I met The Bloggess

Me-Blogess cropped
Jenny and me! As she autographed her new book – Powell’s 11/14/2015

I found The Bloggess shortly after I started blogging in 2009. I was looking around this online world to see if it was a venue for me that would benefit my writing. I wanted to see what established bloggers posted.

Jenny Lawson as The Bloggess was wild, ribald, and ridiculous. I was hooked on her voice and in awe of her persona. Her topics are cringe worthy reading that produce guffaws more than snickers, and dozens to hundreds of comments by her followers were almost as good as the posts. I seldom made a comment as I couldn’t add to or improve on anything already in the threads.

Two years ago I featured her and her memoir in the Author Marketing 101 article on nonfiction personas.  Last year I featured Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on my blog.  In April this year, I shared her Bravery by any other name  post on Facebook.

So it was a really big deal for me to spend hours at the Powell’s Jenny Lawson event last night, it’s been on my calendar for months. I would be there no matter what life tossed in my way. And it was Great! A true Fan Girl experience.  And I have the picture to prove it!

However, as much as I admire Jenny as an author and businesswoman, it was meeting her fans that made the biggest impact on me. The event was standing-room-only and the floor roped off, as at the capacity limit, for hours. Jenny’s fans are real people with personal, emotional, and physical challenges who suffer with depression, disorders, phobias and manias. Now they have an example of how to step out of the shadows and help themselves and each other. Through Jenny’s authenticity and humor they have a voice, an advocate who tells it like it is! Jenny’s fans are also the counselors, friends and family who are helping dissolve the mental illness stigma.

There’s a wonderful speech on You Tube as Jenny accepts the “2014 NoStigmas Hero Award” (via skype) on behalf of everyone who shares the battle to be “Furiously Happy” in spite of horrible things.

About Doors

closet doorOne door closes, another opens – or sometimes it’s a window. I’m the type to open and close them instead of waiting for some karmic event to squeak the hinges. Sometimes I’ve had more than one door or window propped open and have been reprimanded for being scattered with too many projects in pfront door-flower potsrocess at a time. However, I’ve been blogging since 2009 so the family events; of two weddings, two funerals, three new homes, and three new grandbabies, are recorded in the posts that also include publishing two books, lots of traveling, a new dog, plus a variety of conferences and writerly business events.

It’s now the first anniversary since I held the author copies of my novel in my hands. Only one year?  It’s two years since it was published in digital but now books get autographed and placed in readers hands! It’s pretty awesome and those years while life was whirling through all those open doors and windows is now research. Plus, we have new doors!

kit doors 002We have new kitchen cabinet doors, knotty pine interior doors, and a lovely new main entrance.  Feng Shui recommends making small shifts to our décor so the chi energy changes its flow gently through our new living or working space, or we can become scattered. But this hasn’t happened for me because I was thrilled to relax and admire all the new doors and décor while working on a strategic plan for my author business.

cabin 002Sometimes doors need to be replaced or re-purposed, like my office door. This door was painted by a teen daughter. Now that full door picture of grass, butterflies and sunshine is the stand-up craft table in my “writing studio” cabin. It rests on two bookcases and I can stand and write while having all type of reference materials spread within easy reach. Having this cabin in the woods behind my home is pretty awesome though it wasn’t built for my use, or as a studio. The hinges don’t squeak when I open the door, which is daily now, and makes me feel settled.

Currently Reading: Wool by Hugh Howey (at the midpoint and it’s amazing.)

Recently viewed: Bridge of Spies (Excellent!)

Tahoe Revisit

Us at Tahoe
A nice man took our picture for us since we don’t have one of those selfie sticks. It’s the way we’ve gotten many pictures together over the years.

It’s time to wrap up this series of trips for the season. The trailer is clean, all water pipes drained, and it is stored for the winter. We’ll have many nice days ahead but not only am I done traveling for a while I’m still processing all the adventures, sorting pictures, and organizing my notes for future novels. I like juggling a full cast of characters in my novels which justifies lots of research trips to write those characters stories.

Looking west from the deck of The Dixie II
Looking west from the deck of The Dixie II

It’s only 18 days since our return, and not only do we have another grandson already but there’s been a plethora of changes and activities in my home and with my family, near and far, that are claiming my attention as fodder for novels and more! I love when using the word “plethora” is the right word.

The tea house on top of the island.
The tea house on top of the island.

Lake Tahoe is still abundantly scenic as the water is pristine and the shoreline dramatic. During our visit in 2003 we were amused that the south eastern section (in Nevada) was like a tiny version of Las Vegas with casinos, tall hotels, wedding chapels, but also with mountain ski resorts. Back then, as soon as we crossed Stateline Road into California the street surface narrowed and was more worn. The buildings were suddenly only one or two stories and surrounded by trees. The roadside/lakefront motels and inns were aged and rustic. It amused us every time we crossed from state to state because we stayed in CA for the night but our activities were in NV.

Maria at Tahoe City shows the water level is down about ten feet. It was lower at the northern end of the lake.
Marina piers at Tahoe City shows the water level is down about ten feet. It was lower at the northern end of the lake.

Now there is no drastic difference as to which part of South Lake Tahoe is part of NV or CA. This was explained to us as the area is now governed from a national parks/politics level so neither the gambling laws or water resources are subjected to a potential feud between the states.  It caters to international tourism and is a stunning place to visit for the architecture and landscapes, even for us who don’t gamble or ski.

Tahoe City is charming with shops and street dining. It smelled really good but all we ate was heavenly ice cream.
Tahoe City is charming with shops and street dining. It smelled really good but all we ate was heavenly ice cream.

We now have two photos of us taking the lake cruise on The Dixie II, a dozen years apart. We still look the same, except we were both wearing sunglasses and darker clothes the first time. Our visit in 2003 was about seven months after Ed was in a nasty auto accident and he was still on meds that messed with his personality almost as much as the impact had misaligned his body. As his caretaker and pack-mule at the time it was during that trip when I began to doubt his potential for recovery. There was a dark cloud hanging over us at that time so revisiting Lake Tahoe this summer was significant. We made fun new memories that override the old ones and without it being planned, the pictures reflect the difference and smiles and eyes are bright now.

We watched this Chinook helicopter with a full fire fighting bucket of water from the Deschutes River during our final lunch before heading home. I’m glad I had a camera!

For our trip home we didn’t have a reservation anywhere but knew we would have to stop at least one night so would be open to whatever looked interesting. Our route was farther east in CA and OR than our trip south and we had a list of potential places to explore if they looked interesting. Alas, the years of drought meant we passed by deserted resorts along dry lake beds and extremely low reservoirs. We just kept driving until we got to Sunriver and the same resort we’d been to in May as our first full trial trip before Yellowstone. Our traveling really had a full circle finish this way.

We took an extra day clearing out the trailer before heading for home. It was amusing to see how we over-prepared and over-stocked as novices for these RVing adventures.  We’re already discussing destinations and events for next year.