FanCon Boston 2021

Julia has waited for two years to go to a big “Con.” We could have gone in 2019 but it was right after we moved and I couldn’t manage it. That Christmas, she wanted costumes and wigs to get ready for 2020. But like everything else the 2020 FanCon was cancelled. The 2021 FanCon was moved back and last weekend it happened. I think it was not as big as it has been; however, Julia had a wonderful time. We had 3-day tickets and she and I went each day. Julia’s wonderful therapist accompanied us on Friday evening, and Cheshire was with us on Saturday and Sunday. Masking made it a bit weird. I mean, in a superhero costume with wig and mask, I could have walked right past anyone!

Julia went dressed on Friday and Saturday as a female Deku cheer leader for UA, the Japanese high school that develops heros. In the animation, Deku is male; however, lots of young women like to become a female version of him. On Sunday, she dressed as a blue haired student at UA which may be her own character.

So, a few pictures.

Continue reading

staycationing

Friday was the last day of Camp Echo Bridge.  Julia has only been at this city day camp for two weeks and I think it has been the best part of her summer.  It is an genuinely inclusive experience for her.  A very healthy mix of typical and kids with disabilities in the younger groups.  Julia’s group—the tigers, clearly a name that was made up by some of the boys—was young people 14+ with disabilities; however, it is a smallish camp and the entire camp does some things together.  The staff is careful and caring but most of all enthusiastic.  

One glitch:  One swim day Julia got bored sitting in the grass reading—she didn’t want to go into the water—and she decided to walk from the lake to the school where the camp meets.  She didn’t tell anyone she was doing it and when counselors realized she wasn’t there, I hear there was 10 minutes of panic.  I can count on one hand, this time included, the times Julia has wandered off from anything.  Staff handled it all well and low keyed.  Julia apologized and they asked her not to do it again.  I think she was also scared when she didn’t really know how to get back to the school.  

On Friday, in the sweltering humid, sunny heat, there was a camp show. Each group did something like a skit (or told jokes) and danced to a pop song.  No pressure to perform. Julia was willing to be “on stage” with her group but not willing to stand to dance.  And so, she sat while others danced.  Later, when the whole camp was “on stage”—two poles with a sheet stretched between them on part of the paved school yard—she did dance.  And she loved it. 

Continue reading

new year baby

Happy Birthday to my baby girl who was bald for a long time, a squirmy worm who preferred to snuggly to the stroller, the baby who didn’t sleep that first year and had a smile and a laugh to melt her groggy parents’ hearts.

This year has been full of so much joy and so much ambiguity.  Through everything you are still a wonder.  All grace and ease. Your new year holds new challenges and I am so happy to be close enough to have a front row seat.  With face masks and social distancing, of course.

You are the apple that makes the tree look pretty darn good.  Happy, happy new year!

year of the rat

Unknown-1Happy Year of the Rat!

or

恭贺新禧 (gōng hè xīn xǐ) Literal translation: respectful congratulations on the New Year.

Yesterday, after cello lesson Julia and I went to The Dumpling Palace in China town for lunch and celebration.  The restaurant was noisy, tables too close together, everyone was either leaning very close together to be heard talking or speaking loudly. We were asked to sit at a round table with two other small parties. The wait staff hurried from table to kitchen and back to tables. The arrival of dishes was announced and diners shouted to claim what was theirs. Julia had beef stew noodle soup, I had hot and sour soup, and we shared beef and crab juicy dumplings. Ours was a very small order for two compared to our tables mates but it filled us up. There was no encouragement to rush through the meal and the tea pot was replaced more than once. As we left, waiters wishes us a Happy New Year and when we returned the wishes, there were smiles.  Continue reading

last day

047A3341-766A-4372-A048-2DE15559C17EIt is 6:40 am and completely dark outside. Oh, this winter cocoon time. I can still be surprised by its intensity as it comes to take a huge bite out of my desire for complacency. It is not as cold outside as it usually is this time of year in Madison, although my Madison peeps are posting hiking and bike riding pictures. Yesterday in Newton, a storm gifted us damp, chilly rain, hail, thunder and lightening.  We ventured out for food shopping, and that only because it was necessary.

I started writing in bed and moved to my leather writing chair in the dining room.  I move about the house in the dark, a habit from when I shared a bedroom and did not want to disturb my sleeping mate.  I pull on my heavy pj pants and grab the shawl from Madison friends–blues and purples and memories. Tangible memories from friends punctuate my days—a Madison dish towel, knitted dish clothes, a bag of very fine cocoa mix, even the reusable bags I carry my groceries in.  In the lonely and trying moments of the last six months, these things have bought solace.  Continue reading

boxing day

C8840884-8BEB-4F82-9CEB-86A3BF7B86D9Boxing Day.  Julia and I say ‘Happy Boxing Day’ to each other without any idea of what it means. So, I looked it up—It isn’t the day people make bonfires of the boxes that their Christmas presents came in. Neither is it the day to return all the boxes containing ill-fitting or ill-styled gifts. Those were pretty lame guesses but the best we could come up with. Google revealed (with some disagreement) that Boxing Day was British, which we knew, and traditionally a day off for servants. Servants received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the ‘master’ and then were allowed to go home to give the boxes to their families. Umm, but that’s not what happened on Downton Abbey, my British manor house reference point.  Having no servants to gift with boxes, we will read, write and draw, then go to the movies.  I miss friends who host game playing parties on this day. Maybe next year. Continue reading

labor day weekend

AC5D25B1-6062-467E-A672-676B74D9C678Labor Day Weekend and we were out and about playing tourists for the last few days before school. There is a good deal of anxiety but keeping busy helps.  Besides touring, we hang Julia’s anime posters and did some decorating in her bedroom.  Fingers crossed for Tuesday morning.

A visit to Old Sturbridge Village about 45 minutes south of us.  We happened to arrive on Free Friday which made the visit all the more sweet.  Visiting 1830 and talking to various craftsmen was the highlight of the day.  It was a simpler time of live but even a casual visit showed how few opportunities for women there were.  The Seneca Falls Convention was still 18 years away. Continue reading

the practice of being a stranger

D435B7EC-A0E2-423B-8AA9-4D7AF55A5695
On the steps of the Custom House.

Findings and observations, many without conclusions:

-I am making home and I prefer that I was done already.  Hanging pictures in the most compulsive manner.  Damn theses plaster, horse hair and lathe walls!  Small pictures need are hung velcro-y like strips.  Not buying them from Amazon but a “local” hardware store 25 minutes away.  Twenty five minutes is not too far to go for helpful advice.  On Sunday, I hung a large poster from a molding hook using fishing line. I may have to camp out in the living room all night to make sure the line does not stretch and/or break even though the hardware guy swore that he never sold a reel of fishing line to someone preparing to fish. I still have three pictures, big framed pictures, that I want to hang, that I cannot imagine not having on the walls in my home and I’m not sure how to do it.  I am used to banging a nail into dry wall, perhaps looking for a stud.  The patience of this house stretches me thin.  Continue reading

finding her feet

573DDFF9-13E7-4F93-A7A9-3FDC17E9DA0CSunday, second day of the Framingham PopCult Anime Con.

Spiky green hair or extraordinarily long pink hair, intricate foam weapons, knee high boots with lifts, tails and long gray gloves, short skirted Japanese school girl uniforms, maids and sword carrying warriors stalk the hotel halls. There are a few other functions going on in the hotel. Did the family reunion in the Concord Room know they would be running into imaginary adventurers?

Julia’s passion for My Hero Academia is completely in line with the many, many con attendees who are dressed as Hero characters or sporting identifiable tee shirts. Lots of bought costumes and some more original hand made ones are on display. A beautiful looking Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle won best costume of the con.  The character, Howl, is male; I am not sure of the con’s Howl. The gender of many bewigged attendees is a complete mystery and after awhile I stop guessing. So many of the anime characters could be either or both depending on the adventure, the plot line, or the preference of the composer. Boys in skirts and make up; girls as male warrior characters. Julia has gone from rigid identifications of gender when she entered high school to the ability to accept the fluidity of this gathering.  She declares that she wants to cross-dress but either I don’t understand exactly what she means or she doesn’t understand the concept.  She still wants to wear dresses and skirts all the time.  Now, how is that cross dressing? Continue reading

the goo of ambiguity

Duy-Huynh_Freeform
Freeform by Duy Huynh

Last night, I was watching a youtube video entitled “Understanding Spirited Away: Consumption and Identity.” The author, Margarita, describes herself as a lifelong cinephile with an MA in film and philosophy who make video essays.  Spirited Away, an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, is one of my favorite movies and tells the story of a 10 year old girl whose parents are moving her to a new city just as she is moving from young childhood to girlhood.  I haven’t watched the whole movie in a long time but the first bars of the soundtrack can strike an emotional cord at any time.  In her video essay, Margarita highlights the liminality of the story and of course, that peeked my interest.  Continue reading