Fred and I just got back from a quick trip to London where I got to meet a woman I consider a true genius, Viviane Schwarz. We have been "virtual studio colleagues"- a term she coined for ummm.....at least 10 years. Anyhow- we got to hang out for whole day. We went to the Tate modern and went from hot drink to hot drink- which is what she said Londoners do. It was freezing, so I totally get the tea thing now.
I think that this is a record- I haven't blogged in over a month. It's not that i haven't been thinking about it- it's that I have been a bit busy. Mostly I have been on the road. I flew from Mauritius to California. Then in California I made a ver trips: attending the Planetary Society's 35th Anniversary in Pasadena, heading up to the Bay Area to meet with my amazing agent, Abigail Samoun, and then over to Pebble Beach to visit my dear friend Dina. In between all of that I got to attend my critique group's meeting and learned that one of our members is being published for the first time. Her name in Cindy Rankin and she comes up with some of the most original and engaging material in the group. Her book about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake had a character in it that has been living with most of us who have been fortunate enough to get to know her for the last few years. We have been begging Cindy to send her book out into the world. She has. And someone in the publishing world fell in love with her as we did. I also got to see my dear friend, Sharon Lovejoy on three different occasions. I first made contact with Sharon when I was still in college. She wrote a book called Sunflower Houses that I was absolutely in love with . I wrote to her all of those years ago and then in 2000 or 2001, I was invited to join a critique group and there was Sharon! We have been great friends ever since- kindred spirits. When I was in town I don't let many people know that I was there. The days were filled with work and meetings and I have a hard time no to people I care about. Fred and I will both be back in California for the holidays and hope to catch up with our dear ones then. In the meantime- elephants.
I've done it a bunch of times now: fly across the globe. It takes 29 hours to go from the airport here in Mauritius until arrival in Los Angeles. It's a long haul. I'm getting a bit better at it. I watch lots of movies and try to sleep as much as possible. One thing that I have learned is that that is too dang long of a flight to get into a car afterwards and drive another 3 or so hours home and feel safe about my driving. So now, I get a hotel room in L.A. before the final leg (which does not include the 29 hours). I used to feel that it was a crazy travel time, but I've read since about the times when making that journey took months by ship. Very unpleasant and precarious months. So, ship of the air- not bad- and it's Emirates- which is just about as nice as an airline gets. Los Angeles International has become my favorite airport to arrive at in California because of this:
It's got a sense of humor and place. Plus, the traffic has gotten SO bad coming back from San Francisco or San Jose that I am not bothered by the traffic in L.A. anymore.
But when I get home- the miles melt away. The smell of the Pacific (which smells different than the Indian Ocean), the pelicans and our home. I wish that Fred was coming with, of that trip I'll have to wait for awhile. In the meantime I have dear friends to see and some kids to tell about Carl Sagan. I LOVE that there is now a sort of "my first Carl Sagan book" out there.
A good friend of ours here bestowed a really sweet honor onto Fred. She asked him to be her "uncle" at her wedding. The uncle presents trays of offerings to the groom's family (the groom also has an "uncle" who does the same for the bride's family). The wedding took place over 3 days. Here are some highlights.
Jess heading to the wedding. She had to change saris 5 times during the ceremony. This is sari number one. Gorgeous, right?
The trays being prepared with sweets, fruits, perfume and a sari.
Me and "Uncle" Fred before the ceremony. That sari took two friends about 40 minutes to put on me. It's one big long piece of cloth, wrapped, pleated, tucked and draped- and held in place by a lot of safety pins.
After a 3 hour ceremony, the couple walking 7 times around the center alter - and then , they were married!
One of the after parties. The final dance was a sega dance (the traditional music/dance style of Mauritius).
I have been back in Mauritius for over a month now and am settled in again. Summer is coming on this side of the planet. It's getting warmer, there is more birdsong and I am awoken by sunlight coming in the window because the angle is now just right. I haven't written for awhile- I haven't really felt like it until now. Not sure really why. Maybe because I have so much writing to do for books and spend so much time in my studio at the computer...anyhow, today I feel like it. So, "hello". This morning I saw a needle fish darting across the surface of the water. Such and odd looking creature. close to the shore, brown jelly fish sat and tried to push themselves back into the Indian Ocean. A man picked one up- I gasped, wouldn't he be stung?? Not that kind of jelly fish. These had ridden the north winds onto to shore and they were harmless. They are moon jellyfish. It's just 10 days to go and I am off to the U.S. again- this time to speak at the 35th Anniversary of the Planetary Society- of which Carl Sagan was a founding member. I couldn't pass that up, could I? (No.) It will be the first book event that I attend for STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos. I was here when the book came out and then for most of the year. It's going to be a whirlwind trip. I arrive home in California on the 13th, speak and sign books in Pasadena on the 24th and fly out South Africa for 10 days on the 25th, then back to Mauritius. I'm glad I'm doing all of this traveling now while I can. It is exhausting and I can see losing my appetite for going to far flung places in a few years. Then I think I will content myself with my garden, my work and family. In the meantime, here are some photos of Mauritius.
A village weaver.
More bananas than we know what to do with from a tree in the backyard. The bummer is that they go ripe almost all at once!
The folks at Noodle.com, who specialize in all things educational put STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos into an infographic! How cool is that? What an honor to be in the company of those books.
This blog has been so very quiet. Here's what's been going on. I went home.
A soft welcoming blanket of fog. People who knew how to drive safely in lanes, and not stop for NO reason- (because in the U.S. you would get a ticket arrested for being a danger on the road to others and you have a freaking CLUE). Driving was stressless and fun- especially in Fred's car- Sasha. I relished it. There were California brown Pelicans gently drifting overhead in clean smokeless air - they look like creatures that belong to another time. Glorious.
And sunsets of the awe inspiring kind.
I hung out with our neighbors who have been keeping watch over the casa. And I was grateful for having such kind, generous and caring people in our lives. All of them inspiring- we are the youngens on the street and the folks around us are farther on down the road, but totally awesome.
I took a quick trip to see loved ones in Minnesota. I was happy to see that my parents are looking great and getting better and better- you would never believe their age if you saw them. I admire that they are heading off on new adventures and this next year are venturing over here to visit and we are heading out on safari with them in Botswana. I also popped down to Rochester to visit my sister and her family. She and her hubby have 3 teenagers now- all doing fabulous. Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon quote tag line , " Minnesota where the women are strong, the men are good looking and all the children are above average. "
Can you tell I loved being home? But I missed this guy
he's good reason to cross a globe...but I had some more adventures in between...