Friday, April 30, 2010
Vermont holds a special place in our hearts—we honeymooned in Pittsfield. But more importantly, Vermont is a wonderful place to visit, where the air is clean—free of toxins and the water is pure—so pure, you can see all the way to the bottom of the babbling brooks. The smell of wood burning stoves permeates the air, the cheapest form of heat reminding you of its quaintness, family unity and neighbors who share camaraderie far beyond the norm.
This particular morning, the air was chilly, but we were prepared with warm coats. On our way out of town, we stopped for breakfast and picked up some homemade jams and syrups. There’s something very therapeutic about purchasing homemade items when you’re on vacation. It’s a reminder of a wonderful vacation that extends until you finish your goodies.
We finally pull into the crowded parking area to begin our hike back into the woods to see the Buttermilk Falls. Hubby has decided to take a picture of me, but the camera is dead because he’s forgotten to charge the batteries last night. Needless to say, there is no point in lugging the camera around, so I walk back to the car deciding to stash it on the back seat of our car, along with my purse, and cover them both with our coats since it had warmed up a bit. I locked the car manually and headed toward the falls and my waiting husband. Having second thoughts about leaving my cell phone behind, I rushed back to the car with the keys and pressed on the remote. The doors would not unlock. I called out to Bob for help.
He just sighed and returned to the car, going through the same drill as me, repeatedly clicking on the remote to no avail. I began to panic, my heart pounding against my rib cage wondering what we we’re going to do. We were leaving for the airport right after we finished our hike into the falls. And seriously, visiting Vermont isn’t like living in a Metropolitan area with everything close by. I’m sure they have AAA, but without a phone, how can I call for help?
As I stood watching my husband continually press the remote hoping to get it to work, my anxiety escalated as I worried about our flight home, and then it suddenly occurred to me our purchased goodies were not on the backseat. Surprised because we hadn’t walked that far into the woods before I’d turned around to retrieve my phone, I couldn’t believe anyone from Vermont, our special place, could have stolen our treasures from our rental car.
But then, we did leave the back doors unlocked. Disappointed my last day on vacation had been sabotaged by some mean-spirited thief I began to pace back and forth. The crunching of the gravel beneath my feet began to drive my husband crazy, so I decided to do a bit of investigating by checking each car in the lot to see who had my jams and syrup while hubby fiddled with the remote.
Fortunately, other than the parked cars, no one else was around to see me snooping. As I approached car after car, I finally found what I was looking for—the car thief’s car. I shook my head in bafflement. What kind of schmuck would steal our stuff and leave it in the backseat of his car. I called out to Bob who was several cars away and he came rushing over. Bob leaned up against the window and shielded the light so he could see inside.
“Can you believe someone would be so blatant as to leave the stolen goods right on the back seat,” I shot out.
Bob backed away and gave me an odd look. “Hon, did you throw the wrapper from the cookie you had earlier on the floor?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I was waiting to throw it out in a trash can. Why?”
Bob pulled the remote from his pocket and clicked twice. All the locks popped simultaneously. Okay, so now, it suddenly occurs to us that we’ve locked our camera, coats, and my purse in the backseat of someone else’s car—a car the same color, make and model as our rental car.
Neither one of us could stop laughing at our stupidity. Especially me, because I’d gotten myself so worked up thinking someone ruined our trip to Vermont. So we waited, and we waited, and we waited by the car until the car’s owners returned from seeing the Buttermilk Falls—the falls that I most likely was not going to see since our flight would leave later that night.
Ninety minutes later, the owners came walking toward the car. Since I was the one to make the mistake, brave soul that I am, I approached the driver whose face was formed into a scowl wondering why I’m standing by his car.
“Can I help you,” he said.
“Ah, yeah. Well . . . you’re not going to believe this, but . . . well, you see, we thought your car was our car, and well, your doors were unlocked, and we thought we forgot to lock our doors, so we put our belongings in the back seat of your car and locked the doors.”
The three other passengers, one being his wife is now laughing with me, but the driver with the scornful expression on his face isn’t too happy. He immediately begins to chastise his wife for not locking the doors, but reluctantly gives us our belongings so that we can be on our merry way to the airport.
As Bob and I walked toward our car with our tails between our legs, we rushed the last bit to get into our car before we busted our guts laughing. Needless to say, this trip to Vermont will have many years of entertaining memories. I love Vermont.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This is a time consuming activity. You can end up with duplicate copies, bulging files of ‘must have’ articles and still feel lost.
I found the solution in my local bookstore…
NAME OF BOOK: THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO WRITING A ROMANCE NOVEL by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes
WHY I READ THIS BOOK: The title pulled me in…the great list of topics insured the book came home with me.
LEARNED: This book covers many topics a beginner needs…and provides tips for those of us who need a refresher.
WAS IT HELPFUL: =Routine up to =Ah ha Moment
This book is a .
COLOR CODING: [underlined in a different color each time I read]  a New Book… up to…  Trying to master
This book is a  a new book on my shelf, but one I will keep going back to for information.
TAKE AWAY: Oh, how I wish this book had been around when I first started working on ‘my dream’ to become a writer. I will keep it close for reference.
Have you read this book? What do you think?
Monday, April 26, 2010
The moral of this story? I'm not sure there is one, but, as I said, I wanted to share it with my Avalon friends. Well, except maybe "prepare, prepare, prepare". That's what got me through the day.
Watching the Weather Channel
Betty and I must be on the same wavelength. Before I read her blog, I had all ready written my weather blog. Weather and the climate can sure wreck havoc on our routine. We’ve had some very nasty things happening out there.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it … weather has had it’s own channel since 1982. The words used to describe the daily forecast can be very powerful: severe, scorching, balmy. Each one of those adjectives can evoke a strong mental image of what the day will be like.
For me, flipping to the weather channel always fills that empty gap when I can’t find another thing to watch on any of my 400 channels. It not only relaxes me, but makes me feel better when I’m having one of those woo is me days. You know those days when your credit card breaks in half at the sale of the century. I go home and tune in to the weather channel and . . . right in front of my eyes, on my TV screen, the roof gets blown off of someone’s house. I’m glad it’s not me. Life could be worse.
Weather often sets my mood. Which kind of weather does my muse prefer? I live in South Florida where the sun shines most of the time. I can’t deny that deep blue skies and a patio bathed in sunshine can be very inspiring. Weather like that helps me give life to my characters.
On the other hand – overcast wet days often provide the break I need from obligations. I can sit at my computer and type away (providing a lightening storm doesn’t knock out the electricity).
When do you do your best writing?
visit my website zeldabenjamin.com
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The vulcano ash proved to be dangerous for aircrafts and so, one airport after the other shut down in Europe. We reacted swiftly (not thanks to me - I still had my head in the clouds and couldn't image the impact the ash would have - really have to work on my visionary powers). On Friday 16th, we cut the meeting short and everybody dashed off to the train station in the hope of squeezing into one of the overflowing trains. My colleague from Sweden had to stand for six hours on a packed train from Hamburg to Copenhagen. My colleague from Britain tried to get a place on the ferry, but they were all booked out - they didn't even answer the phone anymore, just left a recorded message. He could have swum, but he decided to stay another night. Most of my colleagues from the Southern countries (Greece, Italy, Spain) managed to catch a flight from Munich, which was the last airport to close on Friday night. However, my colleague from Turkey was stuck for days . . . and due to the missing planes in the international exchange, another colleague got stuck in New York for a full week - lucky guy - his vacation lasted longer than planned!
As a writer, I have a sneaking preference for "small catastrophes" - say, catastrophes that don't hurt or kill people. I know that the vulcano-problem can prove to be dramatic for airlines and farmers in Iceland, but if I just look at the "travel chaos", I feel that in times like these, things happen. You meet people you would never have met otherwise, and you talk to them. You get to know them much quicker, share problems, help each other. You discover new sides inside yourself - talents for organization, improvisation. Your focus shifts dramatically. Suddenly, the world is much larger. When before, Turkey was a few hours away, it's now a trip that will keep a German on the road for days on end. Try to imagine what happened at the largest German airport in Frankfurt. Thousands were stranded there without a visa. They can't leave the airport (do you remember that movie with Tom Hanks?). What friendships are forged under these circumstances? Yes, I know it's not funny if you're stuck, and I wouldn't volunteer for that sort of thing. But IF you are stuck anyway . . . you can make the most of it . . . you just need a notebook and a pen - and you're writing history - literally.