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 Linda on Oct 11, 2012 in community
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I had a small town experience the other day, within this big city. Heather and I were going to buy me a new pair of running shoes at my favorite running store, Super Jock ‘n Jill’s at Greenlake. We parked up the hill and as we came around the corner the window display was so simply gorgeous, BAM! It stopped me in my tracks, and we just looked at it for a minute. And now since Heather is a greeter at the Zoo it has even more meaning. We were surprised and happy to see such a strong display. It’s so simple! It made me want to do the race too.
A close up of the words on the sign below…
As we were viewing, Ty, one of the owners popped his head out the door, and we started our conversation with my rave about the window display. He told me to be sure to tell the person responsible, next time I see him. Ty is a good natured friend that I got to know back in the days when I was coaching for Team Danskin. He would run my running clinics for me. I always enjoy seeing him.
Then I went inside to buy shoes. I bought what I came in for and more. As we were wrapping up Ty cleared his throat and looked over at his partner who was now standing close by. I caught the clue and told his partner how much I enjoyed the window display, and he answered back how hard they are to put up sometimes. This time the Zoo gave him a beautiful piece to work with, often times he just gets small posters. And I thought: “Who knew displays are hard for someone?” ”And who knew they need to be appreciated?”
I learned a lot that day about my favorite store and the window displays of all the races they do every year. It felt small town because I was in on the behind the scenes of my favorite store as they were promoting an innaugural race of a place where Heather volunteers. I know these two men have give a lot to make this shoe store viable over the years. I am so glad they are there.
In closing, I always hope the brick and mortar independent merchant makes it. I plan to shop there and send everyone I know there for as long as I know I will need running shoes, and great running gear, delivered with excellent service. I figure until I’m 80.
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?)
Posted by Linda on Sep 26, 2012 in community
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You were a quiet guy. Your friends called you loyal. I heard you had a wonderful playful sense of humor, but I didn’t see that side of you. I was your mother’s friend, one who would call the family phone back in the day when there was just one phone per household. You would answer, and we talked I could hear you think, as you called your mom to the phone, “I wonder if this will be a long phone call or a short one.” You were in junior high, and you wanted the phone back as soon as possible.
As I view you now on this billboard, you are the second from the left, a handsome 19-year-old. I want to scream, “Franklin, what are you doing there?” I want to say out loud, “I wish that was not you.” And mostly, “I wish in some way we could have changed the events of the day or that past year and somehow the bullet would have missed you.”
They are looking for enough evidence to convict the person who did this. We are hoping this billboard helps keep the conversations going and people break their silence.
Franklin, where should they look?
Posted by Tegan on Sep 20, 2012 in community
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Last night I attended a political fundraising party– another first for me. I didn’t know many people in the room, so it felt like a brave thing to attend. Making the effort was definitely rewarding; not only did I meet some amazing people and connect better with the ones I had known before, but I felt a sense of citizenship that I’ve been missing lately.
As election day approaches, politics seem to be everywhere. But last night, instead of just feeling fired up about a particular candidate, I remembered the Three C’s from my elementary school: Citizenship, Courtesy, and Co-operation. Every year, Groveton Elementary had an award ceremony. Students were called up to the stage to receive certificates or small trophies for accomplishments like perfect attendance. I never had a shot at perfect attendance, but I loved the Three C’s recognition. Even as a kindergartner, I was delighted by the idea that someone noticed the kids who behaved, who watched out for one another, and who tried to make the school a friendlier place. In December, Santa Claus rewarded you for being on the Nice list, and in June, Principal Zepka celebrated you for exemplifying Citizenship, Courtesy, and Co-Operation.
Principal Zepka, Mrs. Feely, and the caring eyes of faculty at Groveton Elementary aren’t watching me anymore, but I hope that I live in keeping with their Three C’s. Today, I’m inspired by a renewed sense of Citizenship, Courtesy, and Co-Operation. I celebrate all the dedicated, kind people in our community who make it a better place.
To everyone who demonstrates Citizenship, Courtesy, and Co-Operation, especially during the election season, I salute you! I wish I could give you a real trophy, but at least here are some pictures.
Posted by Linda on Sep 18, 2012 in community
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One foggy day, 15 of us went for a hike. Normally the foggy part wouldn’t be worth mentioning; we live in the Northwest, and foggy, rainy weather comes with the territory. But we are in a dry spell and we have had gorgeous weather– six weeks of gorgeous blue skies, over-the-top weather except for one day. Yep, the only not-stellar day was a week ago last Sunday, Sept. 9th, which our ring leader, Dana, had chosen about five weeks before as an excellent day for a hike to see if Mt. Rainier would be out. Many of us put the date on our calendar. And since I have been on this hike before and had seen the Mountain out in full glory, I was ready to go again.
The hike is on top of Chinook Pass. The Tipsoo Lake Naches Peak Loop is the name of the 3.7 mile trail that has several breath-taking views along the way with wildflowers galore. But on this day the Mountain was fogged in.
To Thirds of us on a Rock
Two thirds of us at Wapiti Woolies
We got several photos of us…but the giant photo of all 15 of us got away. We were never all in one place at one time. We even needed to catch up to folks at the coffee shop down the road, Wapiti Woolies. (And that was an excellent coffee shop, by the way, as good as it’s name.)
What I loved most about the hike was the chance to get to know people better. That happened on the trail and in our car. We played a game of the best places in Washington, or must see in Washington, and Chinook Pass would be on that list for me. Which led to my purchase of this bumper sticker for my car. I figure I can’t get into too much trouble with this on my car. Plus, it will remind me of the one day in the middle of 50+ beautiful days when 15 hearty souls went for a hike, and it was the only day it was FOGGY! Oh Washington, I still love you!
Where would be a must-see place in Washington for you?
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 Linda on Aug 21, 2012 in community
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My first thought when I heard of the huge wildfires 10 miles outside of Ellensburg was, “10 miles in which direction?” My friend, Debbie, who is an artist, has a small farm just 10 miles outside Ellensburg, and I was immediately alarmed for her and for her goats. I rushed to my computer to find out where the fire was raging. Not in her location by at least 20 miles so I felt safe– concerned but safe– and listened with interest as that news story came across the radio.
On Friday a Facebook post came from Debbie that touched me deeply. It read: “I want to help those who have lost animals in the Taylor Bridge Fire. Please read, re post and forward this to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.” Her loved ones include her farm animals, so she understands the emotional toll the fire has taken on farmers.
Debbie has a beautiful website to showcase her art. She creates in a variety of media, from drawings to painting to sculpture. On her blog, she invites fire victims to send her a photo of an animal they lost so she can make a drawing for them “as a healing remembrance.” Debbie’s heart of compassion is clear and driven; through her art and her website, she seeks connection to the people who would be comforted by a drawing of one of their lost animals. She can see herself in someone else’s shoes and wants to offer what she has, a drawing as a gift.
I’ve read articles about how the relief teams were ready for the fires, and how no human lives were lost. Debbie wants us to help her find the families whose homes have burned and let them know there are so many people who care about them– even an artist who wants to create for them a drawing of the animals they lost, as perhaps a way to start healing.
If you know a family affected by the fires, please pass along the word with the link to Debbie’s site. It might be just the email that family might need to receive today.
Debbie’s webiste is: http://www.debbieyoungart.com/
Compassion is: “I have this…and it will hurt me if I don’t offer it.” I heard that in Debbie’s facebook post. Where are you hearing compassion?
Posted by Linda on Aug 15, 2012 in community
, life at home
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This is the time we have all been waiting for, the harvest of the carrots and beets! Tomatoes and zucchini will come later, and lettuce and spinach have already passed.
But we have been waiting for carrots and beets!
Today we make a family adventure out of it. Heather has been a regular at the garden all summer watering with her adult helpers, me and Toni. But today since it is harvest day, her friends Daisa and Kaia get to be there.
The garden is magic and it has grown. Here are some photos we grabbed today.
Step one: get the soil wet
All hands in
Toni’s first beet
Toni, Heather, and Dasia harvesting beets
Yes, we ate some carrots before we got home. And more to harvest next week. This is simply exciting for beginners.
I am so glad that we got some things to grow. I am looking forward to next year and rolling on with what I have learned from this year. This was the year to just plant something, anything and see if it will grow. Many of our veggies did grow, but I also want to learn from my mistakes.
We have several hot weeks left, and I wonder how many tomatoes will ripen, and which zucchinis will get to a decent size.
What is growing in your garden? And what are you doing with your abundance?
This year’s Alcatraz story was about getting to the start line.
Everything was going well until the Tuesday before the race, when a huge cramp bit my left calf during the last 10 minutes of our final open water swim workout. I didn’t think much of it but it was still very sore Thursday. Then my body started feeling punky-sickish around noon. The question marks intensified (“Will I be able to do this race???”), and Saturday, race day, just kept coming.
The phone rang while I was taking a nap on Thursday. My favorite method to out run colds or flu is to take my home remedy, drink lots of water, and nap. The caller was a person in my life who has some wisdom, so I let her know what was happening. I wondered out loud if this was my body’s way of telling me it did not want to do the swim. I remembered last year and what tough race it was, I truly couldn’t imagine doing it feeling like I did right then. She said, “Give yourself permission NOT to do it, you need to stay safe. There are people who depend on you.”
I got up and wrote a brave email to my behind the scenes network of family and friends letting them know that I might be getting sick. We were 36 hours from the race start with a travel day in between, and my body was functioning at 80%– sigh. I wanted them to have some warning, these were people who had followed the story and had donated to Team Hydro. On Saturday morning, they might read on Facebook: “Did Not Swim Today.”
I received many kind emails and supportive texts in return. One friend came with a necklace but got here after I had gone to bed; I discovered it at 3:30 am when we got up to catch our flight, an ultra kind and supportive moment. I knew if I surrendered to the day and did what I could to be ready (consume my weight in rehydration fluids, and bananas) (did I mention pray alot), then come Saturday morning I would know what to do.
Most of my ambivalence was gone by Friday night. I was improving every hour. I also caught a good nap in San Francisco.
Most of you know the end of the story. I had a glorious swim, so much easier than last year! I shaved 11 minutes off my time and fell in love with Alcatraz Island and San Francisco just a little bit more.
Because pictures say more than words I’ve lined up several to tell the story. Toni was there to help take care of Heather and fly home with her right after as we rode a Harley home, but that story is for next week. These photos Toni took…yes she got on the boat and I am in the green cap, Rick is in the yellow.
Thank you all for your love and support! Year two, done!!!