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This week's letter:
It was my own stupid fault.
We went skating on the local pond. Two adults. One, who shall remain nameless, is less than competant on skates -- and she remains nameless because in Canada, there *is* no-one who can't skate -- well that's the way it felt like yesterday, anyway. Three kids who can all outskate me, including the two who were born in Australia.
So instead of gracefully (and slowly) making my way around the pond, and waving at the kids as they zoomed by, I had to play chase on the ice. Mark, of course, danced away, laughing, whenever I painfully got within two feet of him. The kids all skattered, also laughing, whenever I headed in their direction. It was only by putting on a burst of speed (dangerous, as I have no idea where the brakes are on these things) that I stood any hope of catching anyone. Either that, or leap on them when they fell down. Oh, the kids fell down lots -- it seems to be part of the fun. Besides, they have a lot less air to fall through before they land, and a lot less weight to hit the ice with.
So I doggedly chased and ran away when someone else was it, and took photos whenever I could get away with it.
Then it happened.
I was chasing Matthew , and he refused to go slow and let me catch him. I pushed off with my right skate -- and I really think they need sharpening, I really do, it can't be that I don't know how to skate -- then I felt my weight falling forward. Could see it happening, and my first thought was, "Oh, hell, the camera's in my front pocket!" So, instead of flipping myself over so I'd land on my butt, I threw my hands forward to take my weight so the camera wouldn't get the brunt of it. Ice is, I've learned, very unforgiving.
Rolled over, my left shoulder on fire, and my knee singing arias. (That makes a full family of sore knees -- even Mark went sprawling at one stage). Got to my feet, and could feel myself break out in a hot sweat, and my hearing was muffled and booming.
This morning I can't walk down stairs, I have to sort-of hop down. And I can't use my left arm for anything serious. Weight training tomorrow morning is going to be hell on wheels, I can tell.
Have I learned my lesson? Yes!! And as a result I'll be right back out on that ice next time, chasing everyone at full speed. Why? Because it was FUN. Because it was family. Because it was free, and outdoor exercise, and the day was a knock-out day -- just below zero (a heat wave) and not a breath of a wind.
I could do with a lot more moments like that in my life. A sore shoulder and a gimp is a small price to pay.
See you next week.
Last week's letter:
I loved Chicago.
I was staying in Lincolnshire and working in Lake Forest, two townships on the northern outskirts of Chicago that are nestled amongst pockets of trees and creeks and ponds. Lovely -- especially with all the snow. I adore the Chicago/Midwest accent, too.
Travelling always jolts me out of my internal focus, and makes me look at the world around me with fresh eyes -- it also drains me of energy because it's hard to fully relax in strange surroundings. But it's always worth the trip, no matter how disastrous the trip is (missed plane flight, taxi driver who didn't know his way around Chicago, and drove up a two-way street on the wrong side....).
I mentioned last week I was going to take photos and share them. I confess I had visions of snapshots of the El, the Water Tower, the lake, and other landmarks of downtown Chicago.
I did, indeed, take photos. I just downloaded them to my computer, and was startled to realize that all the photos I'd taken were of people. These are people that you've never met and don't know, so putting their photos up on the website wouldn't be of any interest to you unless you spent the time I did getting to know them. They were all strangers to me on Tuesday, too, but now I look at the photos and see:
Mark, the New Yorker with the New Jersey accent and the dry, dry sense of humor, who is quietly, fiercely proud of the cutting edge technology his company is using, and the new facilities they're just opened on 5th Avenue.
Then there's Sally, who has lived in four states in the last seven years, at the whim of her company, and is one of the most stable and friendliest people I've ever met. She also has the most interesting mix in accents ever, all topped off with a dob of Texan drawl.
Jason works at the biggest printing plant in the States, where walking to the other side of the building takes 30 minutes, and they churn out 1.5 million impressions a day. Jason's calm, centred and very organized, and is just brilliant at keeping focused on his task amidst chaos. All that focus and discipline, yet he doesn't own a Day Runner or any other sort of organizer of either the paper or electronic variety. Wow.
Joni is from Oklahoma, and you'd think she was quiet, unassuming. She sat at a table of extroverts, and I watched her laugh at subtleties I missed. She is keenly observant. And she's very good at coaxing other people to step forward -- always prodding just the right person with just the right skills or information to open up. A true facilitator.
Jan, the almost-local Michican resident, is one of those women who go through life with a profound calmness and grace I couldn't imitate in a million years.
Jerry was the only true local amongst us -- Chicago born and raised and a family man -- you can hear the pride in his voice when he talks about his kids and his house, even as he's bemoaning the cost of housing, ice skates and little-league registration.
I guess it's no surprise that I took photos of people rather than monuments, or even the stunning landscapes. The people were, after all, what left the greatest impression on me.
January 14, 2001:
Monday, I'm flying to Chicago on business, and I'll only be gone three days.
But I found I was laughing at myself this afternoon, because I went out of my way to phone my Mum and Dad, to let them know I would be away from home for three days.
Why is this funny? Good question. It has a lot to do with the fact that my Mum and Dad are, naturally enough, living in Australia. On top of that fact is the knowledge that they very rarely phone me because they're living on pensions and can't afford to rack up the cost of international phone bills (especially phoning from Australia. For some reason the telephone companies in the most isolated country in the world charge a *fortune* to stay connected with our fellow man. Personally, I like the Russian idea: Free phone calls. Russians are probably one of the chattiest nations in the world as a result.)
Anyway, the funny point about phoning home was that intellectually I know very well that they're not going to even know that I've gone. But some instinct, some emotional thing in my brain, pushed me into picking up the phone and letting them know I wouldn't be here and reassuring them I'd only be gone three days.
I guess this is another example of the power of family connections. It doesn't seem to matter if you're living on the other side of the globe, that connection is still there, still alive.
I'll take a couple of photos of Chicago and post them next week.
See you when I get back. <grin>
January 7, 2022
There's so much happening in my life at the moment, that it's sometimes hard to remember all the little things when it comes to writing up my long News & Gossip mail outs. And I'm always conscious of cluttering up everyone's mail box with unnecessary news and tidbits.
Every week, then, I'll be putting some of the smaller news items here to share with everyone who swings by. I'll include some of those trivial observations of how peculiar life can truly be sometimes.
Plus, the HTML format means I can take advantage of graphics and links to include photos and illustrations -- stuff I can't add to emails.
I wanted to share with you a couple of photos that were sent to me this week. Kristin Moum has been one of my room mates at the Romantic Times convention for two years now, and she sent me a copy of two photos she had taken at the Houston convention last November. The first one is a picture of all four of us room mates -- Cynthia, Kristin, me and Kimberly -- at the bookfair, where I signed my life away to everyone who bought one of my books. (It was fun!). And the second one is me by myself, trying to look ever-so-professional and writerly-like. <grin>
If you remember seeing me at the book fair, drop me a line!
Also, if you'd like the longer, more detailed emails I send out occassionally, also send me an email.
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