Meeting my Monkee Mama :-)

I met my Monkee Mama, Glennon Melton

I met my Monkee Mama, Glennon Melton

Friday, April 12, 2013. The Book Passage; Corte Madera, California.

A day I will never forget, and the journey  to get there all started over a year ago when I stumbled upon… a blog.  And not just ANY BLOG….THE blog.

Momastery.com  

Several new friendships have sprung out of this blog as well. One in particular, which likely should have happened long ago, considering our children were in school together for several years, and still remain good friends. Nonetheless, it took me moving across the city, and sharing this blog with Stacey via Facebook, a year later, which ignited a friendship I have a feeling is part of a much larger picture being revealed to us bit by bit.  As the saying goes, “everything happens for a reason” –when it happens. Or something like that, right? Anyway, it was Stacey who was my partner in crime on the pilgrimage to meet the Divine Monkee Mama, Glennon.

Thanks to Stacey’s sweet hubby, who let us pilfer points from his Southwest Rapid Rewards account, we were able to fly up there for the super special book signing, thus saving us hours in the car and insuring that we arrived 7 hours early...lol.  By now, I’m sure most of you are aware, I had already received a copy of the book, read it twice, let Spongebob throw up on it, and posted a review here.  So the anticipation-anxiety-excitement of this meet n’ greet   Monkee Love Fest, for me, may have been equal to that a devout Catholic would feel going to meet The Pope. Or perhaps like Julia Roberts felt while waiting in the hotel bar, all dressed up in that gorgeous red dress, anticipating the arrival of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. Probably more like the Pope thing though, to be honest.

As I said, we arrived a teensy bit early, so there was plenty of time for a bit of fumbling and bumbling to ensue. First of all, we rented a Prius to make the trek from Oakland to Corte Madera. I drive one on a daily basis, so naturally, I opted to let Stacey take the wheel and enjoy the thrill while I navigated. After I showed her how to turn it on, and assured her the engine was…in fact…running, since the dang things are so quiet, off we drove…into the sunshine…following the prompts provided via iMaps, compliments of Apple. The first glitch came as we were leaving the airport in search of Hegenberger Road, which was supposed to lead us to the actual road we needed to take in order to get onto the freeway. We eventually stumbled upon it, but not because of the great directions coming from my iPhone, or the signs at the airport, which pointed in the direction of a dirt lot that appeared to be under construction. Suffice to say….We. Just. Found. It.

Off, off, and away we drove….chattering all the way! Across a bridge….

not the Golden Gate

not the Golden Gate

Yeah…this is the only photo I managed to snap from the car, because it was hard to follow directions on my phone AND take pictures at the same time. Or I may have been talking too much. It happens. Admittedly though, I mostly suck at photo documentation of things because I’m just too busy living in the moment to actually worry about capturing it on film. Unless prompted. Therefore, you can thank Stacey for this photo.

After about 40 minutes, we pulled up to the most inviting, pleasant looking shopping enclave I’ve ever seen. And lo and behold….The Book Passage was the hub of it! There was also a yoga studio, a frame shop, a quaint little restaurant, a bakery, a nail salon, and a bunch of other small stores sprinkled about. Of course, we made a beeline for the mecca of our pilgrimage, and as soon as we walked in, were greeted with this:

We.Made.It.

We.Made.It.

I may or may not have shouted ‘Hallelujah’ upon walking in and seeing this 🙂

After milling around in a bit of a trance, perhaps caused by hunger, but more likely from the sheer anticipation of what would happen in a few hours…we sat down and had some lunch. At the cafe….in the bookstore. Then, upon further examination, we figured out that our hotel was within walking distance. Unbeknownst to me…I’d booked our accommodations right next door to the very place we would meet our Monkee Mama, Glennon, 5 hours later. Sometimes, I do live a bit of a charmed life….totally by accident though.

As we checked into the hotel, I noticed the front desk attendant’s name was Tom Collins, which took me back to my bartending days, and made me giggle. In case you don’t know your booze…that is the name of a drink. Not a very good one, in my opinion, but still. We were super excited when he offered us an upgraded room at a mere $10 more than the quoted price of the room I booked, and we happily accepted. It would soon become clear WHY….it was only $10 more. While very charming, the hotel is currently undergoing a MAJOR renovation, and the center of their construction universe seemed to be directly above our room. The noise convinced me they must be building a sister hotel in China, and had decided to tunnel from that one to begin the process of connecting the two. All I can say is that Mister-Named-After-A-Sour-Drink, is lucky I had previously made up my mind that nothing was going to tarnish this overnight getaway to meet my blogging/writer/girl-crush idol. Or else my sassy Southern tongue would have pulled him into a come to Jesus meetin’ and that room would have been comped before he knew what hit him!

Now, with a few hours still left to kill, we decided to go check out Mill Valley…an adorable little town about 10 minutes or so away. Stacey was familiar with it, and The Man suggested I visit there while in the area, so it was a done deal. I pulled on some jeans and a tee, shoved my feet into my cowboy boots, topped off the look with a Bama hat and some gypsy jewels, and we set out on the adventure. And holy crap…that place is like my nirvana! Sort of a treehouse kind of community, oozing with culture, smelling like nature and emanating a hippie vibe. We wandered around a bit, and I snapped this photo (my 3rd one of the trip):

flowershopinMV

very unique

I realize it doesn’t look like much, but it’s an outdoor floral shop housed above a running stream. I’ve never seen anywhere else like it, so once I win the lottery and move to Mill Valley, I’m going to buy it. Just wait and see.

Immediately after we left here, we wandered into a wine store and perused the racks for a bottle of pinot noir we decided we would split in celebration, following the signing that evening. As we were chatting, both of us admitted to choosing wine by the aesthetics of the label, since neither has enough knowledge about the stuff to be a wine snob. If the label is pretty, and it’s affordable…that usually works. I also became mesmerized by the positively gorgeous and unique bottles of tequila on display in the store, and it dawned on me I couldn’t buy one to bring home, and the irony was not lost on me. (more on that later) We chose a bottle of pinot from the Mary Elke winery, because it had the word “Barter” on the label, and I personally think the world would be way easier if we ditched currency and returned to the barter system. Too bad the wine shop owner didn’t agree, and made us pay for it. Oh well…a girl can dream, I suppose.

The center of Mill Valley is a coffee shop and bookstore that serves wine (is this becoming a theme?), so we decided to rest our feet, take in the scenery and enjoy a glass of vino while listening to a local musician play a dulcimer in the adjacent courtyard. It turned out to be the only glass either of us had the entire trip. Yes…that’s right, we never opened the bottle we bought. We didn’t need to, as we were buzzed enough from the Monkee energy at the signing. I am happy to say that Mary Elke is waiting patiently at Stacey’s house for another GNO–and hopefully, Audra will join us! But seriously…how appropriately feminine (and Southern) is the name of that vintage? I can’t wait!

Alright, I’m gonna cut right to the chase here….fast forwarding through the threat of traffic getting back to the Monkee Mecca, and just say we made it in time to plant our fannies in a couple of chairs not so close that we could hit Glennon with spitballs, but not so far away as to require binoculars. Perfect placement, in other words 🙂 The energy in the room was infectious. Several mamas came with their precious littles, which made me miss mine. Okay. That’s a lie. They were in capable hands, and I needed a vacay. But I did THINK about them.

Glennon came onto the stage, and I swear she was glowing. It’s possible it could have been the lighting, but I sincerely doubt it. She just radiates positive light. She talked for a bit, then read an essay titled “Officer Superhero” from her book, which of course made everyone roar with laughter and shake their heads with a ‘been there, done that’ nod. Me, times 3, in fact. After that, she took questions, and then it was time to line up for AUTOGRAPHS.

And this, my friends, is where it gets interesting….

 

As I mentioned previously, I was wearing a Bama hat. It’s part of my Warrior armor. As if this surprises any of you? You are also aware that I’m a talker…so my Southern accent was on full display, like a badge of honor, as I happily chatted up the lady in front of us. At some point, and I’m not sure what the prompt was…one of the ladies in line behind us, says to me “Is that an Alabama hat?”, despite the fact that it was Crimson and CLEARLY said Alabama on it. I politely answered, “Yes”, and she asked if I was from there, and had I attended UA. Again, I uttered a pride-filled “Yes.”  Then she said, “I’m from Mobile, and I went to Auburn.”  For a moment, there was a silent exchange of looks-up and down-from both of us to the other, and of course the unspoken thought, no doubt, running through both our minds of “Well, damn. Now I can’t be your friend.” Once that moment passed, and we explained to the women we were there with, Stacey and Kris, respectively, about the bitter rivalry between the two universities, it was clear we would in fact be friends. After all, there we were, standing in line amongst about 100 other women, waiting to meet the author of a blog and book, that claims “LOVE WINS” as it’s primary mantra. A devout Bama fan and a diehard Auburn fan, randomly found each other amongst the Monkees. Again, the irony of this situation was not lost on me. I only wish she’d been wearing some blue and orange AU garb to make the perfect photo! We laughed about how hilarious it is that neither university has a battle cry that even remotely matches their mascot –an elephant named Al who screams “Roll Tide Roll”, and a Tiger named Aubie who cries “War Eagle”WHAT. THE. EFF.?? We swapped some great stories, the time passed quickly, and we of course solidified the encounter by becoming FB friends. Thanks Bre…I look forward to football season this year….lol 🙂

Alright, so we finally made it to the front of the line….hearts racing…and Stacey steps up to the table to greet Glennon. Not sure what the exchange was, but Glennon offered each of us a Twizzler as she came around to hug us, and pose for this photo:

Yes...those are Twizzlers.

Yes…those are Twizzlers.

So then it was my turn, and Glennon sat back down as I stepped up to have my books….yes, I had 2…signed. She immediately commented on the fact that I had ‘an original’ copy, and before I could even explain why (because I’d done the review) she said “NANCY!” and my day year was made. My blogging mentor knew my freaking name! Yep…stick a fork in me people, because I’m done! I could have drawn my last breath right there, and landed on the floor with a thud and a smile on my face. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but it could have. She thanked me for writing such a beautiful review, and continuing to show up for her and the Monkees. Then she came around to hug me, and a very magical thing happened. She whispered in my ear a phrase I will never forget, that let me know, beyond a shadow of doubt that not only did she know my name….she also knew my story. Because listening is one of her gifts and talents. You see, I, just like so many other people, have written emails to her, over the course of the last year….pouring out my thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, etc….during times of struggle, just to get the heavies off my heart and out there into the universe. Never in a million years did I expect a response. But this is the cherished, whispered answer I got:

Evidence to the contrary…All is well.

 

And with that, I’m going to wrap this up. Because honestly, after that moment, I really just floated on a cloud for the remainder of the evening and the next day. Although, it wasn’t completely uneventful. We visited a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I spotted a landmark (The Watermelon Slice?) I was certain had to be a hunger induced mirage while on the shuttle from Prius return to  terminal, where I ran barefoot through the Oakland Airport because, of course….we almost missed our flight. Never a dull moment!

Here’s to the next Monkee pilgrimage!

Follow on Bloglovin

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, and Twitter

If I made you laugh, please click the banner below to vote for me on topmommyblogs.com!

There’s no need to be shy – you can vote for me once a day!

THANKS SO MUCH…Y’ALL ROCK!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

 

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Melton

 

Carry-On-Warrior-195x300

 

Let me start by saying, I’ve waited on this book from the moment I stumbled across Momastery.com, exactly one year, and 86 days ago. Which, ironically, is before the author found out she would be writing the book in the first place. Or at least before she told us Monkees. So, to say I was excited when TLC Book Tours asked me to review it, ON ITS BIRTHDAY, is a gross understatement. Oh, and when I figured out that request involved getting an Advance Reader’s Edition copy, directly from the publisher, Scribner Books…well, I peed a little. Okay, a lot. Then I told all my friends…or anyone who would listen. So this is a big deal for me folks, because I am about to give y’all my 2 cents on  Carry On, WarriorThoughts on Life Unarmed, the first book written by my girl crush blogging idol, Glennon Doyle Melton. A woman who has, unknowingly, changed my life.

Glennon Doyle Melton

Glennon Doyle Melton

 

I’ve read the book twice already.

Back to back, in fact. It’s that good.

Lucky for me, the copy I pre-ordered before I was asked to review it will be here today, because the second time through, I read with a yellow highlighter in my hand, marking all my favorite passages along the way. Now it looks like SpongeBob Squarepants puked in it. Of course, that’s the copy I will be taking with me to be autographed when I meet Glennon in a couple of weeks on her in real life book tour  for this magnificent baby. I can hardly wait!

Now, those of you who already follow Momastery, and no doubt, love Glennon as much as I, are aware of what a gifted storyteller she is, and what this book is all about… Love Wins. We Can Do Hard Things. Life is Brutiful. For those who aren’t familiar, (Hello? Where have you been?) it’s a collection of essays on facing life’s challenges– relationships, parenting, faith, addictions, fears–told with such authenticity, humor, forgiveness and bravery, you’ll no doubt find yourself nodding in agreement and/or recognition more than a few times. For me, page after glorious page delivered a shiny new gem, I not only identified with, but heard myself telling in my own voice. It’s almost as if she crawled inside my head and dipped her pen into the inkwell of my brain. I’ve read hundreds of books in my 41 years, and I can honestly say this is the very first time that every single word my eyes fell upon resonated so deeply I cried…at the sheer realization that someone ‘really gets me’. Funny that it’s a virtual stranger, huh? But really, she’s not. If you look closely enough, parts of her are inside all of us, and to quote another Monkee mantra: We Belong To Each Other.

So there.

Anyway, I could gush like Old Faithful, going on forever, because when I’m passionate about something…I can’t shut up. But I’ll save you from that, and simply make a suggestion with a promise:

Read the book. You will not be sorry.

Oh, and when you do…because I have faith in at least your curiosity getting the best of you and compelling you to follow my advice…here are some of MY favorite essays from the book (in no particular order):

Unwind

Lucky Seven

In Case of Emergency

A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On

Don’t Carpe Diem

Transcendentalist

On Profanity

Every essay in the last section of the book, appropriately titled “Letting Go” 

Now, to make this easier for you, I’m allowed to give away ONE COPY of Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed  to a very lucky winner, compliments of TLC Book Tours and Scribner Books. So here are the rules. Pay close attention, because there will be a couple of hoops to jump through to qualify:

1. You must go over to my Facebook page and ‘Like’ it.

2. You must leave a comment there that says either, “Love Wins, We Can Do Hard Things, or We Belong to Each Other”. Of course, feel free to comment here too…but just to show me some love 🙂

The contest will close on Friday, April 5th at 12am, PST. From the official entries on The Calibamamom FB Page, a winner will be chosen at random, announced here and there,  and notified via email, within a few days of the closing of the contest. 

TLC Book Tours

TLC Book Tours

 

Follow on Bloglovin

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, and Twitter

If I made you laugh, please click the banner below to vote for me on topmommyblogs.com!

There’s no need to be shy – you can vote for me once a day!

THANKS SO MUCH…Y’ALL ROCK!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

%d bloggers like this: