Year in Review, 2013

In the last few years, I put out these long multi-day challenges to get everyone to really think about their world and their words and their conditions… and while I’m all for self-reflection and all that, I just didn’t feel like that was something I needed to do this year.

Instead, I want to do a year in review.  From January to December, with pictures (where appropriate) and brief shots of the highlights.  And then some thoughts.  Because I think things sometimes.  But not always.


Highlights:  Got a job, finally; we bought our tickets for DragonCon in Atlanta and booked our bed-and-breakfast; also, my divorce from Joe was finally finalized.

Favorite Quotes:

Him: “AH! Your feet are cold!”
Me: *rubs feet rapidly on the sheets to warm them up*
Him: … you’re such a nerd.
Me: What? Because I use physics and thermodynamics to my advantage?
Him: …
Me: … okay, I see your point.

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

Him: “That may be your opinion, but it’s wrong.”
Me: “No, we already talked about this: You’re always right, but it’s only my opinion that matters.”
Him: “No, no, if I’m always right, and I say your opinion is wrong, and I’m always right, then I’m right.”
Me: “But it’s the difference between material facts and subjective observations.”
Him: “Right, and since your opinions are not material and have no mass, they don’t matter!”
Me: “…. damn, you’re a nerd.”
Him: “And I win.”
Me: “And you win.”


This was our first Valentine’s Day together, and it came after the first of two important break-ups.  There’s a wisdom (and a very good one) that says that you never really learn how important a thing is to you until you truly lose it.  Sometimes you have to hit rock-bottom in order to grow and change not because you’re “dumb” enough to make the mistakes but because the experience of actually hitting rock-bottom is vital to developing well-rounded experience.  I think we both hit that point, saying and doing things we thought we’d never do… like actually celebrate and enjoy Valentine’s Day in the spirit it was intended (the romance part, not the beheading part) as a make-up event.

This also coincided with getting our first apartment together, and we discovered that we can’t really afford to downsize our square footage when there are so many things that we love to do.  Craig’s in the habit of moving every year, and until we find just the right space, I think that’s something we’ll have to plan for.  (Also, if I’d known that hot water would be a rare commodity, I might’ve thought twice…)

Also also, Craig started a contract at Dell that would later convert into his new full-time job.

March satyr1

We were settling into the house, things were starting to gain a rhythm.  We got a coffee maker, and we modified the new trash can (drilled holes in it so that it wouldn’t trap air).  There was still a sense of unrest, a subtle insecurity that was nibbling away.  A little squabbling, a little fussing, and then another blow up.  I moved out again briefly.  I played the arguments over and over again in my head.  I made a decision.

And outside of that, Craig and I took Gaia to her first convention, All-Con here in Dallas.  All three of us went dressed up, we brought home a Venus fly trap named Seymour, and I got my picture on Channel 8.  I started making horns this month, too.  THAT was awesomeness. I also scratched my cornea and couldn’t see for a week.  That sucked.  And then we made jet packs.  Back to awesome.  Oh yeah… and this was when Craig won the eternal battle and I finally got an iPhone.


This was a major turning point.  At the beginning of the month, Craig and I had a reconciliation and I decided that I needed to poke a big fat hole in that whole insecurity thing, so I asked him to marry me.  And he did his due diligence and thought about it proper before finally saying yes.

As I was moving some things back in, I picked up a Random black guy off the street to help me move a mattress (help moving that in exchange for use of my WiFi).  He took one look at the zombie movie collection, at the decor, the posters, and that was the end of that.  Random hasn’t left since.

Craig’s birthday was this month, I bought a new laptop (Isis), I upgraded Miles’ graphics card for his birthday… it was a very positive and fantastic month.


Apparently, I am now a panda.


Craig converted to a permanent position at Dell, and we started planning the wedding.  Craig started out suggesting that we get married on July 4th since that’s the day that he counts as when our relationship started, but that wasn’t quite enough time.  We decided (eventually) on late August.

Cyrus had his last baseball games of the season, we cooked, worked, built things… it was not a terribly eventful month, even when we discovered Artemis, which was fine since every other month was packed to the gills…

Oh, wait, except that it was in May that Gabrielle (my incredible mother-in-law) fell and broke her arm while out of town.  How did she fall?  “Looking fabulous.”  This was the month when my hours-worked took a few hits so that I could take Mom to the doctor and then to the hospital for the surgery to get that titanium plate installed. (ROBOMOM!) This was also the month that we started giving the kitchen at her house a serious eyeballing.


This was the month that we discovered the Dallas Makerspace.  Our intention was to use it as our personal workshop (which is what it really is), but the tools we needed to build the stilts were always just out of usable condition.  We spent a lot of time there anyway, hanging out, helping out, playing Artemis… you know, just whatever.

Jessie Ingle released some of our engagement photos, and we started planning more.   I found two suits that, put together, were the perfect wedding attire for Craig.

And I was able to have this conversation:

THIS is why I love my friends:
ME: But I have no idea what to do with the veil/head-thingy.
GREG: shroud of bees
ME:  >.>
… can i do that…?
GREG: would create quite the buzz amongst the guests
ME: Oh, honey….
GREG: im sorry
im so sorry
ME: How comb you waited to drop that little bit?
If I’d known you were going to pun, I’d even expect you to wax a little more poetical.
ME: I mean, here you hive this great opportunity to pun, right out of the gate…
GREG: that stings,
ME: Hey, I’m just winging it.


Happy anniversary of our first proper date, said Craig!  He said that we get fireworks to celebrate every year.  I said I get fireworks whenever we kiss.  I think he thinks I was being cheesy.  I’m not.  I’m the most un-cheesiest person in the whole wide world.

I decided to start a knitting class on Wednesdays at Dallas Makerspace, and it’s been growing ever since.  We started narrowing down on the options and choices for the wedding, and we realized, especially as we were hosting a full family again for the month (the summer visitations), that small, intimate, and inexpensive were the most important elements of the day.  I found and bought my dress (or was that in June?), and I think that’s when we really started looking at the renovations that we could do for Mom’s house.

Favorite Post:

I don’t have it in me tonight to do this paper. I need to, but I think I’ll sleep on it and try to get past the idea that this f****g instructor is a f****g idiot who doesn’t know how to express what she wants in an assignment. If you ask for a goddamned OPINION, it is reasonable that no one will INCLUDE REFERENCES. What are supposed to list? 

“Ellis, D. (2013). “Because I said so”. [i]It’s my opinion, bugger off.[/i] Retrieved from http://www. myass. com/ where the hell did you think it would come from ?”


The renovations were decided and then done!  Mom’s kitchen and dining room walls were painted, a new floor was installed in both rooms, the cabinets were painted, the baseboards were replaced… it’s utterly gorgeous.  Mom did all the design, I just did the grunt work.

And then there was making test wedding cakes – wheat-free is a hell of a challenge for pastries!  And then there was purchasing the last few bits and bobs, such as Miles’ first tuxedo and deciding the flowers and painting the lawn furniture.

And then… the most amazing thing happened.

I married Craig Swain, and he married me back.

And then some other stuff happened, but that’s really the high point.

Favorite Quotes:

“Love is making sure that your afternoon make-out session ends in enough time to make an 8pm raid with the guild.”


“I do.”

Craig n Dawn Wedding-1-5


Technically, this started in August, but we went to DragonCon in Atlanta and had an amazing time.  We wore a different costume every day, and in retrospect, it was probably a good thing that our stilts weren’t done yet – that was a lot of walking over not-level ground, and we’ll have to take that into consideration when we finalize the builds.  About half-way through the month, I devoted the Wednesday night Subversive Knitting to costuming instead, and it stayed that way until Halloween.

I started back to school (I took a hiatus while the kids were visiting us for the summer, and then for the wedding), and it reinvigorated my passion for starting a resort, and I was still rockin’ a solid 4.0 GPA, but I started wondering how much I was paying for what kind of education.  I gave a standing desk a decent chance and found that I did not like it as much as I thought I would.  It made it easier to stay awake but harder to focus, interestingly enough.


October is always a big month for us, what with all the birthdays and Halloweens and things.  We got our wedding pictures back from Jessie, built a Dalek pinata for the twins’ birthday party, I built a smaller sit-down desk (which works very well), and designed several costumes.  Random got the benefit of my first prosthetic application (which involved first painting it so that it matched his skin, as he is markedly not Caucasian), Craig built a very clever moving zombie head in a bag, we put together many different make-ups and horns…

And part of it was almost missed because Daniel had to have an emergency hospital stay.  Luckily, it was just a matter of the levels of one of his medications not being increased fast enough to keep up with his growth, but that’s been remedied, so all is good now.


November was Thanksgiving and getting started on holiday plans.  I made the final decision to drop out of school and kept my 4.0, for what it’s worth.  I made lots of new recipes (Drunk Cow Soup and Pizza Risotto), and I got sick for a couple of days.  I took a decent stab at NaNoWriMo but fell about 18,000 words short. We had the feast at Mom’s house including all of the kids, brought the salad from Bread Zepplin (HIGHLY recommended if you’re ever in Las Colinas!), and this was the high-point “confession”:

1. I don’t eat wheat because it’s my autism trigger, not because of weight. For some people, foods can act as neuro-toxins, and for me, they make me neurotic and anxious ALL THE TIME. I will gladly give up fresh baguettes and fully loaded bagels to not live in fear all the time. (But I still miss it. A lot.)

2. I can, in fact, play piano. And I’m not bad. I just haven’t done it in a long time.

3. And, yes, I can read music, too. It’s not quite the “second language” it used to be for me, but I can read it and hear it in my head.

4. I have never finished a pair of socks that I didn’t knit at the same time. 

5. I don’t miss smoking at all, never feel the urge, but I do miss having an excuse to get up for a break.

6. I would not give up my plans for global domination to stay in tech support, though I do love it. I would consider giving up my plans for global domination if I had a combination of artistic gigs (writing, sculpting, painting, costuming, whatever) that paid better than tech support regularly and for an indefinite period of time. 

7. Real life has been so busy that I have only read, on average, two fiction novels per year in the last several years. The void has been replaced with blogs, textbooks, how-tos, and writing my own stuff.

8. I have seizures. They’re small tiny little things, and most of them are absences seizures, but they’re still there. I had no idea until about a year ago.

9. I daydream the most about where to build my evil lair and what kind of amenities it will have.


It was a rough start off to the month, a little frazzled, but it resolved well.  I got a surprise Christmas bonus, so the holiday shopping was a cinch.  There was a lot of family-ing and visiting, and Craig’s brother Thom even stayed with us over to Christmas morning and spent the day playing board games with us.  Christmas Eve at Grandma’s House is the family tradition, and it went well with, again, all of the children in attendance.

Of late, I’ve gotten on another organizing stint, trying to claw my way back from the cluttered mess that the house has become as we try to not only store our things in our tiny space but also use them.  This is the challenge, and I spend more and more time day-dreaming about building cabinets and armoires and shelves to tame our mess.  I should probably wait until after we move into a more stable place.

And into the future…

I am not one for resolutions, you all know that, but I do like stating intentions.  This was my year in review, and look then for my year in advance in the next few days.

In case I didn’t get a chance to tell you all directly, there isn’t a single one of you that I’m not grateful for – even when you’re a pain in the tush.  More soon.

Dawn Written by:

One Comment

  1. January 6, 2014

    Seems things happen when you lose track of people for a few years!

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