I’m a Guest Today!

A few things very quickly:

  • Technically, I’ll be mostly offline next week as we go on vacation for a few days. Bye for now!
  • In case you’re curious, my weight loss journey is going really well. If you want to follow it more closely, check out my personal trainer’s blog here. I blog there every week. And there are pictures!
  • I wrote a guest post for fellow author Tom Avitabile’s blog today. His blog is pretty cool, it’s called It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens. I wrote about how in my book PWNED, I imagined what would happen if the NSA snooped on a private American citizen. At the time, I thought that was pretty out there since that would be illegal. Oops…Anyway, check out the guest post here!

EM + NYC 4 Eva!

My goodness, I came home from New York with the promise (threat?) of stories to tell and then I clammed right up for a week. To the dozens of you who read this blog, I apologize. I came home from my bite of the Big Apple and promptly fell into a black hole of laundry, grocery shopping, and reacquainting myself with the two tiny humans in my care who have barely forgiven me for the temerity of leaving them for a couple days.

Just to make something clear: Traveling to the east coast and back in three days and then getting a couple hours of sleep a night wears a person out real well. It took me a week before I stopped feeling drowsy all the livelong day. If I ever get to go back, I’ll see if I can’t finagle either more time or more booze to help me sleep.

I can’t even begin to describe the thrill I got when the plane banked over New York City and the Statue of Liberty, tiny and glowing in a black pond, startled me. I wasn’t expecting to see a celebrity! The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building both jumped out at me as well, and before I knew it I was swimming through the humid air and into the most rickety airport shuttle of my life.

When the shuttle dropped me off a few minutes later, I looked up to get my bearings and BAM! Grand Central Station. It is the prettiest building I’ve ever seen, and so opulent on the inside. I can’t believe people go through it every day just to get to work!

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Get off the shuttle and this is what I see!

My hotel was nestled between Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building, which is so gorgeous during the day I spent as many minutes as I could spare staring up at it.

The conference kept me busy, but I had a few hours to spare late Friday night so a friend graciously volunteered to show me around after he got off work. I walked 28 blocks downtown to meet him (sounds like a small number of blocks, but is actually a substantial walk) and he showed me around The Strand (an old bookstore, very big and very cool), the St. Marks area near NYU (very seedy in the best kind of way), and then we grabbed dinner at Katz’s Deli (where Sally faked it in When Harry Met Sally). After dinner, we caught the subway at Bleecker and parted ways.

DE-LISH.

DE-LISH.

Two things: That deli makes the best reuben I’ve ever had. The matzah ball soup wasn’t bad either, but I have a friend who makes it from scratch and her soup has my loyalty. Also, riding the subway after midnight is a little scary but not too bad. It’s a marvelous system! The walk that took me an hour and a half took me seven minutes on the subway!

Me on the subway, trying really hard to look nonchalant.

Me on the subway, trying really hard to look nonchalant.

I saw so many wondrous things and had so many adventures. I jaywalked (if you live in Seattle, you know this is quite bold), I walked New York fast, I met R.L. Stine and Anne Rice, I ate a bagel from a deli and a hot dog from a cart on the street, I saw a half-naked homeless guy blowing a rape whistle and drumming against his own naked thighs. I had as much fun as a person should be allowed to have, and I haven’t even told you about the conference yet!

Long story short: New York City is well worth the hype. I have a crush on Manhattan now and will certainly have to return.

Over too soon

It’s 2 pm and I’m sitting in the modern lobby of my swanky hotel, getting ready to dash out to catch a shuttle to the airport. I’ve been gone two days, but I swear it went by in a wink.

By the good sportsmanship of a friend, I was allowed to indulge my touristy nature last night on a midtown caper that spanned 40-ish blocks and three very busy late night hours.

I’m in sod weird jet lag limbo where I have no idea at all what time it really is, and I’m excited to get home and stop having to deal with elevators full of people who wear too much perfume.

My trip was perfection, I have tales to tell and pictures to share later when I’m not restricted to typing on my iPhone. Here’s hoping for a safe flight and tiny seat mates.

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Far From Home

I don’t get out much. I mean, between the appointments, errands, outings, and miscellaneous other that draw me out of the house on a regular basis, yes, I do get out of the house, but that’s not really what I mean.

After an eventful flight from Seattle to Chicago during which a TSA agent told me I have a nice, positive energy about me and a comically insufferable woman told me, loudly, that I was stupid for lugging a carry on through the airport, I’m now sitting down, drinking white wine out of a plastic cup, and marveling over how very little I know of the world.

I keep trying to nail down what it is about this airport that strikes me as so essentially different from my home airport and coming up short. People in Chicago are, so far as I can tell, more colorful maybe? I don’t mean in a racial sense, it’s their clothes or the way they walk in a crowd. I don’t know. All I know is that this very definitely isn’t home, I can feel that on a base level, and it’s reinforcing over and again how little I know of the world outside my door.

I have to laugh. If the airport terminal of Chicago is giving me much to chew on, how much more is New York City, the greatest city on Earth, going to absolutely blow my mind?

I can’t wait. I may just squeal when those looming skyscrapers creep into view outside the plane windows. Fair warning.

Insect Granny

In all my born days, I never thought I’d be the kind of person who would wax rhapsodic about something as inane as sunglasses. Surely the Erika of yore, back in her nascent blogger days, would have hung up her keyboard for good had she known it would lead to such dizzying heights of pointless navel gazing.

And yet, here we are.

My sunglasses story starts at the age of sixteen. I’d just been awarded my driver’s license and my mom and step father were taking me for a wee shopping spree to celebrate my birthday. I picked out a pair of rose-colored sunglasses and drove off into the sunset.

Now, most people lose their sunglasses or replace them in a year or two. Not me. I kept mine. They traveled to six different countries with me, from home to college to house, and shaded my eyes from the sun of a thousand summer days. I love my sunglasses.

They are, however, getting old. Faded. Maybe even dated. They don’t block out the sun as well as they used to, and I’m getting ever so tired of squinting outside.

The funny thing is, I think I hate squinting in the sun less than I hate shopping for sunglasses. What was once so easy is now the bain of my existence.

Why are all the sunglasses so large these days? Egads, they cover half your face! And the frames! You could club a man with those frames! They all make me look like either an insect or an old lady. I don’t know about you, but I do my best every day not to look like an octogenarian.

Hello, dear. Can I interest you in a Werther's?

Hello, dear. Can I interest you in a Werther’s?

I tried driving in a pair of fashionable large sunglasses and was dismayed to realize that the sides of the sunglasses were so thick that it was effectively like driving with blinders on. It was potential injury added to insult, in my opinion.

No, I don't have a carapace. How rude of you to ask.

No, I don’t have a carapace. How rude of you to ask.

I’m sticking with my old sunglasses for now. I figure in about ten more years, the fashion will swing back in a more practical direction and I’ll scoop up some new frames then. For now, though, I’ll be the hopelessly unhip woman walking around squinting behind sunglasses that haven’t been cool since the hipsters were wearing diapers.

(Assuming, of course, that the hipsters are all in high school.)