Ella Beast : Travel

Packing Kevin's painting
"What the hell are you doing?" the old man yelled into my window. "You can't park here! What's wrong with you?"

I had just backed very carefully into a space barely wide enough for the car. My friend Kevin was riding shotgun, my dog Ella in a nest in the back seat. Funny, I thought as the man angrily waved me back into the alley, we only missed our target by about twelve feet.

That was exactly one year ago this evening—Wednesday, June 26, 2013. It was the tail end of a 24-hour odyssey that already felt like a dream.

In reality, though, the odyssey went back much farther. For months, Laura and I had been planning a move from Chicago back to New York City. The company she worked for had offered her a job in its New York office, and in fact she was already spending much of her time there, transitioning into her new role. It fell to me to make all the arrangements for moving, to get everything packed, and to find us a new place to live.

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Sleepless in Seattle

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It's not like I have insomnia or anything, but I'm pretty sleepy and am just trying to keep my eyes open until my flight boards in an hour or so. I'm sitting in the departure lounge at Sea-Tac, empty Starbucks cafe latte (grande) cup next to me, waiting for the two-hour flight that will carry me to San Francisco for a five-hour flight to JFK. I've been up for about seven hours already, having driven here from Portland this morning in my rental car. Whole lotta travel still ahead, and I'm not forgetting the car trip from JFK home. Tired tired tired.

It's been a good trip, though. I had three-plus days in San Francisco at the 2004 Joint Conference on Mumblety-Mumble Mum. Tech support in our exhibit booth, web site demos, sessions on the ramifications of new legislation for this and that. Yada yada yada. I did get to catch up with some current and former coworkers, which was nice. Even better, I saw my brother (not the one in Iraw) and his wife one night for great pan-Asian food at the E&O Trading Company. I saw my cousin and her husband another night, and I finally met the five kids that weren't yet born last time I visited. And had a great, great Burmese lunch with [info]curmudgeon, who also dragged me (well, "drag" would be a strong word) to her local used bookstore where I bought more books than I could really carry in my luggage.

Late Friday I flew to Seattle, where I crashed with my pal Dr. Gabe, a pediatrician late of the Bronx. We had breakfast at Mae's, which was the one place in Seattle I needed needed to visit. That's other than the Westin downtown for the Nebula Awards banquet, of course.

I arrived at the Westin in the afternoon and ran into friends right off the bat. Then I was found by Joe and Gay Haldeman, and I sat down for a drink with them (Balvenie Double Wood for me) for half an hour or so. Then that little gathering merged with another little one that included Harlan Ellison, and, as Gordon Van Gelder put it, I was Harlaned for the first time. I did my best not to fawn, but it was cool.

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Ella's Friends' Books!

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