Search Results for pantheacon
Winter storm Seneca stranded me without the internet on my way back from Pantheacon. Not that this was a great hardship. I had to go pick up Orion from my parents home in Northern Minnesota and the idea of a 3 hour drive back into the storm vs a few extra days with my parents made for an easy (smart) decision.
Being without the distractions of “coming back” for a few extra days gave me a chance to really absorb my Pantheacon experiences. Crystal Blanton suggested to me that Pantheacon might be a pilgrimage. I dashed off a response and she included it in her article for The Wild Hunt. That thought has stayed in my mind throughout the coming home process, especially given the weather delay. What if this were a spirit journey? What opportunities has this apparent obstacle put into my path? How would my experience have been different if I had approached the entire event as a pilgrimage?
There were plenty of extra obstacles in the way this trip. There was the issue leaving and almost missing the plane. They called at least 10 names on that flight over the speakers. Southwest didn’t staff for the possibility of the Atlanta flight being canceled. We ended up in line behind them.
I did everything right, pre-printed the boarding pass, got to the airport early. I’ve never waited so long just to check my bags! I asked and was told there was no other option. As we pushed ahead in line at TSA the agent decided that the 3 people who’d seen my boarding pass already were wrong and I wasn’t on a flight out of Minneapolis at all! He was corrected and facilitated my EASY pass through security in return for his mistake. The flight crew was extra kind, knowing how frustrated we all were with the ticketing window. What a way to start the trip!
Transferring planes in Denver the gate got moved so the walk was further than I’d hoped. At the hotel room wasn’t ready and the convention didn’t have my registration. One step at a time, one problem at a time, one solution at a time and a little help from my friends. That first day I ran into old friends and joined them for lunch. I got hand-held by the convention staff. I got invited to “hang out” in another friend’s room across the hall while I waited for mine to be cleaned. I found the woman I’d agreed to share a room with and we spent some time getting reacquainted. I attended my first workshop and made a new friend. I had dinner with Crystal and her family.
Any convention or festival like this is an exercise in priorities and pacing. There were a lot of workshops I was interested in: a panel on privilege, a workshop on medical clergy, a celebration of the Mighty Dead none of which I attended. The things I did attend where exactly what I needed and sometimes I opted out just to take care of myself. Elevating swollen ankles beats sitting on an uncomfortable hotel chair hands down, no matter how good the workshop might be. It’s an age thing I suppose. I even left the convention one evening to join local friends out for dinner. That was an extra treat and well worth the time. The fact that the food was as good as the company didn’t hurt either. Hotel food is expensive and a little boring.
The highlight of this year’s Pantheacon for me wasn’t the workshops I attended (although they were spectacular) but having the opportunity to present one of my own. I suspected that I would have a larger turn out than I’m used to for my presentation of “Daily Practice Sucks”, but I never expected I’d fill a double conference suit and that the staff would need to bring in extra chairs! It’s a good title.
It was also apparently a good workshop. For the rest of the conference I found myself in conversations with people who’d attended. People would stop me in the halls and thank me for such a great workshop. I’d sit down at breakfast and somebody would come by and tell me that my workshop was exactly what they needed. I had one woman tell me she’d already put some of my suggestions into practice and it changed her life!
My ego almost as swollen as my ankles, I floated through the rest of the convention. I visited some of the hospitality suites. I attended a few more workshops. I even managed to squeeze out some time in the hot tub, although that’s because we stayed an extra night. I’m always impressed with the quality of the workshops I find at Pantheacon and this year was no exception. The vendors also tend to be high quality with some real artistry and reasonable, but appropriate pricing. Year after year, what I come back for are the people. It’s great to chat with other workshop presenters. It’s pleasant to strike up a conversation over breakfast. It’s fun to pass on a kiss to someone you’ve never met from a mutual friend. (Stephanie, I’m going to tell this story for a long time.) And best of all is connecting with friends across the country that I don’t get to see very often.
So I missed last week’s blog because I was still in California – giving my presentation. I had a great trip. I talked to some fabulous people. I learned some things and was inspired. I also hope I taught some things and was inspirational.
I think I’m pretty much back in Central Time, but even that’s challenging. My darling daughter wrenched her ankle in a bad fall coming home from work this weekend. 2am in Urgent Care doesn’t help me adjust. But the sun has been shining, the days have been warm. (In Minnesota if the snow is melting it’s warm – even at 39 degrees.)
Looking at traveling as part of a career I’m going to have to find a way to do the body/time adjustment thing a little more gracefully. At least I was kind to myself with scheduling. Aside from the unexpected (there was a trip to the Apple Genius Bar as well) I haven’t had any “extras” on the calendar. That’s about to change!
One of the things I got to do at Pantheacon was Tarot readings. When I do readings I always get good feedback from the clients. This was no exception. But I also had some down time with the cards, so I asked a question for myself about preparing for my presentation. That was a little frustrating. I was committed to being “on my game”. I wanted to be a professional level presenter. I’m invested in preparing to do my best. The cards kept saying, “Give it up. This is something you can’t prepare for.”
My time slot was unfortunate. I presented early in the morning on the last day of the convention. Most people are packing to check out or catching early flights. The audience I was targeting are, as a rule, worn out by this point. I had no idea what kind of crowd to expect and the cards were not helping.
However unhelpful, they were correct. I had a small enough group that sitting down and having a discussion, a personal conversation, was much more appropriate than a presentation. In that kind of setting my goal is always to address the specific needs of those present. It’s not something you can prepare for. You just have to know the material inside and out. I do and I thought the workshop went really well.
I didn’t take a lot of photos. I did get a lovely sashimi dinner one evening. My roommate (who I met when I arrived) was fabulous and we had a pleasant evening together over dinner as well. I sat in on conversations about accessibility for People of Color and for the Gender fluid community. I actually went to one of the ritual presentations (something I’ve not had the energy for in previous years) and enjoyed myself. I spent some time with old friends and made some new ones.
I still have to finish unpacking. I need to sort through all the cards I picked up and find new contacts on Facebook. I need to remember to check my email and gather all my receipts. It’s less than a month until the next one. At least I won’t have to change time zones!
I’m traveling again this week. I’m going to present a workshop at Pantheacon. Today I’m feeling just a little overwhelmed because there’s so much still to do!
I have arrangements for hotel and my flights are booked, but I’ve given no thought to getting back and forth from the airport. I’ve got Orion covered and his meds sorted, but I still have to arrange his transportation and think about what else to put in his bag.
Karina will be staying with Orion for at least some of the time I’m gone. I suppose that means rather than entirely emptying the refrigerator I should give some thought to what they might eat. Do I trust that Karina will keep Minnie off of my bed or do I pack away the good blankets?
Then there is my own packing! Do I bring books to sell? How many? Which ones? Can I do that and keep my luggage under the weight limits? Packing for the workshop I’m presenting, and preparing for that, is its own little piece of extra, but exciting.
I’m sure some of my stress is because of what happened last year. The workshop I’m giving is the one I was planning on doing then. Having to cancel at the last-minute because of https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/a-big-wrench/ was more than a little discombobulating. I’m grateful to be doing well, healthy and able to go back this year!
It’s 11 F here and the temps are dropping. The high today in San Jose is 77 F. Packing and planning for what to wear on the plane is an interesting logistical dilemma. I will definitely throw in a swimsuit! I may have to pack a winter coat as well. That depends a lot on how I get back and forth to the airport which puts me back at the beginning of this post.
I need to just breathe. I need to remember I’ve done this before, I’ll do it again. I need to trust that whatever decisions I make will be fine. I need to remember that if I forget anything there’s a good chance there are stores in California.
See you at Pantheacon!
Past blogs about my experiences at Pantheacon:
I’m posting late today because I went to get a haircut. You must understand that I am entirely incapable of maintaining my hair style in a traditional (cut every 6 weeks) kind of way. My last hair cut was in February.
I’m lucky to have hair that is flexible, adaptable and generally enviable. My regular readers have seen photos of me in the last 8 months and none of you have commented “Looking good, but you could use a haircut”. I’ll take the leap and say that mostly I haven’t looked like I needed one.
Thankfully, Jesse (my stylist at Hair Police) is pretty accepting of my cavalier attitude towards my hair. He believes me when my response to “what would you like?” is “That I don’t need to fuss with it.” We probably spend as much time chatting as he does actually cutting. That’s “normal” in the stylists chair, but it’s not typical for me.
In February I was getting the “new look” in preparation for flying to California and presenting at Pantheacon. (Go ahead and search that term out on my blog page. You’ll find lots of entries.) I didn’t get to go to San Jose, but the “new look” was helpful in the “keep your spirits up” department while I dealt with the cancer surgery.
Now I am again getting ready to travel. I’d like to make a good impression on the people I’ll meet. I’d like to do some networking with folks who speak on Spirituality for a living. I’d like to look good, approachable, and “put together”. I hope I’m not setting my bar too high!
Packing is still a challenge. I can get twice as many clothes into the suitcase as I used to! The problem is that I don’t have twice as many clothes that fit. I don’t even have the dreaded swimsuit in a size that won’t fall off if it gets damp. Usually before a trip I’m shopping for things like sample sized deodorant and toothpaste. This time it’s about what do I have to wear.
I’m grateful to the thrift stores. We went to one for Orion’s birthday and I picked up a few things for me as well. I’m grateful for my friends who clean out their closets and hand stuff my direction. I’m grateful for the women in my life (Karina and Carla) who are fond of “styling” and pick things out for me if they run across something that looks promising and size appropriate. (They have a better eye for my size than I do!) And of course I’m grateful to Jesse, not only for the haircut but also for taking the photo I promised:
Sadly I’m still going to have to shop for that swimming suit.
As Burns said (after his language was updated) “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” According to Murphy, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” One way or the other, as the idiom goes, “someone has thrown a wrench in the works.”
I really wanted to spend last weekend in California at Pantheacon. I was scheduled as a presenter and I was really excited about the workshop I planned. It was about energy management, specifically in ritual settings, called “Sitting down or sitting out”. Maybe the universe thought I needed a refresher course first!
It has been a busy month with lots of medical appointments. My regular readers have heard me talk about dealing with a DVT (blood clot) and blood thinners and anemia. Every single appointment I’ve had since the beginning of the year has started with the statement, “You need to know I’m getting on a plane February 13th.”
I didn’t get on the plane. Instead I got scheduled for surgery. In fact, if you’re reading this on President’s Day Monday, I’m certainly at the hospital and may be “under the knife” even now. Scheduled publishing is one of those handy WordPress features.
The truth of the matter is that I’ve known for several weeks that surgery was the plan. I just insisted that I get the California trip out of the way first. In looking for ways to address the anemia I was referred to a Gynecologist who, as part of a standard exam, did a biopsy. It turns out that I have endometrial cancer.
It’s been 24 years (to the MONTH!) since the last time someone told me I had cancer. Back then it was colon cancer and I was relieved to get the news that being sick wasn’t just in my head. There was a little bit of relief this time as well. My first thought was that my PAP smear was off, and it was cervical cancer – which is really nasty. Endometrial cancer tends to stay localized. Most of the time it’s an easy fix. Have a hysterectomy and you’re good to go.
Even the idea of a hysterectomy is kind of a relief. I’ve been experiencing peri-menapausal symptoms for a very long time. I have ZERO interest in more children. I’m a lousy candidate, medically, for any kind of pregnancy. Happy to be done with all of that.
The concern is that it’s a second occurrence of cancer. The concern is that this cancer doesn’t explain the blood clot. The concern is that maybe I’m one of those people who is prone to getting clots and cancers. Unless you’re me, in which case the concern is missing the trip to Pantheacon.
I’m not a great candidate for surgery either. This will be my (count them) sixth abdominal surgery. The last one was the bariatric surgery less than a year ago. The nutritional complications from both the bariatric surgery and the cancer can impact recovery time. The scar tissue could prevent the procedure from being done laparoscopically – significantly impacting recovery. The blood thinners and anemia add additional complications.
So please send warm thoughts and prayers for an easy surgery and rapid recovery. I’ll add an update a little later in the week so you’ll know how I’m doing. I may take a bit of a blogging break while I process all of this and try and get a handle on another version of “my new life.”
And if you’re interested in what I’m missing, here are links to the blogs I’ve written about Pantheacon and flying to California in years past.
Home from the hospital. Everything went really well. They managed to do the surgery both laproscopically and robotically! Got everything and no surprises. Now it’s recovery. I hurt and I’m really tired, but I’m glad to have that part behind me. Thanks for the well wishes!
A friend at Gilda’s club asked me if I planned to have a big party when I hit my goal weight. It hadn’t occurred to me at all, so I gave it a moment’s thought. No, I could take or leave a big party. What I’d really like to do is travel. I want to go somewhere and do something fun. Like go dancing, or take a hike in the mountains or something I haven’t been able to do for years. Maybe New Orleans, maybe Italy, maybe my dream trip taking the train across Australia.
It’s fun to dream about travel, even when coming up with the money seems impossible. But it’s travel season. The stores are stocked with “sale on cruise wear” for people who stayed through the holidays and want to get out of the cold now that family obligations have been met. This month the tags on my car and my drivers license need to be renewed. Maybe I should take a look at my passport while I’m at it.
Karina was off on a short trip, not too far from home, this weekend. This means I had Miss Minnie. She looks sweet and adorable all cuddled up in a blanket on the couch. That’s because she’s all worn out from running away from me every chance she got!
Pantheacon is coming up again in San Jose. I’m trying to get all packed, making lists and making arrangements for Orion. I’m excited about doing another workshop this year. This one is about mobility issues and energy management. I think I could use a refresher!
I’m fighting anemia while I’m trying to pull this all together. My brain doesn’t work at 100% and I get “the dizzy”. The extra doctor appointments haven’t helped either. I start every one of them with, “You need to understand that I AM getting on a plane.” It’s all about managing the blood thinners and continuing to dissolve the DVT without setting off a thrombosis.
To give myself a boost I made Karina make me an appointment with her fancy hair dresser. Jesse at Hair Police is a dear. He was very sweet, fussed over me, didn’t mind that I am incapable of making any decisions about my hair and I think he did a nice job. It certainly brightened my mood. It will also look a lot better in California!
I have a complicated medical history, as does my son. The piece of the ACA that I was most excited about was the part where “pre-existing conditions” would still be covered when you changed insurance companies. The second most exciting piece was the elimination of the “lifetime cap”. If Orion had stayed on the same insurance he had from the day he was born he would have reached that lifetime cap long before he graduated from high school. In fact, he may have reached it before he started kindergarten!
My list of Doctors, grouped by specialty, looks like the yellow pages. I don’t have a geriatric specialist listed……yet. We see the ophthalmologist, the orthopedist, the allergist, the psychologist, the internist, the cardiologist, the GI specialist, the pulmonologist, and the surgeon at least once a year. Given that some of those specialties apply to both of us and that several of them involve ongoing appointments it is not unusual to average one lengthy doctors appointment a month. Add on the extra trip for lab work or radiology and we exceed that.
My schedule has always been complicated by unpredictable demands. Both Orion and I have been in physical therapy which can be anywhere from every other week to three times a week. I have weekly allergy shots. Orion’s occasional hospital visits can go anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks (as can mine.) There are also meetings with the county for Orion’s funding, meetings with the program staff to set up goals, meetings with public health professionals and social workers. Then there are incidental things like taking the wheelchair in to get the brakes adjusted.
It’s difficult. As a single Mom holding down a full-time job isn’t in the cards for the long-term. Even when there’s been another adult in the household, the demands of my life interfere with the expectations of employment. My projects and volunteer jobs have also been disrupted by the demands of Orion’s health, and mine. Part of the reason I’m so good at delegating is because I can promise it will get done, but I can’t promise I’ll be there to do it. I’ve done a lot of supervision on the phone from the hospital. I’ve made a lot of phone calls on the way to or from a doctor’s office.
As a strong supporter of ANY kind of revision to the health care system I wasn’t too upset when the county letter came saying, “your insurance is up for review, you will not be insured after December 31. Please sign up for the ACA.” I was unhappy about the computer problems and frustrated with getting booted out of the system but I managed to make a successful application as of December 17th. The computer said I qualified for help from the state program – MNsure – and that they would contact me.
Ok. I figured I was good and would hear from them before the first of the year. Not so much. I started calling early in January. MNsure couldn’t even see the application. Apparently the federal computer wasn’t speaking to the state. About a month after my original application was accepted I found someone who said, “We have the application, you should receive a letter asking for proofs.” Now I’ve been insured by the state before and I know what that looks like so I asked what specifically they needed and faxed it in – to both the state and the county.
Funny thing I never, ever got a letter from the state asking for those proofs. Apparently the county and the state aren’t speaking to each other. One side has to actually scan the proofs into the computer and the other side has to analyze them for qualification. Both sides agreed they had received them, they just weren’t in the system. My proofs still weren’t in the system in February when I went to Pantheacon. They are in one system, but the other system doesn’t have access to them. They seem perfectly fine and you clearly are going to qualify but a determination hasn’t been made yet. Every week I call and every week I get some version of, “I don’t know what’s holding this up.”
In the middle of March, literally 3 months after my original application, I am finally given the news that the case is processed! I have been given an insurance affordability number. Theoretically they will send the options for insurance plans that I can choose from and there will be an amount listed that will be my monthly payment. None of that appears in the system. Isn’t that strange? In fact, this case that has an approval number issued in March, that I’ve been calling about every week, seems to have been closed in January!
MNsure asks me to go back to the ACA website and reapply. Now I’m looking at the March 31 deadline and again the system is slow. I have to establish a new file, new log in, new passwords and I am guessing at the taxes from 2013 (which I still haven’t done) rather than reading the form from 2012. Eventually it goes through and again a note saying I’ll hear from the state. (I still haven’t received anything in the mail from the state!) I’m following this case much more closely and 48 hours after I make the application on-line I’m on the phone again.
Yes they have the information from the federal system and yes they will need proofs. I asked them to refer to the original case, since the proofs are actually there already. I asked them to reference the old case in the notes for the new case. I asked them to especially make a note that the original date of application was December 17, 2013. I asked them to please expedite processing the new case. None of that is unreasonable. I’m trying to establish a case for them covering my medical costs for the last 3 months, but that’s not today’s battle.
I call again a few days later. Yes I have a case, yes it’s been approved but again there is no information about which plans and what co-pay. The second case has stalled out in exactly the same place the first one did. I have returned to limbo and I’m not happy about it. Apparently I am the hole in the computer program and it’s going to take an IT guy along with the case worker to hand push this thing through the system. Stupid computer. I asked to talk to IT weeks ago, but everyone assured me just reapplying would be sufficient.
As of April 1st Success! I have some kind of insurance approval that’s real. (I STILL haven’t gotten anything in the mail and I’m not convinced this isn’t a joke.) I haven’t got a plan, but I do have the insurance billing code from the state. So last week I ran to the pharmacy and to any doctor I could get in to see (and Orion’s appointments as well). I’ve got another week of appointment catch-up and the rest of the month to work on addressing a shoulder injury that will require some tests and physical therapy. All the things I didn’t dare do out-of-pocket. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll actually have an insurance plan and be able to proceed with what the tests I took in December recommended. Most of those need prior authorization. We’ll see.
I really think my head may explode. I’m busy trying to get packed for Pantheacon. I’m presenting a workshop this year and so on top of just figuring out how to get myself there and dressed I also need to pack my books and my workshop materials. Do I send things to the hotel via U.S. Post? Can I keep my bags under the checked bag weight limit when they’re full of books? Can I pack the clothes AND shut the suitcase? Crazy!
On top of that it’s time to be planning for Paganicon – in March. I’m also presenting there and so I have logistics to figure out as well as preparing the workshop. The good news is that (keep your fingers crossed) my second book When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity Based Perspective is due to be released in time for the event! All that is dependent on me finishing a final edit – one more thing on my list.
In the land of “who thought this was a good idea?” I have scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Orion on the day before and the day after this trip. One of them is with a new doctor (that’s the before). The immediately following appointment is because the doctor was out sick when we had the appointment reasonably scheduled and this was his next available date. It’s NOT MY FAULT! Doesn’t change anything does it?
This morning I can’t find my cell phone so I’m in a panic. (Did I leave it somewhere yesterday?) I’m pretty sure that the bag with the books is too heavy and I’m going to have to get to the post office after all. I’m not convinced my carry-on bag will be small enough. Oh and the cat has noticed I’m packing and is – well, doing what cat’s do to express their displeasure. ICK!
It’s Monday, so tonight is adaptive yoga. Whoever put that into the schedule was brilliant! (If I do say so myself.) Just what I need is an hour to unwind and be in the moment instead of planning for tomorrow, and the next day, and so on into the future. Thinking ahead is making me CRAZY!
Did anyone notice these are the same links as last week? I think I need a new groove!
OH – I found my phone buried under a pile of clothes. No wonder I couldn’t hear it ring.