Coming Up

I’m never at my best at 5am. There was snapping at the kids, but also a lot of genuine understanding that Mum was crap, and she didn’t have to keep apologising. Once the plane was in the air? Absolutely fine. Novel got edited, I ate stuff and didn’t feel guilty. Once we hit JFK? Things became possibly the best they have been for a very long time.

image

Once my brain wrapped itself around the five hour time difference and the fact it is quite warm on the Island at present, everything just fell into place. We’re able to afford this trip because there isn’t a hire car, and we’re effectively staying in a Brownstone for the duration. The advantages over Hotel accommodation are manyfold: no worries over dressing for breakfast, our own timetable, the Internet as our guide and an entire city to explore for a period of time that should afford a sizable opportunity to do just that. We set the eldest the task of finding a suitable place to have dinner last night, and he came up with the goods.

image.jpeg

The first revelation at Harlem Public was the beer (Grey Lady pictured, husband had cider and had to be forcibly dragged from the establishment) after which was the food. Son decided this was our destination due to the ‘Build your Own Damn Burger’ part of the menu, which he did. I had pulled pork, the like of which I have not tasted in the UK, but husband will tell everyone his peanut butter and honey bacon burger was better than everybody else and YOU FAIL. I have no doubt he was correct, and sitting in a bar less than three hours after stepping off a plane made this start to a holiday considerably more entertaining than anything I’ve done abroad for a while. I’m beginning to understand last year started a chain of events that have freed me from the self-imposed restraints I stuck on my life. Suddenly everything’s immensely more fun when you’re active and dealing with your fear.

image

The plan today is to walk down Broadway until everyone falls over, which in 90 degree heat may not take very long. The phone camera is taking some lovely pictures (as demonstrated above) but the roaming charges are a little too steep for my liking so don’t expect much until I can find free wi-fi (looking at you Starbucks.) That means Pokemon Go takes a distinct back seat, and that’s no bad thing. Even with a cursory 30 minute walk to and from the bar last night I can see so much has changed since I was last here. Unlike then, I am gonna do my best to document everything I can on the way, because I’d like to remember everything with clarity.

For now, I might think about getting dressed and waking up the children.

The Take off and Landing of Everything

A year ago, give or take a few days, I was on a plane to San Francisco. Today I’m on a flight to New York, which I never thought would be possible, but here I am. Great stuff can and does happen sometimes, if you work hard enough behind the scenes. I’m also sitting here editing my own first novel on the flight, and beginning to realise just how much has changed since this time last year. It isn’t just to do with my level of fitness either: words have become something better and stronger too. I’m only just beginning to realise this as I go through the process of editing, looking at stuff I’ve written that I thought was brilliant but in reality is anything but.

Sometimes, it isn’t just one part of you that needs to change, it is everything.

The problem, of course, is that that’s often not practical. You cannot easily throw everything away and start from scratch. It takes time and effort to understand the areas that need to be addressed, and what has to happen with each one, and then comes the process of stitching everything back together. Without the coherence of all the parts, your whole simply ceases to function. Where do you even start? For me, attacking my physical limitations has been a start, but I understand I’ve still got a very long way to go. I still find the process of taking off and landing in aeroplanes fairly stressful, for example. I can’t immerse myself in water without immense levels of trauma. Having acquiesced to doing a bike ride next year, I’m already quietly fretting over my levels of ability, especially after watching the two days of sheer terror that was the Olympic Male and Female Road races.

yes

There’s no point I realise now unless stuff scares you.

That’s very true of writing: looking at words and trying to work out whether something is good enough or not becomes quite frightening, after a while, as you’re playing a continual game of second guessing yourself. Especially when fiction is involved, there’s a discomfort whenever you read someone else’s words too, that this becomes an unintended benchmark amongst all the others you find a need to aspire to. There’s an inspirational poster I have somewhere which likes to state ‘You are Enough’ but that’s never going to be totally true when the whole World seems to have a better grasp on reality and stability than you can muster at 37,999 feet. The turbulence never stops, the choice becomes to take the journey or never leave your safe zone, and in the end that is absolutely no way to ever live a life.

Some days, nothing is ever enough unless you try.

epicsideeye

The next ten days in a city I will freely admit would be my second home if I could, is full of possibilities I never thought I’d return to experience. The last time I was here, the Twin Towers stood. An awful lot has changed in what will be almost 20 years, not just the fact I’m now part of a family which accepts me for what I am, that sat either side of Mum and held her hands as the plane took off. Being part of a loving whole that allows you the freedom to push your boundaries is not something a lot of people get the chance to experience, and I realise just how lucky I am to have this group of people around me as support.

To take off on new journeys is both frightening and beautiful, and to land with my family in tow on a holiday I never thought I’d have is probably the best 50th birthday present I’m likely to get. I hope I can do the next ten days justice with words, which I intend to try and do here. Here’s to new adventures and expanded horizons.

Warm Sound

Okay, I’ve done everything work-related I have time for. I’m supposed to be in bed by 10 for a 5am start, but that won’t happen. I’m too nervous. I’ve never done air travel well. There will be a lot of fretting and pacing. My carry on however is packed, and I have to hope that husband has everything else covered.

I am as ready as I am likely to be.

Bring on the Holiday.

Ready for the Floor

I go on holiday on Tuesday, and the nightmares about air flight have already begun. My subconscious needs to cut me a break.

buildingcollapse.gif

I am in reasonable states of preparation: I have a half assed plan to write on the plane, I’ve bought the book to read whilst away that is one reason why La Craig won’t be doing any more Bond, and there will at least be completion to all the stuff I get paid for or I promised for publication (though I’m still behind on audio, which needs to be addressed on the return from New York.) Mostly, I’m ready. Emphasis however is on the word ‘mostly’ because there’s still a shit-tonne to do and with the exchange rate looking woeful? Not much may be bought. We will see.

However, things will be eaten, and many miles will be walked.

sushi

The last time I was in New York the Twin Towers existed, and I will undoubtedly take a trip to the Memorial for no other reason than it marks a place where the World changed forever. I hope to meet some locals along the way, and get a chance to actually relax this time around, and not find myself shoved on a bike (though it must be said, that did start the chain of events that has bought me here.) I am jealous of those both with the capability of stomaching long-haul air travel, and doing it regularly. If I had both money and opportunity, I suspect New York would be my second home, next to London, which I don’t nearly spend enough time in. I’d like to fix that in future, and it is at least easier done than making that happen with the East Coast.

Maybe if I can finally get a novel published, all that might change. I see no problem thinking big. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Default

It’s Week One proper of the Summer break for my kids. Yesterday and today have been put aside for sorting out issues and problems, and it is only now that I’m able to sit down and look forward. The To Do list isn’t as long as it was either, and I had a killer PT session today to cap off a week where I know that progress really is happening. Now, however, I just gotta get the creative side of the brain working again. It’s there, just being unwilling to co-operate, but even that’s not a problem right now.

Also, two weeks tomorrow I’ll be on a plane to New York. To say I’m excited is the MOTHER of all understatements. I’ll be blogging it all this time, not the peace-meal effort I made with the West Coast run. This matters enormously to me, and as part of the birthday celebration for 50 years? GONNA MAKE IT COUNT.

I have a deadline piece to complete, then I’ll be back to regular posting again in the morning.

Mud Glorious Mud

I’ve never done a ‘proper’ Festival before and so, this year, here the Family are at Eroica. Unfortunately (or unsurprisingly, depending on your outlook) the rain chased us all the way to Bakewell on Friday, and this made for interesting times underfoot. However, there was no rain all day, and frankly the place was magnificent. In fact, if truth be told, it’s one of the best times I’ve had for a very long time indeed.

Our accommodation was last minute booked, and lovely, but caused some stress on Friday night when locating it in the dark was something of an adventure. However, even after five hours sleep, the view was worth all the grief, and the smell of burnt clutch that STILL does not seem to want to leave my nostrils. Yes, there are lots of hills. It was very late, and fifteen minutes earlier I had almost stuck the car in a hedge. I shouted at my husband. I am not a good wife or driver when tired ^^

Being an unashamed Jane Austin nut, I’d hoped we might get some time at Chatsworth, which is generally acknowledged as the inspiration for Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice, but that will have to wait (I suspect) for next year, when I’ll be doing the Baby Steps version of the course and taking part in my first proper bike ride. Of course, I’ll need to do this in costume, and that’s probably going to take a year just to organise. Mostly, I will be back in Derbyshire because it is amazingly beautiful, hugely inspiring and more green than is actually believable.

However, tomorrow is all about my husband doing the Hard Mode version of the cycle ride on his absolutely beautiful Bianchi. Crossing everything he does it, and is happy as he does. This is the best Father’s Day present I think we could ever give him.

This is the Day

In the end, it took two days to get the decent kip I wanted. I’ve inevitably put on weight whilst away. However, on return I can honestly say I’m ready and prepared for a massive push on many different fronts, and a return to daily writing that I hope is going to mark a new direction for everything in the months that follow. In no particular order, here’s what you can expect:

  • More on my health, mental and physical, as I make a big push to get to my target weight before I go away to the USA in August
  • For my 50th, I got to choose the holiday destination. That means New York. To say I’m excited is an understatement, and I will be going overboard with pictures and words. I’ll also be meeting some people I’ve wanted to since I ‘met’ them online, proving you can be friends with scary people who only exist virtually.
  • The Bond’s going to be done very soon and will start serialising in June. Watch the Writing Site for details.
  • After that? I have my first proper grown up novel which is 75% complete. More on that too as time goes on.

I think that’s more than enough to be going on with but there’s also a ton of other stuff in the mix that will rise and fall as time goes on. I just wanted to make sure I have it all written down so there’s no backing out in the weeks that follow. Tomorrow however will be getting a ton of new images and headers for all my sights permed from my photography and finally using Instagram on a daily basis. Considering how visual my life is? It only makes sense that this is part of the plan. Except my account is black and white only and I don’t intend to change that any time soon.

header.png

Lots of changes are coming. Don’t say I didn’t warn you :D

Two Days in the Valley

Day One proper of the Trip to the Forest has involved an inordinate amount of rain. I’m reliably informed that the same amount has fallen today that normally would in a month, and I can well believe the claim. I’ve not been on a road bike since San Franciso and so this morning a wet arse and horizontal water was quite educational. I am more confident that I remember being in such situations too, which makes me think all the effort with exercise is having a genuine improvement on other things. That was definitely borne out with playing badminton, where hitting stuff is showing a marked improvement.

I’m also beginning to realize just how tired I am after the last few weeks: returning from a morning of swimming and sport, I had a ‘I’ll just sit here for a second’ moment morph into a full on 45 minute kip. This evening I’ve also indulged in 3 drinks and the fatigue’s actually a struggle to flight against and as a result I’m getting to the end of this paragraph and giving up, mostly because relaxation’s something I’m really no good at and needs work, and I’d like to make the most of the moment while I have it. It takes coming away to make you grasp what’s wrong at home, and I’m beginning to understand what I’ll need to change when I get back to push forward in the long term.

Mostly?

I’m a really cheap date.

Coming Around Again

There was a momentary period of panic when it became apparent that no phone signal at my current location equated to no code for my two step authentication, but fortunately I have a list of codes to hand to negate the technological shortcomings. WordPress’ app, although beautifully simplistic, lacks a lot of the charm of the web-based version, most especially the ability to use your own images. That’s quite a big draw in itself, and I’d be lost if I didn’t have a fully functional browser to compose on. Mostly, what this shows is just how horrendously awful Blogger’s entire interface is, either web-based or otherwise. Mostly, I am again reminded of just what a fabulous idea it was to move everything away with Google and settle here.

Traveling was not particularly problematic, even with the blow out on the M1. My other half maintains his 100% unblemished record as Best Husband EU and had us up and running within 30 minutes of the incident. I used an emergency telephone for the first time in 20 or so years, and fortunately there was only 15 miles left to crawl on the spare. Mostly, it was just one of those things. Now we’re here? The weather looks horrendous for the week but no matter. I did seven miles on the site before dinner (salad, no dessert) and suspect I’ll do about the same every day, mostly because my back is playing up and walking is the only sure fire way to ensure I’m not in agony.

It should also help me sleep.

dealwithit_audrey

Bring on the next four days of exercise, more exercise, occasional food breaks, exercise and probably lying in a pile going ‘BLEURGH.’ Welcome to what passes for relaxation for me, and it does, because I’ve never been the kind of person who can just lie on a lounger and get a suntan. Holidays mean making the most of every moment, not eating too much and burning more calories away than I do at home. Yes, I am probably doing this wrong, but I can’t help what I am.

Time to sort out the swimming costume for the morning.

Ramble On

This time tomorrow, I will be on holiday.

That thought alone is really rather gratefully received, as it’s been pretty full on for the last couple of months. I’d like to say I’m not going to think about ‘work’ while I’m away too but that’s never really true: whenever I go anywhere, I’ll write when I’m able. Normally I’d have pre-prepared five days’ worth of Other Blog content to cover the shortfall but this time there’s simply not been enough hours in the day. That means I’ll be being creative in the next five days or so, and working pretty much on the fly.

It should be quite interesting to see what I can come up with as a result.

fun_conan

As I’m off to be fit for five days, there’s less likelihood of being distracted by tea and snacks, plus if the weather is good I have more chance to be outdoors doing stuff. I’ve also got a bit of cash earned to spend on some new clothing (as the place we’re at has shops on site.) It will be more expensive than normal, but I can at least try stuff on without needing to throw myself into a shopping centre. Mostly I have no idea what size I am any more: half my clothing appears to be far too large all of a sudden. There will be at least some time in the swimming pool, quite a lot of miles on the roads around the area and I suspect bike time too. I’ve not actually ridden a road bike since San Francisco last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing if all the work has finally produced an improvement.

For now, there’s things I must do before I start packing. I should probably try and find some shorts. Perhaps it is finally time to get my legs out for the summer.