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3 posts from March 2013

FelicitàMarch 30, 2013


This is possibly my favorite picture anyone's taken of me, ever. Yesterday there were a couple of kids playing and running after the pigeons in  Piazza San Marco, but Bethany couldn't grab them with her camera because they kept stopping. So I did a silly dance and a joyful,glorious I AM WHERE I AM run. I ran in circles. I flopped around. I danced with my umbrella. I was so happy. (Pretty much, I'm lucky enough that I'm happy most places. But in Venice? It's ridiculous.)

And I'm so sorry, but this is merely a drive-by placeholder post from Venice, where I'm holed up with my sister Bethany in a warm and cozy apartment overlooking the stormy nighttime lagoon. All the time--and I mean ALL THE TIME--I have a running commentary inside my head of all the things I want to tell the blog. Like yesterday, when I was at the spa in the Lido (right?) and they gave me a disposable g-string to wear. And people, I could NOT tell which way it went on, and in my fear, I stepped on it and ripped it in half, which I thought was hilarious, and I was also glad the masseuse would never know, and then she flipped me onto my back and massaged mah belleh. In my years of getting massages as often as I can fit them into the budget, I've had many things massaged, but never my stomach, especially two days after having a 36-hour bout of the worst food poisoning of my life (thanks, hotel breakfast!). Apart from the strangeness of my belly-rub, and the hospital-issue paper g-string, it was a great massage! (Truthfully, it was heaven. The best massage I've ever had. Except maybe for Raul in Alameda, who is more pain than pleasure, but that's a whole 'nother rabbit hole.)

And that's how my brain runs. It's full of things to tell you. 

But we've been running around, see. And by running around, I mean exactly the opposite. When we got to Rome, we did too much the first day. By conservative estimates, we walked somewhere between twelve and fifteen miles, which was too much, but it's what you do when you're freaking out about the amazing weather (sunny and cool) and the everything of it all. (Rome was the little mama's favorite city, and she especially loved the way the ancient abutted the brand-new. Bethany loves that too.) But since that day, and since I got a migraine (omg, I think I'm actually gluten-intolerant! Color me the last to know! Two pizzas in two days, and I was laid flat for half a day), Bethany and I have travelled this way: Where's the next place we'll get a caffelatte? or, if it's anytime after 11:31 a.m., Where's the next place we'll get a gelato/spritz? 

In between drinks and dairy products, we Happen Upon Things. (Then, wonderfully, enough, Bethany goes home that night to the hotel/scary monastery/apartment and Googles everything and tells me what I saw.)  

Lerici, sunset, purloined hotel wine glasses. 

So now I have a HYOOGE list of things to tell you, but first I should tell you this: 

1. If you like Italo-pop, buy Mike Patton's Mondo Cane album right NOW. It will freak you out with how amazing it is. Read about it here. (We found the CD in the Venice apartment tonight, put it in blindly, and proceeded to both start shaking our booties all over the tiled floors.) 

2. If you'd like to see more photos of our trip before we get home, head over to Flickr, where I've been posting a few of my favorite snaps (I'm so pleased with my camera choices for this trip. I only brought two: my iPhone 4 and Bethany. One or the other is always ready to snap a pic. Her Flickr account is here). 


Italy Bound March 8, 2013

Oh, darlings. I'm getting so excited about so many things, and most of them are Italian in nature. So I'm going to list them, because I do love a list. 

1. Yes, I'm going to Italy again. This time I'm going with sister Bethany, who's never been. When Mom died, she left us all a little money, just enough for a special treat of a trip. My two younger sisters went to Ireland together last year, this year it's my turn. So we're off soon, for a Great Adventure. We're both very much alike in that we like to just wander, so we have little planned. We even have about four completely unstructured days between Rome and Venice (tell us what little town between those two you love the most (and why)! Reachable by train, please). 

2. Speaking of lists: I LOVE THEM. Sometimes I just open my packing list and stare at it. I've been doing that a lot lately. I'm taking a half-sized suitcase and a small messenger bag on this trip. Both pieces will fit under the seat in front of me. I get almost as excited about packing lightly as I do about our new budget, YNAB. (That surprisingly sexy program has changed our lives, and we've only been using it for two months. Apparently I had no idea how money worked. Oops. Try the free trial, tell me what you think.) 

3. My new thing is geocaching. I'm sure you know about this. Pretty much, if I dive deeply into some obsession, I'm about four years late and the bubble of the hobby is about to collapse, but it is SO cool. Basically, you use a GPS to find treasure. Bethany has been doing it for years, and I've gone with her at least once, but it didn't grab me. A friend at work has been doing it, and I was idly listening to her wax rhapsodic, and then I put the two thoughts together: Treasure hunting. In Italy. Immediately, I was online, signing up at Geocaching.com, making lists of the caches we'll hunt for in Rome and Venice. Can you imagine? The fun of that? There are puzzles, people. 

When I was a kid, my dad would buy used metal-detectors at yard sales and fix them up. We'd take them to the beach and carefully comb the sand, diving with the shovel at every tiny beep. I don't remember us ever finding anything more than empty metal tins washed ashore by the tide, but there was always that blissful hope that the next beep would be The Big One. The treasure chest of a pirate schooner, just waiting for us to dig up. 

Of course, when I was a kid, I was good for about fifteen minutes of searching before I got frustrated and ran away to build sand castles that looked more like wet lumpen apartment buildings than actual castles, and that same letdown could certainly happen with geocaching. It's possible I'll be excited about it twice and then wander away whistling, thinking about a new plot for the next book (the only things I've ever actually stuck with are Lala, knitting, and writing), but you never know. NEW OBSESSION YUM. 

4. I have purple hair. I don't know why. I just knew it was important to do. 



Cora's Heart

First of all: There's a new book out in Australia and New Zealand! The fourth Cypress Hollow! Oh, my goodness! I would jump up and down, but I'm in my office, and you wouldn't be able to see me, and then the dogs would start barking at me and I'd trip over a cat or two, so I'm going to skip all that and just show you before I hurt myself. 


Cora, a farm-girl who's been hurt too much in the past, safeguards everything--except her heart. Mac is a large-animal veterinarian who has already risked it all and lost everything that mattered. When a secret is revealed, Cora has to decide whether Mac is a safe bet . . . or the worst gamble of her life. 

Available at book retailers in Australia and New Zealand, Random House Australia and e-book link here. (Good New Zealand link HERE.)  It will be available in other countries including the US, but I don't have a date yet. I'll keep you posted (I'm as impatient as you are to get it into your hands, I promise). 

A Life in Stitches


 My memoir! You know, the one blurbed by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, winner of the most recent Amazing Race? (Dude. I love him, and his writing is lovely if you haven't checked him out.)  

It's only $1.99 for the whole month of March on Kindle! (If you don't have a Kindle, you can use their free app on your phone, notebook, or computer.) And if you like anything about my blog, you'll find 20 essays in there which are WAY more thought-out and funny and smart than these rambles over here ever turn out to be. I hope you'll like it. The Amazon reviews are wonderful and completely humbling. Available HERE. Canada, it's here for you.

 And from my last post, the winners of the drawing for Sophie's amazing boook, Garden of Stones:  

From the blog comments: Darling Maggi! From my subscriber list (I love my list): Hmkaup! You've both been emailed. 

Thanks, all of you. Britain and all other places left out of this post, I promise you something more exciting soon. Pinky swear. MWAH!