Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ready to Write

Below is a typed out version of the Noveling Affidavit that comes from Chris Baty's NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! Novel-Writing Kit. A lovely friend who has this kit was kind enough to make me a copy of the above affidavit, which we signed together last Friday. We're both participating in this year's novel-writing month challenge and it's necessary to have writerly support all around for such crazy commitments. The National Novel Writing Month may have begun with something like 21 people back in 1999, but this year there are people from nearly every continent jumping in. It's exciting to know there are writers carving out their stories all at the same time all over the world, and I'm looking forward to being one of them.

I've been reading and developing character backgrounds and thinking non-stop about this novel project, so have already managed to overwhelm myself with all the planning I convinced myself I should do before beginning. Today I'm not thinking about any of it - aside from writing this post - so that come tomorrow morning, I'll be excited and ready to start this story.  

Thursday morning I will begin writing a novel and by November 30th the goal is to have 50,000 words written, the first draft completed of a new manuscript. It's equal parts insane and exciting. With my plans for a previous mentioned young adult manuscript suddenly halted and drastically changed, the timing is pretty great to focus elsewhere on something completely different and completely new. I'm sort of counting on being able to stick to this 30 day commitment partly because I stuck with the 30 day daily blog thing. Plus there's the whole wanting to be a professional author and all. 

Noveling Affidavit

I, Lindsey Cole, hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month's time.
By invoking an absurd monthlong deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of craft, brilliance, and competency are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.
During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it complete. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process, should such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect, attention, or freedom from household chores.
I acknowledge that the monthlong, 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will result in well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward.

Signed and dated with a witness, so it's serious business. And now I've effectively made you a witness, if not to my signing of this agreement, then to my sharing and acknowledging of it. You now have permission to question/encourage me with regards to my novel-in-progress, just be aware that depending on how far into the month it is and what condition my mental state is currently in, I may run from you.

WARNING: If you know me in real life and see me out and about in November, please excuse the dark circles under my eyes, over-caffeinated jitters, far-off staring in the middle of conversations, and unwashed hair. I will likely have been obsessing for hours over plot conflicts or the color of somebody's shirt, then left my house in an attempt to recapture some semblance of normalcy among other human people. I appreciate your understanding and willingness to selectively ignore the weirdness that may or may not escape me in the coming month. 

I'll keep you in the loop and will hopefully be celebrating a first draft in a month's time. I'll also be a year older by the time that happens - how's that for time flying by?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Domizil & NaNoWriMo

This is me acknowledging what a terrible liar I am when it comes to posting regularly. I try really hard not to be someone who can only focus on one main thing at a time, but apparently that's totally who I am. When I was blogging daily, that was the main thing around which everything else had to maneuver; now it's my new novel and all the thinking and planning and researching that goes with starting a new project, in this case, a complete first draft to be written within the month of November.

I'm sitting in Domizil on this cold and grey Friday afternoon with Murphy curled up under the bench and three guys singing around a guitar to my right. I forget how much I love live music, especially when it happens in small and intimate spaces such as this bar in Leonberg. Especially especially when said three guys are not only singing songs in English, but songs I like. They're keeping their voices soft since we're inside, and the strumming of the guitar is gently massaging my temples. I could fall asleep if not for the coffee I've just ingested with copious amounts of sugar.

By next Friday it will officially be November and Domizil may or may not be swarmed with more writers participating in NaNoWriMo, as we three Friday regulars decided to share one of our favorite writing spots with others chasing the writing dream. NaNoWriMo, for those of you not in the know about such things, stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it's been happening since it's July debut in 1999. These days November gets the honor of wrapping its arms around thousands of participating novelists (from wannabes to published) while we commit to the 50,000 word count, whine about writer's block in the on-line forums, and push each other to hang in there, suck it up, and keep the writing going. This is my first time participating and I'm excited to see if it'll work for me. Even though I'm awful at being consistent with things totally in my control, I do seem to rise to the occasion when an honest commitment is made, so here I go on another 30 day commitment, this time I'm just going to write a novel.

You know, no big deal.

This time next week, I hope to be surrounded by the sound of tapping keys while I drink my coffee and scratch Murphy's head under the table. The mere presence of other writers (or any kind of artist, really) does something to my motivation; the air changes and carries with it the vibe of creative electricity. Since I haven't been allowed to begin the actual writing of my new novel (per the rules of NaNoWriMo) I've been nose-deep in outlining and researching it, which just feels like a tease and makes me want to get started even more. But I think having this time to really give it time to roll around in my head will prove to be super beneficial. My characters are developing with more thought than had I jumped right into writing, and I feel like when I do sit down at my laptop on November 1st, all the anticipation and delayed gratification will result in an outpouring of amazing story. I'm hoping, anyway.

Now I need to get back to building backstories and developing my story's blueprint, so please stop bothering me.

Here's a picture of my gorgeous Goddaughter just because I love you so much. Call this my apology present for yelling at you for bugging me and making me write something today while I was supposed to be working on other things.  

This child is four years old - FOUR! - and I swear she's almost as tall as I am already. Why can't children stop growing while I'm living far away and just wait till I visit to spring up? Is that so much to ask? Meanwhile, I've got three nieces and three nephews getting all kinds of grown up with their driving (bikes, cars, go-karts and 4-wheelers), dance-attending, and general 9-going-on-19 shenanigans. I don't agree with this, not at all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

His Name is Helmut

Oct. 11, 2012

This morning I was rushing down streets and between trains to the Frankfurt Book Fair, having completely underestimated the amount of time I'd need to get there by 9am to meet my friend Kirsten for lattes. The fair is overwhelmingly enormous, both in its physical expanse and the sheer number or events (discussions, exhibitions, interviews, readings, signings, this year's Maori dances, game demos, screenings, and I'm sure 50 more categories) going on all day long. As I rose up the escalator from the U-Bahn (underground city train) station I could hear the music. Assuming it was a recording being piped in, possibly as part of the fair, I thought about how nice it was to hear such lovely violin music floating over the heads of the hundreds of fair-goers as we moved like a wave through the halls toward the surface of the city.

When I saw him my hurried pace slowed just a little bit, because for a moment, I was enjoying his music so earnestly I forgot that I was late (and I really hate being late). It was the perfect playing of songs I didn't recognize but wanted to know that invited me to pull over out of the flow of traffic to dig out some change to drop in his case, but it didn't hurt that he was a gentleman of mature years who so obviously loved what he was doing. He wore scarves knotted at and trailing from his waist as he moved with the music as if he were in his own living room playing only for himself. He intermittently closed his eyes as he swayed and danced, always smiling. I was fascinated because looking at this man jumping around outside a U-Bahn station with scarves and long, white hair, you might assume he's another street performer who may or may not be saving up for a bottle of something or another, but you would be wrong, you judgmental snob! But I wouldn't know his story until later.

Busker: A street performer 
So here I was watching and listening to this grandfatherly looking man play away on his violin with a smile on his face, and he was good, really good. I took out my camera, caught his eye for the okay, and snapped a shot of him, then dropped in a coin and continued on my way. After all, I was late and in desperate need of coffee.

But thanks to the violinist in the hall, I rushed on smiling.

After a fantastically long day, I headed back down that same hall to the underground to hop the train back to my hotel, and there he was again! He wasn't playing, but was packed up and changing his shoes for the walk he'd be doing post-performance. I got all the way to the top of the escalator, before I stopped. I needed to tell him how much I enjoyed his playing that morning.

So I did. When I approached, he cordially flipped his hat forward and off his head with a little bow, and I loved him immediately (even more). Once we established that his English was better than my German, we chatted for a while about his music and my writing, the Frankfurt Book Fair and how 20 years ago he used to play at this very fair, until the "big guys" made things too complicated. I remembered seeing a few CDs in his violin case that morning, so I asked about his recording career. He'd made a handful of albums, the last couple featuring an accordion player by the name of Katherine Toy. As I was out of cash at that point, I asked how much and told him I'd be back the next day for one of his CDs. His response was, Don't let money be an issue. I'll trade you. My music for one of your stories. More than his suggestion, it was his enthusiasm about it that reached right into me and jostled awake that bit of myself I forget I still have, the artist who cares not for whether or not I ever get published, but who lives for her craft and the freedom to share it.

Ever tethered to blasted reality, I explained to him that I didn't have a printer at the hotel, and asked if he had an email address, instead. Whether he completely understood me or just figured it was getting too complicated, he gave me the CD anyway. Only then did I realize I hadn't asked his name, and when I did he pointed to the CD in my hands. His name is Helmut Scholz.

Since I've been back in my room I've Googled Herr Scholz and read up a little about him and his partner in music, Frau Toy.

On their website, I found this account from someone who saw them perform: They are indeed an unconventional duo. Mr Scholz, an elderly and much-bearded gentleman, seems the physical manifestation of some sort of mad, passion frenzied, whimsical and fiery violin solo. When he takes to the stage he does not perform as a man playing a violin but as the body of the music, dancing with all of his being, white hair flying.

Then I found an article written about him when he was first discovered in London in 2001, and now I can't wait to run into him again tomorrow and ask him more about his life. Also, I just learned a new word: busking. Give this short article a read.

I've curious about why he's back in Germany and what his future in music looks like. And I'm totally going to ask him again if he has an e-mail address.

Today I boarded the U4 train with a recording of Helmut Scholz performing at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, London where he said he lived for around 15 years. This CD, which I've been listening to since I sat down to write, features Helmut mixing the art of spoken word with playing the violin, both the poetry and music composed by him. It is a short CD of just 5 poem/music pieces, but it's moving. Called A Dream You Forgot, I think this might be one of the coolest gifts I've received in a long time, and certainly from a stranger.

It's always nice when goodbye isn't necessary, even if the connection you make will only be short-lived. The idea of no good-byes has become a way of life for me given the ever-changing landscape of my social surroundings living abroad among a semi-nomadic community. Both because sometimes you just want to hope you'll run into someone again, and sometimes the chances are truly great that you will, saying something like "See you later" is a better way to walk away from someone with whom your connection really meant something.

As I walked away this evening with his CD in my bag, we both said, "See you tomorrow."


Sadly, I did not see Helmut again. Although I know he planned to be there for the duration of the fair for the high volume of traffic, hence our plans to talk again, the hall was empty of his boisterous music the next day. Perhaps it was the police officers hanging around his stretch of hall leaving the U-Bahn station who kept him away. I wanted Chris to meet him when he joined me on the weekend, but still, Helmut wasn't there. 

Image borrowed from
Fear not, Helmut - I'll track you down some day and tell you what I thought of the music you shared with me, per your request. I hope you'll keep busking to your heart's content, and I hope I'll see you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Day 30

Hello people of the interwebs.

Today marks the 30th day of my 30 day commitment, something I've sort of harped on over the past few posts because I'm a little surprised I made it without incident. That said, I figured I should address how this blog will progress from here.

I had a lot of fun with the themed days, and will continue to post to them sporadically, though not every one, every week...a Travel Tuesday here, a Secret Saturday there. If you're a regular reader (thank you!) I hope you'll bear with me as I scale back the number of posts I write per week. The rest of October is going to be a little crazy, then November will begin a whole new novel writing project, but fear not, the blog will not be totally forgotten. I aim to post at least once a week, more if I can manage it, and hope you'll keep popping by.

Tomorrow I'll board a 6am train that'll take me a couple hours north to attend an international book fair, complete with interviews with and readings by authors, discussions about digital publishing, and the chance to meet other members of SCBWI (Society for Children's Books Writers and Illustrators). My head is so submerged in writing and publication, I never want to come up for air!

Until next time, thanks for reading.

France? Oui, s'il vous plaît.

Travel Tuesday

Today I’m not writing about one particular trip, but my overall impressions and experiences with the people of one particular country. Having just spent a weekend in and around Colmar in the Alsace region of France, my tummy still full of escargot gratin, and my trunk full of fresh pastries (okay, maybe not full), I’ve got France on the brain.

When Chris and I first moved abroad in 2004, beginning this high travel way of life, we did not immediately venture off to Paris, perhaps the most popular European destination for Americans. We visited Croatia in the east and Ireland way up north before we ever set foot in France. It’s relevant to note here that we were living in Northern Italy at the time, the French border a mere 4 hour drive away. France was so close, but our desire to explore within its borders were heavily influenced by what other people told us about their time there. For instance, we heard nothing but negative stories about Paris. Everyone we talked to who’d been said everyone was so rude, they didn’t care to ever return. Looking back now, I’m a little ashamed that we let other people’s impressions dissuade us from going anywhere, but we were new and impressionable; call us Freshmen of the University of Travel.

It was November of 2006 when we decided we really did want to see Paris, and it would be our first Thanksgiving not spent with friends or family around a big table full of enough food to feed an army. We went prepared for over the top snobbery, pushy Parisians and endless pretension, but what we discovered had us floored: Parisians were nice, and not just nice, but helpful. Sure we inspired our share of sighs when we walked a little too slowly in front of someone who knew where they were going, but you get that in any big city. (This reminded me of being in New York for the first time and being surprised by the helpfulness of the people there, too, after being fed story after story of the horrible and rude people of that metropolis.) We attempted French whenever possible, both badly and apologetically, and I think that helped because we weren’t feeding the stereotype of the loud, entitled Americans who demand to be catered to. People were generally friendly and patient as we stumbled through their melodic language, smashing its toes with our clumsy American accents. And suddenly some of the stories of horrid rudeness we’d heard made sense, because we’d seen some of the people who'd told us these stories out and about. The difference was, we embraced the fact that we were visitors in someone else's country, and we were trying.

One night we were looking for an art gallery in a neighborhood near the Moulin Rouge. We’d been over and over the map but still couldn’t figure out what we were missing. It must’ve been around 9 o’clock at night and we were staring at our little tourist map under a streetlamp. There was a woman walking toward us leading her toddler by the hand, and I reflexively smiled at the little girl as she drew closer to us. I didn’t expect what happened next.

“Ay twa vare do? Preesh voosadi?” said the woman, or something that sounded like that to my non-French-understanding ears.

I gave her the look that meant I didn’t understand a thing she’d said, which I’ve now perfected and consists of eyebrows raised to my hairline, eyes as wide as golf balls, and a cartoon-esque smile.

To which she responded, “Oh, pardon me. Do you need some help finding something?”

Clearly a Parisian walking home with her daughter, and she was asking to help us. This was our Paris, and pretty indicative of the rest of our time there. It should be said that we did encounter one man whose rudeness had me considering walking out on the check, but he wasn’t even French.

After that trip, we happily returned to France several more times, eager to help them get through some of those butter croissants and amazing cheeses and bread and wine and crepes and foi gras on toast and fondant chocolate and wow do we love French food.

This weekend in Colmar, our experience was no difference. Granted, Colmar isn’t Paris, but it gets it share of tourism all year long, or so our waiter said today at lunch. Jordan’s actually from New Zealand, but living in Colmar because of, what else, the love of a French woman. Before we knew he wasn’t French and he took our order, he was quick to make sure I knew I’d ordered snails, and his facial expression told me he expected some show of revulsion on my part. I smiled and nodded, because I freaking love escargot. My favorite is the Alsace style of simmering the snails in garlic butter, or sometimes pesto, but today it was escargot cooked in a gratin kind of potato, cheese, and onion casserole and I’m still full. After we’d eaten Jordan asked where we were from, detecting our North American accents, and we had a nice conversation with him about our respective homes and living abroad. His fiancé is from Colmar, it turned out, so there he was, trying to learn French and making plans. As we chatted on, I noticed the rest of the (presumably) French restaurant staff standing behind the bar watching with smiles on their faces. Later we mused that perhaps they were giggling at the chatty Kiwi they worked with, for Jordan was the only waiter we had such a nice long conversation with on the trip. We even talked about service with Jordan, and he kind of rolled his eyes and commented on how rude the service usually was around Alsace, but we had to disagree – we’d had great service, friendly, even. He said we’d been lucky, and perhaps he was right, but to this day we’ve never had a terrible experience anywhere in France. Knock on wood.

Hiking back out of Verdon Gorge
Jordan is the second non-French person we’ve met living in France because of a woman, the first being artist Kamil Vojnar. We met Kamil athis gallery in St. Remy a couple of years ago. Kamil is Czech, and his wife, a French woman from St. Remy, which was one of the stops we made on our road trip through Provence in the spring of 2010. That weeklong trip has got to be one of my favorites. We took to the road and rolled through the countryside of southern France, stopping in Apt, Rousillon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Avignon, St. Remy, and Annecy slightly out of Provence on our way home. On that trip we learned how amazing a simple picnic of market sausage and cheese on a fresh baguette with local mustard and fresh strawberries on the side could be. We also learned how good small town French hoteliers were at charades, as this was generally how we communicated with them. We hiked to the bottom of a small canyon on that trip, and only found our way out because of some French hikers who’d come prepared with a map of the trails. We tried real aioli for the first time and never loved blanched vegetables so much. I fantasize about having a little cottage in the countryside where I can buy my produce from the farm down the road and write in a garden bursting with lavender.

I guess my point in recounting these times in various parts of France is that people are people, and just because a person happens to have been be born in a place like Paris doesn’t make them any more (or less) likely to be a jerk. People appreciate it when you attempt to speak their language while you’re visiting their country, in the same way we expect everyone in the States to speak English. People also appreciate it when you acknowledge the cultural differences with respect. Every place has its own rhythm, and you don't have to understand it or force yourself to fall in line with it, but it is my opinion that you should at least be respectful, if not give it a try. The people of any given place know its rhythm and therefor function with it; this is something visitors do not innately understand, so my advice is to try not to hurry when you're there. (Thanks, Nancy, for this thought.) Take a step back and just observe a place for a minute; you might find you understand it a little more. And yes, some people can be real douchebags, but that’s true wherever you go in the world. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while living this traveler’s dream over the past eight plus years, it’s that no matter where people come from, we are all very much the same. We all love, fear and dream. We can all be rude and obnoxious, and we can all be gracious and helpful, depending on our moods. Everyone has their moments, I think it has more to do with our attitudes than anything else, and being open to whatever comes, in my opinion, is the best way to be in a world so full of could-be spectacular moments.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mazel Tov, ME!

Mazel Tov Monday

I know I said MTM would be for pointing the good job stick at others, but I'm nearly done with the 30 day commitment of daily blogging and I'm damn proud of myself. It wasn't easy, and I'm afraid it wasn't always mind-bending or revolutionary, but I stuck with it. 

When I was down in the dumps, I wrote. When I felt like I had no time, I wrote. And even when I got no comments to suggest anyone else in the whole wide world had read the post that day, I wrote. Yea ME for following through when there was no one holding a gun to my head or guilting me into keeping my word, because that means I did it for myself. This means likely nothing to anyone else, but it means something big to me. I'm not very good at keeping my word to myself, you see, so this gives me hope.

It takes a bunch of tiny steps before you can look back and realize you just made a really big one. Here's to the tiny ones.

Mazel Tov, Me, on making it to the end of my 30 days (tomorrow) without tripping up or justifying away the commitment I made to myself.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dun, da-da-daaa!

Something Learned Sunday

It's almost over, the commitment of 30 days! And being the final SLS of this stretch, let's look at what I've learned from this whole experience:

  • It is possible to post something every day and still be a functioning human being - mostly - so if I can post a blog daily, I can surely write/revise daily.
  • Writing every day is easier for me when there are restrictions in place. Who'da thunk being less free would work better for me?
  • I probably put too much stock in comments as proof of readership, but am capable of writing for myself anyway.
  • The Blogosphere is a really fantastic place full of amazing people and lots of support.
  • It's impossible to type with Murphy on my lap.
  • Murphy will not, in fact, implode if I ignore him to work for a while.
  • I like Britney Spears less now that I've seen her on XFactor.

And the biggest lesson of all...
  • I can follow through with a commitment I make only to myself.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quotes I'm Loving

Whatever I Feel Like Friday

So I admit this is sort of a cop-out since I'm not really writing anything of my own, but sometimes it's worth taking a minute or two to appreciate the words others have managed to put together so well.

“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
- Henry Ford

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  
~Anton Chekhov

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.
~Groucho Marx

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thanks, Universe

Thankful Thursday

Image borrowed from

Today I'm feeling hopeful, and dare I say, a little excited. There's a ton to be stressed about as it feels like my life is up in the air right now, but I've noticed a whole bunch of coincidences recently. I keep hearing I'll see it if I'm open to it... Okay, Universe, you've got my attention.

I'm not sure how I feel about coincidences. I'd like to not believe in them, but to instead subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason, and there is a path for me and it's just a matter of me recognizing the signs. This would mean, to me, that there is some magic in the world that exists just to keep things in balance and help us all find our way to where we're meant to be.

However, the ever-skeptical questioner in me (and lover of general nerd-dom) can't un-hear Sheldon's scientific take: "This would be one of those circumstances that people unfamiliar with the law of large numbers would call a coincidence." (If you don't know Sheldon, you don't watch The Big Bang Theory. Luckily, I forgive you.) And even if the lines written for this fictional character on a TV sitcom are not, in fact, pulled straight from authentic scientific sources, it sounds pretty rational to me.

Either way, several things have suddenly lined up for me very recently with regards to my writing. It's not as if anyone has hunted me down and demanded I hand over my manuscript for immediate publication, but the opportunity to go for it has just sort of popped up on my radar, thus giving me a really good reason to get this thing done already. Silent Refuge has been hanging around far too long, and it's time to let it go. I'm sort of scared to say much more for fear of jinxing myself, not that I'm superstitious like that... Let's leave it at a bunch of strangely specific things are falling in line in a way that makes me wonder if perhaps I could have some sort of success if I jump onboard. Right now. And even if this doesn't go the way I'd like, I'm still grateful for the kick in the pants. 

So here I go. I'll let you know what comes of this vague (for you) but exciting (for me) coincidence-laden...I don't know, time? 

Dear Universe, you may or may not possess the ability to accept my appreciation, but for the sake of my hopefulness, I'm going to go ahead and assume you do. You've suddenly made me wonder if some things really do happen how they do and when they do for the best, or even for a reason, as they say. You've placed some deadlines in my path that could not be more specific and perfect for where I am, and given me reason to believe I'm headed in the right direction. You have given me the gift of drive and confidence.

And for that, I thank you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Road Trip Scandinavia (Geiranger Fjord & Township)

Travel Tuesday

I could have stayed at the top of the Troll Road all day, but we had a ferry to catch a couple hours down the road. Our next pit stop was the town of Geiranger, settled at one end of the Geirangerfjord, and we opted to save ourselves the last half hour of driving to kick back on a 2 hour ferry leaving from Valldal. It was time to jump into the fjords of Norway.  

It was a rather sunny day, perfect weather for taking our time out on the waters of Geirangerfjord. 

This adorable guide threw bits of bread to the seagulls stalking our ferryboat to give the children onboard a thrill.

What made this ferry ride different from the many others we took on this trip were the ferry guides who took it upon themselves to talk about the things we passed along our journey. They pointed out old farm settlements now left vacant up on the steep mountainsides around us, and told the stories of each of the waterfalls cascading into the fjord.

Above on the left, The Seven Sisters and on the right, appropriately, The Suitor.

Once we reached the town of Geiranger, we found it was Cruise Ship day! But despite the packed streets, the town still had amazing character. 

Chocolate With a View was a small chocolate shop on the edge of the fjord harbor, but what caught my eye more than the display case inside were the decorations on the street, all painted the same bright, sky blue.

There were several souvenir shops from which to choose, but one art gallery/shop in particular had me wishing the exchange rate wasn't so outrageous. Above to the right is one striking wall sculpture that really had me. Even though her eyes are all dark, which is kind of creepy, there's something peaceful about her gaze. I so wanted to bring one of these home, but we also needed to eat for the rest of the trip, so she stayed put.

There was one main hike we wanted to do while in Geiranger, so we were up early the next morning to get started. It wasn't a long hike, but we wanted time to hang out at the waterfall this trail was named for.

The trail to the Storseterfossen was only 2 kilometers long, but we took our time as the trail took us on a scenic tour of the hills and up the mountainside.

Soon enough we could see the Storseterfossen ahead. What made this hike especially attractive to us was the fact that you could walk back behind the waterfall.

It was slick and steep, but we made it down in one piece to peek down over the edge where the water plummeted past.

After playing behind the waterfall we had a relaxed picnic lunch above the falls where we could sit and stare out at what surrounded us. It was gorgeous, though a little chilly. The hike down was nice and then it was time to explore the area a little by car.

Above the town is a stretch of road called Eagle Road, one part of a series of more crazy switchbacks that offers incredible views of the fjord. Though it was hazy, we drove up to check it out.

A look to the left, a look to the right.

At the end of the day, we were happy to kick off our shoes, open a bottle of wine and enjoy the view from our room. Not much beats enjoying a nice Nero d'Avolo from a couple of red Solo cups on your own little balcony overlooking this...

The next morning it was time to leave. Even now that this trip only exists in pictures and memories, our time in Geiranger was my favorite of our time in Norway. It was peaceful and beautiful and a gorgeous taste of Norway's fjordlands. 

On our way out of town, we stopped one last time to take a departing photo and kiss Geiranger goodbye. It doesn't even look real to me, and I took this photo!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mazel Tov, Animals.

Mazel Tov Monday

I'd like to begin by being completely honest with you: I'm not feeling it today. I have spent all day trying to come up with something to write, but my mood is low and I am officially done worrying about it. But I did make a commitment, so here it is.

On days like today when the possibility of getting anything productive done has pretty much flown out the window before I'm even out of bed, it's a good time to go trawling around the internet to find something to pull me out of my funk. However, I spent so much time reading through weird news articles I forgot to look for funny things to make myself feel better until just a few minutes ago.

Today I choose to shake my good job stick at for not only bringing us strange news stories, but regular ones, too. Most of all, today I appreciate this website for something posted a good four months ago, something I saw then and sought out again today, just now.

By clicking on these very important words, you will be transported to images that aren't just limited to cats and dogs, no, here you will find horses, bears, fish, otters, kangaroos, and even a penguin. So click. Enjoy. I hope you'll smile. Because photobombers are funny, and animals doing the photobombing can often be even funnier.

Mazel Tov, animals on being entertaining, and Mazel Tov, people who put these kinds of things together to make us laugh, on being awesome.