Thursday, April 26, 2018

Trip Planning Juggling

Six Trips. Within the next nine months. What were we thinking? Actually, I know the answer--Yes. My husband and I have trouble saying no when opportunities for trips come up. We both love to travel and are of the mindset that we should while we can as you never know when that could change. But, six is more than we've ever had on the schedule.

These are a mix of vacations and scrapbook/work related trips for me. The crops are a great blend of work and play and I always come home recharged and filled with creative energy. Now that our children are grown, my husband comes with me to the scrapbook retreats and golfs (if it's not snowing) while I crop.

The rest of the trips require a bit (or a lot) more planning depending on the destination. May will be a relaxing trip to a resort in Virginia...just me and the husband. The resort has plenty of activities on site: golf, crafting, classes, excursions. Some of the activities I can reserve ahead of time, and no need to plan ahead for meals. We'll have a kitchen, so some meals we can dine in the room and others go out to eat. And with there only being two of us, not much juggling of interests and schedules. As we're driving (only 2 1/2 hours from our home) no need to find flights or arrange rentals. Just pack up the car and go.

Our December and February trips are a whole different story. December is a family trip (8 of us) going to Disney World. I'm sure saying for 8 people and then adding the fact we're going to Disney World pretty much explains the juggling for that vacation. It takes a lot of work to find a time that works for all those schedules, especially when only 2 are children and the rest are adults with jobs. But, I got it all straightened out, and in the end it worked out perfectly, even thought I didn't get my preferred date. The alternate date chosen fell under the Free Dining Days just released. Yay for saving money!

The truth is I love to vacation plan, it's one of my other hobbies, so I've been doing plenty of reading and research on Disney--and we have been a few times. There are only 2 must do restaurants on the combined lists, and I'm hoping one of the days we're there I'll be able to snag those coveted places. With it being free dining time, I know it will a race to snag reservations. Wish me luck! I'm confident I'm up for the task. After dining comes FastPass reservations. I'm starting to pull together my family's requests now and if they don't give it to me in time, they get what I pick.

Our last trip on the calendar, so far, is in February to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. Right now, I'm trying to see what hotel will work best for us. I don't want to wait too late and have our options limited--or more expensive.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Recap

Last week I wrote about the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books when it was upcoming.  I did as I'd said and attended it on Saturday, where I sat at the three booths where I was scheduled: Los Angeles Romance Authors, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

All were fun! 

Did I sell a lot of books?  Well, I wouldn't say a lot, but some.  And I had a lot of fun, both chatting with readers who visited me at the booths and discussing my work with them, and interacting with the other authors who sat there with me.

Plus, I wound up getting invited to an upcoming event at a bookstore after seeing one of its representatives there, and that'll be enjoyable, too.

So what else?  Well, on my way there via the LA Metro I noticed a family where the two young boys were wearing USC T-shirts, and since the LATFOB was being held at the University of Southern California I said hi.  Yes, they were heading to the same place I was, and I tried to help them get on the right Metro cars since we had to change trains.  However, things had changed on the Metro from the way they had been the last few years so I don't think I was much help since I had to figure out the new system, too.  But they were a very sweet family and even emailed me some photos they took with the sons and me together as I held up one of my books!

At the Festival, I did take the opportunity to visit a lot of booths, or at least check them out.  And no, I didn't pop in to any of the talks--no time.

The weather was windy and it got hot in the sun, but fortunately there was a lot of shade, so that worked out fine. 

Plus, I was able to say hi to a lot of people who brought their dogs to the event.

But as I said, I only went on Saturday because of deadlines for copyedit reviews for two books as well as my upcoming mystery deadline.  Did I get as much accomplished as I hoped for on Sunday?  No, but I did get enough done to make me feel relieved I didn't hit the festival again.

Next year's?  I'll look forward to it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Weather or Not

Ah, changeable Minnesota!  On Sunday the temperature hit seventy warm, sunny degrees, and I put on shorts, sandals and a sleeveless top to sit out on our south-facing balcony soaking it in.  There are still patches and swaths of snow on north-facing slopes or where protected by trees and houses but elsewhere the grass has a green tinge and the buds on trees are swollen.  I expect a crocus at any moment – or a dandelion, I have witnessed them coming up through the snow!

Of course, today the temperature is only supposed to hit sixty-three at its best, but that’s still better than the city shut down because over a foot of snow is blowing sideways down the streets.  In either case, I’m sitting at my desk, struggling to get into the next chapter of Tying the Knot.

Friday, April 20, 2018

April in Chicago

I made it to Chicago.  There are violets, but no lilies of the valley or lilacs.  There was, however, snow.  It came late and was gone by morning, but still snow in mid April!

It's been write, write, write since I got here. I had to finish up the update of my website and get cracking on the next Yarn Retreat  book.  It is easier to get lost in my work when there is no one to interrupt me.

I am also working on the project for the book.  The characters are new to knitting so I wanted a project that was easy and quick, but also nice looking.  I was also concerned that I didn't use yarns that might be discontinued before the book comes out. Just before I left I went through my stash and grabbed some knitting needles the size of small baseball bats.  I gathered up three different yarns that seem standard and not likely to be discontinued.  I had already come up with a plan for the design, but I wanted to try making it to see what kind of problems my characters would have with it.

It is alway s exciting to work with  a number of strands of yarn because the end result is always a surprise.  I didn't know what it would look like until I started working  on it.  So far I'm pleased with the results.  The retreat Casey is putting on this time is for some of her college friends and I wanted something they would actually wear.

The time here is flying by, particularly since my trip got shortened by the bad weather.  For the days I have left, it will be write, write, write.

The weather is supposed to get better by the day, not that I will really notice.  My head is with Casey on the Monterey peninsula where the skies are always cloudy and the bodies keep piling up.