Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When in Sonoma...Drink Wine!

Wow, what a fun retreat/workshop this has been so far! I've met so many wonderful authors! These people are just so warm and welcoming and sweet! After dinner last night, we each read a few sentences from our books or projects we're working on. It was really cool to listen to everyone read. We all have different styles and it was so interesting hearing those opening lines. It made me want to go out and buy a bunch of books!

We had some workshops today. We listened to Andrea, an editor from Revell, give an interesting talk about the market. Then I ran to my room during our little break so I could, um, get rid of all the coffee I'd had to drink. My key didn't work. I tried it several times and it just wouldn't work. so I quickly ran (while my legs were crossed, of course) to the front desk to report my clearly defective key.

"Did you put it next to any magnets," the front desk girl inquired.

"No," I said thinking the notion was preposterous. I don't carry magnets around with me.

"Was it near your cell phone? That would demagnetize it," she explained.

I looked down to where both my phone and my key rested in the same palm.


"No problem, moronMrs. Meehan. I'll get you a new key. Try not to screw this one up Have a nice day.

Then we had a workshop where Rachael spoke about incorporating humor into your writing. She gave a fun presentation and ended it with a lemon cream pie in her face. Yes, she did. I love that one of her tips for writing humor was "do stupid things". I made a mental check with that one. Done.

After our lunch, 9 of us went in a limo to a couple wineries for a tasting. I don't know anything about wine, but it was all yummy in my opinion. Many people dumped their wine out after taking a couple sips. But I was taught not to waste food. We took a little tour of the cave where they age the wine and got to taste some out of the barrel. When we returned to the shop I saw another author from the retreat in the store. I shouted an enthusiastic, "HEY!" to her. She looked at me like - do I know you? That's about when I realized she was not, in fact, another author but a complete stranger who thought I was drunk.

From there, we went to a winery owned by B. R. Cohn who is also the manager of the Doobie Brothers. We actually saw him there too! And a cute guy in a tractor, but that's another story... We tasted olive oil and balsamic vinegar there as well. Know what's really gross? Drinking a cup of vinegar. I don't recommend it.

We ended the evening at a restaurant where Bobby Flay supposedly ate last night. The food was super-delicious! Actually, that's where I ended my night. Many others are still up, but I think I'm still on Eastern time and I'm tired. I'm also a little scared that I might have developed a blood clot in my leg so I wanted to prop it up. I can't tell if it's so sore from my nasty varicose veins or if a clot has formed from all the travel and sitting for long periods of time on the plane. We'll see how it is tomorrow.

And speaking of seeing how things are tomorrow, my agent's husband fell earlier today. I'm not sure about the details, but I believe he hit his head and from what I heard, he didn't remember his wife. Obviously she left the conference and went with her husband to the ER. Thankfully they live near here so hopefully his doctor can check on him. Pray for healing for Loch and strength and peace for Janet.

And, as always, here are a few pictures...

olive tree

barrels of wine

the 9 of us wine tour girls at Kunde Estates

my room

Just in case you were thinking about bringing your horse to the park, you can't.

the mission

prettiful view

cute little walkway here in Sonoma. It's a cute little town with a lot of boutique-y shops. And people are really nice. They stop for you when you're crossing the street and they don't even try to hit you.


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Wow. If you compared your past two weeks of your life, red-carpet walking with the stars, Disney hopping with the family, limo-jumping and wine-tasting with fellow authors, and checked back on your life exactly a year ago, did you think you'd be doing all this fun stuff?!?!?

Kudos to you because it's hard-earned and WELL-DESERVED!

I hope your agent's hubby is doing OK!

cayswann said...

They stop for you when you're crossing the street and they don't even try to hit you.... Yup, that's one of those things in California that ALWAYS confuses anyone visiting or who moves here. People have the right of way. Cars *have* to stop.

Anonymous said...

You know what is really funny about that sign... The first time I read it, I thought it said no monuments in the park. I was thinking "Who randomly puts up monuments in the park?" realized when I read it again that it was saying no climbing on monuments. My only excuse it that it is early here and I am not totally awake.

jana said...

More important than not bringing your HORSE to the park, you must also leave your MONUMENT at home. Darn, I usually travel with an extra Mount Rushmore in my purse. Not on that trip I guess.

Tonya said...

I do the "kill the hotel key" thing all the time! In fact, I've been known to get a new key and mess it up before I get back up to my room. Hotel clerks love me. :)

Michelle said...

Actually, the no horses sign is probably really needed. When I was a kid, I'd go trail riding all the time when I wasn't in a lesson (and it was summer). Let's just say that the Dairy Queen on the other side of Baker Park made a new rule especially for a friend of mine and I. Whatever. Horses in the drive thru is perfectly normal. :)

Glad you're having fun, and I certainly hope your leg and Loch's head are back to normal today! Enjoy that wine (although is it just me or does it look like one of those barrels in your picture is leaking?)!

Anonymous said...

Wow - what an awesome room!! No wonder you wanted to head back there early! lol

Hope you're having loads of fun!

Donna in PA :)

Kelly said...

Looks like you're having fun in Sonoma!

BTW, I LOVE your blog...been reading it since the Pokemon Card stuff! Your kids are beautiful! You are one funny lady!

Who is watching the children while you're away?

Anonymous said...

I actually have some friends who demagnetize their room cards every time they stay in a hotel. It wasn't until one saw a nickel stuck to her phone that she realized the phone had a magnet and THAT must be why the cards always demagnetized. So you're not the first for it to happen to, nor do i doubt you'll be the last. Most people don't think of their cell phones as magnets!

Candi said...

Dawn - I don't want to bust your bubble but need to alert you to a real danger. Find out what's going on with your leg before you get on another airplane. Seriously! Thromboses, or blood clots are sensitive to changes in air pressure, and in a sealed cabin flight (any major air carrier jet or nonpropellor plane have pressurized cabins). The air pressure change has been the direct cause of a dislodging of these thromboses in flight, and if it should occur and reach your heart, there is little they can do for you. There are things that can be done preflight and in flight to prevent this, but I am not familiar enough with the procedures to guide you. You need to see a thrombotic specialist. I know I'm really pitching a bummer on your trip but I want you to be around to entertain us with your antics for years and years to come!

~Jenifer~ said...

by the way make sure to leave the monuments at home with your horse!
That was so crazy!!!

Blythe said...

"They stop for you when you're crossing the street and they don't even try to hit you...."

Not all Californians are so nice. I live in a semi-small-ISH town in Northern California and drivers here are extremely inconsiderate. They rarely wait for you to cross the street before they go.

Glad you're having fun!!

Leslie in CA said...

I'm glad you're having fun in my home town! We moved about three years ago, and seeing your pics made me miss it. And the weather has been perfect for you!

Um, cute guy on tractor...come on, lets hear about it!! ;-)

Kristy said...

i'm glad your having a good time! i hope your agents hubby is okay! enjoy yourself, you deserve it! i enjoyed the pictures as well :)

Tess said...

Those are great pictures. You've made me want to travel there now!

Anonymous said...

I noticed in that picture that you have a tattoo on your ankle. What is it of?

Shauna said...

Dawn--the shot of the "field" with the trees at the top of the hill looks an awful lot like the opening scenes of Little House on the Pairie. Any story to that one? I mean, besides the fact that I still ejoy watching a 1970s classic family drama?

:) Shauna

Teapot said...

If you make it to Santa Rosa stop in and say hi at
I'm a Little Teapot!
127 4th St.
Santa Rosa, Ca

Theresa said...

It sounds like you are having a blast!!! I'll pray for your agent's hubby -- I had the same thing happen to me last December. I went to teach my daughter how to ice skate...bad idea! I fell, passed out and woke up a week later in ICU. I had bleeding on the brain and some fractures of the skull but no surgery was needed, just a week in a coma and then a week in a rehab hospital and I'm all back to normal tho I don't remember the fall or chatting like an idiot when I came out of the coma. Ooohhh the things I said...I was on vacation and I was a taxi driver! lol

Janis said...

Dawn, that sign with everything prohibited-I think they just left out the word "on" after the word bicycling. That would be so obvious! They don't want horses on trees or monuments in my parks either!

MaBunny said...

What beautiful pictures. Hope your leg feels better, a blood clot is NOTHING to fool with. I had one 4 yrs ago and now everytime my knee twitches or hurts it scares me...
Hope you continue to have a good time and a safe trip home.

Sandy, HE, Illinois said...

I can totally see Jackson and/or Clayton perfectly happy with olive fingers and being tree frogs for Halloween. Especially Jackson who ate crickets for his birthday. At least I think I remember it was chocolate covered crickets. Some bug anyway.

Ryley said...

darn it.. I was totally planning on bringing my momument to that park......

Froggie said...

Hi Dawn:

If you think that you might have developed a clot in your leg, you should have it checked out immediately! These are serious stuff. I had one a couple of years ago that nearly killed me when it went to my lungs. Please, go get it checked out. Also, I wear the ugly compression stockings when I do long travels especially on airliners and they help tons to keep swelling down and to not develop DVT.


A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

I'm glad you're having a good time, Ms. Traveller! You're gonna seriously need a vacation from your travels.

My thoughts are with your agent's husband.

Scrabblequeen said...

Glad you're enjoying your trip to my little corner of the world. Isn't Sonoma a great little place to visit? Sore legs from travelling condololences...hopefully tomorrow will be better in that department.

noexcuses said...

Looks like you are having a great time. Your pictures are wonderful!

Yep, the cars stop in CA. It's a law that peds have the right of way, and let me tell you...there are a lot of lawsuits about that!

Your last few weeks sound exhausting! Hope you get some down time when you get back.

Got any tips for us "aspiring writers"?

~Jenifer~ said...


I am glad that you had an interesting time (best way to describe it)....
I have a question for you and I am not sure that you can help but I would like to have your opinion and because this is about my best friend (17 years) I can't go to her for advice. My son is 10 years old and hers is 4 months younger and he and has either ADD or ADHD (I can never remember which) and he is terrible!! We just moved back home from up north in March and now live about 10 houses from them and it has gotten to the point that he is harassing my son. He lies about everything just trying to get attention and is even hateful to me and my husband so we have stopped him from coming to our house all together but they go to the same school, have the same friends in the neighborhood and the same after school care and he has gotten so much worse since my son stood up to him and told him not to treat him bad (I fully stand behind my son because this kid was treating him really, really bad). He is even a pathological liar (I am not joking). I love my best friend but it has gotten to the point that I can not stand to be around her son (or husband for that matter he acts the exact same way as the kid and they both treat her really bad but she will not listen to anybody about that anyway that is a whole different story). I feel terrible because I know that after I finally had to talk to her about it today that I have lost my best friend. I really am at a dead end about this. I hope that you can pass on some advice about this even my husband doesn't understand.
Thanks a bunch for taking the time to ponder this situation. I will take advice from anybody!

Kitti said...

Hey Dawn, sounds like a great time. And your room looks so warm and cozy =) I hope that the agent's husband is okay. And please post and tell us that you went and got your leg checked?? It could be nothing, but best to have it checked. Not to scare you or anything, but a friend of my sister just died last week from a blot clot...and she had also been traveling a lot. So get it checked!

Laura G said...

Please get you leg checked on Thursday. Blood clots can easily kill you, as others have said. I had a blood clot go to my lung in 2001, and I'm blessed to be alive. I'm your age; this doesn't just happen to "old" people. Since then I've done some research and compression stockings nearly eliminate the risk of DVT when flying. But I'm not sure if that applies to someone who has an already existing clot. Get it checked...please!!!
Glad you're otherwise enjoying your time away to bask in the adult world.

My Semblance of Sanity said...

That sign!
That sign has me giggling!!!!
There is a comma in the first line but beyond that there are none, so when I read it, it read like it was prohibiting horses from skateboarding and climbing trees and monuments!
Dang horses - they are hard to control!!!!

Shooting up prayers for your agent!

a li'l bit squishy said...

My favorite picture was of your roon...you mean you get to sleep in that lovely space ALL by yourself. And NO ONE will mess it up, get food on the floor, spread around toys, books, etc? How blissful...if even just for a night! Hope you enjoyed it!

Amy said...

I'd love to know where you ate. I live in Sonoma County and I always love to hear people's restaurant raves. It looks like you stayed at the Lodge. Lucky you! I had my wedding reception there two years ago!



Lowa said...

YOu sneaky little fart!

Look at you hiding behind the other women in the pictures! From what I see of your top, I LOVE THAT FABRIC! It looks so shiny. Where are you finding these gorgeous clothes??

Also, meant to tell you. When you did that red carpet thing?? That back dress you had on was just gorgeous! you looked amazing in it! you are really living it up, eh??

Good for you, you deserve it!

Rick said...

The old pie in the face routine. That knocks them dead every time. I should try that the next time I do an oral presentation - know what I mean?

Jen T. said...

Picture #4 looks like it was taken directly from the beginning credits of Little House on the Prairie, lol.

Glad you're having fun! Hope your leg and your editor's hubby continue to improve.

lawnajo said...

If I ever travel there, I will be careful not to bicycle on the monuments or let my dog climb the trees.

Also a comment on the "joys of parenting":
My husband had the day off yesterday and we took our two little ones and went to the store. I was waiting to check out and we were in a hurry to pick up our older sone from school, so my husband said, "I'll take her out and pull the car around" I said, "You're leaving the baby with me?" He said, "yeah, I can't take them both at the same time." I had to laugh. I do that everyday. It's great when they get a taste of what we got through.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

We are from Sonoma County. It made me feel really nostalgic to see the photos.
Do you mean that pedestrians don't have the right of way in other states? Wow! That's scary. That is one of the hardest things to get used to since we moved to Mexico, that the drivers here will run you down. I had some guy almost run me over at a stop sign. He was stopped so I started to cross the street and he just took off, almost knocked me down with his mirror!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

My favorite picture? That lovely, clean, solitary hotel room....aaah!

Jennifer Foster said...

Oh man, if I had only known you were in Sonoma, I'd have camped outside your hotel for a chance to meet you! I'm starstruck! :-) And I'm so close to Sonoma...

Glad it was fun! It's a beautiful place.


Laume said...

How fun, didn't expect to see Sonoma on your blog. My two oldest went to preschool in that Mission building. Ahhh, happy memories. And Sonoma has more than good wine. Best sourdough, best bagels, best cheese, best cherry juice, best.... well, LOTS OF FOOD. I hope you tried something besides fermented grapes! And don't tell anyone but psssst.... my kids have all climbed both the trees and monuments in that park. Not necessarily with my permission but, you know how that goes.

Holly White-Wolfe said...

Are you still creating posts? I'd love to see more!


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