Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Too late, too late...

Allergies, they are horrible.

This summer has been THE WORST. Something about the heat, the lack of rain, the planetary alignment...has made me die.

It got better when I was in New Jersey! It got much better, but eventually, I had to come home. And that was when things went downhill. I started wheezing more and more. Last week, around Wednesday, I followed my ASTHMA ACTION PLAN!!! and I doubled my medicine like I'm supposed to. And I made an appointment with my asthma doctor on Monday, when the ASTHMA ACTION PLAN!!! did not help. I thought, "Hooray! They will give me steroids, and the bad thing will stop, and I will go back to my happy life and there will be cupcakes.

Tuesday, though, it CHANGED. One minute I was wheezing, the next minute my nose started running, and I took Benadryl. I always take Benadryl. I always think it's allergies. But no.

Today I know the truth. It is a sinus infection. I has the sinus infection.

But today I also have work, and I have to work the evening, and I have a library program, so there is no staying in bed so I can feel better. No. Instead I have my very own Kleenex box. And misery.

My appointment is for tomorrow. But it is too late. Now I will get antibiotics, because the allergies WON. And I LOST. I have been BEATEN.

I feel like I am Chronic Illness Cat.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Le Morte d'Cell Phone

I have been reading many fairy tale retellings lately, so I decided to try my hand at writing my own. I haven't thought of a name for it yet, but I was thinking I might go with something along the lines of "Kelly B and the Cell Phones Three." What do you think?

Once upon a time, there was a lonely man, and he lived in the middle of a field. On one side of his house was a river with water not fit to drink, filled with fish so bony they were not fit to eat.

Every morning the man rose at dawn, went to work, and stayed there until sunset. He was So Very Important that, when a peddler offered him a magic box that would connect him to all the townspeople, he traded all he had to buy the box.

"Beware," said the peddler. "You might think this box will make your life easier, but in fact, it will cause you infinite complications."

But the warning fell on deaf ears because the man was, quite literally, hard of hearing.

At first, the box was wonderful. The man talked to his friends when they were far away. He spoke to his sister, who lived on the other side of the mountains. He spoke to his wife and children while he was away from them. But then he began to notice something.

The box seemed to vanish at the oddest moments. When he thought he'd placed it on the table, he would return to find it gone. But the box was so precious to the man, he would search for hours until he found it once more and placed it securely in his pocket. But when the man reached into his pocket to retrieve the box, he found it had disappeared once more.

Moreover, the box developed the habit of slipping from his grasp. So the man searched far and wide until he found a special sheath in which to store the box by his side, so it would be ready at any time he might need it. Just as he relaxed and returned to his labors, the sheath snapped from his belt and this happened.

Distraught, the man searched far and wide until he found the peddler once more. Holding out his hands, he showed the peddler what had become of the box and began to plead with the peddler for help.

"I must have another of these magic boxes," the man said. "I will do whatever you ask. I will pay you anything."

The peddler smiled sadly and presented the man with a second magic box. "Have a care," the peddler told him. "You may believe that this box will serve you well, and that it will ease your worries. But in fact, your worries will grow ever greater as long as you keep it with you."

But the man was already gone.

Months passed. The man clung to the box, hardly noticing the worry in his wife's eyes or the dark glances of his children. One day, the man went on a journey. Before he left, he polished the box until it shone and promised his family that he would use it to speak to them while he was far away.

After crossing the known world, the man arrived at a little house by the sea. The man was so happy to reach his destination that he leapt into the clear blue water and let it rush over him. The box, in his pocket, was covered with the water. When the man walked back out of the waves, he discovered that the box's magic had been reclaimed by the sea.

Distraught, the man returned home and searched far and wide for the peddler. When he found him once more, he explained what had happened and the peddler nodded gravely.

"Please," the man begged.

The peddler handed him another box. This box was even more beautiful than the last, with a shining surface that seemed to come alight at his touch. The man was filled with joy.

Once again, the peddler warned the man, "This box will make you think you are happy. But the box deceives you."

The man nodded distractedly. The peddler smiled sadly and wheeled his cart away.

This box never left the man's side. It was as if it had been made for him. With the box in his hands, the man spoke to all his friends, even while he toiled. He was never lonely. He was at peace.

One day, the man put the box in a place of honor in his home, high above him on the window ledge where it would be bathed in light. Beneath the window, there was a sink where water could be pumped into the kitchen. The man smiled at the box and was pleased by the way the light sparked off its surface. He was blinded by its beauty.

He went into his room to recover from his labors. But while he slept, the man's friends tried to call to him through the box, and the box shook with the effort. It fell from its resting place and landed with a plop-clink into the water. There it sat.

Two hours later, the man returned from his slumber only to find the box had vanished. He searched far and wide until he looked into the sink water and saw the box resting beneath the surface. With great sorrow, he removed it.

He packed his belongings and went in search of the peddler, but no matter how far he traveled, he could not find the peddler or his cart. It was as if he had vanished without a trace, taking his wares with him.

The End.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

Yesterday I woke up at 3:30 AM and Kelly and I crawled hand over hand toward the front door and were whisked to the airport by Kelly's father, who is a real sport for driving us anywhere so early.

And then there was a plane.

And I was in Detroit's airport with an hour to kill. So I pulled out my laptop.

Let me explain to you. My laptop came with me to New Jersey and lived at Kelly's house. This was how I was able to keep track of the books I'd picked up, upload the pictures I'd taken, and how I was able to BLOG. It had been a kind and loving computer, never glitching out, never refusing to upload anything. The night before I left Kelly's house, I uploaded pictures from the shore, played Kelly some music from Band of Horses, then safely removed my external hard drive and camera memory card from the computer and shut it down.

Fast forward to Saturday. My computer went through security at Newark airport. Then it went into my carry-on and traveled to Detroit, and then I took it out of my carry-on, turned it on and--

Windows had crashed.

Not just a little crash, either. A catastrophic, bring-on-those-Windows-set-up-discs-cause-we're-starting-over kind of crash. Windows would not launch. It would not pretend to launch. It would not even explain that there was an error and suggest a solution. It was gone.

Needless to say, I was displeased. Imagine traveling across the country on a vacation only to find that you should have stayed home to use the vacation money to pay for a new laptop, because you are now computer-less. It was not a good feeling.

I found myself, sitting on the chair in Detroit, deciding, "That is what credit cards are for."

But because my computer is, in a word, psychotic, I decided not to write it off just yet. There was still something I had not tried.

So when I got home after my second flight (which was in an airplane slightly longer than my car, but otherwise the same in most respects), I sat down on the floor and plugged in my external hard drive, plugged in my camera's memory card, and started up my computer.

Windows launched.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. My laptop now believes that my external hard drive and SD card are a part of its permanent hardware. I was able to eject the external hard drive, but every time I try to take out the SD card, Windows Explorer crashes.

So now I can't take pictures...unless I get another SD card or find out what the heck happened with this one. Really. Windows. Why do you think you are stored on this SD card? You didn't think so on Friday.

It is nice to know life is back to normal, with my belongings exploded all over my bedroom and a barely-functional laptop.

Whatever. I'm making some cake.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Laura Goes to the Ocean

Before today, I had been to the ocean only ONE TIME, and it was technically not the ocean. So today was a very happy day.

There were shells. There was sand. There was sun and I sat on a towel and wore a bathing suit for the first time in public since I was 17.

And I found shells and I waded in the cold cold water and it was salty and we walked on the boardwalk and went to a place called WaWa and got sandwiches that didn't have sand in them.

And apparently, I have a fascination with taking pictures of my feet in sand, despite the fact that I find all feet (including my own) to be ugly. And Kelly posed like Snooki from Jersey Shore, because we were on the Jersey Shore, except not in the part where they film the show, thank all that is good and holy in the universe. Nothing good would come of my witnessing the Jersey Shore people stumble over each other drunkenly and make bizarre pouting faces when photographed.

No one wants to see that.

Here are my pictures! I included some of the shawarma place not far from Kelly's house, and of the bagels and the bagel guy who gave me a free bagel when he found out I lived where no bagels can be found. People give me free food when they find out I'm going to the ocean. Last time, I got extra scoops of chips while the fellow at the fish and chip shop repeated, "Never seen the ocean?!" again and again. The chips were yummy. So was the fish.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

BEA Day Three (Otherwise Known as Fangirl Day)

I made mittens.

They have narwhals on them.

And they are lined to make them extra warm.

And they are made out of alpaca. For coziness. The pattern is by Ysolda Teague from her book Whimsical Little Knits 3. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas in a sport weight, I forget the colors. The lining is Spud and Chloe Fine.

And I made them for Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch. Because she loves narwhals. And she loves alpaca. And she is my friend. So she gets mittens. Friends get handknits.

Kelly and I went off to the Javits Center this morning, ran around the floor grabbing books, then ran into Victoria before her signing in the Disney-Hyperion booth. And we got to chat for a while. And I gave her mittens. I think she likes them.

Then we went over to the signing and Kelly and I got in line. We were given numbers, because V did not believe 50 people would show up for her signing! And from the look of the signing line, she was WRONG. There were LOTS of people.

So then I got a signed paperback of The Near Witch and got to squeal with childlike joy at the little narwhal V drew on the inside.

After that, I rushed over and joined the insane line for the Bitterblue signing. And although the line looked impossible, it moved rather quickly! So now I have a signed copy of Bitterblue. And I am a happy Laura.

And then there were other signings with other wonderful authors, including Maggie Stiefvater and David Levithan. I am completely spoiled.

We headed home early, since BEA winds down early on the last day. Later, we'll be off to Red Lobster for Kelly's birthday dinner, and then I'll sort through the books and update my spreadsheet, then decide which books are getting shipped back to Indiana and which will be lovingly packed into my luggage and flown home along with me. And I need to pick a plane book. But how can I choose which book to read on the plane when I have SO MANY great ones to choose from?

Have some pictures.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BEA Day Two!

Today was a very early day for us, we woke up at 5:30 AM to hop on the train to the city (after grabbing bagels first), then we raced over to the Javits Center for the Children's Book and Author Breakfast to see John Green.


And not just John Green, because we also got to see Walter Dean Myers, Lois Lowry, and Chris Colfer (from Glee and now author of a new middle grade release that seems promising).

From there we went to signing after signing after signing. It was fantastic. I got to meet Erin Morgenstern, who wrote The Night Circus, Libba Bray who is a ROCK STAR (literally), and even MAUREEN JOHNSON. I adore Maureen Johnson. And everyone I met was absolutely fantastic. I know it must be hugely stressful for authors to sit in a booth for hours at a time and meet hundreds of people and sign unspeakable numbers of books. That can't be fun. But the authors I met were all welcoming and enthusiastic about meeting their readers. And this makes me love them even more than before.

Here are today's pictures, including the breakfast pictures, and authors I happened to see (including some I just snapped pictures of as I walked by, like Jane Seymore of Dr. Quinn fame and Lois Lowry, who had an insanely long line).

If you don't know who everyone is (and unless you are obsessive about the book industry, why would you?), I will tell you who is who if you ask me!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day One of BEA

I am so tired, I feel as if I have melted into a puddle of Laura and there is nothing left of me except for eyes and maybe the hands I am using to type this post.

Tomorrow I will be MORE tired.

But we did all sorts of things and got books signed and run around and wait in lots of long lines. And I met author people and saw Victoria Schwab, who I fangirled. I fangirled a lot today. Here are pictures. I will tell you more later!

Monday, June 4, 2012

New York City Tourist Day!

Okay. This blog is going to be annoying to many of you, because for a few more days, it is going to be the place where my vacation photos (and videos) live during my time in New Jersey and New York City. I'm at BEA (Book Expo America), in case you forgot, and today was a tourist day. Kelly took me into the city to show me all the things that I ought to see while here...things I will not see while spending the next three days in a convention center meeting authors and picking up books.


It rained. And not just a little bit. It rained a LOT. And we thought, "It will warm up. We do not need to bring coats or sweatshirts! We will bring these two umbrellas!" Except one of the umbrellas was broken. Two of its arms were snapped free from its nylon outside protective thing, which meant it wanted to turn inside out and smack me in the face from time to time. And by that I mean all the time.

It occurred to me that the umbrella was a metaphor for my life.

It also kind of felt like that umbrella was giving me the finger for the first half of the day. You know how it goes.

And my shoes became soaked through. Which was cold, and uncomfortable.

And I had the time of my life.

We went to the New York Public Library. And we went to The Strand. And we went to Times Square. And we went to a cupcake place that Maureen Johnson likes. And we went to Shake Shack, where were were accosted by feral squirrels, one of which I am pretty sure had scabies, or mange, or some other fur/skin condition. And it also had crazy eyes.

But anyway, I took pictures. So here you go.

Pictures with books were taken at The Strand. I have more Strand pictures trapped on my phone, but they cannot come off my phone until I get home and transfer them with The Magic Cable. Meanwhile, if you want more pictures and updates, take a peek at my Twitter feed in the sidebar (look to your right, scroll down a bit) and here on my Twitpic.