Tuesday, January 19, 2010

While I Was Away...

Perhaps you noticed it was awfully quite around these parts last week (these parts=my blog). If you follow me on twitter, you know this is because I was finally on my honeymoon. I debated honeymoon spots a few months back on here. We couldn't afford the dream honeymoon of Hawaii and I didn't want to just go to an all inclusive resort in Mexico for the sake of it seeming like the proper honeymoon type thing to do when I had no actual interest in going there and we couldn't truly afford it. I mentioned that I had a friend with a condo in Miami Beach and many of you gave me the wonderful advice to go to Southern Florida. So we stayed a couple days in Miami Beach and a couple days in Key Largo and it really was wonderful there.... only one thing sucked. IT WAS FREEZING! Not Chicago freezing obviously, but low 60s during the day and 30s/40s at night which I was not prepared for clothes-wise and um, a lot of places weren't prepared for in general in that they didn't have heat. We went on a Snuggie search at one point, but apparently they don't sell them down there or they were all sold out, so I ended up with the most hideous but warm pair of pajamas.

I was also sad because I didn't get a day of laying in the sun on the beach or at the pool to read. I tried on a couple of occasions but got so cold it made me cranky. Now mind you, I didn't want a tan. My inner goth girl would still completely object to that. I just wanted to soak up enough sun to try to tide me over through the rest of winter. (I so don't get it when Chicagoans object to me moving to Seattle because it is so gray and depressing all winter... um it is just as gray and depressing here, but on top of that it is insanely cold and snowy, which is truly what drives me to the brink.) *sigh* But despite this we had fun.

You will find the photo highlights all here on the MTV Books blog. Probably the coolest part of the trip was the Keys. Miami was alright but I am no longer a let's go out to clubs and party girl. Knowing this my friend recommended the best dive bar in the city: Mac's Club Deuce. That was my kind of place. Good jukebox, take-no-shit bartender, cool S-shaped bar, pin-up girl style neons as opposed to the beer advertising neons you see at most places,strong-ass drinks, no draft beers cause the 95 year old owner who has owned the place for 45 years says that he can open 4 bottles in the time it takes to pour a proper draft.... I wish I lived near this bar. I wish I could take Melissa Marr to this bar because it is so our kind of place. Sigh. Yes, if you are ever in Miami Beach and appreciate dive bars, go to Club Deuce. Do yourself a favor and go between 8 am and 7 pm for 2 for 1 happy hour drinks. yes, I said 8 am. The bar is open from 8 am to 5 am. Craziness.

So, that was the highlight of Miami Beach. Though the beaches were gorgeous. I just wish I could have enjoyed them more.

In the Keys we got to see all kinds of wildlife. We went on a glass bottom boat tour of the Molasses Reef (so-named because a boat carrying molasses for rum making wrecked there many years ago and all the people screamed like Jack Sparrow "noooo! why is the rum always gone!"). It made me slightly seasick looking down through the window the whole time, but it was totally worth it, mainly because we saw a couple giant sea turtles!

We also went to a sanctuary for wild birds that had been injured. It was cool to see all the tropical birds up close, though sad to think of them being hurt.

Oh and I should mention that I am scared of both birds and fish. This did not make me less scared. I became terrified when I had to walk close to a pelican, but I do appreciate the beauty of both of these creatures so it was nice to see them in their natural habitats (or as close as the injured birds could get).

Just driving through the Keys was fun too, though we didn't have enough time to go to Key West and meet the six-toed cats. One day I hope we can afford to go back and stay longer. We did meet an adorable cat hanging outside of a restaurant. We also spotted a gecko and an iguana in the wild.

Meeting my fellow MTV Books author, Danielle Joseph was a huge highlight. You all know how much I love her book Shrinking Violet so it was cool to meet her in person. We were saying how funny it is how much we authors know about each other before meeting just because of blogs and online communities. It's pretty cool!

Ooooh and I should mention that the place we stayed in Key Largo was so cool! We had a two bedroom townhome in this resort/gated community with two pools and hot tubs, one hot tub even had a waterfall! Definitely would go back there if I could get a deal again.

Oh and the only other thing that sucked was the Florida rock radio situation. I'm not much of a radio person in general and only listen to it when I use my mom's car and forget to bring a CD, but Chicago has three radio stations that play a decent variety, the alt-rock station, the classic rock station (for when I'm in the mood for 80s hair metal... it happens), and then this sort of general rock station that plays everything from the Beatles to Green Day but also more obscure bands. Florida had two stations, both very mainstream. We did hear our fair share of Guns N Roses and Nirvana, which kept us going but there were a lot of moments where I would just turn the radio off because I was so appalled by the awfulness. And they played a lot of Creed!!!! (AKA the band I loathe most). Fortunately, they always seemed to announce "Here's Creed..." so I could scream and change the channel. But Miami/Southern Florida is very club music oriented so I guess good rock is hard to come by down there.... too bad considering some of my favorite punk bands come from FL, Against Me! and Hot Water Music.

Anyway this is rambly because I'm still half on vacation mentally and half trying to get back to the writing.

But seriously, go check out my pictures at the MTV Books Blog, they tell the story better than I could (though I'm sad I didn't take a pic of Club Deuce!). There were a couple things that happened while I was gone that you should check out:

-Actually this is from before I left but I forgot to blog abt it. Speaking of Melissa Marr, there is an apportunity to win a signed copy of Ballads or a bunch of other amazing books from her via her blog. Contest is ongoing until Valentine's Day. All the details are here.

-My group blog site, Teen Fiction Cafe got a makeover and it looks sooooo super hot! We are also talking about throwing a big anniversary party soon, so you should start following that blog now so you don't miss out!

-I wrote an article about self injury and SAFE Alternatives for my local newspaper (since SAFE Alternatives was founded by a woman who lives in my town) and it would mean a lot to me if you read it/spread the word about it, so hopefully more people who need SAFE can find out about it.

Ummm okay, I think that is it, but if not, my scatterbrained self will update you later. What about you? Anything exciting happen in the last week or so?

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