Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Come on over to my new blog...

Hi everyone,
Happy new year! I'm now blogging here!

Change your bookmarks to http://rebeccaagiewich.blogspot.com/.

See you there.

Love, me

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New YouTube Sensation is Discovered!

I am getting ready to unveil a new blog.

Yes, I know, you are quivering with anticipating right about now! It's not really that exciting. I'm just going to rid of my "professional" Wordpress site and merge it with my personal blog. There's really not much difference between them except the professional site is BOORING.

Anyway, with me the personal is the professional. Whatever that means.

Now, on to news. There is none, really. Except that I "YouTubed" myself for the first time the other day and found something exciting. ("YouTubed" meaning I typed my own named into YouTube to see what came up).

It's a video showing the March 2009 installment of Cheap Wine and Poetry at Richard Hugo House (now Cheap Beer and Prose) during which yours truly gives a dyno-mite appearance! The whole video is worth watching if you're interested in Seattle's literary scene, but if you really must just see MY part the fast-forward to minute 3:32 to hear me being introduced; minute 3:56 if you must hear me right away!)

You don't get to hear much of my talk  but you do get to see all the parts where people laughed the most! in this video I'm reading from BreakupBabe: A Novel, but I also read from two of my  sixth grade novels that night, entitled "A Life to Love" and "Roxana's World." Maybe those will be on YouTube someday too!

Anyway, I just realized I am late for a pedicure. More soon.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

BreakupBabe lives on

BreakupBabe at Half-Price Books
 On a busy intersection in lower Queen Anne just now, around the corner from my condo, stood a guy in a hooded sweatshirt. Slung around his chest was tennis racket that he was "playing" like a guitar. "Air tennis racket" you might call it.

He had headphones on, and besides playing air tennis racket, he was also playing air flute, air drums, and other associated air-instruments.He was doing all this in the pouring rain.

I see this guy around Queen Anne all the time. At coffeshops, hanging out on benches, almost always listening to his headphones. Always puffing on a cigarette. Always alone.

He looks normal enough--even handsome in a shaggy, graying way, kind of like my arrogant old writing teacher Leonard Michaels (RIP Lenny, I wrote a novel IN SPITE OF YOU!) - but after seeing him a few times I realized that this guy was maybe just a little bit off.

Not that he ever did anything too strange or acted crazy, except for maybe muttering to himself on occasion. (I realized, at some point, that he lived in subsidized housing a couple blocks away from me.)

So when I saw him acting fully delusional today my heart broke. I thought: he's been holding it together and now he's lost it. He's not taking his meds. He took too many meds. But what do I know? Absolutely nothing, that's what.

On the other hand, on this gray, dreary, wet day part of me felt a little happy for him that he was so happy. Because he was. He looked blissed out and oblivious to anything else except the music he was pretending to make.

Still. What happens when the music ends?

In happier news, GalPal #3 and her husband "Henry" spotted - at their daughters' gymnastics meet - a woman hungrily devouring a novel called BreakupBabe. They fell upon her, regaling her with tales of how they are prominently featured in the book and how the novel was started in their house!

They didn't go so far as to offer their autographs but they might as well have for all the bragging they did. She told them she worked at "Empire Corporation" (ahem) and was going through a divorce, and a friend told her she knew just the book for her.

Now isn't that dandy that at four years old, BreakupBabe is still helping hearts mend? Why look, I even found a copy on the shelf at Half Price Books last week!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Snow in the Cascades, Sun in the Gulf Islands

Fall colors in the forest
Fall made its shivery entrance into my bones this weekend by visiting SNOW upon me during my much-anticipated three-day backpacking trip to Horsehoe Basin in the Pasayten Wilderness.

No amount of layers or meditation ("You are lying on a sunny beach in Zihuatenejo, Mexico; it is 90 degrees. You are lying on a..etc etc".) could keep me warm in my super high-tech but NOT WARM ENOUGH, DAMN IT Big Agnes sleeping bag.

Dave and I both squeezed into my sleeping bag a couple times, which warmed me up but was ultimately unsustainable as a way to actually sleep. So he heroically let me sleep in his bag at six in the morning, and after I added a layer of rain pants on top of my soft-shell pants and long underwear; after I added another shirt underneath my polypro top, my fleece jacket, and my down jacket, then, and only then, did I warm up enough to fall asleep for two hours. (Let's not forget the two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, and two hats I was also wearing).

In Horseshoe Basin
So I hightailed it out of there after only one night - even though the trip was planned for three, and it's a five-hour drive to get there (well, seven hours if you take bad advice on which way to go, which I did on the way there!) But at least I did get to see the desolately beautiful Horseshoe Basin, high and mighty at 7000 feet, especially rugged as snow and wind alternated with sun.

Before that I had a nice bit of summer on Gabriola Island (in British Columbia), and then sea kayaking in the Gulf Islands with Gabriola Sea Kayaking. Naturally the weather was beautiful until the morning we were supposed to set off in our kayaks, when pouring rain and gale force winds delayed our launch. But then it cleared up nicely. I'll write a little more about that trip soon, when the sensations have fully returned to my limbs. For now, here is a photo or two.

Blackberry Point, Valdez Island

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of Mice and Madmen

Well if it isn't one thing, it's another.

On my last wilderness trip a mouse caused a ruckus in the middle of the night.

This time there was a bonafide crazy (and/or drunk or drugged) person wandering round the tiny Mowich Lake campground (at Mt. Rainier)  in the middle of the night with a large, silent dog. He would yell indecipherable but angry-sounding things, sing loudly, then disappear into the woods behind the campground with his dog to do who knows what.

Then he would go silent for a while only to re-emerge from the woods and walk back to the parking lot.

And we were all trapped there, about 40 of us, at the end of a 17-mile gravel road with no ranger in sight. Alas, Dave was not with me or I would have felt much safer. Why you should have seen the way Dave took charge and masterfully dispatched the mouse from our tent! I know he would have done the same with the crazy/drugged guy had that guy menaced me, which luckily he did not.

I heard him drive off around 1 a.m. and only then fell into a troubled sleep, feeling very vulnerable in my little tent with the rainfly off so I could see the moon, which shone like a spotlight all night long.

The trip - a day hike to glorious Spray Park - got better after that, if also more mosquito-ridden. The Mountain was out in all her glory, as were the glacier lilies, Indian paintbrush, and many other flowers I swear I will someday learn the name of.

In writing news, there is not much, except that I'm slowly, steadily working on the second draft of the children's novel I wrote last November. I imagine it should be finished in about 20 years.I'm also archiving, in PDF format, every damn thing I've ever written or published which is a rewarding project because it makes me realize - wow, I actually HAVE been a prolific writer in the past (even if I don't feel that way now).

The idea of doing an inventory of all my writing came via the brilliant writing teacher Priscilla Long, whose new book about writing I intend to purchase soon!

Also, my friend, colleague and writing coach Waverly Fitzgerald, wrote this provocative blog post about favorite children's book for the Hugo House blog that mentions me. I'M FAMOUS!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Midnight Mouse Emergencies in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

A few updates from SparklyLand:

My poor pug Snuffy has only just recovered from all the explosive action around here on 4th of July. Next year he is going on DOGGIE TRANQUILIZERS.

Dave and I took a fabulous backpacking trip to Pratt Lake (left) in the the Alpine Lakes Wilderness over Independence Day weekend.

  • It took only 45 minutes to get to the trailhead from home. Yay, easy-to-acess Cascade Mountains!
  • Wildflowers abounded, misty and dew-laden, all along the lakeshore trail.
  • A mouse breached our tent in the middle of the night and Dave bravely chased it out while I cowered in my sleeping bag. (The mouse had apparently been pooping and enjoying various snacks in the tent for quite some time before it woke up Dave; I slept right through the ruckus. And yes, I KNOW you should never store food in your tent. I'm a professional hike leader, for crying out loud! I decline to discuss why the food was in our tent - suffice it to say, it will never happeng again. And thank God it wasn't a bear.)
  • It poured down rain most of the night but our tent kept us dry despite the hole the aforementioned mouse (nicknamed"Rhoda") put in it.
In other news, I'm continuing to work quite steadily on my next novel project, thanks to my great writing coach Waverly Fitzgerald. Yes, even writing coaches need writing coaches, didn't you know that?  

Toodaloo for now.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Watch out, Michael Phelps!

It's go-time at GLOWS 2010
This weekend I successfully completed the 1/2-mile course of Greenlake Open Water Swim. Yay me!

My major goal was to complete it without being rescued by  "the boat of shame." My other goal was to come in under 25 minutes, which I also achieved. I finished the race in a blindingly fast 22 minutes and 57 seconds, and that included a lot-of time-wasting maneuvers in the water such as waiting around for the nearest lifeguard-on-a-paddleboard to catch up to me so I would never be farther than a few yards away from a lifeguard-on-a-paddleboard!

I also lolligagged at the finish line, looking behind me to see if I was the last one out of the lake, and lo and behold, I WAS NOT! There were at least five people behind me!

It was a nice-ish morning, sunny but cool. I wore a wetsuit, which is something I've never done before in all my local swimming adventures. At first I felt rather wussyish wearing one, but in the end I was glad I had it. It's intimidating enough swimming across a body of open water on a "Juneuary" day without having to deal with gasping for breath as you adjust to the water temperature.

There were all sorts of people doing the event - grandmothers and grandaughters, fathers and sons, musclebound triathletes, very unmusclebound people, and, me - jack of all sports, master of none.

I probably would have gone even blindingly faster if I hadn't forgotten my secret weapon - the Powerbar(R) Double Latte Gel. This little gel gave me turbopower for 20 whole minutes on a bike ride last week and I was counting on it to do the same as I kicked my competitor's butts in the lake. But alas, I forgot it in the excitement and had only a banana to fuel me across the stormy seas.

Actually, Greenlake is much mellower than Lake Washington, which is always churning with wind and boat wakes. Greenlake is placid and peaceful, though of course you can't see a anything as you're swimming across it except greenish-black murk.

I did, sadly, have to make sure there was a lifeguard near me at all times. And the few times when the closest lifeguard had to stop and help some poor soul who was even slower than me, I sorta freaked out and didn't know whether to keep going. In the end, I did, with the help from my mantra:

"If I can climb Mt. Rainier, I can swim across Greenlake. If I can climb Mt. Rainier...."

I was also trying to sing the song "All Down the Line" by the Rolling Stones in my head but it didn't work because I only know one line: "All down the li-ine...".

Next time I need to pick a song I actually know the words to.