Thursday, December 31, 2009

ketchup, part two

It was a surprise to me when a long-time client wanted to fly me to Paris last month for a meeting with him, but -- hey -- it's Paris and it's a good client, so why not? He said that Jerry was welcome to come also (paying his own way, of course), and when has Jerry ever turned down a travel offer? So off we went, via Air France, in business class.

I had been to Paris once before, Jerry multiple times, so we had seen the basic tourist stuff: this time we could just get to know the city better. My client wined and dined us, had a driver pick us up and drop us off, and we spent some time at some very high-end places. He put us up in a very nice hotel, not far from the Champs Elysses, and we stayed a couple extra days at a hotel in the Latin Quarter. We got to know some new neighborhoods, got really good at taking the Metro, all in all a trip that was very Paris. Came back, Paris to New York, on the new Airbus 380, which was phenomonal...

Then, soon after we got back, we had a trip planned to Tucson, Arizona -- a pre-busy season, relatively warm getaway. I had never spent more than ten minutes in Arizona and had low expectations, but Tucson turned out to be a good match for us: un-pretentious, easy to navigate, plenty of access to the desert sun.

And then back to the Siberian Minnesota winter, which is where we are now... Temperatures for tonight, New Year's Eve, could hit minus 15 degrees.

And I'm done catching up. Anything from here on will be current and will hopefully not include any references to Tiger Woods or to the disintegration of the Minnesota Vikings.

Happy New Year to all! I'm hoping that 2010 will be more settled than 2009 was.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

ketchup, part one

I need to do some catch-up (ketchup?). That's why it becomes hard to start the blogging thing again after falling behind. It's sort of like when you stop going to the gym for a while, how hard it is to get motivated again.

This might take several installments.

It's just that my brain has gotten all jumbled. I think it will be better once we move out of this little apartment and into our little-bit-bigger condo. When that will be, I don't know. There is demolition to be done first. And maybe that's the problem with this year: too much anticipation of demolition of things as I knew them. I need to get back to the re-construction mindset.

I'm starting to at least be able to settle my mind enough to start reading again. But -- another problem: there isn't a real good cozy, comfortable place in this apartment to read. That has to change in the new place.

I started reading the new John Irving book, Last Night in Twisted River, more than a month ago. Remember, John Irving is my favorite author and I've been looking forward to this book, and I took it with me to Paris last month and Tucson this month and it's a good book, and still I'm only a couple hundred pages into it.

Part of the problem with this book, I think, is that I went to see and hear John Irving last month when he was here in Minneapolis. I had low expectations, anticipating that even though I love his writing I wouldn't like him, but even so was disappointed that I really didn't. As I am reading the book, I can still hear the smugness in his voice and remember how he made no effort to actually interact with the audience (which was made up of adoring fans). We have seen plenty of famous authors -- Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Russo, Wally Lamb, and others -- all of whom have been personable and going out their way, one on one, to shake hands, sign our books, chat a little. John Irving was just too far above us for that sort of thing.

I guess that writing great books has nothing to do with being good at being a celebrity. I'll try to forget the celebrity part and get back to just reading and somehow enjoying.