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My parents have now been married 55 years. In that time they have both become Professors, raised four kids, bought a house, and traveled the world.

But that is such a simplification of just a few of the things they have done in that time.

They are excellent gardeners. The grounds have been the site of more than one tour over the years. They managed to take an overgrown ivy forest and create (re-create) more formal gardens. They work hard to maintain it and expand on what they have done.

Want to know where I got my smarts from? Them. They encouraged us to use our brains. To not take things at face value. I knew how to use the scientific method from about the age of 5. Both of my parents are very intelligent individuals. They taught us to be proud of the fact that we could out think most people on the planet if we put our minds to it.

My crafty inclinations come from both of them. My mother made us clothing and lots of other items. I can remember as a kid she made me paper wings and a vest so I could be a flying monkey from the Wizard of Oz which was my favorite character in that film. She was very clever in recycling things for us to play with. I remember when Star Wars came out, my father made a set of LED eyes and put them on a headband. My mother made the rest of the outfit and my brother was a Jawa that Halloween. My father makes cloisonné pins. I still have a number that he made me over the years. My father and I share a love of photography. His nickname is Grandpaparazzie.

My love of reading has it beginnings with my parents. They read to me when I couldn’t. And once I could, they encouraged me to read. They introduced me to authors that they liked. I get my love of literature from them. I have very fond memories of my father reading “Wind in the Willows” and “the Hobbit” to me.

My parents taught me my moral compass by example. I saw what they did and how they treat people and mimicked what they did. They taught me that everyone is worthy of common respect. That being polite to everyone was the way to live. I knew my parents were liberal Democrats before I knew what the term was. They believe in fairness to all and that no one was above anyone else.

All that I am I owe to my parents. And I don’t think I can ever thank them enough.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Enjoy your meal at Le Grotta.

I am so very grateful that my parents are my parents.
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Hi there. Remember me?

The reasons for my silence are myriad. It boiled down to that I needed a break to sort some stuff out. Not everything sorted but I am going to start posting again but probably not every day.

Since I last wrote a lot of things both good and bad have happened. I will have less of a record to look back on than I usual do. I haven’t even been writing in my paper journal and that’s highly unusual for me.

I have a couple of things on that creatively I need to get done both writing and building. I have to get knitting on a puppet sized Dr. Who scarf too.

We have adopted a new cat named Mewlan. She is black with yellow eyes. She has not had an easy life so far and we are trying to correct it. She is starting to warm up to us but still makes it hard to pet her. Jumpy is an understatement. Inky looks positively social as compared to Mewlan’s behavior. We are giving her space and some time to adjust. There are pockets of time that she is very social but then goes back to scaredy cat.

Caroline is adjusting to high school and sorting out how to make her way around there. She has joined the robotics team along with a number of clubs including debate. She hasn’t been struggling but it hasn’t been easy either.

Peter has been writing both on his Patreon account and for various clients. He has a series of conventions lined up this fall but nothing as insane as May/June/July was.

So there you have it. A short summery of our lives.

I am grateful for the quiet spaces.
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NFL viewing is down by about 15% this year according to ESPN and some other sports pundits.

The why has turning into a lovely round of finger pointing at various groups and the call for boycotting for various reasons including a number that seem to revolve around Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest last year that has now blown up into a national issue. Some are boycotting because Kaepernick seems to be being punished by not be hired by a team even though he is so much better than the QB they have on the field. Others are boycotting because they oppose the players who have been exercising their first amendment right both on and off the field. So according to those screaming the loudest, that’s why number are down.

I don’t think that it is at all. I blame the NFL red zone. When you can get all the exciting plays in one place and have your electronic leash tell you when they exist so you can go and watch them, why take 3 hours out of your Sunday to watch a game in hopes of seeing an exciting play? The red zone has ruined it for teams whose markets are not the biggest. In our immediate gratification society, the NFL Red Zone is tailor made for that sort of behavior. Plus you don’t have to listen to the refs ruining the game for your team by some lame ass penalty that was not applied fairly to your team.

I do think that concussion is playing a role in this too. The awareness of the viewing public about what those hits do to those players is very much on the rise. We also come to understand that the absurd contracts that we hear about is for the minority of players and the majority have to try to make as much money playing as they can before they go out on injury or they don’t remember their name. So the violence, that use to be a selling point, now seems to become a detriment.

Also it hasn’t been that good over all. They are still trying to sort out the new rules. The celebration in the end zone has not added to the game for me in fact it is just eating up time that is going to make my show later in the evening because the game is going to go over. The refs use to call the game and, some how, they have made themselves part of the game with their antics. So it can be a long haul with a lot of commercials to see a team that you like play. Thus the immediacy of the Red zone plays.

I really don’t know if they are taking all the other ways to watch games into account.

I do know that college football’s attendance has been better than the NFL but if you consider the absurd price of even a crappy ticket, it is understandable. They have priced their fan base out of their stadiums. The cash cow has moved on and the stands are looking rather empty in some markets. It has become a game for the rich and the working class who might like to attend a game cannot afford a seat much less a hot dog.

So NFL you did it to yourselves. What are you going to do about it.

I am grateful that I can still watch football on a network that is not a cable network but that’s probably going soon as well.
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Today begins the 61th journey around the Sun for Peter.

This year has been an interesting one full of ups and downs for us all.

We consider that Peter is still here a real positive in our lives. That he has recovered fully from the stroke is another.

Today is going to be pretty low key where in we do several things that we always do on his birthday.

Tomorrow we are going to the Broadway Flea Market and to see one of his grandsons.

If you want to give Peter a present, may be promote his Patroen account or his books from Crazy 8 Press.

I am grateful that we can celebrate today.
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We are well known for two things in our neighborhood especially at Halloween. The first is that we give comic books rather than candy and the second is a graveyard that I have been building to and working on for years to the point that people who had their picture taken in front of it are now taking pictures of their children in front of it. The two years I didn’t put it up I had people asking if we were OK or what happened.

This year I want to try something a little different and give the graveyard a theme. This gives me a month to create some new props and gravestones for the display.

I am sorting out what I can get done with that and a puppet that is on the table and Caroline’s annual Halloween costume. The difference is that Caroline is getting use to working with the sewing machine and soon will be making her own costumes.

I have been given permission to do a Scary Godmother puppet show which may see the light of day this year possibly by Halloween.

So I have ideas and some motivation now I just need to get the energy to move this project forward.

Along with this is the open call for “They Keep Killing Glenn” and my Nemo novel.

Let’s see what I can get done. I will check in next week with progress on all these projects.

I am grateful for things that motivate me.
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In which I take a step back but also have a lot to do.

This year I knew that I was not going to be around for the month of July so if I wanted to do the Art Show and the Puppet Slam, I had to get most of it done before then due to time constraints that I knew about in August.

By the beginning of June I had a feeling that the Art Show was a no-go and so I wrote them and said I was out this year but would like to participate next year.

By August I knew that the puppet slam piece was not happening and for a second year I found myself on the outside looking in. This was frustrating but I had to face the reality of the time I had and my energy levels so rather than throw together a half-assed entry, I told Beau that I would pass on my slot this year but want to participate next year.

That does not mean that I didn’t have anything to do at DragonCon. I had plenty of panels and a couple of things that I wanted to get done to occupy my time.

Two of the things I wanted to do had been set in motion over a year ago in one case and two months in the other. The first was to get the Nebula puppet that had been completed a year ago to Karen Gillan who knew it existed. Thanks to the help of Tony Gowell, I was able to do so. She was very happy with the result. The second was to get the River Song puppet to Alex Kingston who chose which outfit she wanted on it. She loved it and proceeded to have River and Alex have a conversation with each other. I didn’t know until later that evening that she had worked at the little Angels puppet theater in London.

I was on a variety of panels discussions ranged word usage in fandom to the American Musical. I also did my duties as head-judge for the workmanship contest on Friday Night. This gets harder every year to judge but I am up to and enjoying the challenge.

I did see my brother and sister during the weekend where we caught up a bit on life, the universe and everything. I had some excellent conversations about all kinds of topics with friends old and new.

Only problem the whole weekend was that impasse which is getting into the Marriott where the puppetry track is because of the bottle neck from the Hyatt and the food court feeding into the Marriott and people trying to get out of the Marriott to go to the Hyatt and the food court. That has been a trouble spot for years and this year is no different. My one solution is to make it one way in and one way out at that point which is a manpower issue to enforce it.

And lets have a hand for all the volunteers who worked their butts off over the weekend so the rest of us could have fun. They did a good job and knew how to get you either the information you needed or where to go for that info.

A round of applause also for those who counter-protested the megaphone wielding “you are all going to hell” group who happened to be right under our window in the hotel. Between the bagpipers who placed themselves on either side of the group and drowned them out to the Drag Queens that sang showtunes to the Deadpool who dressed up as Jesus, DragonCon gave as good as they got.

Thank you to the Alanta Police department for both safety and traffic control. You got us where we needed to go without having to fight our way there. Also to the paramedic and the police officer along with the fan who was a real doctor(yes he was dressed as the 10th doctor but works at Emory) who helped a man who had a sudden seizure on the corner of the street along with the quick thinking fans who made a ring around the man so that the medical personal could do their job.

We had fun so we will be back next year.

I am grateful for DragonCon for many reasons.
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Purpose it's that little flame
That lights a fire under your ass
Purpose it keeps you going strong
Like a car with a full tank of gas

-Purpose from Avenue Q

Finding one’s purpose is one of those big things in life. And one’s purpose can change over time.

My purpose is to teach people about puppets and puppetry in any way that I can. I want the next group of people to be able to surpass anything I have done and I will give them the tools to do it with so they don’t have to re-invent the wheel (or puppet rod) each and every time.

When I see puppets that people have built because of things I have taught them or suggestions I gave them, I get a nice warm feeling in my chest.

I know there are people out there making better and cooler puppets than mine. And I am fine with that. I learn from them to make my puppets better.

At Dragon*Con I was on my panel on “So you want to build a puppet” where people bring in their ideas and we tell them how we would do it. My panelists were just wonderful and each brought a slightly different skill set to the group. The audience had good questions and we had fine answers. I learned a couple of things from my panelists and ways of doing or looking at puppets or organizing to know where your stuff is (Thank you Marty).

And I love doing things like that. I like using my brain to solve problems or come up with ways to allow people to make the critters that they want to create. If I could make that a job I would and be quite happy with it.

It was also a good reminder of my purpose and how I cannot just sit on my past work but need to continue to create and try new things.

I also got some good books that were suggested for patterning and the like. Giving me more knowledge to help people bring their puppets to life.

And there you have one of my purposes in life.

I am grateful I have a sense of purpose.
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I honestly don’t remember the first time I met Len Wein. I do know it was at some convention in Atlanta probably Fantasy Fair but that’s about it. I went to a panel he was doing to Chris Claremont where the topic was the X-men but some people did get a Swamp Thing question or two in. I had him sign my Giant Sized X-Men.

I would go to panels Len was on because I knew I would get at least one good story. I thought that I would love to have a meal with him because he’s such a good story teller.

Fast forward to some convention and Peter and I find ourselves with Len and some other members of the Marvel crew going out to dinner. I had been introduced to Len by Peter so he had an idea who I was. We talked about the state of comic book stores and the industry needed both men and women to be buying comics. He liked that I used a lot of Independent comics to get the women who were being drug to the story by their significant others to get them interested in comics too.

We would run into Len and, on occasion, his wife Christine at various conventions. Schedules would be hectic and it got rare that we found time that we could all sit down and just talk. There would be brief interactions and quick catch-ups but ‘Next time’, we would say, ‘Next time we will have that meal we want to have with each other.’

Now there is no next time.

We knew he had health problems. He never made a big deal about it. I kept up with happens on Facebook and gave my support where I could. So it was one of those that we couldn’t say that we were surprised but it still hurt a lot.

His work in comics was amazing. A lot of things he did behind the scenes and he didn’t trumpet all that he did. He created iconic characters that live to this day in film and television and on the comics page. Hugh Jackman jumped off stage at a SDCC to shake Len’s hand and thank him for creating Wolverine which was the character that launched his career. I remember a friend working so hard to get his Swamp Thing costume right so he could show it to Len. Len complimented him on it and made sure to get some pictures too (before digital folks so this was more expensive).

We lose a giant in the comic book industry. Peter and I lose a friend. We now have a Len sized hole in our lives that will be noticeable at various conventions

My sympathies and prayers to his family and friends.

I am grateful that I got to know Len.
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I had a very pleasant birthday. I went to see the Joshua Show vol. 2 by the brilliant puppeteer Joshua Holden at the HERE art space down in Soho. We went to a popular burger joint called the Black Tap: craft beers and burgers to some mighty fine burgers and amazing milkshakes. Apparently we did what few do and walked up to the bar to find a seat immediately. When we left about 22 people were waiting for about 20 total seats in the place.

Afterwards we worked our way uptown to see our friend James who had a signed program for Caroline by the cast of Hamilton. He managed to get Lin-Manuel Miranda to sign it as well, which got him a bear hug from Caroline.

Peter knows me so well. He got me a turntable so I can move my vinyl collection to MP3 and be able to play music that I don’t have on CD. Also a number of these albums that mean something to me are not going to enter the digital realm for various reasons. He also got me a Doctor Strange doll, which is very cool. I plan to put it next to my Sherlock doll and let them have adventures.

I got myself some books on prop building and working with foam or rather I got them for Caroline and me since she is so wanting to start producing her own costumes.

Peter’s birthday is in less than 2 weeks. I know it is on a Saturday because mine was on a Saturday as was Ariel’s.

So today has a couple of things on the agenda and around that I need to fit a few more things. Monday I am working my way back to the fall schedule then we will see what we can get done given the time.

Off to project one.

I am grateful that I had such a spiffy birthday.
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54 is a funny age. I am almost half way through my 50s but not quite so it is an age and, if I am lucky, I will remember it. One of my brothers hit 50 so that makes it easier for me to figure out the age of my other siblings.

So here is my public version of my letter to me. (for the new kids on the block, I write myself a letter each year and then read it the next year. I have another letter for when I turn 60s. I have been doing this since my 20s)

Dear Kath,

Well it has been a year indeed. I swear the ups and downs keep getting bigger.

This past year you have fandom to thank that the IRS is not taking your house away. They helped us and we will never be able to thank them enough.

This past year you managed to get puppets to various people and are happy that they were amused by them.

You managed to keep a much better gym schedule so let’s keep that up.

You wore a costume to a convention in who knows how long because of a haircut.

This next year I want you to work on your follow through. You have a couple of projects that must be done so get it done. I know you can.

Let’s build some dolls this year. It has been years.

Overall you are in a pretty good place, let’s take it from there and make the next year creative and great.

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Today my brother joins me in the realm of being 50 and over. There will be new boxes for him to check since he just joined me in a different demographic according to the gathers of data.

Fifty years is a long time to know someone. I can still remember the little bundle that I met back in Baltimore. I honestly thought at the time that I taught him how to crawl when he started that activity. As he got older, he became more interesting and I tried to keep him involved in what I was doing with my friends.

I will always remember the day that my mother declared that he was taller than me. He said, “I am not your little brother anymore. I am your younger brother.”

He is a good brother and a staunch friend as many can attest to. A lot of what he does is behind the scenes so people don’t know that he was instrumental in what was done.

He likes puzzles to solve. He likes figuring out how things go together and then sorting out how it make it better.

He is an accomplished blacksmith with his own shop but that’s not his day job but basically his second job. Some day he wants to own a pub/bar and a smithy that are next to each other so he gets done in the shop and goes next door and opens up the bar for the evening. The name of the place is O’Shea’s Tapp (or something like that. I will correct when Sean tells me what he was going to call it.)

He is a good planner and then does well at executing his plans.

People tell me that he is handsome but I don’t see it. He’s my goofy looking brother.

He and his wife have been happily married for many years now. They are still a cute couple who are crazy in love with each other. And, yes, they are still playing that insane game of tag that they have been playing for over 20 years.

Happy Birthday Sean!

I love you so very much. Let’s sort out when you might be able to take advantage of your Birthday present.

I am grateful that Sean is my brother.
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I had glasses rated for the eclipse that I got at Shoreleave but I cannot find them now.

So I went old school and made some pin-hole boxes to view our partial eclipse up here and I thought I would put this out there so you too can make your own if you care to.

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A simple pin hole box with a piece of tin foil at one end and a viewing window down the slide with a white screen for better viewing.

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Materials you will need (Cat is an extra and not necessary for assembly of the box)
1. A Box that you can close all sides on.
2. Tape
3. Tin Foil
4. A pin
5. exacto knife or box cutter or scissors
6. a white piece of paper.

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Cut a hole at one end of the box

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Tape the tin foil over the hole

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Stick a pin through the tin foil

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Cut a door on the box wall to the right of your pin hole

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On the wall of the box opposite to the pin hole, place your piece of white paper and secure to the wall

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Tape the top and there you go.

Your own pinhole box to watch the eclipse.

I am grateful that I learned how to do this at the last eclipse.
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Yes, I realized this as I was looking at a calendar about something else.

In two weeks I will be about half way through DragonCon.

In that time we have things that are happening around the house that need to be done and things we need to do to get ready for DragonCon which is one of our bigger conventions of the year at least in the amount of stuff we take with us.

I also need to get a few sewing projects done before we go and make a decision about one project.

Peter is at TerrificCon in Connecticut this weekend and Caroline and I will be attending a Ducks baseball game with the rest of our bowling league.

There is time and not time at the same time.

I am grateful for the time I have to do the projects I need and want to do.
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I have been to a few conventions over my lifetime and I have an opinion on a couple of trends that are really making it hard to me to enjoy parts of a convention when I am at it. Some of these are old issues and some are new ones especially with the technology that is available today that was not when I first starting going to conventions.

Hey Convention, I really like that you have an app. Apps are cool like bowties. However can you please for the love of Glob make a search function that actually allows one to search and narrow down what one is searching for. I don’t want to have to scroll through three days of programming to find a certain panel that I want to see. Also maps that allow us to find our way to the obscure panel room that can only be gotten to by one elevator/escalator/staircase. It would be even better if your phone could guide you to that panel room but I know that is a way off.

And by the same token, not everyone wants to use the App you have so do have enough maps so we can find our way around.

Your personal soundtrack is invading my space. I remember the first time I heard a soundtrack attached to a costume as the wearer was walking around. It was a Ghostbusters costume where they had rigged a boom box into the proton pack. They had a tape loop (yes that is how old this is) that was playing the Ghostbuster’s sting over and over and over. First couple of times it was cute but after hearing it for over an hour, it got very old. Now with all the mini Bluetooth speakers everyone can play their music for all to hear to ‘enhance’ their costume. Stop it. The rest of us are not enamored of the same things that you are. And the cacophony of sound that ensues gives me a bloody bad headache. Think of those of us who are on the floor the entire day and have to deal with your wall of sound. This goes double for the merchants on the floor who play things too loud.

Yes, the convention has the right to tell you that you may not bring in ________________. Conventions, with very rare exceptions, are private. They are run by a group that has rented out the space where the convention is and they can say they don’t want something at the convention. There was a convention who stated up front that they were not allowing costumes at the convention. The outcry was ridiculous. The simple solution was if you can’t go without wearing your costume, then don’t go to this one convention. There are plenty out there that will embrace you with welcoming arms. I am sorry that your prop was not allowed into the hall and I know you worked hard on it, however I am not sorry that I am not ducking around your prop or getting hit by it when you turn around in a tight space. Even the fake weapons can leave bruises when the impact is great enough.

Hey conventions, might want to make sure your volunteer staff knows at least where to send someone with a question they can’t answer. Might be good if they had a map on their person and at least have been given an orientation of the area they are in. Knowing the chain of command is not bad either. They don’t have to know the entire convention center or the entire convention but the basics would be nice like where is registration or the exhibit hall or the closest rest room. I cannot tell you the number of times just this summer I have heard the words “I dunno” rather than at least pointing them to an information booth.

Fans guess what, the volunteers are just that so cut them some slack especially when they are trying to organize lines for whatever. They are trying to keep the convention from closing down because the fire marshal has walked through and said that if there is not a clear path to the exit, then the convention will have to shut down. Or so that others can get around. Yippie, your friends are here but all of you sitting in a circle on the floor is making it bloody hard for us to get around. And if they say someone is the end of the line, it was probably not their call but someone higher up so yelling at them is not going to get you any perks. I always assume line for something at a convention and am pleasantly surprised when there isn’t one. So listen to the people who are just trying to get you to where you want to go and make it fair for everyone.

Photo Op folks, I do understand the amount of money you are laying down for a photo is rather immense and you want to get that perfect picture so you have the memory of briefly meeting the talent. But there has to be a props limit at some point. This is a photo op not a photo shoot. The best shots I have seen are with those people who are clever with their use of props that don’t interfere with the next person getting in for their moment. Slow the line down and you will be pilloried by everyone behind you especially those who didn’t get their time because of your set-up time.

Please for the love of Glob don't present 10-inch binders with your fan fiction to either the talent or the show’s creator or, in fact, anyone attached to the show. Especially if it is rated PG-13 or above. The rest of us groan either inwardly or outwardly when we see this. I have had to explain fan fiction to so many who have received these ‘presents’ and don’t know what they are. Believe me that if they have any interest, they have already found your work on the Internet. Now I don’t have a problem with say a single sheet of paper with a poem or a song but the binders are over the top. Also don’t antagonize those who have stated that they do not want fan fiction of their work. If you must write, do it quietly. Respect their wishes. Please.

Feel free to add your grumpy observations.

I am grateful to people who are polite to each other at conventions.
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Time I have not.

I know what I need to do before DragonCon and I have about two weeks to do it in.

Today I need a few things from the local Joann’s Fabrics which is the only choice I have in real life because all other cloth stories have closed and I don’t like trying to figure out fabric on the Internet because I need to see the fabric and feel it to make sure it works for me.

I do have the advantage of the fabric district if I care to go into the city and that has saved me some headaches.

But this time I have to go with what I have and build it from there.

I go forward

I am grateful for items being in stock.
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I had a weekend that involved getting together with friends and playing an RPG, getting together with a friend and having sometime to just talk about everything and anything, and getting together with friends and looking at art at the Met including a rooftop exhibition that really took my fancy then I got to stand on the stage where one of the most popular musicals is currently running and talk to my friend who is in the show.

It was a lot of different activities with a lot of different people and all of them gave me motivation that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I haven’t played an RPG in quite a while and this one was a pip. I do feel a little sorry for the Dungeon Master who was trying to get us to a point and it was like herding cats. We did finally get to the point where we would have had a lot of combat but we had to wrap it up. On the plus side we are going to play again since we had so much fun. It was one of those we were laughing so hard our sides hurt. After that we went to Katz’s deli and had some good food and even better conversation. It reminded me that I have a quick creative brain.

Since Peter and Caroline were coming into the city the next day for their adventure, I decided to spend the night in the city (well Brooklyn) and catch up with another friend that I don’t spend enough time with in real life. We caught up on the summer and talked about fannish things. I got the new Ducktales up for them to see which was more enjoyable than the first time. It was nice to just shoot the breeze and remember why I like certain things.

So I had a day free in the city and hadn’t been to the Met in quite a while. I put out a call on my facebook page for anyone who wanted to join me and three friends did. We saw some of the new exhibits and some of the old favorites. I think my favorite was the roof top installation entitled The Theater of the Disappearing by Adrian Villar Rojas, which will be there until October. It gave me some ideas creatively.

After the Met I walked from there to Hamilton to catch up with Peter and Caroline. We went onto the stage and got to talk to our friend and his fellow cast mates. It is such a joyful and blessed cast. A lot of laughter and positive energy on that stage. Plus the stage design is really cool and a great use of a stage that is not that big.

So today I actually feel creative again. The brain fog has vanished and I can see clearly how to attack the projects I have on my plate. I was working out how I was going to get some stuff done in my head on my walk downtown which I hadn’t been able to do well for a while.

Now I am motivated again. I can see clearly how I am going to do some things that I have needed to do.

I am grateful for my friends who give me a push in the right direction or make me see that I am a creative person.
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That you can do what you do and you do it well.

(Thursday: Except to remember to post what you have written. This was written on Tuesday and my lame brain didn't follow through.)

There are many things I am unsure of as an artist but occasionally empirical evidence shows me that I am an artist and a good one too.

The same goes for my ability to write which I feel shaky on some days and totally solid on others. Even with all the voices whispering in my ears about how can I possible think that I can entertain by writing? People have read my work and told me that they liked it and were looking forward to whatever I had next on my plate. They like my style and my tone, which I know is not for everyone. I tend to write streamlined leaving more to the reader’s imagination to fill in. I have a voice that I am comfortable using.

Apparently I have fans of my puppet work. I learned this on our last set of conventions and some comments out on the Internet including someone who found my work because of other people telling him he had to find it.

I have no doubted my ability to build puppets in over 30 years. I can do it and I do it well. The time before that I had my doubts but the more I did, the more I realized I was good at this activity.

Some are amazed at the speed I can make a puppet with. That was learned over time and a lot of trial and error. It is not something I can teach but I do give advise so that others don’t end up in some of the time sinks I did until I figured out a better way to do it.

I can de-construct a costume in my head given good photos and then recreate that costume puppet sized. That has taken a lot of time to learn but it is a good skill to have. It has also improved my pattern making skills.

I want to get back to the dolls and the stuff animals I was working on but right now I am in a puppet groove and at least that is still working in my brain.

I am grateful for everyone who has taught me over the years how to do what I do.
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I have a set amount of time before DragonCon. The number of things I have to do I have reduced on purpose. I had that number reduced again by circumstance which now has me re-evaluating what I can get done before the convention.

I am still digging out from convention/vacation and getting Peter ready for his next convention.

I am very frustrated right now because my brain decided to go into neutral along with my back having fits due to travel related issues so getting anything done is one hell of an effort.

This morning I did make a serious dent in getting things back where they go but it is only half way to completion. Things literary are half way to being put away. I have to go up and down stairs to get things to their final place.

I can tell that I am not at my best. I am second guessing every move I make and every word I say or type. I am worried about so many things it is becoming irrational and I know it but I can’t stop my brain in overdrive.

I go back to what works and try to calm myself with varying degrees of success. Peter is being very supportive and helping me where he can.

I keep going forward hoping that something will click back into place and I won’t feel so drained and tired all the time. I need to get back to my exercise routine because that helps a lot. I have Caroline to help me be motivated with that because she wants to go to the gym too and continue her exercise routine.

This is the face of mild depression. I can function but it feels like I am pushing a rock uphill. I go on because people need me to do various things for various reasons. Which is a good thing because it keeps me moving and functioning.

I hope to snap out of this funk soon because it is not fun and I am not a lot of fun right now. I have things to do.

I am grateful for things that help me continue to move forward.
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Working then vacationing then working then vacationing the busy part then the quiet part then working then home.

Or what we did in the month of July where Caroline spent a grand total of approximately 7 ½ hours in New York State.

Caroline at the end of June went with her sister Shana to Jacksonville to help her sister and brother-in-law get ready to move. She had a good visit there.

We picked her up at JFK on our way to Shoreleave thus the first hour and half of time in New York.

Shoreleave was a blast. Peter and I signed books and did panels. I was a prop in AJ’s sketch in the Masquerade. I talked to friends and caught up on news and the like. It was a very comfortable Shoreleave with the exception of the wool coat that is part of the 12th Doctor Costume and the eye problem that I talked about on this web log earlier. Sunday evening found us at the Watch Out for Snakes Tour of Mystery Science Theater and we got to chat with the cast for a short while.

Monday found us at the Doc in the Box and not the fun one. Got a diagnosis for the eyeball and started working on getting my sight back along with laundry so we would be ready for the next part of our journey

Tuesday we went into Baltimore and the Geppi’s Entertainment Museum . Where we oo’d and ah’d over the items in the collection and realized how much of that stuff either we had or friends had. Had a lot of fun and learned some stuff about comic book history. Also Peter has several comics in the cases on display.

Wednesday we went to Washington DC to find out that the museum we were going to was closed for renovation so to Air and Space we went and had a blast. I was able to show Caroline a lot of things that I remember seeing when I went to the museum when I was about her age.

We drove down to North Caroline to visit Ariel, AJ and Anthony and were very thankful for the HOV lane out of the city. We had a nice visit with them but short because we knew we would see them again at the Raleigh SuperCon that was our next stop on the tour.

Mike and Crew did their usual magnificent job of taking care of us. I can highly recommend the SuperCons to any professionals that might get invited. Any issues were handled very quickly and very professionally. I ended up on a number of panels because of my friend Patty who knows good resources when he sees them. The fans were great. The venue was splendid. Only downer was the food poisoning we had Friday into Saturday but were fine the rest of the convention.

It was there that we added a stop on our tour as Peter was wearing one of his rare Doctor Who shirts and was asked if we wanted to do Florida SuperCon the weekend that we were leaving to go back to New York because Capaldi. We said yes and plotted how we were going to do that.

While a lot of our friends were fighting their way through SDCC, we went to Disney World and spent a leisurely number of days just doing what we wanted there. We did not go to Animal Kingdom this time around. Figured Pandora is going to be there for a while so let’s wait for when the wait time is less. Tuesday Caroline and I walked Epcot while Peter did laundry. Wednesday we went to Magic Kingdom. Thursday found us at Disney Hollywood where we didn’t ride the great movie ride having ridden it twice last time we were down there getting both the gangster and the cowboy scenarios so we are good on that. Friday was back to the Magic Kingdom for some last minute rides with a lot of rain. In fact it rained every day we were down there but only after we were done and on our way back to the hotel with the exception of Friday where the rain almost chased us out of the park and our magic raincoats didn’t hold it off.

The biggest adventure was that of Peter’s cane. He has it for days that we are going to be doing a lot of walking for balance more than anything else. Also if his knee acts up, it is a good thing to have. Wednesday afternoon we rode the Buzz Lightyear ride and Peter’s cane managed to escape from the spaceship. They looked for it but came up empty. We left our information hoping that it would be found. Thursday no word. Friday no word but we were back in the Magic Kingdom. On his way out, Peter checked at the front to see if the cane had been found. He had a substitute cane that the park provided and it worked but it was not HIS cane. They had it and we got it back. Peter is very happy because he really likes this cane. Also if lost at a convention it is easy to describe, “Do you watch Once upon a time? OK, it is the same cane that Mr. Gold uses in Storybrook.” The more technical term is a brass-handled Derby walking cane.

Saturday we went to St. Augustine for the yearly gathering of my family. We have been going to that area for a week’s vacation since I was seven. The place we go to now has been the place we have gone for over 30 years. We had a very quiet week of walking on the beach, writing, spending time with the family and napping.

Thursday evening we drove down to Fort Lauderdale for the Florida SuperCon so we would be there at the beginning of Friday’s convention.

We set up Friday and began the next convention experience, which was amazing. We got to talk to old friends and made new friends. Got to hang out with the 12th Doctor and Amy Pond..I mean Nebula. I did some panels as did Peter which is pretty spiffy considering we were last minute additions to the show. Met Ricky Whittle who is one hell of a hugger in all the good ways. Got to do a panel with my friends Patty and Hansi. Talked about Doctor Who. Amused Doctor Who fandom with my first Doctor puppet and War Doctor puppet. Caroline sold art. Peter sold books and scripts and signed a lot of autographs. And over all we had a good time.

The drive home was a bear as we added four hours to it but we made it home. The cats pretended to be miffed with us for the grand total of half an hour before cuddling up.

I am grateful that we had the adventures we did but also glad to be home.
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Photobucket has announced that as of the 27th of July, I believe, that they will no longer allow you to post your photos to third party providers of which this site is one of them. This means that years of photos that are attached to various blog entries are going to vanish overnight. The work in progress photos. The how I made this photos. The adventure photos are all going away. Not very happy with this at all.

As much as I would love to post photos of all the things I have been doing and people we have met, I can’t because I know shortly they will be removed. I am looking for suggestions for a good place to host the photos for my blogs because I post this in three to four places.

What have we been doing?

Lots of stuff.

Shorleave, except for the eye problem, was a lot of fun. Peter met a fan who had been waiting 20 years to tell him how much he loved his work. When asked in a Q& A whether he had ever been star struck with all the people he has met while working on the Big Bang Theory, Kevin Sussman (Stewart the comic book shop owner in the show) said, “Yeah, happen today. I got to meet Peter David and tell him how much I loved his work.”

We got to talk to Marina Sirtis who didn’t recognize Peter without a beard but was happy to see him. Caroline got some Gargoyle questions answers and they talked about other topics with great passion.

I spent time hanging out with my ‘gang’ at the convention swapping stories and the like.

I was a prop in AJ’s costume entry. I was dressed up at the 12th Doctor and looked like I had gone through hell.

David read the following as I staggered across the stage

“Once again time, injury, and the BBC have combined to cause the Doctor to regenerate. He’d rather not, but he must because ya’ know contracts”

I stopped turned to the audience and shrugged as if to say ‘what are ya going do?’ and continued to lurch until off stage.

“Determined to be stronger than even and sick of the dumb-ass fans who said he was too old, this new Doctor is determined to give them an incarnation that they will never forget.”

AJ entered with a bow tie and his sonic screwdriver dragging my extra vest.

The audience laughed.

The title of the entry was “The Doctor Falls, but he gets up again. You are never going to keep him down”

So that was fun. Again I have some lovely pictures I would like to show you, but photobucket stinks.

I did various panels talking about various topics and had fun.

Monday was Doc in the Box day.

Tuesday we went to Geppi’s museum and enjoyed ourselves. I have great pics for that but Photobucket…..

Wednesday I got to take Caroline to the Air and Space museum and show her some of my favorite things. Again photos but no photos here. Thanks Photobucket. We touched moon rock. Walked through Skylab. Looked at the restored Enterprise. And wondered why there is a plaque in the exhibit about the solar system all about Sherlock Holmes not knowing about the Solar system. Our conclusion is that Holmes is everywhere.

Thursday we visited with Ariel, Anthony and AJ at their house before driving to Raleigh and the Raleigh SuperCon. Wish you could see the cute AJ photos I took.

Raleigh SuperCon is part of a group of conventions run by the same people who do right by their guests and make the time there as enjoyable as possible. We can highly recommend them if they ask you to be a guest at their conventions. The fans were having a blast too. Lots of great costumes including an incredible Davros which I would love to show you but Photobucket sucks. I met a group of fellow Doctor Who Cosplayers and we had a lot of fun together. We got to talk about the choice of the next Doctor before and after it was announced. My friend Patty was moderating Alex Kingston’s Q&A when she found out. Her reaction was priceless. I got to speak to her and know what I am doing for her River Song puppet.

From Raleigh we went to Orlando and straight to Disney for a couple of days. A lot of fun and really good food was had by all. We saw old friends. We rode pretty much all the rides we wanted. The only disaster was Peter’s cane getting tossed from the Buzz Lightyear ride but we got it back two days later and they gave Peter a loaner. We did not go to Animal Kingdom figuring to let the Pandora fervor lessen before going to see what that is about. Lots of great pictures but ya know Photobucket.

From there we drove to St. Augustine where my parents have had a timeshare for over 30 years for this particular week in July. We are here now just taking a couple of days to regroup and not worry about anything but ‘will we get to the beach once or twice today’ and ‘what’s for the next meal’. It is very relaxing.

Friday we will be going to the Florida SuperCon in Fort Lauderdale where adventures will be had and photos will be taken but then Photobucket so until I find a solution to that, I am down to words to describe what happened.

I am grateful for all the fun we have had so far this trip.


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