Archive for August, 2010

More BC Cycling …

Next morning, Amelia, Rob’s sister, could not find the key to her bike lock.  We looked everywhere, ended up getting a duplicate from the bike shop.  So, we got a late start, but we didn’t have too far to go that day, under 25 miles.  We rode up the “Lochside Trail” to the town of Sidney and stayed at a Travelodge, which seemed very luxurious compared to the hostel.  Rob and I even had our own private bath, imagine!  Rob’s sisters, the boys and I went to the aquarium, which I thought was only marginal, but the mother octopus (they called her Octomom) was interesting.

Next day we rode a couple of miles to a ferry for a short crossing to Salt Spring Island.  From the dock, we rode maybe 12 miles–all uphill, I swear.  We intended to take the “more hilly but less trafficked” route but took a wrong turn, so we were in a lot of traffic and the hills were pretty challenging for me.  Marion, Rob’s other sister, had tire problems and we discovered the bike shop gave us all wrong-sized innertubes.  Kind of a mess, but we muddled through.  Amelia picked blackberries on the side of the road while we waited.  They were so sweet and juicy.

We stayed at a cute inn called, appropriately, the “Salt Spring Inn.”  It had an “inn cat,” Rita, who spent her whole day sleeping on the registration desk.  The next day was a non-cycling day.  Rob and I went walking/birdwatching (I saw several new-to-me species but nothing terribly exotic, except maybe the mute swans, they were cool).  The boys went kayaking.  Rob’s sisters went shopping.  We had dinner at a place called the Tree House, and it was “open mike night.”  I don’t recommend this.  The food, however, was delicious.

Next day we cycled back to the ferry dock, back over the mountains.  This time we took the more hilly route, but I did okay.  I had to walk up a the last part of a couple of the steeper hills.  Back on Vancouver Island, pedaled back to Sidney and stayed in the same pleasant motel.  Next day it was back to Victoria, but we decided to veer from the trail and ride along the coast for some different scenery.  It was hillier and I was starting to drag, so Rob and I took a shortcut back to Victoria.  Once there, checked into the hotel (the Days Inn this time, not the hostel), dropped off our stuff, returned the bikes.

Rob’s stepmother, Penny, who lives in England, joined us that night and we had a great reunion.  She’s a lovely person who has been on many bike trips with us before, but she decided not to cycle this year.  Since Marion and Amelia had a kitchenette in their room, we bought some fresh salmon, green beans and French bread and Marion cooked us dinner.  It was great.

The next day we went to the Royal BC Museum, which is a natural history museum.  It was a little depressing because there were a lot of exhibits devoted to global warming, invasive species, etc. and then a whole exhibit that was nothing but dead birds behind glass.  Not taxidermy-style, just dead birds with toe tags.  Back in the old days, it was all about collecting specimens, and scientists caught and killed birds by the thousands to study them.  I would much rather see them alive.

Rob and I took the ferry back to Seattle that evening, and the rest of the crew stayed on to do some more sightseeing for a few more days.  We had a rather expensive snafu with our plane reservations, but in the end we got home okay, that’s the important thing! 

I’ll be posting more pictures to my facebook page in the next few days.  Figuring out new computer first.


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I am back from our cycling vacation and I survived!  It was mostly very nice.  We flew into Seattle, then took the ferry to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria, which is very picturesque.  Stayed in a “youth hostel” there; they let old people stay there, too, but you have to pay more than the kids do.  Accommodations were pretty spartan and HOT.  British Columbia was having a little heat wave while we were there, so all our cold-weather cycling gear was unnecessary.

Photos:  Top row, China Town in Seattle; Victoria harbor.  Bottom row:  On the beach in Sooke; Me and sister-in-law Amelia at the “Sooke Potholes.”

 Rented bikes in Victoria and rode the “Galloping Goose” trail to Sooke, about 30 miles.  Stayed at a beautiful B&B there with gorgeous original art and gardens.

Next day we retraced our steps but took a detour to the “Sooke Potholes,” which are natural round pools along a river; they all empty into each other via pretty waterfalls.  Rob’s sister Marion and the two teenage boys traveling with us (Rob’s nephew and cousin) went swimming at the potholes.  Returned to Victoria.  Rode about 35 miles, our longest day.  It didn’t bother me because it was relatively flat.


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Tomorrow we leave for our sort-of-annual cycling trip with Rob’s family.  These vacations are tradition in his family.  We did our first one together a few years ago, and we participate whenever we can.

This year we’re headed for Vancouver/Victoria B.C.  We will rent our bikes there.  We will ride some rails-to-trails, which should be relatively flat, and a few hilly days.  I have not trained for this other than short neighborhood rides a couple of times a week, and one long ride last weekend (which proved I was out of shape!).

But I’ll survive, somehow.  Today we are packing, returning library books, taking the pets to stay wit Rob’s mother, and … getting the patio doors fixed!  Yay, it’s done, and though it’s a temporary fix (the glass man says they’ll leak in the rain) they do look a bit better than they did.  Even before I sent one of them crashing to the patio below.

All better. Just don't look too close.

I’m going to try to at least Tweet or Facebook  from the road and provide a few pictures, if at all possible.  Otherwise, I’ll report in when I get home!

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Back to Writing

I haven’t had much to say about writing lately.  I am working on something.  It’s a book I started a couple of years ago.  I shopped it a few places and got some good feedback but no takers.

Now, I’m revamping it.  I think I know what was wrong with it and I’m incorporating some suggestions one editor gave me, which I liked.

It’s slow going.  I’ve moved it to a different city, for one thing.  I have a whole new cast of characters.  I should have just thrown everything out and started over, but I hate to waste!  So I have to cull through the old book, picking out the scenes I want to use and rewriting them, bridging the old scenes with new scenes.  Lots of work.

I have about 50 pages done and a good, solid synopsis.  Another 50 or so pages and I might be ready to send it out.

Home renovation: Rob’s office is done, except for fixing the French doors.  Glass man coming on Wednesday (fingers crossed) to make everything better.  I had to dig through the garbage bin today and recover part of the old door that I threw away.  Then I had to piece it back together.  (I felt like Bones piecing together a skeleton.)  Did some weeding in the succulent garden, the only part of my yard that isn’t a disaster.

Walked to Taco Bell for dinner.  We are leaving on vacation soon and there’s not much left in the fridge.

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French Door Disaster

I’ve spent several hours over the last two days building fake window pane dividers for the French doors in Rob’s future office.  (Right now they lead out to nothing, the balcony is gone.)  So, I was installing them.  When I took the old fake dividers out, the glass wasn’t really attached to much of anything.  It wobbled a lot.  So I knew I’d have to replace the glass soon.

But I installed my little framework I built, it fit so nicely and it looked pretty.  I closed the door, and the whole thing fell out, landing on the patio one floor down.  It was spectacular to watch.  I never saw so much broken glass.

I patched the hole, spent an hour cleaning up glass (my framework survived!) and went to Home Depot to look at French doors.  But I think I’m just going to call a window guy on Monday to replace both windows.

At least Rob finished painting the outside of the picket fence.  It looks very nice.  tomorrow he’s going to paint the inside.

In other news, we took a long bike ride down the beach and up the Los Angeles River trail, more than 20 miles.  Pretty long for me, I’ve been riding but only very short rides.  I was kind of pathetic, very slow, but I made it.  I hope I’ll be okay on our upcoming bike trip.  I figure I’ll be hurtin’ but I’ll survive.

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… Or at least make it more tolerable so you can WRITE!

I’m giving this workshop for the Red River Romance Writers (online) September 6-19.

Do you dream of working at home every day, sitting at your computer in your sweats communing with your muse? It’s not an impossible dream no matter what your situation. With some careful planning and a lot of self-discipline, you, too, can look forward to Monday morning as a stay-at-home writer–even if you haven’t yet sold your first book. In this workshop, we’ll discuss making the transition to self-employment while addressing all financial obligations and family/societal expectations.

To find out more, or to enroll, visit the RRRW website (workshop page) and scroll down to September.  Directions for enrolling are there.


The price is $15 for members, $20 for non-members.

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I hit a mother lode of silk and designer scarves at the Long Beach Flea market two weekends ago, and I’ve been listing them in my Etsy shop one by one. Here are a few choice samples:


In other news:

Writing: I submitted another proposal to Harlequin Superromance today.  I’m having a lot of fun with the romantic suspense.

House renovations:  Did a boatload of caulking.

Travel:  I leave for Vancouver a week from tomorrow!  Sad to say I am not in cycling shape, I hope I survive.

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