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Laundry, of course, took precedence, as it would be crazy to try to pack enough stuff for two weeks. At least with the fees for checked bags.

Sunday night, the family drove from Grass Valley down to Oldtown Auburn to have dinner at the Auburn Alehouse, which occupies the space that used to be the Shanghai bar & restaurant, a fairly notorious dive when my MIL was growing up. I had the hard apple cider that they had on tap; my husband had their draught flight (3 oz. of all eight of their beers on tap), followed by a pint of their brown ale. (He also bought a growler of their Rye-nocerous PA to go.) After that, we left the kids with his parents and headed to Sac. He's teaching there this week, and the hotel he's staying at is the same rate single or double occupancy, so we figured I'd stay over Sunday night -- our first night alone in just over nine years!

Monday, he headed off to work and I read until the in-laws and kids arrived to pick me up. We lunched at Mel's Drive-In, then headed to William Land Park. We'd planned on doing the zoo, but instead we did Fairytale Land, which gave the kids lots of exercise. (The only way to get the girl away from the first slide was the promise of another -- and there are several!)

Tuesday was more of a chilling day: grocery shopping, kids playing in the wading pool, barbecued ribs for dinner. Oh, and more reading plus a new character showed up in my head.

Wednesday, the in-laws drove the kids and me up to Reno so we could spend some time with my mom. The kids really enjoyed her Peanuts DVDs, and I drove her around to do some errands. Friday, the in-laws came back to pick up the kids, so Mom and I had some time to ourselves -- part of which time involved a trip to the Walmart near her that's closing (they're building two new ones in the area), where I discovered that the fabric, being on clearance, was 50% off. Mom will be shipping the fabric to me at home: stuff for kids' clothes and pajamas, skirts for Mom and me, quilting material ...

Friday evening, my husband arrived from the workshop he'd been running that week, and we went to the pub mixer for my reunion. Had lots of fun reconnecting with people. Several were disappointed that I don't have a book yet to show them.

Saturday, we helped my Mom upgrade her computer (from 6-year-old eMachine to new iMac) and did some other shopping. (I only bought one new fiction book for me -- Laura Resnick's Unsympathetic Magic.) in the evening, another reunion event, dinner at a Basque restaurant. Not sure who picked the menu, but it didn't strike me as very Basque.

Sunday, back to Grass Valley to do laundry and pack -- hubby repacked it when I was done to make everything fit and distribute the weight. Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner. Then up at 3 am to get to Sac airport and fly home with 3 hour layover in D.C.

Lots of family time, fun with old friends -- not a bad vacation, even if I did feel somewhat stressed on the flights (and other times).

First week

Aug. 1st, 2010 11:00 am
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First part of last week was spent getting ready for the trip to the Monterey Peninsula: packing the motorhome, buying produce, that sort of thing. I did get some fusible interfacing (Misty Fuse black), which worked almist perfectly -- and would quite possibly have been better if I'd used it before cutting out the motifs. Live and learn.

When we arrived at the RV park (Marina Dunes, for those who may be interested), we walked down to the beach. A third of a mile on a sandy path, with a steep drop at the end to the beach itself. Saw lots of pelicans and cormorants, some gulls, and a couple of turkey vultures. On walking down the beach, we discovered the vultures were after the seal carcass near the high tide line. Walking back to the motorhome was exhausting; I was sweating in 60-degree weather, my legs were rubber, and my ankle hurt like hell. Fortunately, my husband had left the beach sooner, and he met us at the trailhead with the car, so I didn't have to make it as far as the motorhome on foot.

Thursday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That was an awesome trip, and I want to go back again someday. At one point, the girl fell asleep (we took an umbrella stroller) and her dad and pop-pop sat on a bench near her resting. My MIL and I just stood at the near tank, watching the flounder, skates, bat rays, leopard sharks, sturgeon, and seven-gill sharks. That was awesome. I love the way the rays move, and I'm going to have to make an alien race that looks like that but has the brains of a cephalopod.

My one disappointment: their lack of an on-line store. There were a couple of shirts I was interested in, but couldn't decide on then. Their "on-line" store is a handful of gifts, books, and plush that you have to call to order. No shirts. Very little merchandise at all. They seriously need to join the 21st century! (If anyone is going in the reasonably near future, let me know -- I'll send you a check if you're willing to pick up shirts for me!)

Also, I read [livejournal.com profile] david_bridger's Beauty and the Bastard while driving both ways (well, being driven). Most enjoyable!

Friday was a day at Point Lobos. More walking, including up and down stairs, as well as along Gibson Beach. Picnic lunch at the South Shore picnic grounds. The area brought to mind my shelved project that was intended to be submitted for the Nocturne Bites line, Blake and Melody, a.k.a. "Reign of Lightning." My reasons for leaving it remain, but I was still tempted to go back and do some work on it.

Yesterday, we drove back to Grass Valley. I read more of Echoes while we were on the road, but mostly, it was a quiet day.

Next vacation, I'm bringing mire books with me. Yes, I have dozens on my iPod, but there are issues, such as needing to charge it, the boy wanting to check his Zombie Farm or borrow it for some other reason, and bumpy roads making it hard to change pages. I think I shall have to raid my in-laws' bookshelves.

All in all, vacation is going nicely. I didn't start out as relaxed as last year, but that's because, despite being quite able to take care of myself, I find vacation most calming when there are no choices that I have to make, when someone else has done the plans. Last year, my husband had done all the reservations and route plans. The past few days, it was my in-laws. But having to be the one to get everyone from one place to another and decide what to do each day -- not so much on the relaxing side. Yes, there are downsides to being an adult.
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The air travel probably went better than expected. Several good Samaritans chipped in to help the woman with two kids and too many carry-ons. (I did check a large suitcase, but I wanted to be sure I had everything I needed to amuse the kids.) Special thanks due to the man in the Penn State T-shirt who helped carry stuff from A terminal to C in Dulles, claiming that he was on a two-hour layover and had plenty of time.

The girl didn't nap at all on the plane, but she was quite well behaved. She colored, she read, she looked around. She didn't keep her EarPlanes in, but her ears didn't appear to trouble her unduly, for which I am grateful.

Yesterday was a quiet day, hanging out at my in-laws', watching the kids play in the wading pool, and reading A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski. Small birthday party in the evening for the boy. He got an RC car, a digital camera, and books. He was especially thrilled to see The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan. We had been reading the library copy for bedtime stories, but returned it unfinished before we left. Very happy to know he doesn't have to wait two weeks to find out what happens next.

This morning, I started reading [livejournal.com profile] saetter's Echoes of Truth. The boy wanted to play on my iPod Touch, but I showed him that I was reading-- and how much reading material I have on here. Showed him that I have an RTF of one of my WIPs -- Rob & Jeanie -- that I put on here last summer.

Started reading it. Read it all the way through. Wanted to start in writing some of the missing scenes, but I remember starting work on it last year after vacation. (There appears to be a trend here.) I still might write on it, but not today. I remember now why finishing this was on my list of goals for the year.

Instead, I went to grab the notebook I started a short story, "Wish Hunter," in last week. Oops. I brought the other short story I started, as well as my Sekrit Projekt. So I did a bit on the SP this morning, and I'll probably do more this afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday, my MIL and I will go hit the local quilt shops. Mostly just looking, though I need some lightweight fusible interfacing for the appliqué I want to do. Tried without, and there's just too much fraying.

A couple more short story rejections, too, including more feedback on the index story that I'll have to ponder after I get back home.

All in all, I can feel myself relaxing. Life is good.


Jul. 18th, 2010 07:32 pm
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I'm bored. Or maybe I'm just ready for vacation. Can't seem to focus on anything, and the thought of sitting down with a book creates a feeling of "meh."

In earlier times, I might have retired to the bathtub with an old favorite book and a glass of wine. Now, the only tub is in the kids' bathroom, and you don't want to hear my rant on the monopolistic wine stores here and their lack of choice. I might still use their tub, if I bother staying up after I get the kids to bed.

As for the rest of the week, errands, swim classes, and the day job should keep me plenty busy. Maybe I'll even get some writing or editing done, though it's way at the bottom of the list.

And maybe this free-floating tiredness will disappear if I get a good night's sleep. What are the odds if that happening?
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It took me longer than expected to get to [livejournal.com profile] bonniers' place (2 tires low on air that I had to stop to fill), but we managed to get to Boskone in time for panels at 6.

First off, I went to "The ethics of first contact" with Walter H. Hunt, Allen Steele, and Vernor Vinge. Topics included historical contacts (Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and Shogun by James Clavell recommended reading), ability to communicate, whether we should be hiding, and who has written protocols for first contact (Sierra Club, United Nations, and -- purportedly -- the U.S. military). I plan to look for Poul Anderson's High Crusade to read.

After that, I went to a panel on FTL with Geoffrey Landis, Chuck Gannon, Ian Tregillis, and Jordin Kare. Short version: it can't be done.

"Biblical themes and religion in genre fiction" was a very enjoyable panel with Dani Kollin (son of a rabbi), Margaret Ronald (lapsed heathen -- her description), Jeffrey Carver (moderator), Steven Popkes (practicing heathen), and Walter Hunt (raised Protestant). Guest starring giant metal robots. Discussed reading foundational books, the nature of faith, whether gods should appear in stories.

After that they demonstrated that this was a science fiction con by using Skype to create a joint panel with Capricon in Chicago -- Charlie Stross & Alastair Reynolds in Boston, and Gene Wolfe & Robert Sawyer in Chicago discussing "the way the future was." There was some grumbling about the small portion of SF being written compared to paranormal romance (which lumped in urban fantasy, I think, in the speakers' eyes) -- note, though, that at a Saturday panel, David Hartwell said SF has been steady-state since the mid-80s; it has not declined. Charlie Stross made some comments about what has been a crime hasn't been constant through time, and there's no reason to think it will in the future. Arthur Clarke was quoted: data is not knowledge, and knowledge is not wisdom.

The last Friday event I went to was the discussion of steampunk with Michael Swanwick, Paul di Filippo, Everett Soares, and Lev Grossman. The point was made that it is a large amorphous genre and it encompasses fashion and music, not just written works or movies. The panelists felt steampunk focuses on London and the Empire and mostly encompasses Caucasians, both in its depictions and in those who have made it a lifestyle, though this may be changing.

And that was Friday. Short version: I'm having fun, my brain is full, and I'm pondering changes to works in progress as well as new ideas. Oh, and I'm getting a huge reading list! Sorry this took so long to get up, but I was having trouble maintaining a connection to get the LJ app on my iPod Touch to post!
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Getting the car packed up, then I'm out the door. Going to Boskone -- will be staying with [livejournal.com profile] bonniers. May post notes here this weekend.
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One downside to leaving Banff Thursday morning: Thursday evening, Michael Ondaatje is giving a talk here at Banff Centre.

I'd rather see Val, though, even if she's not a famous author yet.
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Tuesday morning was about as unexciting as you'd expect laundry day on vacation to be. Highlights included getting to the building with the machines and discovering laundry detergent was still in car and having to go back to the room during the dry cycle to change CG. Fun times.

The afternoon sightseeing was terrific, though. We went over to Yoho National Park and visited 3 places: Spiral Tunnels (figure-8 railroad tracks through the mountains to get a 2.2% grade rather than 4.5%), Takakkaw Falls (very high, runoff from Daly Glacier), and Emerald Lake (also largely glacier-derived, as evidenced by the creamy green color). Some walking, lots of pictures.

Today was finally sightseeing in town. Took the kids with me for the day. Started with breakfast at an artisan bakery. Visited the Banff Park Museum (kids liked the discovery room) and the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum. Walked the Bow Falls Trail -- T-Bug very disappointed with how small those were compared to Takakkaw. Did some shopping. Let the kids play at the playground. Picked up sushi and edamame for dinner.

After dinner, we went off to see this Zome-tool geometric structure created as a group project over the conference. Wound up hanging out while they finished it up.

Kids are still awake. My face is sunburned, and my arms mosquito-bitten. Husband is seeing about uploading some pictures. In other words, a good time is being had by all.

Very excited about tomorrow -- leisurely drive through Kootenay National Park, ending with a visit to my friend Valerie!

Oh, Canada

Jul. 27th, 2009 08:53 pm
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Now, where did I leave off? Oh, yes, Great Falls.

We were slow getting on the road because the car told us one of the tires was low, but we couldn't tell which one. All the gas stations had free air, but none of the hoses had a pressure gauge. Very weird. Eventually, we went to a station with a garage attached, and they let my husband use a gauge.

The drive north was uneventful. Passed through a dramatic river valley and stopped for gas in Shelby. Border crossing took a while, which was okay as I hadn't signed my passport (or the kids') and hadn't put addresses in any of them. Southern Alberta is wide and pastoral with fields of mustard and some little purple flower I couldn't identify from the car.

We stopped in Lethbridge for lunch. Real city but not in AAA guide book. More for living than tourism, I guess. Our route was amusing -- we took Canada highway 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. Circled Calgary to the southwest, so didn't see much. The Alberta Children's Hospital is colorful, and we did pass by the site of the Olympics.

A heavy storm hit us just as we reached the Rockies. Rain so thick we could barely see, occasional hail, lightning on the mountains. Very dramatic.

Also being dramatic at the time was T-Bug. We were not appreciative, and I took away the DVDs.

We weren't expecting to pay a park use fee for Banff (assumed it was included in hotel fee), but we did -- $19.60/day. Got to Banff Centre while it was still light and ate dinner in a dining room with the most amazing views!

Sunday, I got up and located the Catholic church on the map, but CG was under the weather, so we spent most of the day in the room. (Not husband, whose conference started.) In the afternoon, CG felt a little better, so we walked out to Surprise Point and got some pics. Then we checked to see where the coin-op laundry was. That was CG's limit for the day. Husband took T-Bug to movie about origami, then they did a Zome tool workshop.

Today was my turn to be sick. Unlike CG, I actually emptied my stomach. Twice. Tried to nap, but only so much I can do with active and feeling-better toddler running around. Husband did take T-Bug for the morning, though, which helped. He also went to the store And bought me Gatorade.

Feeling better now -- think I got enough acetaminophen into the system to ease the headache finally, for which I am duly grateful. Tomorrow morning, laundry; afternoon, shuttle sightseeing tour.

Oh, and I'll be setting up a Facebook account soon. Resisted all my friends encouraging me, but mother-in-law and brother-in-law got accounts, so husband set up his yesterday. So now I surrender to the inevitable.

Quick note

Jul. 25th, 2009 09:29 am
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If you stop in Stanford, Montana, Candel's By-way Cafe has free Wi-Fi and good cinnamon rolls as well as friendly people.
eimarra: (Default)
The day at the cousins' was low-key; it rained, which let out such things as the pool and the zoo. The kids did some crafts. We went to see Ice Age 3 -- in case you didn't know, slapstick is the lowest common denominator of humor. CG, at 19 months, laughed at the appropriate points with Scrat. After dinner we celebrated the older cousins' birthdays -- T-Bug and Ladybug are only 3 days apart in age. Ladybug loved her quilt!

The day after that was 11 hours of driving -- Wisconsin, Minnesota, and almost to the border of South Dakota. (We got off at exit 12.)

Then a day in the Black Hills Forest. We went to the Black Hills Natural History Museum in Hill City and saw a cast of Sue as well as one of Stan, plus an elephant bird and a cool display of minerals. We visited Crazy Horse Memorial, drove through Custer State Park (where we saw 13 prairie dogs, 9 pronghorns, and hundreds of bison, including lots of calves), and Mount Rushmore. We had mediocre Mexican food for dinner at a restaurant in Rapid City and headed back to our hotel.

Yesterday was driving again -- Wyoming and half of Montana. We stopped in Sheridan, Wyoming, for lunch. Ate at Kendrick Park -- very mice park. Gave T-Bug present of writing books.

Today, it's off to Banff. Hope all is well with everyone else. Time to change CG and have some breakfast now.
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Sunday morning, I got up early to touch up my roots before we got on the road. Didn't want to share my silver with everyone, after all. I picked up a golden brown rather than cool brown shade this time, and my hair is a bit redder than I had expected. Oh, well.

Sunday was a long drive -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, and half of Indiana. Yesterday was shorter. We drove into Chicago and spent the day at the Field Museum. Husband looked at Sue and said, "So that's the one Dresden rode through the streets of Chicago?" (Dead Beat by Jim Butcher)

I made some mental notes about Sekhmet for Ivory and Bone while going through the Ancient Egypt exhibit, too.

Then we drove up to Wisconsin to visit my (former) sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. We're spending today with them, too, and now most everyone is up. The day starts . . . .
eimarra: (Default)
Had a good time at the con Saturday. Traffic on I-76 was bad, as usual, so it took longer to get there than Google Maps predicted. Right after I registered, [livejournal.com profile] temporus saw the baby and thought it might be me. So we wound up chatting until noon, when we went to the galactic empires talk. Read more... )

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