Karen Russell posted on her blog today a hilarious story about almost meeting Heidi Swapp in an airport, and it made me realize I'd never posted about my embarrassing meeting with Tara Whitney. If you're a scrapbooker, you probably recognize those names, but if you're not, just suffice it to say that these ladies are all rock stars.
I don't think that Tara scraps anymore (truly our loss) but she is an amazing photographer and I have followed her for 7 or 8 years, first through Two Peas and now through her blog. I feel a special, although one-way, bond with Tara because our daughters share similar developmental disabilities. And even though Tara is way cooler than I could ever hope to be, I feel like we could hang out. She is real and her life isn't always postcard perfect and she's not afraid to let that show.
Anyway...Ron, the kids, and I were in Hawaii in January. I wanted to snorkel in Hanauma Bay, despite the fact that it was about 70 degrees and drizzly. The beach was pretty steeply sloped, and I can't walk even on flat sand without my braces. I really wanted to snorkel though, so I swallowed my pride and stuffed my chunky, milky white self into my matronly swimsuit and let the kids push me to the edge of the water in a borrowed beach wheelchair. Those things have huge balloon tires and there's really no graceful way to get out of them, so Ron just sort of dumped me out into the surf. After all, I wasn't going to see anyone I knew anyway. (Dun dun dun...foreshadowing!) When it was time to go because the beach was closing, I dragged myself back into the wheelchair and the kids pushed me up the hill to return the gear.
I was waiting for Ron to do that, and I was freezing. The cold had turned me even paler, so I had taken on the slightly bluish color of skim milk and my hair was a matted sea hag mess. Suddenly I noticed a man who looked like Tara Whitney's husband, Jeff. And, oh my gosh, that's Nate, her son! Before I could stop myself, I called out, "Excuse me. Are you Jeff Whitney?" His puzzled look clearly said, "I'm sorry, but I'm sure I am not acquainted with any sea hags." I blurted out very excitedly, as if it explained everything, "I'm a scrapper!"
He did understand though, and said, "Tara's right over there." I introduced myself very inelegantly to her, totally quaking like a leaf. Her gorgeous children were even more so in real life, and Tara was very gracious. I was a babbling idiot. And I DIDN'T HAVE MY CAMERA! I have mixed feelings about that situation, because I probably would have fallen over dead with horror when I saw the photos, evidence that yes indeed, I did meet one of my photography idols looking LIKE THAT.
For the rest of the trip I would periodically say to Ron, "I can't believe I ran into Tara Whitney in Hawaii." He was not properly impressed. I sent Tara an email after getting home, and she sent a very kind reply.
It's ironic to me that Karen posted the story she did, because I am already quaking with excitement and nervousness about meeting her on the Ultimate Scrapbooking Cruise in January. I have taken classes with Donna Downey and Heidi Swapp and they are super inspiring and super fun, but it's Karen's class that made me bite the bullet and sign up for the cruise. I am just going to stand near her with my camera and hope that some of her mad skillz rub off on me.