A quick update…

As sometimes happens, the week here in Oakland is flying past in a blur. I spent some time last ThuFrsday catching up with Kirsten, Liza, Karlyn, Carolyn and Amelia, overcoming jetlag and just pottering around the place. I even ‘helped’ get CHARLES to his gym appointment, and then drove over to Piedmont for a quick look. I hope to get back today or tomorrow, but who knows. That evening CHARLES and I had a fine dinner at an old favorite restaurant, Le Cheval. They do a marvelous green lip mussel dish, and the best spicy orange beef.

Friday I had an appointment with Karen. I grabbed breakfast, did a little preparation, and then we headed off to a lovely little place on San Pablo. We caught up, did some year’s best planning, and I got to show her pictures of the kids. CHARLES and I then drove over to San Francisco. While the purpose of our visit was a spirited performance of Irving Berlin’s Miss Liberty by the 42nd St Moon theatre group, we also had dinner at an odd place called Frisson. CHARLES had made the booking, but had never been inside. When, on a cold, rainy evening we were greeted by a tall, willowy blonde woman wearing nothing but a cap, a bolero jacket, a microkini and some fishnets, we knew we weren’t in Kansas any more. It’s the only time I’ve not heard CHARLES complain about mediocre food :). The performance was a fine one, though I found it lagged a little at the beginning.

Saturday we’d planned a party. Most of the day was spent in planning, before first Kirsten and Aaron and Teddy, and then Bob, Karen, Lisa, Mark and Marina, Liza, and Jeremy all showed up. A very pleasant time was had, before Jeremy and I headed off for a late pizza dinner, where we spoke of publishing, his company Night Shade, and much else. All in all, a fine day.

Sunday CHARLES and I had planned a lazy day shopping. After some party clean-up, we headed into Berkeley on an unsuccessful search for a tie-dyed dress for Sophie. None were to be found, but we did get a nice shirt and tank top, so it wasn’t a complete loss. After that, we headed to Concord and Tony Roma’s for lunch, and the Tower for cd shopping. We got back late afternoon, and then I headed to Kirsten and Aaron’s for a lovely dinner and a pleasant and relaxed evening catching up.

So far the time in Oakland has been really enjoyable. I still hope for a quiet coffee in Piedmont, a quick visit to my bank in Montclair, and maybe a chance to get some headphones in Berkeley, but who knows. Today and tomorrow will be spent getting ready for the trip to Madison on Wednesday. World Fantasy beckons….

PS: At Charles’s request, he now appears in this blog under the pnome de plume of CHARLES. I know, don’t ask :)

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Well, that was one of the most civilised and enjoyable Pacific crossings I can remember. I left early, and to be honest with too little sleep, on Monday morning. Flew across to Sydney on an uneventful flight, and then spent a lovely, relaxed 24 hours with Terry Dowling. We just pottered around a bit, had dinner, and breakfast and took it easy – which was very much what I needed. Terry was a wonderful host, and gave me a great start to the trip.

He dropped me off at the Sydney airport’s international departures (after I gave him some dodgy traffic advice), and I went to check in. Things immediately began to look good for the trip, when the very helpful Qantas check-in staff not only moved me to an aisle seat with two empty seats, but then blocked those seats off so they wouldn’t be assigned. I wondered around the shops and had some lunch at the airport, before boarding. The airconditioning on the 747 was running cold, which suited me, and I got all three seats to myself. I watched Batman Begins for the second time, read my anthology for running order, and slept. Even the food was good. The thirteen hour flight was very gentle, indeed.

On arrival, I got fingerprinted and photographed, but they skipped the cavity search, which was good. I realised afterward that I left a half-full bottle of water on the Customs Officer’s desk, and I’ve wondered what chaos that might have caused. I then had my least stressful stopover in LA, yet. Helped a fellow Aussie cope with the terminal swaps, then grabbed a quiet lunch, before getting on the plane to SF. Got here at 2.20pm yesterday, to be greeted by Amelia and Charles, and it’s been fun ever since. Got to see Carolyn, Kirsten, Liza, and Karlyn, and began to consider the possibilities of the armagnac smoothie. Mmm. Last night was dinner at Crogan’s (yes, M, with the coconut batter beer prawns), a shower and then bed. And now, a new days awaits.

PS: The only downside in all this was hearing that Marianne and the girls were sick with a bug they contracted the day after I left. Happily they seem on the mend, but it sounded awful.

Typical start…

Well, just like last year, a poor night’s sleep before take-off. For some reason, these early flights always get me. Went to bed at 8.00pm, woke round 12.30am, and tossed and turned till 3.30am, when I gave it away. Maybe a nap on the way to Sydney will leave me reasonably refreshed. I am glad, though, that I’m not heading straight on the the US today. A quiet evening in Sydney should be the ticket.

Travel

Well, departure is almost nigh. Monday morning I head US-wards, although with some trepidation. It looks like a scary place these days. Here’s where I’ll be, if you’re interested.

Monday, Oct 24: Sydney, Australia
Tuesday, Oct 25 – Tuesday November 1: Oakland, California
Wednesday, November 2 – Monday, November 7: Madison Wisconsin
Tuesday, November 8: Oakland, California
Thursday, November 10: Perth, Western Australia

Hope to see lots of you!