Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Great Thing About Having a Day Job

With temperatures yesterday soaring to 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, you would be correct in assuming that working in a high-rise air-conditioned building was just peachy. Even a brief excursion at lunchtime to the bank (not to rob) was a tolerable excursion especially when fellow Angelenos, who normally would never speak to strangers, commiserated on the weather. Since the subject of the weather is an English national pastime, I quite liked that. But it was when I got home to an apartment that registered 92 degrees inside, I realized how fortunate I had been. The temperature only dropped to 84 degrees at night as well. Fans were useless. It was just like standing in front of a hair dryer.

We live in a beautiful Spanish apartment with wooden floors, high ceilings and masses of windows. It was built in the early 1920's and many of these old buildings don't have air conditioning.

Today promises to be another scorcher but for once, I can't wait to get to the office!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Darkest Hour Before Dawn

I get up at 4.20 am when I'm on a drop dead-deadline. When it's just a "normal day" I set my alarm for 5.20 am but there still doesn't seem enough time to really immerse myself in my writing before jumping in the shower.

Today, we got up at 4 am because my husband is on one of his extreme fitness training routines (he's a Gemini and is either IN something or OUT). True, I could have slept in but since I'm a morning person, once I'm awake, I am wide awake. I've never been one to lay in bed and hit "snooze." For a start, my mind starts churning - worrying about my book, worrying about my cat's eye condition, worrying about my job, worrying about earthquakes and whether the pigeon I found yesterday really did just fly away.
I don't find it hard to get up at all. I just love the quiet of the early morning. I love the smell of the dawn and hearing the birds begin their day.

What about you? Are you Owls or Larks?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pigeon Rescue!

A distressing thing happened to me this morning. As I was dashing out of the house, I couldn't help noticing our resident squirrel in a terrible state. Even though I was late for work (as usual), I couldn't ignore the frantic tone in his voice. 

Hiding behind a small log cowered a pigeon. It seemed to be having a seizure. I hurried over and picked the little guy up. Apart from his rapidly beating heart, he seemed okay but every time I put him down, the squirrel starting going nuts—no pun intended.

I tried taking the pigeon into the house and found a nice cardboard box (one eye on the clock -boss will be there in five minutes) but the pigeon didn't like that and became even more upset. In the end, I gave him some of Mr. Tig's flower essence drops from Green Hope Farm called "Breathe" for respiratory conditions. It seemed to calm the pigeon down a little—at least enough for me to put him back in the garden. Fortunately the squirrel had gone and I was able to find a quiet, shady place  behind a wood pile. 

There are a lot of cats in our neighborhood. Mr. Tig being one of them. I said a prayer and just hope there won't be a pile of feathers or a solitary beak waiting for me when I get home tonight.

I've never had much luck with injured birds but it's so hard to know what to do for the best. 
What would you have done?  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Emailing Really More Efficient?

I am drowning in emails. Not just my own, but I also get my boss's emails for all his different ventures. All these beeping things popping up announcing "You've Got Mail!" in that maddening, cheery bouncy way. Today, has been fairly "light." A mere 103 (not counting the hundreds that go into my junk mail). 

When did life become so frantic? I find that emails are  not remotely efficient. They are far more time consuming - at least for me. As a writer, I'm afraid I agonize even over writing the shortest sentence. Sometimes, I get defiant and pick up the phone. I quite enjoy hearing the surprise on the other end as if I have called in from another planet. The conversation that follows covers all the elements of an email reply - and much more - a few shared jokes, an unexpected anecdote and the sense of warmth on the other end of the phone (unless you are calling Mumbai) plus there is a real human connection. 

I have just bought Julia Morgenstern's book "Never Check Email in the Morning." I'm anxious to learn some tips. Do you have any magic email tips you'd like to share? I'm all ears ... 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Playing Truant From School

It's strange that even though I left school [cough, cough] years ago, I still get that feeling of guilt when I escape the office. This morning, my boss asked me to deliver an important document to his home that couldn't wait for a messenger service. So off I went, happy to escape not just my desk (that has no view or even a window) but the smog of downtown Los Angeles. 

My boss lives in the beautiful foothills of La Canada Flintridge where the mountains are stunning and the air is clear. It reminded me a little of parts of England (except for the mountains). I felt inexplicably free and for all of an hour, had to fight the urge to keep on driving to Santa Barbara. 

I wondered at what point in my life my day job transitioned into feeling like school -- without the long holidays. It's been a pet peeve of mine ever since I moved to the USA that their work ethics are practically feudal. But for now, I'm grateful to have a job (where else would I get ideas for my characters!) plus I have a terrific boss who encourages my writing. 
Okay - must get some work done now ... 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Ongoing Saga of Mr. Tig

There is nothing more startling than being woken up by an earthquake at 5 am. I hate the things and still can't get used to them. Even though it was tiny and somewhere out in the Pacific off San Pedro (I believe) - it sends my heart racing and it's impossible to go back to sleep.

Sunday morning is my one day for sleeping in. That means getting up at 6.30. So I just tossed and turned, worrying about Mr. Tig and his recurring feline herpes problem that has really flared up. Following his miraculous recovery in August from a dicey liver complaint, we returned from our vacation to discover an ulcer on his eyeball. Now there are 3. I tried eye drops and they seem to make it worse. I'm putting off taking him to the opthamologist because years ago, I was warned he might have to have one of his eyes OUT! Mr. Tig is still in good spirits and can see well enough to play with his plastic rubber duck collection.

I'm a great believer in homeopathic remedies and Jennifer from Healing Waters in Los Angeles referred me to Green Hope Farm Animal Wellness Collection. Last night I received two bottles of remedies - "Breathe" and "Outburst" liquid essences that are put in water, on his paw pads or rubbed behind his ears. We'll know in a day or so if it is working. Will keep you posted!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Busy, Busy!

Nothing startling to report here apart from the fact that I have zero time to write my blog. I had SO many good intentions after returning from my vacation but frankly, getting up at 4.30 am to work on my new series (still top secret) sort of zaps my creative energy. A full day at the advertising agency leaves me feeling a little peaky and of course, if I end the day with a very intense spinning session at YAS downtown ... I'm seriously pooped.
Our holiday in the English countryside seems so far away—especially when I look out of my office window at the high-rise buildings peeping through the September smog. But my sorrow turns to joy when I look at my desktop screen saver. 

Meet Bam-Bam. He lives at our friend's farm in Thorneymire, North Yorkshire and is such an adorable little chap. Red squirrels are an endangered species in Great Britain and rarely seen in the south. I hadn't seen one myself since my childhood when I was a loyal member of The Tufty Club. 
Bam-Bam earned his name thanks to the noise he makes every morning as he reaches for his breakfast. He's very busy sorting out his nuts and seeds but dashes off if anyone tries to get close. Speaking of nuts and seeds, it's my co-worker's 24th birthday today (Happy Birthday Laura) and nearly time for chocolate cake.