A Most Unreliable Narrator Issue #125 Around the world in 18 days
David Tennant has got nothing on me
“Foreign’s where they gabble at you in heathen lingo and eat foreign muck and worship, you know, objects.” – Granny Weatherwax in Witches Abroad by Sir Terry Pratchett (RIP).
J and I will be leaving the Saturday (11/26) after Thanksgiving on a near three-week European trip. We’re starting in Rome, heading to Florence, Marseille, and ending in Barcelona. Eight of those days we’ll be on a cruise. Just me, him, and hundreds of our closest OAP friends.
We’ll be gone for three Sundays so right now the plan is to still send the Sunday missives, but they will be travel heavy and image laden but from Europe. I’ll be photo dumping on IG and my personal FB. I’m taking my iPad and a travel keyboard which is small enough to travel and big enough for my ham hock hands to type. I’ve already tested a few writing apps and those work just fine with the keyboard which will make writing a dream.
My newsletter comes out roughly six times a month: weekly on Sunday and twice a month (more or less) on Wednesday with the Blotter updates. I don’t want to invade your inbox too much but do expect the travelogues will be quite long. Longer than usual at any rate.
Fuck yes, I am excited for the trip. I haven’t been on a proper vacation in years. While I get four weeks off a year, it’s parceled out here and there. A day or two here. A half day there. The cabin does not count as vacation because it’s just another home that we need to take care of. How is that fun?
J and I promised each other that we would take proper vacations every year starting with this year. I’m get daily emails from Scott’s Cheap Flights and if you play your cards right, you can travel quite cheaply.
I’m obsessed with packing lists.
When I was working as an academic librarian, I went to a lot of conferences around the country. (Librarians are a wild bunch; don’t let anyone tell you any differently.) I got into the habit of packing as minimalist as possible and only bringing on a carry-on and my messenger bag. Our luggage was lost on our honeymoon and J and I walked around Paris wearing the same clothes for a few days while waiting for our luggage to appear at the hotel. Thankfully, between the hotel and Air France, we had toothbrushes and paste and a comb to help along with some too small t-shirts. You haven’t lived until you hand wash underwear every night and wear them damp the following day.
Since then, I swore I would never be caught unawares again. J bought me the Tom Bihn bag for Valentine’s Day one year and I got a Rickshaw messenger back not long after (mine is tweed with orange piping which seems like they don’t do that combo anymore).
(I checked my receipts and both bags are over a decade old and in great condition so if you are looking for some travel bags, cannot recommend them highly enough.)
I started cataloging, with images, my packing lists when I travelled. Turns out other people obsess over packing lists as well, so I continued with every trip to great fanfare.
I took before packing and after packing pics to illustrate how much shit I could get into the bags. (The list also acted like an inventory of sorts in case I lost something.) Reading through all those old posts reminds me how much stuff was possible to carry. We’re packing for three weeks but we’ll have access to laundry on the cruise. My plan is five days in Rome, get on the cruise ship, do laundry, cruise, do laundry on the last day, and then have clean clothes in Barcelona.
Our dining room table is piled with items to take with me on the trip along with my bags and clothes I know I won’t wear beforehand. I’ve bought more skirts and sweaters (along with new tights) and threw in a few structured bras (I’ve 95% worn sports bras since the beginning of the pandemic) onto the pile. I wore the pair of jeans I had in the pile the other day because they were easy to get to and I’ve lost enough weight the jeans were literally sliding down my hips without a belt. I was running errands for a few hours and at one point, they almost fell while I was walking from the entrance of the grocery store to my car. So, need to find another pair of jeans! (Not buy as I have many jeans.)
I’ve bought things like laundry hand soap, travel TP, and TSA approved bottles for my quart bag. I’m always careful in my day-to-day life on pickpockets and thieves (life of living downtown) but enough people have harped on being in EU in pickpocket heaven of Rome and Barcelona that I bought an anti-theft cross-body. The temperature in Rome and Barcelona is a bit warmer than in Louisville but some days, not much. I’m bringing my leopard print jacket which is roomy enough to wear sweaters and sling the cross-body over my clothes. (Slinging it over the coast would be way too bulky).
Of course, I’ve decided the only shoe I’d need is a pair of Dr Marten’s Made in England 8 eye boots. Too late to order and break-in but on my wish list for next year. Right now, I’m test walking in a pair of black knee-high boots with sneaker insole and a pair of Dr Marten Chelsea boot. I have this obsessive need to not look like an American when if we’re honest, I might as well sing our national anthem with every breath I take no matter how what I wear. And my language, idioms, and profanity straddled mouth are also a dead give-away.
I blanched when I paid off my credit cards the other day so no more shopping for me says the woman who just spent another $150 USD on Life Moves Pretty Fast: The John Hughes Mixtapes and dropped another $75 USD at Amazon for random crap I either need day-to-day life or for the trip. For the trip crap, I console myself that I’ll never need to buy this stuff again but like I said, who am I kidding?
Some exciting news! I have official approval to work from home forever!
I started at MPOW in February of 2019 and we went into pandemic mode in March 2020. Since then, I’ve been at the office a handful of times. All my collaboration is via chat or Webex, so why do I need to be in the office?
My boss, thank god, gets it. She agrees with the assessment of my teammates (loud, chatty, disruptive) and that I’ve worked from home over twice as many years I’ve been in the office, she approves of my working from home. The first try was via ADA route since bipolar is a protected class. My therapist sent in the paperwork (I was still working on mine) when our ADA group came back that their “accommodation” is noise canceling earphones and a private office. This is not how anxiety and bipolar works and why offer me a private office if you want me to collaborate and innovate?
A few days later, while I was mounting my defense, my boss came to me to say she found out another business unit KM team all work from home and to hang tight. So, if they can do it, why can’t my boss’ team? Bada bing, bada boom, I was approved a few days later. I’m heading into the office next week to turn in my cube keys and pack up my stuff and then I’m out of there.
This also gives me leave to go up the cabin when I want without bargaining with my boss on how long I can go. (She’s been keeping HR at bay this year, so I do appreciate her.)
So, fuck yes! Queen bees can eat my ass.
(Note: None of the links are affiliate links unless it’s to Amazon and even then, I get pennies.)
Things I Recently Wrote
What I’m Reading
FINISH A FUCKING BOOK LISA BEFORE STARTING A NEW ONE.
Glenarvon Byron’s ex-lover was so distraught about their breakup; she wrote a roman à clef about their relationship
The Christmas Cupid Can Zoey match six couples before Christmas Eve?
The Seventh Sinner (Jaqueline Kirby #1) Errant librarian solves a mystery in Rome
Men Explain Things to Me Essays by Rebecca Solnit
The Whispered Word (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #2) A customer is found in an assumed suicide, will Nora find the killer before the killer gets her?
Want to see what I’m reading or watching? Check out my list for 2022!
Another author who I never knew about it until someone graced my timeline with suggestions. Her third novel in the Spoiler Alert series, Ship Wrecked, came out last week and turns out I had an ARC for it so I backtracked and got books one and two from the library.
Holy, feckin’ wow.
Finding representation in romances, as someone who is fat (and tall but that’s another complaint) is hard. Usually it’s the “fat friend” and thus secondary an inserted to fit a quota or if the main character is Rubenesque, she’s got confidence issues and feels like a failure. A fat woman who is proud of her body and everything she is a needle in the haystack. Or doesn’t exist in contemporary fiction.
This is where Olivia Date comes in.
In her first Spoiler Alert series, Spoiler Alert, April is a super sexy redheaded geologist. HEAR THAT! Not a PR person, working in magazines, or in college. A GEOLOGIST. She’s proud of who she is and when she fake dates a movie star, shit happens. He, of course, falls for her (it’s a romance, duh) but she never compromises or wavers who she is, and she is not apologetic for her body. Fuck yes, April!
Dade’s books are such a fresh look at romance that I gobbled up Spoiler Alert, All the Feels, and Ship Wrecked in under a week. I have also started another of her series’, Love Unscripted and she has many others for me to dig into. I only stopped because I’ve got other books that need to be read before returned to the library but one day soon, I’ll be loving my fat heroines once again!