30 July 2011

And then there were crickets...


I just finished my July Camp Nanowrimo novel. Just now, at 0133 on July 30th, one full day ahead of schedule. Now I have all of tomorrow and Sunday to plan my August Camp Nanowrimo novel. If you're sitting there thinking that I've gone completely insane, you're right. I think I have. If you'd like an ARC of the drivel that just about crippled my fingers for the past 30 days, shoot me an email. The only rule is that you can't laugh...at least not where I can hear you.

Man. How appropriate that I'm doing a camp-themed Wrimo here on Allen Mountain, with the crickets loud just outside the window? I may have to build a campfire to get through August's challenge...but for now, if you need me, I'll be basking for a bit. Night, y'all!

23 July 2011

RID 2011, or Of Lifts, Binoculars, and Smashed Toenails

Yeah, that picture was taken on the way down to RID on Monday. I was happy then and had loads of energy...and great hair. Isn't that great hair?

This past week I attended the RID conference in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time I drove down to a MARTA station and rode the train down to the hotel rather than flying to the conference. The hotel was fabulous, the company was outstanding, and I got loads of CEUs toward my current CMP cycle (which ends in December, YIKES).

The fabulousness of the hotel was only mitigated slightly by the system of elevators there. Gorgeous though they were, they were glass and went very fast and I was staying on the 27th floor out of 47. Whoosh!

At one point, Lynne (Prevail, Goddess!) and I went all the way up to the top to check out the view. It was particularly woozy for me, and I had the oddest urge to drop my Blackberry over the edge. I didn't, though, and we called the elevator to head back down. Stepped inside, Lynne positioned herself on the floor to look out, and I hit the button for the lobby. I had heard that if you hold down the close door button, the elevator wouldn't stop at every floor but would go straight to the one you'd selected. Doors shut and I held down the close door button.

The elevator went about a foot downward and STOPPED. Yep, you read that right, it lurched to a stop. Between the 47th and 46th floors. I think I might have had a minor panic attack. Meanwhile, Lynne, who never backs down from a challenge, was sitting on the floor cross-legged giggling like a demented hippie as I stared at the buttons, willing the elevator to start moving...but not to plummet to the bottom, mind you.

We ended up on the lobby floor in a few minutes when it started up again. I still don't think my heart rate has gone back to normal.

That afternoon, during one of the workshops, Lynne and I were seated near the back and were having a hard time reading the Power Point on the screen at the front of the room. I turned to Lynne to sign "Can you see that?" and found that she'd pulled some binoculars out of her bag and was reading the screen! I have a lot of fabulous friends, something I found out in spades this week.

The ride home was NOT so pleasant. It took two days, for one thing, because I stopped over at my sister's in Atlanta for the night. That wasn't the bad part though. Today, on my way back to collect my car, my fabulous week fell apart in a splash of pain and hot weather and colour.

Susan and I headed out to go to the MARTA station and I was dragging my FAR TOO HEAVY suitcase out to her car. I somehow dragged it over my left foot, starting at the big toe and working backward. There was no swearing, but I did hop around and let out a Holy Heavenly Hannah! just before my toe started bleeding. We went back in and washed it off, then a neosporin and a plaster later and I was headed north...well, actually I was headed west toward Five Points station to change trains to go north.

Problem was, the northbound train I needed didn't stop at Five Points but rather stopped at Lindbergh, a few stops on up the north line. I should have gotten the train that was on the platform when I got there, but I didn't know that. So a quarter of an hour later I got on a train north, then got off at Lindbergh and hobbled across the platform and back, then caught the right train north to where my car was waiting.

Easy sailing, right? No. Tried to leave the deck, and it said my ticket was invalid. WHAT? Back up to the cashier, paid the fee and got a new ticket that let me out of the deck and got me on my way up here to Mom and Dad's where I'm staying till Simon gets here.

In a way, I can't believe that RID has come and gone already. At the same time, though, especially when you factor in the issues I had getting home today, it seemed like I was gone for a long, long, time.

Onward and upward now...only about two and a half weeks until I fly to the UK and see Simon for two weeks. Might actually rearrange my suitcase before then. For now, though, I'm going to rest up and hopefully catch up on my NaNoWriMo...

13 July 2011

Well, there's always fish...


Fruit and Veg box
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
So I decided to try again something that I tried when I was younger and less prepared. One summer when I was working at Camp, I decided to become a vegetarian. I don't know why I did it, but if I look back on other things I did at the same time I would guess it was because it would help me lose weight. It was an experiment at best, that left me eating loads and loads of salad greens and McDonald's french fries (on Friday nights, when we'd go into town from camp after the kids left). The end of that experiment was an unplanned trip to the infirmary at Camp after I nearly fainted from a combination of poor nutrition and living in the Georgia heat with no A/C.

Since that failed attempt I've looked with envy at those able to live a vegetarian lifestyle. I don't believe that I will ever make it to a purely vegetarian lifestyle and I am pretty sure that I am not meant to be vegan. However, I do know that when I don't eat meat I feel better, physically. So what pushed me over the edge this time?

For awhile, I have been fighting the feeling that there was something not right in the way that the animals that I've been consuming for most of my life are raised, treated, and processed into the food on my table. Something not right in my opinion, mind you. I would never EVER try to make someone else believe the way I do. If eating meat is okay with you, then that's great, I'm happy for you. It just isn't okay for me anymore.

To throw a slightly hypocritical spanner in the works, I'm not planning to give up fish at this point. I know that there are loads of awful things that happen to fish, and that's why I'm admitting it is hypocritical...I can't quite bring myself to give up sushi. I know there are veg options in sushi but I've only just discovered the heaven that is yellowtail tuna. Mercy.

Anyway, back to the hypothetical straw and camel: I've had the misfortune of riding behind some chicken trucks in my life, and every time it almost reduces me to tears. I saw an awful segment on the local news the other night where a farmer was talking about how you could buy a whole cow from him, you and your buddies, and they'd process the cow...as they were standing in the field with said cows milling around behind them! "You'll get good steaks and two sets of ribs..." It was horrifying to me. But the last straw was the wild turkey and babies that walked across the back yard up here on Allen Mountain the other day. I watched Mama Turkey checking the bushes before she let her babies follow her into the brush. The argument that turkeys (or chickens or cows) are dumb and that's why it's okay to eat them doesn't matter to me. It's a non-argument. Why do we eat some animals and not others? It was then and there that I decided I had to make a change.

I don't and won't begrudge my dog or my cat eating meat. Dogs can't live as vegetarians without a lot of extra work and care. Cats are carnivores. The way I'm looking at this is that my opposition to eating meat is because I have such a strong reverence for nature. I hope that everyone can support me in this decision, and that this time I can make some healthy choices as far as my food goes.

07 July 2011

Sleeping bag? Check. Bug Spray? Check. Word Processor? Check!


Yep, I'm at it again.  I've shuffled off to Camp NaNoWriMo for July and August, with a hopeful goal of 100K written at the end of both months.  So far (as of today) I'm about 300 words ahead of my target for the day, so I'm feeling pretty good, pretty inspired.

I know, you're horribly bored, but stick with me.  It gets better.

The project for July is a YA novel called Mirror, Mirror.  It is about faeries and Wales and all things good/evil twin, and I hope it will come out at the end of the month as more than just a bunch of bad Google Translate.  Here's the working synopsis from the Camp website:

"Elisa has always been different. Ever since her twin sister Emma went missing when the girls were just 8, her life has been upside down. The loss of her twin followed by her parents' double suicide left her alone and in foster care until Gwen Morgan adopted her and took her to Wales to start a new life. But can she ever escape the life she left behind? The truth behind her sister's disappearance will lead her into a world even stranger and more deadly than she could have imagined."
I promise you loads of teen angst, unrequited love, and snappy puns to keep you entertained.  What could be better?  I'm thinking August's work will be a ghost story of some sort, but I'm not sure what yet.  Following on the camp theme, I'm trying to remember all the awesome campfire ghost stories from my youth...maybe one of them will be the star in August!

And yes, for those still asking...I am insane.  Thanks for your support.  Wrimos, ho!

06 July 2011

There and Back again...and again...


The Dunnes
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Well, it has been two weeks shy of two months since I've seen that handsome devil in the picture with me (taken in May 2010 in York). I was losing hope that I'd see him before Christmas. I was losing my mind. I was losing my grip on politeness and definitely losing my composure.

Today we found a cheap flight...and now my world has righted a bit. I will be back in the UK to visit from 16-31 August. Back with no car. Back on the buses and trains and in taxis. Back at Sainsbury's and ASDA and eating at Nando's. Back right next to Mr. Dunne, and you'll be hard pressed to pull me away from him, at least not for very long.

I can't wait. I can't wait for the English voices on the tannoy. I can't wait for Daisy to be curled up on me on the sofa and Mills to be purring in my hair as I go to sleep at night. My family is the most important thing to me in the world, and I can't wait for all of us to be on the same continent, even if it is only for two weeks.

Roll on August!

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...