Quirky Meets Quarky

Sorry for the delay. I've been volunteering at the physics convention for the past few days. Brainiacs from all over the world have come to hear fascinating talks with topics like "Heavy Quarkonia" (which I would have guessed was a middle eastern county) and "The long slow death of the Cold Ionic puzzle" (I'm not sure what the cold ionic puzzle is exactly, but since I would have described my high school physics class as "a long slow death" also, I'm sure that the title isn't that far off).

You'd think that all these visiting physicists would be intimidating with all of their science-y brilliance, but mostly they're wonderfully nice in an Absent Minded Professor kind of way. I work the registration booth, and you'd be amazed at how many of them come back to me because they've lost their name badges or have misplaced their pens or need to know where Ballroom C is located (ironically, right next to the giant sign that says "Ballroom C"). They seem to inspire a kind of maternal instinct in me...I find myself going, "Come with me Dr. Frasdasdfdjhhju, I'll take you to ballroom C. And this time, try to keep up with your name'll need it to get into the lunch you need me to pin it to your shirt? Okay then. Well, try to be more careful next time. Here we enjoy your talk on "Second order relativistic Hydrodynamic Equations Compatible with Boltzmann Equation and Critical Opalescence Around the QCD Critical Point" (You think I made that up but it's an actual title).

Actually, this is what I love most about volunteering. I really enjoy telling people what to do helping people find their way in unfamiliar situations. Need some aspirin? Right over here. Directions to the nearest Kinkos? I'm your girl. Lost your flux capacitor? I'll help you look for it.

I'm sure that if you're in the hospitality business day in and day out, all these little questions quickly lose their appeal, and people become less quaint and more, um, annoying. But on a strictly volunteer basis, (and probably because I'll never ever have to see them again after today), I find these fascinating people delightful and engaging.

Even if their idea of engaging is Gluon Saturation effects and photon peaks in heavy Ion Collisions.


Anybody else have the song from the latest JC Penny Commercial stuck in their head? Yeah, me too. In case you're curious, it's Unbelievable (the i am jen remix) from Sleepy Rebels.* And it is killer catchy. (Maybe not McDonalds-singing-fish-on-the-wall catchy, but catchy nonetheless, and certainly less likely to cause weird looks while you hum it in the supermarket).

For your humming enjoyment:

And in case you're looking for more than humming:

This all is too good to be true
I must be seeing things today
Cause everything keeps happening
In the most peculiar way, hey
In the most peculiar way, hey

It may be unbelievable
But it happened just that way
You came into my life
And now I want you to stay

It may be unbelievable
But it happened just that way
You came into my life
And now I want you to stay

Could it be my destiny
The way it all came into place
Cause everything keeps happening
In the most peculiar way, hey
In the most peculiar way, hey

It may be unbelievable
But it happened just that way
You came into my life
And now I want you to stay

*Actually, I went to the link to make sure it works, and now I have to admit that I'm hooked on all of their songs...they're just happy.

Guy Brains: Why They Do What They Do

I'm reading a really interesting book right now called Leadership and the Sexes by Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis. It's all about the biological differences between the brains of men and women. And I'm not just talking about gender roles, which are culturally taught, but the actual, physical differences between brains of men and women. Blood flow pathways are different, different parts are accessed in different situations, and different chemicals are secreted to make the brain react differently. It's really quite interesting when you sit down and think about it. The book's purpose is to help corporations identify the different thought processes of each gender to take advantage of both, but I'm finding that it's also going a long way in understanding why men in general do what they do.

Like for instance, when problem solving, the male brain runs through a part that is very spatially-related. Men tend to focus on movement easier, so it's not uncommon for men to be tossing a ball back and forth, or tapping a pencil, or swatting at each other while they think and communicate. As soon as I read this, I sat up in bed and yelled "ah-ha!" because Tony has a habit of playfully swatting at me. All. The. Time. (And on my rear if he can get to it) And while I knew it was just his way of connecting (literally) with me, I couldn't for the life of me understand why swatting meant "I get you" in guy-brain).

Meanwhile, women tend to think through problems with words, be it written or spoken. The patterns in a woman's brain naturally go through the language center. So while I wouldn't normally swat or toss a football with someone to express myself, I would blog about it.

Oh, and another thing about men's brains? They turn off throughout the day. I'm serious. Male brains are chemically triggered to go into a "rest" state throughout the day, whereas women's brains don't really do that. So when I ask Tony what he's thinking, and he says "nothing" and I say, "Oh c'mon, you can tell me" and he says, "No really, I wasn't thinking anything" and I say, "why won't you tell me?" and he says, "Seriously, I wasn't thinking anything". HE REALLY MEANS IT. It has something to do with resting up between our ancestral wool mammoth hunts.

Women also use both hemispheres of their brain more, so they tend to see the relationships between things and people easier. They, as a whole, tend to interpret signals in the environment around them more, as opposed to the male brain's single-sided focus. They are literally able to focus on one single thing completely, while women naturally multi-task. Which is why Tony can be totally immersed in a hockey game and only be thinking of that hockey game. Meanwhile I'm watching the game, trying to decide if I should repaint my toenails, debating the pros and cons of eating that last cookie, planning tomorrow's schedule, and wondering why he's totally oblivious the fact that I'm even here on the couch next to him. It's just a brain thing.

Now, all this is not to say that men can't multi-task, and can't use words to express themselves and can't stay focused all day. It's just that to do so, they're fighting against their brains. It's like if you were an introvert by nature. You could make yourself go to a party every night, but deep down, you're still an've just taught yourself to embrace parties.

Anyway, fabulously interesting book about the physical brain differences between men and women. I recommend it. Now if you'll excuse me, having exhausted my female brain word communication, I'm going to go talk to Tony by trading swats.

How'd You Score That Gig?

Just a quick pop-in to tell you that if you're looking for a another good job hunt book, I just finished How'd you score that gig? by Alexandra Levit, and it was pretty insightful. She covers 60 "cool" jobs for twenty- and thirty-somethings, divided into seven broad personality types: the adventurer, the creator, the data-head, the entrepreneur, the investigator, the networker, and the nurturer. (I'm an investigative data-head with creative leanings...sounds neat, huh?).

And while I didn't find my exact dream job and leap out of bed screaming, "That's it! That's it! My life's work!", I did find several parts of several different jobs that I thought, "Yeah, something similar to that". So I'm closer anyway.

Basically I've decided that I'd like to research everything there is to know about a topic, compile the data into usable information, and then write a report or article about it (presentations are optional, but available upon request). Anybody know what that's called (other than term papers)? Obviously market researchers do this, but I'm sure there are researchers of some sort in other industries. Any thoughts?

Anyway, good book if you're looking for ideas on what cool jobs are out there, or even if you're just looking for things that are close to cool. Thought I'd pass it along.

Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Well, I am just waaaaay out of the loop this year, because the Ultimate Blog Party at 5 Minutes for Mom started today, and I didn't even realize it until just now. Which means that I'm already somewhere around 600 billion on the Mr. Linky list for family friendly blogs (sigh).

Anyway, welcome to Quirky is a Compliment, blog partiers! Feel free to let your inner-quirk run amok here...Heaven knows that I do. As a matter of fact, that where the title came very own mother described me as quirky one day, and while I was trying to decide whether or not to be insulted, she went on to explain that she meant the unique things that each of us bring to the table, and that I should take it as a compliment. So I do, and here I am.

Currently I'm 28, married, no kids, 4 cats (these are my children...they just happen to all be of the Siamese persuasion). I live in beautiful Knoxville TN, in the heart of the Smokies. (If you want to know more random stuff about me, see the 100 things link. If you want to know more about life in Tennessee, see Tennessee Living). The blog is a bit of a mixed bag- a few stories, a few DIY projects, a few daily accounts, a few funny things, a few serious things, even a recipe or two.

You never know what you're going to get, but chances are it will be quirky. But enough about me. Tell me about you. I'm a bit of a blog addict, and am looking for some new blogs to add to my daily reading collection. Leave a comment with your blog address and I'll come check you out. Anyway, thanks for coming to the blog party!

Now for that prize part (which I have a bajillion to 1 chance of actually winning, but what can I say, hope springs eternal anyway).

It was incredibly hard to choose, but I finally narrowed my favorites down to:
  • Spanish Language Learning Software from Peanut ButterProvided by: Life is Sweet (because I've only had learning Spanish on my to-do list for a bazillion years)- USC 27
  • Glass and stone earring and necklace setProvided by: Mrs. CPA (I love love love this necklace and earring set! It's sooo pretty and would look perfect with just about everything!)- USC 14
  • a pair of ChicBud Earphones with Swarovski Crystals Provided by: The IE Mommy (I didn't even know such things existed, but now that I do, I must have them! I use my earbuds EVERYWHERE! Who knew that I could look chic while doing it?)- 15

And if my top three picks are already chosen (boooo!), I’d still love any of the following (in order of preference): 19,21,22,26, USC 47, USC 56, 91, USC 40, USC 44, or 14. You guys are awesome!

The Psychology of Dog Walks

So Mia and I were going for a walk today when I noticed something. Dog-lovers are crazy social people. I've lived in my neighborhood for five years, and other than the people in the houses directly on either side of me, I couldn't pick my neighbors out of a police lineup if my life depended on it. Sure, if they happened to be out getting their mail when I drove by, we'd do that little nod thing with our heads that means, "I don't really know you, but I don't want you to think I'm a total jerk either so I'll nod", but for the most part I ignored them and they ignored me. And life was good.

But you start walking a dog? Suddenly there's neighbors coming out of the woodwork! And they all want to know if my dog is a boy or a girl, and what her name is, and oh yes, they used to have a German Shepard too when they were growing up, and he was just the best. dog. ever. until he died, oh, it must have been twenty years ago now, can you believe how time flies? but really he was just the sweetest dog and so good with children too! And meanwhile I'm going "uh-huh, uh-huh, you don't say?" while backing away slowly because suddenly all these people who have been happily ignoring me for years want to tell me all about their life stories. (And honestly, the whole thing freaks me out a little because I'm just not comfortable with radical unexpected changes in my established social patterns). But Mia seems to be a conversation starter for dog-lovers everywhere. One woman even went as far as to chase me down the street to tell me about her dog.

Cat people would never do this.

If one cat-lover sees another cat-lover's cat, he or she may say something along the lines of "nice cat" (or, if they are feeling particularly friendly, "I used to have a cat like that") but to chase someone down to tell stories about their cats? Nonononono. We have blogs for that.

Maybe outgoing people are drawn to dogs because they're social pack animals too? Maybe they just got used to it because they were all out walking their dogs together? Maybe the cat people have learned not to talk about their cats to others for fear of being labeled a "crazy cat lady"? I'm not sure. All I know is that a) I'm an introvert, b) my cats are introverts, and c) none of them forces me to walk down the street and talk to strangers. And I like that.

Of course, it's not Mia's fault that she attracts all this attention. Personally, I think she's an introvert too. She's a very easygoing dog that doesn't require a lot of small talk on her walks. Before the neighbors saw us, we were having a perfectly wonderful walk, just ambling along in our respective contemplative silences and enjoying the scenery.

And before you get all up in arms and tell me about how you're a very introverted dog-owner or a very extroverted cat-owner, or even one of my now insulted neighbors who was just trying to be friendly, let me just say that it was just my experience on one day with one dog that people who have dogs will attempt to talk more to other people who have a dog with them, even if they've never said anything to that person before.

And despite me being an introvert and being a little taken aback at our sudden popularity, I do enjoy my walks with Mia. I don't even mind saying a polite hello to passing neighbors. But I think the next time we go out, I'm telling everyone that she's just a really really big cat.

Dog-Sitting: Emphasis on the Sitting

I'd like to report that hilarity the likes of which even cartoon dogs and cats have never seen occurred, but alas, things have been annoyingly quiet in the house of Quirk. It's been three days, and neither Mia nor the cats seem to care one way or the other about the new arrangement. Mia spends most of her time sleeping in the living room, and the cats spend most of their time trying to figure out if dog food is something they would be interested in trying.

The first day, the cats pretty much stayed upstairs on the bed, and Mia stayed downstairs. The second day, the cats waited until Mia was asleep and then slithered silently from room to room, going about their daily business, but stealthier than usual. By today, everyone was walking around normally. Mia looked at the cats, the cats looked at Mia, and no one seemed to be able to drum up enough energy to care about the other. It was all horribly anti-climatic. (Not that I wanted barking dogs and puffy cats chasing each other all over the house, mind you, but a little America's Funniest Home Videos type of excitement wouldn't have been too much to ask, now would it?)

Actually, the whole dog-sitting thing is going a lot smoother than I had anticipated. I figured, being such a big dog and all, that Mia would completely turn my world upside-down while she was here. (Jenny left three pages of typed instructions on Mia's care, so I was a teeny bit concerned at first). But it turns out that Mia's pretty mellow, and just kind of does her thing with minimal interference from me. She likes to go out in the backyard, and she takes trips to the mailbox with me, but other than that, she's basically content to just hang out in the living room with us. In that, she's very cat-like. (Well, the cats don't go on trips to the mailbox, of course, but everything else is pretty cat-like). If it ever quits raining here, I'd like to try taking her on a walk around the neighborhood, just to shake things up a bit.

Gone To The Dogs

Here's something noteworthy. We're going to be dog-sitting for the next week.

And if that's not a recipe for hilarious hijinks's, I don't know what is.

Whenever we go on vacation, Tony's sister comes over to clean the resulting cat barf out of the carpet take care of the cats for us. She's been a really good sport about it several times, and we have thoughtfully repaid her with t-shirts from various exotic locales that in all honesty, she probably never wears. Well, you know what they say about payback. This time, she is the one going on vacation, and her giant German Shepard, Mia, is coming to stay with us for the week.

No word yet on exactly how the cats will feel about this, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

I'll keep you posted.

Still Looking For Mr. Right Job

I'm getting a little frustrated about the whole job thing. Not that there aren't any jobs out there, but that I can't find one that I'm interested enough in to even apply. There's a regional magazine here called Skirt, and as I was walking past the newsstand the other day, a sentence on the front page jumped out and caught my eye. It said "...losing a job but finding a calling". And I just stopped in my tracks and stared at it for a while, because I so so so want to find a calling.

But ya'll, this is easier said than done.

I am not one of those incredibly lucky people who knew from the time that they were six that they wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief. I didn't know at six, I didn't know at 16, and I didn't know at 26. Now 30 is rapidly sneaking up on me, and I feel that it's high time I find this calling and settle into a career darnit.

Alas, nothing seems to grab me. Despite the books, the tests, the informational interviews, nothing has really spoken to me. For two months I've been reading and researching and pleading with God for some kind of sign, but so far it's been all quiet on the western front. I've come across a couple of things that I've thought, "Well, I guess I could do that if I had to", but who wants to get up and spend their days doing something merely tolerable? I did that before, and it ended up sucking my soul dry.

I guess I'm mostly bummed because the company I was stalking turned out to not be as exciting as I had hoped. I ended up talking to people in four different departments about what they do, and what they like and don't like about their jobs, and at no point did the Heavens open and angels sing and everything click that this was where I was supposed to be. Oh I wanted it to be, that's for sure. I wanted this to be the dream job so the hunt would be over and I'd finally have found my calling, but it just wasn't there. There was no sense of rightness. Now I'm wondering if that really exists, or am I wasting time looking for the Mr. Right of jobs when I should just be settling for Mr. Whatever comes along.

The good news is that we're still financially stable enough to allow me to hold out a little longer while the Fates align and my dream job shows up, but the bad news is that I'm ready, willing, and able to work now...if I just knew where to go.

Ya'll tell me- what do you think I should do?

Turning To Cartoons For Project Advice Since 1980

I thought you might want to see some pictures of my mighty mighty roof project from the other day. If you scroll through them really quickly, it looks like the roof magically does itself (okay not really, but I was curious to see how many of you would try it anyway).

I must say, I really had a pretty good time with the whole thing. There's something to be said about the working with your hands in the sunshine, perched on top of your roof and overlooking the neighborhood. It's very liberating. Plus, there's a certain forbidden element to it that makes me feel daring and adventuresome. Like, look at me people! You're way down there, and I'm way up here! On my roof! Where normal people do not dare to tread, but I, fearless DIYer that I am, boldly stand, brandishing my hammer and sashaying around with my very stylish little tool belt.

Eat your heart out, Bob Vila.

Anyway, without further ado, my roofing adventure, in pictorial form:
Here's my ugly plastic corrugated roof, pre-makeover. I'm sure it was very pretty and clear and bright when the previous owners put it up, but in the past few years it has gotten horribly yellowed and stained and trashy. So it had to go. Immediately. When I informed Tony of this, he sighed emphatically. It sounded a lot like what Ricky does when he finds out about one of Lucy's harebrained schemes. As punishment, I told him that he was not allowed to participate AT ALL in Roof Makeover 2009. That'll teach 'im.

Here's my corrugated plastic in a million pieces after I ripped it up and gleefully tossed it off the roof. Then I stood over it with my hands on my hips and roared in triumph. Destruction makes me feel powerful. I'm starting to get why men like monster truck rallies.
Here's the roof with the plywood pieces going on. I pushed each one onto the roof all by myself using a sophisticated system of levers, brute strength, and creative swearing.
Here's a quick celebratory shot of me after I managed to get all the plywood up and nailed into place. Note that I'm still sporting the triumphant Captain America pose.*

*And no, that's not a pot belly- the jacket has a front pocket where I was keeping my tape measure, water bottle, and cell phone (in case I accidentally fell off the roof. It saves time when you don't have to drag your broken body to the phone inside the house to call the paramedics).

Here's the roof with the first roll of tar paper, also known as roofing felt, also known as roofing paper. (I swear, have you ever heard of so many names for one thing? It's like it thinks it's John Cougar Mellencamp or something). Side note: when this stuff gets warm, it gets sticky. It's kind of like having a movie theater floor on your roof, but without all the popcorn.

Here's the roof all covered in tar paper and with the first row of shingles put on. Surprisingly, the whole shingle thing goes on pretty easily. It's a bit like laying wood flooring, but without the snap-n-groove bit. Just line it up and nail it down. I read up on the basic instructions here, and just went to town. Once you get your rhythm, you'd be surprised how quickly it goes.

Tony came out to monitor the progress when I was halfway through the shingles. I know I said that he wasn't allowed to play Bob the Builder with me, but you'll be happy to know that I relented and let him hammer the last five or six rows of shingles. (It's important to let men feel like they're helping). I lined them up, and he hammered them in. And this is the finished product. One beautiful new roof, which will not only do a better job of keeping my screened-in porch nice and dry, but also ties it in to the rest of the house so it looks like it belongs there and wasn't just an afterthought.

So there it is. And in case you are thinking of roofing something yourself but can't seem to drum up the courage, let me tell you, it's easy-peasy.

In the immortal words of Bob the Builder...Can you do it? Yes you can!

Up On The Roof

I'm up on the roof. (Go ahead Drifter's fans, sing "Up on the Roooooof"). The weather looks like it's going to be nice for the next few days, and in honor of my resulting spring fever, I've started a new project. I'm replacing the old roof on the screened-in porch. The old plastic roof that the previous owners put on is cracking and disintegrating, (not to mention hints at classic redneck design), so I've known for a while that it needed to be replaced. I kicked around the idea of doing skylights or solid glass as the ceiling, but it turns out that lots of glass is expensive and there's no way for me to easily clean it. So I've simplified to just matching up the shingles to the rest of the roof, and continuing the look. Simple yet elegant, no?

I'm the kind of person who does some quick Internet research, reads some how-to sites, and then just dives right in. It doesn't matter that I have absolutely no roofing experience, or have never seen a roof being done, or even talked to a roofer before...I decided that it is what I am going to do, and by golly nothing is going to stop me from doing it. And you know what? I've never come across a project that was harder than it looked. Took longer than I expected, yes. Was more expensive that I figured, yes. But harder? It turns out that most of my do it yourself projects aren't exactly rocket science once you get the hang of it.

Plus, won't Tony be surprised when he comes home from work and finds a new roof on the house? This morning? Ugly plastic stuff. This evening? Lovely new roof. And let me tell you, nothing says devotion like 30 year three tab asphalt shingles and the smell of roofing tar in the sunshine. It makes a person feel alive inside (unless of course, I fall off said roof- then I will feel much less alive).

Until that happens, I'll just be up here, squatting on my roof and banging at 13 year old rusty nails with the claw end of a hammer and humming songs from The Drifters.

Self-improvement, Take One

I'm on day one of my Lenten reading list. I decided that while a junk food book was pretty self-explanatory, I needed to refine exactly what constituted a book of substance. Was I just going to focus on spiritual enlightenment? 40 days of devotionals? Or any book that served to improve me in some way? Did classics like Austin and Shakespeare count? Just non-fiction, or could fiction be substantial too? In the end, I decided that moderation and variety would be the key, and any book that had the ability to improve me was a book of substance. So I hit the library today and picked up a book on writing, two books on step-by-step stained glass work (a new hobby I'm trying out), a book on Catholicism, two books on finding your life's purpose, an audio tape on Beginning Spanish, and a book on classical music composers.

At the moment, I'm in the middle of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamont, and I must say that it's really been an eye-opener. You wouldn't think that a book on writing would have much to do with spiritual preparedness, but I'm finding that a lot of her lessons for writing are speaking to me on a much deeper level than just a how-to for prose. Plus she's funny, and she makes me want to write. I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow I'm going to flip through the stained glass books as I plan out my first official suncatcher-type thingie. The one I'm going to try won't be confused for a Tiffany by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm counting it as a success if I can get through it without soldering my fingers together or slicing my hand open on a piece of jagged glass. We'll see how it goes. I promise to tell you if there's carnage.

How goes your Lent?

Lent and the Library

I've been thinking about what to do for Lent. I know, I know, technically Lent started last week, but with the vacation and everything, I'm a little late to the party. Plus I haven't really been able to decide on any good thing to give up/start that will bring me closer to God and prepare me for Easter. I know in the past I've given up chocolate (hard!), but I just don't feel like that's the direction that God is leading me towards. I've read about some bloggers who turn off their comments and statistics for Lent so that they are not distracted by what other people think. I've read one blogger who gave up blogging entirely, and a couple who have given up the entire Internet- blogs, news sites, everything. And while that would definitely be a sacrifice, (the only thing that brought me back from Jamaica was that Tony wouldn't pay the $15.95/hour connection fee for me to satisfy my Internet addiction while we were on vacation), I'm not not seeing how that would translate into my own personal spiritual growth.

So I think that instead I'm going to read.

Ya'll know how much I love to read. I have a lifelong love affair with books. I devour them. And while I personally think that this is a good habit, I also can't help but notice that I have the tendency to read a lot of crap. I love a good mystery, or a cheesy romance, or a sci-fi thriller, and I don't think that there is anything wrong with that, but somewhere along the way I realized that that was all that I was reading. They're light, tasty, mindless books, and I love them, but I also think that they're the literary equivalent of junk food, and instead of rotting my teeth, I'm letting my brain rot instead. And worse, I'm spending so much time devouring the junk food books that I've neglected to pick up anything with substance for a while.

So for Lent, I'm giving up junk food books and focusing on substance books. And because the point of the entire exercise is to prepare myself spiritually for Easter, I'm going to focus heavily on things I need to work on. Stuff that I probably should be keeping in my regular reading diet anyway. I'll keep you posted on how it's going, what I'm reading, and what I'm learning.

Assuming, that is, that you haven't given me up for Lent.

Vacation, How I Already Miss You

Well I'm back. My fabulous vacation to the sun kissed beaches of Jamaica is officially over, and I have returned to the harsh winter of reality, with only my memories, a bunch of postcard worthy pictures, and my awesome tan to keep me warm.

I won't lie to you; it's been a little bit rough adjusting back to normal. Not that normal is bad or's just that compared to the breathtaking allure of Jamaica, normal doesn't stand a chance. Jamaica is an international runway model and Normal is her awkward, slightly chubby friend with an unfortunate overbite.

Case in point: It's spitting snow here. The sky is overcast and the wind keeps rattling the side of the house. It's a far cry from lounging by the pool while listening to the waves lapping against the shore and soaking in the warming rays of the sun. The urge to run screaming back to the hotel and beg them to take me on as a bartender or dish washer or pool boy is overwhelming. Anything to keep living the dream, my friend.

I'm even finding excuses to put off doing the laundry because when I opened the suitcase, all the clothes smelled like suntan lotion and salty sea air, and I can't bear to wash all that loveliness away just yet. (Have you ever seen a dog find something dead and roll around on it gleefully? Let's just say that all our dirty clothes are joyfully scattered all over the living room floor and I'm currently wearing one of my bathing suit tops wrapped around my neck like a scarf).

Just in case you were curious, we stayed at the Grand Paladium Resort in Lucea. According to something that I read somewhere (how's that for citing sources?), our hotel had roughly 1000 rooms and was completed in 2008. The grounds, pools, beaches, and lobby areas were stunning. It has something like 13 bars, 10 restaurants, and 5 swimming pools. They offer all kinds of activities from archery to paddle boats to water aerobics. And with all those choices available, I worked hard to keep myself on my very demanding daily schedule:

Wake up

Slather on sunscreen

Eat breakfast in one of the open air restaurants

Sprawl in the sunshine on a lounge chair and read

Move to the pool to read

Eat lunch in one of the open air restaurants

Slather on more sunscreen

Go sit on the beach and read

Head back to the room to soak in the jacuzzi and read

Eat dinner in a nice restaurant

Digest on the balcony overlooking the ocean

Go for a walk around the hotel

Go back to room and read before falling asleep

As you can see, it was pure, pure Heaven. Books and sunshine...what more can a girl want? My carry-on bag consisted of nothing but books. The total number of literary co-travelers was 16 (although to be fair, three of those were Tony's). I think we did them fair justice, although we did take a small break from reading to paddle around on the peddle boats (or is that peddle around on the paddle boats? I'm not sure...they had both peddles and paddles). The rest of the time involved being nose deep in a book.

I'd tell you more about the trip, but the eating and reading parts pretty much sum things up, and we both know that you only came to see the picture slide show anyway. Feel free to tell me how horribly jealous you are. It'll ease the pain of finding myself back here in reality.