Thursday, February 08, 2007

Airport? Or library?

Every few months or so I get the travel bug... you know, that desire to go to the airport, buy a ticket, and go... anywhere. The world is such a big and magical place, and there's so much of it to see...

Unfortunately, for most of us, our responsibilities do tend to put a damper on our gypsy tendencies. (Although I just found out recently you can rent farmhouses in the Bavarian Alps extremely inexpensively... hmm....) I don't know what started this little travel urge; maybe it was because a copy of Bridget Jones' Diary I got from the library recently had a boarding pass from West Palm Beach to Nassau. A little depressing, really, that a paperback is better traveled than I am.

Fortunately, there's a quick, cheap way out of Dodge -- even for those of us with children and day jobs.

It's called armchair travel, and it's up there with chocolate truffles and bubble baths as one of my favorite treats.

Frances Mayes is, to my mind, the reigning queen with her Under the Tuscan Sun. (Not so fond of her Around the World, alas, even though I enjoyed it.) But there are lots of fun things out there; I read one recently called Monkey Dancing, about a man who took his two kids around the world for a year -- what chutzpah! And then there's Susan Allen Toth's My Love Affair with England, which I've never been able to make it through but just checked out for the fifth time (hope springs eternal, I suppose). Bill Bryson, who also writes about England -- and Australia, and America, come to think of it -- is a riot no matter what he's discussing. And yesterday I picked up a variety of travel essay compendiums to leaf through. I love sitting under my puffy white comforter reading about people eating mangos in the Caribbean (come to think of it, I think they did just that in An Embarrassment of Mangoes, an oddly titled but entertaining book). Now, that's a question. Is it mangos, or mangoes?

Of course what I'd really like to do is have someone hand me a packet of money and say "Here. Go renovate a farmhouse in Southern France/Italy/Nepal/Switzerland/Czechoslovakia, write a book about it, and hit the NY Times bestseller list." So far that hasn't panned out, but if you know anyone who wants to invest, let me know.

I do have two trips coming up -- one to San Diego in March and one to D.C. in May (for Malice) -- and I'm looking forward to them. (I love the Chesapeake bagels with green onion cream cheese I used to eat when I lived in Old Town Alexandria -- perhaps I'll take a trip back down memory lane while I'm there.) And my in-laws are taking the whole family on an Alaskan cruise late in the summer; that will be wonderful. Need to track down Alaska books between now and then -- and reread Gretel Ehrlich, whose book on Greenland I adore.

Unfortunately, however, since no Transatlantic flights are in my immediate future, I'm off on another paper voyage this evening. I don't remember what I got at the library yesterday, but I'll let you know. Perhaps I'll be off to Greece. Or maybe Morocco? I'll let you know tomorrow.

And oh, yeah. Word count. I somehow managed to type out 1300 words yesterday (many of which were done in the waiting room of the hair salon). I'm at 11853, which is really pretty respectable, I've decided, particularly since I started the book last Tuesday. And today was a big fat zero (I've been home for approximately twenty minutes, all of which has been occupied by putting up groceries and blogging). But I'm hoping to put in a 2K day tomorrow (Abby will FINALLY be back in school) and catch up a bit this weekend.

And I have to tell you that although it's gray and a bit damp right now, it's been springlike and wonderful here the last few days. Bought some pretty pink tulips to celebrate -- and the narcissus in my flowerbeds is pale yellow and glorious. I love their smell -- nothing says spring like daffodils! (And here's a little confession -- when it's cold and gray and damp I like to pretend it's because I live in England. I'm not kidding.)

So now that I've confessed my non-word-count day and my delusional fantasies about living in the Yorkshire Dales instead of Austin... How's everyone else doing out there?



At 6:13 PM, February 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing better than a cold,damp, rainy Sunday when there are back to back episodes of Midsomer Murder on t.v. Next to reading, it's the perfect way to spend a day.
Actually I wouldn't mind a cool, damp rainy day rather than this artic air that is covering the northeast. Burr!
Cosmo, the Prairie dog, doesn't dig but then he doesn't live in the ground. He lives in a 4 ft cage and his bedding is made out of ripped up old t-shirts that were my husband's. Cosmo gets very upset when I take the bedding out to wash it. He sits in his bed area and won't lie down or anything until he has his bed back.
I have a half-chapter to finish. Then one of my pubbed friends is going to read the two last chapters - I need a fresh reader for those two chapters.
Well, I better get to work if I want to finish before Ugly Betty comes on.

Debra S.

At 8:26 PM, February 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs. You are too funny. I think you should collect them and publish them. Who cares about word count. It's the quality that matters...

At 10:09 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...

Debra, I'm right there with you. Well, actually I'm not, since Abby still has a fever and I just discovered that there's Mono going around in the second grade. I'm hoping that if she does in fact have it (I'm taking her to the doc tomorrow) that she acquired it by sharing straws, not liplocks.

So write on, and think of me. And when you finish, crack open the champagne!

At 10:17 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


Your comment just made my day. I actually really enjoy writing my blogs, although a scan through recent days does point to a rather disturbing obsession with four-digit numbers.

Ah, well, I guess it's better than... oh, I don't know. An obsession with collecting and reading Dove chocolate wrappers? (Actually, I crumple them up and store them in my pockets to improve radio reception in the car. At least that's what I tell my husband when I'm removing handfuls of colored foil bits from the dryer filter.)

You do have a point, though. Quality is, indeed, more important than quantity. And in this case, I think the quality of my future output will be immeasurably improved by a long soak in the tub... and perhaps a nice mug of buttered rum.

And a babysitter who has already had Mono, come to think of it. :)

Thanks so much for reading, Judy -- and for taking a moment to make such a lovely remark. Speaking of which, if you'd like to send that comment to editors at any number of fine publishing houses, why, I would be the last to object... ;)


At 10:20 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Laura K said...

Today I remembered that two-year-olds have a lot of energy. I sat for my nephew and he wore me out! Since we went to a chocolate factory, I feel exceptionally well-traveled.

Speaking of well-traveled, have you ever been to BookCrossing? It's a lot of fun to see where your books go after you read them!

At 10:43 PM, February 08, 2007, Blogger Laura K said...

Oh, yeah. I wrote nothing at all today, unless you count the comments on your blog, Karen!

At 12:03 PM, February 09, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


I'm a bookcrosser, actually. Soapy-something (a number, I think) is my bookcrossing name. (Don't ask why, I can't give you a good answer.) And for those of you who haven't heard of bookcrossing, I exhort you to look it up on Google -- it's really neat. If I remember, I will post the URL soon.

Speaking of bookcrossing, it's been a few years since I've crossed... perhaps I should start weeding out the bookshelves again!

And Laura, obviously you and I both needed a day to reload our creativity. And both of us will be just raring to get to the keyboard today, right? Why, I'll be doing my words as soon as I clean the pantry. And finish folding the laundry. And you know, I might take a walk around the block, come to think of it...

At 2:18 PM, February 09, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...

Uh... duh. You already put the URL for Bookcrossing in there.

I love a woman who is wise in the way of URL tags...


At 9:03 PM, February 10, 2007, Blogger Gracesmom48 said...

Karen- We are truly kindred spirits! I used to pretend I was in England, now I pretend I'm in Scotland (with Jamie....Claire's out of town). Just read a wonderful book, "On Rue Tatin", about a young American woman who moves to France, renovates a beautiful old home and opens a cooking school. I looked her up on line and it only costs around $5,000 for one week.... Guess I won't be going anytime soon. Melissa Balsam

At 9:17 PM, February 10, 2007, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...


Yes, indeed we are. I LOVE Outlander; Diana Gabaldon is one of the best, and needs to be on my favorites list. (I discovered her only in the last year, and need to update my little profile thingamajig.)

And I've read "On Rue Tatin," too, AND looked up the cost of her week-long cooking/vacation getaways. My reaction ("Gaahh!") sounds similar to yours. Wasn't that Susan Herrmann Loomis? I remember her writing about cycling in the mornings and then swimming (I think) -- sounded a bit cold to me, but the rest of the book had me fantasizing about selling my house and moving to France.

So nice to know I'm not the only one out there dreaming! (And now that you mention it, it might not be a bad idea to add Jamie to the mix. He is one of the most entrancing men I've ever met... er, read. And who needs Claire?) ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa... so glad I'm not alone!


Post a Comment

<< Home