Monthly Archives: November 2010

>Festival of Trees: The Magic Of Faerie Trees


I’ve been so busy with nano that I nearly forgot about The Festival of Trees. I’ve missed a few since the first time I entered the fest. So, this afternoon, (Black Friday) I ran outside and got a few shots from our back yard and then searched for something usable in my picture files. I sort of went outside the box….
 The Magic of Faerie Trees 
from our back yard
one of three giant red oaks
perfect for catching a cloud or a rainbow
 an ancient looking bird house
quiet and cozy enough for the tired and wandering fairy
it swings in mid-air
this red oak
looks like a daredevil slide
used by thrill seeking imps
 a beautiful fairy danced
and was loved by the soil
in a magical setting
 welcomed by a king
sheltered from harm
kender-sprites find a home
caught by the rising sun
the invading army
was halted forever
the last seed from the last sea tree
a gift to the king of the last magical land
from the nymphs of Atlantis
 the human male
beloved of the dancing fairy
the soil has made them one
the last magnificent castle
of the last king
to believe in magic

Go check out the other entries for this festival over at Windy Willow…..

*the first three pics are from our back yard, the remaining ones are from Biltmore House in Asheville, NC*


>My Holiday Gluttony


For the most part, I can honestly say that this Thanksgiving weekend has been completely gluttony free. It helped that I didn’t get to go to Asheville with Honey for the big dinner there (I was too far under the weather). It also helped that my side is waiting until December to do a Thanksgiving/Christmas combo (timing issues). Even the giant plates of food Honey brought home lasted a couple days instead of getting gobbled up all at once. Pretty good, huh?
Well, yesterday I did succumb to a kind of gluttony. Primarily, the computer kind. Let’s see:
 I did a little bit of this. I promise, just a little tiny bit. For myself….
 I did quite a lot of this. Usually, I find myself just running through here, clicking the like button. Yesterday, I posted, commented, rechecked over and over to look for replies and new posts to comment on. Still, no gaming! That’s something, right?
 My nano schedule has been to post on Tuesdays & Thursdays and read and comment on Saturdays. I’ve been all over blogger the past couple days, for long periods of time, too. And it’s been a lot of fun….
 I have also been feeding my lolcat addiction quite a bit. I’ve saved bunches of new-to-me lol’s…..
The thing is, as usual, I’ve waited to the last minute to finish some other things. Er, um, I should say start…  I really want to get to some of this kind of decorating. I’m looking forward to the whole Christmas season for a change and I want to act on it before it slips away….

 I also want to complete my story. Now that I’ve crossed the 50k yard line, I’m really struggling with making myself sit down and get the thing finished. It doesn’t help that there are several technical points that are throwing me for a loop and helping me to become discouraged…..
Then, there is the neglected homework. I won’t even go into my attitude toward school and the college right now. I’ve made some decisions but I still have to get this stupid, useless, already been there-done-that class over with. GGGRRRR!
I also either need to go to the grocery store for some of this stuff, as well as a few other items, or, see if I can talk Honey into doing it for me….

 What isn’t helping is that I’m terribly sleepy because we went to the 10:45 showing of this. Woohoo! It was really great, even better than I expected. William was right; it only left out/tweaked a few little things. For the most part, it followed the book very closely. And yes, I cried. 
Surprisingly, I don’t know which excited me more last night, going to see Harry, or going out with our friends. Let me explain. Honey’s BFF (and co-worker for the last 4 years), Furby, wanted to see Harry (and so did his wife and daughter) and he’s been nagging me forever to come out to eat. (They go out after work some, but I would have to drive 45 minutes to meet them; and they never know for sure when the last customer is going to leave. I really don’t want to drive that far at 8:30-ish, eat, and then come home, see?)
ANYWAY! Last night was not just about eating and going to see the movie. Nope. Furby was a cop for 15 years and he’s getting ready to go back into it part-time. Guess what? He said I could pick his brains. That’s right. He’s helping me out with the technical junk that’s been messing with me. He’s also helping me figure out some murder scenes. Cool, huh? 
I’ve already learned that I was putting too much unnecessary detail into scenes that wouldn’t really matter. A mention in passing would be enough. I’ve also changed some scenes to fit into one jurisdictional area instead of having them all spread out. This crosses out the need to think up more background characters and unnecessary back-story-type information. Sweet!
His wife contributed an idea that I love and will probably use. I don’t know if it will be my antagonist or a red herring dude…hmmmm. 
The important thing is that all the stress I’ve been experiencing because of my lack of knowledge is completely gone. Completely. The really cool thing is that Furby is really interested in the whole idea of my story. I’m glad, because we still have some kinks to work out. 
Ain’t it nice to have friends who don’t mind letting you download from their own hard-drive? 
That’s been a large part of my Thanksgiving holiday, especially yesterday. Now, I have to get off here and go get busy!

>The BBC’s ‘The Big Read – Top 100 Books’


Many of you may have seen this list floating around the blogverse or on facebook over the past few months. The first time I saw it was on a blog back at the end of the summer. 
Since then, it has gained popularity, or notoriety, depending on your opinion of it. I was talking with William the other day and we were wondering how some books make it onto the ‘classics’ list. 
I won’t mention the author or the book, but if the one we were discussing were submitted today, I highly doubt it would make it to any publishing house. If it takes 20+ pages to begin and end an action, it’s a good bet I won’t be reading it, or anything else that author has written. Then again, I’ve read a lot of fluff….
So anyway, here is the list. I’ve color coded them instead of writing reviews. (Time constraints.)

1.The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien     Read it, have the movies and the books.

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen     Read it, have the movie and the book
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling     Read it, have the movie and the book
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee     Read it, saw the movie, had the book
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne     Read it, watched it on Disney when I was little
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell     Have the book
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis     Read it, have the movie, have it on radio theater
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame     Read it
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens     Started it
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott     Read it, saw two movie versions
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy     Saw the movie
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell     Saw the movie
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling     Read it, have the movie and the book
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling     Read it, have the movie and the book
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling     Read it, have the movie and the book
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien     Read it, have the book
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll     Read most of it, saw several movie versions
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens     Started it
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl     Saw the movie
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson     Read it, saw different movie versions
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen     Have the book
39. Dune, Frank Herbert     Saw the movie
40. Emma, Jane Austen     Have the book, saw the movie
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery     Read it, had the book, saw the series on tv
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams     Have the book
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald     Read it
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas     Read it, saw the movie
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell     Have the book
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens     Started it, saw several movie versions
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett     Read it, have a version of it on dvd, had the book
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King     Started it, have the book
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell     Read it, had the book, saw the tv version
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer     Read it, have the book
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens     Started it
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough     Saw the tv series
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl     Saw the movie
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding     Saw the movie
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens     Started it
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar     Read it, saw the movie
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons     Saw the movie, really want the book
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist     Read it, have the book
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo     Saw the movie
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot     Saw the movie
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
Now, that’s the list and where I’m at with it. Hart the Watery Tart (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) posted the list with her thoughts on the books she’s read. Theresa also has a tag on facebook here. Has anyone else posted anything about this list? What are your thoughts on it?
Hart also added a few that she thought should be on the list, as well as some that should be taken off. Taking a page from her idea, I’m adding a few….

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Oddkins by Dean Koontz
The Eight by Katherine Neville
The Thomas Covenant Chronicles by Stephan R. Donaldson
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis/Hickman (a grown up version of Tolkien* my words)

PS-why does Blogger always mess with continuity? Dang it!

Oh, yeah, my score:

Read: 20
Started/Read Part Of: 7
Saw in some form: 29
Own(ed)/Want: 20

*this count is likely off-each time I go through it, I get a different number!*

>What I Want, And What I’m Giving Myself For Christmas


Well, today kicks off the official Christmas shopping season. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go out into the chaos or not. Being sick, I won’t care if people are rude.

This is the season that really makes me miss my mom. Our relationship was difficult, but we had a few things in common and the absolute love of Christmas was one of them.

I get all nostalgic and remember the days of Christmas cards arriving in the mail and being taped around doorways and on the refrigerator. Making Santas at school and curling paper with scissors for his beard and using cotton balls for his hat. I remember the wonder of waking up and finding our stockings filled with the candies and bubble gum that we always wanted and rarely got. Back in those days, they were a treat, not a staple.

It seemed like people got along better and treated each other more kindly. Time moved a bit slower and there was more meaning to things. Now, we live in a disposable society that requires instant gratification. We’ve forgotten, to a large degree, how to cherish. 

For that reason and so many others, Christmas has become dear to me. I want to slow down and savor it. I want to feel the cold air and smell the pine trees. I want to bake cookies and wrap gifts. I don’t want to feel required to go into debt or make anyone else fee that way. I want the times when we got a gift, one gift (or a couple more-not piles and piles like people seem to expect today) that was special and meant something to the giver and to me. I want to find a measure of the Christmases we used to have and bring it, as a kind of gift, to my family and friends so they can experience what was once a truly magical time.

Because my mom somehow made it special for us, while living in a poverty we were unaware of, the memories I have of Christmas are terribly special. ***So, fair warning: I’m going to be sharing those stories throughout the month of December.*** (I intend to get the blog published one day and may share it with family members who want a copy. At the very least, I want a copy for myself. This is the first ‘diary’ I’ve ever kept!)

What do you want for Christmas?

>YouTube – It’s Great For Finding Lost Treasures!


My Thanksgiving was a little bit different. My husband went to Asheville to see his mom and have lunch. His dad is a sales manager for a large company and had to work, so he wasn’t able to be there.

Neither was I. I have some kind of wicked cough, sinusy/headachy thing and my sister in law on Honey’s side is pregnant. I wouldn’t for anything want her to catch whatever I have.

So, I stayed behind and nursed a headache, coughed, and laughed internally at my raspy, nearly non-existent voice whenever Honey would call to check in on me.

I think, too, that Roo has been online, chatting with the kids in my class. I’m positive she’s taking advantage of my inability to call her down when she’s doing something she’s not supposed to. Kitty Boss is just taking advantage of my being camped out on the daybed today by curling up with me.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to read everyone’s Thanksgiving posts. After that, I thought about working on finishing my nano wip. I wasn’t really in the mood, so thought if I listened to some music I had downloaded for my MC, I could get into the mood. It kinda worked….

I went to Youtube and started looking for some Josh Groban and switched to Sarah Brightman. I found a video I hadn’t seen in years-Sarah and Michael Crawford doing “Music of the Night.” Happy sigh….

On the side, where the suggested videos are, I saw something that literally made me catch my breath. Really? Someone had posted this?!!!!

Way back, more than 10 years, I found this little movie. A treasure. I’ve bought it twice now; once on VHS and then on DVD. It’s called Rigoletto and stars Joseph Paur and  Ivey Lloyd.

Paur has a voice that wraps itself around me and turns me into a gooey puddle of liquid bliss. I found several videos, but I will only post two of them. These have only the words; the ones with scenes from the movie aren’t as pure in sound….

If you’ve eaten too much turkey, potatoes, or pie, sit back, close your eyes, and let his voice soothe and enchant. It’s completely amazing…..

This is called The Curse and it was the first time Paur’s character sang in the movie. It told a little of what had happened to him in his world.

This one is called April Child. Paur’s character has by this time befriended many of the children, including his student’s best friend. Now, I’m not telling you anything about the movie, except it is a  tiny  bit like Beauty and the Beast but with a different message altogether.

I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to listen. Neither are very long at all, and, if you do listen, let me know what you think.

Has anyone else ever seen the movie?

>Have A Safe And Wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!!


 I’m very late getting this post up. Yesterday, I had internet difficulties and couldn’t get online until this morning. Yay.

Thankfully, though, Honey fixed it. (I’m thankful!)

Today, I thought about some of the things I’m thankful for:

A family that, because of time constraints, relishes the times we manage to all gather together.

A boss and an assistant boss who love me and have become my surrogate moms.

Co-workers who have become my extended family and provide a lot of comic relief.

My friend and co-teacher who shares many of my terrible (comical) traits and has become a new sister to me.

My writer/bloggie buddy who ricochets some really fantastic ideas and shares my enthusiasm for all things written. Well, mostly all…

My kitties who are my children and make me laugh and cry and slap my forehead and keep me company.

My Honey, who loves me even when I’m not lovable. Seriously.

My Daddy, who loves me in spite of myself and helped me find my way to all of the above people and situations and keeps me sane when I’m driving.

All of you, my bloggie buddies, who so generously and willingly offer your support, encouragement, insight, and shared experiences. My cyber friends.

And, I’m thankful for being able to ‘steal’ from you guys, too. Denise over at L’Aussie Writing posted something fantastic; you should seriously go and check it out. 

 I’m also thankful for:

paper fights at work with the kids @ laughter @ splashing water while washing hands with the kids @ kisses and hugs just because @ movies @ great books to read @ memory foam mattress toppers @ music @ pumpkin pie @ stuffing @ mashed potatoes @ Mother-in-law’s sweet potatoes @ my niece’s puppy-isms @ purring kitties @ sleep @ toothpaste @ make-up @ electric blankets @ trees with beautiful leaves @ giraffes @ Creepers….I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.

Hav ah saaf an ah happie tanks-gibin
kittehs arr tankfull, too
tanks foar gibin us all dem taistee noms!



See this angry gorilla? That’s how I feel right now. Ask me why. Go ahead, ASK ME!!!!!!

I just completed the 50k word count for nano and, since that doesn’t complete the story, I was still writing. I was IN THE FLOW, MAN!

I get to the point when one mc has to share some important and difficult information with the other mc and DANG IT! How did he react? HE GOT MAD! He wasn’t supposed to get mad! What the heck?!!!

Where does he get off thinking he gets to choose how he feels and reacts? I’m the one in charge here, right? RIGHT?!!

Now, the flow is jammed all up, ideas spilling out everywhere like an overflowed toilet and here I am, barefooted, standing in a load of crap without a plunger!

Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but he’s messing with my flow! Now, how am I supposed to bring it all back together without making it sappy? I HATE sappy. GGGRRRRRrrrrrr! No, wait…WWWaaaaaaa!!!! *sniff* *hiccup* *sniff*

“It’s okay.” *shakey, whispery assertion* “I’ll find a way.” *blowing nose and sweeping up office carnage*

Anyway, I just needed to vent. And maybe a little sympathy. Does this happen to you? Got a hankie?

>Come Meet The Cast Of My NaNo Story!


If you look on my link, at the time of this writing, I am almost finished with the NaNo limit of 50k words. However, the story will continue until it is finished, whatever that word count will end up being. To give myself a break, I listened to some music (from The Crow) and found:  a beautiful ending (which I hope I can write justice to!), how the bad guy comes onto the scene, and a holiday celebration that precedes the mayhem (set to a Bette Midler song). Not too bad for just chillin’.
I have collected magazines to get a feel for the Foster’s home. That’s been lots of fun. Makes me want to do some reno here. Alas, lack of funds puts that little daydream to bed!
I also decided to cast my characters. And here they are:
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you Dr. Greg Foster!
Well, I have to have Edward Norton, don’t I? I mean, it was his character from The Illusionist that created the story in the first place. And he’s able to balance sensitivity with strength and gentleness with fierce determination. He’s also quite capable of rage, which is good. He also manages to do the inwardly driven, outwardly calm thing quite well. An underlying quality of Dr. Greg’s.
And, introducing his lovely wife, the artist extraodinaire, Amy Foster!

 I had originally not wanted to go with a blonde, just for general purposes, but Piper Perabo has been in my head since the beginning. I adore her in Covert Affairs and she’s so versatile. She has the best laugh in the world, an expressive face (read: a whole range of emotions at her disposal), and isn’t afraid to be silly, which is a requirement, sort of, for Amy. Basically, she’s just perfect for the part!
And, in the role of the sturdy, solid, don’t-you dare-make-the-mistake-of-underestimating-him-or-assuming- he’s-just-some-dumb-hick-southern-rube-sheriff, Delroy Lindo!
I think the first thing I may have seen him in was Gone In 60 Seconds. I loved him from the start. He had presence. He had grace. You just knew that if you were running from the law, you better hope the law wasn’t Delroy Lindo, cause your number would be up! His character is Dr. Greg’s BFF and has basically, unofficially adopted the whole Foster family. Sheriff Jack is the man you want to stay on the right side of. If he’s your friend, it’s for life. If he’s your enemy, well, better luck next time!
This little charmer is Shyann McClure from Premonition and she will be playing Sophie Foster, Greg’s daughter from his first marriage. 

Originally, Sophie didn’t even exist. She was born one day while bouncing ideas off of William. We decided that it would up the ante if the Foster’s had a child. But, knowing that Amy couldn’t have any, a whole other back-story had to be written. In my brain, not the story. So, Greg’s first wife was killed in a car wreck; Sophie survived. She’s funny, insightful, trusting, loyal, and in her way, as fierce as her dad and stepmother. By the time the story takes place, she’s around 12 years old. I got to tweak the timeline a bit. I keep having to change things. But, Sophie has grown to be a major character, as has Jack. 
I still haven’t cast the antagonist, another doctor, Jack’s wife, the coroner, some investigators, etc. But at least most of the major cast is out of the way.
So, who’s in your story? Care to share?

all photos from or

>Lydia’s 500 Followers Contest/Giveaway!


Lydia Kang over at The Word is My Oyster is celebrating reaching 500 followers with a sweet giveaway contest! Four winners will receive a $15 gift card to a book store of their choice. How cool is that? All you have to do is:

1. Be a follower of my blog (meaning Lydia’s)
2. Please leave a comment with your email address andthe name the local bookstore that you’d like to celebrate!

(copied and pasted from Lydia’s post)
For extra drawings:
+3 for blogging
+3 for Facebooking
+2 for tweeting
+1 for mentioning it on your sidebar

The contest is open to U. S. and Canadian residents only (sorry!) and will end on December 3.

This is just in time for Christmas, so what are you waiting for? Check out her wonderful blog and be sure to enter the contest! Also, for all of you writers, be sure to check out her Medical Mondays in which she will address a medical question for your characters. Sweet!

>The Chase


 Are any of you old enough to remember cruising? I never really got into it, until I moved out and got an apartment with a friend from middle and high school.

She was… adventurous.       The story begins….

In smalltown, a few miles up the road from my neck of the woods, MM and I were hanging out in the Hardee’s parking lot, talking to a couple of really cute city cops. It’s 2am and all is quiet. Cop 1 is telling us about scuba diving in Florida and Cop 2 is laughing, sitting at the wheel.

A big black older car goes through the drive through, and, upon receiving his order, peels out of the parking lot, squealing tires all the way to the stop light. Mind you, this Hardee’s was right next door to two housing developments. A sleepy little area where people were in bed and lights out by 11pm. Cop 1 says “Gotta go!” and Cop 2 is in hot pursuit. They wanted to remind the driver of the late hour and to slow it down. No intention of handing out a ticket. It was that kind of town. Think Andy Griffith.

Driver Dude, upon seeing the flashing blue lights, takes off. MM and I look at one another and say “Wow! Did you see that guy?!! OOOooooOOOO, he’s gonna be in trouble!!”

Some of MM’s friends had, in the meantime, pulled into the parking lot. They shouted that we should all get into one car and follow them and see who it was. Sounded like a plan. We piled six people into a Beetle and took off.

MM and I were sitting across the laps of the two guys in the back seat, hanging on for dear life, while the two guys in the front tried to navigate, steer, and function as lookouts. They did a great job of keeping up with everyone.

We went through Caldwell, Catawba, Burke and Watauga counties. Driver Dude topped speeds of 100mph, caused several minor police car wrecks, ran even more city and county law enforcement cars out of gas, and eventually headed up the mountain, where he crashed through the fence at The Green Park Inn. (The fence is gone now, replaced by a low rock wall.)

The tag on the front of his car read, ‘Drive like hell, you’ll get there.’ All the cops had a good laugh over the tag. They opened the trunk of his car and found lots of drugs-the reason he had panicked.

That was the only time I ever visited the Inn. I never got further than the parking lot. But I have to admit that my stay, albeit brief, was memorable.