A week from tomorow, my family and I will be traveling to Washington DC. It’s our first (and probably last, with gas prices doing nothing but going up) out of state vacation ever. We’ll spend a week there, seeing the sites, taking the pictures, and generally playing the role of Idiot Tourist Family. It’s something I’m actually looking forward to, having spent so many years in the role of Irritated Local. I was beginning to feel stereotyped.

My hubby–master tactician that he is–has scheduled our week pretty well, taking into account each family member’s Must See Spots, so we can make the most of each precious moment spent in our nation’s capital. I perused his schedule this morning, though, and discovered something a bit disconcerting.

“What’s this ‘metro’ thing? You’ve got it written down all over the place. I don’t remember anyone wanting to see a ‘metro.'”

“It’s not a thing to see. It’s a way to get around the city.”

“Public transportation, you mean?”


Then he explained The Plan. We’ll board a train at a station near our hotel in Alexandria, Virginia that will take us into DC. From there, we’ll hop various subways and buses as we make our way from place to place.

“Subway? You mean…underground?”

“Yes, Kel. Underground. That’s where the subways live.”

It’s funny when you discover something new about yourself. There’s no mass transit system in the boonies, so until that moment “Subway” meant “place where they sell the kind of sandwiches I can get down the road for half the price.” But there I was, suddenly confronted with the reality of spending a good portion of my vacation crammed into a moving sardine can with millions of other sweaty commuters, in a strange and frightening city…several hundred feet underneath the earth’s surface. It made me want to puke. For real. And that is when I knew.

Apparently, I’m afraid of taking the subway.

“What’s wrong with our car?”

“Nothing. We’ll leave it parked at the hotel. With gas prices so high this’ll save us some money.”

There are times when even someone as cheap frugal as I am has to ask: is saving money everything?

“Besides,” he continued, “I’m not driving in Washington DC.”


“I’m. Not. Driving. In Washington DC.” Then he grinned. “But if you’re that opposed to taking the subway, then you can do the driving.”

He had me and he knew it. I hate city driving. Bangor–with its “booming” population of 31,000–is almost too much for me. I’ll drive all around Robin Hood’s barn to avoid making a left hand turn that doesn’t come with the safety of a ‘left turn arrow.’ In short, I’m a total wimp. There is no way you’d catch me behind the wheel in a major metropolitan area.

So, that is that. I’ll be riding a subway. For a whole week. Lord have mercy.

Still, there’s some good news. Chapter Five of Waiting for Spring is up at Readers and Writers Blog (I tried to come up with a clever segue, but drew a blank) along with the latest installments of Disconnected by J. Cafesin and Ginny Good by Gerard Jones. Check ’em out. You won’t be sorry.


So, I’ve been struggling with my new novel. I’ve got a rough outline, I’m fairly familiar with my characters, yet I haven’t started writing the damned thing. I think I know why: I’m chicken. You heard me. Chicken. I’ve been working so long on editing a finished, mostly polished product that the idea of starting from scratch again scares the pudding outta me. What I need is a good, solid kick in the ass. And a goal.

Guess what? I found both. I joined the Word Count Union. It’s made up of ten writers (well, eleven now including me), each with a daily goal of writing 100 words. Anyone who doesn’t make their goal gets a public “flogging.” Sounds cool, no?

On a good day, banging out 100 words is easy. However, for those days (like the past several weeks of days) when I sit at my keyboard staring blankly at an even blanker screen…well, since I’m not into S&M, knowing that ten other people are standing ready with the cyber whips is an excellent incentive to get something down, however crappy it may be.

Check out the Union blogroll on the right.