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Archive for November, 2009

I am finally re-emerging from the death grip of the flu, which means I can look at my computer screen and not get queasy.  I can also eat more than one meal a day and make it through a day with fewer than four naps.  Since I am two weeks behind in posting (one week spent in Canada, the second week spent sleeping on the couch), I thought I would just post a few highlights of the holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We spent the day at Michael and Wayne’s with Grandma and their friend Karen (and, of course, the four puppies).  Everything was delicious.  (And while my appetite wasn’t up to its holiday best, Greg can vouch for the deliciousness of everything I wasn’t able to try.  I believe Greg would like to give a particular nod to the pumpkin pie.  He finished our leftovers and is starting to eye the pantry just in case an identical pie should reappear.)

On Friday, we had a crew here building our new driveway, fixing our old driveway, and solving the minor erosion problem we were having under the left side of the house.  We can’t walk on the driveway until Monday, so you will have to wait for pics of that to come!

By Saturday, it seemed I could walk and talk like a human again, so we celebrated by doing what we do best: buying furniture and redecorating.  This time, we focused our attention on the sorely neglected screened-in porch.  Not getting nearly enough use of it, we decided to make two separate spaces inside the porch: a dining space that could seat up to 8, and a living space with comfy seating for at least 4.  A rustic pine dining set off Craigslist, a double papasan chair from Pier 1, a repurposed rug from inside the house, and some accessories later, the space is amazing.  Once we get a heater (on its way!!! thanks honey!!!) and some additional lighting installed, it may very well be the best spot in the house.

Today, we finish decorating the house for Christmas!

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Odds and Ends

I still haven’t packed, but since I have 12 hours until I leave for the airport, I figure that it’s not really a problem yet.  My suitcase is actually still in the attic.  Not one thing has been pulled out of the closet.  So when I say that I haven’t packed — I really haven’t packed.  Instead I spent the day writing, hoping to get to 30,000 words today.  I missed my mark by about 1,500 words, but that is nothing a four-hour layover in Montreal can’t take care of tomorrow.

Speaking of writing, I haven’t shown off my new desk.  It is perfect for mini laptop and my binder (which has the most recent draft of the manuscript from which I am currently working).  It also helps that I get to sit in front of the ‘roaring’ fire from the fireplace we bought last year for that room.  I have recently discovered my writing is vastly improved by the presence of a fire (real or fake — I am flexible).

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Greg was very busy today, but one of the coolest things he did today (among MANY) was build from scratch a rustic pine frame for the first of our barn pictures.  This was my favorite of the barn photos and the one I chose to feature on the blank wall in the living room.  Greg bought the wood, stain, nails, glass, and hooks and got to work.  The finished project is amazing, and I can’t believe he made it!

Thanks honey!!

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Post-Nashville

I have only been home for two days, and I am packing again.  But I could not leave for another destination without recalling the highlights of Nashville and the CMAs.

On Tuesday, K and I spent the day at the remotes.  The entire ballroom of the Hilton was wall-to-wall with tables set up to host the nation’s country radio stations.  From each table, deejays broadcasted live to their listeners from Buffalo, Los Angeles, DC, and so forth.  The musicians and singers attending the CMAs came in one-by-one to interview with all of the deejays, promote their albums, chat, sing a little, and (perhaps surprisingly to them) meet K and me!

We met nearly everyone who came in and out on Tuesday, shaking hands, chatting, and taking pictures.  The pictures were taken by a professional photographer, and we should get a disk from him with all of the images.  We took pictures with Leeann Womack, Phil Vassar, Josh Turner, and Blake Shelton (my four faves), as well as with Eric Church, Chris Young, Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Jake Owens, Jack Ingram, and Gretchen Wilson.  We also got a group shot with Taylor Swift.  On Tuesday night, we had a group dinner at The Palm, complete with musical star guests like Chuck Wicks and Steel Magnolia, before heading to the Limelight for the Song Writers’ Series.

PRN Taylor Swift

Although I know my favorite artists don’t write most of their own songs, I always assume the songs I like the best were in fact penned by the singers themselves.  So imagine my disconcert when some of my VERY favorites appeared at the show sung by the people who really wrote the words.  Like Real Good Man.  Really, Tim?

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Wednesday was an extremely full day.  We were up early to catch a few more remotes, and then spent the only spare thirty minutes we had walking around the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We ran from the Hall to the Ryman Theater (original home of the Opry, and still considered The Place in Nashville), where we had an amazing backstage tour.  We went in all of the dressing rooms and heard the stories; we sat in the pews and heard the stories of the original tabernacle; and we even got to go on stage.

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We ran from the Opry tour to the center where the CMAs were being held later that night because we were fortunate enough to have passes to the rehearsal.  We sat in the bleachers and watched the stars peform their jokes, their songs, and their performances.  We caught four performances (Sugarland, Brooks and Dunn, Kid Rock, and Taylor Swift) before taking off.  (After all, you don’t want to see the entire show and ruin all the surprises!)

K’s clients had hooked us up with hair appointments, so we ran to a salon to get beautiful and had only an hour afterwards to get downstairs for the Premiere Radio pre-party.

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Off to the show for amazing floor seats.  9 rows from the stage and dead center, we were thisclose to Tim and Faith, Keith and Nicole, Reba, and all of my other country loves.  It was amazing.  And the show was outrageously good as well, and over way too quickly.

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Last on the docket was the Sony Records after-party.  Held at Sony’s studios in Nashville, even the stars made it out to this party, including Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Brooks and Dunn, Chris Young, Miranda Lambert, Barbara Mandrell, and more.  And the food was pretty delish as well.

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We only had about two hours between getting-home time and getting up for the airport time, so needless to say, Thursday’s full day at work was a little bit sloppy.  But the trip was definitely one of the best. ever.  I think Greg is over my country kick by now, but I haven’t even opened the new free CDs!

Thanks K!

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CMAs!

Only three short hours until I leave the office and head to the airport to catch a plane for Nashville.  I probably won’t get to blog much from Nashville (and I don’t think I will be able to upload pics), but I promise good things when I return.  You can get a little preview taste of the CMAs on their official website here: http://www.cmaawards.com/

Everyone keeps asking what we will spend our time doing up until the awards show which is not until Wednesday evening.  Tomorrow, we will spend the morning and part of the afternoon at the up-fronts, watching the live interviews with the stars, and hopefully getting to meet/take pictures with some of them!  Tuesday evening is the VIP dinner at The Palm, over which I am already drooling.  I believe time for drinking (maybe some line dancing?) has been reserved after dinner…

Wednesday morning, we are getting a private tour of the Opry (!!!), and on Wednesday afternoon, we will get more of the VIP treatment and get our hair done before the show.  (You are currently imagining horrendous country hairstyles of the 80s, aren’t you?)  Then we head to a reception with cocktails and appetizers before taking our seats for the awards.

Afterwards, we have a myriad of parties from which to choose, but we will definitely be bee-lining for the official record label afterparty for one more chance to see the singers and musicians.

On Thursday, we will stumble to the airport at some ungodly hour (seriously, do planes not fly from Nashville to NY more than once a day??).  Kristin will head home, and I will bond with the Nashville airport for a few hours until my own flight leaves for DC.

That’s the sneak peak!  Hopefully more from the “Volunteer State” later this week! 

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hiking

Today we went to Flag Pond State Park which is south of us in Calvert.  We have been there once before, and it is beautiful: winding, wooded walks that end at the beach, where shells, shark teeth, and driftwood mingle on powder dunes.  The park is crowded during the summer, but when the weather is brisk, one can almost be alone on the trails.  In fact, we made it all of the way to the beaches before running into anyone else.  The dogs had a great time running, swimming, and sniffing, and now they’re wiped out.

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While pulling pictures, I also came across this great picture of Greg taken in September at the Calvert County Artsfest in Solomons:

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My free time is focused on writing.  I cruised past 15,000 words last night before shutting my laptop and running to the St. Gregory hotel bar for dinner, a glass of wine, and the World Series. YANKEES!

There were a lot of people with laptops at Starbucks last night.  Whenever I type away at Starbucks, I always look around and wonder whether any of them are writing; however, this month, I wonder whether any of them are tackling nanowrimo.  Are they furiously counting words also?

Last night I deduced that most of them were students.  Backpacks, jeans, friends stopping by to say hi.  They were probably doing homework.  But perhaps one of them was writing — getting a jump start on fulfilling a life dream.  (Because when you know by the age of 5 that you are supposed to be writing, wouldn’t you start as soon as possible?)

Sometimes I can’t figure out why it took me so long to get here.  (And by ‘here’, I mean the place where I am writing regularly — not the place where I have fulfilled my life goal.  Because, whoa, we are definitely NOT ‘there’.)

Time, sure.  But I am busier than ever now and seemingly — somehow — making it work.  But the mind is constantly placing obstacles in front of one’s progress.  The way in which my mind works is pretty consistent: it generally tells me that the words I am writing are rubbish, my sentence structure is boring and predictable, and my descriptions lack oomph.  But occasionally, my mind throws a curve ball.  You started too late.  You should have been writing since high school.  All of the ‘real’ writers are way ahead of you.  Where have you been published?  Nowhere!

Maybe it seems absurd.  But I came across an interview that perfectly expresses the feelings of inadequacy and tardiness I oftentimes feel when I am writing.  Not only does this interview hit the proverbial nail on the head, but — hey, she’s in her fifties.  That definitely puts perspective back on its feet.

http://www.glimmertrain.com/b34johnson.html

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