Category Archives: trips

TBR Challenge – January’s Book

My book for January’s TBR Challenge read is a series romance.

Moonlight and Mistletoe
by Dawn Temple

It’s a Silhouette Special Edition, published November 2009.
This is a sweet, enjoyable read about a small-town girl and the big-city lawyer who isn’t really trying to hustle her–he honestly thinks he’s doing her a favor–but it’s a favor she doesn’t want, involving a pair of sleazy birth parents she’d just as soon forget. He doesn’t believe she’s as nice as she really is–and has trouble accepting that he’s just as nice. There’s a big dog, some local holiday festivities that remind me a lot of the holidays in all the little towns where I’ve lived, and just a great romance. I liked it a lot.

Yeah. I kinda specialize in short-and-sweet review-lets. :)

I’m posting this late on Thursday, but it’s still Thursday!

I’m late because I had to rearrange my whole week to go to the parents’ yesterday. I had intended to head up on Monday, but the doctor appts. they had on Tuesday they changed to Thursday. So I switched around the days I was going to work, and drove up yesterday.

And then today, while we were getting organized, the doctor’s office called. Their systems were down, and they had to cancel ALL the patients’ appointments for the day. Who knows when they’ll be able to reschedule? And I needed to come back home, because I rearranged my work days to work tomorrow. Sigh.

I hope they can go by themselves. I wrote down Mama’s question for the doctor, she put it in her billfold, then I wrote a note and stuck it on the outside of her purse that says “Doctor question is in the billfold.” So maybe she’ll be able to find it and ask it. If that doesn’t work… Well, who knows when my stress level will go down…

I did finish reading my research book…

Riverside writers’ retreat

I was here over the weekend, and it was wonderful. (This was Saturday, after the rain stopped–the view downriver from the upstairs deck.) We had workshops with a creativity coach who talked about recapturing the joy in writing, and how to be happily interrupted and other such things, plus there was time to write, and a concert, and white elephant gifting. Some of the white elephants were lovely. Some were…not so much.

The location was a house on an island in, I believe, the lower Colorado River. The only access to this island is by barge, or aerial tramway. It rained all day on Friday, the day we arrived, too wet, really, to cross on the barge. So we crossed on the tram.

The tram was WAY up in the air! And it was small. The wind was blowing, and the car tilted sideways, and it swung back & forth when it crossed the towers (that’s the first tower in the picture–the barge landing is right below it, to the left). And I’m real nervous about heights. But I did okay. I did not scream and clutch at the handrails or cower on the floor. And I stopped shaking once we got on the ground. 😉

It was just a wonderful weekend. Everyone brought potluck for meals, and we had WAY more than anyone could eat. We didn’t even open the ham someone brought.

My BFF Belinda came down from Waco with her fella, and they spent the night Thursday. Then Friday, in the pouring rain, we drove the “back way” down to the river house. We had to come a different way from everyone else, because the others were all coming down from Houston, and we had to just slide down the coast and come inland some from our island. Belinda and I drove in my “bus” and Ken followed us. In the rain. He likes to drive around and look at the country side. We were driving through flooded fields on both sides, lined with moss-draped trees. It was lovely. (Okay, the several junk yards we passed by weren’t so great, but…)

The only access between the downstairs “quiet” floor and the upstairs “brainstorming / workshop” floor was an outside staircase, so we got a little wet carrying things up and down. Mary (whose house it was) got REALLY wet, driving the golf cart to pick people up. She was so wonderful to open up the house to everyone, and work so hard to get everyone there.

B and I got there around noon, so we could just wallow in the experience, and wallow we did. Belinda had a one-on-one session with the coach. I did Tarot readings for at least half of those who came, including the coach. Some of them told me what their question was, and others didn’t, but they all said the readings were amazingly spot on. Well, one said she didn’t see some of the things, but… Anyway– I got a kick out of doing that.

Saturday night, Kathryn the coach, who is also a singer- songwriter, gave us a little concert with some wonderful songs. She did not bring enough CDs for everyone, and I don’t have mine yet. But let me tell you, the song LIVING WELL is a fabulous bluesy creation and You Need To Hear It. I fully expect to hear another of her songs performed by some bigtime country singer in the near future.

Then it was time for the white elephant. I didn’t get an elephant. I got a gun rack (for my (non-existent) rifle collection). Yes, those are deer hooves. Real ones. With fur and everything.

As you can see, I did bring it home. It’s going in the Lions’ Club white elephant Christmas party game this next year. :)

I told my son to bring his friend Walter over to see it. Walter grew up on a farm/ranch outside Tyler, TX. I think he will appreciate it. (Yes, the picture is sideways, but the deer feet are the right way up.)

So now, it is time for me to run to the grocery store for ice cream and Cokes. (In Texas, all sodas are Cokes, whether they are Coca-Cola or not, but I really am going to by Coke Zeros.) And then pack my car and head off to the parents’.

I started rewriting a synopsis for White Elk, Red Sword while I was at the retreat. Mostly I was there to refresh and renew, but I did start on the synopsis. I finished it yesterday. So now I’m reading research books, and I hope to get back to work writing next week. I aim to get my head back into the story so I can do it.

I should Write Something Profound

Instead, I … well, won’t.

I got a great letter from my agent about my historical not-a-romance novel I sent her as a half-finished ms. She wants me to finish it asap. There are things I need to fix, and watch for as I write the rest of the book. I still have to do some research to get the ending right. It’s still a romantic adventure story, like pretty much everything else I’ve written, but it’s in an unusual-for-a-historical-novel time period and location, and it’s less romance. The main plot of the story isn’t a romance. So, I’ll write a synopsis and get the current partial out the door, then I’ll focus on Thunder in a Cloudless Sky.

I still have to bake cookies for my writer’s retreat. (Instead of “Retreat-a-thon” we should be calling it “Eat-a-Thon” given all the yummy goodies everybody is bringing.) And pack. Decide which book files I’m bringing. And figure out how to get everything waterproofed. This location is on an island. We can’t drive up to it. And the boat taking us over has no cover from rain. Rain is predicted all weekend. I may pack my clothes in an ice chest…

My friend B is coming in from Waco this afternoon, with her fella. We will go out for shrimps tonight. They’re like us. Want to eat shrimp whenever they get to the coast. I got no problem whatsoever with that!

Okay, heading home to get ready.

I know I just did two blogs in two days–I’m trying to work up to Two blogs a week, instead of just one–and I will try to space them out better in the future, but I haven’t made it yet. Y’all bear with me. :)

Holiday insanity strikes

I suppose I could say the insanity strikes again, because it does strike every year–but this year’s version just hit last week.

I was running around frantically trying to get ready to go accompany parents to the doctor’s early last week, and be ready for my RWA chapter party on Tuesday, when someone reminded me that the meeting was the third Tuesday, and therefore this week (tonight) rather than last.

It wasn’t that I got the dates mixed up. I knew it was the third Tuesday. I just thought last week was this week. So, in my head, I acquired an extra week for Christmas stuff. I didn’t actually get an extra week, but it felt like it. So with “all” that extra time, I went shopping.

I have to go back to the parents’ tomorrow, so I picked up presents for all the folks who live there. I got them wrapped last night–even the ones with unwieldy shapes and sizes. Go, me! I got presents for the Pittsburgh folks–except the grandson still needs toy(s). Granddaddy is taking today off from work to go shop for toys. He likes to shop for toys. He is also having to shop for some of the ladies in our lives (like his mother and sister-in-law). He struggles with their gifts, but always comes up with something brilliant.

Anyway, after all the shopping, the Christmas party deluge struck. We had one (potluck) party Friday night, two parties Saturday–one of them was actually a birthday party (Happy Birthday again, Ian!)–two parties on Sunday, and–no wait. That was all. Till the party tonight. And there’s two parties at pretty much the same time on Thursday. One starts an hour earlier than the other, so we’ll hit that one first, then slip out to the other.

Some of the parties have been potluck (took sour cream mashed potatoes to one, homemade salsa and tortilla chips to another, and may take salsa & chips to the third, depending on how I’m feeling when I get back from the ‘rents’). Some call for White Elephant gifts. I couldn’t think of anything else, and I’ve been wanting to get the paints out again, so I painted pictures. If I ever get any time at home again any time soon, I’ll try to get them posted so y’all can see them.

Writing? I’d like to get some done, but I haven’t been able to hold still long enough to get my brain unfolded. And I haven’t even started cooking yet–except for the salsa.

BTW, I will be the guest blogger at Whipped Out on Thursday, blogging about my homemade salsa. It’s good stuff. Y’all should go over there and read about it. :) On Thursday. I’ll try to remind you then…

Retreats for Writers

Or maybe it was a Treat for Writers.

I went on my annual pilgrimage to Valley Mills with my writer friends for the Heart of Texas writers’ retreat.

The place we go isn’t fancy. There are cobwebs in the rafters, and the floor slopes across the back room from the bathroom to the back door. There are 3 bunk beds, providing room for 6 to sleep, and a double bed at one end of the front room. (There’s a kitchen at the other end.) There is no heat unless you light the propane heater–and we didn’t light it. It got COLD that first night…but warmed up later. My friend Belinda and I went out a day early because we both had the day off. And it was wonderful.

There’d been a lot of rain lately, so the tank (man-made pond, for you non-Texans) right behind the cabin had water running into it, and out of it–into a pretty good-sized waterfall not too far away. Lots of limestone makes for lots of waterfalls. When there’s enough water to fall. This was the first time the tank’s been full enough to have a good-sized creek running out of it, and the water sang to us the whole time we were there.

We critiqued my synopsis (B came up with the perfect last line for it.) We wrote our morning pages. Belinda and I are going through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron together, and we were bad. We wrote our morning pages together, and we kept stopping to talk. It took us a couple of hours to finish. By the time we went into town for lunch and got back to the ranch, the other participants were starting to show up.

Friday night, we had 7 there by the time everyone got off work and came out. We ate sandwich for supper. (One great BIG sandwich in a ring, we cut into sections. We ate that sandwich a couple of days.) We critiqued the chapters of the people who sent them–four of us. We talked plot for the chapters we critiqued. I got too loud.

Four of us spent the night, one more came back around 10:30 a.m. And we did some writing drills–the ones where you take an assortment of items out of a bag and write a scene that includes all of the items. We plotted stories for me and another lady. B and I walked around the tank and down where we could see the waterfall from the front side. Sort of. Then we jumped the creek to get back. I took off my shoes and socks, in case I fell in. I didn’t have walking shoes, and I almost slid out of the backs of my clogs climbing the back side of that tank, because clogs don’t have backs.

We spent some time writing on our own stuff. B and Diana (the middle person in this second picture–Belinda is on the right and Shelley on the left) went into town to get Diana some water, and brought back pizza for supper. After supper, we watched the movie “Twilight” and then analyzed its plot points. We used the plotting method from the Save the Cat book by Blake Snyder, and found it interesting that the main plot was the romance between Edward and Bella, and the subplot was the bad vampires. Most movies are the other way round. We talked writing until midnight or so, and it felt like we’d hardly got started.

Of course, after sleeping 3 nights on those bunk beds– they weren’t bad, but they weren’t the best beds in the world either– we weren’t exactly looking our best. Belinda did not want her picture taken. I haven’t seen all the pictures taken of me. I’m hoping I can cut myself out of the worst ones… Yes, I forgot to take my camera. I forgot my sleeping bag–you think I’d remember my camera? (The beds had clean sheets and blankets that worked just fine.) I remembered all the critiques I’d printed out, and my notebook for the morning pages. The important stuff. (Also my toothbrush and blow dryer.)

Sunday, we got up and did some other exercises, then cleaned up, threw away our trash, divvied up the remaining groceries (I got the Fritos, a package of bagels and the blueberry cream cheese), hugged everybody good bye and went home again. We’re going to try to do this again in the spring, so we can have a spring and a fall retreat, more than just once a year.

So now my synopsis is fixed, my partial’s been critiqued, and I’m printing it out to send off to the agent. I really like retreating… :)

Another Travelogue

I did have an idea for something to write in this blog last night…and of course, now that it’s morning, I’ve forgotten every idea I ever had. Sigh.

Maybe if I put on my computer glasses… Yes, I have a separate pair just for working at the computer. Trifocals would just divide up my bad vision that much more…

Nope. Doesn’t help. So you will get another travelogue, because I am now home from San Francisco, fixing to head out again (Yes. FIXING TO. I am a Texan. Deal with it.)

So. We ate our way across San Francisco and Sausalito. Went with a group of fellow Galvestonians to Muir Woods to see the redwoods. Wow. If I knew where the camera was, I would download pictures and post them. But it’s in the fella’s briefcase, and that sucker has so many compartments and booby traps, I’m afraid to go hunting for it. (The camera, not the briefcase. Though I’m not sure where that is either.)

We went on a small bus, because the large ones won’t fit on the road that goes down into the canyon where Muir Woods National Monument is. The only road I’ve been on that compares, in terms of twisty hairpin curves and vertical drops was in Norway. Even Independence Pass, across the Continental Divide in Colorado, does not compare. And our bus driver drove like a bat out of Hades. And we were in the very back seats on the bus, thumping up and down and swaying and almost flying out of our seats with every curve and pothole. It was rather like a rollercoaster. Only without safety bars. Though on the way down, I was wedged in pretty tight–the seats barely had room for my knees…

But the trees were amazing. And the creek was picturesque. We even saw a 10-point black-tailed buck. Cool.

We ate fish & chips in Sausalito for lunch. We rode the ferry across the bay and watched some stunt pilots in the air show. There were so many pleasure boats out on the water (both sail & motor) I’d swear you could walk from Fisherman’s Wharf to Alcatraz stepping from one boat to another. There was probably more room than that between them, but it looked that close. We went looking for a balcony to watch the rest of the air show (It was Fleet Week, and the Blue Angels were supposed to perform.) and wound up eating again. I had ice cream. With very delicious chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.

Then we walked further down Fisherman’s Wharf to find another “better” view of the Blue Angels–except they called off the show on account of fog and wind. Oh well. So we went and sat outside a pub where they were watching the Texas-Colorado game inside. These were mostly Colo. fans. (Oh well.) And I was freezing. I pretty much froze the entire time I was in San Francisco. Except when I was inside the MoMA and had to take off my jacket. The rest of the time, I was cold.

Eventually, we worked our way back to the hotel. And went out for Chinese food for supper. We were going to go to the Irish Pub down the street first, but they were so slammed, we never got waited on. (And I wanted to have a cider. Darn.) So we left. And that was our eating adventure.

When I got hungry the next day, I wasn’t sure if I was really hungry, or just so used to being stuffed to the gills, it felt strange when I wasn’t…

I have thought nothing about writing. I have done my morning pages. Except for today. Drat. Better go do that. I had the notebook out, but… I’m being very bad.

Still have a few more things to do before I can leave to check on parents. Like buy gas for the vehicle. I’ll get there. I think I’m going to have to start going up to go to all doctor appointments with them. I wonder if I can get Daddy on that Alzheimer’s medicine. I’m not sure that’s what Mama has, but I think that’s my Daddy’s problem. We’ll talk about it.

Grandboy visits

The daughter and her boy came to visit. For two weeks. It was wonderful. :)

They came to see us, and to let his dad get some work done on his dissertation so he could get it finished. So I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done while they were here. Partly because the first week they were here, my parents, sisters, brother, spouses, some nephews and a niece came to visit, and stayed in a beach house out on the west end of the island. We had to visit them as much as we could.

One of the nephews was just back from a Navy tour in Bahrain. He and the son went out one night. When the son came back the next day, he informed us, “I am never going drinking with a sailor again. Ever.” Oh well. Oh, and the day all of those relatives left, a nephew from the other side of the family–one of the fella’s brother’s boys–came to visit for 4 or 5 days. That was fun too. But again, didn’t get a lot of writing done. Did get a lot of swimming done. (Yay!)

The grandboy is six now. He likes to take pictures with his mom’s camera. With my camera too, but he took a picture of his nose with Mom’s. This is the boy with autism, and allergies to all dairy, as well as gluten. (The dairy is related to his autism, the gluten is related to his granddaddy.)

He had a few adventures with Dolly the granddog. She’s a pretty frisky, playful dog–she’s about 3 years old, and still has lots of energy, especially when meeting new people. Which scared the little guy. But it was too hot to be playful for very long, and she quickly learned that if she moved–if she even looked at him, he would run away. So she would just lie there in the shade and let him come to her.

Within a day or two, he approached her. Then he touched her feet. Then he patted her back. The next thing we knew, he had hold of her tail, had the white part in his mouth, biting it. (Don’t think he actually bit down, but…) It was rather traumatic getting him to calm down enough to listen to Granddaddy and understand “Don’t bite Dolly.” By the end of the visit, he was pulling up her lips trying to put dogfood in her mouth, and she would just turn her head and walk away. This picture of Dolly is about a year and a half old. She’s filled out quite a bit, looking very “pit bull.” It really is all in how they’re raised…

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. But a lot of fun. :)

And I am writing. Really!

Back from Washington

I went to the Romance Writers of America national conference last week and got home last night at midnight or so. It was a great time, but man, am I tired now. Of course, the tiredness is mostly because I walked to the National Zoo from the hotel, and all through the zoo, and back to the hotel again, and my calves are knotted up like a macrame plant hanger. The rest of my legs are just sore.

I will try to get pictures downloaded this week and posted. The grandboys (and their daddy) have come to visit for the week, and their dad is sleeping in my office, but I bet I can get some pictures onto the blog. I have pictures of the panda bears and an orangutan crossing the zoo on the special “O-line” cable, and a wolf, and a few other animals. Do not let me forget the pictures!

I took many more pictures at the zoo than at the conference–I kept forgetting to get the camera out–but I do have a few. It was a good conference. I sold about 12 copies of New Blood at the literacy signing–more than half of those donated. The big news about that was that they were all sold to people I don’t know. It’s easy to sell books to your friends, but not so much to strangers. A number were made curious by the steampunk label, so that was all good.

Had my first “OMG, you’re Gail Dayton!” moment, complete with a hug like we were long lost sisters. That was fabulous. And my “fangirl” was a librarian with the Portland-area King County library system. Who did a little “favorite library story” podcast thing with me. I left her card at home, so I’ll have to get back to you with the link.

Got to see the cover to Heart’s Blood, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED IN JANUARY, instead of February as I had thought. I will get it up here and on the website asap. It is gorgeous, and I can’t wait for y’all to see it.

I moderated two workshops, and volunteered at another where the moderator didn’t show and the speaker had transparencies to put on an overhead projector. I swapped out the pages. I went to a number of interesting workshops, but of course, I can’t remember which ones they were at the moment. Several of them helped me figure out why I am struggling so much with this book–the 3rd in the steampunk series–though the biggest thing I just figured out last night/this morning. Which is:

I am once more trying to cram two books’ worth of plot into one book. So I will have to pull all the extra stuff out and focus on the correct main plot. This ought to help tremendously in the “get the &#@$!%*! book written” department. I am now re-doing all my plot points and such. Trying to get it sorted out. I may do this “Save the Cat” style. Yes, I finally found the book.

So–I’ll do my best to get pictures and such downloaded and posted asap. Again, nag me, if I don’t.

Warmer weather

Back home again under sunny skies and WARM weather. It got up to 80F yesterday. But I need to finish the story, right? The one about the trip to NYC.

We’re up to Friday, I believe. I had good intentions about writing in the mornings while I was there. But good intentions often flounder when faced by–well, good books. And a soft bed. And other temptations. I didn’t write diddly-squat. Not one stinkin’ word, much less a good word. But I shall persevere. (Just not today.)

See, right before I went to New York, I did some reviews (look me up on Good Reads or Shelfari) which I share with an online loop (Romance Readers Anonymous–look it up at Yahoo! Groups) and with Sarah at the Smart Bitches site, and when I sent it to Sarah, I mentioned that I would be in her neighborhood, and maybe we could get together sometime. She e-mailed me back, and when I checked e-mails online on the fella’s laptop, I saw it, called her, and we set up lunch together on Friday. So I had TWO business lunches in NYC.

I left early, because of my getting-turned-around issues, so hopefully I wouldn’t get too lost and would have time to find the place and not be late. And of course, despite my little out-and-in dance at the subway doors, I got there early, so I had time to walk around the block and look at all the fancy schmanzy jewelry stores. I was almost afraid to look at some of those things too closely in the windows, they were so fancy and expensive looking. It was really fun talking to Sarah. She thinks in a lot more depth than I do–or maybe she’s more conscious of it than I am. It was a fabulous lunch. (I had pizza–I don’t get to often, given then fella’s allergies.) We’d never met in person, but it was as if we’d been friends–for months, anyway. Lots of fun.

She suggested walking down 5th Ave. to see the stores–so I did. Until my knees and hips gave out–I still shop till I drop, but the drop point comes a lot sooner these days.

Friday night, we went to see To Be or Not To Be–a play, not a musical. It was very good also. We just had the best time going to see plays and shows. Let’s see–Friday was the dinner with his board of directors. Went to a Tuscan/Northern Italian restaurant and had a fabulous dinner (veal crepes for appetizer, beef w/polenta, etc.) in great company. We went before the show, which I liked a little better, I think, than going afterward.

Saturday, we slept kind of late, then went out to find something for the grandboys. We shopped around the hotel, in Times Square, (I got a Times Square mug for me–had tea in it today) then went down to Chinatown to shop some down there, and have lunch. (General Tso’s chicken, this time.) Looked at a lot of stuff, but didn’t find anything we really wanted to buy. So we rode the subway back uptown, stopped here and there. New York has some really fancy stores and boutiques. It also has a K-Mart. (We found at least one.) Saw Madison Square Garden. Got myself sorta un-turned around. Saw a fur wholesaler, but what would I do with a fur in Galveston? It barely gets cold enough for a sweater… We finally picked up some gifties for the grandboys, and went back to the hotel for a nap. I took one, anyway.

Saturday night’s show was Hairspray. That was the fella’s pick. We each picked one musical and got tickets before we left home. Then while we were in town, we decided on the two other plays. We sat on the extreme outside end, but we saw everything just fine. It was a fun show.

But when it was done, we had to go back to the hotel and pack up. Which meant I had to decide what to do with and where to put all those books I got. I’ve read 2-1/2 of them by now.

Sunday was taken up with getting home again. We left the hotel early to avoid the marathon. Yes, the NY marathon ran that Sunday (that’s two marathons I’ve had to avoid this year), and for several days before hand, there were people in spandex wandering (and sometimes running) all over town. Speaking in all sorts of languages. Even Welsh.

Anyway, we’re home again. My brain is more or less functioning. The post office has set up new boxes in trailers behind the downtown postoffice which is still closed, so I don’t have to drive off the island any more to get the mail. Gradually, life is getting more and more back to normal. Now I just need to get back to a good writing schedule.

NYC, Day 2

I’m not awake yet. That’s okay. I’m going to try to blog anyway.

So, yesterday was my visit to the Tor offices. Since we’d gone on a sort-of dry run on the subway past the stop where I needed to get off to visit, I took the subway down, but came up the wrong exit and didn’t know which way to turn from my exit. I’m usually not too directionally challenged, but I have had a hard time here keeping myself oriented. I don’t know if it’s the height of the buildings and being unable to really keep track of the sun, or what, but every time I come out of the hotel, I have to stop and look around and figure out which way is uptown (north) and which way is downtown (south). And then I can get where I’m going. And I always think it’s the other way than what it is–or at least a lot of the time I do.

Anyway, I got turned around when I came up from the subway, and walked the wrong way for about 5 minutes, then turned around and went back. Finally wound up calling Heather. Somewhere in all this, I missed the fact that the building I was looking for was actually the Flatiron building, and wound up walking all the way around it to make sure it was the place I was trying to go. But I made it! And everyone was impressed that I took the subway to get there. :) (Even me!)

I have pictures, and I will post them. Discovered that when I changed batteries in the camera before I left town that I put in an almost dead one. But I have another to put in, so I can take more pictures. Anyway–I visited with Heather a while. We talked to the publicity people and the sales people–they’d just bought an ad for New Blood in RT, which makes me happy. I might get some book excerpt brochures to share around. Just got lots of ARCs to share around, so that makes me happy too.

We went to lunch at an Indian food place, and talked food and traveling. Heather and I have both been to St. Petersburg–the one in Russia. She was there the year after I went. Then we went back to the office, and I got to meet the art guy (he wasn’t there when we went by before) and he had official cover flats. See, they’re doing the title and my name all glossy, and the rest of the cover in matte, which makes the title and the name look Very Cool. It jumps out at you. AND, my name and the outline around the title is actually in a metallic gold, not yellow. And that is Very Cool too. So I got a handful of those too. Sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be giving away some copies of the book soon. When I get home and pick up those boxes of books. (To sign up, send an e-mail to gail @ with Subscribe in the subject line.)

And after all that cool stuff, Heather took me to the lobby, where there were books lining most of the walls, and said “See anything you like? Take whatever you want.” Well, geez…that was like setting a miser loose in Aladdin’s cave, with the genie gone. I tried to limit myself. After all, I only had a small totebag to carry stuff in. And I still had to pack them in carefully to squeeze them all in. And when I got back to the hotel (on the subway), I had to stop off in the lobby and unpack my bag to get to my wallet where the room key was.

But that was just the beginning of the day!

I took a nap. And read about half of one of the books (the hardback, because I’m afraid it will make my suitcase too heavy). And then went with our friends the Kellys to see The 39 Steps, which yes, is based on the old A. Hitchcock movie, but done as a comedy spoof. Lots of fun. Then out to dinner, with cheesecake. Yum.

More fun on tap today. Will post tomorrow–or whenever I get around to it.