Saturday, November 25, 2006
Sunny and mild
Back from a really good trip, unfortunately sandwiched on both ends by illness.
Tuesday work was not fun – not feeling at all well, stomach problems, short of breath, etc., etc. But I got through it and got home. I figured it was triggered by the fear/reluctance of facing Metro North and their problems yet again, and the fear of being stuck on the train for countless hours and then bashed by another train. But, although the train was typically its forty minutes late (which, in my opinion, is still too late), I got home relatively in one piece, although I still felt like crap.
I came home to find that I’ve entered the 21st century, music-wise. An early Christmas present arrived – a Creative Zen V Plus MP3 player. Very exciting. Too bad the CD was faulty and wouldn’t install. I finally (after over three hours) got enough installed so that I could figure out how to take music I copied from CD to computer and then download it to the Zen, and then play it. I put a bit of a charge into it, but not the full six hours – there weren’t six hours left before I had to leave.
On top of that, I can’t get into the instructions on the CD. The so-called ‘instruction book” simply says to look it up on the CD – but, since the CD is faulty, I can’t. Now, the point of an instruction manual is to teach me how to do things – not tell me to look somewhere else that’s inaccessible.
I had a few choice words for Zen’s customer service.
Didn’t feel much better the next day. Up at 5 AM to get on the road early, before all the crazy holiday traffic. Nothing like a long drive in the car with a dodgy stomach. Other than being uncomfortable, it wasn’t all that bad – it’s not like we had to stop every 15 miles or whatever. In fact, by the time we hit Massachusetts, I started to feel better.
Two hours into the trip, we realized we’d forgotten the cake we bought to bring up as our offering. There was no way we were going to turn around and go back for it.
We stopped in Newburyport, a lovely town in Mass. Tess Gerritsen recommended the Jabberwocky Bookshop to me there – told me if I was ever in the area, I should check it out. So I did. Of course, I hadn’t been to Newburyport in years, so I parked at the wrong end of town to reach the bookshop – but it’s a lovely town with a great vibe, and it was nice to take a walk.
The bookshop itself is wonderful – enormous, with a wide range of material, a terrific children’s and YA section (Heather, add it to you list of shops you MUST visit when your book comes out), and a wonderful staff. Basically, everything a good bookshop should be.
I bought myself a lovely book on herbs.
Next door, there just happened to be another lovely shop, the Nutcracker Bakery and Creperie. We went in, and I told them that I’d been stupid and left the cake in the fridge, and was there anything left that was unspoken for that we could buy? They had several things, one of which was an enormous banana cream pie. So that’s what we bought. They were so nice.
Newburyport is such a lovely town, with a great vibe, everything I need – and lots of real estate available. We took a flying look at a few places, and it’s one the list of top choices for towns to which to relocate, along with those on the South Shore below Boston and Shelburne, VT.
We headed on up, making our usual stops in Kittery (who can drive by the Lindt outlet without making a stop?) , and then on to York, for another stop at the Stonewall Kitchens. Again, everyone is so lovely, and the quality of their products is outstanding. We picked up a few things, and headed on further. We stopped at the Maine diner for lunch (lobster club – delicious). Perfect service, very busy, friendly staff. I love the place because it’s busy all the time, with a solid mix of people passing through and locals. The staff knows about 60% of the people who eat there by name. That’s always a good sign.
The Book Barn in Wells was closed, so we didn’t stop there, but hopped back on to the Maine Turnpike at Kennebunk and completed the drive to my Grandmother’s. We got there much earlier than we expected, which was a good thing.
I felt better, but not great, but now I had the primary care of three senior citizens, two over the age of 90, not just one. Part of my “job” when I go up there is to take some of the daily details off the rest of the family and pull my weight, which I’m happy to do, but it’s always more difficult when you’re under the weather. And I didn’t want to say anything, because I didn’t want anyone to worry. So I shut up and dealt.
But I was ready for bed by about 8:30.
Up early the next day, to get the morning started. Helped get the breakfast done; after breakfast, helped get everyone ready for the meal. I tried to get some work done on the “Merry” – I think I got about three pages or so. It was hard. Even using the Zen (which is a big help – how cool to only have songs in that you want to hear and be able to rearrange them however you want? I know, I know, I’m so behind the times), it was distracting.
And then, it was time to leave for the hall with Aiorig about to be burned at the stake, Luthias tied up to be forced to watch, and Kit Erskine waiting for the distraction to happen so she can make her move.
The dinner itself was great. I only get to see these people once a year, at Thanksgiving, and there’s much catching up to do, meeting the new people brought in, trying to recognize everyone’s kids who change so much, year to year (friends who are writing YA – your numbers will be up in Maine, just from my family). Everyone pitches in to set up and cook, and everyone pitches in to clean up. The meal was fantastic, as always, and it was nice to catch up with people. I was rushing around I forgot to take pictures of the hall – sorry – but I think we had a shade under 60 people there this year, although I’m pretty sure it was more than 50.
My mom drove my grandmother and great-uncle back to the house pretty soon after the meal, because they were exhausted, and I stayed to help finish the clean-up. Another well-loved family member drove me back after, and it was nice to get some one-on-one time.
They’re all very eager for me to leave New York and move closer.
We got home just in time to meet friends of my Grandmother’s who stopped by. Her friend of many, many years is 98 this year – and determined, in true New England fashion, to make it to 100. One of his daughters and her husband were also there. We’d never met, but we’ve all heard about each other for years, so it was nice to finally have people to match to names. And it turns out that the daughter’s husband grew up in this town – a few houses up the street from where my mother currently lives!
Talk about synchronicity – because I don’t believe in coincidence.
We had a good long discussion about the town, about The Situation and The Situation: The Sequel, and about the need to move to “The Commonwealth.”
A long day, but a good one.
Headed back on Friday, because of The Situation: The Sequel, which made me uncomfortable being away too long. We stopped again in Newburyport, at the Nutcracker. The woman who runs the place/bakes remembered us, and we assured her that the banana cream pie was a hit. We stopped and had a snack – she makes the best turnovers I’ve ever had in my life – and then headed on.
Stopped in Sturbridge, MA, at one of my favorite stores, Earth Spirits, to stock up on herbs, oils, and incenses for the holidays. And there’s a great restaurant just around back of it, where we had a nice lunch.
The drive from Sturbridge back on down to New York was awful. The traffic was a nightmare, and we were driving into a sun that looked like it would set, then bob back up again like a yo-yo. We were glad to get back home.
We took a slight detour to Old Saybrook to a favorite store and found some old-fashioned wooden Christmas ornaments. Some of them need a bit of TLC, but it shouldn’t be too hard to restore them and put them on the tree.
The cats were furious with us – although they’d been well-cared for in our absence.
And, by the time we got back home, I was feeling absolutely awful again. I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment. I’ve felt off for weeks now, and it’s gone to downright terrible most of the time.
Managed to write Chapter 18 of Assumption this morning. I realized I’m almost at the end of the piece – don’t think this first draft will hit 85K, which is fine. The story is what it is. Chapter 18 is from Simon’s point of view, ending with Morag’s stabbing. Chapter 19 will backtrack a bit, being from Morag’s point of view to get us to the same place, and then we can move on.
I have a ton of things that must be done TODAY, no matter how I feel, because I might have to go in to work tomorrow, and then there’s a TO meeting here tomorrow night, so that has to be set up before I go to work. The work has to get done, no matter what.
And that December 1 deadline looms over me – if I don’t have to go in to the show tomorrow, the bulk of the day needs to be spent reworking that.
Trip photos posted soon.
Assumption of Right -- 59,122 words out of 50,000 (Nano goal)
59 / 50
Assumption of Right – 59,122 words out of 85,000 (completion goal)
59 / 85