It’s hard to wait 51 weeks for the best week of the year, but it’s worth it.
It’s strange to hit the end of April, and see a snow fall, but we managed.
Because we’re girls!!
We came in a little scattered this year due to this and that. A group on Wednesday, another couple rolling in on Thursday, then Friday, then Saturday.
And we’ve had nothing but fun.
COLD outside initially, so we missed those morning walks. But Jo and I worked out in our room every morning. She wanted that 10k a day, and got it. In fact yesterday because finally the sun shined and the temps hit mid-60s, we walked. And she hit 20k!! A record.
The score board’s filling up with stickers. The fabulous prizes are thinning out. We’ve had some dark horses* push their way into the next heats, and the usuals hold their own.
Lots of laughs, lots of wine, lots of chatter. Some shopping, lovely treatments, food none of us had to cook. And just that simple and marvelous community of pals. Pretty perfect.
Last night was our Paint Night, and I have to say I think it was the best yet. Not only for the fun, the everyone’s work became a masterpiece. And they’re all so different. Wonderful, individual visions realized (with more wine).
We followed that with pizza and salads, and more wine! Then Dancing, Bowling, Trivia, Scrabble!
We have a couple of finals coming up tonight, and what I know will be a vicious second heat of Drunken Scrabble. I suck at Scrabble. Words aren’t a problem, but I have no strategy. I’m always impressed with those who do.
Since we have another warmish, sunny day, I’m going to walk outside again, soak in the moments before the rain returns.
I have a book** to read, pals to hang with, and a deep tissue massage on my afternoon schedule. A really good deal.
There’s nothing, just nothing like girl friends, and this week, with just girls is a treasure.
Though we have allowed a male into our glorious female group this year. And while we’re not entirely sure of his name, he’s been welcomed by all.
For those who asked for a Random Katness, here’s a couple photos Laura took last night.
It’s a boy!
Obviously, I’m beyond thrilled, already besotted, and as you can see, Kat looks amazing.
Best week ever!
* This means Laura. ** Twisted Prey by John Sandford.
Did you even doubt I’d miss the FUN (!?!) of spa week? I ended up trading my view of this:
and choice of activities like this:
About 24 hours after getting home, I walked into tea time at the spa and stories of the first 48 hours without me.
Nora bestowed a welcome-to-the-spa boon: a competition free first night. I know the real reason: Kat (the most beloved person in her world) wouldn’t arrive until Saturday so we would do the first round together. But I’ll take the stay of competition.
(Random flowers to celebrate.)
Saturday dawned busy with a workout, conversation, whiskey in my oatmeal (a thing I saw at Ashford), conversation and treatments. Kat arrived, bearing with her the hat she made to wear for the Derby in two weeks.
Yes, she made it. We knew she’s clever, but this hat outdid every expectation. So much so, I made everyone try it on.
And then. And then.
I WON a round of Just Dance. And a prize. The magic of Ireland may carry me through.
Then a round of Scrabble brought me right back to Earth.
Once I conquer the jet lag, I’ll fill you in a bit more. But a good start, don’t you think?
I’m sure you all wonder about the truest harbinger of Spring in these parts: Girls Spa Week. When does it take place? When will all that girl energy flood the posts?
When will Laura have to play games??? (It’s ok to admit that’s what you really want to know.)
The timing is a bit different this year and the fun (is It? Really?) starts this Wednesday. From all reports Nora spent the weekend in the garden and packing. But what of our lovable 2-time Biggest Loser?
Well, I’ve run away. I put an ocean between us and have been in Ireland since just after Easter. I’m scheduled to get home Thursday, do a ton of laundry and then join in the fun (definition – noun: enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure.Really????) on Friday. Do you realize how far behind I’ll be?
I went to Donegal for a photo workshop. I visited family in Sligo and Galway. I lifted pints of Smithwicks – more than one. And did the same with Jameson. Now why would I ever want to leave?
Since I trust you al to keep a secret, I’ll just say that Ashford Castle will be the testing ground . It’s our last stop and considering the FUN (definition – adj: amusing, entertaining, or enjoyable) activities that await, I may never leave.
Only two insistent ant fitness buffs for the morning. I was a little lonely.
On this gorgeous day Jason and Kat take off in a quest for yarn. I had a lovely, lovely swim, a round in the hot tub in reward for the workout.
Then, thanks to my promptly arriving charger, settled down to work for a couple hours. How about some cheese and bread with that? Don’t mind if I do.
For a couple of hours, my body sits in the woodsy shade of Provence and my brain goes to New York in 2061. It’s a very fine deal for me.
Stretch it out, have a bellini. Seems fair.
Then BW and I stroll (climb) stroll to Le Spa. This is BW’s second trip, my first. It’s gorgeous.
Airy and fragrant and wonderfully calm. Up a few stairs a glass window presents the beautiful indoor pool and its lounging area. We sit in reception a few minutes before we’re led to our respective locker rooms. More quiet, more pretty, more fragrant. I’m into the plush robe and slippers, then go into the relaxation room.
Several lounges–adjustable for your comfort. Glossy magazines. I test my very poor French reading and admire the photographs. My masseuse fetches me, guides me into my pretty massage room. In minutes I’m down, she’s back and it begins.
My choice of oil scented with lemongrass. Hot stones seeping into bones and muscles tested by climbs, workouts and horses. Good. competent, soothing hands. I drift in and out–my favorite state during a good massage. Not out so you wake up, think: What? Not fully awake so the brain doesn’t rest. The floating stage, and it’s perfect.
I tell her so when it’s finished.
Still in the dreamy state, I meet BW back at reception, and back home we go.
I decide to continue to relax there, which requires another bellini.
Jason and Kat return just about five o’clock. An adventure!
The yarn store Kat earmarked was closed for August–the traditional holiday month. Not to be discouraged, she found another in Nice, so on they drove. But that one, closed as well. She figures they figure who wants to buy yarn in August any way. Since they’re in Nice, they go to the beach, have lunch. And Kat gets to dip her feet in the Med. Jason regrets ordering a salad, which proved to be huge–after he sees someone served a hot fudge sundae. An enormous sundae.
Kat drives to Nice, Jason drives back. I remain the only holdout. But really, think of the humanity.
We talk our day on the terrace, talk about where to have dinner as we’ve decided to explore off-campus. In their efficient way, they’ve taken photos of menus of a couple of our choices.
We choose one, casual, and clean ourselves up.
Beautiful, balmy evening after another hot day. We run into–I believe it’s Phillipe, head concierge and chat while I car’s brought around. He doesn’t know the restaurant we’ve chosen, but we promise to report back. (Jason tells me I misspelled Eladia’s name in a previous blog.)
Jason’s taken himself off on foot as it’s just a bit over a mile and he wants to hit his step goal for the day (I have sufficiently crushed all comers in our Work Week Hustle). Kat, faithful navigator, directs us. Wind and wind and wind, and . . . there.
It’s in or really by a kind of shopping center, and some flats. Wide, open air, lots of tables. A cheerful waitress with a little English. I choose some wine, and that goes smooth and easy. Vin rouge always works.
She brings out a little chalkboard with the daily specials on it–and BW spots paella. That’s a favorite. It has a further description in French Jason and I puzzle over then decide is at any time over the weekend.
They have spaghetti arrabiata, which is a favorite of mine. Salade verte. Perfect.
BW inquires about what’s in the paella, as this often depends. The waitress only has French here, explains–and uses mime–it’s adorable. We got the shrimp, the mussles, the chicken (we’ve got that much French), but we’re all stuck on another ingredient until she draws a picture. An octopus (or squid). All five us are pleased with each other, and since all the ingredients suit BW, we order.
There’s a cafe across the way closing for the night. One of the residents of the flats is standing on her tiny balcony brushing her teeth. People begin wandering in to take tables. I have a view of the hills throughout.
The food’s really, really good. The service fun and bright. This is obviously a neighborhood place, and we hear only French. We all agree we’d certainly come back, and that’s before dessert.
Hey, hot fudge sundaes–and oh God profiteroles. Jason and Kat will split the sundae, BW and I the profiteroles. Meanwhile, a family with a young boy–three or four–and a very new baby are dining. The boy is entertaining himself creatively with action figures. Another big table is full of women so we figure a girls night out. Families and groups all around us, and the little boy’s in his own heroic battlefield. He’s really cute. We hear music from a nearby restaurant, and after a bit realize it’s karaoke!
Dessert comes, and oh my. I may not be able to fully finish my share, but I make a strong attempt. The long, lazy and satisfying meal has taken us deep into the evening. But we feel obliged to walk over and check out the karaoke.
It’s a pizzeria with a generous outdoor area. Lots of tables of people eating while others take the mike. We watch two girls bravely attempt a song. Not one I’m familiar with, and in French, but vastly entertaining.
Back home we go, and to bed as we hope to leave earlier this morning for the Saturday market in Fayence. No time to workout! Jason, Kat and I will start head-to-head on our Weekend Warrior Challenge.
I think I’ll try out my fun new shoes.
Note from Laura: Here in the real world, I’m at a family wedding this weekend. Sunday’s post could be a little later due to long party tonight and somewhat cranky wifi. Will do what I can!
Throughout the magnificence of girl spa week, I read Laura’s diary with amusement, and not a little pity. Our resident Cranky Publicist and game-hater tolerates much enforced fun. I found myself pleased (as her ‘friend’) she embraced the release and comfort of a diary to express her emotional distress.
Without that release and comfort I fear I may have found her one quiet morning clutching the Wii remote, gibbering at the scoreboard while she chewed on the remains of scattered Scrabble tiles.
There’s always next year.
Meanwhile, our beleaguered Laura had a couple close calls on yet more enforced fun by barely missing qualifying for second rounds in Scrabble and Bowling. Still, a miss is as good as a mile, isn’t it?
I must add something here. I also played Scrabble–though I don’t qualify for prizes as the host. My bed of pain must also be documented. I played the ENTIRE game with two–count them–two vowels. Both Es. One in the first draw, and just one more somewhere in the middle of the game. Two. Vowels. Unless the rules open up to the official language of Pluto, a player with two vowels is screwed.
(Still I didn’t place last altogether. I will refrain from naming those who played their rounds with a reasonable number of vowels whose scores ranked below mine.)
Nicole, with her ear infection and URI and antibiotics nipped Laura by two tiny points in the first Scrabble round. And Pat skimmed by her in Bowling.
Let me take this time to add our Pat is no fan of Scrabble. It was with great compassion I approached Pat one morning, slipped my arm around her tender shoulders. I have some terrible news, I said. I’m so sorry to have to tell you. You’re in the second round of Scrabble.
She wept a little, but I was there for her.
Pat is even less of a fan of Just Dance. Once again, I had to deliver hard, distressing news. Yes, she qualified for Round Two. As the news sank in, she attacked a butler.
However, I find it odd that someone who expresses such distaste for certain games plays well enough to move to the next round. I suspect a hustle.
We must all bow to Mary Kay Of The Golden Ball for her consistent bowling skills. We must because she reminds us regularly, and likes to point out the shine of that Golden Ball.
It is pretty.
Kat dominated Scrabble. Others may strive, may sweat and may struggle, but it’s a rare game when our Kat doesn’t lay down a full seven letter word sometime during the game, usually involving a Q on a double letter box and on a triple word score. She destroys all comers, and smiles her Kat smile.
It’s also Kat and Sarah who dominate trivia as much due to their snake-like reflexes as their knowledge of useless facts. And math. (Why are there any questions involving math?) At the end of that particular game Sarah crushed the competition with more than 17,000 points. But then Elaine comes out of nowhere in her round and nips by Kat’s impressive score.
Going into the final rounds, we had Elaine (yes, Fearsome but also a sneakily quiet competitor) and Sarah neck-in-neck with the surprise of Nicole as a dark horse. Who would be crowned Queen?
Sarah destroys Elaine in Trivia! Will Nicole triumph in Scrabble??? Please, she had to play Kat. But perhaps she’ll reach Golden Ball status in Bowling against Elaine. Nope. The dark horse falls.
Down to the dance, Sarah and Elaine, all for the crown. Their focus is intense, their moves poetry. As the music ends, Elaine has eked out the narrowest win in Spa Girl history!
All hail The Queen!
Still, we must finish with Reverse Charades. Mostly because it’s the funniest game ever. Even there, perhaps flush from her previous victories and already insured crown, Elaine dominates. But then, I ask you, how does one (or a group as it’s Reverse Charades) act out the word Cactus?
There is truth that as Elaine (not-so-humbly) accepts the coveted plastic tiara and Bedazzled scepter, Laura must clip on (after a quick repair) the pitiful pink earrings of the Loser. In an attempt to be Solomon, I suggested she and Mary each wear one, as their sad, sad scores all but matched. But the crowd called for Laura.
Popular demand counts.
It’s not, however, all games during spa week. Jo and I–and most days Kat–started our day with workouts, and as the mornings warmed after the middle of the week, followed those with long walks with flowers blooming and the sun shining.
I’d see Laura briefly–coffee for Laura, then a round at the gym, usually with Nicole. Maybe a little breakfast in the Lounge, maybe some of us poking through the shops. Lots of: What treatment are you having today? And some contented meeting up in the Relaxation Room prior, or the locker room after where we’d compare our bliss.
Quiet reading corners, or drinks on the sunny patio, room service, naps. Ice cream night!! (Thanks, Mary Kay.) Lots of laughs, lots of hugs, lots of adult beverages.
Girl vibes–and they’re as rejuvenating as a hot stone massage. My parents didn’t give me any sisters, so I found them. Fate didn’t give me daughters, so I found them, too.
I regret to inform you that I ended the week in possession of the gaudy Biggest Loser earrings. All my “friends” turned on me in my hour of need. The Mighty and Fearsome Elaine is the Grand Poobah Champion of Spa World with wins in Dance (poor, poor Sarah), Bowling and by getting the most answers in Reverse Charades.
When Nora added up the lowest scores, it came down to the slimmest margin between Mary and me. Nicole, sweet Nicole, turned to me and asked, “Wait, when did you start winning games? You didn’t win when I was here.” I told her I DIDN’T win, that was the point. She nodded and said, “Ohhhhh.”
An ear infection and URI can make anyone a little loopy.
Nora said it was too close to call. Mary said, “Oh just give it to Laura — it will fit her narrative.” And the rest of them agreed with applause. I guess accurate and unbiased reporting on the goings on during spa week begets frenemies willing to bring you low.
Sigh. I need to accept applications for new friends. The flurry of photos for Elaine’s THIRD coronation in six years ended up looking like this. I think it accurately shows my feelings on the subject.
But let’s backtrack a bit, shall we Diary Dear?
Thursday evening was a flurry of activity. The Mighty and Fearsome Elaine took on the Beautiful and Brilliant Sarah in a serious final round of Trivia. I captured this moment near the end of the round:
That begat the final result:
Elaine took the finals in Just Dance by a hair’s breadth, but my video won’t upload so I can’t prove it. Does that mean it REALLY happened?
And then she bowled. A game like no other with seven consecutive strikes.
A busy evening for the future champion who moved to the dining table for second round Scrabble Nicole, Pat and Kat. Nicole, still obviously somewhat alert despite her symptoms came in second and would play Kat in the finals.
Nora, the soul of tact and discretion, said at least 473 times, “Nicole is in the final! Let me repeat, Nicole and Kat are in the final!!!!” Perhaps her shock makes her Nicole’s “friend” as well.
Elaine chose her various prizes and then said, “I’m tired of winning. I have to go now.” Diary, I believe I hissed a little.
[From the Fearsome one’s private journal: “Yes! All is in place for my re-coronation! I shall sleep well tonight.”]
In the meantime, side bowling games abounded. Mary Kay had set the multipin scoring record of 560 the night before, so she sat and watched us try in vain to catch her.
[Excerpted from Mary Kay’s annals of fabulousness: “I’m still the bowling queen — I have a golden ball!”]
At one point JoAnne said Mary Kay should take a turn. Mary Kay replied, “I don’t want to keep demoralizing you.”
Diary, our egos are very healthy during spa week.
We saved Paint and Sip for the final night (though sadly, Pat had to miss it). For some misguided reason, Diary, I decided to let all the participants have a choice in what we painted so we could send the final pick to the teacher beforehand. Oh the opinions on color and flower and scene! But finally I herded my squirrels to one picture with the promise everyone could personalize the colors.
We had as much fun in the 2017 session as we did last year.
Amanda, the instructor, took this photo of everyone at the end.
And here’s a closer look at what we painted:
We ended the night with Scrabble (Kat won, Nicole placed admirably), Reverse Scrabble Charades (I’m actually not sharing THOSE photos) and the coronation.
And then, Diary, our week was over. Another wonderful seven days with girls, wine, games (ugh) and laughter.
In all seriousness Diary, it’s a wonderful gift Nora shares with us every spring. We all started out in different parts of Nora’s life and now all those parts blend like the paint above — we enhance, we embrace and we encourage. Some of us get together regularly, some we don’t see until spa week arrives, but the time doesn’t matter, the relationships do.
And so, I bid you farewell Diary. Word is my “friend” Nora may try to give her own version of the week. I would take it all with a grain of salt.
Spa time melts from one experience to another. It’s the only way to explain how it’s suddenly Thursday. No, wait, I have a better way — simple conversation.
Jeannette (JoAnne’s daughter and member of the Spa Tribe) finally arrived yesterday morning. Diary, dare I mention she opened the WRONG bottle of champagne in an effort to help others? I’m all for good deeds, but I spend 15 minutes every afternoon moving the coldest bottles to one fridge, and the warm bottles into the auxiliary fridge to chill. Jeannette chose one from the auxiliary fridge! Horrors. However, I’ll allow for genetics since her mother did the same exact thing on Monday.
But I digress, Diary — stop distracting me with thoughts of champagne! Jeannette innocently asked “When do you post the blog?
I reply, “Every other day.”
Sarah of the Brilliant Mind and latent PITA tendencies pipes up, “Wait, you posted Sunday and Today. Today is Wednesda — that is not every other day.”
Sarah is now a “friend.”
See? Time is a loose and fluid commodity here.
Where did I leave off? Oh! My pity dance win. Well, last night I won the Extra Pity Party Bowling Round (aka Bowling Wildcard). Fun, right? No. I won using the Nora avatar. My other “friend” haunts me.
I’m only smiling because it’s polite.
And since I know you worry, Diary, my final score in Trivia (You Don’t Know Jack for the Wii) was -17,000. If you have to lose, do it with style. I think I’ll tattoo that on my forearm.
Nora finally played a couple of games, even though she can’t win. She danced and Scrabbled (the latter was an uproarious game with words I can’t share here.)
The Mighty and Fearsome Elaine continues her demolition of all competition. No! Wait! There was a moment last night when Sarah fought the dark force in the second round of Just Dance. And the Brilliant Beautiful Mind crushed all comers with 10,971 points.
During the round Elaine said: “My remote isn’t working.”
I said, “I say that every year.”
Elaine called back. “Now it’s true.”
Diary — with friends like these, I’ll never get a big ego.
Instead I’ll share a .
gif from the dancing.
Yesterday was simply gorgeous. Blue skies, warm temperatures and slight breezes. We took a group walk in the morning (my favorite photo is below) then settled into the little courtyard off the suite for the late afternoon.
And then it was back to games. A very tiring week.
Tonight we head into final rounds of games since Pat departs tomorrow. Then we paint tomorrow night.
Since time melts here, I know we’ll be on the road home in a second and a half.
Will share more tomorrow (ish), Diary. In the meantime, here’s another dance .gif to soothe the soul.
Our first full day dawned sunny and cool. I was up early to get a workout in first thing. Our mutual “friend” was already in the suite’s living room and we engaged in a brief recap of the evening before — along with requisite surprise at my mid-level success. Then I went off to lift heavy weights, while Nora waited for Kat and JoAnne to come in for a Shaun T workout session.
The gym was very quiet and I pushed/pulled/stretched without any interruptions. A satisfying way to start the day especially since it was Ice Cream Night Part 1 after dinner. Walked back to change into dry clothes and the ladies were shaking their groove things in time with Shaun.
Had breakfast then decided to go for a walk for fresh air and photos.
This one ended up my favorite.
The best part of Spa Week, Dear Diary, is everyone goes their individual ways during the day before spending the evening together. I decided to embrace my Zen in all areas of my life and generously forgave my “friend” for her cavalier dismissal of my Scrabble talents. All was peaceful again as we wandered through the shops on the way to spa treatments.
More of our tribe arrived late in the afternoon. Pat and Mary learned that they had arduous game tasks to undertake. Those of us with first rounds of bowling, dance and Scrabble under our belts/on the Stupid –er, Zen centered — Scoreboard were able to relax or play as extras in a round.
The second official round of Scrabble commenced. Diary, can you find the word on that night’s board that made us all laugh?
A seed of happiness bloomed in my heart, Dear Diary. I was freed from the expectation of performing well. Strangely though, the pressure seeped through in other areas. My spa-mates asked if I’d posted on the blog yet. Well, no, not yet. “Working on it!”I chirped airily.
Then, my dear friend, the most prolific writer in the entire universe, the one who writes 6 pages to my one paragraph, the one who THINKS a word and it is so, asked if I was finished. Now there, Diary Dear, is pressure.
I finished, posted, then turned my attention to the games where tension brewed. As I dealt with my feelings, Sarah — the former Grandest Champion with a brilliant business mind — ran into the wall known as the Fearsome and Mighty Elaine on the field of dance. As you remember, Sarah crushed me by 1000 points. The Fearsome and Mighty Elaine turned the tables.
[From Sarah’s Spa Notes: Dear Diary, A great start to the tournament! Back in top form for Just Dance. THEN the Fearsome and Mighty Elaine picked up the remote and WON my fabulous First Round prize.]
[From Elaine’s Spalicious Journal: Having a Great Time! Winning EVERYTHING!”]
The next rounds of Scrabble are delayed until the last two members of the tribe arrive so we added in some extra bowling and dance. Mary Kay won another bowling session [MK: Hey Diary, that’s 2 bowling games! That makes me the Bowling Queen.]
And then, a miracle happened, Dear Diary. I beat Sarah in the Pity Round of Extra Dance!!!! Thousands cheered (in my head) and I retired happy.
I shall leave this entry with some visuals of the evening.
It’s lowering to admit that my spirits fell in the approach to spa week. The company is wonderful, the setting lovely, the services superb — and yet.
The specter of the Stupid Scoreboard loomed with all the inherent horrors of last year’s Biggest Loser status.
I bravely persevered in the face of such agonizing memories, packed up the soft clothes, the books, the magazines, said goodbye to the dh and headed to the Fortress of Silence (aka Nora’s house). The drippy Saturday weather narrowed the day’s goals to cozying in nest to a roaring fire in a lovely suite.
First though, I had to run the gamut of happy dogs. I haven’t been up to the Fortress since February so my arrival was my first interaction with Atticus. His human woman proudly reports he’s house broken but they’re still working on not jumping. Apparently I was that perfect storm of new human AND wearing a white sweater. He jumped. Lesson learned.
Nora and BW had already loaded the car with her clothes, champagne, workout gear, the Wii (blech :0) and Fabulous Prizes. JoAnne, Mary Kay and I arrived at the same time so we completed the loading in and got on the road.
I felt a prickling on the back of my neck and when I looked over my shoulder there was the Scrabble box, staring down at me. The memory of the Stupid Scoreboard mocked me, but I resolutely ignored it for the drive.
Nora navigated through increasingly bad rain over the mountains and gaps from Maryland to Pennsylvania and got us to our home for a week before 12:30 (her personal goal). We piled out of the car, happy to let the hotel staff deal with unloading the intricate puzzle of bags and stuff.
While we waited for the keys to the suite, Nora began the dread discussion: “what games should we play tonight?” Then my “friend” looked directly at me and said “Laura, you should play Scrabble tonight so you can get it over with.” JoAnne and Mary Kay laughed.
I sulked, Dear Diary, I sulked.
We toasted the week of friendship (Diary, I had reservations about who my true friends were at that point), unpacked, snacked and then those who had treatments went on their way. I’ll admit, Diary, that I stewed about the Scoreboard, games and the perfidy of “friends” during my treatment, but then a revelation struck: what if I embraced the Stupid Scoreboard and became One with it? (What can I say, when you’re floating on the clouds of a treatment, the brain opens up to all possibilities.)
Kat arrived with her 2017 edition of The (Non) Stupid Scoreboard, drawn free-hand. And this time she created a rebus for the title:
I contemplated this new idea of accepting the scoreboard through dinner, then accepted the inevitable when I was part of the first Scrabble group which included the fearsome and mighty Elaine (past Grand Winner and killer Scrabble player — the last time I played with her, Elaine scored 47 on the first word. I suggested we stop playing right then, but my “friend” said we had to play. Elaine won by 47 points. Who was right Diary?) But I digress.
With my newfound Zen attitude: One with The Scoreboard, I concentrated on words, ignored the score. At one point, Nora — who was organizing the Just Dance portion of the tournament — wandered over, checked the score and was amazed I was competitive. I didn’t actually know the score so I just kept going. The highlight of my round was Peaky, which I tied into dog to make Doge. And came up with a boatload of points
My “friend” Nora, took a photo to commemorate. I had to contort myself to fit in the frame but it was done:
Diary, I completed the round first! As Elaine tallied up the score, she commented, “Laura, you’re just three points behind ME.” She swears she didn’t mean it the way it came out. But I wonder if I have another person to put in the “friend” category.
So I came in second, three points behind the mighty and fearsome Elaine. Not a win, not a loss. Very Zen.
Nora, Kat and JoAnne worked out the Just Dance song for the week. They practiced with Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), then chose Don’t Wanna Know as the song we all have to perform. JoAnne stunned us with a win in her round.
[From JoAnne’s Spa Notes: Dear Diary — who was that holding my Wii remote tonight??]
Sarah and I danced — me against yet another Grand Winner — and I handled it respectably. Meaning I came within 1,000 points of Sarah.
The final act of the night was bowling. Nora decided to capture all the moments in the round:
[Excerpt from Mary Kay’s Girls Spa Week 2017 diary: I won my round in bowling!!!]
And that was the end of Day 1, Dear Diary. Much more to come.
After the rush and fun of the holidays, BW and I spend a week away with friends and family at a resort/spa a convenient couple hours drive from home. We’ve been doing this, we figure, for about fourteen years.
It’s a lovely, lovely break. It’s familiar for this creature of habit, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty.
This year it’s also COLD! Seriously cold, and we’ve had a pretty (since I’m not out in it) snowfall. I had my first emotionally focused therapy at the spa a few hours after our arrival, and just let everything go. That’s the best. It’s relax and recharge time for me. Read lotsa books time, work a little here and there time, and cook not at all time. And it’s an extra gift to spend that time with people you love and enjoy.
I’ve finished two books, and will start another this afternoon while I wait for my mmmmm deep tissue massage. Which I earned as I went full out for a two full hour cross-training workout this morning.
I’ll come back, pour myself a glass of champagne then think about what to order for dinner, the one I’m not cooking.
I had a good, solid stretch of writing one day between workout and a facial. Good deal. I worked on a non-book-related project and did a little shopping. When I go home, I have a routine doc’s appointment, and then an event on the weekend, followed by hosting at our house our Kayla’s State champion girls cross-country team.
Squeezing writing in there as I go. But that’s days away.
I love what I do for a living, love the time and the effort I’m required to put into crafting a story I hope readers will enjoy. I love being able to take some time off with friends and family, love spending the weekend making soup and bread or whatever appeals in my own kitchen. Because I love all of that I’m bound to do a better job of it than if I disliked or resented it.
Here’s what I don’t much like, and more have no real skill for. Handling social media. Coming up with topics for Facebook that will engage readers and make them happy. Laura is queen of all that. If I had to handle it? I wouldn’t have FB pages. Simply wouldn’t. I’d resent every minute I had to scratch my head over what to write, and detest every minute it took away from the work I love. So I’d simply eliminate the annoyance and distraction, and focus on what I love, what I’m good at, and what I owe the reader. My best work.
That’s the bottom line. A writer of fiction owes readers this: The best book he or she can write at that particular time. She also owes them gratitude, of course, for reading, owes them basic courtesy if and when she engages with readers IRL or on line.
And, that’s it.
Though some may disagree I don’t owe readers FB pages or blogs or contests and give-aways to repay them for reading my books, whether they buy them, listen to them, borrow them. I owe them a good book. FB is a marketing tool and a great way to communicate. Laura does an amazing job of crafting posts, selecting photos or quotes that springboard reader conversations. I would not, though I do scan the posts, sometimes the comments, and if it applies, add a comment of my own.
I enjoy writing this blog when I have something to say, or can document through words and pictures something I think readers will have fun with. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it. Actually my Jason gave me the basic thrust of how to handle blogging here when years back I whined about it. Days in the life, little bits and pieces with photos, fun stuff, personal stuff.
Okay, I think I can do that, and so far, so good.
In the normal course of events, I write 40-50 hours a week. Parts of that schedule maybe eaten into now and then by the business that surrounds writing. Generally I proof galleys in the evening, not during work hours. I sign, routinely, four tubs of books three times a week, not during work hours.
In there I live a life I really enjoy. It’s a really good balance for me.
If I added in what the amazing Laura does, that balance would tip, and tip hard. I’d be unhappy, and believe me, so would you, the reader.
So for those who might wonder why I don’t write all the FB posts, there’s the answer. It’s certainly not because I don’t value the reader, new ones, or ones who’ve read me from day one.
It’s actually because I very much do.
Anyway, I think I have time for a glass of champagne before that massage. After all, this is time away.
Note from Laura (did you expect anything else?): Since the very first FB post in 2008, I’ve signed what I post though many speed readers do miss it. For everyone who pays attention, they know it’s me. And that NR chimes in when time allows.
While neither of us would ever want to live the other’s life, Nora and I have developed a rhythm and understanding and synchronicity over the past 12 years works. I know what it’s like to be a faithful reader. I also see clearly how routine and hard work built a career that spans three decades of quality storytelling.
I see the (imo) whiny “why doesn’t Nora love us?” comments and think “she does — she gives you multiple books every single years.” And so we’ll continue to not fix what ain’t broke.