The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, And Nothing But The Tooth.

Earlier this week, I was getting a manicure from a girl I see regularly, so she felt comfortable asking me a personal question. She has heard some pretty ridiculous stories from me by now so nothing is too personal when it comes to sharing potentially embarrassing information about myself.

“Have you ever had a dental implant?” she asked. “You mean like a crown or a bridge?” I asked. “A crown.” she responded. “Not only do I have a crown, I have the best story EVER about mine.” I exclaimed. She looked intrigued but also a little frightened that I had a story she wasn’t sure was going to be amusing or put the fear of getting this dental work done on herself.  I shared my story with her which I had forgotten about until that moment. And of course, now I have to share it here. This event happened about 9 years ago, after I had gotten braces off that I had worn for a year.

***

When I was twelve, I was playing with a chocolate lab puppy my neighbor had recently gotten. The puppy was chasing me around their yard when I turned and lunged forward to play with the dog just as she jumped up toward me. The puppy clunked her head right against my front tooth. It hurt SO bad but I didn’t want to cry, so I just casually walked back home like I was done playing. I ran inside my house (and then cried) and showed my mom what turned out to be a bruised and loose permanent front tooth. She called our dentist, who suggested she bring me in right away. I had loosened the tooth from its roots and nerves, and needed a root canal. Since I was so young, he didn’t want to put a crown on it and said I needed to wait until I was a little older so my face and mouth would grow. Over the next couple of years, the front tooth had slightly changed in color and I finally got a crown on it.

About 10 years ago, I got braces, which I had on for a year. Once they came off, that crown didn’t quite fit the new shape of my mouth so I talked to my dentist about replacing it. He said it could be done but matching one tooth to the rest is difficult and it may take a couple of tries to get it right. He took a mould of my mouth, figured out the right color for my new crown, and made me a temporary crown on my front tooth. He told me I had to be careful with the temporary crown because it wasn’t made of porcelain like the permanent crown would be, then had me schedule an appointment to come back in two weeks when the permanent crown would be back from the nearby lab.

That two weeks with the temporary crown was awful. I was so self-conscious of the thing. It wasn’t the same texture as a real tooth, looked a little flat in shape, and loved to hold on to things like, say, the color of the coffee I had that morning. Somehow, I survived (let’s just say, I didn’t smile much during that time) and on appointment day, I felt like I couldn’t get there fast enough. As I was driving to my appointment, my gas light came on but I was so excited for my new tooth that I planned to just get gas afterwards.

My dentist had me sit back in the chair where he then pried the temporary crown off my front tooth (hello, jack-o-lantern mouth) and placed my new, glorious crown in place to see how it looked. He handed me a mirror and we both stared at it. “Uh..it seems a little…off…to me.” I said. “Yea, it’s not quite as white as your other teeth and it seems just a little too long.” my dentist responded. (Of course, I couldn’t resist making a joke about being A LITTLE LONG IN THE TOOTH. *finger pistols*) He told me he would need to send it back to the lab so they could make adjustments to it and I would need to come back in two weeks. “TWO MORE WEEKS WITH THIS TEMPORARY CROWN?!” I exclaimed with just a little too much panic in my voice. My dentist offered up another solution.

Since trying to match just one front tooth is so difficult, my dentist thought it would be best if I just went over to the lab with the crown they had made, so they could see me in person and know exactly how to match the tooth. He put the new crown in a box and had me put it in my purse so it wouldn’t get dropped, chipped or broken. Since I was going out in public, he wanted to put the temporary crown back on my front tooth so I would look, well, normal. “Just shove it in there” I said. “You don’t need to glue it. I’m driving four miles and they’re just going to take it out when I get there.” I said, reassuringly. He hesitated, but did as I requested, gave me the address, and called the lab to let them know I was on the way.

I hopped in the car, started the ignition, and saw that my gas light was still on. It had been on for several miles before I actually got to the dentist and the last thing I needed was to run out of gas and have to wait for assistance with this stupid temporary crown carefully balancing in my mouth. I nervously drove a mile until finally finding a gas station where I pulled in, got out of the car, and started pumping gas.

I was standing next to my car, admiring what a beautiful day it was outside, when a woman pulled into the gas station driveway and up along the other side of my car. “Excuse me.” she said, getting my attention. “Can you tell me how to get to the Huntington Library?”  ”Sure!” I said, happy to help. “You want to go out that other driveway, turn left….” As I was talking, I completely forgot about my temporary crown, unglued to my front tooth. I continued,  ”Go down about four…” And as if in slow motion, my temporary crown launched out of my mouth in a graceful arch in the air. My eyes widened in horror, yet somehow my quick reflexes threw my right hand out and caught the tooth mid-air, directly in front of me. And in front of her. I looked up at her, then down at the tooth in my hand, and I did the only thing I could think to do; I ducked down behind the car, shoved the tooth back in, and popped back up to finish giving her directions.

The woman sat there in her car, window down, expressionless. She didn’t even let me finish giving her directions. She just slowly rolled forward to the man at the next pump and asked him for the directions. He told her the same directions I was telling her, which she happily thanks him for, and left.

I watched her drive away and BURST into laughter. The man at the pump next to me asked if I was alright. I could only wave a sort of universal language of a “Yes, I’m fine” response. I got in my car and drove to the lab, tears of laughter running down my face. When I walked into the lab office, the technician thought something bad had happened to me on the way there. I took longer than she expected, considering my dentist had called to say I was on my way, not to mention I was wiping tears off my face. I recounted the incident to the lab technician who thought it was hysterical. As a person who makes fake teeth all day, she’s heard some pretty amazing stories on why they are needed but hearing a 35 year old woman talk about spitting one out while giving directions to someone in a gas station was a first.

I’ve always wondered if that woman that asked me for directions ever tells people about that one time she stopped at a gas station and talked to a crazy woman (who was probably a meth head) who spit out her front tooth while talking to her and she was so horrified by the scene that she just drove away. These things don’t get to happen to everyone, lady. If you’re not sharing, your friends are seriously missing out.

 

Get Excited And Make Things!

Every year, I hear of  tons of geek-related conventions that are happening all over the world. Before I met Wil, I didn’t even know these conventions existed. Apparently, he would attend them as a fan when he was younger, and as an adult (and even more so in the last couple of years) he attends them as a guest. I would tag along with him to one or two of them a while back but now that our kids our older and out on their own, I can travel with him more often. It’s been a fun and gradual way for me to experience what conventions are like.

This weekend, I am attending a convention without my husband for the FIRST TIME EVER because I am helping to promote not one, but TWO awesome projects with two different companies that I worked on with my friend, Bonnie Burton. We’re going to be at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle today through Sunday (March 27-30.) Bonnie and I will be in Espionage Cosmetics booth on Saturday from 3 to 6pm, and on Sunday from 12 to 3pm to promote the VandalEyes nail wraps we designed with them because OHMYGOD THEY ARE SO CUTE.

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We also designed some VandalEyes t-shirts with WeLoveFine and our proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Pasadena Humane Society, which I absolutely love. We will be in their booth for a bit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (I will announce the exact time on Twitter as it gets closer.) The shirts are super cute and comfy and help support rescue pets! EVERYONE WINS!

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If you’re going to attend ECCC, come visit us and check out both of these projects that are making their debut here. If you aren’t able to attend but would like to order these,  you can click on the links and order away!

After Emerald City, I will be at San Diego Comicon in July, GenCon in August, Rose City Comicon in September, and Geek Girl Con in October. (I’ll be traveling with Wil to all of those EXCEPT Geek Girl Con, which I will be going to just with Bonnie.) I love meeting tweety buddies in real life so I hope I get to meet more of you at one of these conventions!

Have a great weekend!

 

The Other Side of Depression

Ever since I started my blog a few months ago, I’ve had several people ask if I would write about my experience of being married to someone with depression. I don’t know why, but I was afraid to write about it. I guess it felt like a big responsibility. But it keeps coming up, so I talked to Wil about it and he thought it was a great idea.

From my experience of being married to someone with depression, having two kids with depression, and having a few friends with it, I see that it affects everyone in different ways. I think my fear of writing about it was that it wouldn’t be relatable to some people who would then think I shouldn’t be writing about it. But as I looked back on my previous posts, some funny, some just a walk down memory lane, I realized my experiences are my own and it’s ok to just share. That’s why I created a blog in the first place.

Before I start, I do have to say that if you are having any problems with depression or other mental health issues, please seek help. Talk to your doctor or find organizations near you such as NAMI to help you. If you feel like you aren’t capable of doing that, talk to a friend or family member who can assist you in finding help. Your brain is as vital to your body as everything else. You deserve to feel good, to feel balanced, and to enjoy life.

***

I met Wil when he was 23 years old. I had dated some pretty unpleasant guys before him so it took me several months to get used to him just being what I felt was “normal.” He was normal as far as not using drugs or being an alcoholic, or trying to start arguments with me or call me names. He was just a good guy with a good family and a great group of friends. He loved and appreciated the person I was and the kids I had brought into this new relationship. It felt so foreign to me, being with a guy who was like this. We were six months into dating when I finally let my guard down and accepted that he wasn’t pretending to be anything other than what I saw before me and that I could trust him completely.

Wil took being a step-parent very seriously. He read lots of books on the subject and we spent lots of time with the kids in family therapy (I wrote about that here) so we felt really solid in our relationship and how we would raise the kids. Along the way, we learned a lot about how the brain chemicals can be affected in a child’s developing brain when there are issues such as extreme stress and/or emotional abuse situations we couldn’t protect them from, as well as how some mental health issues can be genetic.*

As Wil and I got older, we had plenty of stress to deal with. Raising kids is stressful enough, but raising them and dealing with their biological father was awful. Add to the fact that we were really struggling financially and Wil was having an extremely hard time trying to figure out what to do with his stalled career, as well as dealing with some things in his own childhood that were making him really unhappy. Over about a three year span, as much as I tried to be as supportive as possible of Wil while he dealt with a lot of anger, self-doubt, sadness and hopelessness, I could tell my support was becoming less and less of a way to help him feel better.

One of the biggest things that kept happening with Wil was having an irrational anger reaction to things that shouldn’t be so upsetting. He never, ever yelled at me, our kids, our pets or any other family or friends. But if something like the computer wasn’t working right or if he was driving and hit a pothole, he would get REALLY angry at it. Any amount of traffic on the freeway would infuriate him. It seemed so out of character for him and it worried me. I also didn’t like it when he would yell at something when the kids or our animals were nearby because it scared them. Every time it would happen, I would ask him to please not yell and try to calm him down. I didn’t want the kids to think this was an acceptable way to deal with things and grow up yelling at stuff that made them mad, so it was important to me that they understood this was not normal.

Wil’s anger toward random things that upset him was only part of his issues. He started canceling plans with friends because he didn’t want to deal with traffic or felt anxious about being around a group of people or of meeting in a crowded restaurant. He began to have a fear of any travel and was full of self-doubt and insecurities about his ability of being an actor, a writer, or of doing any public speaking. It was at LAX airport a few years ago, when a particularly rude security line attendant for Delta told him we were going to miss our flight so we should just plan on rescheduling that sent him over the edge. He was furious and wanted to go home, which would make him miss participating in sold out shows in Minneapolis and Chicago that he was doing with our friends, Paul and Storm. I knew something needed to be done as soon as possible to help him.

I walked Wil over to a row of chairs in the airport, sat him down and told him I would handle the flight situation but the minute we got home from this trip, he needed to talk to a doctor immediately. I told him I didn’t like living like this, always worrying about what was going to upset him, and he didn’t need to live this way. He agreed and actually called a therapist for a psychiatrist referral while we waited for our flight.

When we got home, Wil went to the psychiatrist where he was asked to explain what was going on with him. He talked about how he felt sad, insecure and for some odd reason, angry at the most random things. The psychiatrist told him that a lot of people don’t realize it, but that type of anger is actually a sign of depression. They talked extensively about how brain chemicals work and how medications help to balance out those chemicals. Brains are very complicated and some medications work well for some people and not so much for others. Sometimes medications work well for a while but then the dose needs to be adjusted and that working closely with a professional while it’s figured out is really important. The psychiatrist also told Wil it was important to talk to me about how he was feeling so I would know if the medication is helping or in some cases, could make him feel worse, and that I could call the doctor if I had any concerns about Wil.

Fortunately, the medication (Lexapro) Wil was put on worked really well for him. It provided the serotonin boost his brain needed to be more balanced. That medication and dosage worked for him for several years but last year, that changed for him. The doctor increased his dose, which worked for a while, but a few months ago, the doctor added another medication (Effexor) and the combination makes him feel completely balanced.

Wil tells me all the time that he didn’t realize how bad he felt before medication because he feels so good now. He has worked so hard to create a career and life that is so wonderful and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t feel good about it, but there were so many times that he felt that way. He didn’t know that for some people, no matter how hard you try to just feel happy, you can’t because you have depression and the chemicals in your brain just aren’t there. It’s not your fault, it’s just the way your brain is.

Wil has been very vocal about getting help for his depression because it has completely changed his life. As his wife, it makes me so happy to see him enjoying time with our family and friends, his career, and being able to travel. I didn’t realize how much it had affected me all those years until writing this post now. It’s hard to see someone you love struggle but it’s so nice to know it can be treated. No one should suffer from mental illness and it makes me so happy that we live in a world that offers so many ways to get help.

 

*I’m not going to write anymore about my kids’ mental health issues because I want to respect their privacy. I have Wil’s permission to write about my experience with his depression but at the time of this post, I haven’t asked the kids for permission to discuss theirs.

 

You got a little something….

On Friday, Wil and I decided to get a late lunch/early dinner (what we like to call ‘early bird special’ because we’re eating at the time when senior citizens like to eat) at California Pizza Kitchen. We were starving and the place was already getting crowded so we opted to eat at the counter instead of waiting for a table.

I ordered the tostada pizza; a thin crust pizza with black beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa and little bits of crispy tostada shell on it. Even though it’s supposed to be eaten by picking it up with your hands, I have a serious paranoia over getting food stuck in my teeth, so I ate it with a fork and knife which Wil teased me for doing but whatever dude.

As we were getting ready to leave, the waiter came over and talked to us for several minutes. I smiled and chatted, and then stopped at the restrooms before leaving the restaurant. I glanced in the mirror, doing the teeth check grin for food, expecting to see nothing (I mean, come on, I ate my pizza with a freaking fork) and across the top half of my front tooth, wedged in ever so gently along my gums was a huge hunk of black bean skin. A HUGE HUNK. I looked like meth teeth lady but only on one tooth. OH GOD.

I walked out of the bathroom, thanked Wil for not noticing my rotted tooth look BEFORE I talked to the waiter, and quickly darted out of the restaurant, looking only at the ground because if you can’t see them, they can’t see you. All of this reminded me of an even more horrifying story that happened when my kids were teenagers, so in my continued efforts of no mystery and the ongoing job of being a mom who embarrasses her kids, I will share that story now.

****

When my boys were in their early teens, they both needed braces. After they got them on, I consulted with the orthodontist about my own teeth. I never had braces as a kid (my teeth had been fairly straight) but when I was 16, my bottom teeth had gotten pushed together a bit from my wisdom teeth coming in wrong. I got all four wisdom teeth out, but still didn’t get braces. I never cared about having perfectly straight teeth, but over the years, they had moved a little more and one was starting to hit the back of my top tooth, which can cause damage and even change my bite. The orthodontist recommended braces as soon as possible. My top teeth weren’t really crooked at all except for maybe one tooth and since I didn’t care about them being perfectly straight, I chose to only get them on the bottom. The orthodontist warned me that once I saw how straight the bottom ones were, I’d want the top ones the same way. He was right, and three months after getting the bottom ones on (lovely, metal ones I might add) I got clear ones on top. Honestly, I don’t know how teenagers do it. My teeth KILLED me the entire year I had those things on. They also became the source of my paranoia over food getting caught in them because it happened ALL THE TIME.

Wil was working out of town one weekend so I decided to take the kids to lunch at a fun place called Rose City Diner in Old Town Pasadena. It was a 50′s diner complete with a juke box and old fashioned malts, burger and fries. On Saturdays, they would have a magician who would stop at each table and entertain the customers with cool tricks.

The kids and I were seated at a booth not far from the juke box. They both quickly scanned the menu for what they wanted and then asked me for quarters to go choose songs to be played. While they were away from the table, the waitress came over to take our order. Since my teeth were killing me from getting the bands on my braces tightened the day before, I decided it would hurt too much to get a burger that I would have to bite into with my front teeth, so I just got a salad.

The kids told me about stuff going on at school and with friends while we ate our lunch. As I was mid-bite, a magician approached our table. The kids were excited to see tricks and when I looked up to watch him, I realized it was a friend of Wil’s that I hadn’t seen for at least two years. I swallowed my food and jumped up to hug him and introduce him to Ryan and Nolan. I sat back down and talked to him for close to ten minutes, laughing and smiling as he caught me up on his life. I would glance across the table at the kids where Ryan would give me a wide-eyed “what are you doing?!” look, occasionally kicking my leg from under the table, and Nolan had sort of a confused kind of look of horror on his face. I assumed they were being typical teenagers, feeling awkward as their mom talked with someone who was a complete stranger to them, but I was wrong.

After the magician friend walked away, I said “What is going on with you guys?” to the kids. Ryan said “Oh my god, mom. Get a mirror and look at your teeth.” I immediately scrambled through my purse to find a mirror. I found one, pulled it out, and did the teeth check grin into it. OH. MY. GOD. OHMYGOD! I had a huge spinach leaf across not one, but TWO of my front teeth. It was wedged between the bracket on my teeth and my gums, spread across like some kind of joke leaf.

“What the hell? Why didn’t you guys tell me? OH GOD I was laughing and smiling and he could see the ENTIRE LEAF and oh god hurry up and eat I need to get out of here.”  I said to the kids while frantically trying to pick the leaf out of my teeth which was now completely stuck in the bracket. “We tried to tell you but you just kept talking” both kids said, trying to eat their food quickly so we could make our escape. “NEXT TIME TRY HARDER” I said in a loud yet mortified sounding whisper. I paid the bill and darted out of the place, looking down because if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.

I’ve seen Wil’s magician friend several times since that fateful day, ten some odd years ago. He’s never said anything about that spinach leaf caught in my braces but he does look at my teeth when I talk to him. I can only imagine he’s giggling and cringing on the inside while picturing that giant spinach leaf across my two front teeth. If he doesn’t, he’s missing out because that’s what I do EVERY TIME I see him.

Laughter (and a lot of soap) Is The Best Medicine

Sometimes, I’ll be going for a walk in my neighborhood or just straightening up my house when out of nowhere, my brain remembers some hilarious and/or horrifying thing that happened to me. And now that I have a blog (and I’m all about no mystery) I can share these stories because if you can’t share the horror, laughter, or embarrassment at your own expense, what’s the point?

A couple of years ago, I had to get my tonsils out. I’d had strep dozens of times as a kid and then as an adult, I just kept getting tonsillitis. After getting it six times in 15 months, my doctor said my tonsils needed come out. Since I was working for myself as a hairdresser, I scheduled the surgery 10 weeks out so I could schedule clients around the surgery and take a couple of weeks off to recover. During that 10 week period, Wil was asked to appear at a convention in Germany which he agreed to attend. He ended up leaving 3 days after my surgery and by then I was feeling alright so it was totally fine that he was away. My throat was swollen and it was hard to talk, but other than that, I felt pretty good.  I had a friend come hang out with me every evening to keep me company and help me out with walking the dogs and stuff but otherwise, I was on my own during the day.

It was springtime so it was warm and sunny outside. I had my back doors open for fresh air that also allowed for our dogs and cats to lounge out in the sunshine and come in and out of the house as they pleased. I was still in my pajamas and robe in the middle of the day, resting on the couch and reading a book.

The quiet in the backyard was interrupted by the sound of Watson  meowing in the distance, the volume of his voice getting louder as he neared the patio doors. I walked over to see why he was so talkative when I noticed he was announcing his arrival with a huge rat in his mouth. I scrambled to shut the doors so he couldn’t bring the rat inside, saying “NO NO NO NO NO NO!”  but the dogs had noticed the rat at the same time I did so they jumped to their feet to investigate. This made Watson take off through the house before I could shut the doors, running under the living room sofa and down the hallway with the rat still in his mouth, finally stopping in our guest room to lay his “gift” on the carpet.

Watson stood next to the rat, beaming with pride as the dogs watched from the doorway. The rat wasn’t injured at all. It stood up with most of its weight on its back feet, as if to make itself look taller somehow. I got Watson and the dogs away from it, then ran to the closet to get a broom and dustpan to scoop it up and take it outside. You know, because that’s a secure way to hold a live rat in place while you carry it through your house.

When I came back to the room, Seamus was walking back toward the rat, his ears up and his eyes huge with curiosity. I walked over to him as he was putting his nose right up in the rat’s face to smell it. I leaned over to grab his collar just as the rat hissed and bit Seamus in the lip. As if in slow motion, I heard Seamus let out a high pitched “Aaii!” (much like the sound of say, stepping on a chihuahua) as he whipped his head straight up. The rat was holding onto Seamus’ lip but was launched into the air, where it slapped me right in face before falling back to the floor.

The rat ( I’m sure completely traumatized by this entire experience) stood on the carpet again, hissing at all of us over what just happened.  Watson and Seamus looked at the rat and then at me but all I could do was just stand there, laughing so hard there were tears coming down my face (also because I couldn’t get all the laughter out of me on account of my swollen throat so it came out in the form of tears).

Somehow, I managed to scoop the rat into the dustpan, attempting to hold it in with the bristles of the broom while I continued to laugh/cry and walk through the house and out the front door. The rat kept peeking its head out of the broom, hissing at me, which only made me laugh harder. I walked it down our driveway and across the street, arms out as far as I could get them while still balancing the rat, broom and dustpan, and released it near a storm drain. (I’m pretty sure I saw it stop and flip me off as it disappeared into the darkness.) As I walked back toward my house, I looked up to see three different neighbors in their yards watching me. I decided it was best to not try to explain myself and just look down and walk quickly back inside.

Once inside, I ran to my bathroom and scrubbed my face with soap (no joke) FIVE TIMES trying to get that warm rat fur face slap feeling off of me, tears of laughter still streaming down my face. When I was done, I decided to call Wil because who cares that he’s all the way over in Germany, he needs to hear this story NOW. I got his voicemail and instead of just saying “Hey, call me when you get a chance” I started telling the story, laughing so hard that I was crying, all while trying to talk with a swollen throat. All he heard was “It’s me, oh god *cry cry* call me when you get this *gasp cry* I have to tell you something.”  Not the ideal message to leave your spouse who’s in another country and knows you’re alone, recovering from surgery and sounding barely coherent. Wil called back in a panic but the panic turned to concern as listened to me relive the story, laughing and crying my way through it. He kept asking me if I was ok  which of course, I was. I mean, who gets slapped in the face with a live rat that launches off your dogs’ face and gets injured? NOT ME, BABY.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go wash my face again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nailed It!

On a warm, summer evening last year, I was sitting on my patio enjoying a beer and scrolling through Twitter on my laptop. I came across some pictures friends had retweeted of really awesome nail wraps a company called “Espionage Cosmetics” had made. There were Superhero designs, nebulas, and even some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ones. They were really cute but I wasn’t sure how nail wraps worked so I called my friend, Bonnie Burton, and asked if she’d ever tried them before and if she’d ever heard of a company called “Espionage Cosmetics.”

She’d never tried nail wraps before but she knew the company was based out of Seattle and had gotten themselves going through a Kickstarter. From our respective laptops, we went to their website and checked out all the cool products they had and all the nail wrap designs they had created. Since we both love googly eyes so much, we were hoping they made nail wraps specifically googly-eyed but we couldn’t find anything on their site.

Over the past two years or so, I would see people who had painted googly eyes on their nails with polish. Some people would even glue little googly eyes on their nails. While it was adorable, it seemed like a pretty big time commitment to put all that on and if you’re like me, you knock a nail against a kitchen cabinet or forget to put gloves on when washing dishes and half that polish is gone in an instant. Bonnie and I started talking about how cool it would be to have nail wraps (which it turns out is like a REALLY strong sticker in the shape of a fingernail that’s super easy to apply and can last a couple of weeks) covered in little googly eyes. Since Espionage Cosmetics already knew how to make adorably nerdy things like this, we decided to reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in making an exclusive “VandalEyes” line that Bonnie and I would design. Turns out they loved the idea.

In December, Bonnie and I went up to Seattle to do a photo shoot with Espionage. They made dresses for us, covered shoes in googly eyes for us and had THOUSANDS of googly eyes on hand to use in the shoot. We spent the entire day with their amazing crew taking photos and had a blast. photo-218

A couple of weeks ago, Bonnie and I got sets of the different VandalEyes nail wraps and tried them on (Wil told Twitter we were in our living room doing each others’ nails and it KILLED me to not be able to say it was with these nail wraps, not polish.) I can’t even stand how cute they are and how easy they are to apply. I was so sad that we had to take them off because we couldn’t let anyone see them yet. But it makes me so happy that we can finally talk about this now, you have no idea. Espionage will be releasing tons of photos from that shoot over the next few weeks as well as a “Behind The Glitter” video they shot that day which shows how it was all created, as well as individual interviews with Bonnie and myself.

Espionage Cosmetics will have a booth at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle March 28th-30th, where they will be releasing our VandalEyes nail wraps for the first time. Bonnie and I will be in their booth on Saturday and Sunday (the time in the booth will be announced soon) so if you’re attending the convention that weekend, stop by and visit us! If you’re not able to attend, the wraps will be available to order online after Emerald City or you can pick them up at other conventions. Bonnie and I will be in their booth at some other conventions this year (including GeekGirl Con in Seattle in October OH BOY!!) but we’ll let you know which ones as they get closer.

And can I just say, as a girl who once feared conventions and didn’t think I was a nerd, it’s a little crazy to know I’m actually attending conventions for my own thing and not because I’m just traveling with Wil. The geek gene is strong in the Wheaton house, that’s for sure.

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Nerds, Ahoy!

Last week, Wil and I went on the annual JoCoCruiseCrazy. This was the fourth cruise put together by Jonathan Coulton, a singer/songwriter/musician of beautifully nerdy songs. It is truly like going to adult nerd camp.

The first year, no one knew what to expect. If you’ve ever been to a Wootstock show that Wil, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage put on, it’s a lot like that but spread out over each evening of the cruise with some incredibly talented performers. It also has a huge game room and smaller events put on by other performers and even some events put on by other passengers so it’s kind of like a convention too. It has gone over so well that the attendance has grown substantially and there’s already plans for a fifth cruise next year.

I used to say I wasn’t a nerd, that I was just nerd adjacent. I felt like I didn’t have the right to say I was a nerd because there were so many things I either didn’t understand or didn’t participate in myself, so it felt like a for reals “fake geek girl” thing.  And even though I’ve heard him say it hundreds of times to other people, I never really got it until Wil said directly to me “It’s not what you love, it’s how you love it” that made me realize I was a nerd in my own way.

I was so excited to go on this cruise again that I actually packed early. (I know, WHAT.) We were going to see old friends and new, travel to tropical places, and be around a group of fun people who are seriously the most supportive, nonjudgmental group I have ever been around.

The first evening of the cruise started with a concert with Jonathan Coulton and his band. We were seated a few rows up, with a great view of everyone dancing on the floor in front of the stage. I sat there, watching everyone singing and dancing and being silly and my eyes FILLED with tears. Kids can be cruel and I bet there were plenty of people on that dance floor who were teased and taunted for liking the things they liked when they were growing up. Yet here they were, surrounded by people who not only accepted them, but loved and supported them for who they are. My tears were tears of joy at seeing them so happy.

Near the end of the week, I was on the beach talking to a couple of young women who were part of our cruise group. One said she knew about the cruise but wasn’t sure she would like it and kept wavering on whether to go. When Wil and I figured out we could actually make it this year, she said it was my comment on Twitter about how fun it is, even if you aren’t a super nerd, along with a link to booking one of the few rooms left on the cruise that encouraged her to go. She clicked on the link and booked herself on the cruise and was so happy she did because she had the best time, ever.

I totally get that cruises aren’t  for everyone and sometimes the thought of being on a boat with hundreds of people can make a person feel anxious (I struggle with that part a LOT) but I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this. I may not get all the references and I may not know all the words to all the songs, but just being with a group of people like this is an adventure I will always want to be part of.

 

My Heart Belongs to You

It’s Valentine’s Day.  A day that has always felt to me like a made up “holiday”  so greeting card companies and flower and chocolate sales can get their annual boost. But it’s also a day a massacre was named after, so there you go.

I met Wil on New Years’ Eve of 1995 (I wrote that story here about 6 weeks ago. If you missed it,  you can go look. It’s ok,  I’ll wait. Done? Ok, good.) We spent pretty much all of our free time together for the first 6 weeks after we met, but had never gone on a date just the two of us. I wasn’t about to have Valentine’s Day be the first official date because it felt like too much pressure to give the perfect gift. (For the record, our first official date was February 17th because by that time, the pressure was off.) After surviving our first fake holiday together, we vowed never to get each other anything for Valentine’s Day.

Today, I am breaking that vow. For years, Wil has talked about wanting to get a tattoo. He’s been trying to figure out the one thing that he’ll want with him forever, but also something that’s small in case he can’t handle the pain of getting a tattoo. He finally decided on the one thing he always wants with him. It’s my heartbeat.

Yesterday, I stopped by my doctors’ office and picked up my EKG printout from my recent physical. The receptionist asked if I needed the printout for another doctor. I told her no, it was a gift for my husband. She looked confused, so I explained that I was breaking the “no gifts on Valentine’s Day” rule we have. This year, I’m giving my husband my heart in a totally nerdy way. It’s a gift more valuable than anything in a store, and a gift I know he already loves.

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Do It Yourself

When I was 7 years old, my dad got a job transfer to move us from Arizona to Oregon. My brother and I had awful dust allergies and it was going to become a weekly allergy shot ordeal if we continued to live there. My parents found a house along the Willamette River in a city just outside of Portland called West Linn. It was a newly developing area and the house they found wasn’t completely finished on the inside. My dad liked the idea of doing the finishing touches himself, so we moved in and he worked on it on the weekends.

My dad was pretty handy but he was taking on projects that were a little beyond his capabilities. He talked to neighbors on how to do some of them, a few even offering to help. My dad would have me and my brother watch and sometimes help with these projects. He felt it was a useful skill to have, and he was right.

I lived in apartments for a few years as an adult, where they had their own maintenance people. When I moved into my first house, I was excited that I knew some basic skills to do minor repairs and improvements on my own. When projects came up that were beyond my skill level, I would ask for advice from an employee when I was in Home Depot. I always got great advice, but the best thing came in the form of a “Do It Yourself” book that Home Depot had come out with. It broke projects down by category and even broke them down at skill level. If you were super handy (like building actual things) the more complicated projects would be easier for you. I appreciated the beginners level stuff because I had some skills, but I was no master project person.

A few months ago, one of my closest friends suddenly lost her husband. She’s always been a person who could handle taking care of things, but anything related to home improvement, yard maintenance or car repairs, she had left up to her husband. Now without a husband or his income, she didn’t know how to do these things but she also didn’t have the extra money to pay someone to fix them for her. She knew I had learned ways to do things like this on my own, so she used the power of the internet and googled how to repair the things that needed repairing.

Back when I was learning all of these things, there wasn’t a way to search online for stuff, which is why I got that book. But my 51 year old friend, who never knew anything beyond how to make a clothes dryer turn on, had watched a video online that showed her how to replace the belt and the fuse in her old dryer. The sense of satisfaction she had at being able to do this on her own was immeasurable. She had even learned how to fix a leaky hose on her car,  how to patch a hole in the wall in her house, and how to work the riding lawn mower.

This may come across as a woman saying we don’t need men to do things for us, but that’s not my point. This applies to men and women. Sure, it may take a little bit longer to do on your than someone who specializes in that field.  I have to say, knowing how to repair a sprinkler, change out a light fixture, a faucet, repair a hole in the wall, lay down hard wood flooring, tile and linoleum, apply and seal grout, replace a toilet gasket, or just repair a baseboard your puppy chewed on feels pretty damn great.

 

 

Weighing In.

Growing up, I was always the smallest of all my friends. I was very short and skinny all through elementary and junior high and by the time I started high school, I was only  5’1″ and weighed 85 pounds. All of my (female) friends had their growth spurts in 7th and 8th grade, so they towered over me, and looked more like actual girls than just a stick figure running around the schoolyard.

There were some advantages to being so small and skinny. I was very athletic, so my small stature made it easy to learn flips in gymnastics classes, plus I spent several summers teaching myself crazy tricks off the diving board. It’s easy to whip yourself around when there isn’t much to you.

By the time I was 15, most of the girls I had usually hung out with showed more interest in getting attention from boys than anything else. Since it was the 80′s, these girls cared more about finding the shortest mini skirts to show skin than anything else. I ended up making friends with more guys than girls because I could play sports and goof off with them, and none of them would talk to me about makeup or clothes or gossip about their friends the way girls did.

The boys treated me like one of them most of the time, but occasionally, they’d tease me about being little and light because all the other girls my age were significantly less stick like. I begged my mom to take me to the doctor to get my thyroid and other hormone levels checked because I wasn’t growing much in ANY capacity. The doctor assured her everything was fine and that I was just a “late bloomer” like all of the other women in my family.

By my junior year of high school, I had reached 5’4″ and 92 pounds.  Still small, but showing signs of growth. Kids at school would tell me to eat something because I was so skinny, even though ate ALL the time. I couldn’t help that I was the way I was, and it made me feel bad about myself.  People didn’t like the way I looked, and were trying to tell me how to change it, and it sucked.

I was 5’6″ and 105 pounds when I graduated from high school. Over the next couple of years, I got up to just 5’8″ and 120 pounds, eventually losing most of my stick figure status. My entire adulthood (other than when I was pregnant) I have weighed between 123 and 126 pounds. That’s just the way I am, and that’s ok.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is people still telling me I’m “too skinny and need to eat something.” All I hear when a person says that is “I don’t like the way you look. Please change that” but I can’t. Well, I guess technically I could if I ate a lot of foods that were really bad for me ALL the time but I was raised to eat healthy and when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. I have the occasional indulgences, but I don’t go overboard because I don’t like the way it makes me feel.

I’m not sure if people who say that think it’s a compliment or what, but I hear that comment every single time a full length photo of me is put online. EVERY. TIME. If I respond by saying I do eat, the response is always “Well, not enough!” or “must be a nice problem to have” or the best one, that it’s a “white people problem.”

When someone is thin, people seem to feel they should voice their opinion on how much they should eat. When someone is heavier, the voiced opinion is to eat less. For some of us, it’s just the way we’re made. Just like how tall or short we are. We can’t help it.

I guess in one sense, being treated this way my whole life has made me the kind of person who gets to know someone for who they are on the inside and not what they look like.  My closest friends vary drastically on size and appearance because it’s the person I care about, not how they look. Who cares what someone looks like, we all get old and wrinkly in the end. The awesome person on the inside is all that matters.