I haven't written anything here in quite a long time, so I guess I'm overdue for an update!
I have been busy since last summer with not only convention planning (I ran the second Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration
successfully with really awesome growth in attendance!) but also familial obligations.
My aunt fell ill suddenly last June (she is fine now), which had me a bit distracted in the last bit of convention planning so there were small issues that popped up as a result. The convention did go very well and I'm so happy that many people enjoyed it. We had an attendance of approximately 650 people (which is an over 300% increase of our first year attendance of 180 people).
Anyway, my aunt hd to be in hospital about 5 weeks before they insisted that we transfer her to a retirement home. We also had to deal with the fact that she would never be able to return to her house and everything would have to be sorted through and dealt with (given to people, sold, donated, or discarded) before we could put it up for sale.
My mother and I did the bulk of the work at the house when it came to the contents. My mother even had to take a leave of absence from work because of the stress of dealing with all of this (plus another family member became ill a couple months later and is getting toward the end of her treatments now -- prognosis is good, but I'm maintaining her privacy). It was months of work, with me going usually for a full day every weekend until we were able to get it up for sale around Hallowe'en. I would generally go on the Saturday, except for the time I got a cold and needed to skip a couple weekends. Then I would take Sunday as a recovery day because all the dust and manual labour would constantly set my chronic hives off.
In December there was an offer finalized and we now had a deadline in mid-January to completely clear out everything else. We pulled it off, and it was such a relief to be done, but bittersweet as we had a lot of memories with that house. It was the place we had so many family gatherings over the years.
The other thing happening in this time frame was that I was offered a new job at a different company and I started there at the end of August. They were keen on me starting quickly, so I didn't take much of a break between things. Unfortunately, this new job did not work out due to budget constraints and I was laid off at the end of November. I have been freelancing and convention planning since then, while also looking for a new full time job in graphic design. It's challenging because there aren't a lot of positions for intermediate to senior level designers, and many places are asking for things like motion graphics (which I only have rudimentary knowledge of) and video editing (which I have limited experience with).
The convention planning has been going very well, I've got a lot of details finalized and I've been making the effort to do as much as I can while I have free time so that when I do secure a full time job I can give 100% of my energy to that. I am getting a little antsy having not lined up something permanent or even securing a long term contract yet. Job hunting is a stressful thing.
One of the most stressful things that happened in recent months though was that my beloved cat, Tabitha, passed away. She was an older cat at 18 years old and she had been getting treatments for kidney disease for 3-4 years. Kidney disease is progressive, so I was truly expecting a slower decline and being able to prepare for her passing with more notice. But she became ill very suddenly, started having seizures without warning, and as hard as she tried to hang in there and fight through it all -- she could only manage for so long. She made her best effort, but a day and a half was all she could manage from the onset of the first seizure. She passed away naturally at the vet with me by her side, in mid-January of this year.
It was one of the hardest days of my life and it still hurts a lot that she is gone. She was my best friend, my furry sidekick. I will miss her always.
I did make a memorial art piece that I submitted for this year's Wayzgoose
anthology. I will add pictures soon of that. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and I'm glad I was able to have it be included this year in her memory. I just wish we could have had more time together to keep making happy memories. I will make an effort to submit some more pieces here as well. I really don't do as much illustration now as I used to, but I should really share more of what I do here so that you all can see it.
When I'm ready, I will get a new cat, but that will be a new friendship and will in no way replace the indelible mark Tabitha has left on me.
I guess it's fitting that this year will be the year of cats at my convention too. I have announced our first three voice actor guests: Ron Rubin, Jill Frappier, and Loretta Jafelice (they played the three cats in the original English dub). They are all awesome people and I know Tabitha is watching over me and rooting for this year to be the biggest success of all.
I promise that it will be an awesome celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sailor Moon anime. If you are able to make it, please do come by the Ontario Science Centre on Saturday, June 24, 2017. I hope to see you there! And be sure to tell me what your favourite parts were after
For more information on this year's Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration, please check out the official website
and follow our official Facebook event page
Keep on chasing Sailor Moon!