordinarily huge spider in comparison to her mother, probably due to her exceptional diet, and her abdomen is easily the size of a dime.

Photos of Charlotte II have been impossible because she prefers to stay curled up in her corner, sleeping away her days, and only venturing out in the darkness to make repairs to her web. As dusk falls she creeps out to bounce in the web's center, see the sun go down and watch us water the flowers. It has only been the lightening quick wolfing down of those fresh kills that has garnered us much of a look at her.

"Far into the night, while the other creatures slept, Charlotte worked on her web. First she ripped out a few of the orb lines near the center. She left the radial lines alone, as they were needed for support. As she worked, her eight legs were a great help to her. So were her teeth. She loved to weave and she was an expert at it. When she was finished ripping things out, her web looked something like this:"

It has become a ritual for me to check on her each morning and see her fresh web glistening in the morning sun. New and perfect, free from bugs, it sits poised for a new days catch. Each morning I expect to find "Some Pug" woven into the intricate design. Sadly, neither of our Charlotte's has been a writer.

But now it is fall, and the pots must be emptied and the fountain put to bed for the winter. I carefully and very reluctantly removed the one strand of webbing anchored to the last hanging basket so I could remove it. The web instantly collapsed and I was overcome with guilt. After a night of magic and spinning, I went to fetch the milk and looked up to see Charlotte's new web. Anchored to each side of the L shaped porch roof and eaves, it sits like a trampoline, and I can look up directly at it. Since I had the ladder out so I could reach the hanging planters, I decided it was time for Charlotte to give it up for a photo shoot.

Charlotte II

This Charlotte A. Cavatica, is unfortunately not as beautiful as her mother, Her coloring is much lighter, the exact shade of our house paint, probably a protective measure provided by nature. And because of this coloration, she lacks the definitive markings that complete the cat face on her rear. She does have the same long delicate hairy legs striped in brown and cream, and sharp beady dark eyes, and like her mother she is shy and quiet. Reclusive.

A Full Web

To date there is no egg sac, at least not one we can see tucked anywhere. Perhaps Charlotte II will die an old maid, ending her mother's legacy. I hope not. I hope that come next spring babies will once again launch into the air and when one hatchling asks what was my mother's middle initial, Wilbur can answer A for Arania and that baby will choose to stay behind, finding the porch an ideal spot for catching flies. Perhaps she will even become a writer....


Monday, September 22, 2008

The Season of Libra

Libra: September 23-October 23

Libra, the only inanimate sign of the Zodiac, is ruled by Venus. Modern-day astrologers often view Libra as the most generous of the Zodiac because it represents the "Zenith of the Year," when the harvest of the spring's hard work is reaped. Because Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, Librans admire beauty in many forms, such as art, music, and even people. Librans are very likeable due to their captivating charm. Being an air sign, Librans are intellectual and continuously seek out knowledge and new ideas. Born under the sign of the Scales, their spirits thrive on balance and harmony and are most at peace when the world around them is orderly and serene.

So much has happend around our house in the last couple of weeks, it's been pretty hard to put it all together here. We've been suffering from another bout of bad luck, but now that we have entered the season of Libra, (and my 49th birthday is only days away) the scales seem an appropriate theme for this post. The universe has a great way of bringing things back to level; for every action there is a reaction, for every death a birth, and for every bad; a good. When the days get tough, you have to concentrate on finding that good and being thankful for it.

Ruby, Quincy and Forrest (the 3 stooges) at the courtyard gate

For starters, we nearly lost Quincy again. He came down with an infection of the pancreas and intestine, a virus that has been cropping up all over Colorado. We know lots of dogs that have come down with it, and even a couple that didn't make it. Quincy has a strong heart, and a good vet. Despite how desperately sick he was by the time I got him to the vet, he responded quickly to medication, and after an overnight stay with Dr. Geisellhardt, was able to come home to recuperate with his loved ones around him. While the vet bill was 356.00, the GOOD NEWS is Quincy is well and still with us. He has one strong will to live. How many lives to dogs have?

The water department red tagged our account for excessive water use and after an inspection it turned out one of our sprinkler system valve boxes was leaking. One 1/2 gallon of water every hour. Ouch! $250.00 repair. The GOOD NEWS is the water company gave us a one time water credit of $569.00 (yeah, that's really what the bill was) after the repair, so we won't be paying for water for a few months.

Sarah was in a car accident. In trying to avoid a careless driver, Sarah jerked her car to the curb, but hit so hard she completely snapped the right front wheel in half and drove the break into the wheel. The left rear wheel drum was also crumpled into the left rear tire. The GOOD NEWS is was Sarah wasn't hurt. After the necessary repairs of nearly $1,000 to get the PT Cruiser drivable again, it still was having problems and the mechanics felt the frame itself was damaged. In the end, it was necessary for Sarah to buy a new car. She got a great deal and the dealership gave us a great trade in price for the PT Cruiser. I cried pretty hard to see my PT Cruiser go, I loved that car....Yesterday Sarah brought her new baby home, a 2008 Toyota Yaris. It really does look like the Prius has given birth as the two sit side by side in the garage. The same color, the same headlights, the same sloping roof, and yet everything is shorter, stubbier, and rounder, making the car look like an infant. If you've ever seen the television show Chuck, he drives a Yaris as a member of the Nerd Herd at the Buy More. (Think Best Buy and Geek Squad)

In between disasters I started scrapbooking Beth's photos from her trip to England last year. There were so many photos Scotland has an album of its own. 80 pages and over 200 photos later, I'm taking a short break before starting on England. I've got to get it done before Thanksgiving or I won't have a dining room table to eat on...

The Wallace Monument, Stirling Scotland

I'm afraid there really isn't a way to photograph it to do it justice, and the glare on the pages means you really can't see much. There is a whole page devoted just to kilts, and we didn't forget to showcase Beth's New Rock boots that did all that walking.

I've also managed to finish 4 pairs of socks. The first one is called Rivendell, designed with the that lovely land of the Elves in mind. It's from Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman.

Rivendell Knit in Socks That Rock, lightweight, colorway Gaia

Then I turned out 3 quick pair of my plain vanilla socks. It's getting really difficult (and boring) to keep trying to photograph all these socks on my own feet. Why can't I get a cute foot model like all the other sock knitters have?

Dear Frankie Socks

Tropical Socks

Pick-a-Mix Socks

Since this is the season of the harvest, I'm preparing for the winter ahead by building up my stash of yarn. While I won't ruin the surprise of telling what is going to be made from all this yarn, I will tell you that while there are a few pairs of socks tucked in there, I've decided I need to take a break from footwear. There will be several fun things coming from the stash, like tea cozies, and some extra special pieces that will be tucked away in hope chests.

This is only about 1/2 my actual stash BTW. As yarn stashes go, is that bad? Yesterday I went to pick up some size 4 double pointed needles and came home with more sock yarn. It was on sale and I couldn't resist. More crack for the addict. And what would I do without my wonderful swift and ball winder? Without it I would have no joints left in my arms at all. I guess I'm ready for the snow to fly and lots of hours watching CNN and election coverage. Beth, Sarah and I are completely smitten with Anderson Cooper. If things don't turn out well with the election, we'll be leaving the U.S. I've chosen Canada so I get Universal Health care and enough cold weather that I can keep knitting. Beth is setting her sights on England, but then she has a whole lot less furniture to move....

May peace, balance and harmony be in store for the remainder of 2008.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There and back again a Geek's tale

I survived Comic Con 2008 and lived to tell about it. Actually, my telling is rather late, as the news of Con was all over the internet seconds after it began. People were busy blogging and uploading pictures all over the convention center before panel chairs had gone cold. Comic Con is Geek Heaven, and everywhere you look there are i-phones and blackberries, lap tops and digital cameras. Everyone is talking and texting and snapping photos like mad. And, since you spend a huge amount of your time standing in line it seems perfectly logical to use that time uploading photos to Flikr, and answering the same question over and over. "What are you standing in line for? Somehow, I think if I had dared to knit while standing in line the whole place probably would have gone into lock down. Natural fiber! Wooden needles! No computer chips!

the crowd

I've never had 5 days fly past so quickly or been so tired when it was over. As things went I never had a chance to meet up with someone I very much wanted to and I am very bummed over it. (Sorry Nancy) Once the convention center traps you, it's over. It doesn't give up its dead easily. Once I saw the nightmare that is con, I knew I wasn't going to test mine or Nancy's mettle in trying to deal with all those people and all that traffic. She was better off where she was, tucked up snug at home and enjoying her garden and sewing.

Day 1, the reporter goes to work

Five days later...

I had a great time, and almost felt 18 again, until 3 days of 12 mile a day walking caught up with me. Then I just wanted curl up on my bag of swag and die. I rallied again on Saturday after sleeping until noon, and spending a day in the sun and fresh air on Sunday worked wonders. I couldn't visit San Diego without some time spent by the water and the maritime museum. However, by 4:30 a.m. Monday morning at the San Diego Airport, both Beth and I looked like we could have starred in Planet Terror. (After running out of shirts, I was forced to wear a free swag shirt with Terminator on the front which didn't help matters any.)

the Zoners

Despite my complaining about walking 1.5 miles uphill to our hotel on 4 consecutive nights (that's after that 9 miles at the convention center, walking to dinner, etc.), I was declared a great traveling companion and praised for keeping my end up. I met Beth's editors and put several names with real life faces from The Zone at AintItCoolNews. I was declared "cool" for being a mom over 40 attending Comic Con. It's easy to forget "we moms" were the original fan girls who stood in line for the first Star Trek movie, Wrath of Con and dressed up as Princess Leia for Star Wars episodes IV, V, and VI. Without us, this crop wouldn't be here.

Ray Stevenson and me (he still wears his 13th legion ring BTW)

I sat mere feet away from Rick Baker, Zach Snyder, and David Boreanez. I got an autograph from Ray Stevenson who played Pullo in Rome (the whole event passed in a mist as I basked in the glow of his wonderful smile and blue eyes.)

Nathan Fillian

I actually glimpsed Nathan Fillian as I was forced by the sheer strength and size of the crowd to circle the booth twice while he was signing autographs. I wanted to meet him so badly and tell him how much I loved the film Waitress, but I was shunned in favor of a woman wearing a full length velour cape covered in Comic Con buttons. Maybe next year...

a wall of t-shirts

If you like to show your geekyness by wearing t-shirts, then Comic Con is the place for you. This photo shows only one wall of a 4 sided booth. Actually 8 sides, as all four of the inside walls were covered as well. There were T-shirts of every conceivable kind (I splurged on a Firefly hoodie). Comic Con is a sea of t-shirts, action figures, posters, and costumes. A life size Archie the Owl ship from Watchman hovered over the convention floor. Row upon row of comic books and the artists who created them scribbled autographs and sketches. I fell in love with the Elizabeth Swann dolls by Tonner and was ready to pull out my wallet for the Lara Croft had she been available.

Achimedes, Night Owl's ship from Watchman.

Archie's insides. I have no idea if there
was a coffee maker...

There is a phenomenon at Con, that I just can't quite grasp. The insanity of SWAG. Don't get me wrong, I love my free t-shirts, and collecting buttons for my lanyard. My BONES poster and Rock Me Sexy Jesus bracelet are among my favorite swag of con. But fighting people for giant shopping bags? It's true. I spent 3 days coveting the "Big Frakkin Bag" but I wasn't willing to risk my life to get one. I swear Warner Brothers has ulterior motives when they purposefully release a new bag every 12 hours at 20 minute intervals. And Fox's free poster tubes? Gone on preview night. As one bus driver told us, "Today's hot bag is tomorrows garbage, and we'll be seeing them around the streets for the next six months." I kept picturing the sleeping bums blanketed in "Big Fracking Bags" all winter...

the big frakkin bag

I lunched with a producer of the Simpsons, who congratulated me on what a talented daughter I had, and asked how could he raise his baby girl to make sure she turned out just as geeky. That was the best compliment I've ever had. I only wish my answer had been better. (ask me again Don, I've been practicing) We all had a great time and you couldn't ask for a nicer, more down-to-earth geek of a person. It was a pleasure to meet you Mr. Payne.

the Simpsons panel

Saturday is costume day and I worked as line manager for Lara Croft. By days end we were really wishing we charged $5 a photo.

Beth and Ewan McGregor?

Beth, Scott and Eric (the editors)

Even Jabba had to have a picture with Lara Croft...

Beth got to meet Lena Headey, and I had my first real anger management issue, when someone leaked the stars wear abouts and we were descended upon by paparazzi. After waiting eons for first the autograph session to end, and then the inevitable executive ass kissing, I was shoved away by a wall of photographers just as Ms. Headey was introduced to the Cinematical team and we got our photo op. Somewhere out there are loads of photos of Lara Croft and Lena Headey, and they are by rights mine. Cough 'em up you paparazzi scum! Lena Headey was sweet and understanding. Beth had a chance to talk with her later at a party and apologized profusely for putting her arm around the ladies waist. Lena told her not worry about it, it wasn't a problem at all, and that Beth had "looked great."

Scott, Beth, and Lena Headey (barely)

And now, here, in Colorado, the buzz from Comic Con is wearing thin, the foothills saw their first dusting of snow and the leaves are beginning to turn. Summer went by much to quickly. I had a great time but I am very content to be back in my Hobbit hole with my knitting and my puppies, and a stack of good books. I'm 1/2 way through my first graphic novel, Watchman. Jane Austin forgive me, but I have succumbed to the power of the comic book. I've got to be ready for next year.