Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gone From The 'Net, For A Bit

Hi all --

I've got a full week-plus of family stuff coming up, so my internet time will be severely truncated. I'll try to pop on in between events (Can't wait to finish up my review of Torchwood), but in the meantime, here's a video that I absolutely loved:

Hope it makes you smile!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Travels With Kate - National Park Heartbreak

So last year we bought an annual pass for the National Park System. With the Grand Canyon and Arches both on our itinerary, it seemed like the prudent thing to do. A year flies by, as they tend to do, and it's due to expire at the end of the month. What do we decide to do?

Visit some National Parks, of course. Want to get some value out of that thing! (Of course, just seeing the Grand Canyon and Arches would have made it worth it, plus supporting the parks system, which we love.) So Saturday we head to the Klondike Museum in downtown Seattle, an urban park smack dab in the middle of the city. We walk up to the counter and flash the card.

"Oh, don't worry about that. This park has no entrance fee."

Dang. Oh well, better luck next time.

(It was a fabulous museum, full of interactive stuff for kids and plenty of info for all of us.)

Next day, we decide -- Mount Rainier! Why not? We'd been meaning to hit Rainier since we got back from last year's road trip, so it was the perfect opportunity. A beautiful, warm day, excited kids, an annual pass that expires in two weeks...brilliant!

We get to the entrance, flash the annual pass again. "Oh, you don't need that today. It's one of the three free weekends this year for National Parks."

You have GOT to be kidding me. Not only do we save NOTHING, everyone and his mother is on the mountain taking advantage of the free admittance.

(And yes, even though we didn't find any parking at the visitor center, we trundled down partway and walked a few easy trails with the kids. Fun was had, and the views were spectacular.)

Okay. It's starting to get serious. How can we save money when they refuse to charge us anything?

Two days later, it's over to the coast and the Lewis and Clark National Park. We stop at some heritage markers, check out the winding road along the Columbia river, and reach Fort Clatsop. Park, gather kids, enter visitor center. Haul the pass out of my purse with a sense of dread.

Victory! We've saved the admittance fee! (And no comments about how the kids would have gotten in free anyway. I'm busy basking in the moment.)

So that's the story of my run-in with the National Park system. And despite the comedy of errors trying to "use" the pass up before it expires, each park was fabulous and I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Torchwood, Day Two: Observations

Have you been watching Torchwood this week? It's showing in the US (and I believe Canada) this week over five days. I've been waiting not-so-patiently for it to arrive, and finally it's here!

Two episodes down, three to go. My thoughts so far (and I'll try to keep them as non-spoilerish as possible):

1. Bigger, deeper, more complex. Loving the storytelling in this story arc.

2. The interactions between Jack and Ianto make me giggle and melt at the same time. Oh, boys, you're so cute together! I don't care what you say, couple fits.

3. I've watched the commercials I don't know how many times, and it doesn't matter. Those children creep me out.
4. Speaking of creeping me out, how Jack came back in episode two? Ewwww.
5. Oh, Ianto Jones, tea boy and heavy equipment operator, how I adore you. Mrowr.
6. Loving the backstory. Getting to see Jack and Ianto (separately so far) outside Torchwood proper is illuminating, to say the least. And Gwen and Rhys are adorable together, as always.
7. MORE SNOGGING, PLS. kthxbai.
8. Can't wait for tomorrow!
Coming up on the blog: Kate's great travel adventures, or, why I haven't posted in (gulp) almost two weeks. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Change of Plans

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh...

A couple of days ago, I posted that I'd be away from the computer for a few days, without internet access. We had camping reservations, and were going to enjoy our new pop-up trailer for the first time. No internet at the state park, so I was leaving the computer at home. We spent most of the weekend outfitting the camper, buying and packing stuff, and preparing to head out of town.

Monday arrived. We packed the camper and the van, hooked the pop-up to the hitch, and stepped back to take a look.

Was that low, or was that my imagination?

Uh, no. The trailer we'd purchased based on the assurances of the RV dealership, the place that installed the tow package, and the car dealership that it was the right size and weight for our vehicle, was almost in a "V" formation -- front of trailer and back of van almost dragging on the ground, the front of the van and the back of the trailer hitched way up in the air.

Dubious, we headed down to the closest RV dealer to have it looked at. The guy at the dealership took one look and confirmed our suspicions. We couldn't take it camping without risking damage to the hitch, the trailer, the van, even the spare tire.

Home we drove, slowly, to unhitch the trailer, unpack it, put everything away, and cancel our reservation. All of us were bummed. Any future camping experiences will require either a new tow vehicle or some weight-distributing modifications on the one we currently have.

So no camping. Instead, we're taking some day trips with the kids. And except for this brief hop on the computer, I'm keeping the promise to my family and staying away from the internet. Hopefully, it will be a time we can still remember happily, whether at a campground or a waterslide park. I should be back online sometime next week. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying this season as well!

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Winner! And Heading Out...

Congratulations to Chey, who won last week's random drawing for Knight Of Desire. Chey, please send me your address off-list and I'll send the book along to you!

Thanks to everyone who commented, re-tweeted, and e-mailed about the book as well. It's much appreciated!

Just so you know, I'm heading out for a few days and will be sans internet, so don't expect any postings until later in the week or next week. Have a great week and I'll chat with you when I'm back!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Booksignings and Blog Tours

Last night I went to debut author Margaret Mallory's first booksigning. It was, by all accounts, a rousing success, with long lines and sold-out stock. It was loads of fun chatting with other RWA chapter members, watching the crowd, and seeing just how thrilled--and a little stunned--Margaret was with the event. Congratulations, again, to MM!

I picked up two copies, one for me, one for a lucky reader. All you have to do to be entered to win is post a comment sometime this week. Easy-peasy, right?

So on the topic of signings, the question of the day is: what author would you most like to meet at a booksigning? Or what's the most precious signed book you own?

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I'm guest blogging over at Leah Braemel's place today, talking about beach reads. There's a giveaway there, so drop on by and say howdy!