Saturday, January 23, 2010

Enjoy your Tinkerbell snowglobe, TSA

It seems TSA is in disarray since the last attack attempts. I hope they get their act straightened out soon! Our recent trip to Arizona started out strange. The guy at Fast Park stood and watched while we wrestled our suitcases up the steps into the shuttle van. First time that’s ever happened. I hope DH didn’t tip him much. (He says he tipped a buck, a little high methinks.)

We got to the terminal, which I renamed the interminable. The guy in front of us hadn’t used the check-in machine, even though he was in the Bag Drop lane, but the one, sole, lonely desk agent took him anyway. Took forever. The line behind us started to trail down the hallway.

Then, a bright spot. After checking the suitcases, we walked past the first security person and she commented that I had tied the yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. I was wearing a bright yellow scarf, almost neon, so she had a point. I thought it was pretty funny, so I walked a few steps, paused, and said, “Did I just get called an old oak tree?” I know, I’m a smart aleck.

The woman jumped up, stepped to me with open arms and said, “Give me some love.” I said, several times, that I was just kidding. She took it in good spirit and gave DH a hug, too, saying I was HIS old oak tree. She was so cute! A ray of sunshine.

When I went through the beeper/scanner, the man said I was flagged for a search. I beeped because I have a knee implant, which I told him. He nodded (but didn’t register what I said, or the fact that his machine had just beeped me) and waved me to the enclosure.

When I got to the searching place the woman told me to stand up. That was a little puzzling, because they always do my feet first, while I’m sitting down and sticking them out. She didn’t even have her wand in her hand.

“Aren’t you going to wand me?” I asked. “I have a knee replacement.”

A certain amount of flurry followed with people questioning each other (not me). No one had told her I beeped! In the end, I did get wanded like I always do, but only because I called their attention to me.

But, in the middle of my wanding, another TSA person brought over my little blue carry-on case, opened it, and took out the Tinkerbell snowglobe I was bringing to my granddaughter. It dawned on me, at that moment, that the snowglobe was filled with liquid, a big airplane no-no. The two TSA employees looked at each other, one of them picked up the offending toy and stroked it. She gave me a regretful look and, just to be that way, I said, “My granddaughter loves Tinkerbell.” Which is true, but other thoughts were running through my head.

(When I had consulted about the advisability of bringing it for the three-year-old granddaughter, my son had hinted that the one-year-old grandson would probably break it, and we would, at last, find out what’s inside a snowglobe.)

As the TSA person strolled over to a man in an elevated pulpit, overseeing the operation, I reasoned to myself that I had gotten it on sale at Walgreen’s, so it wasn’t expensive; I hadn’t told my granddaughter I was bringing it, so showing up without it wouldn’t disappoint her; little brother was likely to break it anyway, so my son and daughter-in-law would be grateful if I didn’t bring it.

The TSA agent held it up to the overseer and raised her eyebrows. “Snowglobes?”

“No snowglobes,” he barked.

She turned around and walked slowly back to me. “You can go back out of security and see if the airline can give you a box to mail it,” she said. Even though we had plenty of time, I had talked myself into thinking it would be better not to bring it. I told her, no, I didn’t want to go through security again. The thing was pretty, though. She stroked it again. “We’ll just throw it anyway,” she said, trying to talk me into it.

Then she got mad. “It’s so stupid, I don’t know why they’re on the list. We could scan them. It doesn’t make sense.” She was railing against her own rules! I think she was more upset about it than I was.

So I arrived without the snowglobe. In fact I arrived without my checked luggage, for which I had paid twenty dollars handling fee. But that’s another story. And not TSA's fault.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Greece Trip

My travels include the globe, as well as my Writer's Journey. I LOVE to travel. It took me a couple of years to talk DH into visiting Greece for our most recent big anniversary. He finally gave in and, to show it, he wrapped up a bunch of Greek travel brochures for one of my Christmas presents and that, along with the nifty new camera, was his way of saying, "OK, let's go!"

A Greek friend from Dallas put us in touch with Maria Cariannopoulos, who met us in Greece with sesame cookies. Yummmm.

This trip included just about everything. First stop, the Oracle at Delphi. It would be hard not to believe in a higher power in such a beautiful spot. The surrounding countryside is what most of Greece is like, very few flat places.

We took a bus partway, then hiked the rest, to the top of a stone spire to visit one of the fantastical Meteora monasteries. Their supplies are brought up by ropes and pulleys in buckets and nets.

We also saw Olympia, site of the games after which the modern Olympics are modeled. Right after our tour, a devastating fire crept to within yards of the ruins, but heroic efforts on the part of Greek firefighters saved them. Men (no women) would come from all over that part of the ancient world to compete at these games. The beautiful olive trees, which grow wild in that part of the world, add so much to all the ruins.

Our mini cruise included several Greek Isles and a stop in Turkey to see Ephesus. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite, but Santorini, where the fable of Atlantis probably originated, is a favorite. It was drizzling and foggy for our stay there, but that didn't diminish the beauty at all.

The big finale (after many other stops I'm not including here) was the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens. I was surprised to learn that most ancient Greek cities had Acropolises (Acropoli?), and we visited several others. Almost everything you see in Greece requires lots of going up and down so, if you haven't gone and you're planning on it, get in shape! (Excuse my outfit--it was hot!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Starting Gate

I'm not at the starting gate for my writing career, but with this new blog! (And with another new blog this month, DialogForMurder, a blog of four ((at this point)) mystery writers) I introduce myself there on Friday.

My writing goals for the year are set:

*get more than 2 measly short stories published (should I count the one accepted for the anthology not yet out? maybe not)

*clean up the novel I have just about completed and run it through my list of agents, querying (CHOKE is the name of the project)

*finish writing the sequel to the one above (SMOKE) (confusing, I know, so the titles are subject to change)

*keep querying the finished YA Neanderthal mystery that I've had some nibbles on (if no agent takes me on, continue the process with small presses)

*think about whether to keep sending an older amateur sleuth mystery to small presses, or whether to do a rewrite

The BIG goal, a publishing contract for any of the three series I'm working on!

Oh yes, maybe I should update my website. It's been awhile!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Journey So Far

I'm Kaye George and I'm on the road to being a published novelist. Since I've read that the average time to be published after starting down this twisted path is ten years, I'm right on schedule to not be published yet.

It's a new year and I'm taking stock. Here's where I am: I've written short stories since I was a child. For a few years I collected rejection slips from The New Yorker and other prominent fiction markets. When I decided I really, really wanted to be published, I picked the genre I most enjoy reading, mystery, and started a novel. One day, after the kids were all gone, after my programming job left the continent, and after hubbie's midlife crisis/career change (which uprooted us, leaving behind my social circle and a bunch of other stuff), I decided I really, really, really wanted to be published. I finished the novel I'd been messing with, a murder mystery, found a supportive, welcoming online community in the Sisters in Crime Guppies, shaped the thing up and starting shooting out the queries.

After a couple of years of rejection on that front, I returned to writing a few short stories, in between novel forays. Much to my surprise, I got some of them published. Even won some contests and awards.

But I kept plugging away on that one novel until I couldn't stand it any more. I've now written three more, a sequel to that first one, a YA, and the beginnings of another series. I'm actively working on and/or querying the YA and the new series, and still putting out short stories when I take a break from novels.

I'd love it if you'd like to follow me on my journey. I may make publishdom this year! That's what I'm telling myself.