Here I am in seat 28D, an aisle seat on Alaska Airlines heading to Boston. This day started at an ungodly hour of 4:30 AM. Per my usual travel mode Uber picked me up and delivered me to SeaTac International Airport. My pre-check status with TSA ensured me a quick run through security screening.
If you travel often, I highly recommend looking into this option. It is worth the $85.00 and the one application/visit with TSA. In exchange you get 5 years of Pre-Check status which means no long lines, no taking off jacket or shoes, no taking out all your electronic devices and no full body scans. It is a time saver which means less hassle than regular security screening.
Once I arrive at the terminal, I am overcome with relief to pick up a Starbucks coffee. I know my need/craving for coffee must be more psychological than physical as I don’t often drink caffeinated coffee. Today though, my beverage of choice is a tall, half-caf, almond milk, 2 Splenda latte. (I opted for a little caffeine as I didn’t get much sleep last night).
While the warmth of the coffee cup in my hands is comforting to me and the full bodied, nutty goodness satisfies my immediate needs, I think back to what it was like when I used to get anything I wanted to drink. Back when I didn’t have to think about calories, sugar and protein intake. Gone are the days of my longtime favorite venti, iced, quad-shot, non-fat, extra caramel, caramel macchiato. Although I miss caramel macchiatos, I’m much happier with the body I’m living in now.
As I begin sipping on my latte, I check my email and Facebook. After a couple of posts to my personal and business pages I have a short wait at gate C9. I hear the overhead paging system announcing group C may begin boarding. I gather my things and commence getting in the long line. “Today’s flight is completely full” is announced overhead.
The overhead voice is asking for volunteers to check their luggage. This is a growing trend I have discovered. I can’t recall a flight in the last year that I didn’t hear this announcement. I often take them up on the request (heck it saves me $25-35.00) but as my current trip is a weeklong, I have already checked my bag. That bag is one which I have probably overpacked. In fact, I packed it so full that I was relieved when checking it in that the suitcase was only 45 pounds.
I usually don’t pack so much but, when checking the weather last night, I discovered it will be snowy and in the single digits. Being a native of Arizona and recent transplant to Seattle I’m not used to such cold weather. So, in preparation for this chilly week my suitcase contains two kinds of boots, scarves, gloves and a heavy winter coat (which I had to borrow from my daughter), dressy work clothes, tights, jeans, lots of socks, work out clothes and my tennis shoes. Hmm its only 5 nights do you think I overpacked?
Now on board the airplane and arriving to my seat, I stow my carry-on bag (a beautiful red Kate Spade tote I received for my birthday this year). I proceed to put both my iPhone XS Max, iPad Pro, headphones and charging cord in the pocket of the seat in front of me. Then I wait. I wait for the individuals who are going to need me to get up and let them in to their seats. I don’t particularly like being in the aisle seat. As someone who isn’t fond of flying and doesn’t like being in the way I generally choose the window seat.
Unfortunately, my travel agency always opts to put us in aisle seats as it seems I am the minority in the window preference. My first neighbor arrives. A young man looking like a hunky lumberjack. He appears kind and is very polite. As the last of the passengers are boarding, our window seat neighbor arrives. An older great grandfather type. The new addition to our aisle introduces himself and begins polite chit chat. I learn grandpa is from Fairbanks Alaska and is headed to the East Coast and then he will continue his trip to Norway to visit grandchildren. My sexy lumberjack who really could have stepped off the cover of one of my romance novels, begins introducing himself.
My lumberjack impression of him passenger isn’t far off. Lumberjack is a young man who just spent the last two weeks visiting his girlfriend in Alaska and before that, he spent the previous four months running a camp in Antarctica. Yes, you read that right he “camps” for 4 months every “season” in Antarctica. According to lumberjack he has been doing this for the past seven years. I was understandably in awe of anyone who would voluntarily spend one night much less four months in Antarctica.
Lumberjack informs me that the camp he runs are for science expeditions. Lumberjack reports they live in small individual bright yellow tents. It is in these little tents that he says they wear a knit cap which they pull down to cover their eyes so that they can attempt to sleep, as there is daylight 24 hours a day. According to lumberjack the lack of nighttime does get wearing and after a few months you get “some crazy dreams”.
Shortly after the flight is on the runway and begins to climb to our traveling altitude, grandpa pulls out his little pillow and proceeds to fall asleep. Lumberjack pulls his stocking cap over his eyes and he too falls asleep. I decide to get out my iPad and begin watching tv series I downloaded from Netflix. A couple of episodes in and I grow restless.
My snack pack which I pre-ordered arrives. Three cheeses, olive oil and salt crackers, apple slices, red grapes and chocolate truffle. I pick out the cheese and crackers and place the other items back in the container and set it aside. I snack on my “breakfast” of cheese and crackers then break out my audiobook and laptop. Although today is Sunday I decide to begin the blog post for tomorrow.
#MOBILEMONDAY #SPQ #JillConnerBrowne
March 4, 2019
The Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love- Audiobook 4 Hours 53 Minutes
Written and Narrated By: Jill Conner Browne
In 2010 I read one of the funniest non-fiction books. After finishing the book, I proceeded to order copies for my mother and friends, as I decided they just had to read this book. That book was The Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love. Recently browsing through @Audible for new material I discovered it is on audiobook. Trying to be money conscious I checked my Library app and discover yes, they carry the book but there is a long wait to check it out. Saying oh well I’ve got to have this audiobook now, I purchased, downloaded and began my listening.
If I thought Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love was a hoot to read nothing prepared me for listening to. it. Read by the author Jill Conner Browne, her thick southern, Jackson Mississippi accent is charming. While her witty personality brings her words to life. I can’t remember a time where I laughed so hard and so much as I did during those five hours!
Jill begins the audiobook describing how she created the Sweet Potato Queens (SPQ is what she often refers to them as). Jill describes the story about when a friend told her about a relative who had a large sweet potatoes farm. Jill tells her friend that the farm needs a Sweet Potato Queen and that she would volunteer to be said queen. When the farm owner never takes her up on the offers, Jill declares she is The Sweet Potato Queen (SPQ). Well now that she is a queen her friends start chiming in that they too want to be a queen. Jill explains her group of friends all are women past the age for beauty pageants, who,” by the way” would never have lowered themselves to enter pageants anyway.
In the first chapter Jill discuses further why none of the SPQ would bother with entering a beauty pageant. According to Jill a beauty pageant is only open to the young beautiful women who if they happen to win are only a queen for a year. Thus, their reign as queen has an expiration date. In addition, that measly little year is spent parading about at every event the pageant’s organizer arrange. Then you have the other 99.99% are the losers and as such go away feeling like a loser and never get to wear a crown.
The next part had me laughing so hard I had tears falling down my face. I’m going to share what Jill said in her words but honestly, I probably won’t do it justice as her affect and tone just makes it so much funnier. But here it goes.
“Sweet Potato Queens on the other hand don’t have to do jack shit that anybody says, and we are queens for life. Another thing, youth is not a prerequisite to becoming a queen. The very young can have no sense of who they are, as where Sweet Potato Queens have had plenty of time to cultivate this vital self-awareness. Collectively we have had approximately 400 years to devote to our development and we’ve turned out mighty well, I must say".
Personally, when she said that SPQ don’t have to do jack shit I lost it. Her phrasing and attitude were just too much. As a woman in my thirties when I first read SPQ Book of Love I had a great appreciation for Jill’s stories and found myself in adoration of her humor. Now, in my forties and more than a few big life experiences under my belt I find Jill’s stories hilarious and reflective my own life experiences. The connection makes the book even better, if that is even possible.
The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love is 14 chapters with titles such as “That queenly look maintaining it in this lifetime and the next”; “The true magic words guaranteed to get any man to do your bidding”; “The best advice given ever in the entire history of the world”; “Be prepared on account you just never know”; “Educating our young in a matter most befitting a queen”; “He aint nothing but a man, you better have a good defense”; “The 5 men you must have in your life at all times”; “Boyfriends and fiancés, getting them and getting over them”; “Men who love us an the incredible lengths to which they go to demonstrate their love”; “Men who signal danger, be on the look out for these red flags”; “Men who might need killing, quite frankly”; “What to eat when tragedy strikes or just for entertainment”; “Queenly entertainment, road trips and the WFW luncheon club”; “So you declare yourself a queen, now what?”
My favorite chapter was the one about the true magic word. Jill gives us “The Promise” that SPQ have used time and time again to many different men to get them to do any number of things. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what the words or method in which you should deliver the promise, but I will tell you this chapter alone would be worth the cost of purchasing the book/audiobook.
Jill Conner Browne’s The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love contains all you need to know about “love, life and men” is lighthearted, amusing and downright hilarious! Not only has author and real-life Sweet Potato Queen Jill published the Book of love she has gone on to write and narrate several more books.
· God Save the Sweet Potato Queen: Contains “valuable wisdom how they went from cute girls to fabulous women”
· The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit: “hilarious (though not scientifically tested) wink at the time-honored mysteries” that is parenting.
· The Sweet Potato Queens’ Field Guide to Men: Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay or Dead
· The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner
· American Thighs: The Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Preserving Your Assets
· The Sweet Potato Queens’ Wedding Planner/Divorce Guide
· The Sweet Potato Queens’: Stuff We Didn’t Actually Do, But Could Have and May Yet
To say I recommend this book is an understatement. What I recommend is getting it in print or audiobook ASAP and reading or listening to all the books. Author Jill Conner Browne helps you see through the rough spots of life by shining a light on the humor of it. Jill’s work reminds me a lot of Erma Bombeck, who was popular when my mother was my age.