Summer of the Extrovert

So I can fake being an extrovert at places like work. The weird thing is when I turn into one, at least for a little bit. And this summer has shown me both the depths of my extrovertedness and my introvertedness. All within the span of five weeks.

For the sake of all the things you probably have to do, I’ll try to keep it brief-ish. Also, I’ll have more pictures than text. I hope you have a good wifi connection and they load.

Phase 1: Story Embers Retreat #1

June 19-25

In the middle of June, I decided to take the all-night train to Pittsburgh for the Story Embers staff retreat. I’ve taken the train twice already, both times alone. This time I had a friend. Meet Gracie, the Story Embers staffer who only lives an hour away and yet we normally see each other when we take long trips from home. Like this one.


Friends are fun. Friends also help you sleep better because you are both sharing the same two-seat section so you can stretch out more. But I digress.

The train arrived around 6ish in the morning and then there were people.

Story Embers retreat

Marketing tip #97. Make good friends. They buy your books sometimes.

Meeting sessions. Where we all totally pay attention all the time. Also, people sealing my phone for selfies.

Of course, we had fun too. Like making dinner, going to the park, and breaking out of a ‘locked’ room which boasted skeletons, false doors, and lots of combination locks.

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Totally not posting for a picture because I knew someone else had a camera…

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All the special adorable people. And me.

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I then got to chaperone two friends back home on Sunday night. Between a creepy guy in a ski mask asking for eyeliner, and a train that was two and a half hours late, neither of them will probably want to accompany me again.

But. Instead of just going home and sleeping like a smart person, I stayed at Gracie’s house for a day and a half.

We did sleep. We hung out too. We visited Lake Michigan. I got horribly sunburned shoulders. It was grand. I did finally go home Tuesday night. The next day I had a nine-hour shift. Then a wedding. Then another closing shift.

Also, during that time, Cindy came over to my place for a few days, I got my ears cleaned, we went roller skating… all kinds of random things.

On Saturday, Phase 2 started.

Phase 2: Story Embers Forum Retreat

June 29-July 3

Last year I put together a mini Story Embers forum retreat. It went well, so this year I did it again. Except bigger. Oh, and yes. It was also part of a surprise for my best friend.

Half the people heading out to the Hocking Hills assembled at my house on Saturday night. Because that tends to happen when you’re the oldest among your friends and the only one who knows how to drive.

So we drove four hours to Ohio, surprised Kate, and spent two and a half grand days together. Granted, I was brain-dead for pretty much the whole thing, but it was still enjoyable.

I’m moving pretty fast in this blog post and just focusing on myself. Because, well–I am. But if you want a longer (and very amusing) perspective on this second phase you can read about Cabins, Canoeing, and Crazy People here.

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Because we’re adorable even if Kate did say the pictures would look like engagement photos.

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The Arachnochaos squad–and how we interact captured in one photo.

Also some of Gabby’s photos.

And so we enjoyed each other’s company. Then we went home on Wednesday. I worked that night. And worked for the rest of the week. And spent almost a week recovering mentally. It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that I woke up myself and was so excited I bounced into Kate’s chat and started exclaiming about it in all caps.

Of course, being better meant I was fine for the next stage of summer. Phase three.

Phase 3: Story Embers Retreat #2 & Realm Makers

July 14-24

I went to Realm Makers. But I went early and met up with Story Embers people first. Sunday I drove to Gabby’s house. Monday her parents drove us to St. Louis where we met up with Brandon, Rolena, Gracie, and Josiah. Tuesday Brianna and Mariposa joined us.

And Story Embers Retreat #2 was in session.

It was grand.

And *spoilers* I didn’t crash mentally this time. Even though I was away from home for a whole week and a half.

We went to the St. Louis Zoo. We went to the City Museum, which was basically a 5-story playground for adults and kids alike. And I got to flaunt my smallness in the faces of all the rest, climbing and twisting through all kinds of little places and them groaning as they tried to follow. It was great.

Oh, yes. Then running through a gathering storm to get our cars which were parked a mile away. I got wet. It was fun.

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Me, looking extroverted and with ‘messy hair, but in a grown-up way.’

Then, Thursday, Realm Makers itself started. Speakers, inspiration, costumes…

Oh yes, and sais. I brought them for a session with Carla Hoch. But I woke up Friday and decided to just carry them. All day. One of each hip. It was awesome and so much fun.