Tag Archives: Post from Nora

Routines within Routines

Nora and I both worked remotely this week.  She reached out late in the week with this post.  I know that routine is key to her work, but this goes a little deeper.  ~Laura


I’m a creature of habit, and routines are as precious to me as diamonds. Maybe more, because while diamonds are great, they’re sparkly and pretty, I don’t need them to get by. I definitely need routine. 

I have one at home, and am happiest there when I can stick to it, without interruptions or something breaking that routine. Like a dentist appointment or a sick dog or ringing phone. 

But a few times a year, I have another routine–away from home. 

BW and I go to a lovely resort/spa in The Laurel Highlands–just a couple hours from home. We go, just the two of us in November, with friends in January, with friends and family in the summer. And I go with only girl pals for a week every spring. (That is the BEST week of the year!) 

In the spring and summer, it’s play and relax only–though I’ve been known to sneak in a little work if I need to, early mornings, on the summer trips. 

Fall and winter, these are working vacations for me. And my routine is set. 

In the morning, I work out–either in the gym here or with DVDs I bring for the room. I do a good, long sweaty workout before breakfast–then woo–that’s over for the day! I might join BW for some breakfast, or might not. After–and he goes off on an adventure–I settle down to work. I can work really well here, I’ve discovered. No interruptions, no nagging thoughts about when I need to stop to start dinner. No dogs wanting to go out or come in, no UPS trucphoto 2 (2)k trundling up the hill. No phones ringing. 

Absolute quiet and focus for at least four solid hours. It’s wonderful. I remember last year at this time finishing up Blood Magick at this little desk in the parlor of our suite. I’ve done some pretty good work here. 

This morning I’ve finished up the first draft, just minutes ago, of the first book in a new trilogy. No info on that yet, gang. First draft is, for me, crappy draft. Lots of work to do yet.

 After I work, I pull myself together, walk over and have some fabulous spa treatment. It’s glorious. A facial, a hot stone massage, a wrap–whatever. Then I come back, and as BW generally has his treatment just a bit later than mine, usually have about a half hour alone. To play on my tablet or read. Lovely. 

Then it’s wine time! And ordering dinner someone else has to cook. Ahhhh. 

Maybe some TV, some hanging out, then bedtime so I can get up and do it all again the next day. 

I love routines. But I’ve also learned you can adjust them and give yourself small breaks. It doesn’t have to be a week away on a working vacation.(I admit, I treasure mine.)  It could be taking an hour out of your busy day to do something just for yourself. A conversation with a pal, a little alone time, a walk, buying yourself some flowers. Anything that reminds you that good hard work–and I believe in good, hard work–should merit the occasional reward. 

Be good to yourselves!

 Now I’ve got about an hour–and may dip into that second draft before I walk over and have myself a favorite treatment–hot stone Shirodara. It’s amazing. 

And I’ve just looked out the window. It’s snowing. Holy cow!

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Nora’s Kentucky Derby recap

We love Derby! We’re so grateful to be asked to come, and to support a wonderful cause like Blessings In A Backpack. For one wonderful weekend in May I can support that cause, enjoy an amazing tradition, and have nothing but fun doing both.

Bruce, our daughter-in-law Kat and I arrived in Louisville on Thursday afternoon to glorious weather–and our traditional stop for lunch at the Dizzy Whiz with our pal and escort–the delightful Kathy Conway, and our cop for the weekend, the fabulous Brian.

Then it’s off to the hotel, to unpack, to unwind before suiting up for Club Night. This is our ninth Derby, so it’s a lot like a family reunion, catching up with friends we only see once a year. A poker tournament is a big part of Club Night, but since we’re lousy at Texas Hold ‘Em, we opt to just hang out, reconnect with those friends, enjoy the spread.

Friday is Oaks Day–for the guys in our group. Our son Jason arrives bright and early (he had work on Thursday). He and Bruce dress up for a day at the track–and looked pretty spiffy! Kat and I head out with our Kathy for a girl day. Manis and pedis–and I opt for bright green toes to match my Derby dress. More fun! And fun, too, as we’ve been going to this salon for several years, and can catch up with everyone there.

Off to a pretty ladies lunch–champagne for me!–relaxing, talking, then to the big part of the afternoon. Shopping. I know when I spot a bag I HAVE to have the minute I walk into my favorite store in Louisville, it’s going to be a good day. Following tradition, I find a cool pair of shoes for Bruce, and Father’s Day is now taken care of.

Back to the hotel where the talented Sarah will give us gala hair. The men come back–my filly didn’t come in–but they had as good a time as we did.

Now it’s get glam time for Unbridled Eve’s fabulous gala. The men look so handsome–but I have to say my Kat is just awesome. Kathy and her equally handsome son–in his ROTC uniform–are joining us for the evening.

BW and I walk the Red Carpet–also fun but always just a little odd for me considering I spend most of my time in pjs or sweats in front of a keyboard. But tonight’s special, and again for a wonderful cause. It’s fun to see what everyone’s wearing, too see the beautifully decorated venue. It’s such a happy weekend, and it pumps you up to be around such good, positive energy.

The silent auction benefits Blessings In A Backpack, and I’m happy to bid on items that catch my eye. Even happier when my bids hold up on several. We don’t stay too late–tomorrow’s the big day!

And it dawns chilly, rainy, windy. But we’re not going to let that dampen our spirits. It’s time for hats! Mine is made–as it is most years–by Hats By Penny–and this year is the best yet. I’m in love with it. I’m also glad I have a reasonably warm jacket to go over my spring green dress. I needed it.

There’s really nothing like seeing the Downs, each and every year. Nothing like the look and feel of it, the sounds of it, and all those happy people braving the rain to be a part of this first Saturday in May.

More familiar faces, more hugs–a challenge with big hats–and the incredible sight of the track, the sound of the horses, the pageantry.

The betting!

My luck is down. Race after race I can’t pick a horse to save me. I’ve had some tips on the Derby race, and consider all of them. I put a little on Goldencents–a local favorite, and some on Rosie, the female jockey. But Orb catches my eye, so I decide to put a chunk on him across the board.

You can actually feel the sizzle as the big race approaches. And the rain stops; the sky lightens a little. Everyone’s buzzing now, and piling out onto the terrace to wait and watch. The minute the gates open I forget–as I always do–the bet. It’s all about the horses, the incredible beauty of them, the speed–even on the sloppy track–the thunderous sound. Everyone cheers, shouts, whistles–it’s a wall of noise, and in that moment I don’t care who wins. I just want to watch the majesty of the moment.

But I do see a horse coming in from behind. Who is that? Just look at him, he’s glorious. I don’t realize until right before the finish it’s Orb. I pull for him then as much, probably more, due to his magnificent run than the bet.

Even when it’s done, the buzz continues. Cheers and more cheers–from winning bets and losing ones. I go inside to watch the race again on the TV, hear the announcers as that wall of sound during the race blocks everything else.

Then I cash in. Thank you, Orb!

We stay for the last two races–for the fun and to give traffic a chance to calm. The Surrounding games have loads to offer the gambler, it seems I’m solicitated just as much as online, things like “ CompareTheBets’ List of Promo Codes” can be heard from well dressed young men and such… But I remain focused on my current luck, and I hit the next two races as well. It’s fun to win, but the real thrill is Derby, and everything surrounding it.