Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three things on my mind as a BlogHer '14 newbie

Who's going to BlogHer '14? This gal! Here's my
in-the-garden #selfiebration submission.
Kerry Washington sealed the deal. A chance to see Olivia Pope(!)* in person? Without having to travel too far? And I'd get to hang out with a bunch of cool bloggers and learn a ton about writing, too?

Well, the decision to sign up for the BlogHer '14 Annual Conference was a no-brainer. Especially for someone who's getting serious about writing-as-career (more on this very soon).

While I'm no stranger to academic conferences, I'm nervous about navigating a new, huge convention. One where I know no one (except for blog stalking, of course) and in an arena that I love but even five years in feel new to...

Aside from reading all of the past hot tips for attending BlogHer (I found Pocket Full of Joule's four tips supremely helpful), I've been contemplating what I hope to learn and experience, and how to get myself into the right frame of mind.

With a day before I travel to San Jose to join the #Selfiebration party, I've thought up some dos and don'ts for myself.

I...

Do want to keep my introvert side in check. And what I mean by this is I don't want to let the extravaganza overwhelm me into hiding in my hotel room instead of meeting new people, ahem. It's easy for me to do the loner routine even when I'm in familiar circumstances, and I know the temptation to shyness will be amplified. Maybe I should make an "I'm new, please talk to me!" button.

Don't want to feel insecure. I'm at a point in my blogging adventure where I'm turning serious about building a community and working toward moving my writing into career mode. To that end, I'm in the middle of re-focusing the blog and switching platforms. But everything's still in flux (I'm learning WordPress at a snail's pace!) and I know that I'm going to feel envious of other writers with established platforms and involved readers, etc. I need to remind myself to be inspired instead of insecure and to learn from the success of other writers instead of envying it (too much anyway).

Do want to learn a bunch. And in order to do this, I know I need to not just show up to panels, but bracket out the laundry list of things I'm not working on and be present. This will mean ignoring email (yay!) and work calls and maybe even Twitter (don't hold your breath). And it will definitely mean stretching the boundaries of what I think I want to learn. I've got some panels in mind but I know that creative linkages will probably come from topics and speakers outside of my typical interests. Luckily, I know there will be opportunities to stretch in spades at this conference!

And so, I'm off to pack and finishing printing my (sadly cheap) business cards. Stay tuned for more about this BlogHer adventure!

xoxo,
shawna

*If you don't watch Scandal, this is all very exciting.

Other writing type things:
A grateful heart: Getting featured on BlogHer
Dos and don'ts of dissertation writing
Grief, accumulated: Thoughts on secondary trauma, writing and resilience
A grateful heart: A man who understands writing deadlines
A rebel nerd just RSVPd for the NaNoWriMo party: How I plan to write my dissertation in a month
A journaling fool



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Preparing for solo cross country flying

Beautiful farmland between Sacramento Executive Airport and Yolo County Airport.
"So when are you going on your cross country?" my instructor Stan asked after he deemed me competent to handle cross-wind landings. Again and again, he asked. "You're ready," he kept telling me.

"Soon," I would reply, reminding him that it had been six months since I flew by myself and that maybe I should practice some local soloing before flying into the wild blue yonder all by my lonesome. But really, I was stalling.

Weeks passed. We had a handful more lessons and repeated the above exchange a few times before I got up my nerve to actually practice solo.

I planned to fly to a local training field--Yolo County, where I completed my very first solo flight almost exactly a year ago. I figured I would practice a few times by myself at Yolo and then maybe Franklin Field, before working up to the short cross country flight which would involve traveling to two destinations each more than 50 nautical miles apart, one with a towered airport.

But Stan had other ideas for my first venture out. He suggested that I fly to Yolo (DWA) then to Franklin (F72) then to Rio Linda (L36), with a stop at home (KSAC) in between if I felt like it. All on the same day! The plan would have me criss-country around town, practicing entering patterns, judging wind directions, navigating around airspace. All by myself.

I wanted to say no and stick to my boring short plan, but I took Stan's suggestions as a challenge.

Flying the Cessna 182 solo and having a ball.
***
I expected to be buzzing with nerves, but once I got cranking--armed with a paper chart, loosely written flight plan and ipad for back up--I felt more excited than nervous.

In fact, instead of stopping briefly at my flight destinations, I visited for awhile, completing three patterns at Yolo, Franklin and Executive before looping around to Rio Linda for a single stop and go.

Although the skies were fairly quiet on a mid-week morning, I learned a bunch. At Yolo, I enjoyed a nice rhythm with a couple other student pilots as we shared the field, each practicing touch-and-gos, copiously calling out our respective positions and maintaining good spacing in student pilot solidarity. At Franklin, I managed a small gusty crosswind and actually found myself having fun as I compensated for the winds that kept trying to blow me off course. And on the way home, I appreciated the skill of our local air traffic control folks as they managed eight closely arriving aircraft and I had to make space by performing a 360 turn near downtown Sacramento (too cool!).

All of my destinations were either close to another airport or nearby controlled airspace which meant I had to be careful about maintaining altitude limits during some parts of the flight and staying on course so as not to veer unsafely into airspace without permission.
But besides pattern work, communication, and (lovely, if I do say so myself) landings, I felt ecstatic to have navigated successfully. Although I'm familiar with the local area by now, the airports never fail to hide from me and I've been perpetually nervous about losing my way and completely embarrassing myself. Being able to correlate my position with ground references and easily identify landmarks and airports did a lot for building up my solo flying confidence.
Leaving Franklin Field with Elk Grove to the right, and heading for Sacramento Executive.
In fact, it led my flight instructor Stan to demand that I complete my short cross country flight the very next day. And so I did. Stay tuned!

xoxo,
shawna

Fly Girl in Training

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's no hot dog anniversary but four years is still fun

Yes, I really fell down on my wedding day. No, this photo wasn't staged.
If you follow the traditional wedding anniversary calendar, year the fourth is either flowers and fresh fruit (traditional) or appliances (modern). While I love me a good blender, I asked T if maybe, perhaps, we could early celebrate the anniversary with a Costco* food court stop. Yes, I am that classy.

Laughing, he asked "Is it the hot dog anniversary then?"

I wish. While we did not get the hot dog of my dreams (seriously, we're not going to EAA Oshkosh this year which usually involves +/- 3 bratwursts over the course of the 10 days, so I tried to rationalize it was really a calorie saving maneuver), we ended up out to dinner and reminiscing about weddings and the last few years of marriage.

I'm so grateful to have a loving husband who plays with me...
Photographer said "RUN!!!"
Notices when I stumble...
BRIDE DOWN!
Reaches out for me...
A little post-ceremony jog.
Picks me up when I fall...
All hail the polyester blend. No grass stains!
Carries me when I'm tired (okay, mostly metaphorically now)...
Thank you, Todd Emerson, for this wonderful shot!
Holds my hand...
Wandering the Aerospace Museum of California
Dances with me...
One of my favorite shots from the day.
Flies with me...
You saw that one coming, right? With the DC-3.
And wants to spend happily ever after with me...
Happy Fourth Versary, my love!

xoxo,
shawna

P.S. All photos except the threshold shot are by the incredible Beth Baugher of True Love Photo in Sacramento.

* Please note that Costco was not the height of anniversary celebrating. We're flying to Halfmoon Bay this weekend!

Related links:
Love is in the Air (aka, all things wedding)
Offbeat Bride feature
Today is THE DAY
How did people get married before Facebook?
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part I: Sacramento to Sedona
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part II: A brief stop in Santa Fe
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part III: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
(early) Thoughts from the moon
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part IV: Visiting Mark Twain in Hannibal, MO
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part V: Oshkosh b'gosh! part 1
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part VI: Oshkosh b'gosh! part 2
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part VII: Oshkosh b'gosh! part 3
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part VIII: Oshkosh b'gosh! part 4
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part IX: Oshkosh b'gosh! part 5
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part X: Traversing Traverse City, Michigan
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part XI: Romantic Mackinac Island
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part XII: Quick stop in Keokuk
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part XIII: Crashing in Colorado Springs
Hopscotch Honeymoon Part XIV: Ending the moon in Moab
Things I know about B&Bs
The honeymoon is o-v-e-r
Because I need the longest name EVER, aka The Name Change Game

Sunday, July 6, 2014

#100HappyDays: The $10,000 tomato

18 ounces of tomato goodness, July 5, 2014.
"Honeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyy, LOOK!" I exclaim, holding up a tomato the size of my head. (Well, almost.)

Foisting the red orb at Mr. T, I continue to shout, "18 ounces!" which is a personal record.

Weighing the fruit in his hands, T quips, "That's about $10,000 worth of tomato right there."

"AT LEAST," I reply.

Since I started gardening six years ago, Mr. T has given me mostly good natured grief about plant related expenditures and the ratio of dollars spent to produce harvested. We had what he exaggerated as $500 beets and $100 carrots, and the like. (It wasn't that bad, I swear.)

After putting in the Back 40 landscaping, it appears my ratios are even more out of whack! The good news? This year's apparent bumper crop should put things to rights, one thousand dollar tomato at a time. Ha!

xoxo,
shawna

Saturday, July 5, 2014

#100HappyDays: A lazy Fourth of July

The best place to spend a 100-degree Fourth of July
Amid the canon balls, Olympic-level dives and doggy paddles (literally, on that last one, my parents have labs), my Fourth of July featured some base treachery. I'm talking pushing-people-into-the-pool-before-they-were-ready-OMG-I-have-water-up-my-nose-now maneuvers here people. Luckily, I did actually survive but it was close.

Along with family time and good BBQ, I got to "swim" wee little laps with Lady A. She's only five months old, but we see Olympic potential. Great day!
The fam in all its crazy glory.
The best of a dozen post-swimming selfies. 
xoxo,
shawna

#100HappyDays: July Christmas craving

One whiff of cinnamon pine cones and I am ready for Christmas! July 3, 2014
When Mr. T said "You should save the trunk for storing something special," I think he missed the daggers in my glance.

My Christmas decorations ARE special, dammit.

He went on to query if I was going to "consolidate" the Christmas boxes and what I was planning to get rid of.

Are you MAD? Get rid of Christmas decor I have so painstakingly collected over the years?? So I can what, buy more this winter?! Okay! 

My concession to let Christmas go into our new attic storage space was quite enough, I thought. Although as we hefted boxes up the ladder, I got a good whiff of cinnamon pinecones and was sorely tempted to just start setting out decorations. We're past the halfway point of the year you know, might as well get a jump start, right?

xoxo,
shawna

Related Christmas crazy, in case you, too, are now craving Yuletide:
Heartless, Heartless Christmas witch
Decking the halls
The Easter egg tree
The erstwhile Christmas tree all decked out for Valentine's
Humbugs and elves can coexist, I swear
Help, I'm married to a humbug
It wouldn't be Christmas without a Banana Bunker