What’s going on in April


It’s a nice, leisurely Sunday afternoon at Chez Pick. We’ve been fortunate enough to have some much needed time off, so we’re been trying to make the most of it.

Over Easter break we didn’t stay overnight anywhere like we usually do. This time we saw Ghost in the Shell and ate at Wagamamas on Easter Sunday, went to Cherryburn Farm on Easter Monday, and visited Cullercoats and Tynemouth on Saturday.

The movie was good and I’m glad we saw it, though I don’t remember a lot from the original that I saw ages ago. Wagamamas still doesn’t have breakfast like we saw in Gatwick Airport last December, so that was a mild bummer. And even though it was sunny in parts, the beach last Saturday was cold and it hailed on us. (We enjoyed our ice cream anyway.)

Yesterday we made another trip to our favorite place: Beamish Museum and saw their Horses at Work exhibition. I love that place, but having that many horses running around made it all the more enjoyable.

We’ve been watching Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways, Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special (R.I.P. Charlie Murphy), and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because, why not?

Work has been work. I can’t say much else than that. I go to a bunch of libraries, I help people with tablets and phones and computers, then I go home. Nothing too exciting about that.

Writing has still been sketchy at best. I get so frustrated because I want to delve into my Camp NaNoWriMo project, but I know I’ll never get much done because my whole day is focused on running around for work. I try my best to zone out and get back into the mind-set of “this has to be done because this is what I want to do with my free time” but I still can’t shake the high I have from being so dang social all day. (Is this an introvert thing, or what?)

I’ve thought about getting a Kickstarter going, donating the money to charity, and using that as a way to keep myself on task and motivated. I guess it couldn’t hurt if I tried, could it?

I do love all these authors who are still plugging away and keeping me motivated. I especially loved the Camp NaNoWriMo Virtual Write Ins on Youtube. They’re so fun and inspiring to watch.

On that note, this has been yet another “got to update before the time gets away from me again” type of post. Hope all of you are well and writing, traveling and publishing, and doing all the cool stuff that makes you who you are.

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Camp NaNoWriMo, here we come!

Stormy Weather

Once again the prep for Camp NaNoWriMo is upon us with less than a week to get our ducks in a row.

With that said, I have compiled a list of links and tools that I’m keeping in my bookmarks, that may help someone else as well. Many are oldies but goodies, and probably common knowledge to those of you who do this every year without fail. (Unlike yours truly.)

  • Sign up. This is a given, but if you haven’t done so, make sure to sign up here.
  • A Novel in 30 Days Worksheet Index.
  • The soothing sounds of a coffee shop when you need to drown out the distractions.
  • Writing Resources from Camp NaNo itself.
  • Scrivener trial for Camp NaNo campers.
  • Novlr, OneDrive, One Note, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, and whatever else you may need to keep your notes in check even when you’re not at your desk.
  • The Facebook experience of Camp.
  • Wattpad will let you post as you write, so if you want an audience (and potentially some motivation) here’s a perfect place to do it.
  • If you need a critique partner (and happen to be a lady) there’s a webpage for that.
  • And advice from other campers who have been there and done that.
  • Write or Die and Written? Kitten! (which isn’t displaying kittens for me, unfortunately) will motivate you when you need it.

If you have any other ideas, let me know. I’d love to hear how you get yourself motivated and prepared for a month of writing.

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Tales from Dove Cottage

Wordsworth's Dove Cottag//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Well, I’ve seen it – Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage. This has been on my To Do list for only about 20 years, so I’m completely pleased to have finally visited. I was in a literature class in college and the professor shared around the photos of the England trip she and some of her students had gone on the year before. That’s when I first heard of The Lake District and Dove Cottage – I knew I had to get there one day.

Being the bank holiday and my rare opportunity to have all three days off (no work last Saturday – hooray) I booked us a nice excursion to the The Lake District. For those of us who aren’t British by birth, this is the done thing in England. You go to The Lakes over the last bank holiday of the year.

Of course I didn’t know this before I booked it – I just thought it would be nice to get away when we had the chance to spend more than one night not in town.

Anyway, so we stayed at Raise View House in Grasmere and spent time walking around Wordsworth’s grave at St. Oswald’s Church, the Gingerbread Shop, Allan Bank, Dove Cottage, The Wordsworth Trust Museum, and a few local bars and cafes.

The weather was incredible and it felt so, so nice to be away in the fresh air and the serenity of The Lakes. I’m so glad this area has been preserved and left in the natural beauty. Living in the city is nice and convenient and there is a ton of stuff at your fingertips there but, yeah, my natural disposition to enjoy being away from all of that.

Therefore, my new life goal – live in the The Lake District and write books.

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How Edinburgh can keep you from boredom

Edinburgh collage Jun 2016

Edinburgh. We always look forward to going on the train a ways to Edinburgh. This year we went for Steve’s birthday in lieu of the first birthday he spend with me 8 years ago.
After traveling to Newcastle, it was my first proper tourist trip in the UK as well. I remember being speechless (which isn’t a feat easily obtained for me) at it all. The age, the museums, the gardens, the red phone booths. It was amazing for a little country girl who’d only been to some American museums a few times in her life.
This time, for a change of pace, we stayed at The George Hotel which was in an excellent location – near Princes Street and Rose Street. We did the usual walking around, taking in the view, and wandering around the pubs thing. The new thing we did was visit the Edinburgh Zoo to see the panda. That was the coolest part of the trip without a doubt.
It was nice to be across from the Hard Rock Cafe, I can’t deny. Rarely do we get to just hang out late at night having a drink and walk back “home.” We nosed around Rose Street and did some mini pub crawls too. We even stopped off at The Guildford Arms on the way back from Carlton Hill.
Again, it’s a change out of the ordinary commute-work-commute routine. It all gets quite dull when everything is a-okay and same ol’ same ol’ every day.
Granted, this trip was at the beginning of the month, a few weeks before the EU Referendum came through, so even if Scotland decides to leave the U.K., we’ll still love to visit.
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How Bamburgh Castle and The Bowes Museum saved my weekend

Barnard Castle collage2

A few weeks ago, Steve and I went on another little trip to explore England. Northern England to be exact because, hey, why not start the adventures in your own back yard?
We took a trip an hour south from us into County Durham and into Barnard Castle. (A place I’m told is quite posh and from the pictures, I have to agree.)

We stayed at Jersey Farm Hotel which was right down the road from town. There we saw Shetland ponies (even newborn ponies), deer, and alpacas. We even had a nice view of the animals from our window, which made for a nice stay in the countryside.
After a lovely evening of relaxing with a whirlpool bath and the windows open so the fresh air could lull me to sleep as I drank Caribbean Twist and watched The Hollow Crown, I was ready for a Sunday of site seeing.

First we went to town to see the castle, which was super cool, especially with the views over the rolling hills (what you imagine England to look like all the time). Then we went to Bowes Museum for the Silver Swan and the art. The grounds there are so neat and that house is way impressive. I’m so glad we decided to scurry down there for a little weekend break.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see the Shoes exhibit. There were tons of signs around town advertising it, but when we went, the exhibition was still being set up, which meant we couldn’t see any of the Fashion displays.

Also, we did pass on Raby Castle. There is a deer park there, that we drove by on our way home. From the brochure, it seems like a canny way to spend the afternoon as well, so we’ll definitely be back.

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