I’m sitting in a hotel room of the Crowne Plaza in Times Square, drinking some kind of not-too-bad hotel coffee made in a Keurig maker and waiting for my sister Shannon to get ready so we can go get our first martinis before dinner and then meet up with my dear Chicago friend Amy who moved here to NYC about six weeks ago. A spur of the moment trip, including the Broadway production of “Chicago” tonight, and I jumped at the chance, even if the whole weekend will only last about 36 hours. I also promised myself I’d blog, so this won’t be the long Clarion post I needed to write, but … soon!

Let’s see. I’m still in Clarion withdrawal. It’s hard to get up and go to my (mostly terrific) dayjob knowing that I won’t get the eight hours of writing like I did for six weeks in San Diego, nor that communion every night with people who want the same things I do. My friend Christie, another Assistant Editor at Lightspeed, did Taos Toolbox this summer and she said it took her almost a month to get back into real life. So with six weeks of Clarion, I’m looking at…another 6 weeks of accepting the fact that I’ve got to get up at 5 am if I want a good 1.5 hours of writing time a day, at least until my job settles down.

I’ve also been baking like a crazy person. Fall! Which means amazing foods like Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread! Absolutely amazing, although I sent the second loaf home with John’s sister Becky so I didn’t eat it all. I even messed up on the directions because I was trying to do too much at once, including running to the store at 8 am for baking soda since I threw the old one out in the move.

And then there were chocolate biscuits and gravy. Yes.

Chocolate Biscuits & Gravy

Lasagnas, too, and pizzas, and amazing foods from Appetite for Reduction which we devoured before I could take pictures of.

I submitted my first Clarion story. I’m really happy with it, no matter what happens, which is good to know. I’ve gotten some really good crits on it from both Clarionauts and Fragments, my writing group here, so that’s encouraging. But I really need to work on something new, and maybe that’s where Harvester the novel comes in; hopefully it can write itself in these early morning sessions.

More soon! Off to amazing food and martinis and an exciting night!


>We went to the Bridlewood vineyard today, which was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to, and on another gorgeous day.

Bridlewood is right up next to the east/west mountain range, which gives the syrah grapes a flavor like nowhere else. 90% of the 105 acre output is syrah, of which we tried three, including the #5 Syrah in the Syrah du Monde competition in France.

Syrah grapes – sweet and juicy, although with bitter, crunchy seeds.

I loved the pipe rail. Elegant yet practical.

Bridlewood has only been a winery for 15 years or so. Previously, it was a racehorse rehabilition facility, and there are racehorses there still, as well as a small track and stables. Remnants of the property’s past life show up everywhere.

The cellar used to be the stables.

A horse stall now holds a temperature-controlled cask.

The award-winning Syrah, straight from the cask.

And the final product.

I wanted one of these plants – the texture of the seed pods was like felt. I’ve never seen something like this before.

Then, we had a lovely lunch in Los Olivos – John had a fresh crabmeat sandwhich, and I had the most lovely salad with cumin-toasted pumpkin seeds, a bleu cheese vinaigrette, avocado and tomato, and then we got coffee and cupcakes at the sweetest little cupcake shop. I adore cupcakes. We got a small flight of them, including some with wine in them – which were of course phenomenal.