Had a bit of a rough evening getting stuff sorted out, but then I got to spend some time with the rest of the Ch1Con team and our volunteers who were present, including my dearest Julia. I experienced a fair bit of anxiety at first, with me not doing well with strangers or in groups (also not having eaten much of a dinner), but after getting to talk to Julia a bit one-on-one, like last year, I calmed down. We even got the mysterious John Hansen to video chat with us! It was delightful, and I was up far too late because I just treasure the time I get to spend with these friends. How dare they live so far east.
Taryn Albright, the well-organized and sweet Girl with the Green Pen, had a ton of issues with her flight, so we ended up bringing her session in via Google Hangouts, which is like the only time Google has cooperated with us. Her session was on color-coding for organization, which I didn't expect to need because I'm such a pantser, but I actually took a ton of notes on it. It'll be super useful for editing, which, of course, I'm doing right now with Coca.
Following Kaye, we had a speaker panel you can watch here, and then it was time for Kat Zhang, the put-together and lovely author of the Hybrid Chronicles, to give her keynote speech. At this point, I was nearly comatose from exhaustion, because my fibromyalgia refuses to cooperate with anything, but I still really appreciated her extensive look at the publishing process, particularly her examination of book cover creation. Like, book covers are awesome.
We did some giveaways, which I always love, because free books, and then, sadly, I had to go collapse into bed instead of spending the evening with the team, like I'd planned. I was like a ROCK, I was so tired. I shouldn't have pushed my fibro by staying up so late, I suppose, seeing as it's been giving me trouble since I came home from school, but I really value the time I got to spend with Julia Friday evening, so. *shrugs* I did get up at like 7 to go eat with my mom at Denny's (I LOVE DENNY'S. I WANT TO EAT THERE ALWAYS, EXCEPT FOR WHEN I'M EATING AT PANERA OR SWEET TOMATOES.) before going back to bed.
Sunday I got up to go have breakfast and a surprise party for team members Emma and Ariel, at which there were FINALLY Panera bagels, because Ch1Con cannot be complete without Panera. That's the rule. Mom and I went to a local church session briefly, during which I accidentally fell asleep again, and then we rejoined the others to go to the Shedd Aquarium. The reason for this necessity (besides that I just like aquariums) is that while I was on Write It!, where I met most of the Ch1Con team as a 12/13 year old, my username was DolphinWriter, because I loved dolphins. I still do, just not as much as cats, because you can cuddle cats but not dolphins. Anyway, I'd never seen a dolphin before (I was very angry about this during a trip to Hawaii also during my 12th year of life, because I had expected to and had not), and Shedd Aquarium has dolphins, so, like, duh.
It was a rough time, that. My fibro was angry, as previously noted, so we requested a wheelchair to help me get around the giant aquarium, but there weren't any available at that moment, and then I encountered something you don't encounter much in New Mexico, or at all in a small town like Los Alamos, which is lines. In my usual necessary calculations for "how much can my body take today", I had not included lines. I should have, really, seeing as we were in Chicago, but last year I'd found that being in a big city wasn't as scary as I'd thought it'd be, so I'd sort of forgotten about the reasons why big cities are scary for someone like me. Because it likes to cause problems, my OCD then kicked in with the purpose of informing me that I, with my disability, am a terrible buzzkill and no one could possibly understand why I was causing so much trouble and I was a burden, etc., etc., and since my OCD also has a social anxiety component, being among loud crowds exacerbated the situation, and so there I was sitting on a bench in the entrance of the aquarium trying not to cry/have a panic attack. I got my mom to find me a restroom (a haven for the anxious), where I sat in a stall and talked myself down (also dropped my phone in the toilet for the first time ever, but my phone's fine and it was kind of funny, actually), and then I rejoined the others and made it to their weird version of Starbucks by repeatedly thinking to myself that I was an island of calm. LOL. Anyway, once I got food at said Starbucksy place and had some time to just talk to my mom one-on-one, I was much calmer and my fibro also chilled out some. (Incidentally, there was a wheelchair just SITTING there in the cafe, which ticked me off a little.)
By that point, we had time for exactly nothing but the dolphins, but I didn't mind, because dolphins was the whole point. Dolphins was the only reason I hadn't gone running out screaming there at the beginning. So we went down to the dolphins, past a penguin exhibit I got a brief glance at, and then... DOLPHINS. IT WAS MAGNIFICENT AND AWESOME AND THERE WAS A BABY WITH A MOMMY AND I WAS SO HAPPY AND IT MADE UP FOR ALL THE TRAUMA OF EARLIER. YAY!!!!
But I only managed to stay awake for half an hour in the car before returning to sleep, and thus came the end of my Ch1Con 2015 adventure. <3 I can't wait to apply what I learned to my Coca edits. It was a great trip!
Images via Ch1Con.