Stephanie Burgis
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It's amazing what a difference...
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...a change-of-scene makes! This morning Patrick and I drove together into downtown Leeds for the first time in months. (The curse of the suburbs - it's just so much easier to drive 5 minutes to the suburban Borders/shopping center, with its free parking, or to drive 10 minutes to the mall - again, free parking - than to drive 15 minutes into the city center and pay for a parking space...) Instead of sitting at home for our writing session, we did our writing in a downtown café looking out onto the busy main street. And it was amazing - I scribbled pages and pages of notes on KbS, and had the easiest, most purely fun writing session that I've had a long time. It felt great.

Once we'd finished, we wandered two blocks over to the huge Waterstones bookshop, which I absolutely love - but which I almost never go to (see: free parking at the suburban Borders!). For the first time, I was able to see in person several of the books I'd read about online, and better yet - they were doing a 3-for-2 sale! I ended up with four (!) new American YA novels that all look like so much fun: Robin Benway's Audrey, Wait! (which feels kind of like a teenage girl version of High Fidelity - excellent), Cassandra Clare's City of Ashes, Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning (first in her new YA trilogy), and Jo Graham's Black Ships, which I've been looking forward to for a LONG time. Just to make it all even better, I got mega-points on my Waterstones card for them, too, including 5 "eco-points" for not asking for a plastic bag - woot! I was practically bouncing as we left - it felt like Christmas. And as we walked through the busy downtown streets, surrounded by unfamiliar people and shops and scenes, I felt my mind opening wide open.

It is much too easy to fall into a rut with day-to-day routines. But it feels so nice to break it, even if it's only with something as mild as a drive into town.

This afternoon was Maya-time, with a trip out to the park. We'd started to worry that she wasn't getting enough dog socialization - she'd started acting nervous around other dogs when she met them, mostly because she didn't meet other dogs nearly often enough - so we've started taking her to the local park much more regularly. It's always full of border collies racing across the field after balls, Scottie dogs and labradors congregating in big wagging, sniffing groups, families playing games on the grass, and little kids climbing around the playground equipment. It's one of the most relaxing places I know, and I love it - especially on days like today, when Maya races around both of us with her tail high and wagging like a flag, brown eyes bright, pink tongue hanging out of her mouth, daring us to catch her, and then flying after her squeaky stuffed monkey with total dedication.

It's been a really good day.

Kat by Starlight
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