I can't predict when I have the time to post a new blog, but check occasionally. I'm going to try at least weekly.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Meeting my lovely Goddaughter

Song of the day: “Waves” by Dean Lewis. Gorgeous song, and often stuck in my head. There are way worse songs to have  as an earworm.

Life has been busy since I last wrote. One day flows into the next with such speed, that at times I have difficulty keeping track. Time is flying, the wrinkles on my forehead are the proof of that. Hah. Yep. I have wrinkles now. Whether they are from frowning in concentration too much, or simply because I am forty now, doesn’t matter, does it? Shall we say they give my face character?

Let’s see if I can bring you up to date on what has been going on, lately. The job is still to my liking, despite it not being easy, or even pleasant at times. I do long days, and feel them in my bones. More than ten hours at work is the norm, with a few exceptions. Luckily I only do three to four days of them per week, meaning that I get to recover a bit every time I’ve had a couple of shifts. Although I doubt, I would like to quit completely, I do look forward to the day that I will no longer be required to do this work, and can instead focus on writing full time. I do like the interactiveness with the guests, and the fact that the work is so diverse.

Which reminds me, I have been steadily working on the new project ever since we got back from the US. The manuscript had solid passed the 60K words mark. The characters are fully developed and quite real inside my head.  When an event is about to happen they will quite clearly tell me how they would respond to that given situation…however weird that sounds. I like them, though. They’ve got grit, a will to survive, and they have become fully 3D, just the way they’re supposed to. Added to that, the story has come to big OMG moment, which I had been working towards, so that is totally awesome. Now all that needs doing is work out how they are going to get out of a rather terrible situation, and rebuild their lives. I’m looking forward to that.

Celebrated my 40th birthday a little later in the month. Invited more people than showed up, mostly due to work,  but those that showed up made it a lovely evening of long talks and quiet lights. Really enjoyed it. And the food was good. And littlest brother was there too, which was nice.

My goddaughter was born in February, brought into the world via a c-section, due to the fact that the doctors were unable to get the labor started. She is a perfect little girl, whom I had the pleasure of meeting this eastern, when I visited her and her mom in Finland for a few days, so I could be there for her naming party, and accept my role a godmother. Was a bit startled there, in the middle of the party, sitting with the wee one in my arms when suddenly it turned out I had to join the other godparents in the center of the room during a speech. OMG, that is so not my thing. Hah. But no matter, I was there to meet her, and to see her mom, and that’s what it was about in the end.

As to the actual trip to Finland…that was pretty exciting for me. It was the first time I went on a vacation of sorts all by my ittybitty self. Had to get to the plane after big brother dropped me off at the airport (forgot my purse with money, ticket, credit cards in the car, aaaargh. Big brother had to return with it.) find my way to the train station in Helsinki, get on the train (was supposed to scan my ticket but didn’t realize it until after I got off to get on the long distance train in Pasilla) and transfer from the commuter to the speed train that would take me south to Turku. Half the time I stressed about whether I had the right one or not. I did. Thankfully, and arrived in Turku at the appointed time. Tiina came to pick me up, and we got chat while she drove me to the place I’d be staying at for the duration of my vacation.

Got to meet some really nice people, and we spent the evening prepping some stuff for the party, before calling it a night. Were going to do some prepping the next day, also the tour thing, see the future house (which was splendid, by the way. I was totally jealous, haha), the present house, see some of the area and then some groceries before we headed over to the log cabin that had been rented for the party and the night before. Gorgeous location in the middle of the woods. Big structure Had a lovely BBQ with friends and family before the night was through, and then we were headed in for the night.

The day of the party arrived. Tiina was already there when my hostess and I arrived to help out with the remainder of the party. Met more friends and family, spent some time with the folks I already knew (Tiina’s lovely mom and dad, and inlaws that I met last year or so when we all went to the zoo together. The kids were lovely, especially the little girl who was sooooo busy making a show now that she had such a rapt audience.) and generally had a lovely time.

The remainder of my stay there was spending time with my friend, getting to know the wee one, and then getting back home after our time was up. The trip back was a bit more eventful. Tiina and I thought to kill some time at a lovely thrift store, and the next thing we knew we had to rush into town to make my train. Regretfully we hadn’t calculated the fact that it would rush hour, so I missed my train by a minute. I ran, and jabbed the button but it would not open for me anymore. That meant I had to wait an hour…but at least it gave us a chance to say a proper goodbye. Repurchased a ticket and made it to the commuter train in Helsinki just barely. Seriously, had to run to make it from platform 6 to 2, and that was a matter minutes. Only made it because there was another lady who reached it before me, and opened the doors so I and two other ladies could board as well. Had forty minutes to spare upon reaching the airport. Security took only a few minutes, so I had time to rest and recover before we had to board. My feet were not amused about the entire thing, I tell ya. And when I finally arrived back in the Netherlands, there was more walking to do, because big brother (still sick) hadn’t been able to find a close parking spot. First thing I did when I reached the car, was change shoes. OMG.

Anyway, I arrived home after midnight, with the happy realization that I didn’t need to be at work until a day later, giving me one to recover. Turned out to be two. Apparently they had enough people at work for my chef to let me know to enjoy an extra day off.

My plants were looking awesome when I got back, by the way. When you see them every day, they seem not to change, but afterward they seemed so lush. Added to that, when I left nature was still sleeping, and when I returned everything had sprouted leaves, making nature sooooo beautiful. Spring is finally here, even though we are still being bugged by the occasional cold spell, loads of rain, hail and winds. It does not amuse me, especially not on days that I have to be at work. Nothing is quite as disastrous for my health as working in sauna heat all day, only to step out into the cold rain outside after a long work day. Been battling a cold that wants to sneak up on me. What with big brother having been seriously ill, Tiina and hers as well, it is bound to hit me any day now, but I am still hoping to avert it. I don’t think I’ll be that lucky, though. Been having some dizzy spells, a feverish feeling every now and then, but we’ll see.

Cooking has been infrequent, but as ever, necessary, of course. Had a rather lovely Asian wok BBQ last week for a friend’s birthday. She and another friend came over, and eating together in the lovely sunshine was our celebration. Marinated chicken in a sauce of sweet chili, apricot jam, shallots, soy sauce and some mustard. It worked out splendidly in the wok that I’d set on the open Asian ceramic bbq pot outside. Was a lovely evening.

Added to that I have experimented with bread. A lovely Mediterranean loaf, with sun dried tomatoes, loads of herbs and garlic, and some onion. Delicious. The same went for pizza cupcakes, which were awesome, buckwheat burgers, and tonight even vegetable pancakes that went down splendidly.

Been steadily working out over the past few months, although I’ve managed to go only once since my return…and the week before that also only a couple of times, because big brother was sick and I just couldn’t muster the energy. Been somewhat tired lately. Not eating enough meat, I fear…better that than anything else, anyway. If that doesn’t improve soon, I’m going to have to visit the doctor’s for a blood test, or something, to make sure that everything is alright.

Been working on the cars, and the house. Big brother’s car needed a new radiator, which he reinstalled himself. Yay! And I’ve been sorting the mess in the garage. We are way too good at hoarding stuff, and not taking the time to put it all away. Working on it, though.

Through it all, big brother has really been working a lot…as is his inclination. It means that when he’s off he’s tired, and frustrated about not having the energy to work on the book, but we’ll have to sort that out at some point. For the moment it didn’t help that our company is expanding, and he was expected to help out on the new location, which is massive. I’m curious about the new location, I tell ya. I’ve been hearing stories aplenty about the kitchens there. It should be a pleasure to work in them…even though the new staff is facing some problems of a startup.

Have visited with dad infrequently. What with him working so much, and us, too, it is very hard to match our schedules on any given day. Heck, just big brother and me, trying to match a day off together, every now and then, is a disaster already. But it doesn’t matter. We had a few good visits since the last blog, and that is what matters, I guess.

Also visited Tenant. She had some trouble recently at the home she lives at now. Her rooms, which overlooked the patio with a pond, and all its fauna visitors, were no longer available to her, meaning she had to move to a different spot in the building. She didn’t like it at all. Refused it, in fact, until she saw her new quarters and they turned out to be bigger, and overlooking the main entrance no less. It meant that now she could see who came and went at any given time, and that she liked a lot. Hah

Been making friends at work, and actually went to a bingo night with a couple of my colleagues. It was totally ridiculous, but fun, even though I didn’t win anything. There was loads of laughter, and relaxation, and an entire evening passed without me actually noticing it. I’m thinking we’re going to do it again at some point.

Watched some movies, including Hereditary with Toni Coletti. It was the first movie in ages that actually freaked me out. Seriously. The last time I was affected that way was when Event Horizon came out. Hadn’t expected it of this movie. In fact, I was already dismissing the whole thing as Coletti being mentally disturbed when it turned out it was something else entirely. OMG. Definitely a movie to see for folks who love a good horror.

Well, that’s about all I can think of right now. It’s late, and soon it’ll be time for me to get my behind to bed…hopefully feeling a little less sickly tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Moseying on...

Song of the day: “Glow” by Gavin James. Gorgeous song, really, just not a good one to have stuck in your head when you don’t know all the lyrics yet. Hah. 

So yeah, I have been slacking on the blog part, but getting used to the new job has been taking a lot of time, in particular since I am also trying to maintain some sort of regular schedule writing the new book…which is news, too, I guess. What with everything going on, and stuff with the previous book, we finally managed to dive into a  new project. Girl in the Mist has officially sold more than 5000 copies, by the way. This is awesome! 

Research has been tremendous fun. Seriously, there’s nothing like digging into psychology once more and seeing how to make my hero’s psyche work despite all his problems. You do not want to know the amount of hours I have spent online digging through psychology papers and medical texts so far. It’s fun. I am definitely thinking of getting some of Jung’s books. Fascinating stuff. The fact that we are, distantly, related, only makes it more fun, I guess.

Been writing steadily. I try to do at least 500 words per free day, but if I can 1000, or over. It brings the manuscript up to 35K words now, so we’ve got about a third of the total going now. It’s a very “thoughtful” story. A lot of it is about the inner turmoil and thoughts of the characters, and boy, one of them is seriously messed up. During the few weeks I was not working as much at the day job, I was getting a lot  more done, though. At the moment I am working quite a bit, meaning that usually I lose the first day after a row of workdays to kinda recovering. Hah. Ah well, it’ll quiet down again. We do what we can in the time we have, right? It’s all anyone can do, really.

This is going to be the first non-romance I ever wrote, which is going to be a challenge.  The story is developing nicely. Got the characters fleshed out now, backgrounds and everything. The plot has had several brainstorms and we’ve got the majority of the plot holes worked out…part of a session at the gym, where we ended up brainstorming, while pumping iron. Can’t imagine what folks must have thought of us talking so avidly while working out. Hah

Been working out quite a bit ever since we got back from the States, by the way, except for the past couple of weeks, because just a day before my birthday I got sick at heck. It was bad. I had the shivers the night before going to the company new year’s breakfast. Man I haven’t been that cold since two years ago at our previous house. My teeth were chattering for a couple of hours, my every muscle clenched, seriously, by the time I had to get up I had to pop a double dose of aspirins against aching muscles and bruised-feeling ribs. Strangely enough I wasn’t feeling all that awful after the work breakfast was over and headed to the city to pick up my friend Dee so we could go visit the Horecava. 

The Horecava is a big annual event in these parts. It’s a place where professional hospitality people come together to look at innovative new ideas, ranging from food, equipment, and everything that has anything to do with the hospitality branch. Didn’t make a full day of it, over there in Amsterdam, but Dee and I wandered about the place for a solid five hours, at least. Did taste lots of new stuff. Like black bread…didn’t like the taste of though, and after asking what they had used as coloring (octopus ink) I wasn’t surprised. I already wondered what I knew that particular taste from and once I knew, I could identify it as black pasta. * sigh * Anyways, was able to skip both lunch and dinner because of the event. 

Found a 20 bucks bike at the thrift store that I am going to fix up so I can use it at work. At the moment parking is a disaster, meaning employees have to park a 10 minute walk from the building. Gonna park my new-old bike there to save some time rather than hauling it along all the time. At the moment I am still using my good bike, which is just not smart. Poor thing gets dragged in and out all the time.

Been doing quite a bit of reading lately. I consider it research, as in checking out the competition, and it has helped me relax a little during my off days.

Dad visited a couple of times since my last blog, and I spent Christmas eve at his place. All occasions were lovely in their own way. Christmas an intimate, just direct family occasion. The first visit was basically all about going through the massive collection of pictures that we took in during our US trip. Gawd,  I took sooooo many pictures. We didn’t even get through all of them.

Last visit was the late b-day party I threw for myself. Figured, hey, I’m friggin’ forty, the big 4 0, and I’m going to bloody well celebrate it. Organized a little winter bbq thing, but regretfully four people (one couple) had to cancel last minute. Such a pity, but it was still a wonderful evening with talk, food and laughter throughout. Worked out regardless of the cancelations and ended up with enough leftovers not to have to cook for several days. Hah.

Gave myself a present of good professional chef knives, for my b-day. Only four, so far (they’re expensive!) but I thought, what the heck, I might as well start that off well. Doubted about getting a proper bag for them, but those are expensive, too, so instead I got together materials from two old purses and sewed a folding bag that does really…especially for now. I might get an actual bag in the future, but for the moment I am rather enjoying this one. Worked out perfectly!

Have scheduled a trip to Finland this spring. Best friend T is going to have her first baby, so totally want to meet her. Will only be a short 5 day trip, so nothing big, but still so cool. Will be so nice to see T again. It’s been more than a year now. And she’s have a “mini-me” to show off, which is fun. But anyways, April is still off a ways. It’ll be fun to see how big brother manages on his own at home, those few days...not that it’ll be all the different for him. He’ll be working most of it anyway. Hah.
Did quite a few cooking experiments, one of which a sauerkraut potato match with stir fry red cabbage, onion and cheese through it, which was lovely. Did devilled eggs for the party, including a dip, satay for the veggie/chicken/chickpea meat replacement sticks, and finger food. Did drink a bit too much wine at the party, especially I made a spicy fruit punch of sangria wine. Yummy.

At work I am rapidly learning all there is about barbeque. We’ve got a couple of massive “Green Eggs” to grill stuff on, and I get to work with them a lot, despite enjoying the Wok section more. Anyway, I now know how to grill Entrecote and steak rare/medium/well done, gambas, rib fingers, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and chicken satay sticks. I’m also learning all about frying fish, both salmon and white fish. I even know how to prep mussels now. Hah. Still enjoy the job, even though the days are long and I get pretty tired from it.

Been having some health problems lately. The friggin’ cold has been a pain in the behind. Had a shoulder/collarbone for a while there in the end of December. My hip has been trying to pop out of the socket a couple of times, so I am hoping to pick up some more kickboxing again to strengthen the muscles there. And my foot. Grrr. Stupid thing. The right one has been a problem again since those last weeks at the previous job. Seriously, there was so much walking going on there due to banqueting, that my old Plantars Faciitis problem came back, and it has yet to clear. Seriously, I should just get rid of that effing foot and be done with it. *wink *

We have had some deplorable weather. Lots of gray skies. Lots of rain and yes, this past week even snow and freezing temps. Before the snow it was rather lovely for almost a week, though. Not a cloud in the sky and the sun shining brightly in icy temperatures. It was lovely to have that sun, which will hopefully return soon, if only for a day or two. All this grayness makes you forget that there is such a thing as the sun…and working inside a humongous building with windows that are too far away to actually enjoy views, or daylight. * sigh*

Had a weird experience the other day where some guy, online, started chatting, wanting to know if I wanted to go on a date with him, despite us having started a “conversation” over whether or not he wanted to buy something that I was selling online. Hah. Seriously. You do not want to know the amount of indecent proposals you get when you’re online, trying to make your presence known for the purpose of a writing career. What is it with folks thinking that FB or IG is a dating app…and then with the tacky pick up lines as they try to convince you they are looking for true love, it’s just silly.

But anyway,  that about wraps it up. Nothing else of interest going on. Lots of stuff happened, I am sure, but these were things that stuck, so to speak.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

The road trip!!!

Song of the day: “Never be the same” by Camilla Cabello. It tends to linger in my mind. Wonder if that means something.

So, yeah, it’s happened. The big road trip has been over and done with for several days now, and already it seems like an eternity. It was an exciting event, involving so much new adventures in just 20 days.

It started early on the 2nd of October, with the three of us heading for the bus station around the corner, and leaving behind a running dishwasher, because, of course it somehow didn’t run the night before. Aaaaargh. Hate that, but what can you do. Housesitters were going to have to take care of it, right?

Anyway, we headed to Amersfoort by bus, then by train to the airport in Amsterdam. Were nicely on time, too, meaning we had quite a bit of waiting to do before we were going to board the plane. But we did, naturally. Firs the connecting flight to Zurich, which went fine, except that we were running late, which meant that we literally had to run to make our flight across the Atlantic. Because, of course, our flight left from across the friggin’ airport! My poor foot was not amused. And here I thought my foot was going to have a well deserved vacation to get better after all the running around at work the past few month. Grrrr.

Be that as it may, the flight was interminably long, the seats small, the food good, and the staff friendly. I didn’t manage to sleep a wink, mind you. My knees were literally squeezed between the seats and practically everything hurt by the time we finally arrived in Boston, and had to take the shuttle bus to the car rental agency. Luckily it wasn’t too far.

Since we had basically taken all safety precautions in regard to insurance and whatnot, they tried to have us upgrade to a bigger car (which would increase the price by “just a bit”, naturally) but we decided to be frugal and stuck to the sedan…good thing, too. Because when we got up to the parking area they had two cars left, of which would could take our pick. We took the massive (twice the size of what we paid for) red Nissan Pathfinder in a New York second, and didn’t regret it for even one second. I mean, seriously. We had head space, legs space and luggage space. And to think we had almost paid for that but didn’t have to…it was bliss.

The first bit of the drive went a little iffy, partly because the TomTom app we had hit the occasional snag. But we reached the booked hotel before midnight, just barely. Not the best of hotels regarding maintenance, but the service was good, and it was clean, which are the most important aspects in my book.

We drove through some gorgeous areas those first couple of days, which included The Pioneer Valley, the Mohawk trail and the mountains bordering on New York State in General. Loved that bit…and Niagara Falls, for that matter, which we managed to reach just before nightfall, meaning that the light was awesome. I was very impressed with the sights.

There was lots of traveling involved, yes, in the end we travelled more than 5250 miles (8000km) and despite being tired, and sore from all the sitting, and the fast food, and the microwave food, it was still something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
There were friends to visit. Long-time friends that I have been chatting with for ages and ages, and whom I’ve been wanting to meet for years. There was Terry in Michigan, which meant a much-anticipated detour on our route to Detroit where we would meet for a wonderful dinner with her and her husband. Terry was…well, Terry as I’d imagined her over the years, although her photo doesn’t do her justice. Regretfully we got in a bad traffic accident on the way back, where someone died, so that was kinda rough.

The driving is a little “looser” over there. Everyone drives at least 10mph over the speed limit, when stuck in a traffic jam, some folks will just drive over the shoulder of the road, to cross to the other direction lanes, and try to integrate there while cars are speeding past at a 110. Downright scary, I tell ya. In fact, at some point I saw this fella in an old beat-up truck, on the phone, and one foot sticking out of the driver’s window. How he even managed that, is a mystery to me.
Then things got flat, and that flatness stayed a long, long time.

There was an area in Indiana that was absolutely lovely. And the climate was mild there, so in regard to places to live, it was definitely worth another visit in the future. This is where we visited the lovely Archer, whose cedar cabin was perched on this lovely spot in the middle of the woods, so far out that we would never have been able to find it if she hadn’t met us at the local Wendy’s. We might have found the road through maps, but it kept going so far, that we would definitely have started doubted about the accuracy of the direction within the first fifteen minutes. I got to know Archer for real, and it was grand. We petted dogs, petted horses, and went out in a big 4x truck so we could travel over dirt roads, creeks and whatnot. It was great…followed by a crock-pot meal that did well in filling the empty corners of our stomachs. Hah. We were all sorry to say our goodbyes that evening, and head on over to our motel, which was downright dirty compared to the ones we had visited in the days before. Not recommendable, that one.

Our next visit was near Kansas City, where C.W. and her husband lived, and who kindly invited the three of us to spend the night there. It was awesome to meet her finally, too. And the plans they had for us…oh my. So much to see in the area. We went to Union station, visited the Hallmark company, toured around the city a little, and then went to the local shooting range where we got our first shooting lesson. I kid you not. I shot several guns that day, and I was pretty darn good with several of them. Woohoo. I so need to see about learning more about that. Had a wonderful time, getting to know C.W. better. She was just like I imagined her, too, which is an odd realization to make…but also something that implies that somehow you’ve managed to become true friends, even through the internet. Oh, and they took us to eat real Kansas City Barbeque, which sure was something. Big brother and Lisa (our companion) actually tried most of it, while I managed to enjoy some of the grilled chicken. Woohoo. Seeing as our hosts were so great, and the place lovely, I was sorry to leave there the next day…did see live buffalo, though, which was awesome

I friggin’ loved the Ozarks! Seriously. If you’re a nature buff, and if you like the hills, it is a place you HAVE to visit. It is gorgeous. You have towering trees, flowing pastures, winding little rivers. It was so beautiful, even in the cute little towns with its old Victorians and colonial buildings, that at times it absolutely took my breath away. The Wandaroo lodge is definitely a place you want to stay when you go there. Nothing fancy, but a lovely atmosphere. They’re still working on it, but have reasonable pricing. Really enjoyed our days there. Went on several hikes, near the lake, through Eureka Springs, the trail to King River’s overlook, which was grand. So beautiful there. Even took the car on some dirt roads (which wasn’t really allowed with the rental, but what with the TomTom having gotten us lost several times already, on dirt tracks too, we figured what the heck. A gorgeous place to further explore, for sure. Missouri was beautiful.

Our next big stop was New Orleans. There we met JR and her son, who once again, was exactly how I expected her to be. It was awesome meeting her too, especially the second day when she, her son and his girlfriend took us out on the town for a proper look-see. New Orleans was nice and warm. In fact, for a while it seemed like we were right back in Spain on a humid day. Some beautiful sights in the Big Easy. So much history in the French Quarter, lovely old buildings, friendly folks and many places where you could stuff your face. JR, in fact, took us for a late lunch at the Gumbo shop, where big brother tried gumbo, and I had black grilled chicken with garlicky mash potatoes and creamy spinach. Yummy. We saw quite a bit of the town, and though I still find it fascinating, a big city is just not my thing. I would have liked to explore some more, for sure, but I also looked forward to heading east.

Farther than we planned for the first day after New Orleans, actually. We had decided that we wanted to see Maine after all, which meant skipping one planned stop and driving straight through one time. So, the motel in Birmingham, Alabama got picked, and the others we had already booked rescheduled, which didn’t go as easily as we’d hoped due to the approaching weekend. But big brother persevered, and they all worked out in the end, thankfully.

After New Orleans there was a really, really long drive, through Missouri, Alabama and straight to the Smoky Mountains, a place we have all wanted to see a long time. We had an old motel near Sevierville, from where we could head on up into the national forest and truly see some of the nature there. It was so beautiful. I wanted to get lost in those woods. They were haunting and amazing, doing their name justice with narrow tendrils of clouds drifting between the mountains like smoke. Gorgeous! We also visited the reservation of the Cherokee nation there, which was just as special as the rest of the area. And amazing place…where we spent quite a few hours driving around before the end of the day approached and we had to return to the hotel.

The day after, was another long drive, but this time there was a bit of time limit, because we were going to meet Elsie at her place. I LOVED the Appalachian Mountains even more than the Smoky mountains, or maybe just in a different way. The area east of Boone, I want to explore that further some day. The plan had been a late lunch at Elsie’s, but by the time the TomTom app finally got us there, well, by then we had given into the inevitable and opened up maps, it was close to four o’clock. Luckily she didn’t mind.

It was so nice to finally meet her, too. We’d been chatting for quite some time online, and now we got to while away the afternoon talking of her wonderful home, perched above an old quarry, and comparing notes about publishing books. We had so much fun doing it that we completely forgot about the time. In fact, while we had planned to leave around seven (we still had some distance to travel that day) we didn’t actually get on the road until almost ten in the evening. * sigh * Can’t say I regret it, though. It was a great afternoon, where I got to meet some wonderful, wonderful people.

It did make getting to the booked motel of the night not all that easy. We rushed our way through North Caroline and Georgia at top speed. Still it took a long time. In fact, I could barely keep my eyes open, navigating those roads, but we did manage before midnight, so all was well.

The next day we hit Washington DC, which was an experience on its own. We had some business to attend there, and regretfully that took longer than expected, so guess what, we got stuck in traffic, which was absolutely horrid. Seriously, I think it took about an hour to navigate out of the city, making us late in reaching New Jersey, where we planned to spend the night. Did the Pentagon, and the Washington Monument, the obelisk, and the of course the Smithsonian and the Senate, which were all grand sites to see…if only from a slight distance. * sigh * The loss of time did cause that we could only see Philly by night, however impressive that still looked with all its lights and towering buildings.

Alas time was limited, and our aim, Maine. New York came next, and we didn’t even bother with the poor TomTom app by then. Heck, even maps had trouble in New York, and even though we had planned to stay out of the city entirely, we saw Queens, we saw Harlem, and swore like the heroes in a Tarantino movie. Impressive city, and I got some gorgeous pictures of it along the way, but it took so friggin’ long to get out that by the time we finally exited the city and found a place with a restroom, I was ready to slap both big brother and Lisa on the back of the head if they missed that turn. Aaaaargh! It felt like an eternity, and then when I went into the “Dunkin Donuts” the restrooms were closed because they needed cleaning. What’s worse, there were already four women waiting, and while I joined the wait, another three arrived. The poor guy who had to do the cleaning got so worried about the glares, he told us to go ahead, he would clean up after us. Haha.

With some difficulty we reached our destination that day just after nine, because the privately owned motel had a closing time of 10. Not an easy thing when navigating the horror traffic around the big cities like New York and Boston, but regardless, the nature started becoming beautiful as soon as we reached the outskirts of the city. Oh the colors it was astonishingly beautiful to see fall already in full swing.

The last hotel was a lovely spot to spent our last day in the US. It was nothing fancy, and they definitely needed a boost in income in order to improve on the accommodations, but I loved the old bits of it most. We went for a walk our first day, the weather still good enough, even though the sky was overcast. Went to this small wildlife preserve, along the salt marshes and it was great. Got to talking with three lovely ladies, one of which ran a girl camp up in Vermont, and she wondered if I wanted to check it out and see if I might be interested in a summer job cooking for the girls that would come there in summer. Everything, including my trip and stay would arranged, which sounds very tempting. I will have to give it some thought, even though I think it won’t be possible what with my job. Still, it was nice to be asked.

The next day we left early, leaving our supplies at the hotel, with a note saying we hoped they knew someone who needed them. And then we were on our way, with regret in our hearts, to Boston and our flight back to the Netherlands. It was a Sunday, so traffic was light at least, and we made good time along color flanked roads back to the big city.

Reach our gate went nicely fast, too. Delivered luggage, went through friendly, if somewhat impatient customs, and still had an hour and a half to spare when we got there. Of course, after an hour we discovered that our connecting flight had a delay, and when that went over an hour, I headed for the steward to talk about making our connecting flight from New York to Amsterdam. It took him but a minute to figure out that we weren’t going to make it, and decided to rebook us on a direct flight from Boston instead. This, I didn’t mind. It would shorten our journey by at least three hours…but it did mean fetching our luggage from baggage claim and going through the whole check-in progress once again. Including customs, who were, at this time, starting to get a little frazzled with the increase in passengers. Still, they remained friendly enough, and the lady patting me down even laughed with me when I told her this was the second time I was going through this procedure. She sent me on my way with a smile, and then we were through.

We were boarding our direct flight at the same time our connecting flight departed from Boston, and half an hour before our original flight left New York. Added to that, the seats were better than on the way to, the meal not as nice, but doable, and the flight less than six hours in total. It was amazing, especially since the way too almost took eight hours and was so very uncomfortable. Before we knew it, we were back in the Netherlands, going through customs, picking up our luggage again, and then rushing through our goodbyes with Lisa, who needed to go a different direction, because we all needed to make our trains.

Ours got us to Amersfoort within 45 minutes, and there we had to wait another thirty for the bus to drive us home in 40 minutes. At the break of dawn we were walking down the road to our house, and entering the clean and wonderful house that I call home at this time. It was lovely to be home, if surreal.

Puttered around a bit, and held out until 9 in the morning, local time. Slept for several hours, then did some groceries after picking up the keys of big brother’s fixed car, and then came home in time to greet our friend and big brother’s colleague, dropping of our laptops and keys. Had a nice chat, talking about work and the trip, but we were both fading fast by then, so we cut it all short asap. More than enough time for that when we meet up for real in the near future.

But that about sums up the grand road trip for now. It was amazing, it was special, and I want to do it again some day, but until that time, I’m going to have to focus on work, the books and life in general.

If you want to see a, basically, day by day report of the trip, with pictures and everything you can check it out on our website where I maintained a blog. You won’t regret it. The pics are lovely!
I hope you’ll go and read it…and enjoy.

Late now. Gotta go. I’ll be back.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Road trip coming up!!!!

Song of the day: “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez. Such cute song. Am not at all bothered by having it in my head.

So this is going to be a real quickie post, even though I owe you guys more than that, after the “radio silence” of the past couple of months, but what the heck. I promise I’ll make it up to you…in part with the news that soon you’ll be able to follow my upcoming trip, with, hopefully daily updates of the where and hows and whatevers of the road trip through the USA together with big brother. Yay!

It’s been and incredibly busy couple of months. I know I have said that before, but besides the vacation coming up, there’s quite a few changes that have been starting to take route.
First off, big brother got some good news, which involves him finally getting a permanent contract at work. Yay, for him. He likes the job. It’s varied, a challenge, and he knows his thing. Can’t ask for more than that.

Second bit of good news is that our book “Girl in the Misty” Finally became a bestseller at all the big outlets online.  It hit various number spots on (in multiple countries, thank you very much) and managed to get as far as #37 of all their books. Wow. On iTunes we got to #10, I kid you not and B&A we actually got till #2 Yay! Was all very exciting for a couple of weeks and an absolute pleasure to see that it was indeed was possible. We didn’t make the USA Today bestseller list, especially because the sales didn’t shoot until two days before the list was made up, but it was close, I think…or I like to think. Hah Received some wonderful reviews, too, not to mentioned tripled our ratings on Goodreads, which is always a good thing.

Thirdly, another job change lies ahead of me. Nothing wrong with the catering one that I had, but an opportunity came up, another offer was made, and I felt I had no choice but to take it with both hands. I’m gonna be a cook. Yes, you read that right. I, am going to be a cook. A paid one at that. And not badly paid either. And it’ll be a challenge, and I really enjoyed it on the occasions that I worked over there, combined with my other job, which was a pain in the behind, not to mention exhausting. Two jobs, and then trying to get another book ready to start sending out? Practically impossible. Got one more day…what do you think? Will I make it? We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
The new job will involve live cooking, which is a lot of fun, considering you get to talk with people and cook at the same time. Of course that is not all. There’s also prepping work, and cutting and mixing and making desserts…sooo many desserts. That’s the least favorite bit for as far as I’m concerned. Way too much sweetness.

Well, everything is ready for the trip. Bags are packed, house has been cleaned and organized for the house sitters, paperwork taken care of, everything triple checked, route completely set out, stops planned, people to see (at last), places to see and even a big part of our rooms already booked. Starting to get a wee bit nervous about the whole thing. I mean, this is the biggest trip I have done in ages, and to the other side of the world, no less. Exciting and scary a the same time, if you know what I mean. On the one hand, can’t wait to see it all, and on the other hand…OMG! OMG! OMG!

Car has been having some trouble. Both of them in fact. Had to call triple A myself once, because the engine stalled. Thankfully it wasn’t anything serious. Regretfully big brother’s is now also having trouble, so that means we have to deal with that as soon as we get back. Darn it.

Did quite a bit of experimenting with cooking, but the greatest part of that was that I was offered to arrange a big dinner for the CEOs at the company I now used to work for. So much fun. Got to set up a 3 course meal (well, I made a 3 course with three options per course so they could chose) and then serve it, which is not an easy thing, since there were products to order via places that only had order numbers and descriptions, rather than pictures, not to mention a limited amount of time to prep and actually cook before it was serving time. But it worked and everyone was happy and liked the food, so all went well…which was a relief. You know how I can stress about stuff like that. Hah

Well, that about sums it up for me this time ‘round. I hope that internet won’t be a problem for me over there, so I’ll be able to post blogs about the entire trip and let you all see where I’m at.
Looking forward to it.