Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Year in Review

Reflecting back on the totality of this year, the first things that come to mind (after the event which shall not be named) are that a lot of firsts occurred--Happyboy & my niece Sam attended their first Anime Boston over Easter weekend, and loved it. Nieces Sam & Ceci came with us to their first Boston Comic Con. All four teens dressed in Black Butler cosplay for BCC, and sometimes they wouldn't break character even when I wanted them to. I also, finally, got to couple cosplay with Roffey...well, kind of. He was Commissioner Gordon and I was Batgirl, so I guess calling it couple cosplay could be creepy...

Shaelin joined Theatre Tech Crew and loved it so much that she can't wait for it to start up again in January. She learned to measure and cut wood with a table saw, build a bench and a wall, and apparently, how to group-nap (it's a tech thing, I don't even know.)

Jason tried to get a GSA started at the middle school level--and while they had already thought of starting one, his persistence made him one of the first people the teachers asked to help draw up posters for the new club, which will officially start after Christmas break. His artwork has been evolving into this great thing, and he has found his "tribe" at school. He is a valuable member of concert choir. He started Anime Club two years ago, and this year was told that it will now be a "permanent club" at the school, so he's leaving his mark when he heads off to High School in September. He even got to choose next year's leader.

Lily started PreK and learned to write WORDS: MAMA DADA LILY CAT AMMA. She likes to text them to me with an emoji--yes, she knows how to do that, and when someone lets her at a phone, she will do it repeatedly.

Roffey and I both had great birthdays in Boston, with dear friends, rounding out the nights with memorable drinks at the Hotel Marlowe, my new favorite place to stay. We also ate at the Friendly Toast, which had amazing gluten free Turkey Club sandwiches.

I completed an entire manuscript, and started a second. The first one got picked for a second look at HerUniverse Press (though, alas, it wasn't ready when they asked for it--I knew it wasn't ready, but was too filled with excitement and sent it when it was unedited--so ultimately they declined. So I learned! Never send it without editing first.) I won NaNoWriMo, a month long commitment to writing 50,000 words. I took an online writing course--Storied Women in Fiction--through the University of Iowa. I made an author FB page, and reached 1000 new followers on Twitter. I also got back into sewing! I made a Hannah cosplay for Punkgirl and a Batgirl costume for myself.

Roffey photographed an amazing engagement photo shoot for his nephew and soon to be niece, and I got to tag along and shoot video, and we made a short movie of the photo shoot which was, honestly, a highlight of my year.

I started a Couch to 5K program with my brother Bill that had me actually running (and still does, though a 9 week program has stretched into about 20. Nevertheless, I'm still moving.) Like many others, we all fell in love with Hamilton, which has become my go-to running music.

I volunteered through a couple of cosplay groups at the Special Olympics/Summer Games, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Camp Miracles and Magic, and I walked 16 miles in the Boston University Relay for Life by myself, a team of one. I've met some of the kindest and generous people of the cosplay world, and am proud to call them friends. Roffey volunteered at the Magical Moon Foundation (a camp for terminally ill children owned by the lady who wrote a version of the Velveteen Rabbit.) He literally moved a house, and always leaves a little bit of his heart behind when he comes home. Jason volunteered at a booth that sold breast cancer awareness ribbons to benefit the American Cancer Society, going in early each day and standing out in the cold to sell them. Shaelin volunteered with GSA to help get people to sign a big card for the victims and families of the Pulse Orlando shooting. She is also volunteering for "8th grade night", where 8th graders get to come and check out all of the clubs at the high school. All of us, plus my nieces Cece & Sam, marched in the Boston Pride Parade (some with GLSEN and some with BCBS.)

I managed to meet up with two people who I never get to see in person--my cousin Kevin and my dear friend Lara.

We voted for the first female Presidential nominee. I cried as she conceded, as I sat in the waiting room at Mass General Hospital Yawkey Building most of the day, waiting as my mother had surgery to remove the invasive breast cancer that had been found when she had a stroke a few weeks before.

Oh, mom had both a stroke and breast cancer in the span of weeks. The stroke kept her in the hospital for a while, and the PET scan showed a spot in her breast. I sat in a little room with her when they told her her diagnosis, and I snapped at them because we had no idea why we were there (no one called after the mammogram), and we had waited days knowing only that we were meeting a "multidisciplinary team," which is doc speech for really bad news. It was great for weight loss--I literally lost 8 pounds from stress--but we had no idea what was going on and the giant Breast Cancer Center sign on the wall greeted us as we walked in.

If you know me, yelling isn't generally what I do, but I kind of flipped out after the third person came in without telling us anything but mentioning surgery...that was sort of an accomplishment, and it succeeded in getting someone to actually explain what was going on. They explained that it was invasive ductal carcinoma, breast cancer. Cancer, the enemy of my family, which took my father and brother and messed with my uterus for awhile, was back to wreak havoc again. They did surgery a week and a half later (because she refused to miss the baby shower, of course.) My mom came through surgery well, because she is the badass I want to be when I grow up, and things are looking good--nothing in the margins or lymphs. She has been rocking physical therapy for the stroke symptoms, all while recuperating from the surgery.

(This is where I could post the picture of her playing Pokémon Go in her hospital bed, if I wanted her to smack me. Instead I'll post this nice one from Thanksgiving.)

We hosted a successful Thanksgiving, even as we worried that mom might not be up for it (she insisted on making the veggies) and got to see our four favorite teenagers belting out show tunes from the top of a wooden bench after we stuffed ourselves on Roffey's excellently prepared turkey, and got to enjoy the company of my lovely, warm, caring 90 year old great aunt Theresa and my mother's cousin, also named Theresa.

I attended Rhode Island Comic Con as Press this year, which didn't allow time for cosplay but allowed a lot more time for getting the stories I wanted to get, and best of all, gave me a sense of "working" again (I work my ass off--but I'm not answerable to anyone; it's nice to sometimes feel like a professional again.)

Roffey got an acknowledgement from Southern Poverty Law Center for his continued support, and I got a letter from President Barack Obama after thanking him for his support of the LGBTQ community, making the world a better place for my kids in the process, and we considered both of those things highlights of the year.

The New Year is coming; I believe it will contain challenges; but I also believe that this year has encouraged me to act. I will begin the year with a march for women's rights in January. I will volunteer and donate as I can. I'll continue to support the rights of the most marginalized, whether with my words, my body, or my bank account.

Let 2017 begin. We'll be ready.