A week ago Loved-One helped me load up the Prius, hugged me good-bye and waved as I set off for BAM in Nashville.
I texted Love-One at home, and his sister, Mary in Nashville, along the way. (#1 So you know where I am and you don’t worry; #2 In case I disappear and you need to worry.) No one worried.
As I followed Tweets and FaceBook posts of cancelled flights and disappointed bloggers, I was happy I decided to drive. Until…
♠ Loved-One called. “Don’t go into Kentucky. The highway is at a standstill.” I stop 20 miles north at my favorite home away from home, the Hampton.
Oh well, the iPad still works, and with a little practice, I convince my brain that the cracks and crystals are just a new wallpaper.
A bright morning greets me. The pavement is dry. I have an audio book, so I hardly mind the 3 mph stretches that lasts for “chapters” on end. Plus, Loved-One found a place north of Nashville that will fix the iPad (Batteries+Bulbs.)
Okay, it was a grueling trip, but all worth it when:
♠ I get my fill of Stouffer’s Maroni and Cheese, my comfort food, with all those veggies toppings. (I’m in Lenten Heaven.) I learned a quick add wine and cheese for their frozen lasagna, which I’m dying to try.
♠ I meet tons of bloggers my age and a bit younger and THEY ARE SURPRISED I AM 64! (I feel a bit dragged through a knothole after the trip, so this feels super-duper-dope.)
♠ I meet my roommate, Pam from Over50Feeling40, and she’s as nervous about meeting me as I am about meeting her. (I’m nervous because she’s a fashion blogger and I’m a nerd dresser; she’s nervous because I’m a nerd.) We love each other. So much in common. I know Michiganders migrated to Texas for a reason.
♠ There’s a ton (okay, maybe 450 pounds) of bloggers at BAM from the Chicagoland area.) Jessica Leighton from Search Inc. and Beth Rosen from Boomfluent. (Jessica offers resource connections for CoCo’s future. I would have never guessed I’d meet someone from my old neighborhood at BAM.)
Oh I had so much fun:
♥ I connected with Dorreen McGettigan, who I interviewed ages ago about her courageous book, Bristol Stomp.
♥ I hugged Sharon Hodor Greenthal, who again affirmed me “You really know how to tell a story.” Everyone knows Sharon, she’s one of the founders of Midlife Boulevard. Her words are golden.
♥ I walked at least 4 miles every day in that great big rainforest of a resort that is Gaylord Opryland. Loved, loved, loved that. Thanks to Fitbit, I know.
♥ I spent a long lunch with sister-in-law before I headed home again. What a nice bonus.
So besides all the fun and friends and such. Here’s my main takeaways:
♦ Driving brings me peace. All that quiet-time! All that coffee. Oh my. I planned two more books in my head and a to-do list a year long.
♦ I know stuff. Sometimes it’s just nice to be affirmed. Yes, I have my twitter, FaceBook Page, Blog, and e-mail nicely aligned, so my Brand is consistent. (But what about my book and my other blog. Do I have the right brand?)
♦ I have more to learn. (See above)
♦ There’s more than one way
to skin a cat, make money. The speakers offered concrete ideas on how to connect with brands. So far, that’s an avenue I haven’t fully explored. I’ve been syndicated on BlogHer and about.com, and a few other places. But no sponsors. So far, my blogs act more like a portfolio of my work. I write for two print newspapers now. My blogs brought me work designing websites for other organizations. Do I want to get into sponsors? It’s inviting. Yes of course, Maybe.
♦ Lots of people like to help. What a wonderful network of crones. (In case you didn’t hear my story about crones, Diana Lambson says it more eloquently than I:
Crone comes from the Tradition of the Triple Goddess depicting the 3 stages of a woman’s development… birth: innocent, virginal; maiden: wife, mother; and finally elder: wise-woman, crone. The Crone is a being of age-old wisdom. A Crone is recognized for her wisdom, knowledge and spirituality. At the time of menopause, it is said that she herself can partake of its Wisdom. In many older cultures she became known as crone or hag, words whose original meaning meant “wise one”, revered elder of the circle.
♦ My Cronies are out there. And I am connecting. Can’t wait until next year. I don’t need to, we can keep out connection going strong.
Half-way home, I got the message Loved-One and CoCo got sick in the way I don’t even want to hear about. (You know what I mean.) Another good reason to take the time to drive.
So, in the spirit of constant change and challenge.
♣ Yesterday I #PitMad #YA madly joining the pitch for an agent. I learned the names of a lot of agents.
♣ Today I joined BodyCombat. I loved the punching. Hi-Yah. And Lord knows my upper arms can use a work out. My scissor step looked a whole lot less like Ali and more like a crone punching through Zumba. (Perhaps Kymberly and Alexandra from Fun and Fit are right, I can be funny.)