The St. Vincent Cancer Walk of Hope rolled around again on a beautiful day, September 21st, 2013. (Yes, I realize that was weeks ago now. I’m slow.) I arrived, as usual, well before the rays of the rising sun. The tables and grass were wet, but the rain from the day before had ended.
I worked, also as usual, to help with last-minute setup for the event. I helped put colorful skirts around tables, raise the large metal archway, and other small miscellaneous tasks. Things were very well in hand this year, so much so that I didn’t have a whole lot to do.
This year I got to spend more time talking with people. First of all, I met Beth, a fellow volunteer, shown on the right. Beth and I got along instantly, and I appointed myself as her minion for the morning. She also seemed to have a fairly good sense of what she was doing and where everything was, so I figured if I tailed her I could be particularly helpful.
When we ran out of work, I noticed Beth talking to a woman who had come to the event as a vendor. They were talking animatedly, so I sidled up and joined the conversation.
The vendor, I discovered, was Mary, and Mary is definitely my kind of people — she likes to tell stories as well as listen to them. We chattered together at length, shared our personal reasons for wanting to be a part of the Cancer Walk of Hope. She also told me about her comfort kit project, affectionately called LUCY (Let Us Comfort You). She also told me about her family, and I told her about Kiss Chronicles. And geez, what’s wrong with me that I still get embarrassed when I explain my Kiss Chronicles story to people directly? Shouldn’t I be over that by now? I nearly crawled under her vendor table to hide.
Time went by, and the walkers for the 10-mile walk showed up for their opening ceremony, which included an opening prayer and some Zumba to warm up.
About an hour after the 10-mile walkers went on their way, the next batch of walkers showed up for the 3-mile walk. They had an opening ceremony as well, and then we cheered them on their way.
I ended up staying much longer than I intended. That seems to happen every year.
BONUS! I ran into someone I knew. However, I didn’t recognize him. He looked much fuzzier, and more blue, than he used to.
It was another successful year, with over $300,000 raised to aid those patients dealing with the struggles of cancer. I plan to volunteer again in 2014. Keep up the good work, St. Vincent!
NOISE! LOUD RAUCOUS NOISE! BANG, ZAP, POW, KERPLOP! My blog grew unexpectedly quiet. I feel like I need to bang some pots and pans together to wake it up again. WAKE UP, BLOG!
I’ve been, well, obviously absent from the blog and even a bit shy of my social networks in general. The rush of an exciting summer season came to a head, and I was left in a quiet, contemplative space. I felt a need for calm. I needed to find some peace, even do some meditating. Maybe I should still throw in some prayers for good measure if I’m feeling frisky.
Have I gotten what I needed while I’ve been away and (gasp) not blogging? A bit. It’s a work in progress.
My melodramatic spirit may be getting the better of me, but I feel as though I’m at a crossroads. Things are going to change, and I’ve been gathering my energy to make that change as positive as I can.
Blah blah, cryptic statement, blah blah, vague sentiments, blah blah. See, this is why I haven’t been blogging. My head is a light and airy mess because I still haven’t finished getting my thoughts in order.
However, one thing I’ve discovered is that I’ve missed talking about kissing. I’ve missed my blog! So, even as I continue on my quest for calm, I need to start introducing some noise back into my life. Noise such as, oh, the sound of kisses.
Please make sure your volume is turned up so you can enjoy the extreme cute in this “Kissy Sounds” video:
How have you been? Are you recovering from a busy summer? Got any got any summer kiss stories for me?
I over-packed for BlogHer ’13. It was my first time attending the mega blogging conference, and I had the luxury of driving rather than flying, so I felt free to bring excessive amounts of stuff.
I left my car in the suburbs, and my aunt kindly drove me to the Sheraton. When I walked into the lobby, dragging my heavy luggage, I felt a rush of nerves. New setting. No familiar faces. Free cupcakes. I didn’t touch the cupcakes, which is a testament to how displaced I felt. I have a sweet tooth that frequently overrides my common sense. However, I didn’t feel as though I’d done anything to earn a cupcake yet, so I passed them by and sat to await my roommates, the fashionable SEO queen Elaine Griffin and the ever-lovely duchess of doodles Melissa Aiello.
Ten minutes later, I realized I had left my hanging dress clothes in the back of my aunt’s car as I cheerfully waved farewell to her. Well, at least I got my first mistake done with early. My aunt came back with my nice clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear pajamas to the expo.
Then I promptly went up the wrong set of elevators to try to get to my room. I just wanted to be thorough and get my second mistake out of the way.
The next two and a half days passed quickly, and it seemed as though between one heartbeat and the next I found myself at the end of the trip. As I walked out of my hotel room and heard the door thunk behind me, I carried home much more than I had brought.
I took home the expected Bag o’ Swag, full and only semi-sorted. My favorite acquisitions were an Eggland’s Best spatula won from an eggy slot machine and a pink Nerd from the Chuck E. Cheese booth. I earned my Nerd toy in classic Awkward!Blogger fashion: I went into a wind tunnel machine to try to win it. However, only after having tickets blown through my hair and into my cleavage did I find out that the sponsor was giving the nerd toys away, no win required. Oh well. At least I amused Melissa and my darling friend Linda Anselmi.
I also carried home, tucked safely away in my luggage, a steampunk coloring book and a pad of paper with kisses all over it, given to me as gifts by the sweet and cuddly Karen Sandoval.
Tucked between sandals and shirts, I brought home Joey, my kangaroo. Joey came to me all the way from Australia via Michelle Burke.
I was able to spend time with Michelle because she tweeted me and asked me whether I’d be at the Gale Ann Hurd keynote. I had planned to crash on my bed for an hour, but Michelle and Gale were both well worth sacrificing a nap. (In fact, I even wrote up Gale’s keynote on the BlogHer site.)
I carried home the knowledge of how impressive Jasmine Banks is. I first spotted her on a Serta bed, melting into it as she lay next to a friend, with Neil Kramer smiling down at her as he stood by her side. I’ll always remember how much strength it took for her to come to BlogHer after a deep personal loss occurred only the day before.
I took home some personal sadness that I didn’t get to spend more time with Abbie Gale and Michelle Lewsen and Georgia Johnson and so very, very many others. I wanted more time to find people and more time to spend with them.
I brought home forty-eight business cards — fifty if I include two accidental duplicates. Actually, the number is closer to fifty-five if I count some hand-written contact notes. I did not acquire business cards from everyone I encountered. For instance, I spent some time with Delfin, but we were so busy chatting that I never got his card. (S’all good, though, ‘cause I know where he blogs.) In many cases, I had only a few brief seconds to exchange a hug or handshake. I estimate that I met or encountered about eighty people.
I was unable to take any of my new people home with me. They all refused to climb into my luggage. And I really don’t understand what JC Little’s objection was because I’m sure she would have fit. Still, even though I couldn’t keep the artist, I did take home a flattering piece of toonswag, but only after spending a hilarious evening with her and Aliza Worthington and Linda Anselmi.
I’m still carrying with me the hug I received from Tyrone Farley after delivering my BuskHer ’13 performance, where I stood in the hallway outside of the Fashion Show Reception and delivered some poetry and a section of my book that I’d memorized. The busking was the thing I’d been working on, what I’d been gearing myself up to accomplish at the conference for over a month. And I almost chickened out. I actually almost didn’t do it despite the fact that I’d poured hours and hours into the preparation. I never had a proper rehearsal, and the conditions were never quite right. I meant to do it Friday, but that plan fell through. On Saturday, I had to accept that I wouldn’t get perfect conditions, and I dove into the performance regardless. I performed in front of my friends. My sense of self faded away, leaving only the words to be shared. As I spoke and dredged up all my theatre energy from the past, a few people stopped briefly to watch and then moved on. Tyrone, though, Tyrone stopped to watch and stayed. And at the end, he came forward and embraced me, and I cried just a little with relief and gratitude, and he told me about his love of theatre in his soothing voice, which I think would be GREAT for Shakespeare.
Thank you, Tyrone. Thank you. You helped remind me that my book and story are worth all the effort to reach out to even just one more person.
I brought home a desire and an idea to start a new project, a vlog. Between the Video 101 session by Stacy Calvert and Julie Yamamoto and my own theatrical antics, I know I have more to learn and share, new opportunities for growth.
These are just a few of the things I carried home with me. They are the weight of dreams and purpose. I’ll take that cupcake now.
Actually, no, hold the cupcake a little longer. I have more work to do.
(Note: I couldn’t call out absolutely everybody that I love and adore and met in this post, but that don’t mean I don’t love you! MUAH!)
I’ve been tagged! Okay, I don’t go off topic on this blog very much — I typically stick to the kissing and charity themes — but my bloggy buddy Stevie tagged me, so I’m making a special exception.
Five Things I Have a Passion For:
- Dream chasing
- Fairy tales
- Anime (from popular to obscure, I have to keep a spreadsheet of all the shows I’ve watched)
Five Things I Would Like to Do before I Die:
Hold on, lemme just check my bucket list….which has 100 items on it because, darn it, it’s okay to want stuff.
- Raise $10k to fight cancer. There, I said it. I dream of getting the Kiss Chronicles Razoo page to $10k raised toward the cure.
- Create a web comic (probably partnering with an artist)
- Visit Australia
- Learn to play chess
- Paint a wall full of doodles (or an entire room, perhaps?)
Five Things I Say a Lot:
- “Oh my gosh!”
- “Stop it, cat.”
- “Where did I put that? I had it a second ago.”
- “Pumpernickel, away!” Oh, wait, no, I never say that.
Five Books and/or Magazines I Have Read Lately:
- Does manga count? If so, the latest chapters of Bleach and Skip Beat.
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (currently in progress)
- Business in Blue Jeans by Susan Baroncini-Moe
- Slashback by Rob Thurman
- Isis Wept by Stephan Loy
Wow, talk about a hodgepodge.
Five Favorite Movies:
- The Princess Bride
- Princess Mononoke
- The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen
- The Avengers
- The Labyrinth
My above choices are based strongly on rewatchability.
Five People I Invite to Do This Meme:
I’m a bad sport. Here’s what I say: If you’re a blogger and this interests you, do eeet! If you’re a blogger and it doesn’t interest you, don’t do eeet, and link me to some other post about yourself so I can get to know you. (But, you know, it’d be really cool if Melissa my Favorite Alien and Karen the Fairy Queen and Elaine the Derby Girl did it.)
Two weeks ago, I posted the Kiss Chronicles ebook on Amazon for $0.99. I kept it quiet and didn’t announce it widely because I was hoping desperately that if I gave it a little time, Amazon would adjust the price to free, like it should be. I struggled with the decision to post on Amazon because of the risks involved. I realized that the adjustment might never come, but after I posted the book, I asked friends and strangers to notify Amazon that the ebook is free on other sites, and I notified Amazon myself, and I waited.
You know what happened? SUCCESS! The book is now FREE on Amazon! Click the cover below to go to the Amazon page and get it for yourself, because my bloggy buddy Denise says you should:
This morning, when I looked at the Amazon and saw the $0.00 price tag, I had to stare at it for a minute before the reality set in. I’m so used to dealing with setbacks on the Kiss Chronicles project that it’s shocking to run into such a success — and this took only two weeks.
As always, the reason that I’m so intent on making the book free is because I want to invite readers to make a donation to a cancer charity (at my Razoo page or to another cancer charity of their choosing).
I’m so, so glad things worked out. This increases convenience for readers and for me. Days and weeks and months go by where nothing seems to work out well for the Kiss Chronicles project, but then something like this happens, and my heart soars. This is precisely the happy thing I’ve been wishing for, and I can ride this wave straight into the BlogHer ’13 conference, which I’ll be attending next week to promote blog and book.
Haha, oh crud, there’s a big honking paragraph that I added as a special note to Amazon readers in Chapter 12, apologizing about the $0.99 Inconvenience Fee. I guess that doesn’t make sense any more, does it? I’ll see about editing that out.
This featured kiss photo is so hot that it requires police caution tape!
This brilliant shot is © Danielle Hughson, used courtesy of the artist (and you can find more from her on her Flickr page). I can’t find anything about this shot I don’t like. Her dress is gorgeous, as are her shoes. The guy is performing a perfect dip, and his tie matches her dress. And all the dynamic lines point to the couple. Beautiful! \o/
I’m feeling mellow at the moment, and I think some classy black-and-white photography would suit my mood.
That’s a feather stuck in her scarf, by the way, just in case you’re curious. I was, so I asked the photographer. Because I can’t turn off my inner editor, ever, which means small details fascinate me.
Two-for-one deal, have another shot, and I have a question for you about this one:
Ahh, just what I needed. These suit my mood perfectly. These photos are both © John St. John, and you can find more of his photography at his website.
Here’s the part that I want you to help me with: This second photo is titled “Bus Station,” which in my mind means that this is either a kiss hello or a kiss goodbye. Based JUST on what you see in the picture, which do you think it is, a hello or goodbye?