Sunshine. That is all.

sun The view through what may be the draftiest window in the building. Luckily for me, the view is right next to my desk. Unluckily, that also means the draft is a constant tickle on the back of my neck, but at some point you have to take what you can get. And look at the sun!

Life here is good. Work is insane. Getting people organized into meetings is something like herding squirrels.  You can tempt them with nuts, but I’m pretty sure you really need to let some kind of cat loose behind them to really get it moving.

I’ve started loaning a horse.  More time to ride! Hacks in the morning! As soon as I get the 17h boy to stand still for more than two seconds there will be both a picture and a post.  For now, let’s all just enjoy the sun.

tea, sun, and holiday success

photo Sri Lanka was gorgeous. Gorgeous, warm, fascinating, and fun.  It’s always a pleasure to travel somewhere for a happy occasion (we were there for a wedding), and to travel somewhere new, where you might never have gone, is an extra treat.

Of course, for me, a large part of the planning for the trip involved what books to take, which friends I could depend upon to have extra books I could borrow, and, now how much money I was willing to budget to spend on books for the iPad.  The iBookstore is still fairly minimal (especially if you don’t necessarily read books of the NYT best seller list), but I can normally find at least a few, and the ability to buy a new book from an hotel room and read it within a few seconds is…dangerously pleasant. As soon as there are more books available, and e-book formatting gets more consistent, the iPad is going to be one more thing that makes it far too easy to spend money on books.

iPad aside, the most successful book of the trip was definitely Connie Willis’ Blackout–Willis is one of the authors I feel is criminally unknown. She’s one multiple awards for her short stories and consistently turns out fascinating, funny, and wonderful books, but it’s rare to find more than one or two of her books on the shelves at a bookstore and libraries are rarely any better. Continue reading

Summer, so far.

YorkThis is York. I was in York with a friend who was visiting us from the US this month; it’s the third time I’ve been to York, partially because I will take any excuse, any excuse at all, to eat at J Baker’s Bistro. This place is definitely a destination restaurant, and while there are tons and tons of reasons to travel to York, it would be difficult for me to convince myself to eat somewhere else. So, so good. And reasonable. And right next to an excellent used bookstore. See? perfect!

This time I was also with a friend game enough to go to the Jorvik Viking Centre.  It’s full of animatronic Vikings, ancient medallions, and…authentic smells. Luckily, the friend I was with is a middle school admin and so is used to people breaking down into giggles at funny smells.  Also, she’s willing to giggle along. We hiked to the top of Clifford’s Tower for a gorgeous view of the town. And then wandered around the shops and various other historic type landmarks. It was great fun, and my Jorvik entrance is good for twelve months, so I have yet another excuse to go back!

Before York, though, I was at conferences in Hertfordshire and Portugal (first one…fine, second one…more fun, but exhausting). Both of them were…warm.  The weather here (up until this week) has been…well, unusual.  Super warm, a bit muggy, and not a drop of rain in sight. It was eerie, although I think I was the only one who had been programmed by her upbringing to get very twitchy at the mention of “lack of rainfall” and a “possible drought”; everyone else mostly seemed okay with the idea of a very dry summer!

I was also lucky enough to get invited to a Simon and Schuster “bloggers” event.  We watched a short presentation and got to listen to a roundtable discussion about publishing from a few of the Simon and Schuster editors and others. It was actually quite cool. Of course, we also got…free books! AND a bag to put them in.  A high-quality bag, I must mention, because it managed to cart home the 15+ books I grabbed without showing any sign of strain.  To top it off, I finally got to meet the guys who run Bookgeeks, AND I popped into the British Library on my way over.  Total success, I think.

Next, we’re off to Sri Lanka and phase two of my work project kicks off.  August and September are already looking very, very busy.