07 November 2017

Weekend in Wooster for Buckeye Book Fair

This past weekend I traveled to Wooster, Ohio, to attend the Buckeye Book Fair to promote Running with a Police Escort: Tales from the Back of the Pack! I've done lots of solo author events before, but this was my first book fair and I had no idea what to expect. I did pick up a lot of ideas for future book fairs, mostly things to bring with me like bookmarks and postcards with information for those people who didn't purchase that day. (I did at least have business cards with me.)

I drove down to Wooster Friday night after work and checked into the Market Street Inn, where I had a room reserved. Ohmygosh, y'all. Cutest bed & breakfast ever. I stayed in the Lewis Room and it was so quaint.


That evening there was a reception for all of the writers and it was fun chatting with all of the Ohio authors.

While the reception had some appetizers, it was not dinner level appetizers, so after leaving I started to scout out some restaurants. The owner of the B&B had recommended some restaurants near the inn but I took to Yelp and was looking to see what else was in the area when I found a restaurant called The Olde Jaol Restaurant.

Hmmm. Interesting name. Steakhouse, huh? Okay, I'm liking this. Wait -- a steakhouse in a former jail? 

Ummmm YES PLEASE.

Seriously, as a former prison librarian how could I say not to that? Also: steak was divine. Also also: everyone was super friendly. The former owner had recently sold it but he still comes in for dinner and drinks and we were chatting at the bar together while the new owner was behind the bar making drinks and I got to chat with all of the staff and, srsly. So friendly. (Plus good steaks.)

Saturday was Buckeye Book Fair Day! There were several of us staying at the inn so over breakfast we were all chatting about our books and where we live and it was just so much fun.


The book fair was a great success. I met lots of readers and runners. My favorite part of these events are when people see the cover of my book and read the title and that moment when THEY GET IT. It's always accompanied by a laugh and a knowing nod and they usually then come over and tell me their own back of the pack / police escort story. Best part of this gig, y'all.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 November 2017

Unmasking

Fall always gets me into a nostalgic mood. It's a struggle for my anxiety and depression, last year I even took an entire blogging break for the season. It always puts me in a reflective state of mind. So maybe it's because of that or maybe it's because it's right around Halloween but I've been thinking a lot about masks recently. Masks and personas.


For most of my life I've always talked about my walls. I have a lot of them. Walls are kinda my thing. But lately I've been thinking about it less as walls that I put up and more like masks that I put on.

It may seem like semantics but, to me at least, there is a difference. Walls keep people out and that's not my intention, not really. Walls also make me think of princesses locked in towers that need to be rescued and I definitely don't need that.

But masks. Masks are things within my control. Masks are things I can take on and off as necessary. And with a vast collection of masks, I can select the one that best fits the situation and circumstance.

Have you seen the dark 1980s film Return to Oz? It's one of my favorites and one scene in particular involves a queen that Dorothy meets. What Dorothy doesn't realize at first is that the queen has the ability to change her head. Literally. She keeps an entire gallery of heads and depending on her mood or need she'll change her head.


(Seriously, tho. How awesome would that be? Having a bad hair day? Just pick a head having a good one. Headache? Switch it out.)

The fact that I saw this when I was a kid probably explains why it resonates with me so much. Those films you see as a child dig in deep and I can certainly relate to wanting to be someone other than yourself at times.

But, really, watching the film you get the sense that each head serves a purpose or mood. Sometimes the queen needs to be the nice gentle ruler that everyone loves. She has a head for that. Other times she needs to be the heartless queen who takes no shit. That's a different head.

For me it's survival. Which sounds weird, but as someone who moves through life feeling anxious and overwhelmed, having masks let me adopt a persona other than myself to function. At least temporarily. I have the mask that can make polite small talk when necessary. The mask that will get me to work. The mask that will help me get through functions with lots of people.

I've had people tell me that it always surprises them that as a shy introvert who really doesn't like people I have zero issue getting up in front of an audience, sometimes upwards of 500 people, and giving a presentation or doing an interview with a huge bestselling author.

That? That's my I Like Being The Center of Attention mask. Or, as someone told me, I'm an introvert who can put on an extrovert shell.

I honestly have no idea what the point of this post is. It's just something that's been brewing in my brain for awhile that I needed to get out. I know this blog has gone through so many transitions over the past five years since I started and I don't nearly blog as often as I used to, so thanks for reading those rare times when I do.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 October 2017

I Said Yes to the Dress

So! As some of you may remember (because I don't think I've talked about it since), back in April, BC and I got engaged!


Despite the fact that I haven't talked about all of that since, we are in full wedding planning mode and have a date set for fall 2018 here in our beloved city of Cleveland.

As the bride, my main focus has, of course, been my wedding dress. As a plus size bride, this also brings about some anxiety. We set our date fairly early and I didn't want to start wedding dress shopping that early but I did start scoping out plus size friendly shops in the area.

Of course, along with that is the classic David's Bridal and they also have the benefit of having gowns online to peruse. There was one in particular I really wanted to try on so about a month ago I made an appointment to try some gowns on.


I scheduled the appointment for a Monday, hoping that it would be less busy, which would help reduce any body image anxiety I might feel if I was surrounded by a million skinny brides. It was just me and another bride, which also meant that the employee was able to be a little more attentive, versus if she was bouncing around between several of us.

I also went alone. I knew, more than anything else, I wanted and needed to shop alone. I didn't want the noise of others to distract from my experience of knowing the right dress when I tried it on.

So I started with the dress I saw online, we'll call that Dress A and it was lovely and had pockets (omg) and was as divine in person as the website. I also tried on, gosh, about six or seven more. I went in VERY open minded. When I was pulling dresses I wanted to try on I grabbed a whole bunch of different styles and fabrics and lengths. In my mind I had an idea but I also wanted to be open to organically finding something different.

I can be indecisive about a lot of things, but when it comes to clothes I am immediately hot or cold. I either love it or hate it and if I only like it, it goes into the hate category. I need to LOVE my clothes. So there were some dresses that as soon as I tried it on, took a glance in the mirror, I immediately needed to take off. There were others that I kind of hemmed and hawed and then needed to put in the No category.

Among those was Dress B, which admittedly was pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. I thought I wanted a dress with X and this had Y and then just multiply that by like 5 different elements.

Anyway. I had it narrowed down to A and B but I wasn't ready to commit. But even leaving the store and in the days and weeks after, I couldn't stop thinking about Dress B. So I made another appointment, which was yesterday, to go back and make a decision.

I chose another Monday and this time I was the only one in the store. The sales woman got me all of the underpinnings and then pulled the two dresses. I started with Dress A which, again, so lovely and pockets and just everything. And it was the dress that had first drawn me into the store.

But it wasn't MY dress.

So I had her put on Dress B and as soon as she zipped it up I knew. And then I looked in the mirror and literally started doing a little dance. And then I wanted a veil (birdcage style) and we added a small blingy belt and I literally did not want to take the damn dress off.

But, of course, I had to but mine has been ordered and will be coming in before the end of the year!

(But you'll have to wait until next year for photos. No spoilers!)

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 September 2017

These Boots Are Made For Walking

I have a confession to make, you guys:

I spent all of last winter and last fall walking around with my boots only half-zipped because my calves hate me.



When I went boot shopping last fall, I only tried the boot on my left foot/leg because that's the leg that had the blood clot and had been huge and I thought "Well, if I can get it on over this leg, I should be fine with the other." I found a pair of boots I loved, zipped it up over the left leg, then bought them.

What I hadn't taken into account is that because of my broken ankle, the right leg spent much of the summer doing all of the work which meant that my right calf got an increase workout for several months and thus grown in size. I didn't discover this until the first time I tried to wear the boots and couldn't zip it up over my right calf.

But, fuck it. I loved these boots and I wanted to wear these boots and I was going to wear these boots regardless of whether or not I could zip them up.

So, I did.

All fall and winter I just walked around my office at work with my boots zipped up to the bottom of my calf. Some days my left leg behaved, some days it didn't, so, yeah, I was literally walking around with both of my boots only half-zipped.


Thinking about it now I am mortified. What a hot fucking mess I must have looked like.

The thing is, I love these boots. And it's not like they are anything special, just some basic black pair I bought for maybe $40 at Payless last year. But to me they are pretty much the most perfect pair of boots ever and so once I realized they didn't fit both legs, I didn't want to deal with returning them and then starting the hunt over again.

This year, I decided to be an adult and finally invest in a set of Boot Bands and omg, you guys. I can't even.

For those that don't know, Boot Bands are boot expanders. They are a small triangle that you can zip right into your boot, eliminating the gap that will appear when you can't zip them all up on their own.

Admittedly, figuring out how to attach and zip the first time was a very frustrating, twenty minute long process where I was ready to just send the stupid things back until I decided to check YouTube and found a video that showed me I was attaching them incorrectly. Once I got it all squared away, I was officially in love.


Yeahhhhhhh that looks way better than walking around with the zipper halfway down my boot.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 September 2017

It's Fall, Y'All

Okay, technically fall is still officially a week or so away but Sunday we had football on our TV, chili in the crockpot, and Oktoberfest beer in our fridge, and yesterday I broke out my black boots so whatever, I'm calling it.


Also, this cat .gif seems appropriate to represent my whole coming out of unintentional blogging hibernation.

Along with wearing my fabulous knee-high black boots, yesterday I also had a follow-up appointment with my vascular surgeon, Dr. Stanley. Last time I saw him was back in March which holy shit, seems like a fucking lifetime ago and not just a mere six months.

I'm now over one year post-deep vein thrombosis and I had know at my last appointment back in March he said my leg was looking good and this was just a follow-up. When he walked in, he said "How's my runner doing?" and my leg is still looking good, thanks to my compression socks. (I can't believe I was so reluctant to wear them for months. Months, I tell you. Then, once I just accepted my fate and started wearing them, oh, hey, turns out they work really well.)

Speaking of accepting my fate, the one thing we didn't discuss was a change in my medication. I'm pretty much now convinced I'm going to be on blood thinners for life which, ugh. Honestly, I'm mostly lamenting all the tattoos I won't ever be getting because the blood thinners would fuck up the healing process. This is not helped by the fact that my co-worker got the most amazing Harry Potter tattoo a couple of weeks ago and I AM SO JELLY.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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