Thursday, April 16, 2009

"It's such a perfect day... I'm glad I spent it with you"

(Or so sings Lou Reed in one of the best songs ever... except that it sounds so sad when he sings it. I don't mean it so sadly!)

Last week was a tough one. You know those times when you're contemplating everything you've done in the past year, and then suddenly you realize you did all that stuff in the past month?

Anyway, Wednesday night, I went to bed completely rattled, burned out, and beat. Thursday morning, I woke to a phone call from a lady at my credit card company, who was calling to verify suspicious activity on my account. She was right: I had NOT purchased a song online for 99 cents the day before. (Though I had three days prior, making it a particularly clever theft for the perpetrator to have perpetrated -- but, um, still a bit underwhelming? 99 cents? Is it really worth going to all the trouble of being nefarious to buy one song on iTunes?).
Why, I asked the lady, would anyone steal my credit card info and then spend 99 cents? I dropped my credit card in the rain on 53rd and 5th once while I was living in New York. The people who got their hands on that card went straight to Saks 5th Avenue, where nothing costs 99 cents.

Because, the nice credit card lady explained to me, thieves will do this sometimes to test out the card and/or establish themselves as legitimate purchasers with the card. If it works, it means they've pulled the wool over the credit card company's eyes. Then they start making the big purchases.

I decided to interpret the entire experience as a sign that I needed a day off or I was going to die.

Forthwith, I sat on the couch for hours, ate oatmeal, and watched Buffy. Then, I carried Pride and Prejudice to my local tea shop and read it while drinking a pot of tea and eating scones and little crustless triangle sandwiches. Then, I did some window shopping, bought a greeting card I liked, and bought a used book called The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. (It's a mystery by Alexander McCall Smith, the audiobook of whose No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was my chosen listening on airplanes in March. Great audiobook, btw -- wonderfully read by Lisette Lecat.). I walked in the sun. I visited the river. I came home and cooked tilapia with portobello mushrooms, sweet onions, and white wine. (Recipe here.) I drank a beer. (I'm sure you're supposed to drink white wine when eating tilapia cooked with white wine, but, well, I didn't feel like drinking white wine, so there.)

It was a perfect day; it was just the rest I needed. So, thank you, really stupid 99-cent thief, for being the straw that broke the camel's back and gave me a day off. (Or something.)

Do you work too hard? How do you refuel?

I leave you with my new card (which can be purchased as a magnet here).

44 comments:

Jen said...

Aw Kristin I'm so sorry about your lost 99 cents but glad you had a well deserved break...Sometimes I feel I work too much and when that happens I have some only me TV time or read. When I feel like I'm about to burst from reading I take a walk with my mom or smthing like have mother-daughter mall day:P Maybe you should visit your mom...They solve everything and cheer you up when you need it!:P
-Jen

tinkandalissa said...

I just had to take a class on identity theft for work. Very boring, but there are so many crazy ways those thiefy bastards take your info and use it. You'd be surprised. Anyway, good to know that someone out there is looking out for you! And that you got a much needed break.
I feel wound up all the time. What works for me is to take a walk or hike w/my dog and listen to my iPod and ignore everything else except nature. I also read to unwind. But sometimes just laying in bed w/a glass of wine or a beer and my kitty while watching movies or tv helps too! Depending on my mood, I also like to take a drive w/my stereo blaring some wonderful rocking music and sing along like a goof.
Hope you have a better rest of the week!

pamcjordan said...

Glad to hear you recharged. I work in the garden, cook, knit and sew. I find all of those things to be totally therapeutic. Time to myself, occupying my hands and letting my mind wander. I cooked dinner for 18 last weekend, and it was an amazingly pleasant experience!

Sam said...

"You know those times when you're contemplating everything you've done in the past year, and then suddenly you realize you did all that stuff in the past month?"

My life is the opposite, actually. I turn 40 soon and I've accomplished nothing. I'm more in love with the idea of being a writer than actually writing. I am in awe of folks like you, Kristin, who make it happen. I've contemplated for years the reasons I can't write but so desperately want to. Life is funny, but not usually in a ha-ha kind of way.

aimeempayne said...

Three's a tea shop around here?

Anonymous said...

Recently I had a similar day--feeling grumpy and unappreciated; more work to do than I could possibly ever get done; never any time to write or do ANYTHING I wanted to do. Plus, the weather continued miserable. Instead of doing the work I absolutely had to do, I built a fire in the fireplace, made myself a cup of Earl Grey, and reread THE KING OF ATTOLIA for the umpteenth time. It was perfect.

So was reading that GRACELING is a first-round winner in SLJ's Battle of the Books!

Katsa-fan

Loredan Avery said...

I know exactly how you feel. Last week, I seriously considered murdering someone. And for everyone else that pushed my buttons, I was going to learn a really stealthy martial art so that I could sneak into their house all cat-like and perform some paralyzing maneuver using my pinky.

Alas, I doubt they'd publish my future book from prison. In times of despair I hold a puppy. That's right, head straight to local pet store and hold one, or all, if they'll let you. Then consult the chocolate Gods. I like the Ben and Jerry's Phish food the best.

Sending you happy thoughts,
Avery

Jesslyn said...

Please, please, please--could you ask or request that your publisher release the ebook versions of your books along with the physical version? There are a number of us out here that no longer purchase physical books.
Either way it goes, thanks for the consideration
--Jesslyn

A. Grey said...

I'll trade you your 99 cents credit theft for my overdue baby horse who finally arrived in a delivery where the placenta separated prematurely causing oxygen depravation to the foal and heart failure in us humans who were present! :) The smiley should be a clue that despite such drama, the foal - at this time anyway - is fine and running amok just as little fillies should be running amok.
But talk about grey hairs. I think I got about a hundred new ones this morning when that mare went down and no little feet appeared. Instead we got an alien looking wad of red tissue that very obviously belonged INSIDE the horse.
Any who, I'm glad you got a day off, and are only down 99 cents. I didn't get to go to a tea house, but since I was the one up all night waiting on the mare to give birth, I've been allowed to lounge and attend our new little one, which on a horse farm is a heck of a good day off! ;)

mrmorse said...

Katsa-fan said:

> So was reading that GRACELING is a first-round winner in SLJ's Battle of the Books!

SPOILER!!!1!!1!!!!

I was looking forward to reading the results, and now it's all been ruined. RUINED!

:-)

kristin cashore said...

Aww, you're all so nice! And I'm glad to hear everyone's coping methods. They sound a lot like mine. Artemis -- YIKES! Glad the foal seems okay. And I wish I could wash a foal being born!

Aimee -- I emailed you about the tea shop. :o)

Sam, are you sure you've really accomplished *nothing*? :o) Seems unlikely.

Jesslyn, I have zero power over how and when the books are released -- but I will say that there's a Kindle edition of Graceling on amazon.com right now, and an ebook of the UK version at waterstones.com.

kristin cashore said...

Ahem. WATCH a foal being born, is what I meant.

Jen Robinson said...

That sounds like a great recharging day. My recharging methods are similar, but even quieter. I recently spent a weekend (with better half out of town) pretty much divided between reading on my couch in front of the fire, and watching chick movies (including Twilight). I planned out the weekend ahead of time, picking up my movies, getting books from the library and the bookstore, and getting take-out that I could re-heat for various meals. I did ride my exercise bike, too, but as I watch TV when I do that, it still fell into recharge mode. And it was amazing! Sorry about your credit card fraud - but isn't it amazing how quickly the credit card companies catch people?

Anonymous said...

Very sorry, mrmorse. I just didn't think before I posted that spoiler. Lesson learned.

katsa-fan, feeling very small

mrmorse said...

It's not a big deal. I made more of it than it deserved.

kristin cashore said...

Katsa-fan, don't worry, that was NOT a spoiler AT ALL!!! A spoiler is: Hamlet dies at the end! (Although i'm thinking most people know that?) :o) Btw, meant to tell you before that I'm currently reading THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA for the first time. In fact, I'm seriously considering calling it a day and carrying it to the tea house.

Jen, I was STUNNED that my cc company caught the fake charge. They make excellent spies!

NoGrandmother said...

I work too hard, and I would like to stop.

Ai said...

Your mention of Pride and Prejudice has prompted me to recommend a new book that either just came out or is about to come out: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Perhaps you can read it on your next day off. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm an italian girl and I've just finished reading Graceling, so I immediately visited your blog :) I'm very surprised because I've just realized that 'Katje'was originally Katsa :O I also noticed you have italian relatives: do you speak italian too, if I may ask?
I don't work, but I study hard (sometimes :P), in my free time I usually read or draw (I must try to draw Po! >_<)

Koa

Rose said...

I tend to say yes to everything anyone asks me to do, then about halfway through realize what an idiot I am. I've just finished with directing a community play, spearheading a letter-writing campaign for immigrant detainees rights, organizing my church's first ever theatrical group (they want to put on Godspell), and crocheting two blankets for my friend's twins. Luckily, this probably means that I'll have free time for a week or two.

What I usually do to relax though... I like spending a nice evening by myself, maybe with a book. Sometimes I indulge in writing simply awful poetry, or listening to some quiet music while I sew.

You should try the poetry some day - it's rather refreshing.

peace,
Rose

A. Grey said...

Kristin, you'd enjoy watching foals get born, it never ceases to amaze me. It's life right in your lap!
So far, code name Roja (play on 'red bag' birth, which refers to the placenta detaching) is doing great. She's officially reached 'pain in the ass' stage which is so typical, and just where little pugnacious fillies ought to be at her age. She weighed a hefty (for Paso Finos) 80 lbs, and her big old shoulders got wedged in her poor mother's pelvis at first during the already questionable birth, but a little wiggle solved that.
In case anyone's interested (and I'm by no means trying to lure anyone or anything) I posted three pics of Roja on my blog so feel free to stop in for a moment of "Awwwww..." if you feel like it! ;D I'd just put a link, but no one's managed to teach me that yet...

GreenOptimist said...

Best way to relax:
Ice cream. No matter what, ice cream works. If people gave the leading politicians in the world a lot of ice cream, I swear that war wouldn't exist. It's a theory, but somehow I think it'll be hard to send some Ben and Jerries to Obama or Brown...
I might have to get back to you on that one =]
x

Rose said...

Once again you brightened my day with a wonderful blog. I love days like the one you experienced, since I'm still in school (Graduating June '09 baby!!!) I got a whole spring break full of laying around reading and now I'm sitting in class reading and still getting all my work done.

Maybe you should take little breaks more often so you don't wear yourself to such exhaustion! I worry about you, which is kind of weird since we don't know each other. . . but as a fan I really want to read your books and as an author-to-be I really care about the stress this is putting on you!

I find chocolate, books, and sometimes killing people on a violent video game, to be the best stress relievers.

Anonymous said...

I read Graceling shortly after release in Australia. (So, I wandered into a book shop, liked the cover I saw on the shelf and bought it. - A little superficial of me, but I am glad as I hadn't heard of the book beforehand.)
I have been following your blog for a while and due to lack of time have never gotten around to commenting, so firstly I adore your book and not just because it is fantastic, but because it has encouraged me to read more. Which in turn has helped me tackle many stressful and long days at work as I encountered great difficulty to just switch off and relax. In the meantime I have started writing also, which proves a little challenging with English being my second language however, it helps me learn new words and improve my grammar.
I chose not to write in my mother tongue as my German has gotten a lot worse, not that I was ever great at controlling this difficult language.

On the note of the 99cent thief - My friend had the same happen to her a few months back, also with iTunes. After further investigation it turned out that iTunes "accidentally" withdrew funds of 99 cents from various credit cards. So, might be worthwhile to send a little query to iTunes.

Elisabeth.

mrmorse said...

Wait. Hamlet DIES at the end? I had plans to go to the theatre tonight, but now I might as well stay home. Thanks a lot. Maybe I'll watch Titanic instead. I need to know whether the ship will make it.

Okay, I'll stop now.

mysteryflavour said...

Recharging for me = sleeping, eating, reading, music. Really really loud music, that you can sing along with. Being out of doors is always nice too. Or watching movies. Driving with all the windows down. What I really miss is cooking. I live in a dorm and alas, no kitchen! :( When I have excess energy that I'm having trouble channelling, I like to play the piano. It makes me feel more focused, even though I'm pretty terrible at it.

Have you heard of Ludovico Einaudi?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvak8NbT_Cg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM8n1yUkCFc

Anonymous said...

reading is my de-stresser. After a fight with my boyfriend, I read. After various family funerals, I read. When my dog died yesterday, i read until 2 am. It has to be the right book though. I read 101 Dalmations (Dodie Smith) and the Tale of Despereaoux yesterday (the more upset I am the faster I read). Very few times, reading just isn't enough. then I take the Forrest Gump advice and run. Then I remember my doctor told me not to run and start to walk. I walk so long I have to call someone to pick me up.

I kinda hate those days when I've had 1000 things planned, only to have all of them dashed. I feel lost for the rest of the day (usually a walking day)
~Aria

itdependsontheday said...

sorry bout the 99 cents. i didnt mean to steal ur card...jk. seriosly. jk. i am not a stalker nor a hacker. just a pyro. JK!!!

Lily said...

Hi Kristin!
Don’t worry; at least that was just a couple of tough days! It’s not that bad!!
I leave my home at 7:00am everyday and return at 9:30pm. I ate my breakfast and my dinner in my car, but life still good and beautiful.
What works for my when I’m more stress than usual is exercise and reading, every time I have a chance I read something and I hear music. Also on days like today I surf on the Internet and read your blog while I’m eating a big piece of papaya...this is so good ;o)
(sorry for my English, is not my first language :o()
Have a nice weekend, Lily

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kristin cashore said...

Jen, no worries! Would you like me to delete it?

Juglaresa said...

Ah my God, are you really Kristin Cashore? I want to say, you are not a fan of her that has done a blog, truth? I am moved! Last week I read Graceling and I liked much! I am wishing to read more histories written by you and, if they are related to Katsa and Po ... better! Jejeje A kiss!
Certainly, forgives if my english is wrong, is that I am a spanish girl jejeje

kristin cashore said...

First of all, to everyone who's apologizing because English is not your first language: your English is GREAT, and I'm so, so happy that you're commenting! Thank you so much!

Aria, I'm sorry to hear about your dog :(

Koa, my Italian editor would tell you that I speak VERY BAD ITALIAN. He would be right. It was my mother's first language, but even she has lost a lot of it. Though, she studies Italian now.

Jen said...

Yes kristin could you please delete it?

Rebecca Fabian said...

I've just finished reading the galley copy of Fire, and I wanted to let you know I think it's wonderful! Graceling was unique with the concept of "graces"; I love the equally fascinating "monster" world you've created in Fire. (I don't want to give too much away to those who haven't read it yet, so sorry if I'm using vague terms!) Let me just say, I want her hair. And I love how she reconciles herself to her use of her power. And I love the ending.
Also, I'm part of the Simmons MFA class Anna is teach at the Carle - thank you for sending us the fun tattoos and answering our questions! You're a great inspiration. Best, Rebecca

GreenOptimist said...

Things to cheer me up:
Seeing that you won the first battle of the kids books! You totally deserved it, well done =D
That guy may have a 99cent song, but you have a winner's title =]
Good luck in the next round!!
x

ZKS said...

Hi Kristin!
So I literally just finished Graceling and wanted to learn more about possible sequels when I found your site! Yay!
The book is going in my "keep to read repeatedly" pile. (yes pile until my new bookshelves arrive.) I plan on sending a copy to several friends as well!
As for relaxation: Tea is always the answer. Sometimes I'll curl up in my softest sweats, break out my bone china tea cup and drink cup after cup of it while reading or writing, or playing solitare. Or perhaps if I'm feeling particularly morose, I'll take a trip to the beach and walk for miles on the sand and listen to the ocean roar and imagine myself miles away in a place that exisits only in my mind. Best vacation ever are the ones that are spur of the moment and might only last a day...
Anyhow, looking forward to keeping up with you and news about Fire and Bitterblue... I'm facinated with Bitterblue and rather curious as to what becomes of her.
I kind of suspect she might be Graced, though her eyes haven't shifted yet. Or else, she is simply very strong of mind a heart. I'm looking forward to learning what happens with her!
~ZKS

Energeia said...

Wow! I feel rather silly commenting here... but I'm suprised! It's the first time I found the blog of a writer. And now I'm reading your book, Graceling. I just started it, but I'm enjoying.
99 cents isn't that much, I'd would be happy, it could be worse. And that thief made you a favour. It's a good way of losing a credit card.
I'll keep an eye on your blog, it seems very interesting.
Sorry for repeating myself but... wow, the blog of a writer!
I'm excited, hehe :P

Ana.

kristin cashore said...

Hi guys, and thanks!

Jen, I removed everything incriminating.

Rebecca, greetings, Simmons sister! I'm having Second Book Syndrome with FIRE, so it was great to get your response. I enjoyed answering those questions, btw -- they were obviously questions from writers, which was awesome (none of you asked me if Katsa and Po are going to get married! ^_^). I hope you're having a wonderful experience in the program -- and happy writing!

katarina413 said...

You did what I aspire to do: go to simmons for child lit, write, be published, and just live doing what makes you happy (speaking for myself) :) BUT ANYWAYS, would you tell me more about simmons; personal representations always seem much more assuring to me, and grad school is looming so close (aahhh!)

Kat - an undergrad english major on the path to finding a job with a degree in Liberal Arts in Sciences and realizing she needs to go to grad school!

http://katarina413.livejournal.com/

katarina413 said...

PS. Oh yeah...Im a jax resident too (on the weekends now bc of school) and anyways I ORIGINALLY and got on your blog simply to say...I wish i had the grace of finding my car keys somedays.
- Kat

kristin cashore said...

Kat, I've actually been planning to talk about the Simmons program on my blog soon, so keep an eye out in the next few weeks -- as soon as I get enough time, I will!

bestbookihavenotread said...

Hello,
I recently finished and LOVED Graceling after having one of my former students chase me down and promise I would read it! (Not that's a fan!) The two of us would love to read and review the ARC of Fire if you are interested. Glad you got a day off and LOVE the BWA-HA-HAHAHAHAAAA! LIES! ALL LIES!!!!! part of your secret.
Thanks for such a good read!