Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's That Time Again....

Yes, I'm taking another blog break. I finally pulled my first draft of the book out of the drawer where it was living and I hate it it needs some serious love and attention. I need to spend some time every day editing that beast. If I work on it daily during all my spare moments for the next month, I think I can crack the second draft wide open. So that means no more wasting time on the internet during naps. Specifically:

No more obsessing over nail colours using google images  (isn't this pretty, though?)
No more trying to find the perfect wall-mounted basin tap (which is this, incidentally, but I really don't want to spend that kind of money on a bathroom faucet because I'm not insane) 
No more facebook Not quite so much facebook.
And no more blogging. 

While I'm gone, can I ask for your help in two things? Thing number one: my blog list is hopelessly, hopelessly out of date. Whoever you are, you're probably not on my blogroll. Reason? You're so pretty that it intimidates me. It's so long since I updated it I think about half the blogs on there have now died of old age. I haven't put anything new on there for about a year.  If your blog is not on my blogroll, and you wouldn't mind me linking to it, would you mind leaving the address as a comment on this post? I have lots to add.... somewhere..... but it's way more likely to actually happen if I can get them all in one place. Thank you.

Thing number two: One of my favourite bloggers has just found out that she is travelling to Ethiopia to finally meet her son. (I'll link to her once she blogs about it!) She asked for 'must pack'items on facebook, but my mind is totally blank and I can't think what to tell her. Would love your input, since you're so smart and well-travelled - I will send her all the info and pretend I thought of it myself  totally give you all the credit.

In return, here's a picture of pink and blue totally failing to grasp the rules of table football.

And with that, it's back to the word processor.

 I might just take a quick look at some pastel pink nail polish first. 


  1. Wipes, hand sanitizer, sturdy shoes, brolly, those packets of tissue that fit in your purse, Lonely Planet's Amharic phrasebook, feminine urinary director (basically a funnel like thing to make peeing while standing or squatting easier, REI has them), ziplock bags, something for travel tummy and a small travel journal. I wrote my son a little letter every night on my first trip while all the details of the day were fresh.

    (feel free to add

  2. And heck, you'll notice your hands while you're working away at the keyboard, so go on and get the nail polish sorted. It will prevent you being distracted by it while you're working!

  3. Elisabeth O'Toole25 April 2012 at 23:55

    You're so smart to take this time -- IMMERSE yourself in that manuscript -- you both deserve it. Have been thinking about you and it - had a note in my calendar to check in with you in May to see how it was going -- I'm rooting for you! Put me down for a copy from the first printing.

  4. Good luck on your book. Trying to write anything more than a 2-paragraph blog entry makes me want to hyperventilate. My blog is already on your blogroll. Yippee!!

  5. Okay, number one: hugely jealous that you're able to pull the book out of the drawer and tackle it. Take that momentum and go with it! Two: YES travel advice PLEASE! My travel seems like complete fantasy but I'd still like some tips. Three: sure, add me to your blogroll though I'm not sure how many folks are willing to wade through my self-pity. Get out the galoshes. Four: we'll miss you!

  6. I am also FINALLY leaving to meet my son on Friday! Looking forward to any tips that might come in before then.

  7. As everyone else is saying, good luck on your book!

    Travel tips: kleenex-for tears and t.p., cipro, journal. Really, if you have your passport and money, you'll be o.k.!

  8. I'll miss you and your words. BUT...I'll be able to read so many more in your real-life book. Sending happy writing mojo your way.

  9. I'll miss reading your with words for a while. Before you go, I just want to say thanks for your post a little while ago on the book 'In on it' I just ordered it for my dad (and maybe he will pass it to others) as his latest response to me talking about a particular child we are interested in adopting was to ask how the weather is (we live far away from each other) Anyway, I think its more him not knowing what to say rather than not wanting to and I quickly read through the book before I posted it to him and LOVED every word of it. So thank you.
    Happy writing!


  10. While I will miss you immensely, I am phenomenally impressed with the revision on the book.

    And..I do blog...sometimes...

  11. I hope your manuscript enjoys being loved :-)
    Good Luck!


  12. terribly impressed you have a first draft so good luck working on round two. will miss your posts while you are gone but i'm looking forward to hearing all you have to say when you get back.

    you can link to:

  13. I'll be checking back to read comments for "must bring" items as we should be traveling for court in a little over a month. I'm also very impressed (and somewhat--no, very--envious) you have a first draft of a book. Wow. I'll miss your writing here, but have fun editing and bringing the book to life.

  14. Ach, you still have my old blog on your blog roll. I'll e-mail the address of the new one. It's the new me. I'm trying to keep a low profile. hahahahahahahahaha. snort snort snort choke choke cough cough

    Have fun writing. ;-)

  15. I don't seem to be on there, and I'm on

    When I used to travel a lot for longer periods in East Africa, I'd have loved loved loved to have a Kindle - I always packed too many books. Or not enough. Both are bad.

    I would never even think to use a "feminine urinary director", I just got really good at peeing in a hole in the ground.

    If you are taking anything that has a power supply, take a surge protector (Ethiopia has UK-type plugs, doesn't it? with, I'm assuming, the odd sprinkling of old round-pin UK-type plugs? so take an adaptor).

    Clothing- loose but long-sleeved/legged.

    Shoes - trainers (running shoes) and socks if it will be rainy. Ground will be muddy. If it will mainly be dry, sandals are fine, but (again assumption) it's good to have easily slip-off-able for going into people's houses.

    I am again assuming weather will be like other high-altitude E. African areas, so take a sweater or two, and umbrellas are more practical than raincoats for warm humid days.

    I usually pack a few cereal bars and the tea bags I like.

    I don't really know about the orphanage situation but if you are planning to give them toys/pens/exercise books then it is MUCH cheaper to buy them there, plus a local shopkeeper, at least, gets a bit of money and you don't have to carry them.

    It should also be possible to buy some second-hand children's clothes so while you obviously will want to take some really cute things with you, get someone to take you to the second-hand clothes market to buy other stuff. I usually buy myself a few bits and pieces on trips too. If you are feeling adventurous you can get yourself or your child a nice traditional outfit made up too.

  16. I'll miss you!! I've been so helplessly behind I haven't been to my reader in a week... And obviously I've neglected my own blog. Have a great time editing!

  17. Packing list--some of these have been mentioned already: a good flashlight or two (because kiddos sometimes like them quite a lot, and you may not get your first one back), hand sanitizer, dry shampoo if you have oily hair, a pashmina/scarf type thing for easy extra warmth and to cover your head if you visit any holy sites (which is not required, but I know it is appreciated), Cipro or similar antibiotic, snacks that you like, trinkets to give to kids on the street if you're up for that kind of thing (we had cheapo plastic cars and necklaces, and both were a hit). I also like to carry a couple of emergency rain ponchos, the kind that are from the camping section--good for unexpected downpours, but also for questionable seating situations or wrapping items that you'd like to stay clean and dry.

    You may add me if you like:

    Good luck with work on your book! I know it will be fabulous once you've got it all sorted out.

  18. All the best to you on your book revisions. I've been thinking of getting back to writing too. After my book was published last year, I couldn't even think of writing, but now I find myself missing it.

    I'd love to be added to your blogroll.

    As for packing list, essential would be ziploc bags. They are useful for all sorts of things from sorting small hair beads to packing food for outings, but what we really found a lifesaver with the bags was that boys our Ethiopian born kids got carsick everytime we went in a vehicle, so the bags provided a much needed service! We brought a lot of liquid vitamins and Tylenol and children's cough medicine etc. as donations. I also brought a lot of toys, bracelets, etc. to hand out to kids we met. Scissors, packing tape, garbage bags, a backpack for your child for the plane ride home filled with activities. I had a packing list somewhere that was so good. I think there is one on Adoption Magazine somewhere even. If I get a chance later today, I'll have a look.

  19. Good luck on your book, Claudia! I will miss your thought-provoking (and entertaining) posts while you take a break.

    You can go ahead and add either of my blogs to your list:

    or my book review blog:

  20. I am so proud of you for 'unplugging' for a while to attend to your book -- that is awesome, and I cannot wait to hear what happens with that. But I am pretty bummed that I won't be seeing any posts from you for a while. I love, love, love reading everything you write.

    Good luck with this project!

  21. I am not on your blog roll. ;)

    List to bring: Keen shoes, grocery sacks for dirty clothes and diapers (not sure how old kiddo is), Cliff and Lara bars and dried fruit for easy healthy snacks, Rick Steves packing cubes (on Amazon, the best thing I bought to bring to Ethiopia and don't know how I lived without them before) more camera memory cards than I thought I needed. It felt good to be safe rather than sorry.

  22. Is silver nail polish out dated? Cause I still love that. Or a classic cherry red. My toddlers are currently wearing lilac on their toes.

    And here's my blog if you like.


  23. dislike the idea that I won't get more of you on here but like the idea of holding you (kind of, in a non creepy way) in my hands AS A BOOK somewhat soon. :) i shall be sending you thousands of book editing fairies to help the process.

  24. Here is a direct link to a posting of mine with recommendations for what to pack (and not pack) for Ethiopia:

    And here is my link to my blog:

    Good luck with your book! Looking forward to hearing when it's out!

  25. I so enjoy reading your blog - best wishes as you work on your book! I don't have any packing advice specific to Africa - our adoption trip was to China. One of the best things we packed, though, was a little set of stacking cups for our daughter to play with. Hours of entertainment and it took up virtually no room in the suitcase. We have a blog at:

  26. OH THE BOOK!

    My dear friend, I told a colleague just last week, this is the first and LAST book I'm doing. Far too much schlep for my liking. The next one (in a year or so - don't look at my 37 things list, okay?)) will have to be kindle-only because seriously, I am DONE!

    Although my draft copy is winging its way to me right now.........

  27. PS I'm on your blogroll already - thanks!

  28. Umm... has my blog died of old age yet, or is it just gasping for those last few breaths? *grin*

  29. I started my blog tonight...after spending the entire day wading through your Adoption 101. And no, I didn't read all the posts, though I did follow many other trails along the way. Thank you for all the work you've put into this.

    1. And...such a newbie that I didn't leave my blog.

  30. Happy editing days to you - hope you are loving your next draft soon. Will miss your writing in the blogosphere but shall be happy to behold a book of yours someday!
    I am occasionally found at

  31. Working on a book is so hard!

    I'm here:

  32. This sounds a bit flaky, but my must-pack item is perspective, and my must-leave-home item is fear. A developing country is full of people who live, work, laugh and play just like we do in our country of origin. It's possible for the western traveler's fear of bugs/sickness to suck all the joy out of international travel! Common sense is necessary, obviously, but it's important not to let your common sense turn into phobia.

    I'll miss your posts, Claudia. :)

  33. Aw, shoot. That ^^^ was me, not my daughter.

  34. Oh, I've only just found you, but probably too late for any of my Africa travel advice (I've been there 6 times). I say pack light. You can probably either purchase any needed forgotten item in country or survive without it.

  35. Oh I'd still love to be added if it's not too late!


Over to you!