Day: April 29, 2010

Penguicon arrival day

It turns out that last night’s chipper mood was not caffeine induced, because it continued into today. When Howard commented on it, I replied that I was just floating from the removal of crushing responsibility. That’s what vacations are for, right? The fact that this vacation is going to be exhausting does not change the fact that it still represents a large sideways step from my regular life.

It was blowing snow at the Salt Lake Airport. This delayed our flight by 45 minutes. We sat next to a guy who was headed to Detroit to be part of a film crew. He’d come from LA and was very nervous about taking off in the snow. Howard and I had a great conversation with him for about half the trip. I love it when we meet cool people by chance. He and Howard got to talk audio engineering. We all got to talk movies. It made the flight much more enjoyable.

So now I’m here at Penguicon. The convention does not open until tomorrow, but the first guests are here along with much of the convention staff. The first official event was a dinner. Howard and I deliberately sat at different tables. This was in part as an effort for the pair of us to visit with more people. It also forced me to speak up and make my own connections. And it was fun.

One of the things I like most about conventions is that I can sit beside someone for an hour and then suddenly it clicks and I realize exactly who they are. Cherie Priest of Boneshaker sat next to me at dinner, telling funny stories on an ex-boyfriend. Patrick Rothfuss sat across from me and told stories about funny interactions on the internet. The table was rounded out by Yanni Kuznia (head of the literary track), Aaron Thul (registration), Dave Kletcha (writer and fellow codexian) and me.

It is easy to feel insecure at conventions. I sat at the table listening to story after story, and I realized that I’d not said a word in at least thirty minutes. This is fairly normal for me. I’m a conversational lurker, but silence doesn’t help me build connections. New friends are one of the joys of conventions. Fortunately the conversations drifted into topics where I had some stories to tell, so I was able to contribute to the amusement of all.

I’m afraid my posts are going to be a little fragmented over the next few days. That happens with conventions.

Road Trip Day

The last two Augusts I have gone with Howard to Worldcon, leaving the kids with relatives. Both times I felt very conflicted and stressed about leaving them. This internal turmoil found physical expression in a small pile of packages that I gave to them. They were to open the packages whenever they felt sad or lonely. The packages had dollar store items. What really happened was that the kids opened all the packages on the first day and then managed their emotions just fine on all the other days. They’re not much for delayed gratification. The truth was that the packages were as much for me as for them. I was harboring lots of guilt about the amount of emotional energy that I was spending on things other than them.

I just got back from dropping the kids off with relatives. This trip has been remarkably angst free. I did give them each one package to open. They each got a new book, but mostly because I think having a new book when mom and dad do conventions is a nice tradition. This time I’m not vainly attempting to compensate for anything because I’ve been giving lots of energy to the kids these past 8 months.

I left the kids in a house full of cousins. As a bonus, they managed to supply a litter of six week old kittens. The kittens are a little wild and so my kids will get to participate in gentling them. When I left Kiki had made a sort of a cave with her long sweater. All five kittens were curled up inside and peeking out at the other kids. They only gave me the most cursory of hugs. I only felt a vague awareness that I am going to miss them.

I love that I have relatives where I can just hand the kids over with no special instructions other than “Oh this one currently has pink-eye, here’s the bottle of eye drops.” My sister-in-law did not bat an eye. She just answered that one of hers had pink-eye too, so remembering the drops would be easy. I really wanted to stay and visit. It has been far too long, but I had a three hour drive ahead of me. I did not dare linger too long.

I was worried about driving three hours solo. But it turns out that caffeine perks me right up. Really up. Singing at the top of my voice kind of up. Of course I’ve been home for over an hour and I think the up may just barely be wearing off enough that I can sleep. This is good, because tomorrow I get on a plane to Penguicon where I’ll get to visit with old friends, meet online friends, and meet new people who will become friends. It will be good.