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2013 Year in Review

I only seem to use this journal once a year now, but I won't feel right if I don't get my one post written out and my goals put down on the internet.

When last I left this journal, things were pretty rough. I had recently broken up with Dave and I was not in a good place mentally, was working a soul destroying call center job and my goals were "Get a real job that's in my field that I don't hate. Be financially self sufficient. Get mentally healthier. Get physically back to a place where I can be proud of myself - I've gained back a lot of weight. Be happy"

I managed... 1.5 of those? I'm mentally healthier, maybe, and happier than I was at this time last year. I have gained a lot MORE weight back, and have been unemployed or nearly unemployed most of the year.

I started out the year celebrating at the cabin with the choir. The first SCA event we went to was Nordskogen's 12th night in Minneapolis the first weekend of the year. I spent most of that event hanging out with our baroness and watching her embroider and pestering her with questions. I came home and started my first piece of embroidery, and have been going at it ever since. These are the two collars I've made so far, a third one is in the works.

I worked for PCH and started hating every day more and more. I quit in the middle of February because I couldn't handle being dehumanized on an hourly basis. I started going to Aurora Family Therapy and after a few sessions convinced Lauren to come along as well.

Also in the middle of February, Dave and I started talking about rebuilding our relationship, dating again with the goal of getting to know one another and starting fresh. We had a few long conversations about what we each needed and wanted out of a relationship and I threw down some concrete ground rules and we got to spend some time getting closer and it was good.

Unfortunately, in the midst of some of those conversations, some things came out that shattered my trust in Lauren. The only thing that kept me from walking away from the whole thing was that I had JUST fixed things with Dave and goddamn all my stuff is here and I don't want to move. I'm really glad in retrospect that I stayed but it was hard. I still have extremely little trust to go around. I didn't have trust issues coming into this relationship but I sure do now :P

In March our choir got the opportunity to perform with Rajaton, and watch them perform. The manitoba choral association had been working for years to get them to come here and it was really cool. We performed Gay vs Straight Composers for a whole bunch of mennonite and baptist high school choirs, which was really entertaining. For all the side-eye we got, I hope that we could communicate to the probably dozen or more queer kids that there is community to look forward to when they come out.

I got to see a couple more concerts in March as well, the Arrogant Worms were really fun and then Karalyn took me to see Great Big Sea :)

I applied for and interviewed with a company called Mad Science Manitoba at the end of March, and started there in April. I teach after school science workshops to kids. I don't particularly like kids, but I do enjoy the idea of the whole thing, getting kids interested in STEM fields. Plus my actual job title is Mad Scientist, which is excellent.

In May I had a SUPER FUN episode of extreme stomach pain, brought on by ignoring the reflux I've had for years and also apparently because I take naproxen regularly for back pain and cramps and it ate away my stomach lining! I started Nexium, but for about two weeks I couldn't eat anything or even take a sip of water without excrutiating pain. I went to Keycon and played lots of board games anyway, and made it through our dress rehearsal. By concert time I was feeling much better and was up to eating like, a croissant at a time. I am all about my new tummy meds, I don't even have to take tums anymore! They're disgustingly expensive without insurance though, so we've been buying the generic stuff in the states when we go down there.

In May I also started an Anatomy and Physiology class at the U of W, in order to fulfill all the of the prerequisites for Red River College's Medical Laboratory Sciences course. There's a two year waiting list that I'm on now, after which I will be able to Actually Get A Job. Not my ideal choice but it'll be something I can do long term, I think.

Taking that class and doing fairly well in it took up most of my May and June.

My lovely partners and I walked in the pride parade the first weekend of June (ignore the date on the poster, we couldn't find our new one for the choir)

We went to a ton of SCA events in the summer and fall. A lot of it was a test to see how much travel and socializing I could actually handle. It went surprisingly well, even when we did three events three weekends in a row, then had a week off and went to two more.

At Moorish Tavern in early June there was a competition to take two yards of provided fabric at the beginning of the day and produce a piece of garb by evening court. I won by making an entirely hand sewn and decorated apron dress in six hours for one of our new members, Xanthe. I even convinced a lampwork artist on site to make me a string of coordinating beads to use. My prize was a bag of hand woven fabric scraps, which are awesome.

On Lauren's mondays off, the three of us spent some time at the beach

And the Winnipeg Skeptics participated in a habitat for humanity build. We found this poster up and couldn't resist taking our group photo with it.

I got into leatherworking and started making pouches and bags and things to add to my sales table at events. That's been a lot of fun and I've learned a lot of cool techniques.

My birthday was lovely, I went out to lunch with my parents and then did Mongo's and a movie with Lauren and Dave, and then we had a bunch of people over that weekend for board games. I have played a lot of board games this year, which has been delightful.

I also applied for and was accepted as an intern for Foundation Beyond Belief, a charity organization which funnels money from atheists, skeptics and various other secular people to organizations that have been vetted to insure that they do not use any money to proselytize or spread religion.

On my birthday however, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My parents waited a week to tell me, so that I could have a good birthday. I was pretty much an emotional disaster from that point on.

The first weekend in August Lauren and I drove to Thunder Bay to visit her family. Her sister was home for the summer from China, and we had a really nice girls weekend together since her dad was out of town. We toured Thunder Bay and had a couple of nice evenings of hanging out and a delicious meal at the Prospector. I met all of her grandparents, although we're pretty sure they thought we were girlfriends in a purely platonic way. We stopped on the way back in Kenora to visit my parents who had rented a cabin out there. I started crying a few times because dad just looked so damn healthy and I had a hard time processing it.

We spent the next weekend hanging out with Heather and Gary at their cabin in Kenora, and I painted a couple of scrolls for friends who were getting their awards the september long weekend. This started a love affair with scribal, and I haven't stopped since. I've made an award for every event I've been to since then, and picked up a lot of painting and calligraphy supplies. It is super fun and I love getting to see my artwork handed out to people. Ooh I also started doing a lot of viking wire weaving!

My first scrolls!

We went to St Radegund's Arts and Sciences fair, as well as BYOM, both fun and laid back events. the St Radegunds site was BEAUTIFUL, a huge outdoor area with converted barns for common areas. The BYOM site had the greatest fireplace ever though.

In September I organized our annual Skepticamp conference, we had about 40 attendees and a lot of great speakers and it went really well. I coordinated ordering a bunch of merchandise, so we had tshirts and water bottles and journals with our logo on them available for purchase and it was very neat.

After that I spent the rest of the month sewing and sorting scarves for my mom's company. It was not fun but it paid off my visa. I can now thread a serger in about two minutes, start to finish.

At the beginning of October I finally had the appointment with the allergist I've been waiting a year to see, and I am officially allergic to trees, mold, weed pollen and cats. so allergy meds forever, basically.

We went to Schutzenfest, a big archery tournament in Minneapolis, and it rained all damn day but I still got to authorize in equestrian (I can legally ride a horse at sca events now!) and shot a lot of things. Dave got into the finals and won me a pretty archery target and a fancy arrow.

Later that month, he fought for me in our Crown Tournament. One of these days he'll win it and I'll be royalty but this was not the year by a long shot. We looked fantastic though, ngl. I made his outfit and Lauren made mine. It's trimmed in bunny fur!

Also in October, we went to an event called Rhythm and Bruise in Fargo. I sold some stuff and Dave did a bunch of fighting until he got knocked in the head so hard he got a concussion.

I made nerdy pumpkins for halloween in an attempt to take my mind off the fact that my dad was having surgery the next day

The surgery to remove most of my dad's esophagus and stomach went fairly well, all things considered. The next day however, his heart was racing so badly (~240 beats/minute) that they had to stop his heart chemically and then restart it. It didn't work the first time so they tried it again, five times :|

After he recovered from that, things went fairly smoothly. He got out of the hospital fairly quickly, and most of the battle now is making sure he's eating and food is staying in him long enough to get nutrition in him. He's still losing weight. The pathology results came back clean though, it doesn't look like it had spread to his lymph nodes or anywhere else, so that is AWESOME news.

In other awesome things, the three of us are buying a house together. It's a story and a half with a finished basement located a block from Assiniboine Park, and I am unbelievably excited. It's a 1928 home with original old growth hardwood, a brand new high efficiency furnace and a recently redone roof. The whole top floor is a loft we're going to transform into a crafting studio. It belongs to Heather's mom, and she's selling it to us directly without bothering with a realtor and we are getting it for a STEAL. We take possession April 1st and I already have all the paint colors picked out.

I ended up quitting/being asked to leave the internship at FBB because I had no attention span, couldn't get any work done and wasn't a good fit for the position. With everything going on with my dad, I wasn't able to give it the attention it needed. It would have been over next month anyway, but I wish I could have shown them what I'm actually capable of instead of the mess that I was/am.

I started casually seeing a new guy, he collects dice and lego so he fits right into my ideal circle of nerdery. Neither of us want anything serious but it's been fun hanging out and watching movies and having him over for games.

Dave and I are running for Baron and Baroness of our local SCA group. We have a lot of things we'd like to implement and we think we are truly the best choices for the group moving forward. We get to make our campaign speeches on January 12th, although Dave probably won't  make it, he's been travelling for weeks at a time all year and he's supposed to be on the road most of January.

We went down to Fargo on the 20th for Sam and Quinn's wedding, and got a pretty hotel suite. It was so nice with its own little kitchen and bedroom that we decided to stay an extra day and have a little vacation. Everyone went down to the pool and there was a six on six water volleyball game. I got way, way too drunk on Friday night, ended up in a cuddle pile on the floor of the suite with all the ladies in the room, kissed everyone and then staggered off to bed. According to my partners, there's not much of a behaviour difference for me between two drinks and twenty, so they didn't realize how far gone I was. The next day was not fun for my tummy :P We did lots of shopping though, and ordered pizza and spent the night watching food network because there was a chopped marathon and we don't have cable.

Our Christmas Eve was spent at the Bonwick household, his parents do a spaghetti dinner every year. We opened presents, his parents got us a massive bbq for the new house, super cool. His mom also made us these really adorable framed button art things, spelling out our initials. So cute, I can't wait to put them up but she confiscated Dave's because she wanted to fix it a bit first.

Christmas morning we got up and opened all our presents to each other and the ones my mom had sent. Lauren got me an electric blanket (SO WARM) and a magic beading board (It makes all the beads stand up so the hole is facing up, it's fucking witchcraft) and Dave got me a tackle box to put all my painting and calligraphy supplies in and a couple of fancy sex toys.

My mom got us a sewing machine and everyone got some clothing and some kitchen stuff. Awesome new baking pans! Giant mixing bowls from my mom and Lauren's mom! Three board games! I was very spoiled and lucky this year :) I made tree of life paintings for each of our parents with leaves done in gold and variegated metal leaf, got Dave a fancy bottle of scotch because omg boys are hard to shop for, and got Lauren a bunch of clothes, a food dehydrator, and wine glasses. We have made lots of dried apples and there is a batch of dried pears on, mm mm good.

We had Christmas dinner at my parents place, with all the Bonwicks plus my aunt and cousins. Crowded house but my mom made amazing food as usual and we played a ridiculous game of "take the wrapping off the present while wearing oven mitts" that everyone got really into.

We've spent the week pretty much just relaxing and enjoying the lull. We're having a bunch of people over tonight for board games and drinking and such to end the year/start the year with fun and friendship.

My goals for this year:

Convince the royals that Dave and I are the best choice for Baron and Baroness. Be an awesome Baroness.
Get cute for unison/pennsic/possible investiture. I'm going to try a low fat approach combined with orlistat and restarting c25k.
Get new house. Decorate house. Have people over to enjoy new house.
Read some damn books. I used to easily devour a book or two a week, now I'm barely reading anything at all. I think I'll shoot for 26 books this year.
Keep going to therapy. It's doing us a lot of good.
Go to Pennsic. Don't be a giant ball of anxiety while at Pennsic
Learn lampworking

I was kind of shocked to realize while doing this entry that this year I've taken up embroidery, leather work, wire weaving and scribal. It has been a year of crafting apparently. I'd like to carry that forward, and hopefully be a bit more successful at merchanting so I can make some money off of it, or at least recoup my costs!

This has been a massive post by Ashlyn. Happy New Year everyone, I'm looking forward to 2014 and I hope it's a great time for all of us.



I love cards. They are one of my favourite holiday things. You should send them to me. My address is 423 Maryland Street, Winnipeg MB, R3G1M1 Canada

I would also like to send you cards. Please fill out this form if you would like a card from me. May contain glitter. Unless you don't like glitter.



Ashlyn Noble

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