Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Year in Review (1)

I have used this format at the end of each year since 2004.  So, let the tradition continue.  I’m going to break it up in two posts.

40 questions about my year (Part One):

1. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?
I went to Chicago’s IML/Woof Camp.  I judged the NC Leather Contest (and was the first pup to pup-out at the Charlotte Woodshed).  I started reviewing comics for Thoughtful Mirth

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
“Sketch in my new leather, hand-made sketchbook at least once a week.” Nope!  I would resolve to try that again next year, but that’s been trumped by a resolution to do a new comic book review each week for Thoughtful Mirth which I started in September of this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Branwen, our husky/lab

5. Did anyone close to you get married?
Two of my adorable pack-mates had a really lovely hand-fasting ceremony: eclectic Celtic/Pagan/Leather-pup traditional

6. What places did you visit?
Continued to spend a fair amount of time in Atlanta and SC, did one trip to DC (by way of Monticello) w/ Owner and Poet, but the big travel adventure of 2015 was Chicago (loved the Chicago Art Institute)

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
 I have a full-body rubber puppy suit already on the way!

8. What day from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day my Kitten got her pack vest at CAPEX: the confusion and surprise and joy on her face!

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 I did the illustrations for a children’s’ book that was just published… and we won the Stick & Maggie Red Skull Prize at the CAPEX Halloween party

10. What was your biggest failure?
We failed to save Branwen’s life – but we did give her a very happy, loving home for seven years.

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, I had a healthy year – only my dog and my Owner got sick

12. What was the best thing you bought?
For myself?  Probably my puppy hood.  Love my hood.

13. Whose behavior merited a celebration?
Everyone who helped us build the Thunder fence, but especially Daniel.

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Dumbass dog catchers and dickhead cops

15. Where did most of your money go?
Building the Thunder Dome and paying medical bills (human and bio-dog)  :(

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Chicago… but also Southeast Black & Blue, Atlanta Pride, and any time spent with friends, pack, and family

17. What song will always remind you of this year?
I don’t think I had a particular favorite song this year…

18. Compared to this time last year, you are:
Beta to a wonderful pair of omega pups, and “the kids” make me very happy.  *wags*

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Well, there are some home improvement things I wanted to work on, but they all got swept aside by Thunder's new fence

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Dealing w/ the police and worrying about whether they were going to kill my dog, and then taking my other dog back and forth to the vet to try and save her life.  That was stressful.

To be continued soon…

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Lovely and Loving Weekend

Friday Kitten and I drove down to Poet’s place in SC.  On the drive we listened to an episode of On Being that featured Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor who is 6’1”, has tattoos and pricings and used to be a stand-up comic.  She is really fun, down-to-earth yet wise, self-deprecating, and really exemplifies Christianity at its best: charity, tolerance, and forgiveness.  Kitten really liked her – as did I.  My thing is, I’m less interested in a person’s particular religion as I am in the spiritual, ethical, and wisdom qualities of that person, be they Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Pagan or atheist.  But it was particularly nice this time of year to hear from somebody who really does exemplify the best of Christian values (not the Religious Right’s talking points, ignorance, xenophobia, and prejudices – or the crass commercialism of overly-capitalized, consumer culture).

Friday evening, we went out to a beer tasting and then had a great home-cooked meal w/ Poet’s parents, and settled-in to watch some Monty Python before I fell asleep on the couch pretty early.

Saturday was Twisted Toyland in Atlanta w/ the pack.  Our Alpha was back in town.  Which I guess I should explain, since I’m not sure it I’ve mentioned it on here – but the quick synopsis is: Recently, Sir Loki divorced, took a new job in DC, and moved up there w/ his new boyfriend.  He’s still the Alpha, we still belong to him, but the pack is now stretched out from Atlanta through North Carolina to DC… so getting us all together is likely going to prove more difficult in 2015.  We’re still in the process of figuring out how best to make this work…

After getting to spend time w/ pack-mates and family, the next best part of Twisted Toyland was that Ma’am let me put on my puppy gear.  Yay!!!  It felt so wonderful to be out in public, on-leash and in my suit, hood, and indefinitely-borrowed harness.  That really does wonders for my spirit, and I left Twisted feeling like a million bucks.  (Of course, there were also four fairly strong run-and-cokes involved.)  I’ll post some pictures as soon as I get them.

Saturday night we got to relax w/ the pack at Gwynn and Bishop’s Safe Haven.  There were some gifts exchanged.  Two were particularly noteworthy:  Bishop got to present Gwynn with her official pack vest.  Also, the pack commissioned from yours truly an anthropomorphic pack portrait which we gave to our Sir as a Christmas/moving-away/housewarming present.  Pictured left-to-right: Gwynn, Sir Loki, Bishop, Hunter, Shdwkitten, and Emrys.

Sunday was the winter solstice… and wedding day for pack-mates Gwynn and Bishop!  Their hand-fasting was a really lovely eclectic Celtic/Pagan/Leather-pup mix that was just tonally perfect.  I think most of us got a little teary eyed.  Congrats and best wishes again to Gwynn and Bishop.  We love you two.  And their “something borrowed” was our Treehouse’s Tree of Life banner which was also the backdrop in our wedding and they got to use it as their alter-cloth.  That made me smile even more.

So after spiritual wisdom/humor and beer Friday, dawning pup-gear and giving gifts Saturday, and then helping two of our favorite puppies get hitched Sunday you would think my weekend couldn’t get any better and I couldn’t get any higher… but I had one more cool event in store.  My Owner’s ex-boyfriend Pirate (that’s his nickname, Pirate) was back in town, and we got to meet-up for dinner at our favorite sushi place on our drive back home.  Well, Pirate wrote a children’s book and I did the illustrations for the second edition – which is now out, and he gave me a copy Sunday.  I am so pleased with how the illustrations came out.  Love it!  So that was the cherry on top of my very full, very uplifting, very fun weekend.

Everybody have a very merry Christma-Hanu-Kwanza-Yule!