Here's me during the hour between shows where we had to entertain ourselves with nothing but a hat and a camera.
Yes, that guy behind me is about to eat a giant ear of corn. Just go with it.
THEN, Saturday, it was a PHOTO EXTRAVAGANZA. And I mean that in every sense of the word. There were photos six ways from Sunday, and I was scandalized--um, I mean extravaganized. I went with Lisa Warden--my godsister if we're being detailed--and Anna Slaven Miller, who will tell you that "we're one person in two bodies," but since she's up and moving to Indiana soon, our soul-mate-ness is going to be confined to Facebook for the foreseeable future. If you want to know THEIR side of the story (which is only accurate when it isn't inaccurate) you can read Lisa's here and Anna's here.
They are hugely entertaining and they have a better memory than me so their posts are probably more interesting than mine. You should read them.
As for my experience, first, it needs to be said that I SUCK at taking pictures. I don't know shizz about lighting and angles and whatever. I just point and click. whatever. But I wanted to hang with these chics so I bought a camera and geared up. I even played with it a little the night before we left so I would know how to point it and how to click it. #ReadyForAnything #UnlessItsComplicated
We went via ferry. That's a boat for all you landlocked peeps. A boat you park your car on. And even though I only live about 40 min (or 80, if Lisa's driving) from the ferry, I've never ridden it. So this is exciting. An adventure. I played it cool, though, trying not to look like a newbie. Up until we asked the guy at the gate where to park and he says, "This is your first time, I can tell." Then politely points us to park in a straight line behind the car in front of us, along the painted straight line on the single-file row leading onto the vessel.
So, I'm new. This is normal.
(One of my favorite things to fuss at my kids: "are you new?". because I don't believe in calling a kid "dumb." #ApprovedAlternate)
I realized pretty fast I hadn't missed anything spectacular all these years never riding the ferry. The traffic consisted of one drunk captain who stared at the mast all day (really hope that thing operated on auto-pilot or something), one Marilyn-wannabe who stood on the balcony the entire time, content to let her dress blow up around her ears, and one bum passed out in the seat of his car with his jaw hanging open. (It was 9am, which sorta' makes it worse. I'm pretty sure he was breathing. I think.)
Our day sort of consisted of these random "are they/we serious?" kind of moments. but none of it compared to the hilarity of our escapades. A quick and dirty recap: (you don't have to understand, simply be amused and jealous that you missed it)
I used a bathroom in a McDonald's/gas station combo. *shudders* That one still confuses me but yet makes perfect sense. (As if McD's isn't gross enough on its own, they put it in a gas station?!) We saw a sign that said "Hog Traffic." <---- Only in NC. You can't make this shizz up. Oh and a "Beware of Dog" sign in the middle of a cornfield. No house in sight. Except for the doghouse.
There were bad directions ("turn left." so she turns right.), blueberries consumed, domestic disturbances witnessed ("Is that an inflatable canoe?" "OMG they're going to capsize if he doesn't quit thrashing around!"), #YourMom jokes dropped. ("This cookie is yum, what's in it?" "Your mom.", and "Oh, look, an upscale furniture resale store." "your mom is upscale.") Yeah, I don't get the whole "Resale" and "Upscale" situation, either. Seems kinda' like putting a pawn shop inside Tiffany's.
BTW- Yes, the "Your Mom" jokes were from me. I'm a sucker for a Momma' joke.
We even discussed politics without getting into a fight about our different views. (Lisa would vote for Kermit the Frog, all the way. Apparently he does whatever she says. I don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds vulgar. So I didn't ask. Whatever she's into, I won't judge.)
There were so many funny moments and "WTF, did that just happen?" scenarios, I can't even tell you. I'm pretty sure we evaded a hatchet hitch-hiker, spotted a bar that doubles as a butchery. (yes, it said BUTCHERY/BREWERY on the sign, with a kids playground outside. Figure that one out.) Oh, and discovered the bridge leading out of (but not into) Kitty Hawk doubles as a trampoline. I guess they had shocks on it, because we bounced pretty good. it was awesome. mostly because I don't get carsick, or have an irrational fear of bridges, not like Anna, anyway. #SucksForYou)
All in all, a fun day.
On a serious note (bear with me, it won't last long):
The reason I'm telling you all this is because I want to tell you about my friend situation. Over these past few months, I've done a lot of thinking. Most of you know my story by now, and the amazing five days I had with Tyler before he went to Heaven last December. If you don't, you should read about it here. It was pretty defining for me. Since then, I've thought about my life. A lot. It seems a pretty inevitable side effect when one comes face to face with death.
One of the things I've thought about was my identity. It might not seem like the two are connected right off the bat, but they are. When I lost Tyler, for a while, I didn't want to --and couldn't-- identify with being a mom. Not his, anyway. I lost that identity. It shook me, made me wonder who I was in other areas of my life. It also reminded me how short life is, and how I need to be true to myself and who I want to be, during the short amount of time I have here. Which led me to really prioritize myself. Goals, Identity, personality, dreams, plans, hopes -- you get the idea. In the end, a full-scale overhaul of my life took place. Personal and professional. And I made some serious changes. Things I needed to do, for me, to be happy, and be true to myself. Both things I wasn't living up to before.
After careful consideration, I realized some of the changes needed were friendships. Some I'd outgrown, some were never right to begin with, most were filled with negativity and pessimism and complaining that life would never be better, though I suspect they'd rather it stayed awful because they are simply content to complain. So, as guilty as it made me feel, I cut them. Some were only acquaintances and probably didn't even notice the change. Some were long-time friends. Close friends. People I'd known for years. Those were the hardest. The ones I had to explain it to, or easily noticed the change. At first, I felt bad, reluctant to do it, because I hated that I would hurt their feelings, but then I realized the importance of standing up for myself, and what I needed. And I have to tell you, even though I do feel badly for any hurt feelings on their part, I am very glad I did it. I am happier. And I've opened myself up to make new friends, like Lisa and Anna. Something I never would have done before.
And I have to tell you, I like this new me. The one who stands up for herself. The one who seeks adventure, who values positivity and people that build her up. The one who has given herself permission to be ambitious and goal-seeking and HAPPY and spontaneous.
Chalene Johnson has a great article about toxic friends and choosing friends who inspire you, who make you better. It was one of the things that inspired me to choose wisely. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.
Places you can find me (and possibly win free shizz)
Goodreads giveaway for Whisper ends in 4 days
Accendo is having a summer guest post series by authors you love to stalk. check it out! GIVEAWAY!
Estevan Vega let me take over his blog to tell you why I write YA.
Katja Rinne let me talk about being indie, what that means to me. GIVEAWAY!
**AND there MIGHT be something interesting happening this Thursday that you should watch for. Release info on a certain book you are all waiting for.
I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting. My brain feels kinda' mushy. I'll add them as I think about it.