Posted by Tegan on Dec 11, 2012 in brave things
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I don’t know why, but phone calls are brave things for me. Maybe it’s something about not being able to see someone’s face as I talk to them? Maybe because it feels like improv? Maybe it’s that I don’t like the awkwardness of those little delays and sometimes talking over someone? Whatever the reason, I always get that butterfly feeling in my gut before I make phone calls.
Nine times out of ten, I’m even calling someone I really like and really want to talk to. But actually dialing to make a phone call still feels like a brave thing.
Is there such a thing as phone phobia?
Whatever the reason, I won’t beat myself up over the fear. Today I’ll choose to pat myself on the back for making three brave phone calls before lunch.
What can we pat you on the back for today?
Posted by Tegan on Nov 6, 2012 in brave things
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My husband ran a marathon in southern France last weekend. The finish line was in Cannes, right where the stars come out for the annual film festival in May, and the course went along the coast. I wasn’t sure what to expect as a spectator.
I thought there were would be bigger crowds by the finish. I also thought the crowd would be louder. No cowbells for the French. Not even any whooping or hollering. But two gentlemen in sporty clothes nearby did delight me with their hearty clapping and resonant calls of, ‘BRAVO!” and “Bon courage!”
With few barricades and a nice sightline down the straightaway leading up to the finish line, not to mention a wide pedestrian area by the water and designated runner meeting spots, the Marathon des Alpes Maritimes was great for this fan.
Not a bad place for the after-race tents, right? It finished up by the water and grand hotels of Cannes. Mild weather and palm trees are pretty spectacular, and the water behind me was gorgeous, too.
Congratulations, Jordan and the other marathoners!
Last weekend I attended the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show. It was an extravaganza of ideas, authors, and book lovers.
The highlight of the show for me was introducing authors at Sunday morning’s Books and Authors Breakfast. What a line up! I had Jon Klassen, the author and illustrator of clever and funny I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat, Eowyn Ivey, the author of the gorgeous novel The Snow Child, Karen Cushman, the author of a Newbery Award winner and honor book for kids and the upcoming Elizabethan adventure Will Sparrow’s Road, and Sherman Alexie, author, poet, National Book Award Winner, and all-around amazing guy who has a new collection of classic and new short stories, Blasphemy.
Here are photos of me with Jon Klassen and Sherman Alexie after the breakfast:
Introducing such amazing people in front of a room of 200 was my brave way to start the day. In his presentation, Sherman referenced the public speaking strategy of ”be prepared, not scared;” I managed to be both. But I am so glad I volunteered to emcee the breakfast!
What brave thing are you proud of?
Posted by Tegan on Oct 9, 2012 in book world
, brave things
At the end of September, I went to an incredible book signing.
Hundreds of people lined up on a Tuesday night to get a chance to meet the debut author, Stephanie Trimberger, and get an autographed copy of her book. Stephanie is 15. The book signing was her wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She wrote the manuscript for a fantasy novel, The Ruby Heart, while she underwent treatment for brain cancer, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, together with Scholastic and all those fans helped make her dream come true.
What an incredible wish! Stephanie didn’t want to just show up and be treated like an author; she wanted to be a published author. She knew that in order to do that, she had to write a book. A whole book! While she was undergoing treatment for cancer! I am so impressed that she had the dedication and discipline (and imagination) to write an entire manuscript at age 15, even if she hadn’t been going through all the medical hardship she faced.
Once Stephanie completed her manuscript, more people got to be creatively involved in this spectacular wish. Arthur A. Levine and Cheryl Klein, editors from Scholastic (THE HARRY POTTER PEOPLE!), edited the book, got it designed, and sent it to press.
The Make-A-Wish volunteers worked with Barnes & Noble in downtown Seattle to secure a place for the signing. They spread the word through facebook and emails, inviting people to come celebrate Stephanie and her accomplishment. Word got to me through a mom I know who knows someone who volunteers. When I got there an hour into the event (I zoomed down after work), the line was still long, and Stephanie was signing like a champ: with a smile and autograph for everyone.
I spotted the sales rep for Scholastic for the region, Chris, in line. Chris carried a backpack full of fun things to give to Stephanie. We stood in line together, and got this picture taken by the Make-A-Wish volunteers when Stephanie signed our books.
Now I’ve been getting phone calls at the bookstore and emails on a story I wrote about Stephanie, asking how to get a copy of The Ruby Heart. Because it was a special production of Scholastic, it was published without intention to sell– no ISBN, no price, no bar code. But news has gotten out about Stephanie and her incredible stories– the one she wrote, and the one she’s living– and now people want to read her book. She is inspiring people around the country.
If you want to help support the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you can donate online. You can thank Scholastic by leaving a comment on their blog. (Buying a Scholastic book is always a nice way to show your support, too. Might I recommend Stealing Air and Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy, an author who came to Stephanie’s signing, or Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough, who helped spread the word?)
On Sunday, I ran my first 5k with my friend and training buddy, Beverly. This was the first time I’ve participated in an event that my husband hasn’t been running, so it was also the first time I had a designated cheering section: Jordan and Linda!
Linda did a great post about being on the cheering side of things, so I thought I’d share some observations from being a runner.
-It feels GREAT to have people cheering you on. Jordan and Linda were champs at cheering, and together they covered the course so we had friendly faces several places through the run. I also particularly loved the kids with the cowbells, the guy with the rabbit puppet, and the bikers with billboards from Portage Bay Cafe. I’ve enjoyed people cheering me during walks before, but I felt like I earned it more this time.
-I wish I’d had someone take our picture before and after the race. It was an exciting day, and it would have been fun to see that in our faces before and after. Plus, wouldn’t that have made for a better blog post? Thank goodness Linda caught us on the course.
- When you run, the race is over faster. That seems obvious, but I didn’t realize that isn’t always a good thing. In rain and wind, what a blessing to be done faster. But on a beautiful day like Sunday was, with a friend by my side, I enjoyed the race so much, I wouldn’t have minded taking a bit more time. I guess one solution would be to do a longer distance, but that would mean longer training sessions, too…
-Rewards feel even better after you’ve worked hard for them! I feel particularly proud of my new training shirt and medal. I even wore my medal out to breakfast after the race. People in the restaurant asked about it and congratulated me. That’s a first!
Have you tried something new lately?
p.s. Now I have a medal that coordinates with Linda’s– see her Iron Girl medal in our blog header collage?
This Saturday is the day for Swim Across America open water swims in my current home state (Washington) and my original home state (Rhode Island).
I’m hoping for calm waters and great swims for everyone participating, but especially for the fundraising team Betsy and the Estro-Jets. Betsy, who organized the team, is my mother’s cousin. It’s her third year doing the swim to raise money for women’s oncology research and her first year with her own team.
This picture is the photo Betsy and the Estro-Jets use for motivation: the New England ocean with a soaring gull and the names of the women the team is swimming to honor or remember. My mother, Ariel Scott Willever, and my aunt, Melissa Scott Thomas Robbins, are listed right above and below the seagull. They both died of cancer.
In the spring of this year, my friend since infancy, Cathy, mentioned that she was inspired by the blog post I did last year about my brave cousin Betsy. Cathy was the first to join Betsy’s team! More soon followed: my aunt Toni (my mother’s sister-in-law); her sister Ginny; Betsy’s daughters Kristin and Alison; Leah; Caitlin; Peter; and Joseph. The intrepid team has trained for the swim, and they’ve raised over $10,000 for cancer research!
Thank you, Betsy and the Estro-Jets! Thank you for swimming to honor, remember, and protect. I am proud of you all, and I can’t wait to see a team photo. Have a safe and happy swim.
Do you know anyone doing Swim Across America? Who are you rooting for this weekend?
Posted by Tegan on Aug 17, 2012 in book world
, brave things
, Tegan's posts
Yesterday I had the delight of hosting Michael Natkin, author of the spectacular Herbivoracious cookbook and chef behind the food blog herbivorcious.com at Queen Anne Books.
When I host cookbook authors, I usually make something from their cookbooks to give out as a free sample to customers to prove that a home cook without special chef tools, a person who shops at the same grocery stores in the neighborhood that they do, can make the food. I’ve cooked several of the Herbivoracious vegetarian recipes before and they’ve turned out great, but when I cook at home, I tend to improvise a lot. Since I was cooking for the master himself, I wanted to follow the recipe closely.
Here’s how the sauteed grapes with chevre, oregano, and chives turned out:
As you can see, I am not a professional food photographer, either. But it was tasty! Customers loved it! Even more rewarding for my brave thing, Michael Natkin deemed the food “perfect.” Hooray!
Throwing a party for a chef cooking his recipes was my big brave thing of the week. (Cooking at all in yesterday’s heat felt pretty brave.)
What’s your favorite brave thing lately?
Posted by Tegan on Jul 31, 2012 in brave things
, Tegan's posts
photo courtesy of moms.today.msnbc.msn.com
I haven’t watched any real Olympics coverage yet this year, but I’ve been loving the clip of US gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents as they watched Aly perform her uneven bar routine.
Mom, Lynn, keeps up a running commentary throughout. Her stream of encouragement (“C’mon, Aly, c’mon, let’s go, let’s go…”) is mantra-like as she focuses on Aly, sometimes bouncing in her seat or squirming. At her side, dad, Ricky, stays quite still through much of the routine, but my favorite parts are when the two lean dramatically, anticipating and following their daughter’s movements.
You can tell that these parents know the routine backward and forward. They’re willing their daughter to succeed with every fiber of their being. That concentration is certainly Olympic level spectating!
Congratulations to Aly, Lynn, and Rick for their obvious dedication to the sport and to each other. I also cheer the family’s sense of humor about the attention they’re getting; 18-year-old Aly has been tweeting about it (@Aly_Raisman), starting with the comment, “I love my parents.”
Hooray for brave fans who are all in!
Go, Aly, and GO USA!
You know what they say about your peers rubbing off on you? I guess it’s true, because after hearing about/watching all the training Linda and my husband do, I’ve actually started training for my own running event. I’ve signed up to run my first 5k, the Seattle Athleta Iron Girl in Seattle! So I’m going to earn one of these sparklers:
I credit my friend Beverly with actually making me sign up for the run. (Thank you, Beverly!) She decided she wanted to train to do it, and I decided a few hours around the neighborhood with her a week would be a delightful thing to add to my schedule. Last session, we alternated walking and running around the track for just about 5k (with the walk to and from the track, we covered more than 5k total). It was so exciting to know we can run already halfway! Now we have the rest of the summer to make sure we can run the whole thing.
What are you training for? Any tips for the newbie?
Over the last few weeks, friends and family have done amazing things to help keep my mother’s memory alive. Saturday June 16th, 2012 would have been Ariel Elizabeth Scott Willever’s 66th birthday, but because of a brain tumor, she only lived to be 52. We all still miss her so much.
Recently, my brother-in-law’s sister, Jennifer, and her daughter, Arin, participated in an American Cancer Society Relay for Life, honoring my mother. My mother died before my sister married Jennifer’s brother, and she died before Arin was even born, but she considered Brian and his family already a part of of our family, even if the wedding ceremony hadn’t happened yet. My mom was so excited when my sister showed her ultrasound pictures of Jennifer’s first daughter, Maxine. Maxine’s birth was something hopeful to anticipate when cancer made everything hard. 14 years later, Jennifer and Arin walked to celebrate my mom’s life. Here’s a picture of the luminaria they dedicated to her.
My mother’s cousin Betsy signed up to participate in Swim Across America again this year, and she’s swimming to honor a growing group of angels, including my mom and my aunt, Missy. Betsy started a team of swimmers to fundraise for cancer research, and my childhood friend Cathy (who had never met Betsy in person) signed up to swim on Betsy’s team! They call themselves the Estro-Jets. Now I hear that my aunt Toni, my mom’s sister-in-law, might join them. All these loving, incredible women coming together? I absolutely love it! I think my mom would be so proud of them all and so grateful that they cite her as their inspiration for doing amazing things. I hope they laugh together until they almost pee the pool; my mom would have gotten a big kick out of that.
Thank you to all the people who share memories of my mom, who listen to my stories about her, and who help me keep my memories of her alive. You help me grieve, and you help me celebrate my mother on her birthday and every day.
Happy birthday, Mommy! I’ll always love you. I’ll have some cake for you, appreciate a dogwood tree, laugh until it hurts, be silly, walk by the water, and try to do something nice for someone on your birthday. And I’ll try to live every day so you would be proud of me. I think you’d like that.