Bethany and I set out bright and early for Oregon on Tuesday, the 25th of June, hoping to drive most of our 16-hour drive that day. I’d never driven in the States before, but somehow Bethany put her life in my hands. We made it safely, though, don’t worry. Three years of safe driving under my belt! (Let’s not talk about the years before that.)
Knut, the little owl replacing Bonnie on our trip, was a great traveller. He didn’t even add to our many bathroom stops. Good little bird.
I got my first glimpse of LA, but we basically drove right by it on the outskirts of town. We timed our trip to miss traffic, and we were pretty successful. We didn’t sit in much traffic at all our whole trip. It was quite rad.
I found street signs with my parents’ names on them somewhere in the LA area. And no, I was not driving when I took these photos, thankyouverymuch.
We drove until we could drive no more and stayed at a hotel just inside the Oregon border. I don’t think either of us was too picky about the place, we just wanted a clean bed we could afford. (I love US hotel prices, my GOODNESS.)
Wednesday morning we headed to Bethany’s friend Erin’s house out in the country, about an hour south of Portland. I made a friend there: Little Miss Indira.
We were fast friends. Elliora was afraid of me for the first day, but the morning after my first night at the Actually’s, I was sitting on the couch in their living room and she came and plopped herself right beside me and started chattering away. I loved having a little person there. It made me feel just a little bit better about being away from my own little people.
It was just as awesome having Miss Indy attached to me during our time at the L house. I even let her call me “Jennie”, and NOBODY is allowed to call me that. She had me wrapped around her little finger. I’m told she was even asking for me weeks later. Goodness I love toddlers.
The L house is pretty much my dream home. A big, spacious house, a giant yard, a big shop, fruit trees, a garden, lots of trees and bushes. It was beautiful.
And did you see the thing I haven’t mentioned yet? CHICKENS! I was so excited when I learned they had chickens. If you’re not aware by now, I really want to have chickens one day. We can’t have them at our current house due to city and landlord rules, but one day I will live in a place where I can have chickens. IT WILL HAPPEN.
See? Chickens love me. (Or she can’t wait to get away, either one.)
I nearly moved right in with Erin & Rocco. Not just because I love their house, but because they’re pretty rad individuals, too.
Our time with them was all too short, and Bethany and I took off on Thursday morning to Portland, for the thing that prompted my trip to the States in the first place: LEAKYCON.
The race was quite fun. We ran some, we walked some, we took photos, we did some sight-seeing, we drank out of a few Benson Bubblers, and we finished the race by running through a people tunnel. (I cannot remember the proper name for when people line up on either side and you run through them as they’re cheering and giving you high-fives. Is there even such a word? My brain says there is, but I cannot think of it.)
After the race, we met up with Becca and her daughter Carus, twitter friends of ours who were also attending LeakyCon, and then headed to the merch area.
Before I left, my girls placed orders for wands. I wanted to get the wand shopping done as soon as possible so I didn’t do what I usually do, which is leave things to the last minute and then forget to do them. We found the Hungarian Wand Shop, which was quite neat, actually. I had no idea if they’d even sell wands at LeakyCon, but I was obviously not thinking clearly, because of course they’d sell wands at LeakyCon.
I found one for each girl, and then Bethany and I took off to finally checked into our hotel (front desk guy was kind of a jerk to us earlier) and shower off after the race and head back for the main event.
The thing about finally getting around to writing this a month after it happened is that all the days kind of blur together. But, even though it’s been a month, I can still remember the opening ceremonies quite vividly. My favourite part was when Buffy said, about Edward Cullen, “You know he sparkles, right?”
A couple minutes later Edward tried to get in on the conversation and she said to him, “Pipe down, Hope Diamond.”
What were Buffy and Edward Cullen doing on stage together? Well, hanging out with Ron and Hermione and Han and Leia and, among other things, they were singing. With Mark Cohen. Which was my even-more-favourite part. Here, see for yourself:
I might have already posted that video, and if I did, I’m sorry, but I’ve watched it about 300 times because it’s freaking rad and sometimes I don’t know when to stop talking.
I also got to meet Rainbow just before the opening ceremonies started. I liked her instantly, which was a good thing because Bethany and I upgraded our LeakyCon passes to the Lit Track (so we could go to author sessions) and caught quite a few of Rainbow’s sessions.
I know the above photo is blurry, but I still love it. Rainbow had the best shirts, I think she said they were all designed by her husband. Pretty rad.
I think the first session of Rainbow’s I caught was the “Authors Acting Badly” panel on Friday, which included Anthony Rapp, David Levithan, Rainbow, and Amber Benson reading a scene from Eleanor & Park.
Yes, it was incredible.
I was also apparently there for the Anthony Rapp Show because I caught quite a few of his sessions, too. I think seeing him is the only thing that would have gotten Noah to attend LeakyCon. He made fun of me mercilessly until he found out Mr. Rapp was going to be there, and then he asked to come too.
And that’s Hank Green on the right in the above photo. Apparently he’s (John Green’s brother and) a pretty big deal, but I hadn’t heard of him till that weekend. He almost had to have bodyguards to get anywhere.
One of the only Portland touristy things I wanted to do during our time there was hit up Powell’s, a giant book store that I’ve been hearing people talk about for years. Bethany and I had found a smaller one down town earlier, but we visited the main one with Rainbow. I could have spent many, many hours and many, many hundreds of dollars there.
We need one of those in Saskatoon. It had new and used books, and had pretty much every book imaginable. Except Anthony Rapp’s biography. That I could not find.
We did, however, acquire (from Rainbow, not Powell’s) an advance readers’ copy of Rainbow’s newest book, Fangirl, which comes out in September. It’s Bethany’s copy that I had the privilege of reading (or, rather, having it read to me while I drove) and it is amazing. I can’t wait till it comes out so I can read it again. (It’s available for pre-order right now.) It’s not often that you get to hang out with one of your favourite authors and read a copy of her new book months before it hits shelves. That was another thing that totally made the trip more than worth it.
We attended a session the next day that was pretty much like watching the Special Features at the end of one of the Harry Potter movies. And I love special features. Mina Lima, the graphic designers behind pretty much everything visual in the HP movies, did a panel, with many photos, talking of their experience making the movies.
They are so incredibly talented it’s unbelievable.
I wish I could remember every session I went to. There was a Fear In Writing panel that I absolutely loved, because a lot of things they talked about could be transferred over to blogging. Writing is writing, right? And sometimes writing is scary, whether you’re writing a novel or a blog post, because when the words are out there, they can’t be taken back. And critics are critics, and people say really mean things anonymously on the internet that should really not be read by any human with a soul.
I was asked quite a few times when I returned home if I dressed up for the weekend, and no, I did not participate in the cosplay, though I did wear a Harry Potter shirt every day. But quite a few other people did dress up and I didn’t get enough photos of costumes. Some of them had put uncountable hours into what they wore. One girl had a hand-painted dress, and there was a trio who wore different phenomenal costumes every day.
Professor Snape was dressed up and in character and he was so lovely. Here are a couple photos I stole from Bethany:
The ones on the left were “Victorian Gryffindors Watching a Quidditch Match”, then Fleur Delacour and Firefly’s Kaylee.
I spent most of Saturday by myself, as there was a Buffy panel with Amber Benson and Tom Lenk I wanted to attend, and there were different things Bethany wanted to do, and Erin joined us that day as well. Sometimes alone time is good for a person. Large crowds make me a little crazy after a while, so sitting on a chair in an empty auditorium waiting for a session to start was quite therapeutic for me.
I also got to meet Amber and Tom, and got Anthony Rapp’s autograph for Noah. Yes, I went all fangirl on them and was very nervous to meet all three of them.
It’s funny, I spent all my time in line trying to think of what I was going to say when I met these celebrity people, but when they were right in front of me, it all went away and I don’t even remember what I said, but I know it was something stupid. This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to people.
There was a Dr. Horrible sing-a-long on Sunday that I wanted to attend, but we had brunch plans with Rainbow, Erin, Rocco, and Indy, and as much as a sing-a-long would be quite rad, I’d choose the brunch any day of the week.
We left Portland just after noon on Sunday and drove as far as we could. I think that night was the first night that we slept longer than five hours in over a week. It felt good. Unlike my husband, I do not function well on less than eight hours of sleep. We arrived back in San Diego to an empty Actually house, as Bethany’s girls were travelling with their Gramaw and Troy was still at work.
We took advantage of the quiet evening and hung out with Bonnie, though I was sucky company because I was so exhausted. I felt bad ditching them to go to bed, but I was nearly delirious with tiredness. I think it was only 9pm, but the week had caught up with me big time.
Bethany and I hit up IKEA on Tuesday before Annalie, Elliora, and Debbie returned home (I could live in that store), then took off to the mall (with the other three ladies, upon their return) to have lunch and pick up our pottery, and stopped at a park on our way home.
The park had a familiar name to me — Briercrest Park. I believe I went to a school by that name.
I was swinging with the girls for a while, and goodness, that’s hard on the arms! I finally had to stop because I felt like I was going to fall off if I kept going. That giant rock is at that same park, and Annalie climbed up it like it was nothing. Bethany and I made it to the top as well, but with a bit more effort, especially on the getting down part.
Troy, Bethany, and I went to see a movie that night that I’d been wanting to see: Much Ado About Nothing. I did love the movie, but I wish I’d understood more of it. There were times when Bethany would laugh, and I’d have no idea why she was laughing. But then, she has spent a lot more time than I have reading Shakespeare. I think I’ll have to read the play a couple times before I see the movie again. The actors, though, portrayed their characters in such a way that I could understand most scenes without understanding all the words.
Wednesday, the day I went home, came much too quickly, though I’ll admit I was ready to see my family. As much as having kids around was a great distraction from missing my own children, I still missed them.
We made a quick trip up Mount Helix in the morning. I think the original idea was to have donuts up there for breakfast, but, uh, I kind of slept in. Whoops.
I really, really love the San Diego area. A lot.
And the people there aren’t too bad, either.
We book-ended my trip with another meal at In-N-Out. I love that place.
My flight from San Diego to Minneapolis was all well and good, but my one from Minneapolis to Saskatoon was a different story, though not as bad as the one from Saskatoon to Minneapolis 12 days earlier. My layover wasn’t so bad, though. I sat at a bar near my gate with nachos and a beer, and taught some guy about things like fandoms, Tim Horton’s, and poutine. He even had cheese curds in his baggage, though I don’t remember exactly what his purpose was in having them. He said, though, that he was going to use some of them to try out this “poutine” thing.
So, our flight boarded, we were set to go, and we were asked to get off the plane because of a mechanical problem. We were then asked to go to another gate on the opposite end of the airport. By this time it was nearly midnight California time and I was just DONE. My bags were heavy and I didn’t want to carry them any more.
We finally got a new plane and we finally boarded and we finally got to Saskatoon about an hour late. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to have my feet on the ground after walking off that plane. I’m so sick of planes.
If you made it through this whole post, I applaud you. I didn’t want to break the trip up into a million posts, so you kind of got it all in one shot. Or, two, I guess.
And here’s where I say THANK YOU to the Actually family for having me, and to Bethany for being the bestest road trip companion. I heard a rumour she’s even making a mug to commemorate the occasion.
Internet friends, FTW!
*the title of this post is a line taken from Fangirl