Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: UK Trip 2011: LONDON

It's not too late to blog about a trip two and a half years after the fact, right? Okay good, 'cause that's what I'm gonna do. :-D

In the summer of 2011, my BFF and I went to the UK for 12 days—she was going for a literary conference; I was going because ENGLAND YOU GUYSSSS. Our trip broke down into four basic stages: London, Edinburgh, York, and London again.

Here's part one!


We arrived in London at about 7:30 AM British time, completely exhausted and jetlagged like you wouldn't believe (jet lag is REAL, people!). We had a snack in the airport and I used pounds and pence for the first time! I also dropped my credit card on the ground after buying train tickets, 0_o but fortunately realized it before anything disastrous happened. Oh, and as I was standing in line for the bathroom, I got asked if I "was in the queue" which was awesome. :-D

We took the train to the tube station (don't remember which one!) and got separated on the tube when I got off too early and she kept going—I asked for directions from a nice British lady and we eventually found each other again at the tube stop by our bed and breakfast. We realized maybe we should have bought minutes for our phones or something so we could get a hold of each other in the event of separation (whoops). Our bed and breakfast was this cute little house on a residential street, and the owner was nice enough to let us check in early, and we got hooked up to the internet and took a much needed NAP. Tragically, we were so ridiculously jetlagged that we opted out of going to the Globe Theater to see ARTHUR DARVIL on stage. Still bummed about that!! :-(

We ate at a charming little pub a few blocks away from our B&B, and were asked what sauces we would like with our meals. Jenny inquired politely what sauces they had (we had no idea why we were being asked about sauces, haha), and the waitress gave us a funny look and was all: "ketchup, mustard…" So apparently sauces = condiments. Good to know!

We spent the majority of the next day at the British Museum, which was filled with all kinds of incredibly amazing things, and I kind of wish I could go there every single day. We ate our first triangularly-packaged sandwiches on the lawn of the museum—there seemed to be a lot of opportunity to eat triangularly-packaged sandwiches that whole trip! I bought an adorable British Museum mug.

In the afternoon, we went to St. Paul's cathedral, and climbed all the way to the top! It was exhausting but so worth it. Then we stayed for Evensong, which was the MOST GORGEOUS THING I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Back at the B&B I discovered that my wifi had decided it was allergic to foreign air, and refused to connect EVEN THOUGH IT HAD WORKED FINE THE DAY BEFORE!!! It didn't work the entire rest of the trip. :-P Jenny generously let me borrow her laptop, which was apparently fine with overseas travel, but it was kind of rough for both of us to communicate with everybody back home! It was also the greatest period of time I had been away from my then-boyfriend-now-husband in the five months we'd been dating, and the separation was kind of a shock! Missing significant others is FOR REAL!! Yikes!

Next day we planned to head to Cambridge and spend the day there. Jenny was getting sick. :-( Highlight of the day was conversing with a British couple over breakfast about Doctor Who. It was like the epitome of awesome. They were impressed at how much we Americans knew. :-D

The Cambridge trip was kind of a disaster—personality clashes (oops), sickness, and fragile tempers began to rear their ugly heads. 0_o We did take a nice punting tour about the college, though, and got to ride a relaxing train, but all in all not our finest moments…

Next day was all about GETTING TO EDINBURGH, but I'll leave that for the next post. :-)

In London, our first night

Jet-lagged and ready for FOOD!

Our Bed & Breakfast

At the Boston Manor Tube Stop by our B&B

The British Museum!

Inside the British Museum

At the top of St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

Punting in Cambridge

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Procrastination, Rewrite Update, and Arizona Always Does Its Own Thing

And because I'm behind on blogging this month and I want to procrastinate actually working on my novel, here's a second post for today. :-)

On the writing front, I'm still slogging away on that giant rewrite. I'm just about to start chapter five of part two, and there's fifteen chapters after that, so I've still got a ways to go, blech. I reallllly want to be done with this draft by the end of March, so I'd better get cracking. Trying not to think about how I get to go through it again after that because this rewrite is so massive it's like 50% brand new material which needs editing and pondering and possibly rearranging and rewriting. Oh man this is so much work. You see why I'm procrastinating??

I'm so ready to be on to something NEW! Trying do decide if I'll start writing a brand new novel (from last year's set-aside short story), finish off my draft from November, or Something Else Entirely. So many possibilities!

Meanwhile, Arizona has forgotten it's February and has decided to skyrocket into the mid-to-upper-80s, which is making me grumpy because summer is coming soon and WE NEVER HAD WINTER!!!!!! >:-( It's so weird to me that the rest of the country is wreathed in eternal White Witch Narnian winter, and Arizona is all like "la dee dah, let's break some heat records for this time of year." Anyways. I REFUSE to turn on the air conditioning. You know. In the house. It's definitely on in my car…

So. There you have it.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I just finished this exquisite book last week, and I cannot recommend it enough! Beautiful language and storytelling, compelling characters—it's just absolutely gorgeous. And because I'm too lazy to do a proper review, here are a few of the many (MANY!) quotable lines from Fairyland:

“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”
“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.”