Tag Archives: travel

Situation normal…

I had three days off this weekend, but didn’t accomplish a damned thing. My wife and dog are both on the mend.

We went out for necessities yesterday. The shopping cart makes a pretty good walker as I learned when my back went out. We avoided the fair, because it would have been too much.

I even offered to pick up groceries, but my wife was having none of it. I told her I know how to buy bread, milk, etc. She worried that I would get the wrong bread. Seriously, how bad could it be no matter what I chose? Let’s face it, what we do with toilet paper shouldn’t matter what pretty design it has for one week.

One good thing about accompanying her, and it makes everything right with the world.

The pumpkin beer is here. With this stuff, I can put up with a lot. Shopping makes for a weird date night, but it is what we did.

Tonight I have to drive to Twin Falls and check into a room. I have a presentation to make for work at just after dawn. I can’t risk trying to get there at four AM, then make my appointment. This will take most of the day, but I’ll probably still get to the office in the afternoon.

I’m taking my iPad with me. If I get a few free hours tonight, I might add words to the next Lanternfish story.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A long week.

This was the week I went to San Antonio. That’s really nothing new, at my level seminars are a fact of life. This one had its good and not-so-good parts. Some of that has to do with my seasoning. I’ve been around this stuff for a long time, and it’s getting kind of hard to show me something new. They managed it though.

One of the unexpected things is kind of telling. I’ve been to many a seminar, but the seats in those meeting rooms are starting to wear me out more than ever before. A day or two, no problem. Four days, and I think I need a wheelchair.

Add air travel into the mix, and it gets even worse. There is no such thing as a comfortable chair on an airliner. I wound up with the middle seat on all four legs of my journey. From Phoenix to Boise, the guy with the window seat never showed up. I moved over and it was wonderful just to have a bit of extra room.

I actually left my iPad Pro at the TSA check in stop in San Antonio. Fortunately, my employee spotted it and saved it for me. I’m starting to feel like I need a keeper.

As far as San Antonio goes, it rained. Then it rained some more, followed by rain, with an additional portion of rain. It stopped raining while I was at the airport to go home.

We braved it anyway. We wandered down the street to someplace called the Buckhorn Saloon for lunch. It’s one of those places that seems dedicated to taxidermy. Animals covered all the walls, and they call part of it a museum that requires an admission fee. Apparently, it was not dedicated to cleanliness. To make it clear, polar bears and mountain goats are white, not grey.

The lunch itself was pretty good, and I scored a local beer that came off quite well. Craft beer wasn’t easy to find, but Texas brands were in abundance. I wound up living on Shiner Bock. Not awesome like a craft beer, but you can live on it.

While we were there, a Ted Cruz Rally broke out. My co-worker took a photo, but I didn’t feel the need. Cruz is kind of an odd dude, and I sat on my hands, lest judgment be passed upon me.

My co-worker has several Army buddies in the area, so he went out with them most nights. The one night we wandered around didn’t turn out all that great.

We got to the Alamo just as it closed. I still snapped a photo, the only one I took.

I briefly considered storming the fortress, but that’s already been done, and seems so 1800s by today’s standards.

Note: It was raining.

Then we wandered down to the River Walk. I went through the Alamo years ago, and spent a lot of time on the River Walk. This time, the River Walk seemed like it’s lost some of its spark.

The last time I was here, there were shops, bars, and restaurants filled to overflowing. This time, very little was open, people were scarce, and some construction was going on. It does make for a lovely scene to put some vampires in and have them stalk the patrons stumbling out of the bars.

My co-worker said his buddy, a former Army Ranger, told him this part of town wasn’t a great place to hang out after dark. We took the hint and went back to the hotel. I settled for another Shiner, some poorly conceived bar food, and called it my birthday dinner. I went back to my room so I could watch the World Series. It’s hard to ask a group of Spurs fans if it would be okay to change from basketball to baseball. (Sounds like something for one of John’s top ten lists.)

Old What’s Her Face called me on Face Time, something I’d never done before. This was so I could talk to Otto. He missed me and was confused how I got inside the iPad. It was kind of fun.

When I got home, the house was dark. My wife had to work today. That didn’t stop the dogs, and they swarmed me. I had to stay up for an hour just snuggling them. (Mostly Otto.)

I have a big old list of things I should be doing today, but I’m kind of worn out. Spending a lot of time with my old friend, Mr. Hot Pad today. At least I got to spend some time editing while I was on airplanes. That and reading a mediocre craft book I bought. I’m finding that craft books are kind of like seminars these days. It’s isn’t exciting and awesome anymore, but there are small nuggets of information that I find valuable.

That was the week that was. I really do have a ton of things to do, but this whole month has been like burning the candle at both ends. I think I’ll take a day and see how I feel about it tomorrow. I wonder if John Wayne is defending the Alamo on television somewhere today.

42 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Trying to get some things done

I’m doing all the fussy little things today. Things like making sure I have battery chargers in my suitcase for my trip. I set out my wallet and other glasses to make sure they get packed too.

Then there are things I can’t pack until morning. Things like combs and blood pressure medication.

I used the app to get my boarding pass. It also gave me my employee’s boarding pass, and I hope it doesn’t screw him up. I suppose we can meet at TSA and go in together somehow.

I looked for a Steelers game, but it doesn’t look like there is one today.

After placing some things out, I decided to tackle a few more chapters of Lanternfish. I got through a couple, but there were interruptions.

“Daddy, this looks like fun. Check out my rope toy.”

Meanwhile, Otto decided to go spelunking again.

I’m still remembering things, and getting up to place them out for my trip. I should probably focus on that and get offline for a while.

25 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Field trip and a bit of luck

My paycheck job sent me to Idaho Falls for a couple of days. We avoid work related topics, but it puts a damper on my blogging ability. That’s the main point here.

Fortunately for me, two of my guest appearances posted while I was absent. That allowed me to keep some fresh content on my site, and I managed to deal with comments after hours. I think I answered everyone, but I’m going to surf back through the host sites to make sure after this goes live.

I have things to do today. (I always have things to do.) I’ve just come up against a wall of “I don’t wanna.” A big part of this involves driving, hotels, and all the rest of it. Driving across Idaho is not like driving across Vermont. It takes about five hours to drive across Idaho, and I did it twice. Bonus though, I got to see about 200 antelope, and one really nice mule deer buck. I also saw an elk rack that did not fit completely in the bed of a pickup truck. I know we’re all supposed to hate hunting and everyone that partakes, but I do not. It was impressive, and that was one of the biggest racks I’ve ever seen. If the rest of him was that big, someone is going to need a bigger deep freeze.

I’m going to have to sacrifice most of my planned word count for now. The stuff I need to do involves commitments to other author friends. I’m not going to let them down. There is one small bit of critique work I have to get to. Thank God for my Apple Pencil, and its new ability to work with Pages, my word processor. This speeds things up a bunch over the old redline versions.

I have two Lisa Burton interviews to work on. One has returned his questionnaire, and I’ll address it soon. The other is in a holding pattern until I get the questionnaire back. Still, it’s good to know there will be more “broadcasts” from Lisa’s trailer in the woods.

Yesterday was payday too. This means we might pull off a date night tonight. Old Chicago Pizza sounds good, but there is a BSU game tonight. Both things are good, but sometimes it means the place is SRO. Never know if we don’t try. I can be content with the MLB playoffs too, so I’m not picky as to whatever. We’ve talked about a backup plan that might involve a total absence of sports.

As a State employee, I get Monday off too (Thanks Columbus). Lower on my list is a cluster of critique pages of my own work. They aren’t going to spoil or anything, but if I get my commitments dealt with, I’d like to find time to slick up my own story.

It isn’t a huge list, and all of it is possible in three days. I just have to figure out how to deal with the “don’t wannas.”

29 Comments

Filed under Writing

Amanda in New Mexico, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you research junkies, and skeptical paranormal fans. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Amanda Jane Ross. She’s only twelve, so let’s make her feel welcome. “Hi, Amanda. Thanks for being on the show today.”

“Hi, Lisa!! I’m totally excited about being on your show. But I am a little nervous as I’ve never been on the radio before.”

“My bio says you hail from Calgary, Canada. That’s a pretty interesting place. What can you tell us about it?”

“Well, it is famous for The Calgary Stampede. I am in grade six and attend Guy Weadick Elementary. Did you know the school is named after a cowboy who started the Calgary Stampede?  I used to think it was a pretty boring place as nothing exciting ever happens in Calgary. But my friend, Leah, came to visit from England and she thought it was fun because we went to a big old ranch, rode horses in the foothills and joined a cattle drive. It was fun, until a mean cowboy locked us in an abandoned cabin. Leah says those things only happen when she’s with me. She thinks I attract trouble.”

“That’s always the way, isn’t it. The world is interesting, but home is boring. I understand that you’re calling in from a field trip right now. That has to be fun, right?”

“Right! It is so amazing here in Taos, New Mexico. Ten of us from class were chosen to go on this cultural trip because we are creative. For instance, I like to write stories, others are into drawing, painting or photography. It’s great because we get to stay at an old house that belonged to a woman, Mable Dodge Luhan, who invited artists and writers to stay here a long time ago. She’s dead now but they still use her place for class trips, artist retreats and things like that. It’s kind of creepy though because it’s old. My roommate, Cleo, keeps saying she sees ghosts everywhere we go. As if! I personally don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Don’t be so sure, Amanda. I’ve seen some things that might make you think otherwise.”

“Well, she, Cleo that is, said she saw a young girl in a flowing white dress standing by a donkey cart at the hacienda we visited. She even drew a picture of her. No one else saw her. Then she said the same girl pushed her into the stream at the Taos pueblo. Can you believe it? Caleb, a classmate, thinks she’s a bit crazy. But then later, when I went to check out the old graveyard, something pushed me over the stone wall and into the tombstones. I was all alone, there was no one else around. It was just really windy. So what was that all about??”

“I get you, it’s odd stuff, but not blood oozing down the walls scary. I’d be mad too if a mysterious wind kept messing up my hair.”

“Totes, Lisa. Not only that, I got into big trouble for being in there too. I mean, I love checking out old graveyards, it’s one of my favourite things to do. But I wouldn’t go in one if it wasn’t allowed. I hate being accused of stuff I didn’t do on purpose. It ruined my day big time!

“We‘ve seen some weird things here already, like the figure of Dona Sebastiana, the female saint of death at the Hacienda de los Martinez. Boy, was she scary looking. Why did the lights go out just when I was staring at her in the Santos Display Room? And what about that bizarre painting that changed appearance when they put the lights out at the church of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just too weird and unexplainable. That’s also where Caleb and I found skeletons in a derelict building and Cleo went missing only to be found in that very same building. She said something about the ghost of the girl making her go there, or some silly story. Honestly, I think she really is disturbed.

“We are off to visit a genuine haunted hotel in a place called Cimarron. Apparently, there are a number of ghosts who hang out there including the wife of the original owner and a cowboy who was shot while playing cards in the gambling room. I mean he still has a room there!! It’s locked and no one is allowed in that room. A pretty good story, don’t you think. Perhaps it’s good for business. I wonder if Cleo will see him or if her ghost girl will join us?”

“Okay that sounds cool, and kind of creepy at the same time. Maybe you can ask him what’s going on around you.”

“Well, personally I don’t believe he exists and would love to prove it. Anyway, it will be fun to go there. Other famous folks stayed at the hotel like Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp. I’m a bit of a history geek and love that kind of connection to history. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas for stories.”

“Amanda, keep up with your writing, and try to enjoy the trip. Don’t get too caught up in all this mystery, and try to experience the things in front of you.”

“Thanks, Lisa, I plan to enjoy this trip in spite of Cleo and her ghost obsession. I must say I do worry about her though. I would like to get to the bottom of these weird events. We’ll be here for the Day of The Dead. Maybe then I can get some answers.

“This has been awesome fun, Lisa. You are so cool. I can’t believe I’m actually on a radio show!! Thanks so much for having me.”

“We wish you an exciting trip, and thanks for agreeing to this interview.

“You can learn more about Amanda and her adventures in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. I think starting with Amanda in New Mexico is a great idea. I’m a sucker for a ghost story.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. I’m sure Amanda and Darlene would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Pick up your copy right here.

Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places.  Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Catch up with Darlene at the following locations:

Website www.darlenefoster.ca

blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/

twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/

78 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Whew, home again

This trip pretty much sucked. Like I said before, Vegas has never been my kind of town. We had travel problems both ways, everything was about double what we’re used to paying. The hotel water tasted like crap too, and I swear it was to force us into buying their bottled water.

However; the concert was awesome. Pink puts on one hell of a show. It was filled with intriguing sets, dancers, and more than you usually get in a concert. Her aerial antics are worth the price of admission. She did a duet with Eminem, but he appeared as a giant inflatable puppet.

This thing walked around, and his mouth moved during his parts.

She even flew over the entire stadium during So What.

What the heck, have one more.

Tomorrow, I need to chase down some Lisa Burton interviews I sent materials to weeks ago.

34 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Desert Rat looks back

Some of you don’t know this, but I grew up in one of the Western deserts. There are several, and they vary depending upon how many you want to count. I’ve been in them all. There is the Black Rock Desert, the Mohave Desert, the Sonora Desert, etc.

I grew up in the Great Basin, which is also a desert. It’s just at high elevation, and gets a severe winter along with a severe summer. No water means it’s still a desert.

Deserts always have an oasis of some kind or another. This helps keep things interesting.

The Mohave Desert is home to Joshua trees, and salt pans, ridges devoid of forest, and yet still holding wildlife. I remember chasing Desert Bighorns in Southern Nevada adjacent to the nuclear test site. There was the morning when I heard the huge tarantula before I saw him, and the afternoon when I found a ridge covered with ancient ammonites. After millions of years, they were still mostly mother of pearl.

Today, Old What’s Her Face and I flew to Las Vegas. We have tickets to the Pink concert tomorrow night. Our first stop was Los Angeles. We were flying on my daughter’s flight benefit, and that means standby. We never made several planes out of LA, but we’re here finally.

The desert is a wonderful, but serious place. Flying into Vegas, looked about like I would imagine flying over Mordor would look. You have to experience the desert close-up to enjoy it.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather be there with the coyotes and the tarantulas. Vegas has never been my kind of town. It always feels like someone is trying to get in to your wallet here. It’s also changed dramatically, and not for the better.

There was a time when rooms were cheap and so were meals. This was by design, because they wanted you to stay inside the casino. As a Nevada native, casinos hold no appeal, so it was a bargain.

Not so today. It appears that MGM owns most of the Strip here. This means the prices have gone up. Don’t like casino resort A? Try casino resort B, which is also under the same ownership, so they don’t care. There is no need to deliver any kind of service, because where else are you going to go.

This is the first hotel I’ve ever been in where there is no coffee maker. It’s likely they would rather have me go down stairs and spend ten bucks on Starbucks, which they also own.

I remember when a Vegas Buffet was about eight bucks. Today, you can ‘t have a burger and fries for less than forty.

It’s kind of sad. We would have done more here, but under the circumstances, we’re likely to attend our concert, and go home. I actually have a couple of granola bars in my suitcase, and you can live on that crap.

***

In other news, I had a cool dream the other night. It was a vision of a character from behind. It took place in a kind of sandstone desert environments. This person was wearing a poncho, but it wasn’t woven. It was made of repurposed canvas and rough cut. I don’t know if it was a man, woman, or child. The character lugged a bag of foraged produce. Wild vegetables of some kind.

The character came to the wing of a crashed spaceship. It might have been abandoned like an old airplane boneyard. There were steps crudely carved into the wing, and the character climbed them. The character looked back, and there were discarded spaceships everywhere. they had a lot of variation, so it could have been an ancient battlefield, or just a long term boneyard.

Inside the ship, the entire thing had been gutted and rebuilt. The streets were level, even though the ship was not. The streets were lined with houses, apartments, and marketplaces. There was a small town inside. Presumably, the other ships were like this too. Maybe each ship was like a subdivision or something.

The character handed over the bag to a nameless and faceless character, who looked inside, grunted, and handed over a fistful of coins. The main character grabbed and empty canvas sack for the next day, and walked deeper into the “city.”

That’s all I got. This is one of those times when I’d like a little more, but that’s all the Muse delivered.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. We may be here on the cheap, but we’re going to a Pink concert tomorrow.

25 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized