Posts Tagged ‘travels and memories’

Waterfall Challenge: Hemlock Falls–You’re Here

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Water is poetry for me. It’s breathing. Thriving. Living. It’s escape and coming home and coming back. It’s today and yesterday and tomorrow. It’s dreaming.

Come to Hemlock Falls with my husband and me. This last May. Spring thaw. Never made it to the higher falls. Mudslides everywhere.  Never quite there. Never want to be.

You’ll see.


Sun peaking. A halo. A path. You’re here.


Water teasing. A taste. A promise. Stay here.

On the way

Impossible winking. A want. A need. Know here. (more…)

I Hear The Craziest Things: Apple wants to help you help them…

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

I’m typing on my new iPad. Call me a happy girl ;0)

But you know me well enough now. You’re expecting that’s not the end of this Sunday story. How much fun would that be, right?

There we are at the Apple Genius Bar, while this great kid, Adam, is showing me the standard bells and whistles of my new toy–which will replace my laptop for most travel and work I do away from home from now on.

He’s confident and in his element, as a genius should be, thinking I’m cute for saying I’m a GA Tech grad and know computers (at least IBM hardware and operating systems). He’s digging that I’m an author and asking me about what I write while he puts my new toy through it’s paces.

But here’s the thing, I say, pulling out my laptop. I need to pull MS Word documents from this to the iPad for travel, work on them while I’m gone, then port them back.

His cheerful enthusiasm dims just a little, (more…)

Waterfall Challenge: Stonewall Falls

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Stonewall Falls is a shy, flickering interior cascade I almost didn’t achieve. Almost… Some miracles take their time unfolding. They hide. They challenge the determined heart. Everything that could stop you bars your path, while magic lies just beyond your grasp.


“…a very easy cascade for waterfall watchers to visit while in Clayton…” says Boyd of Stonewall Falls (p. 107).

Difficulty of hike?


Stream flow?




“Why not tack it onto the end of my hiking day,” I say to myself as I read.

Then again, the printed guide I’m using is a decade old, and even then it was a reprint.

If you’re local to the area and have a four wheel drive truck, I’m sure you could persuade yourself that this is an easy-to-get-to destination. Actually, this day I’m not sure at all. The park service has let things go a bit. Mostly, I suspect, because, as Boyd says, the area is a mecca for “campers and mountain bikers…” Not the pickiest lot, when it comes to the upkeep of their outdoor pleasures.

You get the idea. The dirt path I’m driving comes equipped with pot holes the size of the front of my car. Steep uphills and drops greet me, where rain and run off have made things steeper and more nerve-wracking. Nifty, not-so-little turns lead to near-blind hazards. Maybe this destination and I aren’t meant to be? (more…)

I Hear the Craziest Things: Forgeddaboutit…

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

I owe you a sonnet on Michelle’s and my hotel experience last weekend, and I’m good for it. But this fine Saturday morning, my family’s whirling like a runaway top, and I’m chasing dust bunnies in their shadows trying to keep up. So, here’s some of the things that gave me some Internet happiness (or double-takes)  as I re-entered my “normal” life this week.

I’ve never worried about aging, never had a “list” of things I needed to do by a certain age to feel fulfilled, never looked back (much) at some point in the dwindling past thinking THOSE were the days.I accept every morning (and I know it’s a blessing) that better stuff is ahead. The “it’s all downhill from here” perspective of some? Forgeddaboutit.

So, I give you 4 Cool Women Making 40 Fantastic.

 the new 40

I do drink expensive, designer coffee, but only because Starbucks makes it the best, the way I like it (incredibly strong, yet decaf and doused in tons of fat-free milk and so cold you can feel your throat bracing itself just before you take your first sip).

What I don’t do is indulge (very often) in the pastry in their cases or the hot chocolate or the other “light” and yummy looking things they offer that, to me, seem just a little too good to be true. Not to mention the fact that if I ate that much sugar and fat in the middle of the day, I’d be in a coma before I managed to drive wherever I was headed next. But I know others love the goodies, and I don’t judge.

Except, when I see the latest “mini” bites of heaven tempting folks as soon as they walk in Starbucks door. Birthday cake pops and mini cupcakes and tiny red velvet woopie pies… OMG!!! If my low blood sugar wasn’t the one thing about my system rivalling my thyroid problems for top billing in the making me sick department, I’d have dove head first, love at first sight, into the pastry case.

 starbucks woopie pie (more…)

The Thing About Conferences…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

More I Hear the Craziest Things Friday  (after HoWW tomorrow and PIFS Thursday), where we’ll delve deeply into the kinetic mess I call travelling. “But what’s the thing about conferences?” you ask after reading the title of this post…

I taught with my fabulous agent last weekend, Michelle Grakjowski. And when we weren’t embarrassing ourselves in restaurants driving the wait staff crazy, we got to know 35 amazing people from the Rochester/Syracuse areas of New York. We talked publishing industry trends (particularly the rise of eBooks and digital publishing as major players), I taught an interactive version of my character planning and rewriting workshops (with a dose of drafting/improvisation to round things out), and we did one of my favorite things–discussing the communication skills that can make or break your career.

 Teaching mechanics

But that’s just the framework. The mechanics. The syllabus. My handouts are detailed and up on my website and a lot of the nuts and bolts of what Michelle and I teach can be taken away from just reading them.

The thing about conferences, especially magical events like this, is the energy. The dynamic of learning. The growing connection that began Friday night when after about an hour everyone loosened up and took me up on my offer to tell us every horrible thing they’d heard about digital publishing and everything they were scared about it doing to their careers.

Then Michelle and I started leading the group through a reality check that was cathartic for everyone. Yes, it’s scary out there. But the thing is, it always has been. (more…)

I Hear the Craziest Things: Rochester Edition…

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The Central New York Romance Writers are an amazing group. Michelle Grajkowski and I just had our best weekend workshop experience EVER with them. The travel thing is always bizarre, though. I hear the craziest things

Did you know milk has more calories when you cross the California state line?

At the Subway where we grabbed lunch Friday on the way to our afternoon “meet and greet,” this sign on the sneeze guard in front of the sandwich counter of course caught my attention, if no one else’s.


 In case you can’t read it–it says 1% low fat milk has 160 calories everywhere but in California, where it magically increases to 180 calories.

I mean, really? I get what this might mean: a larger container of milk is used in the California region; the caloric definition of “1% low fat” might be gauged differently based on California FDA regulations; CA cow’s milk has given up worrying about how it looks in HD and has let itself go, and, really, what’s 20 extra calories when you’ve already hit 160… (more…)

Loving the journey…DFWCon 2011

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The DFWCon was my first conference trip in over eight months, since the worst of my thyroid symptoms took me off the travelling/teaching/networking in person train once again–just when I thought I was recovering. An amazing group. A great weekend. A great new step in my Revising A Year journey back to who I’m going to be on the other side of my health making all my personal, business, and creative choices for me…

It could have been merely a trying trip up. You know me and kenetic energy when I get stressed, and packing up for a long weekend was more stressful than ever after so much time off. To sum up: something large and heavy tried to kill my indestructible hard-sided luggage and nearly succeeded, leaving behind a dent the size of a dinner plate to remind me WHY I pay so much for hard-sided luggage; something killed my laptop on the trip up, barely scratching the outside case but destroying the monitor screen within, most likely when my bags fell over at some point and the laptop bag hit the handle on my carry on luggage JUST SO; and the screw to my glasses jumped to its death one of the first nights there, so the lens on that side of the frame could pop free and frolic across the bedspread rather than staying put so I could work in my room without feeling the need to scratch my contacts out of my eyes…

Which, I admit, all sounds pretty entertaining in hindsight. Especially since the DFWCon volunteers and staff did such a freaking great job with the event. (more…)

Shoes Are My Heroin: DFWCon D-Day!!!

Friday, February 25th, 2011

There’s been some trash talking here about the DFWConnference ShoeCam Grudge-match. You know who (yes, you, Jenni, so don’t even think you can hide) has asked her blog faithful to tell her which shoes will grind my lovelies into the dust and win her the glory. It’s only fair that I beg for your advice in turn.

Don’t leave me unprepared.I’m packed (overpacked, actually), but which shoes should I wear? There are a couple of business-y but not too conservative dresses/dress suits in my bag, a skirt with a two different silk blouses that match, and jeans/leggings to wear with funky T-shirts or a tunics. And we’ll be in Dallas Fort Worth, so no need to worry about dressing for warmth.

So tell me, SAMH readers–Which of these should I wear to smack Jenni down for the grudge-match count???

fri brown nanette

The dresses are blue/blueish gray, so naturally I’m thinking of wearing this cool brown Nanette Lepores.

fri mary jane platform

Or, my black platform Cole Haan Mary Janes. These have Niki air soles, believe it or not. Definitely conference wearable, regardless of the heel. (more…)

Waterfall Challenge: Becky Branch’s Steep Climb

Monday, February 21st, 2011

You know a few things at the beginning of a challenge.You learn a few more as you immerse yourself in the day-to-day. Like when Brian Boyd in his Waterfalls Book says, “turn at the Days Inn from Clayton,” you better hope the Days Inn is still there, but he’s serious about his landmarks ;o)

enough movement for a breeze

The problem with working from a 20-year-old guide book is that some things just are where they used to be. Luckily, the North Georgia Mountains is still enough of a tourist destination certain times of the year, I found my right-hand turn onto “Warwoman” Rd (you better believe I double-checked that name to make sure I wasn’t misreading it), because without the Inn to show me my way I’d have been a bird dog without a scent to track–there’s NO STREET SIGN at the intersection, because it’s a funky little fork off HWY 441 (that perhaps they added FOR the Days Inn), and you don’t really hook up with Warwoman until a few hundred yards further.

Good, I thought, as I and Warwoman got better acquainted, the first challenge was behind me on my way to Becky Branch falls. I’m now on the lookout for the Warwoman Dell Recreation Area, 2.4 miles down the road. 2.4, mind you. And I was tracking that mileage carefully, given that the directions were so exact. Turns out mileage is something Mr. Boyd played a bit more fast and loose with. That .4 can come sooner in some directions, take you further in others. At some point, you have to throw the guide book onto the passenger seat, slow your speed to a crawl and scan the farmland outside your window, often for several passes, until you find the obscure entrance into a local park that everyone who lives there can locate blindfolded. (more…)

Shoes Are My Heroine: Preparing For The Grudgematch!

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Next week, I’ll be speaking at the DFWcon near Dallas, and Jenni and I are already holding our shoe grudgematch on Twitter. To sum up, here’s this week’s throwdown from my camp ;o) Come on…who do you love more???

Today’s GRW Chapter Meeting “business” shoes:

shoes red stuart copy

My “walking around town and critique meeting” shoes choices. Which did I pick? (more…)